This post is by the talented Katie Bastian.
Last night, I was peacefully enjoying a healthy snack when my little wiener dog, Zoe, jumped up on the couch and just STARED at me. That face! How can you say no that face?
Normally, after about 2 seconds of contemplation, I’d give in and give her a little piece of whatever I’m eating, but I knew that though grapes seem like a perfectly harmless treat, they are very bad for dogs. So I kept eating. She kept staring. Finally, I began a very thorough, informative lecture to Zoe about how grapes can cause kidney disease and digestion problems and so on. Yes, I talk to my dog like a person – she just GETS me. Yet, she was not having it, and she continued to stare at me with those pitifully hopeful eyes.
Finally, I said, “Zoe, here’s the thing. Sometimes, there are things in life that look delicious and fun and exciting on the outside, but what you don’t know is how dangerous they really are. These grapes will taste good for a minute, but they’ll hurt you in the end. You're gonna have to trust me on this one.” With a deep sigh, she put her head down in defeat and gave up on her quest for grapes.
I’m grateful for commandments, given from God, through His prophets. They save me from the hurt that can come from that things that look appealing, at first, but are dangerous in the end.
Often, friends who are not of my faith ask me things like, “Wait, so you’re actually a virgin? That’s not just something that Mormons just say they do but really don’t?” “You’ve really never had a sip of alcohol? What’s one sip going to hurt? Don’t you at least just want to try it once to see what it’s like?”
Or, there’s this: “How can you obey all those things so blindly? You don’t know what you’re missing out on until you try it, so why not try it, and then if you don’t like those things, then don’t do them?”
I don’t need to try them to know they are not good for me. I know that God has given me commandments for my own benefit and protection. I know He knows what He’s doing with me, far more than I know what I’m doing with myself. I know that, like I did with my dog and the grapes, God knows the end from the beginning. He knows what’s good for me in the long run. AND I TRUST HIM.
“But you can’t possibly know those things. You just believe that.”
Yes, I believe it completely. But it’s much more than that. One of the things that makes our church unique is personal revelation. I can pray to God and ask Him if this IS the true church of Jesus Christ, if its prophets are HIS prophet, and if they truly are HIS mouthpiece on the earth today. I have said such prayers – many of them – and the Holy Spirit communicated to my spirit that it is true. How cool is that, that I can know for myself? That I don’t have to rely on what my parents or friends or anyone else believes? I don’t really have the words to explain what that feels like, but the great thing is, you can feel it for yourself. I don’t just believe it, I know it.
So, while partying and casual sex and all sorts of things might seem appealing at different times, no, I don’t need to try them to know whether or not I want to do them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect and I haven’t kept all the commandments perfectly, but that’s what repentance is for. I can always have a fresh start, thanks to the atonement of Christ. Obedience isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it.
Like my little dog Zoe, I am often naïve and only have limited vision when it comes to things of eternity. I’m so grateful to have been given the commandments from God, who sees and knows all, and says, "You're going to have to trust me on this one."
“There is an obedience that comes from a knowledge of the truth that transcends any external form of control. We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see.” – Boyd K. Packer