Submitted by Bret
This time I’m not complaining. Or am I? You be the judge! Hopefully Rusty will come back soon from 50+ comments land and spare you from my ramblings.
While the EQ lessons leave something to be desired in our ward I am generally happy with the Sunday School lessons. The teachers are very prepared and there is discussion. Sometimes some the participants want to make the lesson about them through domination, but I’ve seen worse cases of that elsewhere so it doesn’t scare me.
This week the teacher wrote on the black board, "I’ll do anything the Lord asks me except ______." Of course we were discussing Abraham and some of the odd things he was asked to do.
The class was pretty standard and we discussed Abraham’s polygamy breifly and the command to sacrifice Issac. Several participants praised Abraham’s willingness to do as he was commanded without hesitation. Others lamented the fact that we often don’t do the same ourselves. The teacher repeated stated that we would all be tried as Abraham was.
At some point I began to feel that there was an elephant in the room, and I raised my hand to comment on it. This feeling built and built and my hand stayed up, though the teacher did not call on me. I gave up when the teacher announced that he was wrapping up the lesson, but during his summary he again emphasized the sentence on the board and said that we need to be quick to obey the commandments without worrying about what the world might think. Again my hand shot up and this time I was given a chance to speak.
Given the short time I didn’t get out everything that I wanted to say, but blogging permits me the opportunity to do so. My concern is that given the LDS emphasize on personal revelation, the concept that we would all be "tried as Abraham was", and the message of quick obedience without hesitation there needs to be a disclaimer. Maybe this goes without saying, but in my mind there are things that you shouldn’t do without hesitation. Specifically the two things that Abraham did. You shouldn’t take a plural wife. You also shouldn’t sacrifice anyone. In fact if you ever feel inspired to hurt yourself or anyone else you definitely want to talk it over with the bishop, and perhaps get some help beyond that.
There seems to be a problem when discussing the OT or even Mormon history. Many that we hold up as examples did things that are inappropriate today for whatever reason. Yet we assume that the inappropriateness is obvious without ever examining it.
There are many well known examples of personal revelation gone wrong. I wonder if occasional disclaimers such as mine would have helped any of them. Perhaps not in the big cases, but perhaps it would in some of the smaller ones that don’t show up in the national news.
I’m sure that Jon Krakauer would have gotten a kick out of the lesson. As it was he wasn’t there, but the teacher did come up to me afterwards and thank me for covering something that is often overlooked.