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Monday, January 3, 2011

Unrighteous Zeal: Part 2 The Need for Zeal

(This is a series on unrighteous zeal. I'll use quotes from the scriptures, Hugh Nibley's classic essay, "Zeal Without Knowledge" and President Cecil O. Samuelson's recent address, "Appropriate Zeal." There will be six parts.)
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. Romans 10:2
To keep the Saints always reaching for the highest and best, the utmost of their capacity, requires enormous motivation—and the gospel supplies it. Nothing can excite men to action like the contemplation of the eternities. The quality in which the Saints have always excelled is zeal. Zeal is the engine that drives the whole vehicle: without it we would get nowhere. But without clutch, throttle, brakes, and steering wheel, our mighty engine becomes an instrument of destruction, and the more powerful the motor, the more disastrous the inevitable crack-up if the proper knowledge is lacking. [Nibley]
It is clear that zeal is to be sought for but only if it is coupled with knowledge. Certainly the opposite of zeal is laziness and sloth.


Without zeal Mormons would probably not have survived. We probably wouldn't have gathered to live with other Church members, endured the persecution we have or traveled to Utah. Without it we probably wouldn't have built a thriving community in Utah or anywhere else.


A culture of zeal seems to pervade the Church and everything we do. Clearly, the negative we are most inclined to is overzealousness rather than laziness.


Unrighteous Zeal: Part 1 Explanation 
Unrighteous Zeal: Part 2 The Need for Zeal 
Unrighteous Zeal: Part 3 Unrighteous Zeal in the Church 
Unrighteous Zeal: Part 4 Unrighteous Zeal Outside the Church -- Sports and Politics 
Unrighteous Zeal: Part 5 Satan is Its Author
Unrighteous Zeal: Part 6 Forbear and Not Overdo or Underdo

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