"And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments." Mosiah 23:14
My sister-in-law and I had a conversation about this verse the other day and I have been thinking about it more and more since then. What does it mean? When it says trust no one to be your teacher ... except he be a man of God... does this just mean Sunday school teacher as many seem to think or is this all of our teachers? The context of the verse is when Alma has led the people away from King Noah's people and they now want to make him the new king. He reminds them of the wickedness of King Noah and then in verse 13 he says "And now as ye have been delivered by the power of God out of these bonds; yea, even out of the hands of King Noah and his people, and also from the bonds of iniquity, even so I desire that ye should stand fast in the liberty wherewith ye have been made free, and that ye trust no man to be a king over you." Then he goes to verse 14. So the context of this verse is Alma's recipe for maintaining freedom. I believe it includes three aspects, he mentions no kings, and later sets up a system of laws and judges that are elected by the people, so this is the type of government most conducive to freedom. Then he says that both their teachers and their ministers, or religious leaders should be men of God walking in His ways. These are two separate categories, one is education and the other is religion. This is the three legged stool to maintaining freedom, a government that gets its power from the people, education and teachers that are coming from the right perspective, that is they have a Godly worldview and last religious leaders that are also following God. Take any one of these away and the people begin to loose their freedoms. I think that those who are awake to it can see that this is happening now.
But why is it important to have our teachers be men of God? A teacher is one that has been given the influence to help the student to formulate opinions, to develop thought processes, to gain ideas and to train the mind of the person to interact with the world from a certain perspective. It is not possible for this perspective to be neutral, because everyone has a bias. There are a few people out there that don't know yet, but most who teach profess to know something about what they teach and so they will have a perspective that they are coming from. If they are men of God then the mind of the students are more likely to come away with ideas about God, and His plan and purpose along with His hand in our world and our lives. If the teacher is not a man of God, the ideas and the perspectives of the students are more likely to be influenced away from God. My sister-in-law said she had been watching for anything in her children's school that were false teachings and she might need to correct, but I think Satan is a lot more subtle than that. He may not come directly out and teach their is no God, but instead he may just get the students to develop thought processes, ideas and opinions that do not have God in them. This subtlety is often much more dangerous. I think this is why Alma warns us away from it.