“Behold the Seer”

MUSTAFA: Do you know what you would like this evening, sir?

EGO: Yes, I think I do…. You know what I’m craving? A little perspective.

Ratatouille (2007), screenplay by Brad Bird

There was a lot to be unhappy about in the time of Enoch. Just six generations after the Fall of Adam and Eve, people had largely turned away from God. They were behaving wickedly, including conspiring to commit secret murders. Their society, although very young, was deteriorating rapidly. When God called Enoch to help counter these trends, He began by identifying the root causes of the bad behavior:

Their hearts have waxed hard, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes cannot see afar off.

Moses 6:27, italics added

(Note that the Lord used similar language when He called Isaiah to be a prophet. See Isaiah 6:9-10, 2 Nephi 16:9-10.)

The inability to “see afar off” might seem like a forgivable offense, but a lack of perspective can lead to poor decisions.

As a remedy, God expanded Enoch’s vision. “Anoint thine eyes with clay,” He instructed, “and wash them, and thou shalt see.” Enoch did so, and saw “many things which are not visible to the natural eye.” As a result, he gained a new title. People began to say, “A seer hath the Lord raised up unto his people” (Moses 6:35-36).

Were people delighted by his new insights? Not so much. Like the Athenians in Paul’s time, they were fascinated by these strange ideas but unwilling to take them seriously. (See Acts 17:19-21.) Here’s how Enoch’s people characterized him:

Behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us.

Moses 6:38

In the Book of Mormon, there is a curious dialogue between Ammon, a messenger sent by King Mosiah to find a lost colony, and Limhi, king of that lost colony. Ammon tells Limhi that King Mosiah is a seer. Limhi responds enthusiastically that a seer is greater than a prophet. Ammon clarifies:

A seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have….

But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.

Mosiah 8:13-17

How many of our anxieties and frustrations are caused by failing to see the forest for the trees, by fixating on the task at hand or the immediate challenge instead of lifting our gaze to see the big picture?

When President Russell M. Nelson learned that the wife of one of his grandsons was experiencing a crisis of faith, he responded with a single word: “myopic.” President Nelson is a seer, but he did not share his vision on this occasion. Instead, he encouraged her to seek the vision she needed. As she thought repeatedly about the word “myopic” in subsequent days, she was able to expand her perspective and find peace.

Today I will seek perspective in all areas of my life. I will strive to make decisions in my family, at work, and in my church responsibilities which contribute to long-term goals. I will take comfort in placing short-term fears and disappointments in an eternal perspective.

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