Have I misplaced my Liahona? I know I placed it next to my keys and reading glasses. Where did it go?
Well, I wish I had a Liahona. How about you?
Wouldn't it be nice to wake up and stumble out of our tent door, and find lying there some cool alien tech?
Curious, isn't it?
Well, do we actually need a physical object to guide us?
Or is the Holy Ghost considered a factory upgrade?
How Do Compasses Work?
A compass is useless if we do not know where we're going, or the correct direction to be traveling.
Let me repeat that. A compass is useless if we do not know where we're going.
In other words, compasses can only point us in the direction we've already chosen. Sorry to say, but a compass cannot decide our destination for us.
I just want to be completely clear about this point.
Don't blame the compass if we're lost.
How Do I Make My Compass Work?
A compass is just a magnet.
You see, you place a little magnet on a needle point. Then you position the needle on a free rotating pivot.
(Before we got sophisticated, they used to put the needle in a bowl of water since there was little friction on the surface of the water, allowing the magnet to rotate freely.)
So what causes the needle move?
Or, the earth's magnetic field that is generated by flowing liquid metal in the outer core of our planet.
Or, according to Mormon:
The ball or director, which led our fathers through the wilderness, which was prepared by the hand of the Lord that thereby they might be led, every one according to the heed and diligence which they gave unto him.
The compass needle's magnet responds to external electromagnetic forces, detecting what is invisible to our naked eyes.
Likewise, we are surrounded by spiritual forces that are not discernable with our natural eyes.
So in reality a compass is something that allows us to navigate using invisible forces that we are blind to behold.
Talk about faith!
The Word of God is a Magnet
I want to try a word-link.
Besides the Liahona, what else are we supposed to give "heed and diligence" to in order to feel our way out of these mists of darkness?
. . . great prosperity in the church because of their . . . [wait for it] heed and diligence which they gave unto the word of God.
So we won't find the word "magnet" in the scriptures.
What other word could we use? Something that has the power of attraction? The power to draw things towards it?
One possibility, I think, is charity.
Christ’s love is the lodestone that draws us back to the Father like the gravitational pull of a star.
And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me.
(3 Nephi 27:15)
The Savior's pure love is a magnet.
It is the power by which he "draws" us to him.
The verb "to draw" means "to cause to move in a particular direction by or as if by a pulling force; to bring, take, or pull out; to bring toward oneself or itself, as by inherent force or influence; attract.”
Gravity keeps us planted on the ground: charity keeps us rooted in Christ.
Why Did Jesus Always Point to the Father?
Jesus really loved his Father, didn't he? Is that why he always pointed us to Heavenly Father, to True North?
In one of my favorite verse of the New Testament, Jesus says:
And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that pleasehim.
There's the key.
Sometimes pleasing God means we make others happy; other times pleasing God means we make others very mad.
Just as Jesus showed us.
A Broken Compass: Religion and the Traditions of the Fathers
The point I want to make is this: We must never seek to please others.
That sounds kind of selfish, doesn't it? Well, we aren't here to please ourselves, either.
Unfortunately, the whole business of religion is about pleasing others and ourselves, isn't it?
We please our priest, or pastor, or bishop, or spouse, or parents, or ourselves, when we follow their traditions or rules, their teachings and commandments, their religious observances and ways of doing things. It makes us feel good to be so . . . good!
But what happens when God calls us apart?
What happens when God calls you to leave the 99 and go after the one?
What happens when God calls you to abandon the things that you were taught by your parents were right, as He did when he called Abraham to forsake the the foolishness of his idolatrous father, Terah?
I suspect that made Terah quite upset. After all, Abraham was more concerned with pleasing God than being a dutiful son!
Days May Be Long in the Land
I hope our compass needles do not point to our parents, or spouses, or children, or religious leaders. While we love them dearly, they are not the life and light of our galaxy.
I do not wish to hitch my star to a dying red giant or white dwarf; I wish to sail through eternity sealed to the Bright and Morning Star.
Let us pin our lives and point our needle to God alone, with an eye single to His glory.
"But Tim," someone says. "Aren't we supposed to honor our father and our mother?" Oh yes. And the best way to honor them is to please God.
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.