Dragons of destruction and other metaphors of sin
Today I watched a BYU devotional by BYU President Samuelson and his wife. She spoke about how in the middle ages dragons were placed on maps to war travelers from going to places that were unexplored. She spoke about how we likewise have dragons in our lives which tempt us and lead us into paths of danger
She specifically spoke about the dangers of the internet and the dangers of immortality in our society, but listening to the talk got me thinking about the different metaphors that have been used by general authorities to describe sin.
I noticed in particular that President Monson is especially prone on using these types of metaphors. President Monson has used the metaphor of Goliath, Hidden Wedges and Deadly Maka-Fekes to make a few. President Monson is indeed well known for such imagery. However, it is pretty common for other speaks to use such imagery. One very notable one that I liked was Elder Wirthlin’s talk from 2002 about nets that we have to leave behind.
One of the most interesting metaphors that I can think of is Elder Bednar’s use of the process of picking to describe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It seems that this one had a rather mixed reaction as some people loved it and found it deep and brilliant while others thought it overstated.
On my mission I also consistently looked for new object lessons or ways to teach gospel principles. One of my creative ideas was comparing the sealing process to a canned food item and subsequent sin to slowly taking a can opener and opening the can.
It seems to me that these metaphors are essential in teaching the gospel to a large audience as they help to make the gospel more concrete and simple to understanding
I think some of these metaphors are very effective while others less so. Certainly, they help to make the dangers of sin more concrete and personable. At the same time, at worse they may trivialize sin or come off as overly contrived.
What are some of your favorite ( and least favorite) metaphors used by General Authorities in conference? Have you had any particularly inspired object lesson ideas or metaphors? I’d love to hear your thoughts