And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30-31.)
I am too young to really remember the days where gardens were all the rage in the church. President Kimball urged members to have gardens for self-sufficiency”We have asked everyone wherever possible to assist with a home garden for the production of food so you may enjoy the efforts of your labors and help provide for your needs.” (Ensign, Nov. 1978) I can recall many stories of people who cultivated any spot of land they could find. President Kimball, after seeing the frenzied response of the saints further strengthened his call, “We commend you to the garden fever.”
Growing up, emergency preparedness was the popular commandment. When my friends started to marry it was common practice for ward members to skip the Z.C.M.I registry gifts for a seventy-two hour survival basket. In their small, crowded apartments they made way for stackable boxes of rice and powdered milk, just enough for newlyweds to consume. Prepardness almost became a standard on which to judge your neighbor. Should the Relief Society President really be in that position when clearly she could only survive for a month on her weak supply of canned salsa?
Today it is all about avoiding debt.
Being in-debt is a horrible feeling. Just out of high school I applied for my first Banana Republic credit card which allowed me a sweet, little $500 limit. It took me only three months until I was at max. The whole endeavor shocked me, how easy and fast I had indebted myself for two pant suits and a couple of cotton t-shirts.
Of course their are allowances for debt.”Reasonable debt for the purchase of an affordable home and perhaps for a few other necessary things is acceptable. But from where I sit, I see in a very vivid way the terrible tragedies of many who have unwisely borrowed for things they really do not need.” (Ensign, Aug. 1992)
Culturally-like preparedness before-avoiding debt has become almost more important than any other commandment. Perhaps a bit trendy? I wonder if we sometimes disregard promptings of the promised Holy Ghost guidance at the risk of following the most popular commandment of the day. A letter of the law lifestyle can dwarf our spirit of the law practices. It is easy to base our “needs” on what is culturally acceptable rather than personally requisite. Can “wants” really be “needs?”
For example, families that chose avoiding debt over vacationing together. I cannot say if it is cause-and-effect, but while the parents are debt-free, their family lacks a solid cohesiveness that maybe a vacation could provide. Maybe they are debt-free but what if their children find “adventures” elsewhere?Could a simple yearly family vacation fall under what President Hinckley called “necessary?”
Pride in following counsel can overcome personal revelation as given to us by our Heavenly Father by the Holy Ghost. We definitely should listen to and heed what our leaders say. But we also have a gift that teaches us how it is applicable in our lives. Our use of agency in living the commandments is a matter of personal revelation, just as Adam and Eve.
After all, our first parents gave up their “garden fever” to multiply and replenish the earth.
It was a necessary choice . . . to say the least.