Just Some Thoughts
By Chris Park
When Christ came to deliver a message to the Nephites but they were too dark in their minds to receive the message He came to preach, He said to them,
"I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time, therefore go ye unto your homes and ponder upon the things which I have said and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand and prepare your minds for the morrow and I come unto you again." (3 Ne. 8:1)
He had a message. He was commanded of the Father to deliver the message and he did that. But He recognized their inability to understand, so He told them to go home and mull it over in prayer and meditation.
Joseph said on one occasion,
"We have reason to believe that many things were introduced among the Saints before God had signified the times; and notwithstanding the principles and plans may have been good, yet aspiring men, or in other words, men who had not the substance of godliness about them, perhaps undertook to handle edged tools. Children, you know, are fond of tools, while they are not yet able to use them.
Time and experience, however, are the only safe remedies against such evils. There are many teachers, but, perhaps, not many fathers."
Many teachers indeed. Not many fathers indeed.
He also said,
"had I inspiartion [inspiration], Revelation & lungs to communicate what my soul has contemplated in times <past> there is not a soul in this congregation but would go to their hom[e]s & shut their mouths in everlasting silnece [silence] on religin, till. they had learnd somethi[n]g. why be so certain that you comprehend the things of God. when all things with you are so uncertain." (Discourse, 13 August 1843–A, as Reported by Willard Richards)
Things with us are uncertain. We do not understand the words that Christ delivered to us in the Answer. Like the Nephites and early Saints, we should shut our mouths and go back to our homes and spend time in prayer and meditation until we have learned something.
If you just thought "I already do that; I don't need to do that" you're the one that needs it the most.
We know even the original scribe, Enoch, was slow to speak. (Gen. 4:2) Are we better than Enoch?
It's said in the epistle of Jacob that we should, "let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay aside all filthiness and excess of wickedness, and receive with meekness the grafted word, which is able to save your souls. But, be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves, for if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror; for he beholds himself and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the vices of the world."
Perhaps if we went about doing this, we'd know what to do after a couple years. Fact is, we don’t know what to do. This process could be much more organic than we want it to be. You can’t force a tree to grow. Just happens as you nourish it. Then about five years later, you enjoy some orange juice.
I know people who are printing and distributing their preferred document. What if we just let that process play out? Perhaps in a year or two of time and experience and seeing how certain documents work we’d all end up agreeing on and using one. And in five years we could add it to the scriptures because everyone would already agree on it and be using it.
I know people are worried about some imaginary time constraint because the Lord said "[...]if you cannot [agree upon a statement of principles] you will be unable to accomplish other works that I will require at your hands."(A&C, p. 8). But nothing in that statement puts a limit on the amount of time we can take to accomplish this task. Imagination can be a tricky thing and we would do well to remember, "A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination beware of; because the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out."(TPJS, p. 137)
Why not just be still?
Here are some relevant wisdom quotes from the book of Proverbs:
He that has knowledge spares his words; a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.
Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise; he that shuts his lips, a man of understanding.
A fool has no delight in understanding, but that his heart may reveal itself.
A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calls for strokes.
A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.
The words of a tale-bearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
He that answers a matter before he hears, it is folly and shame unto him.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
The poor uses entreaties, but the rich answers roughly.
The tongue of the wise uses knowledge aright, but the mouth of fools pours out foolishness.
Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from troubles.
He that keeps his mouth keeps his life, but he that opens wide his lips shall have destruction.
The heart of the righteous studies to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.