Updated: 11 Apr 2014
I’m uncomfortable with the idea that we should do things for the reward. It might work for the Olympics, but I’m not sure it works for life and religion. For this reason, I’m uncomfortable with Gary E. Stevenson’s (Presiding Bishop of the LDS Church) 2014 Spring Conference talk.
Consider how your pathway to eternal life is similar to [that of Olympic athletes.] While you are here, your actions will determine whether you win the prize of eternal life.
The clock is ticking. The words of the Apostle Paul seem so fitting: to run the race, that you may obtain the prize.
My young friends, wherever you are in [life,] I urge you to ponder, “What do I need to do next to ensure my medal?”
For me, Stevenson’s talk places too much emphasis on the “prize” and “medal.” I realize that these expressions in his talk are euphemisms, but I think the comparison of the Olympics to life is not a good one. (However, it did give Stevenson a chance to brag about Mormon Olympic athletes.)
Mormon humorist Robert Kirby made the following comment at the end of one of his columns (26 Mar 2014):
The coolest point of being comfortable with your telestialism (the lowest level in Mormon heaven) is the part where you start doing good things because you want to instead of having to. It’s so liberating that it’s almost . . . well, heaven.
For me, this is the preferred thought. Let’s live our life a certain way because we want to and not because we want the medal.