IF MY DAD WERE GOD
A friend of mine recently shared with me yet another medical study that showed the health hazards that can come from breaking the Word of Wisdom, (this article linked the use of hot drinks to an increased susceptibility to gum disease). I found it amazing that, a century and a half after the Lord issued His directions on health, we continue to “discover” new reasons to comply with His word. I wondered if it would have been as easy to follow this code in those early days of the church, before all of these scientific studies, when compliance was less a matter of logic and more a matter of faith. I questioned whether we would abstain from something we enjoyed, (and which had no evident ill effects on us), simply because the Lord asked us to do so.
I had my question answered that very night as I conducted an annual interview with one of our MIA Maid young women. We were discussing appropriate entertainment and following the guidelines the First Presidency had issued when she admitted to frequently attending R-rated movies, sometimes with her family. She told me that most were not so much full of nudity but, rather, were loaded with action and violence which she felt she could handle. Some, she said, were even based on history and therefore had great merit in her mind. She didn’t understand why she should avoid these movies when she could see nothing wrong with them. She was, in essence, telling me, “Bishop, explain the reasoning behind the prophet’s counsel to the full satisfaction of my sophisticated 14-year-old judgment, and then, perhaps, I’ll consider complying with it.” It was evident that an answer “because God said so” would be insufficient cause for obedience and that her limited maturity was a great impediment to her understanding.
She was, I have since realized, a scale model of even the most experienced of mortals as we withhold our compliance with God’s word until He more fully explains Himself and to our satisfaction.
I remember my own earthly father ranting and nearly blowing an artery as he dealt with similar attitudes from each of his children and, although God is infinitely more patient than our earthly parents, I got to wondering what God would say to us if He were a little bit more like my dad. Perhaps his frustration would show through and it would sound something like this…
1. Behold, I say unto you… Yes YOU, Einstein! Awaken from thy stupor, thou novice of cause and effect! Thou who believed not in socks until thy own feet were an-blistered.
2. Thou who first awaitest proof and evidence to verify my word; only then doest thou begin to agree with my counsel. Wherefore, lacking understanding, thou withholdest thy obedience until thy day of clarity cometh.
3. Thou, whose years can be counted by a child, supposeth thy experience sufficient in judging all matters which come before thee. I, whose years the angels cannot count, say unto thee: Thou pea-brained fool! Were it possible I would be amazed that thou art my creation!
4. Know ye not that the comprehension and wisdom of the wisest man is as the faintest star hardly seen; useful as a faint guide only; casting no great light on thy pathway. Remember ye not that the comprehension and wisdom of thy God is as the sun at noonday; more than thy senses can endure to view; not a guide only, yea, capable of lighting the most obscure pathway to safety through the dark wilderness wherein thy cluelessness hast placed thee.
5. And now, if thou hast ears to hear and eyes to see and half a brain to sort it all out, it shall come to pass that thou shalt learn with each passing season of thy life that thy Father who is in Heaven was, to thy astonishment, right about this and correct about that. Until, at last, and perhaps too late, that day of clarity cometh when thou shalt become aware of thy immeasurable ignorance.
6. Then, on that day, if thou shalt chose to place thy trust in my word and to walk in my ways, then shalt thou arrive at wisdom.
7. Know this, my son: If thou wilt, thou canst hasten the coming of that great day. If thou wilt invest but a particle of faith through obedience to my word thou shalt perceive the resulting happiness and peace, which shall only work to increase thy faith.
8. If thou then reinvest this larger portion of faith through further compliance to my word, then shall thy happiness, peace, and faith continue to expand never ending. Thus, are my ways one eternal round.
9. And thus shalt thou validate the incessant arguments set forth by thy Heavenly Mother who has, again and again, stayed my hand that I destroy you not. Hearken, my son, and live. And live more fully with the joys which are wrought by obedience.
10. For behold and lo, how great a difference it doth make at what point in thy journey this lesson is learned; for, in the end, he that believeth not in my omniscience shall know of my omnipotence. Even so, Amen.