Do you ever feel like giving up? I know I do. Sometimes life can be overwhelming, and just giving in or giving up seems to be the best option. In a church of overachievers, giving up on anything, just like yelling at your wife, seems both counterintuitive and counterproductive. However, a circumspect study of the scriptures reveals that often giving up is the right thing to do.
Generations of ancient Americans in the Book of Mormon are bound together by a legacy of giving up. It all starts in the Book of Omni, where we learn that the first King Mosiah of the Nephites was “warned of the Lord” that he and his people should “give up,” or flee the land of Nephi, in order to avoid being destroyed by hate-mongering Lamanites. Then we have Alma the first, who told his renegade band of newly-baptized members in Mormonland that the Lord wanted them to submit to the demands of their Lamanite overlords rather than fight for their freedom.
When’s the last time you heard of a King or head of state willing to give up, or relinquish power? Yet, that is exactly what happened when the second King Mosiah convinced his people that they would better off he gave up power to an elected judge rather than passing the crown to one of his sons. It wasn’t long after this than the first elected judge of the Nephite nation, Alma the Younger, “gave up” the throne to spend more time preaching repentance to church members.
The most moving account of “giving up” in the Book of Mormon, however, belongs to the father of King Lamoni, king over all of the Lamanites. After being taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, the father, out of a keen sense of desperation to repent of of his sins, made the following offer: “O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day (Alma 22:18).
So the next time you feel like giving up and reaping the fruits of failure, consider these Book of Mormon models of giving up before you bury yourself underneath a pile of manufactured guilt. Depending on the situation, it could be the right thing to do. In fact, I’m going to practice what I preach, give in to a serious case of jetlag, and stop writing this blog post.