The all too familiar voice of Judas the apostate

Harold B Lee said:
“There were Judases in the ranks in [Joseph Smith’s] day, just as there were in the Savior’s day, and just as we have today, some who are members of the Church who are undercutting us, who are betraying their trusts. We are shocked when we see the places from which some of these things come.”

The same is true today. And when we listen to Judas’ words we find they have a familiar ring.

John 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
 4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him,
 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

There he is, Judas the apostate. And bold as brass he shames Christ’s beloved Mary for her sacred act, not because he is really interested in what is right, but to satisfy his own selfish ends.

These days we are surrounded by those speaking in Judas’ voice. One way or another they want to destroy that which is sacred. They want to destroy chastity, decency, morality, boyhood, girlhood, marriage, and family. Ultimately, like Judas, they will seek to destroy the church itself.

Just as Judas, these people claim the purest motives. Just as Judas they try to make those who they oppose feel ashamed. Whether in or out of the church, such individuals point the same finger as those in the great and spacious building and mock.

We need to realize these people are moved by the same being that moved Judas. That is why they speak with the same voice Judas used. And those they lead will come to destruction, as surely as Satan led Judas to his.

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Dauntless only in third person

Whereas the blood of our ancestors was shed for us their own posterity to bring us freedom including the right to worship our God according to the dictates of our own conscience, can we not see that it is a disgrace upon us if we allow those freedoms to evaporate with no more resistance that the wheat that is blown with the wind? We will not so much as resist with our words lest we commit a faux pas and someone might think of us as being judgmental and throw insults at us where others can see.

We love watching movies about heroes, but what generation offers more craven cowards than our own selves?

We are not proving ourselves worthy of our forefather’s sacrifice which was not made for us alone but for their further posterity beyond us.

We must quit ourselves as men. We must stop watching movies about heroes instead of being brave. We must stop being dauntless only in third person, watching the make believe lives of others as they face down impossible odds.

We have a God, and if we will prove we are devoted to him, he will show his devotion to us. But as his hand was in creating a free nation, and those men who assisted gained eternal reward, is there not eternal shame to be earned for sitting passively by as it ebbs away, receding from us like the tides?

Choosing the fear of men over the fear of God

Last night in our scriptures we read the following verse

Matthew 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

We see this choice being made all around us these days. I am surprised at the sheer volume of cases I have run into where someone either states that they won’t stand up for truth on moral matters, or actually opposes truth on moral matters because they would offend some relative or friend who is involved in one or another immoral practice – these days homosexuality and its ilk are the particular battleground this has been taking place on.

But Christ’s doctrine on the matter is:

Matthew 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Other stories I have run into that are, on the surface, sadder, involve someone telling about standing firm that immorality is serious sin, and finding themselves ostracized by a family member, or even their family at large for doing so.

These days it seems like it is very common to face a choice. It seems practically everybody is choosing sides. Will they avoid offending someone? Will they stand up and be counted? Will they stand with Jesus Christ about right and wrong. Will they be more concerned about pleasing men, or about pleasing God?

Its not a new choice, but it has taken a new form. Sadly many are choosing the fear of men over the fear of God. As is often the case, they disguise their choice to themselves and others as a virtue saying they are just being non-judgmental, and even calling anyone who insists on calling good good, and on calling evil evil a hater.

But name calling is also nothing new.

3 Nephi 11:11 And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake;

And while being ostracized within ones family may be the cost of standing for truth now, it is apparently a price that is going to get higher. The last days do not promise to be days of ease for those who will simply insist that right is right, and wrong is wrong, and that truth is an unchanging and eternal thing. Joseph Smith said:

“I saw men hunting the lives of their own sons, and brother murdering brother, women killing their own daughters, and daughters seeking the lives of their mothers. I saw armies arrayed against armies. I saw blood, desolation, fires. The Son of man has said that the mother shall be against the daughters, and the daughter against the mother. These things are at our doors. They will follow the Saints of God from city to city. Satan will rage, and the spirit of the devil is now enraged. I know not how soon these things will take place; but with a view of them, shall I cry peace? No; I will lift up my voice and testify of them. How long you will have good crops, and the famine be kept off, I do not know; when the fig tree leaves, know then that the summer is nigh at hand.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith page 161)

Short note: Why do many choose destruction? Because of the commandments

I think it is interesting in the JST of Matt 7 that Christ says that there are many that travel in the broad road that leads to destruction BECAUSE strait is the gait and narrow the way that leads to life and that is the reason there are few that find it. That is quite insightful. It is because of those pesky commandments and commitments that people don’t want the full gospel.

We enjoy more grace for obeying more, not for disobeying more

Many people think of grace as something that is given to us because we don’t fully submit our will to the will of the Father. But the opposite is true. In D&C 93 it teaches that the Savior grew from grace to grace, and that we must do the same. Just as with Christ himself, more grace is manifest in our lives as we submit our will more fully to the will of the Father, and not the other way around. That is because grace is not a mechanism by which we get blessing for disobedience. Instead Grace is the merciful and loving gifts from a tender God given on condition of obedience.According to D&C 93 it was the sinless Savior who grew into the fullness of grace, and the more we obey, the more his grace is manifest in our lives. Not the other way round.

God did not gain his power through the atonement

I am surprised at gospel statements made over and over again with no thought given to what they actually mean. For instance, it is now in vogue to say that it is because of the atonement of Christ that God can heal us when we are sick, and can free us from our trials and infirmities.
No it isn’t. Yes, the atonement is the single most important act of eternity. Yes, without it all mankind will be doomed to a neverending torment. Yes, it conquered death and hell.
But we believe in a God who is a being of power. We believe in a God who is in and through all things, and who holds all the elements in subjection to him. We believe in a God who will speak, and the elements will obey him, who can dry up the rivers at his word, who can make the sea into sand for a man to walk across, who can stop the earth in the heavens, can blacken the sun and the stars, can shake and rend the earth and the cause the heavens to be wrapped together as a scroll and the world to be destroyed by fire.
We believed in a God who created the heavens and the earth.
The atonement was crucial, but God had power in and of himself to heal or destroy, had power greater than armies or nations independent of the atonement. Yes the atonement plays a crucial role. No, that isn’t how God gained power to heal the lame, the sick, the blind or the maimed. The God who created heaven and earth can cure a cold, or cancer, or death. He can throw off our trials, and take us out of the power of our enemies. He can do that simply because he is God. He has always had that power, and he always will.
We believe in Christ the Son of God. But because of that we also believe him when he said “My Father is greater than I”.