The Laborer in Zion
by J.J. Dewey(To read the previous chapter, click here. To start this series at the beginning, click here.)
The Lord made a curious statement to Nephi which has never been correctly explained to my knowledge:
“Behold, there are save two churches only; one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the Devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.” (I Nephi 14:10-11)Mormons generally believe that they are the Church of the Lamb of God referred to and all other religions are the church of the devil, but is this correct? Nephi himself solves the mystery and tells us who it is that belongs to the church of the devil and interestingly, he does not name any particular religion:
“Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for THEY ARE THEY WHO ARE THE WHORE of all the earth: for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God.” (2 Nephi 10:16)Could it really be that many of the LDS themselves make up part of the whore, or the great and abominable church? Yes. The scriptures clearly tell us that anyone that fights the establishment of Zion becomes a part of the whore, or the church of the devil. Else why did Nephi warn us: “And blessed are the Gentiles [The LDS], they of whom the prophet has written; for behold, if it so be that they shall repent and fight not against Zion, and do not unite themselves to that great and abominable church, they shall be saved.” (2 Nephi 6:12)
Since the Great and Abominable Church is composed of those who fight against Zion, we must ask the question, How does one fight against Zion? To understand let us examine some of the ingredients of which Zion will be composed.
When Zion is fully established, it will be an independent entity which will have “no laws but my laws.” (D&C 38:22)
It will be “independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world.” (D&C 78:14)
Zion will support the principles of freedom and limited government in our Constitution which is for the “protection of all flesh”. (D&C 101: 77)
The saints were told to “buy lands and gather together upon them; and in this way they may establish Zion... . They shall gather together unto the places which I have appointed.” (D&C 101:74 & 67)
Each place where there was a gathering was to be a stake. A stake was not supposed to be 3,000 saints in the midst of a city of 50,000, but it was to be composed of an actual city of saints staked out around the central stake. These stakes are referred to as if the curtains or the strength of Zion.” (D&C 101:21)
“Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the celestial kingdom.” (D&C 105:5)
In Zion we are told that “it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherewith the world lieth in sin.” (D&C 50:20)
We are told that the Lord “called His people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” (Moses 7:18)How many are there in the Church today that actively work for the establishment of the above principles? Unfortunately, many have been excommunicated for doing so. Concerning those who are not for the principles of Christ, he said, “He that is not with me is against me.” (Matt. 12:30)
We are told that the natural man is an enemy to God, and the natural man does indeed rebel against the establishment of Zion. He does not want to gather out of Babylon and be separate from the world for he loves the world. He does not want to be equal in earthly things for he wants to be above his brother. He seeks to rely upon the arm of flesh rather than receive personal revelation. This person whether Mormon or not, who pits his will against Zion, belongs to the church of the devil. The number is legion for many who are for Zion in word are against it in deed.
On the other hand, many non-Mormons belong to the Church of the Lamb of God. These are they who have the fire of freedom burning in their breasts. They believe that all men should have the freedom to worship as they please so long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. They do not believe in establishing an authority for every decision for the final authority is the human spirit in communication with God.
The number of these people are few, and many of them are not members of the Church and some of them are inactive members who would participate if the Church were in order. These freedom loving people who live harmless lives and do many good things of their own free will are the true members of the Church of the Lamb of God even if they presently live in far off Russia or India. The cause of Zion is in the soul of many who have not yet heard the word, for it is written in their hearts.
One of the marks of the Great and Abominable Church is the practice of priestcraft and Nephi gives us a clear insight as to the definition thereof: “He commanded that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion ... . Wherefore if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.” (2 Nephi 26:29-30)
Is there priestcraft in the Church today? Are there those who set themselves up for a light that others must follow or suffer the consequences?
One may answer yes, but at the same time question that this is no more the case today than it was in the days of Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. But is there a difference in the attitude of the authorities today compared with the early days?
If you study the history of the Church, you will note a quite remarkable difference; the main one being the suffocation and strangulation in individual expression, freedom, and spiritual gifts in the Church today.
In 1843 the High Council was quite concerned about the teachings of a certain Elder named Pelatiah Brown even though Joseph Smith called him “one of the wisest old heads we have among us.” He was called up for trial for teaching mysteries not yet revealed. Of this Joseph Smith said, “I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodists, and not like the Latter-Day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.” (DHC 5:340)
It is interesting to note that today the Methodists allow greater freedom of thought, whereas the Latter-Day Saints are the ones who ask those whom they believe are erring in doctrine out of the Church.
Let’s examine several other statements of Joseph Smith:
“I stated that the most prominent difference between the Latter-Day Saints and sectarians was, that the latter were all circumscribed by some peculiar creed, which deprived its members the privilege of believing anything not contained therein, whereas the Latter- day Saints have no creed, but are ready to believe all true principles that exist as they are manifest from time to time.” (DHC 5: 215)
“I told him I had no creed to circumscribe my mind; therefore the people did not like me.” (DHC 5:214)
“I want to come up into the presence of God, and learn all things; but the creeds set up stakes, and say, ‘Hitherto shalt thou come; and no further,’ which I cannot subscribe to.” (DHC 6:57)Brigham Young spoke in a similar vein:
“If they have not yet undivided feelings, they will be chastened until they have them; not only until every one of them shall see for themselves, and prophecy for themselves, have visions for themselves, but be made acquainted with all the principles and laws necessary for them to know, so as to supersede the necessity of anyone teaching them. Is not the time to come when I shall not say to my neighbor, know the Lord, for he will know him as well as I do?” (J. of D. 3: 89)Notice how Joseph Smith tried to avoid setting himself up as a light above his brethren: “I explained to him that I did not profess to be a prophet any more than every man ought to who professes to be a preacher of righteousness.” (DHC 5:232)
Why did the Lord say, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge ... the people that doth not understand shall fall.” (Hosea 4:6 & 14)
Notice that the Lord tells us that the people must understand. It is not enough to pin our faith on the sleeve of the leaders. Knowing this, the early prophets tried to inspire the people to be as good or better than they were. It is a great temptation for those placed in a leadership position to believe that God has chosen them for an authority rather than a servant. Many of these try to extinguish the lesser lights around them so all the light these little minds have is the radiation from the arm of flesh.
On the contrary, God has ordained that we all share the great light of God who is our source and eventually become great lights ourselves.
Yes, there is a difference in the leadership of the Latter-Day Saints today. Today they say, “Hitherto shalt thou come and no further.” You can believe the works of Joseph Fielding Smith, Talmage, and LeGrande Richards, but if you get a different interpretation out of the scriptures, you must stop and repent or get out.
Today the church does have a creed. It is the creed of the modern authorities of the Church which is essentially this: “The Brethren will never lead you astray. Do not think for yourself, but follow to the letter and think as you are told or get out.” Modern Mormons are circumscribed by this and the result is the present very low, almost nonexistent degree of spiritual manifestations in the Church.
As mentioned earlier, my nephew (and later myself) was called in by his bishop and excommunicated by the High Council within about a week because he believed the scriptures above the opinions of the modern authorities. The Doctrine and Covenants tells us that the High Council is supposed to be split so half of them defend the person on trial, but they were all one voice against him. He had no defense. One of the reasons was that a visiting general authority told the High Council to cut him off before the trial was held. Yea, even the wicked have greater justice in their hearts than this!
In speaking of those who practice priestcraft, Nephi said, “They seek not the welfare of Zion ... . Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.” (2 Nephi 26:29-30)
Who is the “laborer in Zion”? Obviously he is one who is laboring for the cause of Zion and Nephi prophesies that the priestcrafters will cause such laborers to perish. Now these priestcrafters could not be Catholics or Baptists for they have had no laborers for Zion, for they do not even teach of it, so the prophecy can only refer to priestcraft within the church that has the Book of Mormon.
What does the laborer in Zion do? He works to establish celestial principles which are equality through free will, the gathering of Israel, he seeks for revelation from heaven, he seeks the mysteries of the kingdom of God, he seeks to enlighten his fellow men and women, and what happens to such a one? He is “frowned” on by the authorities and if he persists laboring for Zion, he is cut off.
After he is cut off, the atmosphere becomes so heavy between him and his member friends, that he makes no attempt to even go to the mainstream church and often winds up attending some fringe group who will at least receive him. Thus, the laborer in Zion perished and had to travel a strange path.
Copyright J.J. Dewey, used with permission.
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