I often hear statements that lead me to feel that the speaker doesn’t fully understand the importance of obedience. They talk about how they hate the idea of conformity, that we all have to be exactly the same way, and how they dislike the way the Church seems to want to churn out cookie-cutter people with no personalities of their own. Most often, I hear people state that they are living the commandments the way they most feel comfortable with living them, and that they don’t necessarily ascribe to the idea that we have to live up to a “standard,” that we can all decide for ourselves how we should live.
First of all, the Lord has never asked us to be anything less than unique individuals. He sent us down here to the earth and gave us our own special personalities and distinct talents, different from everyone else, so that we could grow and become our own choice people, without a cookie-cutter in sight. He doesn’t want us all to be exactly the same. He wants us all to shine in our own spheres, each of us as different from each other as flowers in the fields.
The only way in which the Lord wants us to be the same is in our desire to serve Him and keep His commandments. In that way, we should be united, we should be as one.
There is a standard we should be striving to live by, and that standard was set by the Lord. We can’t pick and choose which commandments we’re going to follow and then expect to receive the blessings promised for those who follow all the commandments—that’s cheating. He has been very clear with us on what is expected, and He has also outlined the great and marvelous blessings that will be ours as we obey. If we want the blessings for keeping commandment A, we need to keep commandment A. We can’t bop to our own music and then complain when the hoped-for blessing doesn’t appear.
Be yourself. Feel free to explore your talents and enjoy being who you are. But we must all keep in mind that we can’t buck the system—if we want certain blessings, we know how to get them. And I can sure think of worse things than a whole bunch of people “conforming” in trying to do what’s right.