“The way a book is read — which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book — can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it…. Anyone who can read can learn how to read deeply and thus live more fully.”
~Norman Cousins

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I read from my scriptures (book), but you can find scripture reference here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A great band of robbers Helaman 11: 24-38

The weather has turned just a bit. Its finally cool enough in the morning to be outside (low 70's). The humidity has shown signs of mercy and I can once again enjoy being outside with nature. Here in Summerville we enjoy combining nature's beauty with sculptured art. In recent years Sculpture in the South has sponsored the placing of various works of art throughout the Summerville Parks. I love to walk the green landscapes and admire the beauty that several bronze statues bring. I love the spirit of playfulness, creativity, beauty, freedom, and the closeness to God and community that I feel when I see these works of art and soul.
So it was with great dismay that I learned of the recent stealing of not one but two of these beautiful statues. A few years back (2007)someone stole and vandalized the statue of a small
baseball boy, and Monday night someone stole the little conductor (the fourth one back) from the line of children statues on the wall (see above picture).

I am at a loss as to why people behave this way? In my family when something turns up missing it is the spirit of fear that screams inside my head, "so and so took it." Or when something is misplaced it is the spirit of fear that begs to ask others in an accusatory tone, "Did you take it?" When robbers ply their craft they take much more than the objects they plunder. They spread the disease of fear.
But fear can be combated with faith. Just last night when my cell phone was misplaced rather than allow the tone of fear to escalate inside of me, I chose to sit quietly and ponder its possible whereabouts. Eventually I found it outside on our front porch. I am so glad I did not give into the insecurity inside of me that wanted to accuse a loving member of my family.
When we don't live in faith, we live in fear.
There are forces of nature that work in opposition to one another. They balance one another. If you take a ball and bounce it, it will go high and low with equal succession until it finds its equilibrium ( a place somewhere in-between). The force of gravity is needed to create this equilibrium.
Faith and fear appear to be opposites, but unlike the forces of nature, they do not balance one another. If you bounce your fear off of your faith, you (with the force of love) can find yourself closer to your life balance. But if you bounce your faith off of your fears, there is no force of love for love does not live where there is not faith, you create greater fear. Fear can be balanced by faith, but faith cannot be balanced by fear. They are not opposite. They do not balance one another. They are two separate forces that direct us into two separate directions.
When we face fear we need love to help us rediscover our equilibrium. The love of God within each of us works to equalize this destruction. The love of God can be expressed in sculptured art, in kindness, beauty, and words of faith. The love of God works with faith to repair destructive behavior.
If we choose to live by faith, we can eradicate all fear from our lives and find peace. If we choose to not live by faith, by default we live by fear. When we (either by default or by choice) choose to live in fear, we become dissenters. Dissenters argue, fight, war, rob, plunder, and murder. They know no boundaries, no respect, and no faith.
The "robbers" who stole our statues were most likely young dissenters, a young voice crying out for relief from life- frustration. They know not who or what or how to believe in something larger than themselves. They have begun a downward spiral of fighting fear with fear. It is a fruitless path and one that Nephi speaks of in these verses. Today I will say a prayer for those who hurt so badly that they believe the thievery of art will somehow patch the whole that fear has bore into their soul.

Words and Phrases
vs. 24 dissenters from the people - dissenters are those who do not feel loved, do not have a place, have been driven out because of social standing. Where there are so many dissenters it is a sign that there is a great social division in the land. The people love their possessions more than they love their fellow man.

vs 24 stirred up to anger- fear breeds anger. Anger breed war
vs 25 murder and plunder- it is a downward spiral
vs 25 retreat and secret places when we live in fear we have need to hide.
vs 25 addition to their numbers great numbers are a sign of social unrest
vs 26 great band of robbers I wonder if there was such a distinction because of the disparity of wealth in the land. It is easy to say these people were wicked, but I believe you have to understand what caused them to be driven to living in the wild mountains. Was it because they could not find place in the community of their birth?
vs 27 great havoc great destruction fear breeds havoc and destruction. Fear within us or within our families breeds destruction.
vs 33 did visit many parts of the land- they grew bold in their robbery. Bold in their lifestyle of fear. Many would have died in fear, died because of fear, lived in fear of death, of life, of having whatever they cherished. Fear is not a way of life. Fear is a way of death.
vs 36 they did not mend their ways- even as they faced being murder, havoc, and destruction these people who were being driving by fear chose to love their possessions, to believe in their own strengths, and to love their lifestyle of fear more than faith. I guess it became a habit.

vs 37 was stronger and stronger in their pride - Pride breeds fear... pride teaches us to believe alone in our own strength, and in our own ability. Pride stands alone. Pride separates through fear.

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