I do not believe that any our faithful membership, and I am speaking of the regular members here, could have forseen 15 years ago the sudden transformation which has taken hold on our nation. It is true that many saw that our society was slipping fast, and wondered what the future might hold. But the sudden acceleration and the extremely rapid transformation of Christianity from being, more or less, a representation of core human values to being considered a form of extremism because it believes the homosexuality an abominable practice, to seeing people fired and their lives destroyed for failing to sacrifice their beliefs in that regard, to seeing homosexuality being worshipped, and basic truths about gender trampled on not only as idiocy, but as being evil and hateful — I don’t think the way the nation convulsed and then suddenly was a new and horrible creature was something that we ever had any notion of.
And so I think it is crucially important to offer this warning now. We don’t think there are threats to the church from within, at least not serious ones. I have no idea how we can think that.
Yes, I absolutely support the prophet and the twelve. I am certain they are leading the church the way god wants them to lead it.
But within the wards and the hearts of many of the members I see different things happening. The twelve are not accountable when the local wards and individual members turn aside from the truth, any more than Peter, James, and John were at fault when God’s chosen people crucified their God.
My warning is simple for now. It is just this:
The same forces WILL bring about the same sudden transformation within the walls of our local church buildings in another 15 years if we do not, as a church, repent.
I am not saying the prophet and apostles need to repent. I am not saying that in the least. Quite the contrary, the members need to repent, and feast on the scriptures and seek to have the Holy Ghost in their own lives as they see it manifest in the lives of the prophet and the twelve. That is, after all, the place where our leaders want to lead us to.
The Lord has set up means to separate the church from the world. He has set up a great gulf that divides the wicked from the righteous. Insofar as we maintain that gulf, then we are protected. It is a moat.
That moat is the standards of the church, including the command to cut off the sinner that does not repent.
As the scripture says
D&C 64:12 And him that repenteth not of his sins, and confesseth them not, ye shall bring before the church, and do with him as the scripture saith unto you, either by commandment or by revelation.
13 And this ye shall do that God may be glorified—not because ye forgive not, having not compassion, but that ye may be justified in the eyes of the law, that ye may not offend him who is your lawgiver
But what have we got now. We have a sizeable chunk of each of our wards that is consuming pornography like they are alcoholics and it is their drink. And we are, in many cases, excusing them, letting them off with no particular consequences, even treating them like victims rather than perpetrators. We wrongly think: “Sure, they can still take the sacrament, and attending the temple might help them kick the habit” and we administer that which is sacred to them in their sins. And we add to our folly thinking “Certainly there is no way spending a few hours or even more than a few hours every week watching such things should not mean they should face the possibility of losing their membership – they are saints, after all.” We invoke the word “addiction” and decide they are victims instead of perpetrators.
Besides, some of them are high priests, and thereby members of the old boys club. Often not just one or two, too many to threaten with a farewell. We know they will drop the practice if we just give them a chance today, and tomorrow, and so on perpetually.
It should not be surprising that on the heels of general immorality we find that some of our members are apostatizing from their own gender, and we think that shouldn’t affect their spiritual blessings either. The great gift of mortality is the gift of a body, and they reject that gift and reject that which they know as clearly as a man staring into the sun knows that it exists, and we want to still pass them the sacrament tray and send them to the temple, hoping they won’t take offense that they will still have to do those ordinances that actually match their physical body.
Now, so far, I think most of our Bishops are keeping their heads and not going as far as that with regard to gender apostasy.
But I think the pornography one is actually not too far from the truth as it now stands in many wards.
And that means we have bridged the gap that protected us. We have thrown a line across the chasm to our enemies, we have penetrated our own walls and left a large breach.
God set up a great chasm to protect his church, dividing the wicked from the righteous. It is the covenants that are required of the members, and the requirement that the local leaders will protect their charge, by casting out those who will not repent.
And if we do not do that, we have 15 years, and we will be a different church. We have seen a few radical liberals transform a nation, and a small percentage of radicals can transform our local wards. Those who are too cowed to hold the line of our standards now will not be less easily cowed when asked to give up even more. If there is no change in our seriousness, in our staunchness, if we do not hold firmly the sword of truth and abide by it without hesitation, we will see a reversal in our wards in time. Then those who stand by the true standards of the church will be the ones hauled in before the Bishop – they will be accused of being contentious and uncharitable. They will be disciplined and silenced for spreading hate among our ward’s society of love.
And it will transform as suddenly and completely as our country.
The twelve will still be good. The prophet will still be good. They will still be god’s own. But a good trunk can only compensate for just so much rotten wood in the branches. The kingdom will still exist with the twelve, but the church will then undergo pains and throes that will make the difficulties and apostasies and treacheries in its early days seem like children playing on a playground for fun.
Oh let us hold the line now. How we must, how we must, how we must.