A few weeks ago at church we had a guest speaker present a talk on the subject of obedience. Obedience is a common theme lately in LDS meetings. Despite the scriptural support to the contrary you’d think it was the greatest commandment in the law.
Anyway, the purpose of this post is to express my puzzlement with a motivational story that was given during the talk. This speaker closed his 20 minute talk with a story about a boy who was lost in a mine. A group of boys had gone into a mine and one of the boys got separated form the rest of the group. When he didn’t come out they went back and retraced their steps. When they still didn’t find him the authorities were called and a full search was initiated.
A local man felt the need to go volunteer his services since he was familiar with the mine. When he showed up on site he was sent back home by the authorities, who assured him that they had it under control. This happened a few days in a row. The local man offered his services and was sent home every time.
On something like the forth or fifth day of the search the authorities were no closer to finding the boy and announced that they were going to call off the search. One last time the local man went and pleaded with the authorities to be allowed to look for the boy. They reluctantly agreed. Being more familiar with the mine than any of the other searchers so, far he was able to check out a little known passage and he found the boy in about 20 minutes.
Now here is my question. How in the world is a story about the virtues of obedience? If the boy had been obedient to his leaders in the first place he wouldn’t have been alone. If the leaders had been obedient to scout policy they wouldn’t have been in a mine in the first place. But they were not the focus of the story. The most glaring problem I had with it was the prime focus of the story, the local man’s actions. Since he knew the mine better if he had been disobedient and defied the so-called authorities the boy would have likely been found days earlier. I saw this as a story about perseverance to do what you know is right in spite of what you are being told, but obedience?
Sometimes I really enjoy the talks at church. Sometimes I may disagree with the concept but still understand it from their perspective. But this one just eluded me completely. I just couldn’t see how in the world this story would support the idea that we need to be obedient.
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