This is a talk that I found to be very inspired considering this fight for marriage and life that has gripped our country (Yes, Proposition 8 has passed). As for my thoughts on the subject? Follow the prophets my friends, for therein lies the path to exaltation. We will not be counted among the stalwart and valiant of the Lord's disciples if we believe we can pick and choose which of His commandments are enough in accordance with our own views to follow. We must follow them all. We must follow the prophet, even in (especially in) the face of adversity. We must fear not man, but trust in the Lord and obey Him. If we do the little things each day (scriptures, prayer, etc.) to strengthen our testimonies and those of our children, then no amount of persecution, religious or otherwise, will cause us to turn away from the Lord. Even better, we will still be able to find joy in a life fraught with trial and tribulation.
I love you all, dear readers, and, as you can probably tell, I am in a very contemplative mood. Thank you for indulging me. Click on the title below to view the complete text of Elder Maxwell's talk or just follow along with my copied and pasted excerpts below. Peace.
A More Determined Discipleship
by Neal A. Maxwell 1978
Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions. (See 1 Kgs. 18:21.) emphasis added
President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had "never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1941, p. 123). This is a hard doctrine, but it is a particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ! emphasis added
M. J. Sobran wrote recently:
"The Framers of the Constitution … forbade the Congress to make any law 'respecting' the establishment of religion, thus leaving the states free to do so (as several of them did); and they explicitly forbade the Congress to abridge 'the free exercise' of religion, thus giving actual religious observance a rhetorical emphasis that fully accords with the special concern we know they had for religion. It takes a special ingenuity to wring out of this a governmental indifference to religion, let alone an aggressive secularism. Yet there are those who insist that the First Amendment actually proscribes governmental partiality not only to any single religion, but to religion as such; so that tax exemption for churches is now thought to be unconstitutional. It is startling to consider that a clause clearly protecting religion can be construed as requiring that it be denied a status routinely granted to educational and charitable enterprises, which have no overt constitutional protection. Far from equalizing unbelief, secularism has succeeded in virtually establishing it. …
"What the secularists are increasingly demanding, in their disingenuous way, is that religious people, when they act politically, act only on secularist grounds. They are trying to equate acting on religion with establishing religion. And—I repeat—the consequence of such logic is really to establish secularism. It is in fact, to force the religious to internalize the major premise of secularism: that religion has no proper bearing on public affairs." (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, pp. 51–52, 60–61.)
Brothers and sisters, irreligion as the state religion would be the worst of all combinations. Its orthodoxy would be insistent and its inquisitors inevitable. Its paid ministry would be numerous beyond belief. Its Caesars would be insufferably condescending. Its majorities—when faced with clear alternatives—will make the Barabbas choice, as did a mob centuries ago when Pilate confronted them with the need to decide. emphasis added
Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. M. J. Sobran also said, "A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it" (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, pp. 58–59).
This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened. emphasis added
If we let come into being a secular church which is shorn of traditional and divine values, where shall we go for inspiration in the crises of tomorrow? Can we appeal to the rightness of a specific regulation to sustain us in our hour of need? Will we be able to seek shelter under a First Amendment which by then may have been twisted to favor irreligion? Will we be able to rely for counterforce on value education aided in school systems which are increasingly secularized? And if our governments and schools were to fail us, would we be able to fall back upon and rely upon the institution of the family, when so many secular movements seek to shred it? emphasis added
Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. emphasis added
There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself.
Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, "summer is nigh" (Matt. 24:32). Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat!
Have I come today, however, only to add one more to the already long list of special challenges faced by you and me? Not really. I have also come to say to you that God, who foresaw all challenges, has given to us a precious doctrine which can encourage us in meeting this and all other challenges.
The disciple will be puzzled at times, too. But he persists. Later he rejoices and exclaims over how wonderfully things fit together, realizing, only then, that with God—things never were apart!
When, in situations of stress, we wonder if there is any more in us to give, we can be comforted to know that God, who knows our capacities perfectly, placed us here to succeed. No one was foreordained to fail or to be wicked.
When we have been weighed and found wanting, let us remember that we were measured before and were found equal to our tasks; and therefore, let us continue but with a more determined discipleship.
When we feel overwhelmed, let us recall the assurance that God will not overprogram us; he will not press upon us more than we can bear (see D&C 50:40).
The doctrine of foreordination is, therefore, not a doctrine of repose; it is a doctrine for the second-milers; it can draw out of us the last full measure of devotion. emphasis added
It is a doctrine of perspiration—not aspiration. Moreover, it discourages aspiring, lest we covet, like two early disciples, that which has already been given to another (see Matt. 20:20–23).
It is a doctrine for the deep believer and will only bring scorn from the skeptic. emphasis added