Tradition:(Christianity) a doctrine or body of doctrines regarded as having been established by Christ or the apostles though not contained in Scripture (dictionary.reverso.net)
Your Sword vs. My Dagger
A short time ago I was presented with an idea. This idea went so much against my tightly held religious traditions that I didn’t even consider for one second that it might be correct. I felt like my religious “beliefs” were being attacked at the mere mention of it. Of course, my immediate reaction was defense and any time we feel attacked our instinct is to defend ourSELVES. I was a ferocious defender of my ego/tradition/pride. My attacker, however, was good. So good, in fact, that I knew I needed a bigger weapon than my wounded pride’s revenge. I decided that getting God on my side was my only chance at preserving my traditional beliefs and being able to remain proud in my stance……But God, I soon realized, doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t “take sides”- He just IS. When I knelt down that day and prayed in faith, I fully expected to be answered. This was IMPORTANT to me. Not only did I expect to be answered, I was also fully anticipating an answer along the lines of, “My daughter, your understanding is absolutely correct. You are 100% right and now you may go tell everyone that GOD said so.” What I heard instead was, “What if you’re wrong?”
That’s it. You’re out of the herd!
“What if I’m wrong!?” That was completely out of left field. If I didn’t know the Spirit of the Lord so well, I may have thought I was being deceived. The thought that I may be incorrect in my beliefs was very uncomfortable to say the least. I had to ponder it for a few days. If I was wrong about this the ramifications could be huge! It was a “get kicked out of the herd” type of issue and I like my herd. I’ve always felt accepted and loved by them. I’ve always been comfortable there. Of course I’ve always went along with the same line of thinking too. Praise God though that at least my sweet husband was with me. The Spirit was working on him as well and instructing him in the same way. We were being taught the same lessons but in different classrooms.
The daughter, the daughter. Tradition!
After much contemplation and added humility, I finally went back to the Lord with my SELF a little more in check. I prayed with an open mind and an open heart instead of the arrogant little girl way of speaking to my Heavenly Father that I so often practice. I asked Father if my long held belief was accurate or not. Again, I did not receive what I was expecting. He actually didn’t say, “Yes, it is.” or “No, it isn’t.” What He said was, “Cast off ALL of your traditions. Your pride is masked under your traditions and you need to rid yourself of them completely.”
Now I’m FREE…..free fallin’
I’ve always told people that I am a relentless seeker of truth. Unfortunately, I was lying. I did not purposefully deceive. I simply didn’t realize that my pursuit of “truth” was actually a pursuit of anything that would help me back up my long held traditions. To be a real “truth-seeker” is very frightening. To honestly seek TRUTH, you basically become an eaglet while God pushes you out of your nest of comfort. You FREE fall with nothing but faith and hope that He will act the mother and swoop underneath to give you a lift up before you splat on the ground.
Can someone hand me a towel please?
So, one by one, I began taking my traditions and examining them and found them nothing more than self made masks to pride and sin. The more I cast off the more naked I felt. Without the traditions I have held onto for years I felt lost. Vulnerable. Scared… And Free. It’s hard to start over, but it is also LIBERATING! The Lord didn’t specify for me to cast off only “false” traditions. Perhaps because He knew that in my freshly weakened state I would be unable to clearly see which were true and which were unnecessary. He said to be rid of them “all.” Now, I really have to trust Him to build me back up again with truth…..His truth. Diamond truth.
I’ll take mine well steeped please. With two lumps of sugar
“There has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation. It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn-dodger [a piece of corn bread] for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle [a wooden mallet]. Even the Saints are slow to understand. I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all. How many will be able to abide a celestial law, and go through and receive their exaltation, I am unable to say, as many are called, but few are chosen”- Joseph Smith
(History of the Church, 6:184–85)
In my new, fresh state of heart, I can identify with Joseph Smith here. I commented to my husband that everyone around us seems to be getting more and more steeped in their traditions. He replied that what’s actually happening is that as we cast ours off we can see theirs. It is like we are removing the beam from our own eye and are now able to see more clearly. It is very difficult to witness people I love so much be so bound by false ideas, placed in their minds by well meaning parents and authority figures. It is humbling to realize that I was in their exact place such a short time ago.
2Nephi 28:14“They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do ERR because they are taught by the PRECEPTS OF MEN.”
Years of academy training, wasted!
D&C 93:39 “And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.”
How many times we are presented with ideas by the Spirit or those moved by Him, and instead of opening our hearts to the possibility of a different belief, we compare it against the precepts (doctrines) of men that we have clung to for so long? We make it so easy for the Wicked One to take that light away. God’s mysteries are unbelievable. They will blow your mind! We have to be willing to be stripped of the precepts of man that we consistently compare new truths to. We must use the Spirit for our guide. Weigh everything against His breathings rather than man-made doctrines. If we can move beyond the stumbling block of tradition we will be in for one exciting ride! To infinity…….. and beyond!!