As Mormon describes the annihilation of his people, he laments their rapid fall from grace:
They were once a delightsome people, and they had Christ for their shepherd; yea, they were led even by God the Father.
But now, behold, they are led about by Satan, even as chaff is driven before the wind, or as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her; and even as she is, so are they.Mormon 5:17-18
I’ve been thinking today about the metaphors in this passage. Chaff (husks of grain) is easily blown away. A ship without a sail or anchor is entirely at the mercy of the waves. Both are an apt description of people who are at the mercy of their circumstances, who are not acting for themselves, and who are therefore incapable of pursuing and achieving worthy goals.
Elder Neil L. Andersen has warned us how we can fall into this trap in our modern world:
We live on a planet clamoring with a million voices. The internet, our smartphones, our bloated boxes of entertainment all plead for our attention and thrust their influence upon us, hoping we will buy their products and adopt their standards.
The seemingly endless array of information and opinion remind us of the scriptural warnings of being “tossed to and fro,” “driven with the wind,” and overcome by the “cunning craftiness” of those who “lie in wait to deceive.”
Anchoring our souls to the Lord Jesus Christ requires listening to those He sends. Following the prophet in a world of commotion is like being wrapped in a soothing, warm blanket on a freezing cold day.“The Prophet of God,” General Conference, April 2018
Today, I will strive to follow the guidance I have received from God. I will remember that He can help me avoid being “tossed about” by influences beyond my control.