Sunday, October 4, 2015

Some Latter-day Saint Flavors of Boasting

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Are there Latter-day Saint flavors of boasting? 

What about boasting about miracles?

In D&C 84:66-72, there is a whole list of wonderful works and signs that believing members will be able to do through faith: cast out devils, heal the sick, open the blind eyes, unstop deaf ears, cause the dumb to speak, live after being given poison or being bit by venomous snakes.  But there is also a commandment associated with these miracles which the Lord wants the Saints to observe.
But a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not boast themselves of these things, neither speak them before the world; for these things are given unto you for your profit and for salvation. (D&C 84:73, emphasis added)
Why are the Saints not to boast of themselves of miracles or speak them before the world? 

I think it has something to do with the fact that when the miracles happen, it will be in response to a crying need of some sort.  So when the need has been filled, it would be awful to go out and say (or think) something like, “I opened the eyes of the blind! Aren’t I special and righteous?”

Verse 73 says these things are given to us “for your profit and for salvation.”  Profit there means it is meant for our growth.  And if it is given for our salvation, then it was given to save us from temporal and spiritual danger, not because we are anything great.  It was an act of mercy and deliverance, not a commendation or something to make us look good.  So we have no reason to boast of miracles.

It’s also why Alma says elsewhere, “This was not of any righteousness of myself” when he tells Helaman about his extraordinary conversion experience with the angel. That experience was only meant for his profit and salvation, not for boasting about.

How about casting out evil spirits?
31 Wherefore, it shall come to pass, that if you behold a spirit manifested that you cannot understand, and you receive not that spirit, ye shall ask of the Father in the name of Jesus; and if he give not unto you that spirit, then you may know that it is not of God.
32 And it shall be given unto you, power over that spirit; and you shall proclaim against that spirit with a loud voice that it is not of God—
33 Not with railing accusation, that ye be not overcome, neither with boasting nor rejoicing, lest you be seized therewith.  (D&C 50:33)
Evidently the Lord wanted to underline His warning against boasting in connection with casting out evil spirits, since He must have known that mankind has a tendency to feel over-pleased with themselves when they command something and it obeys.

Boasting is such a malignant thing, that if a person casts out an evil spirit and then boasts about it, that invites the evil spirit into them instead.  It’s a magnet for evil.

Sounds pretty serious, huh?

I take hope in the fact that these principles were given us to keep us safe so that we could be alert and avoid falling into sin out of ignorance.  The Lord wants us to avoid not just the big blatant sins, but also the sins that seem more culturally acceptable in our society.  Because even if they are culturally acceptable, they will still hurt us and block our progression.