Not long ago, a young couple scraped together what they could and bought a modest house in the town where the husband was teaching high school and working on a graduate degree. They had student loans, but because the husband was still in school, payment was deferred.
One Sunday they attended stake conference, where the visiting General Authority warned church members against the dangers of debt. He told them they must do everything in their power, even if it meant selling everything they had, to get out of debt.
That evening, they prayerfully pondered the General Authority’s counsel and decided that they would sell their house and pay off the debt that they had. They sold the house, paid the balance of the student loans, and then discovered that they could not afford to rent in the town where the husband worked. Consequently, he quit his job at the high school, and they moved into the wife’s parents house with their two children.
I’m sure the GA thought that he was simply giving sound financial advice, and I’m doubly sure that if I brought this up with believers over on the Mormon boards, the couple would be mocked for being fanatical and “fundamentalist” in their thinking.
But when were we ever taught to think through the counsel we were given? We weren’t. We were taught to listen and obey “with exactness.” Questioning was not a virtue but a sign of weak faith.
I’m reminded of the mocking refrain I’ve heard from so many believers: “You took the church too seriously.” Maybe so, but isn’t that what we were supposed to do?