The pit and the mountain:

Imagine a deep and dangerous pit in the center of your community. Your community has been given the commandment to stay out of the pit. Assuming no other commandment is given, it is the nature of almost all mankind that this one commandment would result in almost everyone falling into the pit sooner or later. Curiosity, rebellion, peer pressure, pride or some other vanity would lead to risk-taking around the pit and inevitable falling in. That is the nature of most of us during the teenage years, and many of us right into adulthood.

Those disposed to being “protectors of virtue” (i.e., busybodies) would post signs nearby to try to prevent people from falling into the pit. Yet while posting signs, such “protectors of virtue” oftentimes fall into temptation themselves, and many of them would fall, too. Of course, later, the “protectors” would add a handrail. Other precautions would follow. But these would do no good, for if the only commandment is a “thou shalt not,” then the failings would follow, while the precautions taken would invite further curiosity by the unconvinced, or rebellious, or curious. Precautions at one end invite further risks at the other, since it appears safer to take the risk.

The only sure way to prevent you from falling into the pit would be to give you something positive to do that will take you in another direction. Climbing a mountain would keep you so far from the pit there is no danger of falling. If you are headed away from the pit, you can never fall into it.

This basic notion underlies many of the commandments. The “thou-shalt-nots” get accompanied by positive commandments, as well. The Sermon on the Mount/Sermon at Bountiful is filled with positive injunctions to action. This positive approach toward what the Lord wants of you is not only more satisfying to the soul, it is also the only way to avoid the “thou-shalt-nots.” Trying merely by force of will to avoid some particular weakness or transgression will generally result in failure. Ask any addict how they overcame addiction. None of them will tell you they just managed to stop. They had to get involved in some wholesome, replacement activity. That is how the commandments work. Go away and do something good somewhere distant from the temptation, and you will find you can overcome every weakness. (The Second Comforter, Chapter 15, Doing and Being)

Joseph prayed about sins, state; standing and angel comes and "shows him a mountain," or rather expounds the scriptures and reveals some of the work God has for him to do. Joseph also noted that the light in room grew brighter and brighter.

"People struggle with some very difficult, very challenging things. You need to try and overcome that by the light within you." (Lecture 3, Repentance)


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