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Thursday, May 06, 2004

Articles of Faith: Commandments or Admonitions? 

by Unknown
My mother lectured me on the phone recently. It might've been cute in a nostalgic way if it hadn't annoyed me so much. What prompted this trip down childhood lane? I told her that I have no intention of ever paying my parking tickets. I now owe the city more than my car is worth. I'm basically waiting for the city to tow it so I don't have to move it for alternate side street parking anymore. My mother found this appalling. She told me I was raised in a law-abiding household and she didn't understand how I could just not pay my tickets. When I said that I live a very different life from hers she said, "Yes, but we both have the same beliefs, beliefs that include obeying the law. At least I hope we do." Yes, mother.

I have no qualms about not paying stupid parking tickets that I got because my car is dead and the street-sweeper comes too early in the morning for me to get up and beg for a jump-start. I've also had some bogus tickets, including one for "missing or impaired equipment." Someone ripped off my side-view mirror and I got a ticket for it. How is it a traffic violation to have a _parked_ car with a missing mirror?

I found it supremely annoying to have my mother question my religious conviction because I am not going to pay for my parking tickets. Where in the scriptures does it say I have to obey every stupid nit-picking law? OK, The Articles of Faith are in the Pearl of Great Price. But they are not presented as commandments. Joseph Smith wrote them as PR for people interested in our religion. Does the fact that they are in the Pearl of GP make them commandments? They sound more like admonitions, in the same way that article 13 says we believe in following the admonitions of Paul. Am I going to be judged for not following every law of the land? Do I need to repent for not moving my car every Tuesday and Friday between 9:30-11 am?

Are we commanded to obey the law of the land? Did I miss that somewhere?

Jennifer J.
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