There was a time when many members took most every doctrine or teaching seriously. Things were pondered and prayed over as individuals and families. In the past, there were fewer challenges: television and movies were generally family friendly. The biggest problems in school were running in the halls and chewing gum in class. Marriage didn’t have to be defined as traditional or otherwise. Families spent time together, because that was the norm.
Now, we live in a day when the traditional family is in the minority, among divorces, living together and other arrangements. Many choose not to have children, or at least delay until later in life. As we all carry no fault insurance on our cars, we now wink at no fault divorces. Family friendly movies are harder and harder to find.
Worse, our members are succumbing to many of the things of the world, simply because of a casualness that has arisen in our ranks. Many don’t think twice about watching an “R” rated movie, regardless of the strengths or problems in the movie. Many do not think twice when their friends divorce, or marry for the nth time. Temple sealing cancellations are no longer a rare event.
A bishop friend of mine told me that he was having to explain to youth that oral sex is sex. Sexting becomes a norm for many, as does other sexual intimacies.
In our casual view of the world and the gospel, do we spend too much time justifying the time we spend in and of the world? Is being too casual with spiritual and worldly things causing spiritual casualties?
When we watch R or PG-13 movies that are very sexual or violent in nature, how are they impacting us and our families spiritually? When our quality time with our kids does not include quality prayers, scripture study or FHE, how does such casualness impact us?
In the Book of Revelation 3:15-16, the Lord spoke out against those who are lukewarm:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Laodicea was a city without a source of water. In the distance was Hieropolis, where hot springs bubbled forth, making the place a resort for aching bones. On the other side of Laodicea was the city of Colosse, known for its refreshing cold springs. Waters from both Hierapolis and Colosse were sent to Laodicea by a series of acqueducts, providing the city with water to drink. However, by the time the water reached the city, it was neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm.
When we are casual about our lives and our spirituality, we are like Laodicea – lukewarm, because we have no internal source of life giving water. We tend to lean on others’ testimonies and works. Others do the hometeaching and visit teaching. Others, who are a source of hot or cold water, become bishops and Relief Society presidents and nursery leaders. Casual people allow others to prepare their kids for missions, the temple, take them to seminary, and gain a testimony.
Why? Because their own source of living waters is dried up. The world fills them with worldly interests and awe, while they die of spiritual thirst. There is no refreshment, when they must borrow from others’ testimonies. Second hand spiritual strength is lukewarm at best, especially when delivered over long distances and with no inner source to strengthen it.
Sadly, this also holds true with our Sunday meetings. Too many of them are filled with talks that have no spiritual resonance. They are lukewarm, casual in nature, because the correct preparation was not made. They may be filled with good humor and interesting facts, but be bereft of the spirit. How often do the hot and cold waters evoke a refreshing of spirit in our meetings? How are our children to learn to receive revelation, if we cannot provide them with a source within ourselves? And how will they recognize or hear the whispering of the Holy Ghost, if all our efforts are casual ones?