Vort

Minding versus obeying

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It's a mile walk from my home to the bus stop, then a wait for the bus, then a half hour or more into Seattle, then another mile walk through city traffic to work. So it's usually an hour or more commute total time, each way. To pass the time, I normally listen to General Conference (at the beginning of each month) and Nibley lectures (the rest of the time). Today I was listening to the second session of General Conference, which began with a children's choir singing I Thank Thee, Dear Father. One of the lyrics is, "Help me to be good, kind, and gentle today / And mind what my father and mother shall say."

I thought about what it means to "mind" what someone says. The lyric didn't say, "Help me...to mind my father and mother," but rather "to mind what my father and mother shall say." I don't think this was just a matter of making the verse rhyme and scan correctly.

When I was a child, I was told to "mind my parents". This was synonymous with "obey my parents", so to me, the verb "to mind" meant simply "to obey". But as I got older, I began to realize that "to mind" really meant "to pay attention to", "to realize", "to be aware of". The saying "mind your parents" really means "pay attention to your parents; be aware of their words; consider carefully what they say."

As children, this is the same thing as being told, "Obey your parents." But as we enter adulthood, it is no longer so simple. We are exposed to increasingly complex and ambiguous situations, and obedience is neither simple not, at times, advisable. Even so, the admonition to "mind your parents" applies just as much as earlier in childhood. More, perhaps, since our adult decisions tend to affect more people. We should always mind what our parents say, even when we ultimately choose to act in a different way or walk down a different path. We may heed their words or we may choose to act differently, but only a fool ignores the advice of those who have gone before.

I wonder if this might have some application in a gospel sense. I do not believe that "minding God" could ever involve disobedience; however, I do recognize less-than-clear-cut situations where we have to choose between various good (or bad) outcomes. "Minding God's word" may not always be as simple as obeying it -- though when it is, we are fools not to do so.

One of the great lessons I learned in my life, around the time I served a mission, was that the teachings of our leaders, of the Church, and of God almost all applied to me personally. I was reared in a household that generally valued "independent thought", as we considered it. The idea of "strict obedience" was distasteful, if not downright offensive.

How much I had to learn.

I have spent decades learning that lesson, and am beginning to feel that I am perhaps starting to understand it. As a result, I tend to be irritated by those who (in my view) seem to want to push against obedience and justify disobedience as if it's some Godly trait. When I started applying the admonitions of the scriptures and of General Conference talks to myself, no matter how "well" I thought I was doing, those admonitions suddenly took on much greater depth and importance. I began to see my own vanity and self-justification.

So it came as a bit of a surprise in April General Conference when Elder Holland said, in effect, "Not everything you hear in General Conference talks will apply to you individually." I have found almost the opposite: Just about everything I hear seems to apply to me, even in talks condemning fornication or adultery or elective abortion or abusing drugs or other things I don't do. (This is one reason I, a man, always listen to the General Young Women's Meeting or General Relief Society Meeting along with General Conference; they include great talks with excellent advice and insight.)

Not sure how the "minding vs. obeying" theme plays into this. I refuse to acknowledge the possibility that it might be okay to disobey God's commandments when it seems just too hard for us to follow them; that contradicts everything I understand about both the nature of God's commandments and the system of governance he has established through his kingdom here on earth. But I can see how, if we are consistently minding (read: remembering and heeding) the words of our leaders, we might be more open to being led by the Spirit in any given situation.

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So, maybe to obey your parents you first wait for a command, then do, but to mind your parents you can live proactively all the teachings they've given, even using common sense of your own to "mind" what you know they would say if they were there?

Interesting comparison.

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I appreciate your thoughts on this subject. I'm in the middle of teaching my 3yo grandson to mind or obey. I think that even for children "to mind" should mean more then just "obey." They need to learn to listen.

As adults sometimes we forget to "listen" or "mind" what we're being told, sometimes especially when our parents are speaking. If we aren't "minding" what they say how can we learn from their lives, their mistakes, etc.?

You've given me a lot to think about.

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Hmmm,

Makes me think of other examples of how we use that word.

:mad: Do you mind!! (similar to "mind your own business")

:rolleyes: Hey? Do you mind if...

:huh: I don't mind.

:eek: You must be outa your... (opps, wrong use)

I guess there's also "minding the store".

There are other words to wonder about too, like fear (fear the Lord), and heed (give heed), or even 'live by' every word ect. Seems like 'keeper' like 'your brothers keeper might be related too.

Edited by Magen_Avot

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Vort, a very deep topic. As I was pondering your post, what came to my mind was "The Law of Moses", a law of specific commands and performances. In 3 Nephi 9:17-20, ..."in me is the law of Moses fulfilled. I am the light and the life of the world...And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings. And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost..." To my understanding, the Law of Moses was a lesser law, and we are now given a higher law to live, a broken heart and contrite spirit. To me, that is what "minding" would be--living the higher law.

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Here's an almost ten-year-old thread I started. I don't remember writing the OP, but I do remember thinking about the idea of "minding" as something other than simply obeying. Perhaps "heeding" is a synonym, or more probably a middle ground between minding and obeying. At this point, it sounds like it's all a word game, but I still think there's more than just wordplay going on.

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On 12/7/2011 at 2:06 PM, Vort said:

But as we enter adulthood, it is no longer so simple. We are exposed to increasingly complex and ambiguous situations, and obedience is neither simple not, at times, advisable.

Thanks, this reminded me of one of my favorite talks: Decisions for Which I've Been Grateful by Clayton M. Christensen.  Brigham Young University–Idaho Devotional (June 8, 2004)

"The fourth decision I made for which I am very grateful was also one that I made when I was at Oxford. You may have noticed how high they had to raise this podium - I am 6'8", and when you are tall you don’t have to be very good to play basketball. So I tried out for and made the Oxford Varsity basketball team. We had a great team. Those guys were the best friends that I’ve ever known in my life, and we went through the regular season and were undefeated. Then we went into the British equivalent of what we would call here the NCAA basketball tournament. We marched through each of those games in a fairly easy fashion until we came to the final four, and then kind of cluelessly I looked at the schedule to find out when the games were scheduled, and to my horror saw that the final basketball game was scheduled to be played on Sunday in Bristol. And I was devastated because I had made a commitment to myself when I was 16 that I would never play basketball on Sunday. I went to the coach truly conflicted because these guys, we had worked our guts out all season long and I was the starting center, and the guys on the team were the best friends that I’ve ever had in my whole life and I needed to help them win this goal that we had all practiced for. And yet I’d made this commitment to Heavenly Father. So I told my coach about this conflict and asked him what I should do. And he was just incredulous. He said, “We have worked so hard for this. I can’t believe you’re even asking.” He said, “I don’t know who your god is, but mine, let me tell you what he’s like. He lets us by on things like this. And Clay, just this once, just this once, play this game and then go off and do whatever you have to do with your god and make peace with him and never do it again.”

Well, then we played in the semi-final game, and my friend who was the back-up center got up-ended on a rebound and fell down on his shoulder and dislocated his shoulder, which then increased the pressure for me to play that game. So I went back into my hotel room after that game and knelt down and asked Heavenly Father if it would be all right, just this once, if I played that game on Sunday. As I started my prayer, really before I could even utter a word, Heavenly Father put a full-sentence answer in my mind, and it was “Clayton, what are you even asking me for? You know the answer.” I sat up on the bed and looked at the door and I said, “You’re right, I know the answer.” So I went to my coach and I told him how sorry I was, but I just couldn’t play on Sunday. Then I went to the Bristol ward meetings that day, and prayed that God would bless my teammates that they would win, and they did, which means, I guess, I wasn’t that important to the team. But you know, as time has passed, and that was a decision I made now almost 30 years ago, it looms as one of the most important decisions I have ever made because it would have been very easy to say, in general, keeping the Sabbath day holy is the right commandment, but in my particular extenuating circumstances, it’s okay, just this once, if I don’t do it. And the reason that decision has proven so important to me is that my whole life has turned out to be an un-ending stream of extenuating circumstances, and had I crossed that line just that once, then the next time something came up that was so demanding and critical, it would have been so much easier to cross the line again. And when I have been subsequently confronted with opportunities to look at pornography or not pay my tithing, or compromise on others of God’s commandments, this lesson that I learned has been very important. The lesson is it really is easier to keep the commandments 100 percent of the time than it is 98 percent of the time. If I could paraphrase Alma 34:34, that same spirit that possesses our souls before something “just this once,” possesses our souls after we do it as well, and if we do it just this once, doing it again becomes so much easier. And that’s why that decision has loomed to be so important in my life, and I am grateful that I drew the line in a safe place, and never crossed it."

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Interesting that this thread was resurrected from 10 years ago.  I was taught that it is never enough just to do the right thing - that we must learn to do the right thing for the right reason.

 

The Traveler

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10 hours ago, mikbone said:

Dude, sorry about the commute.

Thanks. That was almost ten years ago. Today, my commute consists of walking three steps from my bedroom to my office. Rough.

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I think of the scripture in Psalms that says "who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord...he that hath clean hands and a pure heart." Obeying could be having clean hands - simply doing the right thing. Minding could be related to having a pure heart / pure thoughts; actually having a desire to do good and not just going through the motions.

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