So in this chapter we have the sin of doing wrong things, then the focus being we have the sin of failing to do what is right.
“the wrong act of going fishing on Sunday involves omitting attendance at sacrament meeting”.
Well we might disagree with the sinfulness of the (occasional) Sunday morning fishing trip, however we do agree with the concept, we can sin by failing to act, and one sin can lead to another.
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Kimball also gives a further scripture for LDS people to pay attention to on this subject.
2 Nephi. 9:27, But wo unto him that has the Law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state.
And this is the theme of the rest of the chapter, I actually found this chapter hard to read through. I imagined myself as a Mormon, struggling with all the requirements of this religion. Just reading all the things that are expected of the members of the LDS Church is overwhelming. I think I for one would struggle to be a member of this organisation.
As I try to imagine myself in LDS shoes, carrying all the weight of religious requirements I imagine I would feel condemned. Condemned by myself as I would feel guilt from not meeting the requirements, low self worth, as I would be actively comparing myself to others. I would feel like a failure as I failed to meet my own and others expectations.
Its no surprise that statistics show that depression in Utah is high, infact the highest in any US state.
This is from the Deseret News, 2007
Utah leads the nation in rates of depression
Utah is the most depressed state in the country, according to a nationwide study released Wednesday.
The first-of-its kind examination of the “level” of depression and actual outcomes for those seeking help to treat it, ranks Utah 51st — last in the nation.
Is it any wonder, Kimball tells us of some of the churches expectations…
First of all, all members are Baptised into the Church, at Baptism Covenants are made, expectations are placed on them.
“The covenants we make with God involve promises to do, not merely to refrain from doing, to work righteousness as well as to avoid evil”….”Not to honor these pledges, to refuse to serve or to accept responsibility and do less than ones best at it, is a sin of omission.”
LDS members are expected to have lots of children…
“To carry the responsibility further, the command to multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it comes from the Lord also. To refuse to bear or refrain from the bearing of children is an error of omission” p97
To live selflessly in caring for their growing brood
“Any selfishness on the part of parents which would deprive the children of this training would be a sin of omission and answerable to the great judge when the time of judgement comes.”
Then as they struggle to meet the needs of their many children their expected to live the principles of the gospel themselves, and set a good example for their children.
“That Father and Mother may be in serious sin who make no effort to live the principles of the gospel who fail to give service, who do not attend their meetings and carry out their other duties in the kingdom.”
To keep the Sabbath day Holy, and attend the 3 hour meeting each week, with their children.
“The Sabbath is a Holy day in which to do worthy and holy things. Abstinence from work and recreation is important but insufficient. The Sabbath calls for constructive thoughts and acts, and if one merely lounges about doing nothing, he is breaking it. To observe it, one will be on his knees in prayer, preparing lessons, studying the gospel, meditating, visiting the ill and distressed, sleeping, reading wholesome material, and attending the meeting of that day to which he is expected.”
To fulfil their calling or callings in the church…
Declining to serve when called may constitute a sin of omission as well as one of comission. Certainly it is a sin of omission to accept responsibility to covenent with the Lord and then fail to do the work as well as possible.
To strive to be the perfect spouse and parent
“…He should strive to be the perfect husband and the perfect father, and positively do all things to make his family relationships as the Lord would have them be. Similar requirements are made of the Wife.”
I won’t list all of the expectations that Kimball mentions, but hopefully your getting a sense of Just how much weight is being carried around on LDS people’s shoulders.
Like the Lawyers (experts in the Law) in Jesus day, I believe the LDS Church is burdening people with more than they themselves are able to carry.
Luke 11:46 (NASB)
46 But He said, “Woe to you lawyers as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, [a]while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
Yes, we ( Mainstream Christians,) agree that we should set a good example to our children, attend church as often as possible, and to take care of our responsibilities in the church, but the difference is, we do so under grace, we’re not threatened with condemnation if we fail.
Romans 8:1 (ESV)
8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
We’re not living in the Old testament anymore, the rules have changed. You can strive to fulfil the Law if you want, to trust in your own righteousness instead of Gods. But we are given a stern warning about this.
James 2:10 (ESV)
10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.
That might seem harsh, but God is Holy, and cannot abhor sin, if you want to be in His presence when you die, you need to be completely washed clean, without blemish. One sin, is a blemish, it will not do. You might think ‘that is impossible,’ well it is. Your not supposed to be striving to fulfil the law yourself but to trust in the one who did it for you. And then, from that place of trust, you can truly serve God.
We serve because we want to serve, we obey because we are compelled to by the Holy spirit. We strive to stop sinning because our consciences bear witness to us if we’re doing wrong. Jesus came to fulfil the Law for us because he knew we couldn’t do it ourselves, we are free from the law, but yet we obey.
Romans 7:6 (ESV)
6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
As always, your comments or questions are welcomed.