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In 2 Nephi 9:14, Jacob speaks somewhat concerning the life after the resurrection, specifically our recollection of all we did that was bad and good.

Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness.

Predictably, I initially started thinking about the difference there; how we will remember all we did that was unclean, yet remember all we did that was right. I also briefly thought about how it seems everyone will remember the bad (righteous or not), but not everyone will have good to remember.

But then I started pondering the phrase “and their righteousness”. I pondered the whole meaning of righteousness?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùwhat Jacob means my righteousness, what God means by righteousness. As I reflected on this during my commute, I wondered if sometimes we approach righteousness from a misguided directions.

I wondered if the Word of Wisdom is not really about tobacco and coffee. I wondered if tithing is not really about the money. I wondered if bearing false witness isn’t really about honesty. I wondered if all the commandments we have before us are not really about the issue on which we focus.

What I also wondered if righteousness is more about simply following God’s will. I wondered, for example, if God gives us a commandment to not smoke tobacco that He’s doing so not because it’s healthy for us, but because He wants us to obey Him. I wondered, for example, if He gives us a commandment to pay 10% of our increase to the Church that He’s doing so not because He wants us to sacrifice, but because He wants us to obey Him.

This scripture made me reflect on whether the reasons we seem to attach to the commandments are simply icing on the cake. The health from living the Word of Wisdom, the sacrifice from living the law of tithing, the fidelity from living chaste lives, and so forth.

It gave me a completely different outlook on what righteousness really is.

3 thoughts on “Righteousness

  1. Kim,

    This reminds me of the “obedience is better than sacrifice” bit. I like where you’re going with these thoughts, and would add that those who do the Lord’s will because they love Him are the super-righteous. Of course, I speak as one who has very little experience with this…


  2. God wanting us to keep the commandments because He wants us to obey Him just hits me a little wrong. I guess if you consider He wants us to obey Him, not for the obedience sake, but because He wants to bless us. He wants us to change, become more like Him, and He knows we can only do that by obedience to His commandments.

    He can’t bless us if we don’t keep the commandments. Blessings are based on keeping the commandments according to the D&C.

    I’ve always taught my children that obedience is the first law of heaven. I want them to obey me because I know what is best for them at the time. I don’t want them to obey me just because I’m bigger, meaner, or their dad.

    I think God wants obedience, not for obedience sake but for the blessing He can give us when we do obey.

  3. Don,

    God’s blessing us is not absolutely tied to our obedience. He blesses many people all the time who are not obedient. Certainly obediences leads to blessings, but blessings are not always a result of obedience.

    I find it easier to fathom God wanting us to obey so we can learn obedience and discipline than fathoming He wants us to obey Him so that we can get a reward.

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