“Bind the Lord”

When I was a Ward Mission Leader recently, one of the Assistants to the Mission President (“AP”) had the idea for a quarterly theme to help motivate the missionaries and to bring down the blessings of God for our mission. The unfortunate title he chose for this campaign: “BIND THE LORD”.

Obviously, this campaign slogan referenced Doctrine & Covenants 82:10, promising that “I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” I certainly understand the premise behind the campaign- to invoke the Lord’s blessings that often come as a natural result of obedience, etc. (see, e.g., D&C 130:20-21. Still, I think the idea that we humans could actually “bind” the Lord to anything (as opposed to asking for his blessing or just expecting the natural consequence of certain actions) somehow rubs against God’s divine nature. And “bind the Lord” just sounds so- well, . . . arrogant! As if we could somehow place the Lord in bondage!

For the most part, I just thought the unfortunate wording of an otherwise good idea (calling down the blessings of heaven through increased faith and devotion) was kind of funny. Another part of me thought that perhaps someone along the line misunderstood what these scriptures were all about, and that others were simply too accommodating to suggest changing the slogan. “Bind the Lord….”

Any other examples of some absurdly worded or otherwise absurd propositions floated by missionaries? I love these kids but sometimes they come up with some pretty crazy ideas to impose on us (though we admittedly need and welcome the kick in the pants to do missionary work). Or thoughts about whether there is actually truth behind the phrase “Bind the Lord?”

UPDATE: I know, I know, I just posted this. But I have already found numerous usages of the phrase “bind the Lord” by speakers in General Conference and elsewhere. Here are a few examples for your consideration:

Apparently we do “bind” the Lord, though that particular turn of phrase still bothers me somehow.

9 Responses to “Bind the Lord”

  1. cantinflas says:

    I think the argument could be made that even when a GA uses it, the language is misunderstood. The D&C passage, to me, means that when we do what he says, the Lord is bound by the laws of obedience. The laws that he himself [presumably] set up. This means that we simply take advantage of the laws that are already in place, not that we somehow enforce the laws. The Lord is not bound by us, but is bound by his promise.

  2. mcquinn says:

    It’s a figure of speech. Get over it.

  3. Jordan F. says:

    Oh, I am, McQuinn. Mostly I just think it is a funny choice of words. Now that I have looked into it a little more, I’m actually kind of ambivalent. The real purpose of this post is to ask what other funny things missionaries have done (and now I see that this figure of speech actually has grounding in doctrine).

  4. Jordan F. says:

    Once I devised this calculation based on the ratio that 1 year on Kolob = 1,000 years on Earth found in the Book of Abraham to figure out how long we had on our missions. I presented this in Zone Conference as a sort of “motivational tool.” Looking back on it now, I chuckle at the idea as kind of zany… lol.

  5. Latter-day Guy says:

    There was a spate of secret baptisms in my mission (that is, elders baptized investigators whom the bishop of the ward had counseled them not to; they were not remotely prepared. The elders just went ahead and filled the font when nobody was there and did the baptism with a couple other elders acting as witnesses. Bad business, that.) I suppose they were taking it upon themselves to “seek deep to hide their [baptisms] from the [ward].”

  6. Jeremy says:

    Once some missionaries started using the phrase “Bind the Lord” in my mission, as a motivational phrase for encouraging obedience.

    It rubbed me the wrong way, so I was glad when the mission president spoke out stridently against it in a meeting; he felt it sounded quite presumptuous and even a little impertinent. We don’ go around binding the Lord.

    I think part of the reason it bugged me is it’s not quite square with the scripture: it says “I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say,” NOT “Ye bind me when ye do what I say.”

  7. Jordan F. says:

    Thanks for that perspective, Jeremy. Hopefully the missionaries took the counsel well.

  8. gilgamesh says:

    They treid this in my mission too. It failed miserably. All that happened was very hard working Elder’s ended up feeling like unworthy failures. What is never taken into account is the agency of the populace to not listen.

  9. gilgamesh says:

    In addition, I feel the D&C scripture is limited to certain covenants the Lord has already created. We cannot create our own rules and then tell the Lord he has to comply.

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