Quotes on Worldliness

I am reminded of an article I read some years ago about a group of men who had gone to the jungles to capture monkeys.  They tried a number of different things to catch the monkeys, including nets.  But finding that the nets could injure such small creatures, they finally came upon an ingenious solution.  They built a large number of small boxes, and in the top of each they bored a hole just large enough for a monkey to get his hand into.  They then set these boxes out under the trees and in each one they put a nut that the monkeys were particularly fond of.

When the men left, the monkeys began to come down from the trees and examine the boxes.  Finding that there were nuts to be had, they reached into the boxes to get them.  But when a monkey would try to withdraw his hand with the nut, he could not get his hand out of the box because his little fist, with the nut inside, was now too large.

At about this time, the men would come out of the underbrush and converge on the monkeys.  And here is the curious thing: When the monkeys saw the men coming, they would shriek and scramble about with the thought of escaping; but as easy as it would have been, they would not let go of the nut so that they could withdraw their hands from the boxes and thus escape.  The men capture them easily.

And so it often seems to be with people, having such a firm grasp on things of the world — that which is telestial — that no amount of urging and no degree of emergency can persuade them to let go in favor of that which is celestial.  Satan gets them in his grip easily.  If we insist on spending all our time and resources building up for ourselves a worldly kingdom, that is exactly what we will inherit.

In spite of our delight in defining ourselves as modern, and our tendency to think we possess a sophistication that no people in the past ever had — in spite of these things, we are, on the whole, an idolatrous people — a condition most repugnant to the Lord. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “The False Gods We Worship,” Ensign, June 1976