PIN-POINTING OUR PRESENT CONDITION
“To him that OVERCOMETH will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Revelation 3:21)
Those of you who have been in combat remember, in the heat of battle, how easy it is to get lost. As the battle rages sometimes the lines flow back and forth. Sometimes you can find yourself behind enemy lines. Some have become lost while hunting in the mountains. The weather suddenly closes in and all of the points of reference vanish. It’s a frightening experience. Fear crushes in upon you and you wonder if you’ll ever get out alive. It’s frightening, but at least you know that you’re lost. As dangerous as one of these situations might be there is one even more dangerous–to be lost and not know it. In this condition we go merrily on our way believing, “All is well.” Listen as Nephi prophetically warns the children of Zion.
Therefore wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well! Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the PRECEPTS OF MEN, and denieth the POWER OF GOD, and the GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST! (II Nephi 28:24-27)
Is Nephi talking directly to the Latter-Day Saints? It surely sounds that way. Aren’t we the ones that have the gift of the Holy Ghost? For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift. (D&C 88:33) Nephi continues:
And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall. Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough! (Nephi 28:28-29)
How many times have you heard the “we have enough” doctrine?
For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give to the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; FOR UNTO HIM THAT RECEIVETH I WILL GIVE MORE: and from them that shall say, WE HAVE ENOUGH, from them SHALL BE TAKEN AWAY EVEN THAT WHICH THEY HAVE. Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, SAVE THEIR PRECEPTS SHALL BE GIVEN BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY GHOST. (II Nephi 28:30-31)
Navigation is a process of determining destination relative to our present position. Nephi has zeroed in on the subject of our spiritual position. He doesn’t want us to be lost and not know it. However, the Book of Mormon was given to lead us to greater things. Mormon makes this statement in III Nephi 26:6-11:
And now there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people; But behold the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which he taught the people. And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken. And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, TO TRY THEIR FAITH, and IF it shall so be that they SHALL BELIEVE THESE THINGS, THEN SHALL THE GREATER THINGS BE MADE MANIFEST UNTO THEM. And if it so be that THEY WILL NOT BELIEVE THESE THINGS, then shall the GREATER THINGS BE WITHHELD FROM THEM, UNTO THEIR CONDEMNATION. Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, BUT THE LORD FORBADE IT, saying, I WILL TRY THE FAITH OF MY PEOPLE.
The promise was made that if the Lamanites and Gentiles believed the Lord’s teachings in the Book of Mormon, greater things would be made manifest. Have these greater things been made manifest unto us? Obviously not. They are still hidden from us. Over that 160 years, six to eight generations have passed since the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and still the Lord has not given us these greater things. Why don’t we have these greater things? The Lord has already told us why, just five years to the day after the plates were given into the hands of the prophet Joseph Smith for translation. Listen to His stinging rebuke:
And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received-Which VANITY and UNBELIEF have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. 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 – 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. For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay. (D&C 84:54-59)
Have we treated sacred things lightly? Are we filled with vanity and unbelief? How many have searched the Book of Mormon deeply? Or is it just a dust covered book? Have we remained under this condemnation? Surely. Now what of the scourge and judgments? Were they poured out? History testifies that they were and are still being poured out. The saints were driven from pillar to post until they finally ended up in the valleys of the mountains. Then the government continued to harass them for more than forty years. And what of the modern scourges and judgments? To name them all would be impossible. Here are just a few. Witchcraft, Erosion of freedom, Corrupt government officials, Doctorcraft, Lawyercraft, Pornography, Children disrespecting, Drugs (prescribed), & Holidays instead of elders otherwise Holy Days, Politiciancraft, Priestcraft, Socialism, Increasing crime, Abortion, Rampant dishonesty, Super Sundays, Divorce, Permissiveness, Social Diseases, Secret combinations, Unemployment, Corruption of the Arts, Water, Air & Mind, Oppression by children, Music & Literature pollution (Isaiah 3:12) Corrupt law, Women’s liberation, AIDS. Some of these might seem humorous, but to those who have been touched by them, I assure you that they are not funny. Is there a family in Zion that has been left untouched? We’ll zero in on one more crippling condemnation.
Perhaps this one will really pin-point our spiritual position. In the early days of the church, a law was given that would have forever freed the saints from the money lenders. It is referred to as the law of consecration. This law was designed to make us equal in temporal things. This law was rejected by the saints. The Lord tells us why.
Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now. But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are FULL OF ALL MANNER OF EVIL, AND DO NOT IMPART OF THEIR SUBSTANCE, AS BECOMETH SAINTS, TO THE POOR AND AFFLICTED AMONG THEM: And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom; And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself. And my people must needs be chastened until THEY LEARN OBEDIENCE, IF IT MUST NEEDS BE, BY THE THINGS WHICH THEY SUFFER. (D&C 105:2-6)
Greed and selfishness were their stumbling blocks. They didn’t have enough faith in God to share. Are we any different today? What was the consequence or condemnation in this case?
He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is worthy of his hire, even as those who are appointed to a stewardship to administer in temporal things; Yea, even more abundantly, which abundance is multiplied unto them through the manifestations of the Spirit. Nevertheless, in your temporal things YOU SHALL BE EQUAL, and this NOT GRUDGINGLY, otherwise THE ABUNDANCE of the MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SPIRIT SHALL BE WITHHELD. (D&C 70:12-14)
The saints wouldn’t live the law. They were promised that if they lived the law voluntarily they would have the abundance of the manifestations of the spirit. If they lived the law grudgingly they would not have them. THEY CHOSE NOT TO LIVE IT AT ALL. HOW MANY MANIFESTATIONS HAVE BEEN WITHHELD FROM US BECAUSE WE DON’T LIVE THE LAW? HOW MANY VISIONS, DREAMS, REVELATIONS, HEALINGS, TESTIMONIES, CONVERSIONS AND SEALINGS HAVE WE SACRIFICED ON THE ALTAR OF GREED AND SELFISHNESS? Only the Lord knows. Some think we don’t really need the manifestations of the spirit today. But what does the Lord say?
But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion; Which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful for man to utter; Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and PURIFY THEMSELVES BEFORE HIM: To whom he grants this privilege of SEEING AND KNOWING FOR THEMSELVES; That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, WHILE IN THE FLESH, they may BE ABLE to BEAR HIS PRESENCE in the world of glory. (D&C 76:114-118)
Now that we have made the attempt to zero in our position Satan should be raging. He doesn’t mind our being lost, but he doesn’t want us to know that we are lost. Satan’s job is to spread doubt, fear, anger and unbelief. If Satan can keep us from finding out where we really are he can make it extremely difficult for us to get where we think we are going. Beware of his promptings. “I don’t believe that.” “I doubt it.” “That couldn’t be right.” “I belong to the true church. That couldn’t be true.” Remember what happened to the children of our first parents.
And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and daughters. And Satan came among them, saying: I am also a son of God: and he commanded them, saying: BELIEVE IT NOT; and THEY BELIEVED IT NOT, and they loved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual, and devilish. (Moses 5:12-13)