Friday, March 14, 2008

Parable of the washing machine

A parable is a brief, succinct story, in prose or verse, that illustrates a moral or religious lesson.

At stake conference this last weekend we had a visiting GA. He is a member of the Quorum of the Seventy (how many quorums of 70 are there now?). Anyway, he told us of a parable that he had heard from one of the Apostles. I hesitate to put this on my blog because it will be totally from memory and I would hate to miss quote a 70 who was telling a story about an Apostle. So, this is not fact, this is a parable told 3rd hand. I will not even mention the 70's name nor the Apostle.

Here is the situation. The visiting GA said he was in a meeting with a number of brand new Mission Presidents and their wives. The Apostle told them a parable then left the room. He told them to figure out what it meant and then call him back and let him know.

Here is the Parable of the washing machine.

"At the front of the store was a new washing machine. There were a number of salesman standing around the washing machine. The inventor of the washing machine was also there. The wife of the inventor walks up to the group standing around the new washing machine and asks, "What is this supposed to do?"."

Well, that is it! The GA then opened up the room for discussion to come up with the meaning of this parable.

What do you think it means?


Marni said...

Hmmm... since parables have lots of meanings, I can't be wrong, right?

You would think the inventor would possibly have thought about how hard his wife works, wanting to alleviate some of that with his invention. Makes you wonder, though. Right off I took it to mean that we need to share the things we learn and that are important to us with our spouses. Sad that he would have worked on something for years and she would know nothing about it. But I know people that are like that, that are a wealth of wonderful information but the spouse would have no idea except she heard him share it in gospel doctrine or over the pulpit.

On the flip side, maybe he had tried and she didn't listen, probably because she was doing so much laundry. So maybe the deeper meaning is that husbands should help with the laundry? Shoot, that could even be a surface meaning. After all, he probably made it so he wouldn't have to help her anymore. Regardless, wives should listen to their husbands, even if they don't always get it. Believe me, I nod and "uh huh" a LOT. I shouldn't just say wives should listen. Husbands need to as well.

Obviously you've thought about this more. Can't wait to hear your interpretation.

Rachael said...

Is it about Adam and Eve. Why she ate of the fruit? Is there an answer?

Clint said...

I'm not really sure of the answer because he never gave us the answer. That is what is so frustrating.

My take on it was that the washing machine is the gospel and relating it to missionary work, the inventor is the mission president representing the Lord. One of the people thought that the wife was really a smart lady and really knew how the washing machine worked but asked the question to help the salesmen (missionaries) think about why the washing machine would be important to the people they were presenting it to.

I also thought (thinking of my current calling) that I could put myself in the inventor's shoes and the young men were the salesman that I had to teach about the gospel (the washing machine) and trying to explain to them why the washing machine (the gospel) would improve their quality of life.

The more I think about it, the more I learn.

Love your comments.

Marni said...

Like I said, could be taken so many ways. What was the rest of his talk about? Does that shed any light on his personal interpretation?

Melinda said...

I like Marni's idea of men helping with the laundry.

I'm not in a deep thinking mood right now,..........can ya tell?

analee hirschi said...

I think it means that the husband, observed how annoying it is to wash clothes and wants to take the burden off of the his wife, although not willing to actually "do" the laundry so he takes his time to invent something so that if he "did" the laundry that it would be way easier and he would be more apt to help.....

Clint said...

I started thinking about this washing machine. If you compare a washing machine to the gospel, what parallels are there?

Washing machines wash clothes by using water, just like baptism. If you have white clothes, you need to add HOT water equating to baptism by fire. There are different wash cycles, just like the gospel, some sins you only have to pray for forgiveness whereas other sins require a longer cycle to get things clean. There is also some work, not just faith, is involved in the Gospel just as in washing machines, there is an agitator, a spin cycle, a rinse cycle. In the Gospel you need to read scriptures, have family home evening, attend church, take the sacrament, etc. Faith, without works is dead. If you put in cleaner into your washing machine without going through the work of agitation, spin and rinse, the soap doesn't do any good.

Now, as it relates to life, the washing machine sure gives us more time and makes our life easier and cleaner. We need to teach people how great this washing machine is. We shouldn't be afraid to tell people how great this washing machine is and how it will make their life better, cleaner and happier.

Wow, that is a lot of stuff.

Susan said...

I am very impressed with the thinking that has gone on concerning this washing machine. I understand that posibilities concerning the interpretation of the machine but the part that is intreging to me is the wife. Why was that added to the parable?? Who is the wife? If it is only about the gospel, why add her comment? Could it be that he is talking about the church service of the men and that they need to include their wives to share in the work and the joys of service. I wonder how much better the washing machine could have been had the wife had input on its design and use as he went along. How much closer would it have made them if they were working together on a project that would serve them both. It seems to me that the first sale of this glorious machine should have been to the wife. She could have been his #1 sales person, after all, it was her prototype for which it was made. MOM