Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Enoch Letters Quotes

Unbeknownst to me, Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote a short book called The Enoch Letters. It follows the same idea as The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.  Elder Maxwell's book is much shorter and all but the last letter are from the pen of the character Mahija who becomes one of the residents of the city of Enoch. I highly recommend reading it as it's a short, fun, but very poignant collection of principles and lessons. Here's a few of the quotes that stuck out to me:

"Each of us must not not only renounce evil, disengaging from doing wrong, but we must also engage anxiously in doing much good. Only then can a mighty change occur."

"the subtle and wonderous efficiency of righteous unity is found in the manner in which it moves each man to do more than he ever imagined, or even wanted, to do himself. Seeing others pass a supposed breaking point without breaking , going a second mile with a burden they are only required to carry one mile, witnessing those falsely accused persist in sweet patience--there is a clear contagion in such things."

"rules are useful...but these must merely mark where the borders of conscience end. Rules have a way of pushing conscience back, and yet farther back...a lively conscience can cut through to the justice of any situation."

"Repentance takes care of the past, faith in the future, and the Holy Ghost helps us with today."

"As I involve myself in the give and take of life here, I first check for the presence of pride in the midst of my emotions. Often when I feel wounded, upon sober reflection, I see that it is my pride, not a principle, that is the cause."

"Undivided, we are multiplied"

"To dissent merely to display one's freedom would be a mark of one's bondage to pride. "

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Voluntary Imprisonment

See the creepy mime above? Look ridiculous? Yeahhh, lil bit. You might even be thinking to yourself, "never going to see me do that!" Don't be so quick with the pronouncments, my friend.

We live in a land and culture that glorifies freedom. Freedom from oppression, freedom to seek out new opportunities, and the freedom to live our lives how we want to.  Sure not everyone has the same playing field, but we're also not stuck by social rules into a caste system. The freedom is there to overcome the odds of poverty, barriers to education, and other disadvantages that we may have been dealt. If you're religious, there's a good chance that your spiritual outlook is also based around freedom. Freedom from appetites, freedom from temporal things, and freedom from anything that holds us back from true happines and peace, what some might even refer to as nirvana.

So what's freedom got to do with a creepy guy (No offense, Mr. Mime) in an imaginary box? Look a little closer. Recognize yourself yet? Okay, so let's hope that isn't really you. If it's a family member, I apologize.  Obviously that's not literally you, but I bet that if you think for a while, you can figure out a specific time in life, or maybe even a certain ongoing area(s) of your life where you do put yourself into an imaginary box (I ain't hatin' if you've put yourself in literal boxes for entertainment. I'm just as guilty as the next. What? It's been a rough economy, alright?). So why do we do it?! What a juxtaposition of mindsets! Where is the logic here? "I want to be free so I can limit myself?" What is it about human nature that dares to envision uninhibited range of motion in our lives, and at the same time allows ourselves to entrap ourselves into these imaginary, and closed in spaces?

It literally breaks my heart to see good, genuinely kind people hurt themselves by submitting themselves to the same inflictions time after time. Whether it be destructive addictions like pornography, drugs, alochol, etc. it makes me sick inside to see these people turn back to what never has brought them happiness and what never will. Especially those who find themselves going back to the same type of individuals for relationships, because they don't see that there's so much more out there. It doesn't seem to matter how badly they were hurt before.

I know there's a lot of psychological theory behind these types of situations, and it's not as easy as just walking away a lot of the time. But I'd argue that a lot of the time we only contain ourselves in these restricted parameters because we don't really know what we're looking for, and maybe we're too scared to really take the time to find out. As much as we like to talk about the grandiosity of freedom, maybe just maybe we're more comfortable with set boundaries of those things which we've experienced. Maybe it's time we as humans start doing away with boxing ourselves in, and instead start learning to box the junk in our lives out.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The End of the Arrogance

So I ripped off my title from the song "The End of the Innocence". Now it's stuck in my head...but I digress...

Last week was a very interesting week for me. It had me feeling extremely humbled and doubting myself due to some occurrences and situations in my life that just were not going my way.  Oddly enough, in that same week that I was feeling unlike my usually pretty confident self, I was told by one person that I come across as being arrogant, and was then told by someone else that another person had called me arrogant very recently.  Needless to say, I found some irony in the fact that I was told I am perceived by multiple people as being arrogant during a week when I felt much less sure of myself than I even usually do.

The thing that struck me odd about people's perceptions that I am arrogant is that one just has to be around me a few minutes in a casual setting to realize that I'm not that way at all...at least I hope that's all it takes.  I'm a goofy person who doesn't mind ridiculing myself in good humor, and I make it a point to try not to be prideful, and I thought I was doing a fairly decent job at it. It could be that my silent demeanor in some cases is misconstrued as not wanting to socialize, but I find that hard to believe since the only time that I really am quiet is when I'm around a girl that I really like and all the sudden can't find anything worthwhile to say. Who knows? I do realize that often times, those who are quick to peg others as being arrogant, only do so because they're insecure themselves...well, I guess a lot of the time, people really ARE just arrogant. Either way, my feelings aren't hurt. I just won't descend from my level to bother mingling with them....ohhhhhhh, now I see it! :D