Thursday, May 29, 2014

If the Way Was Easy, Why Would We Need a Comforter?

There Are Two Paths

3 Nephi 14:13-14
Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat;

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

One path is broad and easy. It's the one most people take.

The other is straight. It's narrow. It's the road few travel. It's a hard road. This is how I imagine it (so take it or leave it): before you are two paths. One is well traveled, lots of people are using it, and even vouch for it to you. It looks safe. It looks easy going.

And off somewhere to your right is one that is more like an animal trail. It is straight, though... straight up a mountain. There are cliffs to climb in some places. It looks dangerous.

It looks like hell.

There is someone who vouches for that one too, but the people on the other path avoid him because he looks kind of crazy, especially when he claims the narrow path is full of peace and joy. He also claims the guide that will lead you through this path isn't something you can see. Not at first. You just have to start and listen to it inside yourself. The rewards he claims are at the end are worthy of pause, but most just continue on the broad one because it makes more sense, because all their traveling companions are convinced of it too. Their reward lies at the end of the easy one. They know it because everyone else on the road with them knows it too.

You may see another person or two on the narrow path. You may not. This path is so narrow, that it can only fit one person at a time, and for that reason it looks lonely.

The first path is full of other people. It looks like a good time. With so many people, loneliness is far from your mind.

Though, the first path looks like hell and getting to the end of it may feel like hell, the end is Heaven.

Though, the first path looks like the obvious choice, it leads to Hell.

So which one do you take?

Why We Take the Easy One:

2 Nephi 28:21-22
And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well--and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none--and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.

If everything is fine how it is, then there's no reason to look outside our understanding or the road we're on, right? All is well! If I just follow the herd, I'll go where they're going! We'll end up there together.


...Well, yes. I'll all end up in the same place, but that place isn't where I wanted to go. Any time a thought like that comes to us, we ought to examine where it came from, and find the truth of the matter.

How We Enter Into the Gate of the Strait and Narrow Path:

Read the last 3 chapters of 2 Nephi for more understanding on that and read this post about how we should be thinking of the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost.

Remember: "...the keeper of the gate is the Hoy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name." (2 Nephi 9:41) We can only enter through Him.

What is Required of Us on That Path:

It would be nice if only a little sacrifice was required from us here or there, but the scriptures say otherwise.

ST Matthew 16:24- (JST Translation)
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. And now for a man to take up his cross, is to deny himself all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments.

Break not my commandments for to save your lives; for whosoever will save his life in this world, shall lose it in the world to come.

And whosoever will lose his life in this world, for my sake, shall find it in the world to come.

Therefore, forsake the world, and save your souls; for what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

We are required to give up anything and everything of this world. Would Christ have mentioned that we should take up a cross, if it wasn't going to be hard?

Side note: We tend to think of keeping His commandments in such a linear way. Yes, they are the commandments He has given us in scripture and through His prophets, but it is also what He commands us personally through the Holy Spirit, etc.

All of the Lecture 6 of the Lectures on Faith should be read to better understand this subject, but I'll just quote a little of it below. (Another side note: I have a facsimile reprint of the original 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants in which the Lectures on Faith were presented as the doctrine portion of the book, and the revelations which we currently use as the D&C as the covenant portion.)

Lectures on Faith, 6: 7-8,
Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things, that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has, for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice, because he seeks to do his will, he does know most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice & offering, & that he has not nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.

It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.

Lectures on Faith 6:10
Those, then, who make the sacrifice will have the testimony that their course is pleasing in the sight of God, and those who have this testimony will have faith to lay hold on eternal life, and will be enabled, through faith, to endure unto the end, and receive the crown that is laid up for them that love the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who do not make the sacrifice cannot enjoy this faith, because men are dependent upon this sacrifice in order to obtain this faith; therefore, they cannot lay hold upon eternal life, because the revelations of God do not guarantee unto them the authority so to do; and without this guarantee faith could not exist.

Think of what all the things the prophets of old had to sacrifice: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Daniel, Lehi, Nephi, Abinadi, Alma, the sons of Mosiah, Mormon, Moroni, Ether, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, etc... Look at these people and the things, including their lives in some cases, that they gave up in order to do the Lord's will.

Unless we have done as they have, under God's direction, we will not inherit what they are inheriting.


The strait and narrow path is the hardest one to choose to follow in this life. It defies logic and human instinct.

If we enter in at the gate, we will not get assurances or comfort that it is the right way from the world or the people in it. But we will get it from God. His are the only assurances regarding our salvation we should be listening to anyway.

The other path is full of assurances and a false sense of security, but it will not lead us where we want to go.

It is not a comfortable path. That's why he has promised us a comforter along the way, and not just one, but two (John 14:16-17, 23D&C 88: 3-7D&C 130:1-3D&C 93).

1 comment:

  1. I love this. It is interesting you talk about this. I was actually on a hike a week or two ago and had a thought that came to my mind about this exact verse about the straight and narrow. The path is narrow because it is only meant for me. It smaller, more narrow because only ONE has gone before us to mark the path and will return to is anytime as long as we ask. If we find ourselves on the broader path it's because we have chosen to follow another man, woman, or whoever. Just like you said though, the narrow path is not easy. You can get caught in the thistles and thorns that line the path or stumble over vines or rocks that haven't been moved out of the way. Even then there is still purpose in experiencing those things along the way. With time, we will learn how to step over them or move to get out of their way and we ALWAYS have help, we just have to ask. We have to remember that there had only been one other that had gone on our path before us and He is the only one we should be calling out for help from.