Today, in our Sunday School we talked about Abram and Lot. The most impactful part of a verse said, "....and Lot pitched his tent towards Sodom." This sparked all kinds of good discussion. As I reflect on that verse, I was taken back to my late teens when I would decide, with little or no pre-planning after work on a Friday to pack up and go backpacking. Many times, I did this on my own [though looking back at that, I would not recommend doing it alone as the buddy system is always recommended]. But, I would grab my pack, some clothes, sleeping bag, tent, food and other things I would need for the weekend of backpacking. Many times, I would head out with little or no thought of the weather forecasted - just to get out and away from civilization.

Many times, as I was setting up my campsite for the evening, I did so while winds howled and rain poured. I had enough experience from prior experience and reading the number one rule about pitching a tent. The rule states, you face your tent with the opening of the tent facing the direction of the wind. If you pitch your tent perpendicular to the wind, the risk is very real that your tent will become unpegged and become a parasail.

Back to the lesson, and my points. The great discussion whirled around the singular question:

Which way do you pitch your tent?

The question of fidelity to God or Satan is the crux of the discussion. 

Pitching your tent towards Sodom

In the scriptures,  Lot pitched his tent towards Sodom, and later lived in Sodom. This is important seeing how wicked Sodom's inhabitants were that lured Lot to pitch his tent towards, or facing Sodom. Lot might be likened to us and what we are attracted to. Some latter-day thoughts to ponder:
  • Are we hooked on the Internet for mindless surfing?
  • Are we so involved in things, be it work, hobbies, etc. that we take precious time away from our family?
  • Are we sympathetic or a zealot towards those things which are contrary to the church and it's teachings?
  • Do we complain about our leaders, which have been called in their callings?
All of these things, while seemingly innocent can lead to worse things, so, in a sense, it is pitching our tents toward those things, which can lead to our residence in personal and spiritual destruction. To face our tent towards Sodom, we are completely turned away from God and the temple.

Pitching your tent toward to temple

If there is a complete 180 degree turn from Sodom, or the worldly things it has to be the temple - for temples are dedicated and are all inscribed, "The House of The Lord". The temple and the sacred convents taken there link families for eternity. We learn more about the condescension of The Lord. It is a place of quiet and peace. It is where we are truly taught about where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. 
  • Do we make time to go the temple regularly?
  • If we are not temple worthy, are we striving to make those changes and commitments needed?
  • Are we using social media as a tool for good? Would we be ashamed of our posts, likes, tweets, +1, etc. if the Savior was standing behind us?
  • Are we using our talents, hobbies, etc. to help "build the kingdom of God on earth?"
  • Do we reach out to others, are respectful of their beliefs,  and are "not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ"?
All of these things, require some effort, commitment and perseverance but the blessings of doing so are eternal.

Pitching your tent somewhere between Sodom and the Temple

I would venture a guess that the majority of the people fall into this category. They are neither actively seeking evil or are not complete saints. They are trying to do things right, but may be afraid of the commitments involved. They might be teetering on the edge - testing boundaries.  They feel content where they are - neither progressing or stagnation. Some possible points:
  • Do we attend church, but refuse to accept callings?
  • Do we tend to micro-analyze talks given by the Lord's anointed servants?
  • Do we tend to rationalize scripture?
  • Are we "never available" to assist others?
To bring this full circle, there is a danger of pitching our tents perpendicular to the winds and rain. Without help from those vigilant friends who can assist us to turn our tents from the winds, we can find our tents completely open to the will of the winds. Just as my backpacking trips, I had everything I needed to survive but no other help. There is definitely strength in numbers. The church is put in place for that purpose. 

I realize that none of us are perfect (present company definitely included). Our tents may be facing Sodom in some areas, facing the temple in other areas, and be somewhere in between on lots of other areas.  We have help in all those areas. We have those who can help shore our tent pegs, add additional pegs to fortify against the prevailing winds and fiery darts of the adversary. We have help to make us aware of impending dangers from facing our tents towards those "slippery slope" things in our lives. And we have lots of help to make sure we are doing those things which "keep our eyes on the eternal prize". 

General Conference will be upon us in a month where we will have the blessings of being taught by the Lord's servants and can learn about those perils and instruct us how to shore up our testimonies. And more important for us - the blessings of keeping our eyes toward the temple.

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