Values of Meekness

Being Zion

It has long been the stock answer that to be meek, is to be teachable. While this certainly is a true answer, it is far from accurate. Meekness is, decidedly, a much wider and deeper subject.

Pondering on a richer definition yielded the following six values. There are more, no doubt. Perhaps this will expand.

Values of the Meek

1. To affirm the enormous body of knowledge that is yet for me to discover.

The more we know, or think we know, the more we think we are wise libraries. The meek understand that what they know constitutes a tiny fraction of all knowledge. The meek see their acquired knowledge as but trivia in the light of the glory of God. The meek constantly seek light of more substance.

In that search lies a path near others on similar paths. The meek enjoy tales told by those encountered souls, hoping to discover valuable lessons learned and profitable knowledge gained. Judge another, unrighteously, and miss an opportunity. 

Perhaps the most valuable pragmatic behavior we can extract from all this is that meekness provides the benefit of the doubt, and is calm and sure under the pressures and vicissitudes of life.

No one knows what they don't know. God knows everything you don't know. By persuading the Spirit of the Lord with our behavior and treatment of others, we can connect with a vast reservoir of knowledge and spiritual power. 

As a consequence of repentance and baptism, the Lord offers this:

"Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment." (Moses 6:61)

Because atheistic scientists and politicians, would ignore and even ridicule the depth and breadth of possibilities in the foregoing passage, our education system excludes any other than their approved thought and research subjects. They are comfortable robbing generations by arrogantly declaring that what they know is all there is to know. (Did you, with me, sense something in the passage roughly bordering on String Theory, Dark Matter, and a universal communications grid? How exciting!) 

Even the suggestion of an “intelligent design” at work sends these scientific charlatans shrieking with horror. When faced with the possibility that there is more to know but which counters current traditions and approved biases, they buckle on the side of psychotic censorship, every time. Scientific curiosity has been banished for all but a very narrow viewpoint. Well, it’s all about consequences. No God, no consequences. No superior intellect. They arrogantly make gods of themselves.

“…they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools…Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator…” (Rom 1:21-22, 25)

Meekness and learning walk hand-in-hand. The meek seek truth where truth is to be found and have no hidden agenda or bias. The meek acknowledge their lack and do all they can to study and remedy their intellectual deficiency; then turn and face the holy source of all knowledge and power, and rise to any required task, with confidence.

2. To follow Joseph Smith's prerequisites for developing faith sufficient for salvation, and become a more rational and intelligent being.

Our world is like a kindergarten of emotion. Much of how we think of the world has been conditioned in us by those proficient in emotional persuasion techniques. 

When I was in high school, I bemoaned the obvious ginning up of the student body to emotionally support the sports teams, student body elections, etc. All, in an effort to make us feel like a cog in something bigger than ourselves. A village. I didn't buy any of it. 

I longed for the days of adulthood ahead where such nonsense would go the way of toys, pretend play of all kinds, and the surety that mom and dad were perfect and all-knowing.

Today, as a sufficiently cogent and healthy septuagenarian, I see that our society remains emotionally locked in a high school mentality. The bell rings and you stop what you're doing, no matter what creative juices might be flowing, and go somewhere else and study something else, with someone else. 

The machine has value and must be served. An individual's value, is its value to the system. Destruction is taught as creation, totalitarian rule as benevolent, and Western culture, history, and most of all, morals, must be torn down and disgraced. 

For a more indepth look at our current state I highly recommend this essay:

It is in this violent and vicious world we are well advised to become more rational and intelligent. This thoughtful coupling, and the instructions that follow, lead to faith in Christ. Or more faith in Christ. More confidence before the Lord. More doctrine distilling. 

3. To always hold out for the possibility that I could be wrong.

Wrong about one plus one? I don't think so but I can hardly wait to hear your case. Reduction to the ridiculous notwithstanding, this notion is fundamental. Abraham and Nephi might have something to say here. Both faced life-taking challenges that, certainly, never occurred to them before they happened. 

We ought to be confident in our convictions but not finished with them. What paradigm shifts are we yet, to experience? What tasks might Heaven ask of us? What simple lessons might yet turn our heads completely around. 

Joshua was protective of his master, Moses. The Spirit fell upon the "seventy elders" Moses had gathered around the Tabernacle, and they began to prophesy. Two others of the seventy stayed apart in their camp and, because the Spirit fell upon them too, began to prophecy there.

Well, of course we can't have that! That's not the designated prophesying area. We pick up the story there:

"And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.

"And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.

"And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!"
(Num. 11:27–29)

Joshua learned a great lesson that day from a worthy example.

"Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." (Num 12:3)

Moses was not Charlton Heston nor need we to be. Meekness never demands its opinion be held as anything more than that. It's not that I'm always wrong, either. Or always right. But I am human, and imperfect. Meekness recognizes those facts, and is kind.

4. To be attentive and open to directions by the Spirit to carefully consider an idea that, otherwise, may be inconsistent with my established traditions.

We'll continue with the radical examples of Abraham and Nephi. Both held the tradition that murder was inconsistent with God's commands. Yet here they were being asked to take life. 

If we are not yet sure of the Spirit's voice, we may shrink, for any number of logical reasons, from some difficult thing the Lord asks of us. Again, we paraphrase from the Third Lecture: If you have an idea that God actually exists, and you seek, by sincere study and prayer, a correct idea of His character, perfections, and attributes, then begins the real journey. Control of the past is only possible in the future. What you do now, writes your own history, 

Joseph completes the thought:

"Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to his will. For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive, but with this understanding it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness unto the praise and glory of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (LoF 3:11)

When we are attentive to the Spirit's voice, and are not fearful, it becomes natural to "pray always." And then adding additional relevance, the Savior provides pragmatic and prophetic advice to us, now:

"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

"For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

"Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke 21:34-36)

5. To live according to the premise that all have equal privilege before God.

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering." (James 1:5-6)

I don't think it could be said better. God is approachable, for everyone. He provides knowledge when asked by anyone.

There is no royalty in Christ's church, except for Him. We stand together, as one.

"And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practice virtue and holiness before me. And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself.

"For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just?

"Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine. (D&C 38:24-27)

6. To never, ever underestimate the value of another human being.

This value faces the heart of every relationship, casual or serious. It is inexorably linked with the question: Why, exactly, is it critical that God is no respecter of persons? 

Joseph declares:

"But it is also necessary that men should have an idea that he is no respecter of persons, for with the idea of all the other excellencies in his character and this one wanting, men could not exercise faith in him; because if he were a respecter of persons, they could not tell what their privileges were, nor how far they were authorized to exercise faith in him, or whether they were authorized to do it at all; but all must be confusion. But no sooner are the minds of men made acquainted with the truth on this point — that he is no respecter of persons — than they see that they have authority by faith to lay hold on eternal life, the richest boon of Heaven, because God is no respecter of persons and that every man in every nation has an equal privilege." (LoF 3:23)

This is earth-shaking, and fundamental doctrine. It lays us flat, staring into the abyss of our pedestal-making judgments. It topples our rock-star leadership to the dust of unrighteous dominion. 

It raises those who thought they had no chance. It provides no advantage or hindrance to anyone. All are equally invited to approach the Lord with the confidence and expectation of an audience, and answers.

While we are one, with each other, and with God, and all having equal privilege before Him, we remain unique in our individual capabilities and spiritual gifts. How boring would be mortality, if we were all the same.

Paul says:

"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

"To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

"But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (1Cor 12:7-11)

It is our uniqueness that we sometimes find difficult to bend. This is where repentance steps in to save the day, and allows us to move forward. How is it that we are so fortunate to have that option?

Gethsemane. Christ knows us inside, and out, and even, below. He learned, by the things that He suffered, how to lead us, hand-in-hand, back to the Father. He lives, to do that very thing--to calm our troubled hearts. This is His work and will, for each of us, as He blesses us with His gifts. Forgiveness in the face of sincere repentance, is His to give and ours to receive. 

With that gift of patient forgiveness, we find ourselves confronted by the vicissitudes of mortality. The Lord's example leads our attention to others. His gifts to us become our tools that can help those we meet along our path. Discovering and developing our gifts is a worthy and supportive endeavor. Our spiritual gifts are given to us, by God, to enhance our ability to serve others, as He serves us. They ought to bring joy and gladness and, sometimes trials, as we serve.

Each gift is a reminder of the Lord's interaction with us. We are, each, uniquely blessed and challenged with increasing our ability to use our gifts. As we bless others, the Lord takes note and we grow closer to Him, as we become more like Him.

Recognizing the gifts of others, when we have neglected our own, can lead to envy. This is not helpful to anyone. To envy another's spiritual gift is an affront to the judgements of God. Really? We would call into question the Lord's will for us and others? 

Likewise, not recognizing the spiritual gifts of others may lead to unrighteous judgements. We may not know that a person quickly judged as being inferior, is, in fact, one to whom God gave the very gift we seek for help.

Never, ever underestimate the value of another human being, who might just be the answer to your prayer.

These values are the essence of what it means to be meek. The world rejects the very thought, as weakness. Gross darkness has that effect. How, then, can we righteously see the difference between the worldly and the meek?

"For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee." (Isa 60:2)

While this verse may refer to Zion as a whole, and its glory, it also refers to those who are worthy to enter there.  The rational and intelligent objective of the meek, is to be one who reflects the glory of the Lord, as Zion reflects it.

"...the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness. The fear of the Lord was upon all nations, so great was the glory of the Lord, which was upon his people." (Moses 7:16-17)

"For, behold, I say unto you that Zion shall flourish, and the glory of the Lord shall be upon her..." (D&C 64:41)

"And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand." (D&C 45:70)

The wicked see Zion, and shrink. The truly meek, see Zion, and home. The two perspectives will never meet. Each is headed in polar opposite directions. 

Our agency provides a choice. We should have to make a choice. Our eternal salvation, in the presence of God, depends on that choice. Mortality is the process of making that choice. We choose our consequences; they are not imposed on us. Do not blame God if you make the wrong choice.

And, finally, the Lord makes known the reward waiting at the end of a life of meekness:

"And blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." (3 Ne 12:5)

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