Thursday, January 31, 2013


What makes you "except"ional?  And by that, I don't mean what are your gifts, talents, special skills, etc.  I meant what is your "We should obey the commandments, except me, with this one here, where I've developed a great self-justification or believe I am the exception to the rule?" We all do it, at times, so examples large and small abound.

Honor the Sabbath day, use it as a time to be with your family and your ward, to read and talk and ponder on sacred, holy things.  Except if your kid is, like, super-dooper good at soccer.  Or football. Or basketball.  Then, by all means, travel and attend clinics and games and tournaments on Sunday.  It will teach him commitment and follow-through and team building.  He'd never learn that from, say, honoring his commitment to use the power and authority of the Priesthood to prepare and administer ordinances of salvation to his ward members, with his fellow quorum members.

Don't put off marriage and family.  Except if you've got a lot of years of grad school ahead of you, or you'd rather be in your own home first, or you really need some "couple" years before you have babies.  How could you possibly focus on the right things if you have a family distracting you from your secular education?  How could you possibly grow close and get to know each other and love and appreciate each other better if you're raising a baby together?

Don't watch R-rated movies.  Except if they have a lot of really good, redeeming qualities or a meaningful story mixed in with the foul language or gratuitous violence.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  We all think (or behave as though we think) we are the exception to the rules.  We rob ourselves when we do that.

But here's the flip side: sometimes, in some circumstances with some rules, there are exceptions.  The Lord commanded Nephi to slay Laban, after all.  He didn't tell him to defend himself with lethal force against man lunging at him with a sword or a gun.  He commanded Nephi to slay a blacked-out drunk--a momentarily vulnerable, defenseless man.  He made a very big exception to a very important rule in order to fulfill his righteous purposes.  Laban had plenty of chances to do the right thing, but he didn't, so the Lord told Nephi, essentially, we need to make an exception here.  Do you think that if someone else had been watching down the street and saw what Nephi did they'd believe him if he said, "The Lord told me to"?

So you don't get to play judge and jury with who is or isn't the exception (or come down hard on someone because you think the rule they break is more important that the ones you break).  Probably not as many people are an exception to the rule as think they are.  But that is between them and the Lord, not you and them.  The Lord doesn't tell you whether or not they are the exception, he tells you whether or not you are.  Focus on the places where you are behaving as though you are the exception to the rule.  Obedience to the law is what our blessings are predicated upon, so if you think you're the exception to the rule, make sure that you're as certain as Nephi was.

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