The Seduction Of “Good”


I have met very few ‘bad’ people in my life. I know they are out there but seldom if ever do I personally come across them. I naturally think most people are ‘good’ and for the most part they are. They are nice, polite, will help others out, and live pretty good lives. Nothing wrong with that! But…being a ‘good’ person doesn’t equate with living a life that is of the standards that will lead to eternal life with God.

When I first went away to college I roomed with three other young men who were ‘good’ guys. I liked them and we did a lot of things together. The problem was, I had set some personal standards that they had no desire to live. They regularly drank beer and one of them smoked like a chimney. Another used some mild drugs and all three had no moral laws regarding chastity. Pornography was freely displayed and talked about. Cursing was a regular part of their vocabulary. It was a regular ‘party house.’ None had any interest in a church, yet, despite these differences, I liked all three and I knew they would give the shirt off their backs for me if needed. I felt the same about them. They were genuinely nice to others but maintained standards that I could not, in the long run tolerate. Why? Because with time I could see that I was beginning to not only tolerate their behavior, and accept it, I was becoming dangerously close to embracing it. In fact I could see that I was beginning to weaken to their ways. Slowly I was being seduced into thinking that if they were nice people, they were ‘celestial’ people. But there is a difference.

The scriptures teach us that:
“Speaking of the resurrection of the dead…”And shall come forth; they who have done good, in the resurrection of the just; and they who have done evil, in the resurrection of the unjust.”

There is that word ‘good’ being associated with those wo are resurrected with the just. But later there is a distinction given even between the just or good. Those who are valiant in defense of Jesus Christ and abide by His laws are raised to a higher degree of glory than:

“they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men. These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness.” (D&C 76)

So often over my lifetime I have heard people be critical of the church and its standards by saying that they know a lot of people who don’t follow them that are ‘good’ people. They are being seduced into thinking, as I was, that being ‘good’ is all you have to be to inherit the kingdom of God. Perhaps that is true, but the doctrine of the Lord seems to call for more out of a person than just being ‘good’ as defined by us.

The Lord, of course, will be the judge of us all. But, for me, I learned that it is easy to love almost every man. There is so much good in everyone. Yet, I left college that year after only a semester. I did so because I really liked those roommates of mine, but I saw that the path they chose was different from what I thought I needed to reach God. I never regretted it.

Being ‘good’ while not obeying God’s laws, as revealed through prophets, is simply falling short, in my mind of the goal. All of us must make a decision to believe, or not to believe, in the path charted by the prophets, and then act accordingly. But let us not be seduced by the ways of the world and think that simply being a nice person is ‘good’ enough.

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