I was sitting in Relief Society listening to a lesson about obedience and experiencing one of my days where I raise my hand more than I should. Most of the lesson was focused on how we can receive blessings for being obedient. But the more I thought about that, the more I realized that we keep trying to fit obedience into an equation. Obedience + Sacrifice = Blessings.

And there is some doctrinal basis for that line of thought. In fact, one might argue that the entirety of scripture demonstrates that when we obey, we are blessed.

But I think there is another level to that, beyond being blessed for obedience, that comes as we truly learn to love the Lord. We obey not because we are blessed, but because we love Him and trust Him. The blessings that we get are not part of an equation, but are much more complicated and less guaranteed. There is some evidence of this in scripture, Nephi slaying Laban, Paul preaching the gospel, even Mormon and Moroni guarding the plates. Sure, we can point to how the Lord blessed them, but the bulk of their personal blessings came as a result of being obedient, not as a result of the actions they took by being obedient. There was no expected personal blessing that one could point to and say "because you did this, you got this." In fact, most of the blessings in such cases weren't for them, but for others. They, themselves, had sorrow, death, and loneliness as their reward for obedience.

I think that this is eventually an important concept to understand, and felt moved to share my perspective with the class by referring obliquely to a personal commandment I received which, like Nephi's, went against the general commandments of God, and which had little to no personal benefit. (I had to hasten to add that I hadn't killed anyone!)

I think that suggesting that not all obedience results in a causation blessing made several people uncomfortable, because we would all like to believe that we can somehow control what blessings we receive. One woman raised her hand and said that she disagreed with me "a little," that ALL obedience comes with attached blessings.

She disagreed with me more than a little, but she was not willing to say it. Another woman chimed in and said we were both right, trying her best to make peace. Embarrassed, I thought about trying to clarify my point, but got the feeling that those who needed to hear what I said, if any, had heard it. I felt distinctly that not all in the room would benefit from understanding more what I was saying. So I let it lie there and turned hideously red (curse that pale Scandinavian skin).

The reason I'm sharing this here is because I think that as we gain knowledge by experience, as we gain a greater appreciation for the Savior and His love, as we come to develop a desire to serve those around us, we will find ourselves mimicking His teaching style more and more. Opening our mouths is important, when moved upon by the Spirit, but sometimes shutting our mouths is appropriate, too.

And it is okay to disagree more than just "a little."

The gospel is like a stretchy shirt. It is one size fits all, but that doesn't mean it looks the same on everyone.
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