Envy, Part 5

Being Zion

Envy, Emotions, and Evil Paths

Envy has played a pivotal role in history since our premortal life, when Lucifer envied Heavenly Father's honor and thus His power. Today, envy is a central component of the emotional conditioning techniques used by corporations, governments and their associated political organizations, academia, and religions. Envy has been a big deal in the profession of persuasion for a long time.

Having been rejected by the Lord, Cain envied Able’s position as the righteous one who would receive the birthright and the Holy Order. With the first murder, he sought to displace Able as the head of the genealogical line that would produce the Savior. How many times has envy been at the heart of murder or great loss?

Was there envy in the heart of Lot’s wife as she disobeyed and looked back at the great city she was leaving? How could Jared, son of the righteous King Omer, in the Book of Mormon, have conspired with his daughter to murder his father for the kingdom, if it wasn't for envy?

The people in Samuel’s day were envious of other nations that were ruled by kings. They thought a king would fight their battles and make life easy, making all their decisions for them. "...we desire a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us, and go out before us and fight our battles." (LDS 1 Sam 8: 19-20; RE 1 Sam 4:4)

This was their response, even after Samuel had rehearsed all the terrible things a king might inflict upon them. Envy is powerful. Samuel gave them a preemptive "I told you so" beforehand. Even so, they refused to listen.

"And you shall cry out in that day because of your king whom you shall have chosen you, and the Lord will not hear you in that day." (LDS 1 Sam 8:18; RE 1 Sam 4:3)

The prodigal son* is a story about a young man who makes a disastrously shortsighted decision based on his envy of the world outside his own. After wasting his inheritance on "riotous living," and suffering in the drought that ensued, he "came to himself" and begged his father to take him back, only as a servant. Of course, the father threw a party and welcomed home his son. *(LDS Luke 15:11-32; RE Luke 9:13-15)

Upon hearing of his younger brother’s arrival home, and the celebration going on, the faithful elder brother became envious, from which anger ensued. "...he was angry, and would not go in..."* Envy convinces that the grass is always greener somewhere else and that another’s joy rightfully belongs to you. This double-edged sword cuts both ways. *(LDS Luke 15:28; RE Luke 9:15)

Poor Isaac was in for it from the beginning. As a child, Ishmael persecuted little Isaac: "Sarah watched the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom Hagar had borne unto Abraham, mocking, and she was troubled."* The rest is history with the sons of Ishmael locked in a seemingly-forever envy of the younger brother. *(LDS Gen 21:9; RE Gen 82)

Treachery and envy don't care much about genealogical lines though. "...and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs. And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him..." (LDS Acts 7:8-9; RE Acts 4:3)

We could continue this romp down Envy Lane, but I think this horse is about dead. And so, sadly, were Joseph and Hyrum. Envy had three Smith casualties, if you count Samuel. We should.

Suffice it to say, without envy, the world would be a very different place, perhaps more like the Zion we seek. There is no higher honor than to be worthy of an invitation there. And thus, we have discovered the goal of our most immediate mortal career path.

"and I will bring you to Zion..." (LDS Jer 3:14; RE Jer 2:3)

We chain and bind Satan and make him a non-issue, by recognizing and rejecting his temptations. Understanding our role in this face-off is a primary task of mortality. The Lord cannot accomplish this for us. Nor can He learn algebra for us. 

"Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;" (LDS D&C 46:8; RE T&C 32:3-4)

"And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things." (LDS D&C 88:67; RE T&C 86:12)

Imagine an entire society of people living this way and striving for these things. In such an environment, more fluid organizations will arise with greater adaptability and effectiveness. At the same time, it will be messy and inconvenient for those who cannot leave behind the trappings of hearts set upon the things of this world and aspirations to the honors of men. Such people will not find it satisfying.

"Those who are comfortable with the way things are in this world will not be at ease in the spirit world." (TheNorthStarChronicle.com, Filling the Immensity of Space, January 27, 2020)

What we are attempting to create is a spiritual environment in the face of mortality, a daunting task. Daunting because we are swimming upstream in a world of aspirations and pressure. Zion is God’s to create, but He needs some folks who actually want to be there and are willing to sacrifice for that cause. It’s up to us to practice, practice, practice, like the eager young musician. Practicing Christlike behavior and opening our hearts to His law*, grooms us to be like Him. Those who are like Him will see Him as He is**. This is His will, and our path.

*( LDS Jer 31:33; RE Jer 12:9)

**( LDS Moroni 7:48; RE Moroni 7:9)

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