CONDEMNATION – WHY WE ARE UNDER IT – AND – HOW TO REMOVE IT
In each of his FIRST FIVE conference addresses as Prophet President Benson declared that we are under condemnation, both individually and as a church. “Cleansing the Inner Vessel”, “A Sacred Responsibility”, and “The Power of the Word”, Ensign, May ’86 pp. 5, 78 & 82; “The Book of Mormon – Keystone of our Religion” and “The Gift of Modern Revelation”, Ensign Nov. ’86 pp. 4 & 80. Two years later he said it again. “Flooding The Earth With The Book of Mormon”, Ensign Nov. ’88 p. 5. In five of these addresses the Lord’s Prophet either quoted or referred to the 84th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants wherein the Lord pointedly tells the entire church that it is under condemnation and will remain under condemnation until the church DOES THE THINGS WHICH THE LORD HAS COMMANDED.
Considering the great gravity of this message we thought it worthwhile to consider the matter of condemnation in greater detail. Specifically we are interested in precisely why are we under condemnation? And, even more importantly, what do we do to remove the condemnation? We think the scriptures answer these two questions quite clearly. We shall begin with the entire “condemnation scripture” from Section 84.
49 And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the BONDAGE OF SIN.
50 And by this you may know they are UNDER THE BONDAGE OF SIN, BECAUSE THEY COME NOT UNTO ME.
51 FOR WHOSO COMETH NOT UNTO ME IS UNDER THE BONDAGE OF SIN.
52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me.
53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that THE WHOLE WORLD GROANETH UNDER SIN AND DARKNESS even now.
54 And YOUR MINDS IN TIMES PAST HAVE BEEN DARKENED BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF, and BECAUSE YOU HAVE TREATED LIGHTLY THE THINGS YOU HAVE RECEIVED –
55 Which VANITY AND UNBELIEF HAVE BROUGHT THE WHOLE CHURCH UNDER CONDEMNATION.
56 And THIS CONDEMNATION RESTETH UPON THE CHILDREN OF ZION, EVEN ALL.
57 And THEY SHALL REMAIN UNDER THIS CONDEMNATION UNTIL THEY REPENT and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, NOT ONLY TO SAY BUT TO DO ACCORDING TO THAT WHICH I HAVE WRITTEN.
58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.
59 For shall the children of the kingdom pollute My holy
land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.
Consider also this forceful verse in which the Lord tells us specifically what causes “pollution.”
D&C 101:6 Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances.
We emphasized those parts of this scripture that explain why we are under condemnation, and what we have to do to remove that condemnation. Notice, in verses 49 through 56 the emphasis about being under the bondage of sin. Now, recall our earlier discussion that the way that one receives a remission of sins is through the baptism of spirit or fire.
Beginning with verse 56 the Lord tells us how to get out of bondage. First, we must repent. We must remember the new covenant and especially the Book of Mormon. Vs 57. We think one of the key reasons for the emphasis on the Book of Mormon is the great clarity of the information contained therein about the mighty change, especially in 3rd Nephi. In fact, we think that the single greatest thing that 3rd Nephi adds to the four gospels is the wealth of information about this mighty change. Finally, in verse 58 the Lord tells us that we must bring forth “fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom.” Is not the “fruit” here referred to those who are cleansed from sin and without spot or blemish so that they may dwell in Heavenly Father’s kingdom? Consider just a few key verses that explain what this “fruit” is.
Moses 1:39 For behold, this is my work and my glory — to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
D & C 64:2 For verily I say unto you, I will that ye should overcome the world:
D & C 76:40-42 And this is the gospel, the glad tidings, which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us – 41 That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness; 42 That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him;
Does it now seem as clear to you as it does to us that one of the main things, if not indeed THE primary thing, which MOST church members have failed to DO is to comprehend, desire, diligently seek for and OBTAIN their remission of sins through the Baptism of the Spirit? Following the idea that we are and remain under the condemnation of sin until we receive our own remission of sins, let us consider other relevant verses, such as those found in D & C 63:60-64.
60 Behold, I am Alpha and Omega, even Jesus Christ. 61 Wherefore, let all men beware how they take my name in their lips – 62 For behold, verily I say, that many there be who are under this condemnation who use the name of the Lord, and use it in vain, having not authority. 63 Wherefore, let the church repent of their sins, and I, the Lord, will own them; otherwise they shall be cut off. 64 Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit; and in this there is no condemnation, and ye receive the Spirit through prayer; wherefore, without this there remaineth condemnation.
Consider further Moroni 8:24-26:
24 Behold, my son, this thing ought not to be; for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law. 25 And the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins; 26 And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.
Another relevant set of verses is found in D & C 82:1-4: Notice again the contrasting of forgiving of trespasses and sins versus remaining under condemnation.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, my servants, that inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you.
3 For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.
4 Ye call upon my name for revelations, and I give them unto you; and inasmuch as ye keep not my sayings, which I give unto you, become transgressors; and justice and judgment are the penalty which is affixed unto my law.
Now, dear reader, if you do not yet see these scriptures from the same viewpoint that we do, we would only ask that you not berate us for the things that we see in them. However, to us it is plainly evident that we are under the condemnation or bondage of sin until we remove that condemnation by individually obtaining our own remission of sins in the manner set forth in the scriptures. In fact, to us it is clear that obtaining our own remission of sins is EXACTLY AND PRECISELY what the Lord wants us to “…DO according to that which I have written — That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; … .” D & C 84:57-58.
Now to Part II and the detailed discussion of the elements of the law upon which receipt of this vital blessing are predicated.