Thursday, November 20, 2014

Abraham: Father, Worker, Soldier, Priest

I was recently talking with a Jewish friend about the LDS Church's lay ministry.  I said, I thought it must be difficult for religious priests who have never been married or had a family to counsel others.  We also talked about the conflict of interest that arises when you have a duty to call those who pay your salary to repentance.

My Jewish friend shared an experience he had with an out-of-touch Rabbi in New York who was giving a Yom Kippur sermon. The Rabbi had said something like, 'if there is any Jew not willing to devote the first 25 years of his life to Torah study, you should gave nothing to do with them.' My friend said after hearing that he walked out.

That conversation reminded me of the symbolism of the fleur-de-lis. Anciently, the 3-petal lily represented a compartmentalization and division of labor in society. The 3 divisions were: those who work, those who fight, and those who pray. This adaptation of the symbol teaches a damaging falsehood that allows evil better control over society.  As citizens, we just do our job with blinders on and trust that the others are doing theirs without really understanding whats going on.  We can never see the big picture of where evil is leading us because we see only our narrow view.

The thoughts on the problem with compartmentalization reminded me of the example of Abraham. Abraham was both a father, worker, soldier, and priest unto the Most High God. Not only did Abraham raise a righteous family and work as a shepherd; when Lot went missing, Abraham raised an army and went to his rescue.  In addition, Abraham paid tithes and offered sacrifice and performed his duty to God.

These thoughts reminded me of the fleur-de-lis symbol and how it is used in scouting today.  Instead of representing the compartmentalization of society, the 3 petals bound together represent the 3 parts of the Scout Oath which are to do our duty to God, help others, and to obey the scout law.  This symbolism exactly matches the 3 Pillars of Judaism which are Torah (Law), The Divine Service (Duty to God), and Acts of Loving Kindness (Helping Others).

When I read the words of LDS leaders, I appreciate how All LDS leadership have worked and been very successful in one career or another. All have been righteous husbands and fathers, all have devoted their lives to the service of God.  Additionally, many of them have also been soldiers and have had military service. The same can said of LDS local leadership and membership. 

I think this rich life experience as well as a true testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ gives LDS leadership both general and local a clear vision of how things really are.  In addition to the correct priesthood authority, the life experience of LDS leadership helps them magnify their callings as prophets, seers and revelators; to see and teach us things as the really are and will be.

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