Thursday, May 7, 2015

Reflections: The Lord's Way

Any member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would benefit greatly by reading Elder Dallin H. Oaks's The Lord's Way; however, those that would benefit the most, in my opinion, are any who have positions of leaderships, especially priesthood leadership.  The Lord's Way is exactly what I want in a book which examines intellectual, and in this case spiritual, topics and difficult issues.  Oaks's method of compare and contrast between the world's modus operandi and the Lord's is truly enlightening and edifying. 

It is a flaw with some "Church" books that they fall into the trap of merely regurgitating information and quoting a lot of scriptures in an attempt to appear spiritual and insightful from a gospel perspective.  The Lord's Way does it exactly right.  It is filled with scriptural references, but those references are used to provide a foundation from which to discuss the issues and topics at hand.  They're not merely trying to fill pages or feign spiritual authority.  Elder Oaks has done plenty of his own thinking with this book and has plenty to say based on his own experience and his own conclusions.  (He includes an obligatory disclaimer that the book "is a personal expression and is not an official statement of the doctrines or procedures" of the LDS Church; his opinions, however, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, are certainly worth more weight than most).

One of the most worthwhile aspects of The Lord's Way is that the book deals with little discussed topics.  For example, not many members of the LDS Church have ever had a conversation regarding when it is appropriate to participate in litigation, especially when taking into consideration gospel standards.  Elder Oaks also deals with Church discipline, contention, criticism (especially of Church leadership), reason and faith, miracles and science, and general principles of welfare.  His analysis of the contrast existing between the world's view and the Lord's view is superb.  (His legal background was no doubt a great boon to him during the writing process).  His method and presentation of the material is why this book is so valuable and so educational.  I love works of comparison because I believe we can learn a great deal from contrast.  This was the case in Thomas Sowell's masterful A Conflict of Visions, and it's the case with The Lord's Way

I would recommend The Lord's Way to any member of the LDS Church looking to expand their understanding of the Lord's worldview and how the gospel intersects with real world situations which can be terribly difficult to disentangle from a moral perspective.  It has been said and will be said again that the end justifies the means.  In other words, the way something is done may not matter as much as the outcome that it provides.  The Lord's Way is a compelling refutation of that standard or lack thereof.  It's an excellent book.

Other Topics of Interest:
Reflections: People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture
Reflections: Rough Stone Rolling
What Every High School Student Should Read but Probably Doesn't

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