Jun 25

Obedience

I decided a couple of days ago that I should write something for the blog, since it’s been a month since anyone posted, and more than 6 months since I posted. I wasn’t really feeling inspired about what to write about, so I started looking at some old drafts, and this one caught my eye. I started it 5 years ago, but it’s a subject I’ve been thinking about again lately, so I decided to open it up and look at it. After reading the opening paragraph (which I could have written this week pretty much word for word), I knew it was the one to finish.

I felt tonight like I should write a post (not because I feel bad about not having blogged in forever, though I do a little bit — luckily my blogmates are quite relaxed about things like that — but just a nagging feeling that I should write something), but there wasn’t anything in particular I felt like I ought to write about. I signed on and started looking through my saved drafts to see if there was anything I felt like finishing, but nothing stuck out to me. Then I got distracted putting kids to bed, cleaning up the house, etc, and left it alone until a few minutes ago, when again I felt like I should write something.

When I left off I was thinking about possibly finishing one post I’d started a while back that talked about one of the main themes in my patriarchal blessing — faithfulness. When I came back, however, I started thinking about the other theme in my patriarchal blessing, which I touched on briefly in that post — obedience. In that post I only mention briefly that obedience is one of the main themes of my patriarchal blessing and then move on. I remember that the reason for that was that I was somewhat uncomfortable with that being one of the themes of my patriarchal blessing, and I felt the same way when I re-read the draft earlier today.

You see, I’m not particularly comfortable with obedience. It’s not a principle I like very much, or one I’m particularly good at. Continue reading

Nov 07

The Fine Art of Spiritual Vaccines

I was recently called as my ward’s early-morning seminary teacher. I’ll pause to let you all wince.

There are many challenges to this calling, but, to my surprise, waking up at 5:15 AM is not the greatest challenge. (This isn’t to say it’s the smallest challenge, either; I’m not a morning person, at all, and I freely admit to having some very un-Christian feelings in my heart–and words in my mouth–when that alarm goes off.) Continue reading

Aug 15

On Asking to Be Released

I know we’ve talked about this subject before, but since I’m currently debating with myself over it, I decided to bring it up again and let the rest of you debate with me.

I’m currently the leader of the wolf den in cub scouts (with another woman) and the teacher of the 6-7yo primary class (with my husband). I hate it. I’ve been doing them both about 9 months, and I’ve hated them pretty much the whole time. I guess the primary class was okay for two or three weeks, but that’s about it. I knew I wouldn’t like the callings when I accepted them, but I’m a big believer in accepting any and all callings, so I did. Continue reading

Jul 02

Abraham and Milgram

(Disclaimer: I’m not really attempting in this post to give a plausible read of Genesis 22, as I realize that my speculations about Abraham have little basis in the scriptural text. Rather, I’m hoping to use the story as a way of raising general questions about the potential consequences of obedience vs. integrity situations. And, of course, what’s the fun of blogging if not to engage in a bit of wild speculation?)

In the 1960s, social psychologist Stanley Milgram did a study on obedience that has since become legendary. Participants were told to administer electric shocks to people, ostensibly as part of an experiment on learning. What was fascinating–and disturbing–was how willing participants were to continue inflicting higher and higher levels of shocks, despite cries of acute distress from those apparently receiving them (though this was of course faked; the “learners” were confederates in the study). The participants expressed discomfort, but ordered by the experimenter to continue, the majority of them did so–65 percent went up to the highest setting of 450 volts.

Continue reading