Thursday, October 7, 2010

Holding Fast to the Iron Rod

In my Book of Mormon class a few weeks ago we were talking about the dream of the Tree of Life and while discussing the Rod of Iron I mentioned that it is possible to fall off the straight and narrow path on the left or on the right meaning that it isn’t just liberal ideas that can lead us astray, but also ultra conservative ideas. The truth is in the middle.

At that point one of my students asked for examples of falling off the path on the right. I gave him several but just a few days later heard of an amazing example of this. A woman who was concerned with the words to some of the songs her children were listening to started to research on the Internet the singers and their music. Her concern was, of course, to protect her children. But the pursuit began to consume her. She spent hours and hours on-line digging up dirt about how evil the singers were and the hidden messages in the words to their songs. She had evil connotations and meanings most of the songs ever written. Her intent was good, but in so doing all this research, she was drowning herself and filling her mind with all the dirt.

Yes, it is important that we identify evil enough to avoid it. But to spend hours researching it only submerges us in the evil. It reminded me of my growing up during the John Birch era when people were finding evil everywhere and in everything. I once overheard a friend of my mother’s telling her about the evil connotations hidden in the nursery rhyme, “Humpty Dumpty.” Well, to me there were no evil connotations until she put them there. Her intent to help my mother avoid evil only created evil.

This takes us back to the concept that we create our own reality. We can center our minds on the simple fun contained in the rhythm and rhyme of a nursery rhyme and enjoy it every time we hear it, or we can research and assign all kinds of evil connotations to the poem so that every time we hear it we are filled with evil thoughts. As President Monson advised us this last weekend, I’d rather look for, remember, and enjoy the good. That's one of the ways we hold firm to the Iron Rod.


Amy said...

I'm interested in what your responses to the student were.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, a very valid and important point to remember. You presented it in a way that is easy to understand. The rhetoric nowadays is so passionate, bordering on venomous, on both sides that it can leave us feeling confused, worried and not sure who's telling the truth. But you are right, the truth is found in the middle, right where the iron rod is.