There are 9 thoughts on “On Being a Tool”.

  1. I’m not so sure it is a “hole”. The Savior said to the Samaritan (Josephite) woman, “You Samaritans worship you know not what; we know what we worship and salvation is of the Judahites.” Clearly, different knows for different those. So, and given Smith’s to-know-it-I-had-to-ask-of-God, Joes have a different “episteme” than Jews. Saving knowledge is not phone-book knowledge. Showing compassion is one thing, but “bs” is not the subject. The Savior reasons with us, as one man to another, and waits for the normal response. It seems that much of the above responsion grounds in the touchy-feely draft-down of mind-hypocritical Korihors, using the words of the devil as devices of the devil that he may destroy the people of God. And whether conditions of “respectful discourse” are satisfied, we can also find “respectful discourse” in the Savior’s usage, and Smith’s assertion, of “Well might the Savior rebuke the heads of this nation, ‘Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites!’ for the United States government and Congress have gone the way of Cin, and with a few honorable exceptions, must perish in their gainsayings, like Korach and his wicked host.” So moderate me.

  2. I was at a FedEx Office counter having something printed and the customer service agent became aware that I was a Latter-day Saint. Touching on our lively communication, I speculate, he made an “appreciative” comment that I wasn’t like “other Mormons he’d met” (which surprised me since I suppose I would come across as millions of other Latter-day Saints). He followed with a question regarding the Church and I responded with continuing sweetness, saying something like: “Please help me to understand your question better so I can better answer it?” His demeanor changed and he dismissed the matter saying something implying: “You just want to fudge the truth.”
    I smiled at Sean McDowell’s response: “Of all the things you can ask about God, why that one?” In my experience that could serve as a poster statement for evasiveness. I would anticipate such a response to raise a wall between me and the other person.
    I love Brother Peterson’s message. My primary tool for lifting others has become listening. I often experience my best success when my ratio of listening to talking is equal to or greater than 5 to 1, if not 10 to 1. This takes time, and thereby creating room to talk has become a primary objective in my interaction with others.
    Two years ago I was graced with an opportunity for in-depth conversation with my mission president & wife. I bemoaned this very challenge to them: if only I might have had a more educated heart and a better command of Dutch, then I could have created richer interpersonal settings and accomplished greater good. He and she were consoling! 🙂

  3. Thanks for the article. I have definitely fallen into this hole many times in believing that an academic rather than a personal approach would be most effective. Your article helped remind me that we teach people, not lessons.

  4. Brother Peterson, I just read on your blog that you chose the title of this article as a “deliberate joke.”
    Can you explain a little further?

  5. What a great article Brother Peterson! I think on one or two occasions I was guilty of being a tool (the former definition, and not the latter). I need to go back and read Mosiah once more to see what the Lord is trying to teach me.
    Thanks for your efforts though, Peterson. They are appreciated. And the Interpreter has been thought provoking and inspirational to folks like me!

  6. Just wanted to let you know I appreciate the articles, lesson panels and conferences along with Daniel’s weekly articles in Mormon Times. Your materials leave me enriched, inspired and eager to continue learning.
    I pray for your continued success in these noble endeavors. Thank you.

  7. In my own efforts to teach another about Gospel principles, I have many times been struck by the difficulty of not just conveying the concept about a particular subject, but to do it in a way that resonates and harmoniously fits with the already existing ideas and understandings of the recipient of my message.
    In short, I have understood and recognized that it is not good enough to merely tick off the points to be made, but rather to ease those points into the mind of my conversation partner in a way that is both clearly understood by him, and also in a manner that stands the best chance of acceptance to the hearer as being truthful to his understanding.
    Because the goal should be reaching understanding of revealed truths, it is not productive to merely recite what the truths are, but to convey them in a way that is both palatable and comprehensible.
    This approach necessitates asking as well as telling, listening as well as speaking. In other words it seems to me that it needs to be two-way in its nature, even though I may “know” far more about the subject (say, the Restored Gospel) than my correspondent (a non-believer).
    I thank Brother Peterson for this important essay.
    As an aside, I feel that the better title for this would be “On Being an Instrument” for the same reason that he points out in the essay itself, that the term “tool” can be a fairly deep insult. Because this was written using American English and I was reading it the same way, I find the title too jarring for my taste, and it got in the way (just a little) at the beginning, in fully hearing the important things that this article addresses.

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