Warnings From The Scriptures
by J.J. Dewey(To read the previous chapter, click here. To start this series at the beginning, click here.)
In speaking of the coming forth of the writings of the Nephites (including the sealed portion) and of the day when God will remember His covenant with his people, the Lord said, “And it shall come in a day when the blood of the Saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness.” (Mormon 8:27)
Do we have secret combinations today? Verily yes, but many of the secret works which keep people in darkness are much different than the conspiracy theorists suppose. The powers of darkness do not restrain themselves to any one organization or side of the political or religious spectrum but will work undercover wherever they may find a response.
At one time they may work within the church and another time out of the church. During one generation they may concentrate on working through conservatives and another time through liberals. As soon as they are identified and their secret works revealed they will change form like the fabled shape-shifter. Paul said it well:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”The secret works which fight against the saints do not originate with flesh and blood but from the dark places of the unseen worlds. The only way to be aware of where they are placing their attention is to keep our attention focused upon the Spirit, for the Spirit will reveal all to those willing to receive.
The scripture continues:
“Yea, it shall come in a day when the power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and lifted up in the pride of their hearts; yea even in a day when leaders of churches and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even unto the envying of them who belong to their churches.” (Mormon 8:28)Members like to think that this applies to other religions only, but this situation will apply to those who have the Book of Mormon. This will be the situation preceding the days of the coming forth of the sealed plates. Why does Mormon note that the leaders will envy those who belong to the churches? It is because they “did have their goods and their substance no more common among them.” (4 Nephi 25) Therefore, many of the members of the churches today are wealthier than their leaders, causing envious thoughts in the hearts of the leaders.
“Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be heard of fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands;...” (Verse 29)This situation did not exist in the days of Joseph Smith for the fires and vapors of smoke refer to modern warfare which we shall hear of in foreign lands in the days in which the sealed plates come forth.
“And there shall also be heard of wars and earthquakes in divers places. Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth. (Verses 30-31)There are always wars and earthquakes, but the fact that “there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth” is especially timely. In this age we not only have spiritual pollution, but the physical is also a threat.
“Behold, I speak unto you as if ye [those who have the Book of Mormon] were present, and yet ye are not. But behold Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adornment of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are you ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than the misery which never dies - because of the praise of the world?” (Mormon 8:35-38)Let us now ask: Which church (according to the Book of Mormon) is supposed to be the “holy church of God?” Is that not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? Does not Mormon tell us that Jesus had shown him our doing and that the teachers [authorities] in the Church have polluted it?
Mormon ends with a sober warning: “Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.” (Verse 41)
Here Mormon tells us that the saints are crying out against those who have polluted the holy church. Could it really be possible that their wrath is directed toward the seemingly righteous authorities today?
Put yourself in the shoes of the early Mormons. Suppose you were driven from Ohio to Missouri to Illinois to Utah, and then possibly to Mexico. Suppose your wife had been raped and your children exposed to the cold and hunger and uncertainty of persecution. Suppose you had been dragged through the streets by men drunk on the blood of the saints and tarred and feathered and beaten and accused. Suppose you had been at Haun’s Mill and had witnessed your children and loved ones being massacred? How would you feel? Why did these people endure such hardships?
They endured these hardships with the hope of establishing the church in its purity; which purity has now been abandoned – traded for the praise and acceptance of the world.
The early saints were persecuted because they believed in the gathering, and in the establishment of an actual kingdom with power in the hands of the saints. They were persecuted because they not only said, but they tried to live by the voice of the Spirit!
How do you suppose they feel when they look at the milktoast religion the LDS have today and see that the principles that they shed their blood for have been relinquished? What will they say to their God?
They will say, “Behold, did we suffer and die in vain only to establish a gathering which has been dispersed? A kingdom which has been voided by the precepts of men? Ordinances which have been changed and not understood? A Priesthood which has no connection with the powers of heaven? A law of consecration which has been abandoned? A freedom of spirit and a fullness of the Holy Spirit giving revelation which has been suppressed by authority? A holy church which has been polluted and a faith that has been so watered down that the weakest of the weak believe that they will obtain the glory of God with only the slightest, yea the very slightest show of faith or emotion? Did we give our lives so these people could ride to glory on the praise of the world? Did we give our lives to establish another priestcraft that is a light unto themselves while the poor in spirit yet cry daily for the waters of life that does not come?”
Is such a cry not the reason the Lord said:
“Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord. And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; first among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.” (D&C 112:24-26)Think not that this scripture merely applies to the lowly Elder who is not doing his home teaching, but it applies to those who profess to actually “know” the Lord. Who are the apostles and prophets in the Church that claim to have a “special witness? Did not the Lord say, “Ye that hear me not will I curse, that have professed my name, with the heaviest of cursings.” (D&C 41:1)
Has the Lord started His judgment in His own house in the past? He has. One of the best examples was in the days of Ezekiel when the house of God was out of order. The Lord asked, “Hast thou seen what the ancients [Elderly authorities] of the house of Israel do in the dark? Every man in the chambers of his imagery? For they say, the Lord seeth us not.” (Ezek. 8:12) The Lord decided that the best course to pursue was to slay them all so he called a man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side.
“And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.”Then God sent destroyers through the city and the destruction began on his own house or “sanctuary.” All were killed except those who had the mark in the forehead. (See Ezek. 9:3-6)
Is anything similar prophesied in our day? Yes.
We have already covered the prophecy about judgment beginning at the Lord’s house, but are there any other similarities? Will there be those saved from the Latter-Day calamities who also have a mark in their foreheads? John prophesied of this: “And I looked and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred and forty-four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” (Rev. 14:1)
Just as those who were saved in ancient Israel received a mark in their foreheads, so will some be saved in modern Israel, but the mark, or the Father’s name, will probably not be physically written there. Instead, the elect will know the true name of the Father and have that name in their thoughts at all times, thus symbolically having it written in their foreheads.
Who are those who will bring the destruction in our day? Again the scriptures give the answer:
“And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people - then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob go forth among them, and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forests, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who as he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. And I will gather my people together as a man gathereth his sheaves into the floor.” (3 Nephi 20:15-18)In this same chapter the Lord says unto the Gentiles, “Nevertheless, when they shall have received the fullness of my gospel, then if they shall harden their hearts against me, I will return their iniquities upon their own heads, saith the Father.” (2 Nephi 20:28)
Some may feel that this treatise is hard on the authorities in the Church, but consider the language of the Lord in 1831: “But wo unto them that are deceivers and hypocrites, for, thus saith the Lord, I will bring them to judgment. Behold verily I say unto you, that there are hypocrites among you, who have deceived some, which has given the adversary power.” (D&C 50:6-7)
Also the following scripture was given to warn all members of the Church: “But there is a possibility that man may fall from grace and depart from the living God. Therefore let the Church take heed, and pray always lest they [the Church] fall into temptation; yea, let those who are sanctified take heed also.” (D&C 20:32-34)
Has the Church fallen into the temptation of following the easy ways of the world? Have the sanctified fallen from grace? Behold we are told: “And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel, then will the Father show forth His own works in it.” (3 Nephi 27:10)
In the early days of the Church, the Father did show forth some of His own works with great manifestations, such as visitations and a cloud of light upon the Kirtland Temple and a great gathering of a people; but what works of the Father are now in the Church? Sure we hear of a healing now and then, but so do the Pentecostals and others. But where are the works of the Father? We are further told,
“But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire.” (3 Nephi 27:11)We are told that the destruction of Jerusalem is a foreshadowing of our day. (See D&C 5:20. ) Therefore, we would do well to read scriptures that were directed at those people:
“From the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: Therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” (Jer. 6:13-16)Is not the word of the Lord the same for us today? Does not the still small voice speak within and tell us to "ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein”? We would do well to search out the revelations and founding principles of the church, especially the principle of revelation, and walk in them.
What happened to Jerusalem after Lehi left, when those leaders would not walk in the old paths?
Can it happen to us?
Verily, our day is much more like Lehi’s than the Latter-Day Saints will dare admit. We seem to get the idea that if we lived in the days of Lehi, King Noah, or Jesus, it would have been easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys, but was it? After all, in the days of Lehi about all the righteous that we have a record of is Lehi and his family, Jeremiah, and Daniel and his friends. That’s not very many out of possible millions, is it?
In the days of evil King Noah, only Abinadi dared cry repentance and fortunately he made one convert -the dynamic Alma. Even the greatest of all, Jesus, had only 120 followers when he died. (See Acts 1:15.) Obviously deception was very subtle and it was very difficult to recognize. Would you have been one of the 120 if you had been here in the days of Jesus? It’s a sobering question.
Just imagine that you were a typical Jew in the days of Jesus. You received an unshakable testimony that Moses was a true prophet as well as Joshua and others after him. You even feel you have a witness that Israel had the keys of the kingdom. You feel that salvation can only come by following the Elders of the Church since they are the successors of Moses. Then the young upstart Jesus comes into town and begins preaching a seemingly different gospel and doing wonderful works. You wonder what the authorities will say about this and you find that they say Jesus receives his power from the devil and whoever follows him will be cast out and excommunicated. You feel that Jesus may have something, but you have received a testimony of Moses and this causes you to greatly fear excommunication for fear of losing your salvation and that of your family. Therefore, before you follow Jesus, you must make absolutely sure you are right.
Can you see why there were just 120 followers when He died? It was because of the strong influence of the authorities on the people.
We often think of the attitude of Laman and Lemuel as being odd, but actually, they were much like many members today for they said of the Jews, “And we know that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people; for they kept the statutes and judgments of the Lord, and all His commandments, according to the law of Moses; wherefore we know that they are a righteous people; and our father hath judged them.” (I Nephi 17:22)
Do we not have the same attitude today toward the people in the land of Utah? We believe they are a righteous people and that they keep all the teachings laid down by Joseph Smith, when in reality they do not; wherefore, the Lord has compared our people who are becoming ripened in iniquity to the people in the days of Lehi.
These are strong warnings and they are directed to the spiritual leaders with more force than the rank and file church members. We have learned from the prophet Jonah that predictions of doom do not have to take place. If thoughts and actions change, then our destiny will also change. But unfortunately, it is an eternal principle that if the salt has lost its savor it is good for nothing but to be trodden under by the foot of man.
The church must learn again to be the salt of the earth if it wishes to survive as a spiritual entity.
Copyright J.J. Dewey, used with permission.
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