I was recently listening to a podcast (the exact one is not important for this conversation) where the host had recently returned from a trip to Australia. He said he visited some old friends that had moved for the USA 15 years ago, and are now citizens of Australia.

The friends said that once you are out of the US long enough, you realize that the major difference between the US and Australia, the UK, and even other countries like Spain is that so much in America is based on fear.  For example, if you look at the gun debate, it is all based on fear.  If you don’t ban guns, all school children are going to be shot, and if you do ban guns, the government will come and take away all your rights. The friends said it takes about five years to notice the difference, but once you are in it, it is so refreshing. They said the first time they knew they weren’t in the US anymore was when they bought their condo, and asked the doorman for a reference to a locksmith so they could get their locks changed. His one word answer was “why?”

Is it possible for religion to not be fear based? Could a religion thrive and grow, provide meaning to people’s lives that did not teach an eternal damnation for non-believers? Could a region thrive on just love for one another, and not the threat of being separated from your family if you don’t pay 10% of your income? Does religion require fear, or was religion born out of a fear of dying, giving comfort to the universal fear of death?

What about the Lord’s own words. Does that give us an reason to stop using fear?

For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

D&C 58:26

The word compel means “to bring about (something) by the use of force or pressure”. What is that force/pressure? It would be the fear of hell if you do not follow the commandments. The Lord is sill saying that some things require commandments (and the requisite compulsions due to fear), just not all things. So maybe this doesn’t work as a way to rid ourselves of our fear based foundation.

How about we just keep it simple and love one another?