Faith, Religion & Scripture, Notes & Essays by David Rodeback

Lorenzo Snow on Leadership (Sometimes the Lesson Is for Me)

Unless I’m teaching, most church lessons stick in my head only until I’m exiting the room after class. Some prompt me to make an electronic note of a thought I want to remember or something I should do; I will at least see these notes again someday, and maybe they’ll do someone some good. Once in a while, a lesson sticks with me for years — like this one from Lorenzo Snow.

Lorenzo Snow
Lorenzo Snow (1814-1901)

A few years ago, we were studying the teachings of the late Lorenzo Snow, fifth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The title of that week’s chapter was “Church Leadership and Selfless Service.” Our curriculum for those classes is different now, but when we studied teachings of past presidents of the Church, the idea was that we’d read and study the chapter in the week before our Sunday discussion, so we’d be prepared to discuss the material and our own insights. Sometimes I actually did that. More often, I read the chapter in class, during the boring moments which can sometimes be had among Mormons.

That’s what I was doing this time, near the end of the hour. If there had been time, I’d have raised my hand and shared what I was reading, though the discussion was focused elsewhere in the chapter. Our classes are informal enough that such things are usually welcome — or at least endured with patience.

Faith, Religion & Scripture, Notes & Essays by David Rodeback, Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Vertical and Horizontal Thanksgiving

A day to be grateful to all who bless our lives and for every way in which they have done so? If Thanksgiving Day were only that, it would be an important secular holiday. But what if it’s more?

(If you’re certain it should not be more or unwilling to consider that it might be, please just accept my earnest wishes for your happy Thanksgiving. You may not wish to read the rest of this.)

looking at stars

What if Thanksgiving is also a day to be grateful for everyone who blesses my life – that is, grateful to a higher power of some sort, who has caused my life to intersect with these people and their many generous acts and quiet virtues? What if today is for thanking a deity who put me in a place and time in which I have food to eat and work to do, some freedom to enjoy as I’m doing it, some faithful friends around me, and a comfortable place to lay my head?

What if this is a day to invite humility, gratitude’s plain and less socially acceptable sister virtue, to our happy feast?

What if Thanksgiving is inherently a religious holiday?

Faith, Religion & Scripture, Notes & Essays by David Rodeback

Short Take: Micah on Pleasing the Lord

Author's Note
My neighbor and I are writing short columns for our monthly ward (congregation) newsletter, focusing on the Old Testament and related scripture in 2014. Here’s one of my “short takes,” as previously published there.

It’s natural to wonder: in the endless list of things I could or should be doing, what would most please the Lord?

Micah first puts the question in the Mosaic language of animal sacrifices and consecrated oil:

Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?

Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

He is asking, how would the Lord have me worship him?

He asks again, in chilling and poetic words, suggesting now that his desire is to be forgiven:

Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

In four different ways Micah has asked, what can I give to the Lord? Then he offers an answer that is as perfectly suited to our time and place as it was to his. He says – asks, really –

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:6-8).

Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly. If that doesn’t please the Lord, what will? And if we fail in these things, will anything else really please him?