Driving along a road with the branch president, or bishop, of our congregation (essentially the equivalent of the pastor), we came across a good sized snake along the road. It was belly up… dead, and our bishop commented that it was probably a bullsnake.
If you’re unfamiliar with what a bullsnake is, I’ll give you a quick rundown. They’re large snakes that are pretty common in the United States. You can find them anywhere between Idaho and Wisconsin, as far north as Canada and as far south as Mexico. They’re not venemous, but they can be fairly aggressive. What tends to get them in some trouble is the fact that they look a lot like rattlesnakes, specifically diamondbacks. They have a similar pattern, and they also hiss and beat their tails on the ground to imitate rattlesnakes. Many unsuspecting hikers have come across them and killed them because they mistake them for a rattlesnake.
So what’s the point of this? Well, I’ll tell you, and it’s about what our bishop said as we continued down the road.
“Someone probably thought it was a rattler and killed it,” he said. “They often hang around them.” Then, with a chuckle, “I guess you gotta be careful about who’s company you share.”
The same can be applied to us. What kinds of people do we hang around with? They may not have venomous glands in their mouths, but perhaps they have their own kind of poison. Satan and his evil influences are all around us. Alcohol, drugs, pornography and immorality, etc. When we share their company, we can often find ourselves imitating their behavior. We may not end up dead on the side of the road (hopefully not, at least), but we will easily find ourselves spiritually dead if we break the commandments of God.
But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die. (Doctrine and Covenants 45:32)
We are commanded to stand in holy places. Keep good company and do not move from it. By doing this, we shall live and can have eternal life.