One of Claire’s friends gave a talk in church a while back about what I’ve started to call the “three levels of obedience.”

(Yes I liked the thought enough to give it a name.:)

He talked about how the FIRST LEVEL of obedience is where you are obedient because you are too nervous not to.

Like when kids obey parents, teachers or leaders because they’re worried they’ll get in trouble if they don’t.

The SECOND LEVEL is when obedience becomes transactional.

You make your bed and you get a sticker on your chart.

You come home in time for curfew so you won’t get grounded.

But the third level… that’s when it becomes so good.

That’s when obedience becomes transformational.

Because the THIRD LEVEL is when you just desire to do things because you know they have the power to change you for the better.

You reach out to others because you are curious about them and you want to get to know them.

You go to church because you want to learn to be more like Jesus, and like those others who fill the hallways there, trying their best in their own unique ways.

I loved being taught those levels because to be honest, sometimes the word “obedience” gets me a little fussed up.

Because sometimes I think we translate it as blindly following without thinking.

But that third level of obedience? It’s the kind that takes some thought:

“I want to do this.”

Just like thinking long and hard about those “Decisions in Advance” did for us kids growing up.

True obedience comes from the wholehearted desire to give our hearts to God.

And see where that takes us.

Something I’m always working on. And failing at. And then working on again.

“Oh God of second chances, here I am again.”

Just some quick thoughts from the desert on this Super Bowl Sunday where you can almost feel the energy in the air (since it’s happening here, right along with the Phoenix Open).

Happy Sunday!

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  1. I like this. The levels make sense. Although to go along with the third level – there is a form of obedience that comes from your personal decision to do the things you made promises to do – things that have to do with your religion. Like when you go through the temple, you are not just checking a box. You are promising to do the things that your church teaches, like wear garments. If you don’t, are you being obedient?

    And, maybe more importantly, obedience is NOT doing the things your church frowns on. The church you made a covenant to be a part of. Not necessarily the BIG things like premarital sex, getting drunk, killing someone…. but the small things, the things it is so easy to NOT be obedient to. Are they less important? Like no double ear piercings, showing shoulders, wearing garments….

    Maybe there should be a fourth level. Obedience in keeping sacred covenants.

    1. Yolanda, you are not wrong. Temple covenants and all our covenants are sacred and important. Unfortunately, some members choose to be keep their covenants and some don’t. Everyone has agency. As is stated in the temple, “garments are a symbol of taking upon us the name of Christ and a reminder of our temple covenants”. Either you believe that phrase (and live that phrase) or you don’t.

  2. ****CRICKETS**** oh well, disappointed but not surprised. I really wanted to get some feedback on this from Shawni (LOL, yeah right) or at least some other LDS members.

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