Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Two Towers

I've been reading King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon lately. It says,
"For the multitude being so great that king Benjamin could not teach them all within the walls of the temple, therefore he caused a tower to be erected, that thereby his people might hear the words which he should speak unto them." (Mosiah 2:7)
From his tower, King Benjamin taught beautiful and powerful principles of humility, the atonement of Christ, covenants, and serving one another selflessly and without judgement.

I have thought about the utility of that tower. Being a prophet and king, Benjamin had something he wanted to say, and he wanted everyone to hear it, so he built a tower so he could accomplish that. For some reason the tower was a detail significant enough to include in the Book of Mormon narrative. 

Maybe there is some application for our day. What messages do we want to share? When is it appropriate to build a tower?

There is a second tower in the Book of Mormon that served a similar purpose:
"For [the Zoramites] had a place built up in the center of their synagogue, a place for standing, which was high above the head; and the top thereof would only admit one person...Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which, being interpreted, is the holy stand." (Alma 31:13) 
From this Rameumptom, the author explains, "they did offer up, every man, the selfsame prayer unto God, thanking their God that they were chosen of him, and that he did not lead them away after the tradition of their brethren, and that their hearts were not stolen away to believe in things to come, which they knew nothing about. Now, after the people had all offered up thanks after this manner, they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand." (Alma 32:21-22)

Social media can be a lot like these two towers. It can literally be referred to as a "platform." Social media is a place where we can share a  message and be heard.

I have seen a lot of Rameumptoms, or "holy stands." I have spent plenty of time preaching from one myself. I would really like people to see me, like my posts, and think me wise and holy, that I am "chosen" and not deceived by all the idiots out there.

I have also seen King Benjamin towers on social media, and their authors have inspired me with their goodness, their truth, and their humility. Like King Benjamin they proclaim that "I of myself am not more than a mortal man...subject to all manner of infinities of body and mind." (Mosiah 2:10-11) And like King Benjamin, they teach the gospel of Christ.

Unfortunately, I think social media tends to be more Rameumptom than Benjamin's tower. We all try to say the right things, "to be seen of men," and then go home and do precious little to actually live our righteously proclaimed beliefs. (Or maybe that's just me.)

Significantly, a Rameumptom can only fit one person. It is always about furthering one's own interests. The posts on a Rameumptom tend to be pious and pretentious, self-interested, and cookie cutter.
Wanting a tower to share a message is not a bad thing. Finding ways to be heard can be a great idea. In fact, we have been encouraged by prophets to share the message and our faith on social media. Jesus Christ said, "A city on a hill cannot be hid."

But what matters, I must constantly remind myself, is not what others think of me, or about being seen or admired, but the content of my message, the content of my lived discipleship, and the content of my heart.

I want to be more like King Benjamin.