Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Alma 41 and the Wiccan Rede

There is much to be said for almost any religion, as it seeks to guide and direct the morality of a people. Without morality, there is no society, and one of the basic laws of nature is that when there is no society, there is no survival. One definitely misunderstood religion to which I have been drawn in the past was Wicca. Although there is much silliness and drama within the stereotypical Wiccan culture (much like the Mormon one) the root teachings of Wicca deal with harmony and equity. Wicca teaches unity with the world, and to always be aware of how your actions affect others. Although Wicca is relatively unstructured, having no form of central government, the Wiccan Rede is a loose law that governs the actions of a faithful Wiccan. Although the rhyme may distract from the message, and there is much that involves the rituals and rhythms of Wicca, it ends with a clear summary: "An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will."

Wiccan tradition holds that for every action you do, it will be returned to you threefold. I was reminded of this tenet when reading Alma 41. In it, Alma is explaining the law of restoration to his son. Two parts in particular are echoed by the wiccan law. The first, in verse 7 states that we are our own judges. Many have interpreted this to mean that we will be the ones we answer to, at the judgment day, but I read it a little differently. I feel that we judge ourselves by our daily actions. If we choose laziness, we are judging ourselves lazy. If we choose sacrifice, we are judging ourselves disciples of Christ. I find it difficult to understand how a person could choose anything but goodness and light, but it is not simply saying "I desire good." It is actually DESIRING it, being drawn to it and molding oneself to it. It is requesting goodness of God, pleading with Him to guide your actions. Desire is not expressed by the tongue, or even the mind. It is expressed by action. That is why one cannot simply say "I am saved!" and have that be the end of it. A person commencing on the path of discipleship must demonstrate their saved state. That is where faith and works combine. Therefore, we judge ourselves by the actions we take, not by some arbitrary word.

The second point of interest is in verse 15. "For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored. . . ." If you take away the numbers, this is the rule of three in Wiccan paradigm. It is also known as the golden rule in Christianity, and the parallels should be of no surprise, since similar Ethics of Reciprocity are found in most religions, though they may be emphasized differently. It is a basic tenet on which society must stand. When we forget, our society begins to decay. When we become so wrapped up in personal agendas, we no longer concern ourselves for others, we lose what holds us together. It brings a different perspective to topics such as legalized gay marriage and abortion. It may not change all actions, but it certainly brings compassion to our motivations and caution to our actions. Were it remembered, American politics would be far different.

Although I appreciate Wicca and once considered that spiritual route, I personally find that it leaves the story untold. It speaks of doing one's will, so long as it harms no one, but it does not urge strongly towards doing active good, and places far too much emphasis on one's self. I find that lack of harm is not enough. Additionally, much like the laws of nature, it holds no mercy for those who make mistakes. One must always pay for one's own mistakes. Having learned much about the power of bonds between people, I find the law of Intercession much more powerful and compelling. I find real strength in gratitude and in humility which is not found in Wicca. Also, underscoring Wicca is magick, which seeks to impose one's will on one's surroundings. I have found that submission of will to a perfect being is more rewarding than seeking to change the world to fit my view of it. I could not accept Wicca because it teaches no reliance on a Savior, and I have learned for myself that Christ is truly the Great and Last Sacrifice, in which all power and all life lie. In His service, I am blessed far more than I could ever be otherwise. Merry part and blessed be.

7 comments :

  1. Very interesting comparison and parallels, thank you for posting this.

    A few years ago I enjoyed a brief friendship with a few wiccans. I was impressed with their integrity and their positive outlook. Some of their beliefs remind me of American Indians.

    Howard

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  2. In "Dies the Fire" by SF author S.M. Stirling, one of the characters, a Wiccan, soundly rebuked another character for verbally abusing a third, calling what the second (a non-wiccan) had done was the same as casting a curse, and went on to mention that practically all religions forbade it. I don't know how accurate a characterization of Wicca that is, but the concept intrigued me.

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  3. Very interesting parallel. Not a correlation I would have drawn, but intriguing nonetheless.

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  4. Very thought provoking post, thank you.
    I especially enjoy the comments about judging ourselves by our daily actions. Have you ever had someone say, "I just don't know how you do it?!" (ie 4 children, 3 callings, and college courses, etc) Deciding what we want to be then acting as if we were that already is how I do it. Obviously not perfectly but if I want to be a good mother I do things that, to me, personify a good mother. If I want to be a instrument in the Lord's hands I ask what he would have me do and then do it. Just like Pres. Kimball said- DO IT
    Such a great concept, I appreciate your thoughts.

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  5. Well as a former Christian, now a Wiccan, I have somewhat of an opposite effect. Wheras you mention that you found reward in your Salvation (I once too found reward in it, but it was temporary.) I walk down a path with an understanding unity with my God and Goddess who guide me carefully down new and yes, magickal, paths. I have moved beyond the limitations of the cross, and carry my faith in the God and Goddess very deeply from within. In my humble opinion to say that Wicca itself is the culprit of not "saving you" is to deny the very nature of the God and Goddess, Whom are within you always (even now); and seems to me a very weak basis for sake of argument. Perhaps Spirit led you down a Wiccan road, and you decided that your burdens were too much to handle, so you rested them upon the shoulders of your saviour... without realizing that you may have needed the items in that burden later on down the road. Which if that is the case, you are relying too much on the grace of your saviour. Some of the burdens we have life, we are meant to carry. Would a hiker, climb a hillside, without having water and food and perhaps a survival kit, along the way? I'm glad that you have found a place of rest with your Lord. That is good news! However, the place of rest, for some of us at least, is not pertinent to the path we walk now. If ever you choose to leave your Lord, a part of me wonders if you might also need that guilt that you had placed before him, so that you can learn the messages it was trying to teach you.

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  6. Well, Anonymous, I can appreciate your perspective however much I disagree with it.

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