Sunday, November 22, 2009

Remembering the Past

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana

Today I've been reflecting on the scripture “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10). I look at the world today and cannot help but feel profoundly sad. Elder M. Russell Ballard Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke these words at General Conference in April 2009:

You don’t have to be a Latter-day Saint—you don’t even have to be religious—to see the repeating pattern of history in the lives of God’s children as recorded in the Old Testament. Time and again we see the cycle of righteousness followed by wickedness. Similarly, the Book of Mormon records that ancient civilizations of this continent followed exactly the same pattern: righteousness followed by prosperity, followed by material comforts, followed by greed, followed by pride, followed by wickedness and a collapse of morality until the people brought calamities upon themselves sufficient to stir them up to humility, repentance, and change.

If you are reading this post, do you agree with what Elder Ballard said? I do.

Elder Ballard also said:

We live in an era when the boundaries of good taste and public decency are being pushed to the point where there are no boundaries at all. The commandments of God have taken a beating in the vacillating marketplace of ideas that absolutely rejects the notion of right and wrong. Certain factions of society seem generally mistrustful of anyone who chooses to live according to religious belief. And when people of faith attempt to warn others of the possible consequences of their sinful choices, they are scoffed at and ridiculed, and their most sacred rites and cherished values are publicly mocked.

There was a time I would have scoffed at what Elder Ballard said. I would have thought "What does he know? He's just a stuffy old man and too old-fashioned in his thinking." But MY thinking has changed.

I pray that the calamities we have brought upon ourselves will "stir us up to humility, repentance, and change."

M. Russell Ballard, “Learning the Lessons of the Past,” Ensign, May 2009, 31–34