Shameless and blameless

Don't believe the voice that encourages you to hide.

July 2, 2014

Why should I even report this month?

That's the question we ask whenever there isn't a very good report to give, isn't it?

...Besides, I didn't get any visits done and there's nothing meaningful to report, I'm just wasting evereyone's time. I don't want to inconvenience anyone with my struggles. I'll just do better next month...

And that's one of the justifications we repeat to ourselves. Nobody likes to feel guilty, but who says we need to feel guilty about taking responsibility and delivering a report, even one that doesn't really contain what we think would be helpful information regarding our assignment? Just calling in that report is a victory which should be applauded and noticed. At the end of the day (month), quorum leaders just need to know the status of families. Knowing for certain that no one knows anyting about a certain family is still way better than not knowing anything. The former is a starting point while the latter is just confusion.

One of the positive side effects of communicating with your quorum leader is that sometimes there are stumbling blocks in the way of effective home teaching that are very real, but that are sometimes difficult to notice or describe. Sometimes a quorum leader will feel, as a result of talking with individual home teachers that a change in the assignment is needed, or that encouragement or training are what will help. Keeping lines of communication open helps everyone involved.

For instance, on my mission I arrived in a new area to find that an infestation of mosquitos was quite happy to receive me. Within a few days I was covered in bites and didn't really know what to do about it. My mission president interviewed me that week and after taking one look at me told me to go and purchase netting that I could hang from the ceiling over my bed to keep the bugs at bay will I slept. I had not even known this was an option! His suggestion completely resolved the problem, but it wouldn't have happened without a face-to-face meeting in this case.

Here's an interesting example from the scriptures:

8 And their armies were so numerous that the remainder of the people of Nephihah were obliged to flee before them; and they came even and joined the army of Moroni.

9 And now as Moroni had supposed that there should be men sent to the city of Nephihah, to the assistance of the people to maintain that city, and knowing that it was easier to keep the city from falling into the hands of the Lamanites than to retake it from them, he supposed that they would easily maintain that city.

10 Therefore he retained all his force to maintain those places which he had recovered.

11 And now, when Moroni saw that the city of Nephihah was lost he was exceedingly sorrowful, and began to doubt, because of the wickedness of the people, whether they should not fall into the hands of their brethren.

12 Now this was the case with all his chief captains. They doubted and marveled also because of the wickedness of the people, and this because of the success of the Lamanites over them.

13 And it came to pass that Moroni was angry with the government, because of their indifference concerning the freedom of their country.

-- Alma 59:8-13

In this part of the Book of Mormon, Moroni, the captain of the Nephite armies is frustrated because of a lack of support from the government as he tried to maintain the Nephite establishments against the onslaught of their enemies, the Lamanites. The next chapter is comprised of a scathing letter Moroni sends to his leaders, chastising them for their lack of involvement and consideration. The chapter following Moroni's letter contains the response from Pahoran, the chief judge over the Nephites. Here are some selected verses of that amazing response:

2 I, Pahoran, who am the chief governor of this land, do send these words unto Moroni, the chief captain over the army. Behold, I say unto you, Moroni, that I do not joy in your great afflictions, yea, it grieves my soul.

3 But behold, there are those who do joy in your afflictions, yea, insomuch that they have risen up in rebellion against me, and also those of my people who are freemen, yea, and those who have risen up are exceedingly numerous.

4 And it is those who have sought to take away the judgment-seat from me that have been the cause of this great iniquity; for they have used great flattery, and they have led away the hearts of many people, which will be the cause of sore affliction among us; they have withheld our provisions, and have daunted our freemen that they have not come unto you.

5 And behold, they have driven me out before them, and I have fled to the land of Gideon, with as many men as it were possible that I could get.


8 They have got possession of the land, or the city, of Zarahemla; they have appointed a king over them, and he hath written unto the king of the Lamanites, in the which he hath joined an alliance with him; in the which alliance he hath agreed to maintain the city of Zarahemla, which maintenance he supposeth will enable the Lamanites to conquer the remainder of the land, and he shall be placed king over this people when they shall be conquered under the Lamanites.

9 And now, in your epistle you have censured me, but it mattereth not; I am not angry, but do rejoice in the greatness of your heart. I, Pahoran, do not seek for power, save only to retain my judgment-seat that I may preserve the rights and the liberty of my people. My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God hath made us free.


14 Therefore, my beloved brother, Moroni, let us resist evil, and whatsoever evil we cannot resist with our words, yea, such as rebellions and dissensions, let us resist them with our swords, that we may retain our freedom, that we may rejoice in the great privilege of our church, and in the cause of our Redeemer and our God.

15 Therefore, come unto me speedily with a few of your men, and leave the remainder in the charge of Lehi and Teancum; give unto them power to conduct the war in that part of the land, according to the Spirit of God, which is also the spirit of freedom which is in them.

16 Behold I have sent a few provisions unto them, that they may not perish until ye can come unto me.


19 And now, Moroni, I do joy in receiving your epistle, for I was somewhat worried concerning what we should do, whether it should be just in us to go against our brethren.

20 But ye have said, except they repent the Lord hath commanded you that ye should go against them.

21 See that ye strengthen Lehi and Teancum in the Lord; tell them to fear not, for God will deliver them, yea, and also all those who stand fast in that liberty wherewith God hath made them free. And now I close mine epistle to my beloved brother, Moroni.

In this case, it was simply a lack of communication between the government and the military that prevented a coup at the heart of the Nephite land. Luckily, Moroni and Pahoran were just trying to do the right thing and were able to adjust their plans accordingly. Notice also, that they were not ashamed to speak their minds to each other (shameless!) yet they held each other blameless. Pahoran could have been angry at Moroni for not having written sooner ("Didn't you think something might have been wrong after not hearing anything from HQ?"). Obviously, Moroni was angry at first but completely dropped that anger when he understood the real situation. The moral of this story as it pertains to reporting and home teaching is that the earlier a dialog is initiated, the sooner solutions can be attempted and conditions improved for everyone involved.

-Michael Whatcott