Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Manly Man Training #23: Few rights, much priviledge

What is the difference between a right and a privilege?  Rights often need a modifier so we know what we are talking about, for example; legal rights, moral rights, God given rights, human rights and so forth.  In these cases it refers to some decisive ability that we are endowed with because of some entity giving it to us.  It is not unusual that we claim certain rights that are not a right at all but rather a hope, want or even a diversion.  Rights are most often given to be able to do something, but rarely given for the purpose of not doing something.  For example the right to not bear arms is not stated in that way.  Rights are considered abilities and prohibitions are considered disabilities, as to what we can do.  For example, it is well within my rights to drive the speed limit, it is not within my rights to exceed it. 

Which brings up the meaning of privilege.  It is true that privilege is defined as having rights.  But it differs in some aspects, privilege refers to special immunities or exemptions.  For example we may claim executive privilege to do something that those we supervise cannot do.  Parents may have the privilege of staying up late at night that they may not allow for their children. 

Laws and God tend to give rights not privileges.  We tend to take privilege of our own desires and wants at a given time.  Rights tend to be thought out and planned well in advance where privilege may be taken on the spur of the moment because of a momentary or unexpected desire.  Rights tend to have less flexibility than privileges. 
Keeping that in mind read this quote by President Joseph Fielding Smith in April Conference report 1967 (p. 120-121).  "I have heard people say, and members of the Church too, 'I have a right to do as I please.'  My answer is: No, you do not.  You haven't any right at all to do just as you please.  There is only one right that you have, and that is to...keep the commandments of Jesus Christ.  he has a perfect right to tell us so.  We have no right to refuse.  I do not care who the man is; I do not care where he lives, or what he is--when the gospel of Jesus Christ is presented to him, he has no right to refuse to receive it.  he has the privilege.  he is not compelled to receive it, because our Father in heaven has given to every one of us, in the Church and out, the gift gives us the privilege to accept and be loyal to our Lord's commandments, but it has never given us the right to reject them.  Every man who rejects the commandments of our Father in heaven is rebellious".

Maybe a right is kind of like when we are kids and we ask permission to do something.  If we are granted permission to do it, does that assume we also have permission to not do it?  We have been granted the right to follow the Savior, to listen, consider and obey.  We have no right to rebel or refuse or ignore or even be lazy.  We are however given the privilege to do any of those things and many others according to our choice.

As I see it as manly men we recognize that we have no justification for doing any other thing than what is right.  However we can choose as we please.  So please remember that as you are maturing and growing in the gospel.  Don't trick yourself into believing you have many rights to not do ...whatever.  Instead, realize it is a privilege.  Then we maybe can remember this famous saying: 'saved by right, hung by privilege'.  

1 comment:

  1. I need to have my kids read this post. We were discussing some privileges that we allow them ( such as watching TV, video games, using computer, etc)that they feel is their right


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