Last night, Courtney and I were invited to attend a training with the Stake Presidency, my fellow High Councilors, and our wives. Very good training. The Stake Presidency outlined their vision for the stake, which I will not discuss because he has asked us not to until he gets the chance to present the vision to the bishops next week.
But one concept they taught has weighed heavily on me. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wrote in his autobiography something to the effect of:
When I was called to be an apostle, I could choose to be either a lawyer who was also an apostle OR an apostle who just happened to also be a lawyer.
The quote went on to say that Elder Oaks chose the painful and harder process of allowing himself to be molded into an apostle, that he chose to do those things and prioritize those things that would make him more capable of receiving the direction and revelation he would require as an apostle.
As I pondered that quote throughout the training, I realized that I often try to mold the Lord’s expectations for me into my own. You could almost call it a Martin Harris-ish moment where instead of accepting the Lord’s will, I accept it but… or accept it with conditions.
I would not go so far as to call such an attitude outright unrighteous; I think the Lord is open to negotiation, and we learn quite clearly from the Brother of Jared that He wants us to pursue and seek greater light, greater truth, and greater blessings. Remember, it was the Brother of Jared’s faith that literally rent the veil, that made it impossible for those truths to be hidden from him. Surely this is a wondrous thing and something the Lord desires for all His children.
But the scriptures also teach us that if we are righteous and have the spirit, we will be given to know those things for which we should ask. And that is the difference.
Martin Harris wasn’t wrong for asking, as I am not necessarily wrong for asking. He was wrong in that his asking was contradictory to the Lord’s will. He was wrong in that his asking was based on selfish, personal desires.
As we find ourselves molded by the Lord, I think it is appropriate to seek for more. I think it is appropriate to weigh in on the molding. We would be wise, however, to see that our weighing in and self-directed molding is done in accordance with the Lord’s will.