“Can I Put My Nose In Your Tent?”


“One cold night, as an Arab sat in his tent, a camel gently thrust his nose under the flap and looked in. “Master,” he said, “let me put my nose in your tent. It’s cold and stormy out here.” “By all means,” said the Arab, “and welcome” as he turned over and went to sleep.

A little later the Arab awoke to find that the camel had not only put his nose in the tent but his head and neck also. The camel, who had been turning his head from side to side, said, “I will take but little more room if I place my forelegs within the tent. It is difficult standing out here.” “Yes, you may put your forelegs within,” said the Arab, moving a little to make room, for the tent was small.

Finally, the camel said, “May I not stand wholly inside? I keep the tent open by standing as I do.” “Yes, yes,” said the Arab. “Come wholly inside. Perhaps it will be better for both of us.” So the camel crowded in. The Arab with difficulty in the crowded quarters again went to sleep. When he woke up the next time, he was outside in the cold and the camel had the tent to himself”

There has been a long-term deterioration of our culture when it comes to not only obedience but a recognition that there is any such thing as “morality.” The nose of the camel has long since entered our tents, and its full body is attempting to put us out in the cold. Those of my age have been witnessed, not unlike Mormon, the moral fall of his people in a relatively short period of time. After reporting to Moroni, his son, of the depravity of his people who he said were now “without order and mercy”, he wrote:

“O my beloved son, how can a people like this, that are without civilization—(And only a few years have passed away, and they were a civil and a delightsome people) But O my son, how can a people like this, whose delight is in so much abomination-how can we expect God will stay his hand in judgement against us?” (Moroni 9:11-13)

Surely we should recognize that our culture is beginning to be “without order and mercy” and showing signs of “depravity.”  I bring this depressing subject up to alert us as to the responsibilities we all share in defending the right. I often hear voices shouting, “You want others to live under the definition of ‘your’ morals. Who are you to define it?”  And of course, the answer is that “someone” else will define it if we don’t. If you believe in living apostles and prophets, you need to look no further than them to have our “morals” defined. Even in deteriorating times, we can still “define” a moral code for our homes. They may not be supported anywhere but at church, but our families can have them defined by us, not the world.

Mormon testified of the moral and physical destruction of his people and he could not recommend them to God. But, the silver lining in his words were:

“…my son, I recommend thee unto God, and I trust in Christ that thou wilt be saved” (vs. 22)

We should do our best to influence our society in holding to God’s commandments. And if we fail, at least, like Mormon, we will have hope for our families. If we only succeed in holding to a moral code in our homes, we can still recommend them to God and trust that they will be saved from the unhappiness that always comes when we live in defiance of our Creator. May we guard ourselves, and not be fooled when we are asked, “Can I put my nose in your tent?”

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