Monday, September 14, 2009

Playing a Part

“For too many, responsibility seems to end with hand-wringing and exclamations of dismay. Yet talk without action accomplishes little. We need to be vigorously engaged in the world. If our schools are inadequate or destructive of moral values, we must work with fellow members of the community to bring about change. If our neighborhoods are unsafe or unhealthy, we must join with the civic-minded to devise solutions. If our cities and towns are polluted, not only with noxious gases but soul-destroying addictions and smut, we must labor to find legitimate ways to eliminate such filth. … We have the responsibility to be a blessing to others, to our nation, to the world”
-Elder Robert S. Wood (“On the Responsible Self,”
Ensign, Mar. 2002, 30–31).

I found this quote really inspiring and motivating. It reminded me of the article, "Lessons from the Old Testament: In the World but not of the World" by Quentin L. Cook in the February 2006 Ensign. I was particularly struck by this quote:

"In early 1969, at the height of the “flower children” period in San Francisco, California, the Bay Area was a magnet for drug use and all manner of promiscuous and sinful conduct. A concerned stake president asked the leadership of the Church if Latter-day Saints should be encouraged to remain in the Bay Area. Elder Harold B. Lee (1899–1973), then a senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was assigned to address the issue. He met with a group of priesthood leaders and told them the Lord had not inspired the construction of the Oakland California Temple only to have the members leave. His counsel was for members to create Zion in their hearts and homes, to be a light to those among whom they lived, and to focus on the ordinances and principles taught in the temple."

I was somewhat surprised by Harold B. Lee's response, because I think I had Abraham's instruction to flee Sodom and Gomorrah in mind. We are, after all, instructed to stand in holy places.Obviously, where we raise our family is a matter of personal revelation, but anywhere we go our children will be exposed to bad influences. It's just hard as a mother to know that our children will be exposed to experiences that could erode their testimony. On the other hand, theses experiences have the potential to solidify their faith. It feels like such a gamble, because their choices are not for us to make.
If anything, for me these quotes drive home the importance of making my home a refuge or a holy place for my family to stand, and taking advantage of the strengthening power of the temple. And as for the first quote, perhaps our first response to destructive influences should be to fight it, rather than to flee from it.

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love these quotes. Thank you for sharing them. This is something I've thought about a lot this summer. After discussing this with my mother-in-law, she helped me see that it is much better to be in the world and not of the world, but still love and enjoy the many wonderful things about it. Instead of seeking the like-minded, stand out and be the example, be the light on a hill and be a beacon for those that are lost. What I have come to realize is that we live in a time where we cannot be silent. We cannot hide in the background. We cannot try to make everyone happy. We know what is right and we need to stand up and voice it, no matter what the consequences are. We need to have more faith. If good people flee the battlefront where Satan is waging the strongest fight, what will be the outcome? Isn't there a scripture about sparing a city because of a few righteous? We need to stand and be strong.