When Changing Laws Is ‘Right’


It was around six o’clock in the morning on a work day when I found myself sitting impatiently at a stoplight on my way to work. It was the spring of 1975 as I waited and waited and waited for that light to turn green. I looked around and could see no car in sight, any direction. It was only a right turn on a red-light! It seemed stupid to me to have to wait. After all, a right turn seemed so natural, without potential for problems. Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer. I put my blinker on and pulled out. No sooner had I taken the turn towards work when I saw a light flashing behind me. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a police car behind me. I couldn’t believe it! I pulled to the side of the road and watched as the officer made his way to my car. “Did you know I was sitting right behind you?” he said. “No”, I answered sheepishly. I could tell he couldn’t believe I could be so stupid. He wrote me a ticket that day for going through a red-light. Now, I know you might be thinking, “a right turn on red” is legal. Well, not so in 1975. It wasn’t made legal in Maryland till 1980! So today, what is done all the time, was illegal.

Who knows why it was illegal back then. It made sense to me then that making a “right on red” was simple and problem free. However, the law was not in my favor back then and I had to pay the fine. Laws and rules change all the time. What once was legal becomes a crime, and visa versa. The gospel is much the same. Although the doctrine is the same from eternity to eternity, some of the laws and commandments governing them change with the times. Just during my lifetime I have seen many policy changes on the way the church is governed. The age of priesthood advancement, age of missionaries, small and insignificant changes in the temple ceremony and the list goes on and on. I could spend hours naming the changes in my lifetime alone. None of these changes has altered the gospel, but has in the way the gospel is administered. Often I have heard critics complain of changes that are made in the church. Remember that the Jews had a tough time accepting Christ. They were so caught up in the law of Moses, that they could not accept it’s fulfillment.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5: 17).

As time moves forward we will be witness to changes in the administration of the gospel. We should not disturbed! While God’s doctrine is unchanging, the laws given to govern His people ebb and flow according to their needs.

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