In order to know God, we must be wiling to challenge our traditions.
God’s order and glory is truth, and His truth is one (Deuteronomy 6:4). Because we are born into a fallen world, cut off from His truth, we inherit false traditions, habits, assumptions, and biases. These run deeper than just religious affiliation; they affect the very way we perceive ourselves, God, and the world.
It’s likely that we’re all born with a mix of truth and error. The truthful aspects are what we find valuable, and are why we cling to our beliefs in the first place. However, “that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth… because of the tradition of their fathers” (D&C 93:39). They act as stumbling blocks that keep us from total harmony with God.
In order to exercise saving faith, we need “a correct idea of [God’s] character, perfections and attributes” (Lectures on Faith 3:4). Because we are all born into a fallen world, we all inherit lies. Consequently, gaining a correct idea of God’s character, perfections, and attributes will always involve the giving up of certain false beliefs and traditions.
Towards the end of his life, the prophet Joseph remarked: “any person who is exalted to the highest mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law too. But there has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation. It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn-dodger for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle. Even the Saints are slow to understand. I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all. How many will be able to abide a celestial law, and go through and receive their exaltation, I am unable to say, as many are called, but few are chosen” (TPJS p. 331).
Even the Saints are slow to understand. Being willing to acknowledge our false traditions and replace them with light is a necessary part of coming to know God. We must be dispelled of all darkness and impurity. “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” (D&C 88:67).
One thought on “Challenging Traditions”
I completely agree. We must be willing to abandon all things for God.
The trouble though is understanding what he is asking us to abandon and recognizing what he wants us to replace it with.
In modern society we are taught to approach things from an institutional perspective and thus this skill has never been taught generally.