Introductory story: Remember Goldilocks and her porridge - too cold, too hot vs just right, her chairs - too big, too little vs just right, and her beds - too hard, too soft vs just right ..
When teaching about this topic, we often start our lesson with the Ten Commandments – not just the “Thou Shalt Not's” but also the 'Thou Shalts' .. and remember, this is not the only To Do list .. What about Tithing, the Word of Wisdom and Temple Attendance? Where does Loving God and Loving your Neighbor as yourself get taught? Home Teaching, Family Home Evening, Daily Prayers and Scripture Study, Fulfilling Calls, Obtaining and Righteously using the Priesthood? Baptism, Eternal Marriage. What about Be ye therefore Perfect (just right – but how?).
- too bad, too good vs just right
- Garden of Eden – Adam and Eve were perfectly content, busy, healthy, ageless – but alone, neither sad nor happy, existing but unable to progress. How sad for them (and for us) if they had stayed in that condition. And, although I doubt we remember it, we experienced this same situation in our own pre-earth life (garden of eden/pre-existance). We chose to be here!
“The prophet Lehi explained: “And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen [been cut off from the presence of God], but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created.” .. “And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:22–25).”
- Mr Evil: all or too bad .. may have started out good, but chose wickedness vs happiness. Our Brother Satan comes to mind. Once known as the Son of the Morning, influential, charismatic but seeking his own glory, fell. Now is the Father of Lies. His only goal now is death and destruction for all. (outer darkness/telestial 1)
“Heavenly Father allows Satan and Satan's followers to tempt us as part of our experience in mortality (see 2 Nephi 2:11-14; D&C 29:39). Because Satan “seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27), he and his followers try to lead us away from righteousness. He directs his most strenuous opposition at the most important aspects of Heavenly Father's plan of happiness. For example, he seeks to discredit the Savior and the priesthood, to cast doubt on the power of the Atonement, to counterfeit revelation, to distract us from the truth, and to contradict individual accountability. He attempts to undermine the family by confusing gender, promoting sexual relations outside of marriage, ridiculing marriage, and discouraging childbearing by married adults who would otherwise raise children in righteousness.”
- Mr IGiveUp or BurnedOut or Angry or HurtFeelings: started out fine, but somehow stopped progressing, lost their way (telestial 2)
1 Ne 8:31-34 “And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building. And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths of the fountain; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads. And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not.” .. “For as many as heeded them, had fallen away.”
- Mr Luke Warm: so so .. not interested, does nothing really bad, but nothing good either. Too hard, too much effort (terrestial 1)
D&C 76: 71-79 “And again, we saw the terrestrial world” .. “these are they who died without law” .. “who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it.” .. the “honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men” .. “who receive of his glory, but not of his fulness.” .. “ who [were] not valiant in the testimony of Jesus”
- Mr Ultra Zelous: too busy or too good .. has three jobs, but is bad at both of them. Can you imagine “too much of a 'good' thing? Those who have 'Looked past the mark.' 'Ignored the weighter matters.'
How much fasting is enough? If monthly fast is good – why not daily? If daily scripture study is good – why not do that exclusively? Too busy with your hobby to go home teaching, to have a family, or to do what else is right? (terestial 2)
- Mr Repentant Convert: started out bad or lost, but repented and chose happiness vs wickedness. Saul/Paul in the New Testiment, Zeezrom and Alma the Younger and Ammon in the Book of Mormon. (celestial 1)
Alma 17:2-3 .. “and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.”
- Scripture Heros: examples from the Scriptures, Latter-day Prophets
Nephi: all right! I will go and do the things that the Lord has commanded ..
Captain Moroni: just right! If all men were like unto him ..
Jesus Christ our examplar
Alma 48:17 “Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.”
- not too much, not too little vs just right
- (too little) Doing Nothing or Wrong things? Not quite on the path yet? Why not start again today? Repent and get going.
- (too much) Running Faster than you are Able. So, are you perfect yet? Don't give up! Repent and keep on going.
“We can’t all do all things. Circumstances, available time, and talents vary widely among us. Your diversities take you to numerous arenas of activity. There let your presence be felt.” .. “You can—you must—make a difference. You are vital to the Lord’s team—one team with one purpose. Through your diversity, build strength in unity. Bind yourselves together in all holiness. Anchor yourselves to “the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20).” Russell M Nelson Oct 1987
- (just right) Doing Better: Follow the Spirit, Repent quickly and completly, learn Line upon Line, Hold to the Rod, Go and Do what is right, Live (and Preach) my Gospel, Endure to the End