Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Following the Prophet? Really!!!

Recently a poll was conducted in our stake to find out who was really following the prophets' counsel in several areas. It was alarming to find out just what percentage of the families actually hold family scripture, family prayer, have family home evening, have their food storage (or least a respectable start on it), and so on.

When you are in a leadership position, you get a bird's-eye view of who is struggling in their faith and who is not. There seem to be direct connections between those who attend church, whose children are active or are on track to stay active, who hold temple recommends and use them - and those who follow the counsel given by our modern prophets. I find there is a close correlation between following the prophet, and those who have well-taught, well-behaved children, who attend their meetings consistently, who show up on ward/stake temple day, and who show up at service projects and help. Of course there are exceptions, lest anyone reading this should get offended. But they are exceptions, not exemptions.

In contrast, those who always seem to struggle with activity are those who give a casual ear to the prophets' counsel and fit it into their lives when convenient. I was recently home-teaching a sister who was so proud of the fact that she and another sister in our ward had just come home from a weekend in San Diego. They had a blast. The went shopping and laid on the beach - on Sunday. She was oblivious to the idea that others don't think it's cool or positive to break the Sabbath. I wondered if she has never actually experienced the peace and increase in spiritual strength that a 'day of rest' can bring. Long story short, this sister struggles with her faith and activity, as does the sister that accompanied her to San Diego that weekend.

I'm not perfect, but I try to follow Elder Oaks' example and not study law on Sunday. It really cramps the rest of my week, but I have come to believe that it's worth it. And, I don't sacrifice the time that I need to read scriptures or other uplifting books on Sunday.

Having visited with many of these families in their homes, you can also feel the Spirit in their homes, and you just know... it's about real faith.

I have also been amused by those who have recently purchased a new flat-screen TV. I'll bet the old TV worked fine, but it just wasn't as phat (that's cool, far out, or groovy for us older folks) as the neighbor's new home theater thingy. And, of course, they have cable TV, which they pay for each month. Not dissing cable, but...

I know a lot of people who haven't bothered to get their year's supply, or even get a good start, and yet they have the latest flat screen TV with a cable TV subscription. So it's a choice that they are making, in my opinion. They are choosing the world instead of the Lord. Jacob 2:18-19 teaches us that before we seek for riches, we should seek the Kingdom of God. Then, if we seek riches, we will seek them to glorify God. So am I wrong in detecting a lack of faith in those who would rather follow the neighbor and spend their year's supply money on a big fat TV, as opposed to those who would follow the prophet, get their year's supply first, use a perfectly good TV for another year or two, then get the big TV?

By the way, I don't have a big screen TV, but I DO have my year's supply.


Thankful Paul said...


Bonnie said...

Grateful for our year supply and for our "old" television which we use for watching family movies. We live out in the country where there are no local services, so we gave up television a few years ago. We don't miss it. General Conference is on-line. I know! "No t.v." isn't for everyone, but for us, it is great!

It is refreshing to hear your reasoning! Thanks!

Rick Carpenter said...

Thanks Bonnie. I remember a regional conference years ago when Elder L. Tom Perry said the only TV he bothered to watch was a good news documentary or a sporting event. I'm pretty much with him on that. I am so busy in my life that I don't have time for the moral wasteland of network TV. I don't think I'd want to do without TV completely (I'd have a mutiny in the home if I tried that), but I don't waste much time at all on it. Thus, no need for a home theater monstrosity. Besides, have you noticed that those people who have the big screen TV's have made them the central focal point of their home, rather than those things that invite the Spirit and promote sanctuary from the world? I don't want that.