Monday, January 11, 2016

Ignoring the finger of scorn

33 And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not.
34 These are the words of my father: For as many as heeded them, had fallen away. (1 Nephi 8:33-34)

I had two thoughts when I read this recently. First, it is significant that Nephi takes the trouble to quote his father’s words about those who were influenced by the scorn coming from the great and spacious building in Lehi’s dream.  Lehi didn’t say, “As many as heeded them fell away shortly thereafter.” He says, “As many as heeded them, had fallen away” (emphasis added). So heeding the scorn is not the cause of falling away; it is a symptom.

This tells us that if we have found ourselves heeding the scorn of the world, we have already fallen and need to be reconverted. (We may not have left the church, but our hearts have left.) It’s kind of shocking, but should help us see things as they are so we can repent and recommit with full purpose of heart.

The second thing I thought is that while the great and spacious building sticks in our minds as a place, it is also an attitude, one of scorn, mocking and pride. While we might have a hard time self-identifying pride, it might be easier to notice when we are mocking or expressing scorn for others. I get the impression it is a dangerous attitude to have. It makes us feel clever and witty because it takes analysis skills sometimes, but it can easily be born of ignorance as well. 

Mocking was a big part of my sense of humor when I was a teen, but I found it was leading me to say mean things, and it also got in the way when there was an opportunity to have spiritual experiences. So I chose to try to cultivate humor in other more positive directions.

I do think scorn and mockery feeds pride.   So I think it’s a good idea to beware of scorn and mocking just as much as we beware of pride.