Things To Act
Saturday, July 24, 2004
In all the recent discussion in the Bloggernacle, some have been making statements about the advisability (or lack thereof) of having 'favorite' General Authorities.  This immediately reminded me of something Arthur Henry King said about the scriptures:
"I was once asked to give a short talk on my favorite parable.  My reply was that I didn't think I had one and I doubted if I ought to have one and even if I did have one, I shouldn't talk about it because the important thing is not to dwell on our favorite things in the scriptures--that is self-indulgence--but to try to get other things in the scriptures to be as favorite as the favorite things we already have.  It is important that we concentrate on those parts of the scriptures that we don't much like ... we must never run into the danger of interpreting to ourselves particular verses that happen to speak to us and ignoring other verses which don't speak to us yet perhaps have a message that we ought to have ... Be mistrustful of what you like most, and listen carefully to what you have an impulse to reject."  --Arm the Children, 152-153.

The point, I think, is not that some doctrines should not sing to our souls more so than others.  The point is that we can profitably learn from examining why we find some doctrines (or verses, or GA speakers) to be so appealing, and why some are less so.  If the reasons point to a fault in us, we can then work to change it, and if not, we can at least understand why our perceptions are different from those around us.

In the case of GAs, reasons for different impressions could range from topics emphasized to speaking style to personal experiences with the person and so on.  Some GAs impress me more than others because of biography, because of particular teachings that resonated with me at particular times, etc.  Some people have speaking styles that I don't care for as much, which makes it harder for me to get as much out of their messages.  In some cases, the fault is probably mine, and in other cases it may simply be one of the unavoidable consequences of the fact that individuals will see different things differently.

In any event, I don't think it's a major problem to have a 'favorite' GA.  The problem would come if one stopped trying to learn from all of the Brethren, or if one failed to think about why that favoritism existed, and if it implied anything about whether other more important problems might exist in one's personal approach to receiving counsel.

Reading your quotation from Arthur Henry King, whom I have been privileged to meet on several occasions, my sense of what he is saying is that by staying close to that with which we have become comfortable, we might miss so much more that will stir our souls and and inspire to move to higher planes.

That is, I firmly believe, one reaon why we are counselled to read the scriptures daily. By doing so, our understandings are opened to possibilities that otherwise we might have missed.

Being a follower of Jesus Christ is not an invitation to be static or satisfied with our knowledge or personal development towards Godhood, but rather a challenge and opportunity to keep ourselves moving in the footsteps of the Saviour.
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