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Dear Gramps,

How far can a person stretch this “What Would Jesus Do” thing?  Here are some difficult questions:

A)  During WWII, the only way in some European countries that you could feed your family was to buy food on the black market, which was against the law.  Would Christ obey the law and let his family suffer?

B)  The German Gestapo used to ask citizens whether any of their neighbors were Allied collaborators.  If Jesus knew of such a person, would he tell the truth and turn him in?






The questions you ask induce my mind to reflect the words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland from a past general conference when he mentioned, “It is obvious that the bumper sticker question ‘What would Jesus do,’  will not always bring a popular response.”  In other words, it would appear to me, what some may think Christ would actually do may contradict with what they think He would do. However, one thing is for sure, we know that Jesus would make the “right” choice every time no matter the circumstance.

In scripture we are informed that Abram, later to be known as Abraham (the father of our covenant by which we are blessed), was instructed of the Lord to tell Sarai, his wife, to tell the Pharaoh that she was his sister and not his wife.  Abraham knew, and the Lord knew, that if Abraham told Pharaoh Sarai was his wife, that Abraham would be killed.  In order to prevent this from happening, Abraham obeyed the words of the Lord, and as a result his life was spared.  Elder Mark E. Petersen clarified,

“To protect himself, Abraham had told Pharaoh that Sarah was his sister, which of course she was.  Had he divulged that she was his wife, he might have been slain.  But as his sister, Pharaoh was willing to buy her at a good price.”

One may argue that Abraham never lied, while others might argue that he in fact did lie since he did not reveal a full truth.  In our system of law we have a question, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”  Did Abram speak the truth? Yes.  Did Abram speak the whole truth? No.  As I have pondered Abraham’s experience with the Lord, Sarai, and the Pharaoh, Elder Mark E. Petersen’s opening statement to “protect” speaks volumes to me pertaining to what Jesus would do in the scenarios you have provided.

During WWII, what would Jesus do if the only way to provide food for your family was to buy food on the black market, which was against the law?  We know from the life of our Savior that Jesus trusted in His Father’s love, His Father’s will; as such, we know what Jesus would have done first — pray.  We also know that Jesus was informed pertaining to the words of scripture; as such, He would have looked to his Father’s commandments as already revealed, and then after He prayed, He would have moved forward with words yet to be revealed — personal revelation.  As His Father then revealed His will, the words of Elder Petersen give persuasion, “Whatever the Lord commands a person to do is right and must be obeyed” (see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 256).

As pertaining to your second question the same principles would apply.  First the Lord would have prayed to know His Father’s will; once revealed he would have followed.  In all such cases whatever His Father revealed would be right and obeyed.  The idea “to protect” people from the reach of evil, wicked, and conspiring men is a virtue.  This question, regarding the Gestapo, induces my mind to think upon a question I have asked myself multiple times, “If a mob of men came to my house, and full well knowing their intentions (their motivation), asked if there were any women in the walls of my home (and indeed there were), would I tell a lie?  In order to protect the virtue of these women — YES, I would find no guilt within my mind or heart, before God or men, if I said there were no women in my home.

To conclude my thoughts, What would Jesus do? He would have done what His Father commanded Him to do in any, all, circumstances.  In the scenarios provided, we all have the same promise, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” (Source)





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