Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Not Just A Suggestion

I was listening to the First Presidency Message in this month's Ensign and came across this paragraph:
"First, the Holy Ghost remains with us only if we stay clean and free from the love of the things of the world. A choice to be unclean will repel the Holy Ghost. The Spirit dwells only with those who choose the Lord over the world. “Be ye clean” (3 Nephi 20:41; D&C 38:42) and love God with all your “heart, … might, mind, and strength” (D&C 59:5) are not suggestions but commandments. And they are necessary to the companionship of the Spirit, without which we cannot be one."

He quoted some things that we are told to do in the scriptures. He noted that they are not suggestions, but commandments.

I have often felt that the crowd that says all we have to do to be "saved" is to say that we accept Jesus ignores that he has commanded us to do things more than just recognize that He is the Savior. Yet I also find that we Latter-day Saints at times treat the scriptures or the words of the prophets as suggestions as well.

Is sitting in a parked car alone with a person of the opposite sex wrong even if we don't violate the law of chastity? The prophets have counseled us not to do that. Is it a suggestion of a commandment?

What about making out when you are not married? You have not broken the law of chastity, but what have the prophets said?

"We must clearly explain to our children that passionate kissing and “making out” should be left until after marriage. Too many young couples falsely believe that because they are dating or engaged they can relax these constraints. Yet it is during this emotion-filled time that the greatest care should be taken to build and preserve a virtuous relationship.

“'When the unmarried yield to the lust that induces intimacies and indulgence, they have permitted the body to dominate and have placed the spirit in chains. It is unthinkable that anyone could call this love.' (Spencer W. Kimball, 'Love vs. Lust,' in 1965 Speeches of the Year, Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1966, p. 9.)"
(From the December 1986 Ensign Talking with Your Children about Moral Purity)

Are their words a suggestion or a commandment?

Is watching rated R movies wrong, even though there is not specifically a temple recommend question asking if you watch rated R movies? The prophets have counseled us not to do that. Is it a suggestion of a commandment?

Elder Cree-L Kofford Of the Seventyin his July 1998 Ensign article Marriage in the Lord’s Way, Part Two
"All too often, we get ourselves enmeshed in the process of trying to understand why God gave us a particular commandment. We want to rationalize. I don’t know where that is more evident than in watching movies. Young people know they should not watch R- or X-rated movies, and yet time after time I hear them say, 'Well it’s only rated R because it’s violent.' What difference does it make why it is rated R? The fact is, a prophet of God has said not to go to R-rated movies (see, for example, Ezra Taft Benson, “To the ‘Youth of the Noble Birthright,’ ” Ensign, May 1986, 45). That ought to be good enough."

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