The Parable of the "Shortcut"
About 15 years ago, I went on my first 50 mile hike, on the Pacific Crest Trail. One day, as we were hiking, we came to a split in the trail. The trail to the left was clearly marked with ‘blazes’ – but the one to the right was also marked – the blazes were older, but still there.
We must have looked at a map, we knew that the newer section of trail would eventually join back up with the old section. We also knew that the newer section of trail was longer than the old one. Some of use decided to take the old shortcut. The old trail was shorter, but those of us who took it soon learned why it wasn’t in use any more. The farther down this trail we went, the scarier it got. There were dozens and dozens (perhaps hundreds…it felt like hundreds…) of fallen trees across the trail.
Some of these trees were quite large…which meant that we either had to crawl under, climb over or hike around nearly every tree – which isn’t that easy when you’re carrying a large backpack. We did eventually make it back to the main trail, but our shortcut had turned into a ‘longcut’.
Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
In my parable, the two trails can represent modern revelation and ancient scripture. The “shortcut” is like the Bible. It’s old and established…but every time someone translated something incorrectly, it’s like a tree across the path – makes it more difficult to understand. You could liken the newer trail to the Book of Mormon. Sometimes it might seem long (I’m looking at you, Alma), but overall it’s easier to understand.
You could also liken this parable to living prophets vs. dead prophets. The newer path represents our current prophet. President Monson gives us counsel on what concerns us today. He keeps our trail clear and ready to use. The old trail will still get you there - but it's sometimes covered with unnecessary obstacles.
This parable could also apply to choice and accountability... We eventually were able to get back to the main trail, but how much easier it would have been had we stayed with the well marked trail. When we go down those scary paths, we need to remember the guides or markers that we can use to return to the good path. The scriptures, the example of the Savior for how to live, the words of the prophet, prayer, repentance - the list goes on - there are so many things to help us on our way and we need to avail ourselves of them often, so we don’t go astray.