“Danger! Stay inside the Railings,” New Era, Feb. 2014, 46
One day, while driving along a road in California’s Sequoia National Park, I noticed a turnout for Moro Rock. I’ve always enjoyed hiking, climbing, and exploring, so I decided to check it out.
At the turnout, a short 10-minute hike takes you to a large granite outcropping overlooking a huge river valley with sky-piercing peaks in the distance. I quickly made my way past throngs of other people on the trail. After a few quick turns, I was standing on the summit. The view was great, but I was disappointed because there were metal railings everywhere! I couldn’t really explore the location like I wanted to.
I thought I was an experienced hiker, so I found the railings to be a little offensive to my sense of what was safe. In some cases, the placement of the railings seemed so arbitrary, and the straight lines of the railings prevented me from following along the curves of the rock. In a few places, the railing seemed to stop short of what would be an interesting spot to look over. For a moment I considered crossing over the barriers, but as I read the warning signs, I decided I’d better stay inside the railings.
A few months later, I noticed a news article about two people who fell off the rock and died. I immediately thought, “How could anybody die at Moro Rock with all those railings around?” Then it struck me: they had gone outside the railings!
I have since thought how the railings at Moro Rock are a lot like the standards of the Church. Sometimes we may think their placement is arbitrary or that we don’t need to follow them, but we should respect the standards whatever they are. We don’t need to know exactly why a standard is given in order to appreciate that it is there. We should be thankful that prophets have marked the dangerous points along the path so we can stay safe from danger.