Sunday, July 22, 2012

Today's Spiritual Message: In re Aurora Shootings - Laws and Shaping Behavior

In the aftermath of a terrible act of evil and a great tragedy in my native state, I feel inclined to share a few thoughts.  First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and families of this despicable atrocity.  I am inspired by the bravery displayed by a few and deeply saddened at the loss and suffering of so many.

Many years ago, Enoch the prophet witnessed God weeping over the earth and inquired,
How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?
The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;

And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;
Moses 7:29. 32-33.  I know Heavenly Father must weep over the great evils constantly manifest in the world, today.

For some, it took only hours or, perhaps, even minutes, after the Aurora chaos to shout it's time for the country and its elected officials to finally get tough with gun laws!  We heard a similar cry and laws were passed in the wake of the 2008 housing and financial meltdown, yet we still see dishonesty and corruption in those sectors.  I invite you to consider the following insights from Elder D. Todd Christofferson in October 2009 on the subject of using laws to shape and control behavior:

"'Policemen and laws can never replace customs, traditions and moral values as a means for regulating human behavior. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we’ve become.'

". . . Reactions [to the financial meltdown] have focused on enacting more and stronger regulation. Perhaps that may dissuade some from unprincipled conduct, but others will simply get more creative in their circumvention.  There could never be enough rules so finely crafted as to anticipate and cover every situation, and even if there were, enforcement would be impossibly expensive and burdensome. This approach leads to diminished freedom for everyone. In the memorable phrase of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, 'We would not accept the yoke of Christ; so now we must tremble at the yoke of Caesar.'

"In the end, it is only an internal moral compass in each individual that can effectively deal with the root causes as well as the symptoms of societal decay. Societies will struggle in vain to establish the common good until sin is denounced as sin and moral discipline takes its place in the pantheon of civic virtues.

"Moral discipline is learned at home. While we cannot control what others may or may not do, the Latter-day Saints can certainly stand with those who demonstrate virtue in their own lives and inculcate virtue in the rising generation."

Two final quotes, in parting:  “The gospel of Jesus Christ provides answers and solutions to all of the world’s problems," and, "The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior." and

"I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."


Fletch said...

A little more incentive to save your money and stay home.

Rock Solid said...

I agree that the greatest learning comes in the home and that the greatest failures also occur there. Thanks for the message.

Rock Solid said...

I agree that the greatest learning comes in the home and that the greatest failures also occur there. Thanks for the message.