Sin is a Gradual Process
I remember a gospel lesson when we learned the dangers of sin. We were told that sin doesn't happen all at once, but it happens little by little. We are given the metaphor of a frog. If placed in hot water, the frog will jump out. However, if the frog is placed in cool water and you slowly turn up the temperature a few degrees at a time, the frog will just sit there and boil to death. The lesson is that sin is the same way. It happens slowly and gradually, and we are tempted by small seemingly insignificant things. We aren't going to wake up one day and decide we are going to be mass-murderers, but we might watch a movie that has too much violence. Because we don't see too much danger, we just sit and allow ourselves to sin just a few degrees at a time while our spirit is slowly cooked to death a few degrees at at time.
The Gospel is a Gradual Process
We are also taught that the gospel works the same way. We are told that a new member of the church might not understand some of our core doctrines and beliefs, so it is best to teach them little by little and not all at once. We are given the example of a "milk diet" before a "meat diet". For example, a recent convert or someone investigating the church should only learn about the basic principals of the gospel before learning about the deeper doctrines. This is in the same way that you wouldn't give an infant a meat diet before giving them a milk diet. A recent convert or investigator is considered a spiritual infant that should only be on a spiritual milk diet. If you give the spiritual infant meat, they might have a hard time swallowing your spiritual steak. They might think your core doctrines, beliefs and rituals are kooky and weird. Once they have digested the milk diet for a few years, then they can move on to other selections like grains, fruits and veggies, spiritually speaking of course.
So if we are talking about a shift towards sin, we are talking about a frog being gradually boiled to death. However, if we are talking about learning the gospel, we use the example of milk gradually changed to meat. This tells me more about human behavior more than anything else. What this tells me is that people don't like to change their habits and will only accept change gradually over time. What this also tells me is that we use way too many metaphors in church. Jesus taught in parables, but a metaphor can also be like a rubber band-you stretch it too far and it breaks.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Sin is a Gradual Process