I am not one who believes much in setting GOALS for OTHERS or determining for them what they should do in their spiritual journey….Goals? well maybe if we are discussing the World Cup…In fact I think Goals are too often unrealistic and the cause of a lot of disillusionment, and if established at all, VERY VERY PERSONAL. I have not yet been "brought in" to be pressured to meet some arbitrary quota which reflects someone Else’s idea of what is PROPERLY righteous…or "acceptable to God" but I know its coming.
The more I have thot about this eventual meeting as a couple, the more I have wondered how I am going to express my ideas in such a way that it won’t embarrass my wife…I am sure she will not have the same concerns about this kind of religious endeavor that I have. I have been pondering the reasons I am uncomfortable with such methodology.. or this kind of "requirement" leadership. Is it because I am a reprobate?…most likely that has something to do with it….but, I think it more probable that the reason I object to imposed "goals" which DEMAND OBEDIENCE is that it takes the motivating factors such as LOVE, and COMPASSION and Heartfelt altruistic feelings and replaces them with a counterfeit substitute, a holdover from when we were children, that some think is how religion should be practiced even as adults.
Obedience, the FIRST law of heaven means to them the most important law, and to me it means the beginning law.. as in "first" grade… The appeal to numbers, statistics and obedience to authority becomes daunting…. It is as if there is no comprehension of the verse which clearly states that…It is NOT meet that we should be COMMANDED in all things and that we should be anxiously engaged in a good cause and do many thing of our OWN FREE WILL and bring to pass much righteousness…for the power is in us to be agents unto ourselves and if we do good we shall in nowise lose our reward….
I recall as a teen having a friend in my stake who was the first counselor in our Stake presidency. He was an administrator at BYU and a long time mentor for this boy whose father was not LDS…I adored him. He was nearly a hero to me. So I was pleased to see him when I went for a recommend interview after I got married. He asked me the questions and then at the conclusion of my interview, he told me I had to give him a NUMBER of how many times I was going to attend the temple in the ensuing year. I paused…I had this feeling of discomfort in having to set an arbitrary number… Well President…I would rather not set a number… He looked at me with a look of disbelief…WHAT? Do I need to set one for you? he asked…. Well I explained, I have always enjoyed going to the temple..in fact last week when I exited I looked out over the valley, the fountain danced…the sun set, and I said to myself…what a wonderful world…I was just so joyous to have been there for the reasons I was there…I think if I had said to myself, WOW I am so happy to have arrived at my goal….what an accomplishment 14 visits in a year…I would have short changed myself. I want to go WHEN I FEEL THE SPIRIT, not because I set some arbitrary quota for myself …and especially not because someone else has.
He looked at me shook his head with great disappointment…signed the recommend, threw it at me with a flick of his wrist and said..send the next person in…. I left knowing of his displeasure with me, but I didn’t realize that it would end our friendship. I often encountered him after that with my usual salutation, only to be ignored as if I didn’t exist. Even passing him in the hall at church he refused to acknowledge me…. I have wondered If I should have acquiesced to his DEMAND and remained in his good graces. The more I think of my 23 year old pride and the desire I had that he understand MY MOTIVATIONS…what makes ME feel closer to God. The more I wonder why I even care. Religion is for me becoming more and more personal as I age. It is becoming less and less communal and my concern about acceptance and understanding of others has diminished to the point that the only thing I care that anyone knows is that I love and respect them…and want to help them in their personal quest…
Do I care if anyone is comfortable with ME and my reasons for believing as I do? No, not really! I think the upcoming meeting with the Bishop will be an interesting event. Hopefully, he will speak to me after I express myself about what I NEED spiritually, what it takes for ME to be at peace with God…even if it doesn’t fit within his religious paradigm.