Is the path strait, or is it straight?
It is both. But what does that mean?
It’s not uncommon for members of the covenant to point out that the use the form of the word “strait” is a winding channel between two bodies of water, or as a mountain pass. This is pointed out to suggest that the course could wind and not be in a straight line. But this would be a misuse of the definition of “strait”. When people reference strait in the sense of a channel between mountains or connecting bodies of water, they are referencing the noun form of the word.
The scriptures use the adjective form of the word. This form of the word simply means: narrow or close; not broad.
When the Lord refers to the strait and narrow path he is emphasizing how narrow the gate is, and how narrow the path remains. We should be careful not to infer that the path is winding, or meanders. The Adversary is working hard to dilute, confuse, counterfeit and teach the philosophies of men regarding the path. These philosophies carry the risk that would lead us off of the strait and narrow path and on to strange paths. We must be vigilant in our rejection of anything that does not comply to the pure doctrine of Christ.
Christ says of his own path:
For God doth notin crooked paths, neither doth he to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his is one eternal round (D&C 3:2)
When the Lord refers to his paths as being straight. We are commanded to keep them this way. It is upon us to“the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (D&C 65: 1).
It is a commandment to keep his path straight. We keep it straight by walking on the straight path and by also keeping his doctrine pure.
Nephi uses the term strait and straight interchangeably. This should drive clarity about the path.
Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, thefor man is , but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name (2 Nephi 9: 41).
Overcoming the world is the process of keeping our paths straight. Nephi again teaches us through the record of his own experiences:
O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy (2 Nephi 4: 33).
Those that declare the pure gospel of Christ will all echo the same message as Alma who taught the way of the path with precision and purity. And he also reminds us that the path we walk in is the Lord’s path. They both must be straight. This is when we are righteous and in “the way”: It is when we make the Lord’s path our own.
But behold, the Spirit hath said this much unto me, saying: Cry unto this people, saying—ye, and prepare the way of the Lord, and walk in his paths, which are straight; for behold, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and the Son of God upon the face of the earth (Alma 7: 9).
It is us that meander. It is us that wander. We may cross over the strait and narrow path a thousand times in our life – but that does not make the path crooked. We are to come into possession of the path and then learn how to keep the path – we must learn to endure on it.