I was listening to a talk today in sacrament meeting where the speaker was putting great emphasis on the fact that the leaders of the LDS church seek for members to obey their leaders out of understanding rather than blindly obeying. I’m confident that most people would concede that this is the ideal for any organization. The question that came to my mind was – in cases where someone has not gained an understanding regarding why they have been asked to do something, would church leaders prefer blind obedience or would they prefer inaction from those who do not understand?
I know some people would find that question easy to answer – those who view church leaders as power-hungry would argue that they would obviously prefer blind obedience in all cases where understanding has not been attained. Since I do not see the leaders of the church as seekers of power I don’t believe that absolute answer. I would think that they would prefer blind obedience only when inaction was identical to opposition. Otherwise it seems that seeking to understand would be of greater importance in most cases than ignorant obedience.
Of course in seeking to understand there is the counsel from the Lord that “If any man will do his will (obey), he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I (whoever is declaring the doctrine or commandment) speak of myself. ” (John 7:17) This suggests that seeking for understanding would require obedience to those things that you do understand as well as an eyes-wide-open test, through action (obedient action being the assumption), in order to gain understanding of whatever the leaders are saying that you do not understand yet. The question is, is that blind obedience, or is that simply a logical, clinical test? I think of it as a clinical test.