Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Parable of the Lost Coin

I've been honored to call Samantha my friend.  I honestly think she has the talent be the next Malcolm Gladwell (or THE Mormon Malcolm Gladwell).  She has a way of writing things succinctly and in a way even the most hardened heart can consider.  And she pretty much always says exactly what I'm thinking but makes it sound 10,000 times more cool.  This post originally appeared on her blog "Scarlett Called Scout" (she is also currently pregnant with a girl who she may name Scarlett and actually call "Scout"--so cute!) and made me immediately think of some of the knee-jerk reactions I hear about Mormon Feminism.  I've always been perplexed that more Mormons don't feel a very personal responsibility to go and find the lost sheep, or I think in too many cases, the lost coin.  Take it away, Sam...

By Samantha Strong Murphey

I was reading “Jesus the Christ” by James E. Talmage this morning and was struck by an old parable in a new way. There are three parables Christ tells, all in the same discourse, all along the same vein. There’s the parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the lost coin and the parable of the prodigal son. All three of them are essentially about feeling joy and gratitude when something lost has been recovered, but the second parable is distinctly different than the other two. I’ve never noticed that before. In the parable of the lost sheep and the parable of the prodigal son, what is lost has become so because it has wandered off of its own free will. But in the parable of the lost coin, what is lost has become so because of the carelessness of the caretaker. Here’s what Talmage has to say about it:

“The woman who by lack of care lost the precious piece may be taken to represent the theocracy of the time, and the Church as an institution in any dispensational period; then the piece of silver, every one a genuine coin of the realm, bearing the image of the great King, are the souls committed to the care of the Church; and the lost piece symbolizes the souls that are neglected and, for a time at least, lost sight of by the authorized ministers of the Gospel of Christ.”

Sometimes I think people forget that “the Church as an institutuion in any dispensational period” is capable of neglecting the care of certain souls. Sometimes it’s easier to believe that it’s the coin’s fault that it’s lost than it is to recognize that we could have something to do with it, or what’s more, that the Church leaders we look up to could have blind spots too. But the Savior seemed to understand that even the authorized ministers of His gospel are sometimes short-sighted, that even the most faithful are vulnerable to carelessness. The Savior seemed to know that the joy to be had in recovering those souls would sometimes come only when we accept our fault and open our eyes.

Samantha Strong Murphey is a lover of greenery, glitter and goat cheese, an advocate of media literacy, human rights and karaoke for all. She earned bachelor's degree in communications from Brigham Young University. Now, she works as a full-time freelance writer and blogger based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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