Today I read Exodus 30 where the Lord gives instructions on Atonement sacrifices and incense and altars. It is interesting to me that the Lord would give instructions to the children of Israel that Atonement sacrifices are to be done with money. I do think it is really neat that no matter how rich or poor you are, you pay the same amount for an Atonement sacrifice. I suppose this is the justification that some churches use to solicit funds for salvation. It's just so sad to me that the people are so willing to trust those in positions of religious authority that they would trust their ministers/preachers that what they say is right and the will of God. It's no different than some Latter-day Saints and how we are viewed by the outside world. As a missionary I was accused of blind obedience more than once. I always thought it was interesting that we are the only church accused of that. But I can see why someone might think that Latter-day Saints believe everything their leaders tell them.
What they don't understand is that Latter-day Saints have the Gift of the Holy Ghost and if we are worthy of it, we can have the spirit of discernment with us and can tell immediately upon hearing it if what we are being told is correct or not. We will feel the Spirit testify to us that what we are being told/taught is true and right. And if we have doubts, we can always go to the Lord, the source of all truth, and ask Him to confirm it to us. And He will tell us one way or the other. Although I suspect that most Latter-day Saints don't even need to take advantage of this step if they are living righteously. They just need to listen to the still small voice and be receptive to what the Spirit tells us.
It can sometimes be hard though to hear the still small voice when it is testifying of truth to us. There are so many distractions in the world, however sometimes the biggest distraction is us. Every Sunday I look around the chapel during Sacrament meeting and see people sleeping, playing on their phone or tablet, lost in thought or any number of other activities other than listening to the speaker. Last month in General Conference Elder Hallstrom talked about being active in the church, but less active in the Gospel, and that is exactly what he was talking about. Some people go to church every Sunday but they don't pay attention. They are not invested in feeling the Spirit and getting the most out of their worship. It saddens me really to see it happening, but just like with the parable of the 10 virgins, we cannot share our oil/testimony with others. We have to work out our own salvation. No one can force us to become converted to the Lord, we have to make a conscious choice and it is not a one time event as some would have us believe. It takes consistent work to be converted to the Lord because at any time we can fall away. We have to be constantly vigilant to try and stay on the strait and narrow path. Jesus never said it would be easy, He only said it would be worth it. And it is! Until tomorrow.