Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Scriptures are kind of a tough issue. Some people believe them to be the word of God, others believe them to be only a historical record, still others may not even go that far.

Primary children sing that if I prayerfully read the scriptures every day, "I'll know the scriptures are true."

As an agnostic, my opinion of "scriptures", regardless of which religion's scriptures we are referring to, is that they definitely have value as a tool of instruction and inspiration. Do I believe that any of them are God's words? Probably not. Do I believe that Joseph Smith translated gold plates? Probably not. Do I believe that Book of Mormon characters were actual historical figures? Probably not. But honestly, who cares?

Whether King Benjamin actually existed and delivered his address, or Joseph Smith made those words up in his own head, I just don't care. Because the thing is, there's some good stuff in that address! And elsewhere in the Book of Mormon (and all other books of scripture).

Last year, when I was first trying to make this church thing work for me, I was going through a pretty tough time. I had a brand new baby and was adjusting to life as a mom of three. We live a continent away from our families, my husband works long hours and is working on a graduate degree. Oh, and I homeschool. It was HARD! (It's still hard!) I was just in kind of a bad place.

One week in Sunday School, we were discussing King Benjamin's address in Mosiah. Fortunately, I decided to pay attention that day. We read good old Mosiah 4:27, a classic, oft-quoted verse. "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order."

Now, I can see you rolling your eyes and being unimpressed. Isn't this the classic verse that women love to quote because we are all just so overwhelmed with our various responsibilities? Yes. Yes, it is. But the thing is, the last time I had personally read that verse, I didn't have any children. The plight of the mom with multiple young children was basically just a tale I heard in Relief Society (a lot). But this time, in my current station in life, and with my current struggles, it really spoke to me. Not only should I not run faster than I have strength (which could just be a nice pat on the head to make me feel okay about not being Super Mom), but it is wisdom not to do that. And the word "order" made me feel like maybe there's time to accomplish the things I want to accomplish but just can't even think about now. Then "King Benjamin" (or Joseph Smith or whoever the heck said/wrote this) goes on to remind us that, even though we shouldn't run faster than we have strength, we still need to be diligent in order to win the prize. A good reminder for a mom who just found relief from the overwhelming stress of her self-imposed expectations. I still have to be diligent. I still have to try. I still have to work hard.

"I know the scriptures are true." In a sense, I guess I do. I believe many principles in the scriptures are true principles. Do I believe the stories of their origins to be true? Not necessarily. But those stories don't need to be true in order for me to profit from the principles and inspiration they deliver.

So I think I will follow King Benjamin's admonition in Mosiah 1:7--"And now, my sons,  I would that ye should remember to search them diligently, that ye may profit thereby." 

They're here for us to profit from them. And who doesn't like to profit?

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