This is a good reminder of the mistakes we should avoid as members of the Church.
On the whole, Mormons are good people. Most of us do our best to try to live the gospel. Most of us try to be Christ-like and obedient to the Lord. Unfortunately, even the best of us tend to fall into traps of bad thinking without even being aware of it. This flawed thinking can interfere with our ability to fully live the gospel. These mistakes can keep us from experiencing the full blessings and joy that come with gospel discipleship. More often than not making these mistakes can actively make us miserable. On my blog, I answer gospel questions, and in real life, I talk to people of all walks of life about religion, and I have noticed a few common problems that even the best of us may have to overcome in order to progress in the gospel.
I. Riding the Line
When I was a young man, I was taught a parable in my Aaronic priesthood Sunday classes about truck drivers and staying away from the line:
“A man was interviewing new drivers for his transportation company. The route was very dangerous and went along several steep cliffs through a mountain pass. The interviewer asked each man how close he could safely drive near the edge of the cliff. The first man responded, “I could drive within six inches of the edge.” The second man responded, “I could drive within two inches of the edge.” The third man responded, “I would stay as far away from the edge of the cliff as I possibly could.” (Aaronic Priesthood Manual, lds.org).
A common question that is asked by members of the church has to do with precisely where the line is when it comes to what is allowed, or what is forbidden by the Lord, or by Church leaders. Those that ask this question, much like the first two drivers in the parable, often want to know how close they can get to the line without going over. I hear some form of this question all the time, and I noticed recently that it cropped up during the face to face question and answer sessions the Apostles hold with the youth of the church.
Note that the third man in the parable doesn’t care where the line is because he doesn’t plan to go anywhere near it. How can he avoid the line if he doesn’t know where it is? In the gospel, there are two great commandments. They involve deep, heartfelt, and total love for God, and love for neighbor. Both commandments are important. These are the commandments for keeping all other commandments (see Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World, 12). If you truly love God, you would never consider disobeying him. If you truly love your neighbor, you would never dream of lying to or about him, or stealing from him, or doing anything that might cause him pain or harm. If you are focused on loving and serving God, and on loving your neighbor, obedience will become part of your nature. You won’t need anyone to spell out what you can and can’t (or should and should not) do, because your natural impulse will be to act as Christ would act. If you are truly living the gospel, then it shouldn’t matter where the line is, because your natural impulses lead you well away from the edge.