Chapter 9 – Chastity
Chapter 10 – Obtaining Joy and Satisfaction
Chapter 11 – Fashion  and Modesty
Chapter 12 – Rebellion
Chapter 13 – Church Meetings
Chapter 14 – Hypocrisy (Sunday-only Mormons)
Chapter 15 – The Sabbath
Chapter 16 – PornographyChapter_9.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_11.htmlChapter_13.htmlChapter_14.htmlChapter_14.htmlChapter_15.htmlChapter_16.htmlshapeimage_2_link_0shapeimage_2_link_1shapeimage_2_link_2shapeimage_2_link_3shapeimage_2_link_4shapeimage_2_link_5shapeimage_2_link_6shapeimage_2_link_7shapeimage_2_link_8shapeimage_2_link_9
Chapter 17 – The Media 
Chapter 18 – The Word of Wisdom 
Chapter 19 – Responsibility
Chapter 20 – School and Learning 
Chapter 21 – Friends and Peer Pressure
Chapter 22 – Stewardship
Chapter 23 – Idolatry
Chapter 24 – Consecration
PDF VersionChapter_17.htmlChapter_18.htmlChapter_19.htmlChapter_20.htmlChapter_21.htmlChapter_21.htmlChapter_22.htmlChapter_23.htmlChapter_24.html
Chapter 1 – Understanding Isaiah
Chapter 2 – Leaders and Role Models
Chapter 3 – Gangs
Chapter 4 – Fasting
Chapter 5 – Victims of bullying
Chapter 6 – Bullying
Chapter 7 – HomosexualitY
Chapter 8 – DatingPreface.htmlIntroduction.htmlChapter_1.htmlChapter_2.htmlChapter_3.htmlChapter_4.htmlChapter_5.htmlChapter_6.htmlChapter_7.htmlChapter_8.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0shapeimage_4_link_1shapeimage_4_link_2shapeimage_4_link_3shapeimage_4_link_4shapeimage_4_link_5shapeimage_4_link_6shapeimage_4_link_7shapeimage_4_link_8shapeimage_4_link_9

The Law of Obedience and Rebellion

19 If ye be willing and obedient,

     ye shall eat the good of the land:

20 But if ye refuse and rebel,

     ye shall be devoured with the sword:

          for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

(Isaiah 1:19-20)

     The meaning is pretty obvious for the most part, right?  It falls into the “plain and precious” category, right?  No?  You don’t see what’s so precious about an idea so plain?  That’s okay; I didn’t see it either until I had read it through several times and thought about it.  It seems to me that this verse outlines the very basic Law of Obedience and Rebellion – “Obedience results in blessings.  Rebellion results in violence.”  It operates on the family level, the academic level, the civic level, and the national level, and most of all the spiritual level.  Think about why it is Law.  If rebellion is allowed to continue, what happens?  A house divided against itself will fall.

     The Law of Obedience and Rebellion is universal.  However, we’re only going to talk about how it affects teens.  It tells teenagers what they can expect from a good parent when they are obedient and what to expect when they are not.  Think of how confusing and frustrating it would be to have a parent who rewards you for obedience one day but punishes you for obedience the next day.

     The Law of Obedience and Rebellion also bites both ways, like a sword with two sharp edges.  It tells your parents that if they want to have a well-regulated, peaceful family, they must treat you consistently by rewarding obedience and punishing rebellion.  No parent can break this law without having their family disintegrate into chaos and anarchy.  God Himself keeps this law.  When Satan and his followers rebelled in heaven against the Plan of Salvation, God permitted them the agency of choosing, yet they had chosen a way that would destroy others’ agency, which was against the law of God, so they had to be punished.  The rebellion in heaven did result in violence, known as “The War In Heaven”, and throwing Satan and his followers out of heaven brought an end to it up there.  (So now they work on trying to incite rebellion down here.)

     When I first started this chapter, I had the perception in my mind that rebellion and obedience only consisted of what a person does, and whether it is according to the commandments of God or not.  However, in gathering material for this chapter and writing about it, I realized that the ideas of rebellion and obedience that Isaiah explored were much more subtle than I had thought.  I realized that not only did it consist of a person’s actions, but a person’s words and even thoughts about authority.  I discovered a person’s actions and words are the letter of the law, while the spirit of the law must guide a person’s thoughts.

     Isaiah’s observations and condemnations of rebellion are useful for Latter-day Saint teenagers who want to stay strong in the Gospel and who are eager to root out seeds of spiritual rebellion and disobedience in their lives no matter where they find them, and who only need to know what to look for in their own thoughts,  attitudes,  intents, and words.  I even discovered a few rebellious attitudes in myself that Isaiah illuminated for me, and I’m working on extracting them from my thoughts.  (See, not even an author is perfect.)  Fasten your seatbelts, we’re going in!

The Temptation to Fight With Your Heavenly Father About What He’s Going to Do With You

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!

Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth.

Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou?

or thy work, He hath no hands?

(Isaiah 45:9)

     Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! – This shows us that Heavenly Father is like the potter and we are like the clay He forms into something beautiful and useful.  It would be so silly to start fighting with our Maker about what He’s making us into, because after all, we are still a work in progress.  What we are now is not what we will be forever; it’s merely a stage in our development.  Furthermore, we really have no idea how glorious we are destined to become if we remain pliant and plastic and obedient.

     Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? – This line shows that when we ask the Lord what He’s doing to us at a crucial moment in our development, then that is rebellious, because we want to decide whether it is something we want to be or not.  Kind of like “Tell me what you are doing so I can mess it up and frustrate your plans.”  It shows we are not fully submissive, and we are inclined to rebel.  What we can ask instead is, “What can I learn from this?”  No only that, we can pray, “Help me want to become what Thou does want me to become.”  That is much more pleasing to the Lord.

     Or[shall] thy work [say], He hath no hands? – This is ever so rebellious, because it is denying that it is the hand of the Lord in our life that is shaping us.  It shows that we really don’t think that the Lord can make something good out of us.  It is distrusting His power and goodness.  We think that just because we don’t see giant leaps of progress it means the Lord isn’t working on us. The truth is that the Lord is so powerful that through our obedience He can prod us to perfect ourselves using the tiniest of motivators and over time those changes add up into a mighty change of heart.  (It’s when we’re rebellious that He has to practically run us over with a cement truck to get our attention.  And you can bet that isn’t fun.)

     Instead, we need to start looking for how the Lord is working in our lives.  To me, it is like a treasure hunt.  I examine the events of my life to see if I can see the Lord’s hand in it.  Every time I see it, I feel loved, and I have to write it in my journal so that I can remember it later.

     Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth – First, what’s a “potsherd”?  I found out that it means a shard of a clay pot, a broken piece.  Once we understand that, this line of Isaiah becomes something like “let the broken pieces of pots strive with all the broken pieces of pots on the earth.”  We could say that the broken pieces of pots represent those who have broken themselves against the commandments.  They then argue with everybody about why their lives fell all to pieces.  Spencer W. Kimball said:

Man is not free to determine truth. . . .That was decided eternities ago. . . .We have the free agency to do the right or do the wrong, but who are we to alter those changeless things?  We can scoff at sacred things, express our own little opinions, but remember that millions of men and women with keener minds than ours, with more erudite training than yours and mine, have said things and done things more startling, more ugly, more skeptical than you or I could think of. . . .They have all come to grief or will ultimately.1

The Temptation to Think That Your Earthly Parents Don’t Know What They’re Doing

Woe unto him that saith unto his father,

     What begettest thou?

or to the woman,

     What hast thou brought forth?

(Isaiah 45:10)

     This is like our teenage tendency to fight with our parents and yell, “What are you trying to do?!  You’re ruining my life!!”

     One of the reasons you and your parents find yourselves in so many arguments is that your goals are different from your parents’ goals.  Your parents’ goals are to teach you.  In eighteen years they must help you become righteous and teach you important life skills (like how to work, how to manage money, how to be responsible, how to take care of yourselves, and so on).  They must also keep you safe from hidden evil.  And your teenage goals?  Having fun. 

     It is so easy to yell, “You’re ruining my life!” when your parents thwart your attempts to have fun with your friends or make you work.  But, I can tell you that if you make your goals for yourself the same as your parents’ goals for you, then you’ll realize that they are not trying to ruin your life.  They are really trying to improve it.  Ask yourself what you can learn from the hard things they ask you to do.  Or ask them what they are trying to teach you.  That will make it more of a worthwhile experience.  It will also unify you with your parents.  Think of that – you can achieve one mind with your parents on what you should do!  No more arguments!  No more irritation!  Perfect peace and tranquility!

     When I was a teenager, my dad brought to me a four-page document he had created for me.  I was startled to find that it was an enormous outline.  It listed my teenage goals, then my parents’ goals for me, ways I had progressed that pleased them, things they would do for me unconditionally (love me, feed me, clothe me, house me, take me on vacations, provide basic schooling, medical care, etc.), then things they would do for me (like college, car, computer) if I fulfilled certain conditions.  It listed things I wanted to do that required that I build their trust, and a whole list of things I could do to build their trust.  It was rather scary to me to have my parents’ goals for me brought to my attention all at once, and it was sometimes scary to review that document, but because it made everything so clear and simple I kept it and consulted it every once in a while.  (And would you believe it?  I even treasured it!  I would think, “How many teenagers have a list of their parents’ expectations for them down on paper that they can follow?”  I still have it even now!)  The biggest reason that knowing these things helped me trust my parents was that they had a fantastic history of consistency.  Their goals for me were what they stated, and they walked the talk.  They did what they promised they would do, whether it was a punishment or a reward.  That document would have meant nothing if they had reneged on their promises, but they didn’t. 

     But what if your parents aren’t consistent?  Or what if their parenting style seems to be driving you away from the truth?  This is a very difficult situation.  About the best thing that you can do is do what Nephi did when his whole family (including his prophetic father) was murmuring against the Lord.  They were all hungry and Nephi knew his father was wrong to murmur.  What did Nephi do?  Nephi asked his father where he should go to get food.  (1 Nephi 16:23)  He was asking for directions.  Lehi asked the Lord about where to go, and the Lord chastened Lehi, as well as gave the directions they needed. 

The Temptation to Run Away (From Home, or From the Lord, or From Your Problems)

15 For thus saith the Lord GOD,

the Holy One of Israel;

     In returning and rest shall ye be saved;

     in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength:

          and ye would not.

16         But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses;

               therefore shall ye flee:

          and, We will ride upon the swift;

               therefore shall they that pursue you be swift.

17              One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one;

               at the rebuke of five shall ye flee:

                    till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain,

                    and as an ensign on an hill.

(Isaiah 30:15-17)

     This is one of those places where I had to read it over and over and over again and pray really hard before I started to see a way to apply this to teenagers in a way you can understand.  Here it is:  Pretend Israel is a teenager who has run away from home, and read the verses that way.

     For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength – The Lord asks runaway Israel to come back where it is nice and quiet and peaceful, because He knows it’s a big, bad, scary world out there.

     “Returning” is Isaiah’s word for “repenting”.  Repentance saves us from guilt so that we don’t have to run from our conscience.  “Rest” refers to a feeling of confidence that one’s course of conduct is pleasing to the Lord.  The feeling of rest saves us from becoming unsure of ourselves when others try to pressure us into doing something we know is wrong.  It gives us the confidence to resist temptation.

     Our goal in life is to discover that feeling of rest and assurance, and become so submissive to our Heavenly Father that the second we discover we have done something wrong, we repent as fast as we can so that we can have that feeling back. 

     [A]nd ye would not. But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses. . .and, We will ride upon the swift – Israel says, “No, we’re leaving, and we’re running away as fast as we can.”  We tend to think we can take care of ourselves, you see, without any help from the Lord.  (All I can say is, “You call running away, and getting chased away everywhere ‘taking care of yourselves’?!”)  We run away from the Lord when we try to avoid doing our duty or callings.  Jonah ran away from the Lord when he was called to preach to Ninevah, and we know how the Lord whaled on him!

     [T]herefore shall ye flee. . .therefore shall they that pursue you be swift. One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee  - Then the Lord says, “Running away from your problems won’t do any good.  Your problems will chase you just as fast as you run away from them.  If you run away, you’ll soon run away at every hint of trouble!”  And that is really what happens when you run away from your problems.  You’ll only find new problems, and they join the chase.  You’ll run away, and run away, and run away, until you learn the lesson that you have to take a stand and face your problems before they go away.

     [T]ill ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill - Taking a stand and toughing it out and facing your problems is what it means to be a beacon upon the top of a mountain and an ensign on a hill.  That’s what we’re supposed to do.  We’re also supposed to return to God by repenting and then standing as His witnesses to the world.

     So we learn here that running away is also a sort of rebellion, the rebellion of avoidance.  Isaiah teaches us that if we rebel by trying to run away, it just makes things worse and we even lose what ability we have to deal with our problems.  The real solution is to return and repent, and face problems with the Lord’s help. 

The Temptation to Think Rebellion Is Good For Society

21 How is the faithful city

     become an harlot!

it was full of judgment;

righteousness lodged in it;

     but now murderers.

22 Thy silver

     is become dross,

thy wine

     mixed with water:

23 Thy princes

     are rebellious,

     and companions of thieves:

     every one loveth gifts,

     and followeth after rewards:

     they judge not the fatherless,

     neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

(Isaiah 1:21-23)

     This tells us that in terms of society, rebellion is corruption.  In business, rebellion takes the form of fraud.  In marriage, rebellion is adultery and fornication.  In the justice system, rebellion is injustice (murder, bribery, etc.). It also tells us that in terms of the gospel, rebellion is sin.  There’s just no way to rebel against faithfulness, justice, and high standards, and doing your civic duty without involving corruption and sin.

     When I went to BYU for my first year of college I gained new insight as to why some people feel driven to rebel.  As I sat on a bench outside the cafeteria I watched all the other freshmen students go by, and all of them looked just as bright and shiny and happy as I thought I looked.  I had been used to sticking out as an extra good person in high school, and I started to wonder how I would be able to stick out of the crowd as an individual around so many good people.  Satan lied to me right then and there by saying, “The only way you can stick out here is to lower your standards and rebel against the gospel.”  Then he tempted me, “You don’t want to be a cookie-cutter Mormon just like everybody else, do you?”  Yet the thought of dropping my standards seemed distasteful to me and made me feel sad, since I had always tried so hard to maintain those standards.  At this point the Spirit said to me, “The best way to stick out among a bunch of good people is to be extra good!”  The thought of trying to become extra good seemed like a fascinating challenge to me, and I had a good feeling inside when I thought about it, so I decided to do it.  Now I can tell you from that experience that purifying yourself establishes your individuality more effectively than corrupting yourself.

The Temptation to Think It Is Okay to Rebel a Little Bit

Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.

(Isaiah 31:6)

     Israel was so rebellious it was positively revolting!  (Yessss!  I made a pun!)

     Silly jokes aside, it seems to me that we need to explore those two words “deeply revolted”.  We can see that it means breaking major commandments.  But if we haven’t broken major commandments, it’s easy to say that this scripture doesn’t apply to us, since we only rebel a little bit.

     But now I begin to wonder, why do we permit ourselves to rebel “a little bit”?  Do we think it can do no harm to us?  I’ve noticed that the little faults and sins that I think are most harmless tend to be the most deeply entrenched in my character.  Perhaps that is what Isaiah means by “deeply revolted”; those things that are wrong which we think we need not repent of are our deepest rebellions.  “Turn ye unto him from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted” is Isaiah’s way of saying, “Big sin or small, they all must go!”

     One of my most deeply entrenched revolts in my life since my teenage years has been the tendency to go to bed too late at night.  Sounds silly, doesn’t it?  Yet it is a major problem for me, because I keep trying and failing to get rid of this bad habit.  Part of me thinks it is no big deal because there are a bunch of things that are much, much worse, but the other part of me knows that it IS a big deal, precisely because it is something I struggle with.  I know what Heavenly Father has said in D&C 88:124 about the need to go to bed early, so to go contrary to that is still rebellion.  I know very well that the only way I will be able to conquer it is by turning completely to God for help, and not looking back like Lot’s wife.  It is a constant struggle.

     You probably have some faults like this too.  I urge you to go on a seek-and-destroy mission to eradicate them as quickly as possible with the Atonement. 

The Temptation to Think That You Don’t Need the Atonement of Christ

Wo unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity,

and sin as it were with a cart rope.

(Isaiah 5:18)

     This means to draw (as in pull) a cart full of iniquity with cords of vanity.  That’s an interesting mental image.  I visualize that we are tied with ropes of pride to a cart full of sins resembling boulders.  We can’t get rid of the burden until we give it to Christ by repenting.  That may be what Christ was talking about when he said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. . .and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)  Of course the burden that he’d give us is light!  It is no burden at all, because there’s no cart full of sins to pull anymore after we repent. 

     What are some ropes of pride that tie us to our sins?  Well, there’s the “That’s-just-the-way-I-am” rope, which is nearly identical to the “I-was-born-this-way” rope.  There’s the “It’s-not-that-bad” rope, and the “All-the-good-things-I-do-will-cancel-out-the-bad-things-I-do-so-I-don’t-need-to-repent” rope, and the “I’m-afraid-to-confess-for-fear-of-what-people-would-say” rope.  Then there’s everyone’s favorites, the “Everyone-else-did-it-too” rope, the “I-just-did-it-once-so-it-can’t-have-hurt-anyone” rope, and the “No-one-knew-about-it” ropes.  A rope that is growing in popularity these days is the “What-I-do-in-my-private-time-is-nobody’s-business-but-my-own” rope.  The problem is these ropes, these proud, rebellious attitudes, keep us from progressing and open the door to worse sins.  If Satan uses a certain lie on us and it gets us to sin, you can bet he’ll keep using that lie on us to try to get us to do worse and worse things.

The Temptation to Procrastinate the Day of Your Repentance

The Temptation to Procrastinate the Years of Your Obedience

That say:

     Let him make speed,

     hasten his work,

          that we may see it;

     and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come,

          that we may know it

(Isaiah 5:19)

     The kind of person Isaiah describes here wants a testimony of a principle before they obey it.  They are the type that won’t believe until they see it.

     This type of person wants to see the gospel fill the earth before they will consent to be a missionary.  They don’t see the need to date people with high standards until, oops, they have to have a civil marriage, because they aren’t worthy of a temple marriage.  They don’t further their education until after they lose their job.  They don’t consider pornography dangerous until they have already become addicted to it.  They would doubt the inevitability of the Second Coming and not think of repenting until it happened, and of course they would be caught unprepared.  They would delay paying their tithing until they saw that non-tithe payers really were being burned at the coming of the Lord, and of course they would find themselves burning too.  It causes them to procrastinate their repentance, and procrastinate their obedience.  Because they say they’ll believe it when they see it, they never have time to prepare.  In plain, understandable Book of Mormon terms, “there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe. Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay for if a [teenager] knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.  And now, how much more cursed is he that knoweth the will of God and doeth it not, than he that only believeth, or only hath cause to believe, and falleth into transgression?” (Alma 32:17-19)

     Why is this “seeing is believing” attitude rebellious?  Because it denies the simple truth that during our mortal existence, we must walk by faith.  Rather than saying, “seeing is believing, we must say, “believing is seeing”.  Before the eyes of our reason and logic can be opened, we must open our eyes of faith.  If you can see with your eyes of faith, you will NEVER walk in darkness.

     My second year going to BYU, I looked out the window of my dorm room, and I saw two people running toward my dorm building, one behind the other.  The first person had a huge cardboard box over their head that went down to about their knees; there was no way they could see where they were going.  The second person was steering the giant running cardboard box so that the person inside it didn’t run into anything and knock themselves silly.  The person inside the box didn’t need to actually see they were soon going to go down steps.  All they needed to do was listen to the directions and warnings they were given, and see with the eye of faith.  They didn’t need to literally see where they would have to turn.  All they needed to do was follow where they were being steered, and they would be able to imagine the truth, seeing with the eye of faith.

The Temptation to Hate Listening to the Prophets Because They Tell You All the Things You Need to Improve

8 Now go, write it before them in a table,

and note it in a book,

that it may be for time to come for ever and ever:

9     That this is a rebellious people,

     lying children,

     children that will not hear the law of the LORD:

10    Which say to the seers, See not;

     and to the prophets, Prophecy not unto us right things,

          speak unto us smooth things,

          prophesy deceits:

11         Get you out of the way,

          turn aside out of the path,

          cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.

(Isaiah 30:8-11)

     Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophecy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things – The job of prophets isn’t to tell us what we’re doing right or to tell us how wonderful we are, although they do this sometimes.  Their job is to warn us of spiritual dangers.  If anything, they are required to point out where we are weakest, knowing the adversary will soon concentrate on those very spots, if he isn’t already.  Only strengthening those weak areas will save us from being overcome. 

     You can’t expect the prophet and your leaders to only talk about how you are a chosen generation saved for this age, yadda, yadda, yadda.  You also have to listen to them when they tell you what you need to do, because the chosen generation stuff refers mostly to how you were in the pre-earth life, and the choiceness of your upbringing.  It means you have all these spiritual advantages.  But “chosen-ness” doesn’t last unless you choose to listen to the prophet and choose to obey and choose to be valiant.

     If you ever get tired of hearing about a particular subject at youth conferences or youth firesides or anywhere, it is a pretty good indication that that subject is precisely what you need to hear more about.

     Over a hundred years ago, the general authorities harped upon the Word of Wisdom, until people started to complain they were hearing about it too much.  Did that stop the general authorities?  No way.  They kept on about the Word of Wisdom.

     Now the general authorities harp upon chastity, the evils of pornography, and the sanctity of the family.  I’m sure if we were to take it to heart and obey their counsel we wouldn’t find it so annoying.  The only way to get some rest from those topics is to obey.  Then our conscience would let us alone.

The Temptation to Hurry Through the Day Without Taking the Time to Know and Consider God

2 Hear, O heavens,

and give ear, O earth:

     for the LORD hath spoken,

          I have nourished and brought up children,

               and they have rebelled against me.

3                                            The ox knoweth his owner,

                    and the ass his master’s crib:

               but Israel doth not know,

               my people doth not consider.

(Isaiah 1:2-3)

     This scripture contains very strong language.  In it Isaiah says that if we don’t know who our master is and where our spiritual nourishment comes from, we are more stupid than a donkey or an ox, because they know exactly who their master is and where to get their food.

     Why it such rebellion to refuse to know the Lord and consider (or think about) Him?  Because part of the sacramental prayer is that we will always remember Him.  So if we decline to think about God ever, we are not doing what we promised to do.  Instead, we should be alert for reasons to think about God.  We have to do a lot of thinking about God, because we want to become like Him, and becoming like God does not happen by accident, especially in this world. 

     Thinking, “What would Jesus do?” in tricky situations is an excellent way to start.  Seeking out descriptions of God in the scriptures is another excellent thing to do, because then you can find out fascinating divine practices that you can cultivate, like praying for people in their presence (3 Nephi 17:17), remembering those who depend on you (Isaiah 49:15-16), having compassion on the handicapped (3 Nephi 17:6-7), and much more!

     In the course of my writing this book, I found myself discovering just how interesting the Lord is.  As I’ve studied what Isaiah says about what God is like, I discovered that I really wanted to become like that too.  I simply can’t express how fascinating the subject is to me now.  I learned about His tender feelings, His untiring concern for us, His strength, His genius, His mercy, His burning enthusiasm for the truth, His patience, His precision, how He loves the underdog, and how He can use the unlearned to do His greatest works, I learned how He teaches so plainly, how He can turn things upside down to humble the proud, how obedient He is, how much He loves our obedience, how He comforts our fears and dries our tears, and on and on..  He’s the coolest person you can ever get to know!

The Temptation to Think That Hypocrisy Isn’t Rebellion

5 O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger,

and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.

6     I will send him against an hypocritical nation,

     and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge,

          to take the spoil,

          and to take the prey,

          and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

(Isaiah 10:5-6)

     It says that Israel was a “hypocritical nation”.  They were faithful to God in word, but rebelled against God in deed, thinking it would make their lives easier.  To show them that hypocrisy brought them into spiritual half-slavery, the Lord used the Assyrians to “tread them down like mire of the streets” and allowed them to be brought into a temporal half-slavery where they had to give up a substantial amount of wealth every year as a tribute.  From this we can learn that freedom is only obtained through complete obedience to the commandments.  Hypocrisy just doesn’t cut it. 

     This is a good thing for you to remember as you become more independent and want more freedom at home.  The more obedient you can be to your parents’ rules, the more freedom you will deserve.  The less obedient you are, the less freedom you will deserve.

     When I was a teenager, my parents gave me chances to prove that I would come home from my friend’s house when I said I would.  But I would have so much fun that I would delay leaving until the last possible moment, and that made me late.  Because I was hypocritical and didn’t come home when I said I would, my parents took away my privilege of visiting my friends later in the evening.  My brother, on the other hand, always came home when he said he would, and so he got to stay with his friends much later than I ever did. 

     My parents also gave me the chance to prove that I would be responsible with a credit card.  They gave me a credit card (excited noises in all the land) and told me that I should use it for getting gas for the truck I drove and for emergencies.  I was very careful with it.  I only used it for getting gas, and since I didn’t know what qualified as an emergency, I didn’t use it for anything else, unless my parents told me to.  They allowed me to take this credit card to college because I was so careful.  My brother was also given a credit card, but he always seemed to be looking for excuses to use it.  Eventually my parents took it away from him and gave him a card that only worked at certain gas stations. 

     As you can see, when we did what we said we would do, we proved we were trustworthy and our parents gave us more freedom.  When we were hypocritical and didn’t do what we said we would do, our freedoms were taken away.  I challenge you to experiment upon the principle of obedience and see what happens when you are constantly obedient to your parents.  Who knows what fabulous freedoms you will be given?!  Find out!

     Thanks to Isaiah, we’ve learned to distinguish many subtle forms of rebellion and learned what we should do instead:

1) Be submissive and meek instead of fighting with our Creator

2) Supporting and honoring our parents instead of reproaching them

3) Taking a stand and facing our problems instead of running away from them, running away from home, running away from God

4) Repenting constantly and humbling ourselves, instead of continuing to drag our sins along with us because of our pride.

5) Repenting and obeying immediately, instead of procrastinating our repentance and procrastinating our obedience

6) Being anxious to hear from our leaders so that we can know what to do next, instead of tired of it.

7) Appreciating warning instead of despising it.

8) Knowing and considering God as master and source of our spiritual nourishment, instead of ignoring Him or refusing to acknowledge Him

9) Doing what we say we will do, instead of being hypocritical

We’ve also learned that rebellion is corruption, and submission to God is purity.


1 The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball, Bookcraft Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1982, p. 160.

Chapter 1 – Understanding Isaiah
 Chapter 2 – Leaders and Role Models 
 Chapter 3 – Gangs
Chapter 4 – Fasting 
Chapter 5 – Victims of bullying
 Chapter 6 – Bullying 
Chapter 7 – HomosexualitY
Chapter 8 – DatingPreface.htmlIntroduction.htmlChapter_1.htmlChapter_2.htmlChapter_3.htmlChapter_4.htmlChapter_5.htmlChapter_6.htmlChapter_7.htmlChapter_8.htmlshapeimage_6_link_0shapeimage_6_link_1shapeimage_6_link_2shapeimage_6_link_3shapeimage_6_link_4shapeimage_6_link_5shapeimage_6_link_6shapeimage_6_link_7shapeimage_6_link_8shapeimage_6_link_9
 Chapter 9 – Chastity
 Chapter 10 – Obtaining Joy and Satisfaction
 Chapter 11 – Fashion  and Modesty
  Chapter 12 – Rebellion 
Chapter 13 – Church Meetings
Chapter 14 – Hypocrisy (Sunday-only Mormons)
 Chapter 15 – The SabbathChapter_9.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_10.htmlChapter_11.htmlChapter_13.htmlChapter_14.htmlChapter_14.htmlChapter_15.htmlshapeimage_7_link_0shapeimage_7_link_1shapeimage_7_link_2shapeimage_7_link_3shapeimage_7_link_4shapeimage_7_link_5shapeimage_7_link_6shapeimage_7_link_7shapeimage_7_link_8
 Chapter 16 – Pornography 
 Chapter 17 – The Media
 Chapter 18 – The Word of Wisdom 
 Chapter 19 – Responsibility
 Chapter 20 – School and Learning 
 Chapter 21 – Friends and Peer Pressure
Chapter 22 – Stewardship
Chapter 23 – Idolatry
Chapter 24 – ConsecrationChapter_16.htmlChapter_17.htmlChapter_18.htmlChapter_19.htmlChapter_20.htmlChapter_21.htmlChapter_22.htmlChapter_23.htmlChapter_24.htmlshapeimage_8_link_0shapeimage_8_link_1shapeimage_8_link_2shapeimage_8_link_3shapeimage_8_link_4shapeimage_8_link_5shapeimage_8_link_6shapeimage_8_link_7shapeimage_8_link_8