A Modern Day Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard

It isn’t often, when we get to see one of the savior’s parable’s directly at work in our modern society. Often, concepts like wheat and tares, or vineyards are abstract and removed from our day to day concerns. This week, however, the Savior’s parable of the workers in the vineyard which Elder Holland so expertly discussed not too long ago in General Conference replayed itself for all too see.

Dan Price, a CEO of a Seattle Credit Card Processing Company in Seattle decided that he would pay all of his workers a minimum salary of $70,000 a year after realizing that many of his younger employees were struggling to pay student loans and other obligations. He did this mostly by cutting out his large bonus.

The New York Times this weekend ran a follow up article and looked at some of the results. The whole article is worth reading in full, but one detail stood out to me in particular. At least two of Price’s most talented workers quit, because they were upset that workers less skilled than they received such a high salary. This came even though they had received a wage increase, although not as sharp an increase as the lower salaried employees. The article is filled with quotes from these higher paid employees belittling the skills of their less experienced former colleagues.

When I saw this article, I thought of the Savior’s parable. As with the parable, the master has decided to pay the workers less skilled or less experienced workers a greater amount than they “deserve.” He has decided to be generous and kind. And those who worked “harder” felt entitled to a greater salary and angrily quit. (unlike the workers in the parable, they did earn more than the other workers just not as much as they felt they were entitled to receive). The words of the parable are deeply applicable:

11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,

12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?

14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.

15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

I am sure that others will look at this story as a way to score political points,  but for me reading this story underscored the spiritual truth of what the savior taught more than two thousand years ago. Indeed, it is interesting to see that human nature has not at all changed from the time of the savior. The natural man is still prideful and self-seeking. The natural man still seeks his own. The natural man would rather lose a good and well paying job, then see someone else benefit”undeservedly.”

It is very difficult—exceedingly hard in fact—to put off the natural man and to be humble enough to glory in the triumphs and successes of others. It is exceedingly difficult to cease from boasting, bragging or self serving behavior.  With all of these tendencies, is it any wonder why the early saints struggled to live the law of consecration? Yet, we are all called to prepare ourselves for the day when we must fully live this higher law.

This instance for me further underscored how difficult and fraught the preparation can be.

These now workers failed to learn Elder Holland’s profound and yet simple lesson: “So be kind, and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live.” How can we avoid following their example?


The End of the World as We Know It (and I feel fine)

There seems to be a growing chasm between the world and the Church.  Years ago, society and Church standards and norms were very similar.  In dress, appearance, speech, manners, habits, and basic beliefs, were all on the same page.

However, times and society have changed. Abortion, LGBT, casual sex, and a variety of addictions are looked upon as the new norm. Once stalwart knights sworn to protect societal morals, many churches, Boy Scouts, and other groups have descended into the pit to embrace the devil in his lair.

For those who remain faithful, to condemn sin today means one is intolerant, a bigot, evil.  Prophets, once adored, are now seen as less than human, more prone to error than the modern intelligentsia. Continue reading

From Harold B. Lee

There are many who profess to be religious and speak of themselves as Christians, and, according to one such, “as accepting the scriptures only as sources of inspiration and moral truth,” and then ask in their smugness: “Do the revelations of God give us a handrail to the kingdom of God, as the Lord’s messenger told Lehi, or merely a compass?”

Unfortunately, some are among us who claim to be Church members but are somewhat like the scoffers in Lehi’s vision—standing aloof and seemingly inclined to hold in derision the faithful who choose to accept Church authorities as God’s special witnesses of the gospel and his agents in directing the affairs of the Church.

There are those in the Church who speak of themselves as liberals who, as one of our former presidents has said, “read by the lamp of their own conceit.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine [Deseret Book Co., 1939], p. 373.) One time I asked one of our Church educational leaders how he would define a liberal in the Church. He answered in one sentence: “A liberal in the Church is merely one who does not have a testimony.”

Dr. John A. Widtsoe, former member of the Quorum of the Twelve and an eminent educator, made a statement relative to this word liberal as it applied to those in the Church. This is what he said:

“The self-called liberal [in the Church] is usually one who has broken with the fundamental principles or guiding philosophy of the group to which he belongs. … He claims membership in an organization but does not believe in its basic concepts; and sets out to reform it by changing its foundations. …

“It is folly to speak of a liberal religion, if that religion claims that it rests upon unchanging truth.”

And then Dr. Widtsoe concludes his statement with this: “It is well to beware of people who go about proclaiming that they are or their churches are liberal. The probabilities are that the structure of their faith is built on sand and will not withstand the storms of truth.” (“Evidences and Reconciliations,” Improvement Era, vol. 44 [1941], p. 609.)

Here again, to use the figure of speech in Lehi’s vision, they are those who are blinded by the mists of darkness and as yet have not a firm grasp on the “iron rod.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, when there are questions which are unanswered because the Lord hasn’t seen fit to reveal the answers as yet, all such could say, as Abraham Lincoln is alleged to have said, “I accept all I read in the Bible that I can understand, and accept the rest on faith.”

How comforting it would be to those who are the restless in the intellectual world, when such questions arise as to how the earth was formed and how man came to be, if they could answer as did an eminent scientist and devoted Church member. A sister had asked: “Why didn’t the Lord tell us plainly about these things?” The scientist answered: “It is likely we would not understand if he did. It might be like trying to explain the theory of atomic energy to an eight-year-old child.”

Source: 1971 Conference: “The Iron Rod.”

A few more details on the Church and the Scouts

This Salt Lake Tribune article is the typical garbage spewed by that rag of a newspaper.

Still, every once in a while you can find something interesting in the sewage. Here are a few details that may interest M* readers:

That could have dire financial consequences for BSA. The LDS Church is far and away the nation’s largest Scouting sponsor, serving 437,160 boys in 37,933 troops.

In 2013, more than a third (37 percent) of troops were LDS sponsored, accounting for 18 percent of the BSA’s 2.4 million total membership (Mormon troops, while more numerous, tend to be smaller in size).

An LDS Church withdrawal also could ruin the three Scout councils in Utah, which say between 96 percent and 99 percent of their members are in Mormon units.

And importantly:

The policy change approved Monday evening by the BSA’s 80-member National Executive Board to allow “openly gay leaders” to serve in Scout troops “is inconsistent with the doctrines of the church,” the release added, “and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.”

Although the LDS Church has allowed — and does allow — openly gay Mormons to serve in church assignments, including the Boy Scouts, these members are deemed to be living the faith’s standards. This means they are not acting on their same-sex attractions.

The BSA’s new policy, however, makes no such distinction between “openly gay” and “sexually active gay leaders.” So a gay Scout leader could have a partner or a same-sex spouse — and that troubles the Mormon brass.

While the BSA insists that religiously affiliated troops, including those sponsored by the LDS Church, can continue to ban gay leaders, many observers doubt such an exemption can be legally defended.

Of course the Tribune being the Tribune, the reporters and editors felt it necessary to quote only people opposed to the Church’s position as the story continued. Are Tribune reporters too lazy to actually call people who support the Church or are they simply uninterested in even trying to appear close to objective? I am guessing the latter.

Church reevaluating Scouting program

The Church released the following today:

Church Re-evaluating Scouting Program
Concern expressed over BSA policy change, lack of global reach

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement today after a vote on a policy change by the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board to admit openly gay leaders:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is deeply troubled by today’s vote by the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board. In spite of a request to delay the vote, it was scheduled at a time in July when members of the Church’s governing councils are out of their offices and do not meet. When the leadership of the Church resumes its regular schedule of meetings in August, the century-long association with Scouting will need to be examined. The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation. However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.

As a global organization with members in 170 countries, the Church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available. Those worldwide needs combined with this vote by the BSA National Executive Board will be carefully reviewed by the leaders of the Church in the weeks ahead.”

Here is a link to the release.