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Murmur, Murmur

Today, I have been thinking a great deal about murmuring. In the dictionary it says that murmur means:

1. A low, indistinct, continuous sound: spoke in a murmur; the murmur of the waves.
2. An indistinct, whispered, or confidential complaint; a mutter.

Probably, the most famous murmurers are Laman and Lemuel from the Book of Mormon. They are chastized several times for their continued murmuring.

1 Nephi 2:11 Now this he spake because of the stiffneckedness of Laman and Lemuel; for behold they did murmur in many things against their father, because he was a visionary man, and had led them out of the land of Jerusalem, to leave the land of their inheritance, and their gold, and their silver, and their precious things, to perish in the wilderness. And this they said he had done because of the foolish imaginations of his heart.

Also they murmured:

1 Nephi 17:17 And when my brethren saw that I was about to build a ship, they began to murmur against me, saying: Our brother is a fool, for he thinketh that he can build a ship; yea, and he also thinketh that he can cross these great waters.

Now these are only two examples, but the Book of Mormon is filled with other examples as well. I think the thing that is most interesting to me is that a murmur isn't a big rebellion. It is an "indistinct, whispered, or confidential complaint" - an under your breath mutter. The interesting thing about Laman and Lemuel is that they murmured, but they did the deed anyway. What do I mean by this?

They murmured about going into the wilderness with Lehi, but they still went.

They murmured about having to go back and get the plates from Laban, but they still went.

They murmured about building a ship, but they still helped to build it.

Sometimes, I think that I might be more like Laman and Lemuel that I am like Nephi. That really makes me nervous! There are many people in the church who really believe that Laman and Lemuel were wicked. I do believe that eventually they became that way, but I don't think they started that way.

Instead, they are like the woman that when called by the bishop to teach primary, tells him that she "already raised her children and doesn't need to do that anymore".

They are like the man who is asked to do a work project and just can't find the time to participate, but never struggles to find time to go out shooting with his boys.

How many of us are given a task and we grumble about it first?

Someone asks you to teach primary, you come up with reasons why you can't, eventually agree half-heartedly, and then, maybe you don't show up on Sunday, allowing the presidency to teach the class for you.

You are asked to help with a roofing project; you complain because you can't kneel on the roof, and you need to spend family time with the kids. (Not that family time isn't important, but sometimes other things are important too, right? Even if it's something we don't really like doing.)

I think there are many of us who are murmurers. We complain a little first and then we do it. I love the scripture that says:

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
- James 1:22-25

We are supposed to LIVE the gospel, not just talk about it. I want to add that it is also important to live it and NOT complain about it. I think that too many of us participate in murmuring about our friends, family, community, or church. We murmur about the rules that we have to keep or the time it takes to do our home or visiting teaching. Lately, I have been thinking how important it is for me not to fall into the trap of murmuring and complaining. I look at Laman and Lemuel. I really don't want to be like them.

There is an old saying that "when you choose the first step on the road, you also choose the last." There is also another quote that I used on all my kids as they were growing up (and still use on the last three). Probably all of them could recite it easily. It is, "If you are going to do it anyway, do it with class!" Meaning, do it like you mean it. Put your whole heart and soul into it. If you don't love it, that's okay. At least you gave it an honest try.

I had one of my children participate in the pioneer trek a few (ok, several) years ago. Some of the kids complained about the preparation, then about how tired they were, how much their feet hurt, and how they didn't even have toothpaste. Some of them just rolled their eyes and pressed on. But not a one of them would have chosen not to participate. It was a real growing and learning experience. They each grew closer to their Heavenly Father even though it was so hard.

So, why do we need to complain? Who do we help when we are busy griping? Does it make the trial easier to bear if I murmur about it first? Is the journey any harder if we don't murmur? Maybe, I need to look at myself and make sure that I am not having a Laman and Lemuel moment. Instead of griping and complaining, maybe I need to ask myself, "Who would I rather be like? Laman and Lemuel? or Nephi?" I'm sure that I will still have my moments, but maybe they will come less often if I remind myself of the One who is truly my example.

May we each go forth without murmuring!

guest post by Patty Ann Pitterle

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