Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Obedient, but Unfulfilled

Trusting God (Part 2) - Seraphine (Zelophehad's Daughters)

Comment #42 - Roasted Tomatoes:

Seraphine, this post and the related comment thread have stuck with me for a couple of days now. I don’t have great insight to offer, just an odd idea from the days of the Spanish Empire (really!). In those days, it was a practice of royal officials when given commands that they felt were impossible or impractical to return the response, “Obedezco pero no cumplo” — roughly, “I obey but I can’t fulfill.”

This fits pretty well with the Mormon idea, from the D&C in the Missouri era and also related to the Manifesto, that God doesn’t hold it against us when we fail to fulfill His commandments because other people have made it impossible. “Obedezco pero no cumplo” seems like a possible option for Mormons from time to time…


JT said...

I'm not sure that phrase quite fits with the idea you're advancing. A better translation is "I do not comply," which is significantly different, IMO, than "can't". "Can't" implies a desire to comply but being prevented to do so. The idea, however, was that colonial elites practiced noncompliance of certain edicts, more of a passive defiance. Of course, the Crown often looked the other way in these instances.

So, I'm not sure this idea fits, but surely there are alternatives.

Anonymous said...

Or perhaps we could use the words of Bartleby the Scrivener: "I would prefer not to."