Last weekend my mom told me something that seemed super cheesy at the moment, but then began to gnaw at me. Then I tweeted it the other day:

It almost looks like a lame Instagram quote or a needlepoint that seems like a scripture but really isn’t. I almost deleted it. Then yesterday, I pondered a little more about it after watching another academic publicly renounce Brigham Young‘s “racism.” He was met with resistance, and, as modern day academics are prone to do, he refused to defend his assertions, blocked all naysayers, declared those who disagreed as haters and all manner of -ists, and crawled back to his echo chamber to engage some form of Radical Orthodoxy with fellow “big brains.” This has all been addressed previously, but this was my favorite response:

This brings me back to my thoughts yesterday. I’ve often pondered about different paths that I’ve been led on. The road is windy, most often due to our own decisions, sometimes because we are cohersed. All of this has been taken into account for. Let’s take a look at a scriptural example:

The Lost 116 Pages

Nephi was given a commandment by the Lord to engrave a second set of records. I imagine it wasn’t particularly easy work, and definitely not what we would call, “efficient.”

I have received a commandment of the Lord that I should make these plates…

Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not.

But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words…

We know now that this was done because Joseph Smith would permit Martin Harris to show his family the manuscript known as the Book of Lehi, which was ultimately lost.

The Lord prepared for this precise circumstance and thus commanded Nephi to be inefficient.

The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.

You know what would have been more efficient? What if the Lord had chosen another servant, other than Joseph Smith, to be prophet? One who He knew would take better care of the manuscripts?

What if the Lord had simply sent an angel to command Joseph not to allow Martin to take the manuscripts? Definitely more efficient.

What is obvious to believers is that Joseph was foreordained and chosen to restore the Church of Jesus Christ in these latter-days. It is obvious he was and is a prophet of God. Was Joseph infallible, as the “academics” would ask? Of course not – and the Lord never took away Joseph’s agency. He prepared a way for Joseph to be called, to learn from his mortality, and to grow into his calling and reach his ultimate potential.

President Henry B. Eyring taught:

“The Lord’s work is not just to solve problems; it is to build people. So as you walk with Him in priesthood service, you may find that sometimes what seems like the most efficient solution is not the Lord’s preferred solution because it does not allow people to grow.

Few members take issue with Joseph losing the manuscripts because the Lord openly stated in scripture that He knew what was going to happen and had prepared a way ahead of time. Why does the Lord have to telegraph everything for us, then? Why can’t we give the same benefit of the doubt to an all-powerful God in other instances with Joseph and other modern prophets? Nobody asks ridiculous questions as to why the Lord didn’t just stop Joseph or choose another prophet in the instance of the lost manuscripts – so their questioning of the Priesthood ban or the November policy come off as petty and faithless. Why can’t we give the Lord the benefit of the doubt for circumstances in our own life? In the end, success isn’t measured by the efficiency of the path, but the ultimate outcome. We have our agency so that we can grow and reach our ultimate potential, and the Lord has already prepared a way for us to dig out of our inevitable holes.

Supplemental Reading:

You can follow Dustin on Twitter (yes, his 4th account) at @SirDMTPhD.

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