"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
November 17, 2014
No Rules; No Masters
by Kathryn H. Kidd

We recently experienced an eight-day vacation in Florida and the Bahamas, where it was always sunny and warm. But when we got off the ship in Baltimore, it was rainy and cold. Fluffy and I were not dressed for the weather.

As we waited in line for U.S. Customs, we noticed a teenage boy in line ahead of us. He was wearing a gray hoodie. The message written across the back of it said, “No rules. No masters.”

I pointed out the hoodie to Fluffy and said, “There’s a kid who has never had to deal with the I.R.S.”

Fluffy said, “He has obviously never held a job of any kind. Managers own you. If you’ve had a manager, you’ve had a master.”

I said, “I guess his parents have never set any rules.”

Fluffy observed, “These days, maybe they haven’t. They probably paid for the shirt.”

I said, “When he learns to drive, he’s going to he’s going to have to deal with a rule or two there.”

Fluffy said, “If he doesn’t, he’s going to meet the masters of the Highway Patrol.”

As we stood in line, we went on and on about the masters and rules the slouching young man already had to deal with in his young life. Teachers and principals. Paying for things versus shoplifting. Dealing with a mortgage. The pesky little law of gravity.

That rebellious little teenager could wear all the hoodies he wanted to, but he was only showing his ignorance. We human beings are subject to rules and masters all the livelong day, and it’s a good thing. If we were not rule-keepers, we could never get behind the wheel of a car without fearing for our lives at every intersection. We could never eat at a restaurant without fear of being poisoned. We could never buy food or gasoline without peril, or goods without fear of being cheated.

Even nature follows its own innate rules. We read about the law of the jungle and survival of the fittest. But everything is equally true on a cellular level. Cells divide and plants and animals grow according to the rules of nature. When things go wrong, we get cancer and other diseases. Most of the time, we are healthy because our bodies follow the rules that nature intended them to do.

And it’s the masters who enforce those rules, or who teach us from a young age that those rules exist. They are our law enforcement officials, our judges, our magistrates. They may be the ones who pull us over when we are speeding, but they are also the ones who come to our aid when we have been the victims of a crime.

They are the shopkeepers who keep prices down by making sure other shoppers do not steal. They are the forest rangers who do not let you hike or camp in unauthorized areas, making sure the pristine areas will stay pristine for generations to come. They are the federal regulators that tell fisherman they can’t fish for cod for six months because the fish populations are down and need a chance to regenerate.

Whether our young friend is willing to admit it or not, there are masters in every sphere, and there are masters that rule over us all despite all the hoodies in the world.

In fact, even the great Ruler of us all is subject to rules of His own. One of the themes of the Book of Mormon is that even God is subject to rules He cannot violate. We humans may not understand what those rules are, but our God is a God of order nonetheless.

Doctrine and Covenants 132:8 says, “Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.” This tells us more than that God’s refrigerator is squeaky clean, and that His shoes are lined up neatly in His celestial closet. No, if you read the Book of Mormon, it says that if God violated the rules of the universe, He would actually “cease to be God” (Alma 42:45).

Right there, in those four words, you see exactly how important rules are. “God would cease to be God.” I cannot even imagine the ramifications for the universe if God ceased to be Himself. I don’t think it’s something the human mind can comprehend, although I’m sure Hollywood would like to try. Everything would fall apart.

The message on that hoodie — “No Rules. No Masters” — was written by somebody who does not understand the way of this world. I am grateful for rules, and I am grateful for masters. Yes, there are rules that are harsh and there are masters that are unjust and unkind. But I follow rules that are eternal, and I follow the Master of the Universe.

Those rules and that Master make all the difference to me.


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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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