Sunday, August 31, 2014

Keep the commandments

Almost the whole time that we lived in North Carolina I had my hair cut by the same person.  Over those 17 years we had many conversations, often about religion and spirituality.  She was always so complimentary when she spoke about Mormons--over the years she had many LDS clients and came to feel very positively about the church.  She often told me that if she heard people make critical comments about the church she defended us.  But over the years she was also certain that she would never be able to live as strict of a life as we did/do.

I think that feeling is not uncommon--one of the things that is well known about the church is all of the things we *don't* do.  We don't drink or do drugs or smoke, we don't play sports or shop on Sunday, we don't have sex before marriage.  Some people see us in terms of the strict way we live, thinking our lives are defined by God's restrictions and experiential deprivation.

Recently someone in our ward spoke about this topic in a way that was new to me.  She suggested that instead of seeing God's commandments as restrictions we might instead think of them as a  user's manual for life.  Just like a piece of equipment works better when we follow the directions, life works better when we follow God's directions.  In his compassion he didn't send us down to earth with no idea of what things will make this earth experience better and leave us to figure it all out on our own.  Instead he provided us with users manuals, including commandments, that will give us the best possibility of success in our lives.  Love each other, don't covet, tell the truth, take care of your body, doubt take things that aren't yours, respect your parents, live a clean life... all guidelines from life's users manual.

Oh, and don't kill anyone.

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