A Principle With Promise Doctrine and Covenants 89-92
A funny thing happened as I was reading the sections in this lesson. I got an answer that I didn't know I needed to a question I didn't know I had. It's always funny when the Spirit works that way. Section 89 really is a principle with a promise, and I learned that this week.
It certainly wasn't a coincidence that these sections were grouped together in one lesson, and I have to say that coming into this week, I didn't expect to get much from reading about the Word of Wisdom. It feels a little like old hat, I guess.
A Principle With Promise
But that is likely because I have always read it but never really studied it. And that is likely because the "do nots" of the Word of Wisdom have never been a problem for me. Even during my young and impressionable teenage years, I never had the desire to drink or smoke. As a matter of fact, I thought it was stupid. And it wasn't a religious thing, it was just a common sense thing.
So it was surprising to me that this lesson brought to light some important concepts for me that I have been struggling with, not because I overindulge on sugary desserts when I shouldn't, but because I learned that this is so much more than what we eat or drink or don't eat or drink.
It's about listening to the prophet when he speaks, not because he's offering up a new set of commandments, but because he's giving me counsel.
Counsel is as important as commandment
It was said that after receiving the Word of Wisdom, 19 of the 24 people in the School of the Prophets that day threw their pipes into the fire. Why would they do that?
They certainly didn't have any scientific evidence that smoking the pipes was going to be bad for them. Nothing in the world at large changed in that moment that would have convinced them what to do other than the prophet speaking.
Cigarettes still had not even come to the US at this point, so they couldn't possibly have known then about the conspiracy of the big tobacco companies that would come more than a century later.
And this revelation was given not as a commandment, but as a word of warning. They could have chosen to say "yeah, it's not a commandment, it's just a loose guideline but I can decide for myself."
But instead they broke the pipes and threw them in the fire.
The power of sustaining faith
And this leads right into Section 90, where we learn all about the prophet and first presidency having all the priesthood keys, their ability to "set in order all the affairs of the church and kingdom" and how their words can "unfold the mysteries".
That's why I say that I don't think it's a coincidence that these sections were grouped together in one lesson. And when I read the talk by President Eyring about the power of sustaining faith, it all came together for me.
Do I sustain my leaders when they give me guidance, or am I looking for further corroborating evidence elsewhere? Do I follow ALL of their guidance, even when I don't like what they're telling me? And these questions apply not just to the prophet himself, but to all the leaders that have been called to guide and direct me in various ways.
Sometimes sustaining can be hard
It's really easy to dismiss what they say when I think thoughts like:
"He's just a man who makes mistakes like the rest of us, and he has opinions but it doesn't mean his opinions are right"
"I have my agency and I'm entitled to my own revelation, THEREFORE, I decide when and what I follow..."
or, the dreaded....
"it's just an opinion, it's not a commandment"
All of those men in the School of the Prophet could have said the same thing and gone right on smoking their pipes but instead they chose to have faith in Joseph's words, trust in the Lord, and did not hesitate to take action immediately.
Some may say (and I know some people who DO say) "It makes you stupid if you are willing to just blindly follow"... but there is nothing blind about it.
I am entitled to pray about it and receive my own revelation. Not revelation that contradicts what the prophet, my stake president, or my bishop says, but to confirm that the action I will take to follow them will bless me. Because when I choose to walk the path laid out for me, I WILL be blessed.
Challenge Cards and Lesson Links
Be sure to grab the Challenge Cards over in the shop to go with this lesson! They will be listed with the other cards for August, and I hope you love them!