Monday, August 29, 2011

A lesson from my homeboi, Pahoran...

Once upon a time, Elder Bednar gave a particularly poignant address that stuck with me like that goobery stuff they use to mount random advertisement magnets on the cover of the phone book. I mean it really stuck!! So much so that when I went to peruse for the talk, I was FLOORED to find that it was in 200-freaking-6! Are you kidding? I was guessing 2010 at least. I can't believe it's been 5 years. Nevertheless, this always-vital principle came blaring out of the pages of my BoM tonight whilst trudging through the end of the war chapters...

"When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else." --Bednar

In chapter 60 of the seemingly ever-dragging Book of Alma, Moroni lays the smizz-ack dizz-own in his epistle to his friend:
  • Verse 7: "Can you think to sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor..."
  • Verse 11: "Behold, could ye suppose that ye could sit upon your thrones, and because of the exceeding goodness of God ye could do nothing and he would deliver you?"
  • Verse 23: "Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things?"
  • Verse 33: "We know that ye do transgress the laws of God."
Yowza. Them's fightin words, yo. I actually read 60 last night without much thought except an "ouch" after I'd finished and begun making my way onto my knees. But tonight, Pahoran's so-out-of-our-society's-norm response really stood out to me. After calmly explaining his unenviable plight to Moroni, he simply states:

"And now, in your epistle you have censured me (understatement), but it mattereth not; I am not angry, but do rejoice in the greatness of your heart." (61:9)


It has been, and continues to be, a life-long pursuit of mine to understand where others are coming from before reacting and to try to implement that understanding in my daily dealings with others. It's fascinating to me how much this has impacted my ability to not be entangled in and ensnared by offense. Some days I'm better at it than others, but this small but intense lesson from Pahoran should be my mantra, as well as for all striving saints. Don't ya think? I mean seriously, go read 60, and then 61 right after. Pahoran's a rock star at not becoming offended.

Turns out Bednar actually uses this example in his address. Ha! I didn't remember that part before tonight, but I do remember the following like it was YESTERDAY. Here's hoping I can continue to do's certainly made my life better:

"In some way and at some time, someone in this Church will do or say something that could be considered offensive. Such an event will surely happen to each and every one of us—and it certainly will occur more than once. Though people may not intend to injure or offend us, they nonetheless can be inconsiderate and tactless. You and I cannot control the intentions or behavior of other people. However, we do determine how we will act. Please remember that you and I are agents endowed with moral agency, and we can choose not to be offended." --Bednar

Completely, totally, 100% agreed.

(Why do I get such a kick out of mixing Gospel with inner-city vernacular? I do not know. I guess cause Jesus said, "Love everyone," right? Ha!)


  1. I also remember that talk from Elder Bednar. I thought it was maybe last year......possibly 2009. I also remember his talk about FHE and how his kids fought and said,"so and so is BREATHING my air". HAHA

    Very good insight. My mom always told me that I shouldn't judge anyone else unless I have been in their shoes. it took me a long time to figure that out and still working on it.

  2. That really was an awesome talk. I can't believe that it has been 5 years. I love reading your blog, you are so funny and I love the way you put things. Good insight indeed.

  3. I LOVE this Karen, thank you so much for sharing. My girls are starting into the "she made me do it" and I'm trying to teach them that no one can make you do anything. Looks like we adults need this reminder just as much. Thank you for giving me an extra little bright spot in my blog browsing!

  4. I've been trying to explain this principle to Liz. Maybe she would get it better if she saw me live it as well. Haha.