Do you view obedience as binding, not blinding?
“In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost. …I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation, for the Lord has promised that ‘if thou shalt [seek], thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.'” ~Russell M. Nelson
Binding, Not Blinding
In the context of President Nelson’s urgent invitation, this statement by Neal A. Maxwell in his book We Will Prove Them Now Herewith has been at the forefront of my mind.
The Church does not desire blind obedience; rather, that we see things with the eye of faith. (Ether 12:19.) Elder John A. Widtsoe observed: ‘The doctrine of the Church cannot be fully understood unless it is tested by mind and feelings, by intellect and emotions, by every power of the investigator…. There is no place in the Church for blind adherence.’
Besides, real obedience is not blind. It reflects the reassurances of previous tutoring experiences from the Lord, inducing us to trust Him and His prophets, again and again. Our love of God is binding, not blinding, love. Being established connotes a continuum in our relationship with God and His prophets.
President Brigham Young put it bluntly: ‘I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way.’
Those who are grounded, rooted, and established will not withhold their supportive influence from Church leaders. Neither will the faithful be deceived, as President Brigham Young promised: ‘I will say to my brethren and sisters, Were your faith concentrated upon the proper object, your confidence unshaken, your lives pure and holy, every one fulfilling the duties of his or her calling according to the Priesthood and capacity bestowed upon you, you would be filled with the Holy Ghost, and it would be as impossible for any man to deceive and lead you to destruction as for a feather to remain unconsumed in the midst of intense heat.’
Elder Boyd K. Packer said in a sermon on self-reliance that as we solve our own problems, we must do it ‘in the Lord’s own way’; ‘If we are not careful, we can lose the power of individual revelation…. Spiritual independence and self-reliance is a sustaining power in the Church. If we rob the members of that, how can they get revelation for themselves? How will they know there is a prophet of God? How can they get answers to prayers? How can they know for sure for themselves?’
When we approach our problems in His way, we are guided by His Spirit. Being settled in our discipleship, therefore, requires the successful utilization of the Holy Spirit as our guide both in our decision and as our comforter. We will need guidance in using our agency, but also deep comfort in coping with the disappointments of the day and in the seasonal sorrows of life” (Neal A. Maxwell, We Will Prove Them Herewith, pp. 21–22.)