BCC friend and guest-blogger-at-large Kyle M returns with a post that reads like a journal entry from EFY. Enjoy!
Man, the Spirit always speaks to me when I least expect it. I was sitting in Elders’ Quorum on Sunday, just like I do every Sunday, and a member of the EQ presidency was in charge of the lesson, just like on most Sundays. The quorum was split into small groups, and we were discussing different conference talks, with the expectation that each group would later give a synopsis to the whole quorum.
It was set up to be a typical EQ meeting, and I was expecting another half-hearted or, at best, light-hearted conversation with my buddies. But for some reason, this chat was different. We were talking about Richard G. Scott’s talk from the Saturday morning session. You probably remember it as the semi-annual “Pornography Talk” that Elder Scott seems to always be tasked with delivering. But we were talking about the first half of the address, in which Elder Scott talks about the struggle and the effort it takes to learn how to be led by the Spirit.
As is usual, there were some discussion questions below the reading selection, the first of which was “How do we draw a balance between spiritual self-reliance and relying on the Spirit?”
It was as if a finger from heaven had written a message on the wall of the classroom: “ur doing it wrong!”
As soon as I read the question to myself, I knew that I had been answering it incorrectly my whole life. I had placed way too much stock in the former to the neglect of the latter.
Here’s how I would have answered the discussion question on Saturday:
God put us on Earth to learn and to grow, and we do that best when we aren’t being helped along. You’ll never learn to walk if someone’s always supporting you. We need to fall sometimes, trial and error, and all that stuff. My life has been great up until this point, and for the most part, I’ve made good decisions, which have led me here. So let’s see if I can continue on without the help. Frontier spirit, ho!
There is a little truth and a lot of pride in that answer, and it’s at least partly informed by the fact that billions of people go through life without the clear guidance of the Spirit. Lots of them make intelligent decisions and lead happy lives. Am I weaker than them, that I need divine help to do the same?
Richard G. Scott’s conference address turns that idea on its head: It’s not easier to follow the guidance of the Spirit; it’s harder.
“I am convinced that there is no simple formula or technique that would immediately allow you to master the ability to be guided by the voice of the Spirit. … Were you to receive inspired guidance just for the asking, you would become weak and ever more dependent…”
I’m not being courageous and independent by striking out on my own; it’s possible I’m just too lazy to put in the effort to learn to be led by the Spirit. There’s a bitter truth in that.
And then an even worse thought: I did fine on my own, but what could I be? That’s a thought trail I’m not interested in following, because it’s hypothetical and counterproductive. But I hope that the existence of such a possibility—the possibility of myself as the Spirit would lead me to be—will inform my decision-making process in the future more than it has in the past.
Billions of people go through life without the knowledge and guidance of the Spirit. How ungrateful have I been, then, to put my own self-reliance ahead of the gift that I’ve been given?