Monday, March 19, 2012

Where's the mark?

I have to hand it to the correlation committee. This year the linkage between the Sunday School lessons and the George Albert Smith lessons is pretty awesome. Several weeks this year I’ve been really touched by how well the two lessons fit together. Yesterday was a great case in point, especially given the season we’re in.

As I read for each lesson during the week (and I am one of those who actually reads the lessons ahead of time, even if I’m not teaching), I found this familiar verse in Jacob:

But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble (Jacob 4:14, emphasis mine).

Jacob teaches that one reason the Jews lost the plain and precious truths is because they did not want to hear those things. They preferred instead the things which they could not understand. They were blind because they looked beyond the mark.

We read this verse in family scripture reading recently, and I asked my daughter what happens if she aims her new-at-Christmas bow and arrow above her target. Her response: the arrows go over the target. (Fortunately, she did not say, "Duh, Dad...")

Then I read this passage in the GAS manual:

There are those among us … who have been blinded by the philosophies and foolishness of men. There are those who reject the advice and counsel of the man that God has placed at the head of this Church. …

People who haven’t very much information suddenly come along with a bright idea, and they suggest “this is the way” or “that is the way,” and although it is in conflict with the advice of the Lord some are persuaded to try it. The Lord has given safe advice and appointed the President of his Church to interpret that advice. If we ignore what he advises, as the President of the Church, we may discover that we have made a serious mistake.

President Smith and Jacob are well-aligned.

Soon General Conference will be upon us again, and I, for one, will be looking for my mark from our living prophets. I invite you to do the same.


  1. Very well said. I too look forward to Conference.

  2. I appreciate your perspective. Here's another not-really-conflicting perspective, but complementary -- I always look at Jesus Christ as the mark -- anything else is looking beyond or around or in front of the mark -- I sustain our leaders and appreciate their teachings as holy men, but I see them as helpers that point to the real mark.

  3. ji, you are precisely correct. Jacob spends a fair amount of time reminding us that the gospel is pretty simple: basic princples & ordinances and the atonement.

    Christ is the mark, and my assumption is that His apostles will point me to Him.