For Hugh

Hugh Nibley died. He was very old, but his words had so much relevance and meaning to me, I can’t help but being somewhat sad. The way he wrote about things, well, he did alot for faith and understanding of my religious beliefs. I grateful for that.
The sad thing is that he died amid so much controversy because his daughter wrote a book, claiming that he sexually abused her. It isn’t my place to determine the truth of that allegation, all of his other children have vehemently defended him. But what it has caused me to think about is sometimes the blame that individuals assign to others as a means of justifying their actions or why they chose to believe or not.
The easiest thing to do in the world is to blame other people for our decisions. What people should really say when they decide that they no longer want to be a part of an organized religion is say, I didn’t believe that, because what it really comes down to is a lack of faith on an individual’s part. That lack of faith may be affected by the actions of others, but it is a person’s own choice to believe or not to believe. Blaming a 90 year old man who can’t defend himself hardly seems like a valid exercise.
I have thought alot about my own reasons for doing or not doing what I have been taught is right in my religious cannon. Sometimes, I think it is easy to blame someone else for my lack of perfection. It isn’t fair – the choices I make are my own. The wrongs that have been done to me are owned by the person that perpetrated those wrongs, not by me. We are defined not by what people do to us, but how we react to those things and how we act ourselves.
It gives me a moment to pause, because at times I have felt like my church isn’t worth the sacrifice it requires. But then I realize, that the people I know who have unconditionally surrendered their will to do what they believe is right, according to my religion, are generally the happiest people I know. In contrast, the people I know that have said that the sacrifice is too difficult, and are therefore not pursuing religion anymore are generally not happy, but fault other people for their misery. Faulting other people doesn’t make them any happier, it only results in them finding more fault in more people.
It doesn’t work when all I want to be is beaming and radiant. It doesn’t work when I believe what Nibley has written about the way that we approach Zion, the way that we become more Godlike ourselves.
I am by no means a model Latter-day Saint. I make mistakes all of the time, and I have my own struggles with doubt. However, something about the way Nibley wrote about scripture taught me that I too can work things out in my own mind at at the end of the day find a place to work out my own salvation.

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