- Start with a cage containing five monkeys.
- Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it.
- Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana.
- As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the monkeys with cold water.
- After a while, another monkey makes an attempt to climb the stairs with the same result - all the monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.
- Now, turn off the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs.
- To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.
- Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.
- Again, replace a third original monkey with a new one. The new one makes it to the stairs and is attacked as well.
- Two of the four monkeys that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.
- After replacing the fourth and fifth original monkeys, all the monkeys that have been sprayed with cold water have been replaced.
- Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs. Why not?
- Because as far as they know that's the way it's always been around here.
- And that's how unbelief begins. . .
When I read about the policy established in the monkey society, I recognized a similar behavior experienced by us. The banana could represent connecting with heaven, being redeemed, seeing God face to face, and receiving further light and knowledge by conversing with the Lord through the veil.
Institutionalized religion often sprays cold water all over us when we make the attempt to approach God and connect with heaven. Why does anyone want to spray cold water? Shouldn’t we cheer each other on? What’s the reasoning? Here are a few of the false notions I've observed:
- If someone else succeeds, I fail.
- Climbing the ladder to heaven is a lot like climbing the corporate ladder. Someone has to go down for me to go up.
- If no one around me is going the distance then I don’t have to either.
- I don't even know if connecting with heaven is necessary.
- Sounds like a lot of sacrifice. I don’t want to put forth that kind of effort.
- I might loose my friends if I get close to those stairs. We've all agreed that they're bad. Let's keep it that way.
- We’ve got our correlated regiment. Don’t buck the system!
- If I even associate or sympathize with a stair-climbing, banana-eating monkey, I’ll probably get in trouble. I might be led astray.
- Stair climbers are a threat to my power, glory, and dominion. I can no longer control them with my philosophies.
Those that have become institutionalized will gang attack and seek to control those who are making an effort to know God. False beliefs and traditions become so deep-rooted that most people believe it is their religious duty to mock, criticize, revile, censor, report, and condemn others who seek the God of Heaven D&C 93:39.
The religious institutions should be pointing others to Christ, but instead they preach, “Worship the institution and those in charge, and you’ll be saved. Stay away from those stairs. They aren't necessary. The stairs lead to a high-dive. The fall you'll experience is sure to be great.”
“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. . . Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” Matt. 23:13, 15
Is the kingdom of heaven shut up today? How many people believe that we can actually talk to God face to face? Who is teaching the doctrine of Christ? 2 Nephi 32:6 If someone came preaching this doctrine, would we spray him with cold water?
What would happen if a determined, stair-climbing, banana-eating monkey replaced one of those other monkeys? What if a prophet who has been in the presence of God came among us today? What would we think if he told us we could climb the stairs and connect with heaven? What if he said we might get sprayed, but go for it anyway? A little cold water won’t hurt. The fruit of the tree is worth it. When you’re at the top of the stairs, those water-spraying monkeys can’t even reach you.