by Jadelyn Bailey
(Editor’s note: Jadelyn Bailey of the Troy Ward is a writer who publishes the blog Abundant Nurturing. The LDS Troy Ward blog regularly features content developed by Sister Bailey).
The deception of “I can do whatever I want” has interesting ramifications when applied to an activity such as riding a four-wheeler in the badlands of Southwestern Wyoming. Even riding on the trails that have been established throughout the badlands is risky. Attempting any trails that are too steep to climb may find the vehicle flipped back on you. Rough weather from one year to the next carves out the soil from around rocks. This can create deep holes on the inclines and declines of a trail in which tires can catch, ejecting riders onto cacti or tick-filled brush. Even with these dangers on the path, it’s far better to stay on the path than traverse the off-path terrain. Rocks and small ravines are hidden by brush, ready to potentially catapult or swallow you, lie amidst the tiny cacti, rattlesnakes, wood chuck holes, ticks and other biting insects. The consequences of leaving the path increase your chances of mild to severe injuries, Lyme disease, even death.
Is doing what you want truly freedom? In the premortal council, the plan of salvation that was presented included the gift of agency. Through the Savior’s atonement, we can continue to receive the Father’s blessings through our faith and obedience to his commandments or, in essence, we drive our four-wheeler on the path. “As we face increased pressure to bow to secular standards… consider what the Book of Mormon teaches about our responsibilities. [In regard to the issue of Amlici wanting to be King] They were taught by King Mosiah to raise their voices for what they felt was right.”¹
Remember the story Elder Clayton told about the little girl who survived the plane crash and walked barefoot in shorts and a t-shirt through rough cold countryside? She found a high place and saw and followed a light — evidence of the right path. “Our lives can be like that, too. There may be times when we have been hurt, when we are tired, and when our lives seem dark and cold. There may be times when we cannot see any light on the horizon and feel like giving up. If we are willing to believe, if we desire to believe, if we choose to believe, then the Savior’s teachings and example will show us the pathway forward.”²
Jesus Declares Fulfillment of Isaiah’s Prophecy
The map of our path is found in the scriptures and through the guidance of the Holy Ghost. “The world can at times be a frightening place in which to live… None…is exempt from exposure to those things which have the potential to drag us down and destroy us…our Father in Heaven has given us the tools we need in order to do so,” Elder Soares quoted President Monson in his recent conference address. Becoming more Captain Moroni-ish helps us deal with the ruts in daily life as we stay on the path.³
When I was riding with my son, he told me to hold on to him and not the vehicle. He was driving because he knew the trails and how to operate the vehicle better than me, his cousin had showed him. When I held onto the vehicle the dips and rocks wrenched my torso into unnatural and painful motions, each whip threatening to fling me from the vehicle into the stillness of the blossoming cacti. When I held onto my son we moved with the path and we could take the dips and rocks easier. We could enjoy the scenery and our movement through it. Holding onto the scriptures and words of our modern day prophets help us move with ease through all the rocks and ravines of our path ensuring our freedom in this life and the next.
¹ Hales, Elder Robert D. “Preserving Agency, Protecting Religious Freedom.” Ensign, May 2015, 112.
² Clayton, Elder L. Whitney. “Choose to Believe.” Ensign, May 2015, 38.
³ Soares, Elder Ulisses. “Yes, We Can and Will Win!” Ensign. May 2015, 70.