Warnings from the Past
by J.J. Dewey
Hundreds of the greatest lights in the church have been excommunicated, not for any sin or proven wrongdoing, but for thinking outside the box.
Those who were persecuted became themselves persecutors after 1890 when the church compromised with the government to change it’s doctrine. From that point on those who studied, taught, and practiced the originating doctrines of the church were told to step in line with the new emphasis or suffer the consequences.
At first, the Church’s wrath seemed to focus mainly on those who practiced the controversial doctrine of plural marriage. Since that time the member seeking greater light is risking his membership if he does something like:
(1) Associate with those whose beliefs run contrary to the LDS church.
(2) Publish accurate information about some of the early history of the church that the Brethren want swept under the rug.
(3) Openly share views of some of the mysteries with other church members.
(4) Have any type of unauthorized study class in your home.
(5) State that the Prophet could be wrong on doctrine.
(6) Have unacceptable political views.
(7) Criticize the General Authorities.
The list does not stop here. The excommunication of my nephew and I was begun because they merely found our “thinking” was not in harmony. We were both obeying all the rules of the church, and I was teaching several classes and always taught orthodox doctrine. When the member is not allowed to have his own private controversial thoughts about the mysteries, then, indeed, the church has gone too far.
Will those who are led by the Spirit of God ever persecute their brethren? All those who have an ounce of the light of Christ in them must exclaim, NO! A thousand times no! The roll of the adversary is to belittle, tear down, stamp out with force, use the full arm of the law with no mercy, “wear out the Saints,” force them to deny what they believe in, make good appear evil and evil good, persecute, destroy!
Those on the left hand path cannot let their works be shown in the light of day, or their apparent righteousness will dissolve with the morning rays of the sun and finally the mid-day sun will scorch them in its strength.
Yes, therefore, the leaders today do “exercise power and authority over the disciples of Jesus.” They have not yet filled up their measure as the ancient Nephites did, but they will soon be given their chance. There are numerous inspired teachings breaking forth outside the realm of the General Authorities, and the contrast between the light in the church and the light outside of the church is growing exponentially. The day is soon coming that this contrast will no longer be possible to sweep under the rug and ignore.
It will be as Jesus said, “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” (Matt. 10:35-36) Then will the leaders say of the true followers as King Noah said of Abinadi, “He has said these things that he might stir up my people to anger one with another, and to raise contentions among my people.” (Mos. 11:28)
Are we going to be like King Noah and call “evil good and good evil, that put darkness for light and light for darkness”? (2 Nephi 15:20) Or are we going to be like the five wise virgins and have our lamps filled with the Holy Spirit and not lean on the arm of flesh?
The time is soon coming when every person who calls himself a Saint will have to choose between following the Holy Spirit or the arm of flesh; and if he chooses the latter, the spirit of the Lord will withdraw and that man will be easily confounded before the least of the followers of light. His only remedy then is to become as the Pharisees and Saducees and spiritually join the great and abominable church and try to stamp out the light; but these will dig a pit for themselves in which to fall in, and wonderful will be their punishment.
Do I rejoice to see these things at the doors? No. I respect the church and the people in it, and many of the leaders are trying to do right, but God wants us to glory in His work and not man’s, and we are told “every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” (I Cor. 3:13)
As time progressed, we find that the Nephites became more hardened and eventually became “even as the Jews at Jerusalem.” (Verse 31) After they reached this state, “there arose a people who were called the Nephites (the fundamental believers of the day) and they were true believers in Christ.” (Verse 36) After this separation of the righteous from the wicked, a frightful thing happened. “They did not dwindle in unbelief, but they did willfully rebel against the gospel of Christ.” (Verse 38) The seeds for a willful rebellion have been sown, but the plant is not yet clearly visible.
The groundwork has truly been set for a willful rebellion against the light, for the truth of new revelation will become so clear that the Saints will either willfully rebel, or join the light; and to join the light one must admit he has been deceived - which thing is hard for a man to do.
What happened after they willfully rebelled? Then they “began again to build up the secret oaths and combinations of Gadianton.” (Verse 42) Could that happen to us? Verily, yes. Did not the Lord say, “Beware of pride lest ye become as the Nephites of old”? (D&C 38:39)
Isn’t that a far cry from that often-thundered statement from the pulpit: “the Church will never fall!”? My dear brother, it can fall. Be as Paul, and let the scales drop from your eyes. Do as the Laodiceans were commanded and anoint thine eyes with eye salve that thou mayest see.” (Rev. 3:18) “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Rev. 3:17)
To the Church the Lord said, “Inasmuch as ye do it not [keep the commandments], it shall be taken, even that which ye have received.” (D&C 43:10)
“Be faithful in keeping my commandments lest judgments come upon you, and your faith fail you, and your enemies triumph over you.” (D&C 136:42) It doesn’t sound like the Lord has an overabundance of confidence in the church, does it? Why should He? After all, hasn’t He watched Israel fail generation after generation? Even God does not force men to do right.
Why did Joseph warn that the Lord may take away the Church’s “talent, and give it to those who have no talent, and shall prevent them from ever obtaining a place of refuge, or an inheritance upon the land of Zion”? (DHC 2:48)
Who are those that “have no talent”? The Book of Mormon tells us clearly, but before we quote, we must clarify the meaning of the word Gentile as used in the book. Most LDS believe that the Gentiles prophesied of are those who will not join the Church in the last days, but is this the case? The Nephites used the word in its purest sense, as did the Bible writers, for the Greek word for Gentiles is Ethnos which means “foreigner.” Thus when the Nephites wrote of the Gentiles, they were speaking of the foreign peoples who would eventually possess the land, and the foreign peoples who would possess the Book of Mormon and the fullness of the gospel.
Those who would say other than this must either deny or rewrite the scriptures, for how do you explain the following: “Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us, who are identified with the Gentiles.” (D&C 109:60)
Who are identified with the Gentiles? Who received the “revelations and commandments”? The LDS people, of course.
Does not the title page of the Book of Mormon make clear who the Lord meant by “Gentile”? We are told it was written “to Jew and Gentile” and that it was “to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile -the interpretation thereof by the gift of God.”
Was Joseph Smith, by whom the book came forth, a Gentile? He was. Were the people who assisted him also Gentiles? Yes. The scriptures do not lie. We are clearly told that the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God – “is my word to the Gentile, that soon it may go to the Jew, of whom the Lamanites are a remnant.” (D&C 19:27)
Who is the Lord speaking of when He talks about “those who embrace my gospel among the Gentiles”? (D&C 42:39) You really have to be desperate to say that applies to the non-Mormons. The Lord even tells us clearly that He calls the “heathen nations,” or the gentiles, the house of Joseph.” (D&C 90:10)
For more clarity, we quote: “Wherefore, it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the saints, and also every tract lying westward, even unto the line running directly between Jew and Gentile. (D&C 57:4)
We are also told “that the seed of this people (the Lamanites) may more fully believe this gospel, which shall go forth unto them from the Gentiles.” (Mormon 5:15) Also the Gentiles “have care for the house of Israel.” (Mormon 5:10) Here we are told clearly as word can be that the Gentiles will take the gospel to the Lamanites. Do you see any non-Mormons doing this? How can anyone deny that the LDS people are the Gentiles prophesied in the Book of Mormon?
Nephi gives us more confirmation. He says, “Then shall the fullness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed.” (I Nephi 15:13)
We see clearly then that the prophets in the Book of Mormon spoke not only to the inhabitants, as a whole, who would possess this land, but more particularly those who would receive and read the Book of Mormon. Why would the prophets waste energy in warning the “Gentiles” who would not even be reading the book? Why do we fool ourselves in thinking that the admonitions to the Gentiles are for the non-Mormon who doesn’t know they exist?
And what type of warning did the prophets give to the “Gentiles” who would possess the Book of Mormon? Moroni sums up the matter thus:
“And this [The Book of Mormon] cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God - that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fullness come, that ye may not bring down the fullness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.” (Ether 2:11)Now, we can pass the buck and say that Moroni’s warning pertains to all those sinful non-Mormons, but who has received the warning through the Book of Mormon? Therefore who has the responsibility? The answer is obvious. Who does the Lord condemn for the great destructions in the Book of Mormon days? Wasn’t it those who possessed the gospel? It was.
“Wherefore, O ye gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain - and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, TO YOUR OVERTHROW if ye suffer these things to be.” (Ether 8:23)When Mormon compiled the Book of Mormon, he had hundreds of times more records than we now have and had to be quite selective about what to include. What criteria did he use for his selection? He (as well as his son) tried to include words that would be of benefit to the Gentiles who would receive the book. He knew that the Gentiles would suffer the same pitfalls as his people except they be given a warning; so he compiled the whole Book of Mormon around the idea of warning the Gentiles by showing them what had happened to his people so we could avoid the same mistakes.
In the above two quotes Moroni summarizes the basic purpose of the book for the Gentiles. Why then do we bury our heads in the sand and exclaim that the Gentiles are the non-Mormons who do not have the slightest idea of what is in the book? Is God such a fool that not one intended person should hear His warning?
I’m sure it is a great comfort for many who tell themselves that the following scripture applies to the non Mormons: “Therefore, wo be unto the Gentiles if it so be that they harden their hearts against the Lamb of God. For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting, either on one hand or the other - either to the convincing of them unto peace and eternal life, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds unto their being brought down into captivity, and also into destruction, both TEMPORALLY and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil, of which I have spoken.” (I Nephi 14:6-7)
Here is another scripture that many like to think applies to the non- Mormons:
“And now, we behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fullness of His wrath shall come upon them. And the fullness of His wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity. For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fullness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off. And this [the Book of Mormon] cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles [obviously referring to those who have the book], that YE MAY KNOW the decrees of God - that ye may repent, and not continue in iniquities until the fullness come, that ye may not bring down the fullness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.” (Ether 2:9-11)Thus the responsibility for preserving freedom in this land is supposed to rest on the shoulders of the Mormon Elders, for they are the ones who have received the book - they are the ones that must serve the God of the land. Did not Joseph Smith say that the Constitution of this country would hang as it were on a single thread, and if it were saved at all it would be done by the Mormon Elders?
What are the Elders doing to save the Constitution?
Is it enough to advise members to get involved and elect good men to office? Is that not the same advice that is given out to all people in all democratic countries everywhere? Do you know anyone who says he voted for the man who he believed to be the worst candidate? Such advice is no sign of wisdom, for all people from the greatest to the least already believe it.
Well did Isaiah prophesy: “His watchmen are blind, they are ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark.” (Isa. 56:10) This is strong language, but it is not mine. Is it not true that authorities today cannot bark or sound forth a clear warning? President Benson tried to get involved in preserving our freedoms a few years ago, but received much criticism and had to withdraw from the scene before he could let out a good bark or two. Thus all of our leaders leave politics alone and do not bark, but sit back and watch our freedoms deteriorate while declaring that Zion is prospering as never before.
But behold, a shaking is coming on the house of God, and they that dwell securely shall become very unsettled, and men’s hearts will fail them.
Copyright J.J. Dewey, used with permission.
To continue on to chapter twelve, click here.
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