The battle looms, why do we not prepare

What will all our teaching and gathering amount to if we do not raise the level of it to accommodate the more difficult days that are most plainly on the horizon? We seem to be facing the matter of the machinations of Amalakiah, but without exercising the wisdom of Captain Moroni. Can we not see the oncoming difficulties arrayed against us in battle formation on the horizon? We can see that the host is innumerable and that we have no clear way to escape their grip. We can see the laws being twisted (and in fact, many of us are supporting such deviousness with either our vote or our apathy) . We can foresee how they will be turned from means to carry forth justice into a means to persecute those who will stand by the truth.

The enemy looms and taunts us, teaming with zeal for their victory. And we are not even preparing for the battle.

I cannot understand it.

We seem to be mostly focused on making sure nobody leaves. We seem to be focused on appeasing those of our number sympathetic to our foes lest we lose one from our number.

We are not prepared for the battle. We have not sought strength in the scriptures or in doctrine.

Our captains in each city seem content to offer up cities without walls. They focus on making sure the local populace is content. They are more concerned over camaraderie than over truth.

I cannot understand it.

Joseph Smith taught: “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”.

Joseph Smith saw these things at his doors as a matter of prophetic vision. We see them now as the the approaching disaster. We know that within a matter of a few years our society has taken up a zeal and fervor to persecute any that will not bow to their whims about condoning and ministering to the whims of gross immorality and perversion. They are so fierce and determined that many of our members are afraid to say such plain things as that God created us male and female in his own image and that God made no mistake in the matter.

We do have large numbers that will still say that at church. But we have many that are afraid to speak such plain words around their friends and relatives, as they know the spirit of vile persecution they will face for such simple truths.

We can see how fast that has come about, and how fully it is accelerating, and from that alone know that the prophets words will come about.

“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.”

Lest any be so deluded as to believe our society’s lies and hence misunderstand, those who are being hunted include and are principally the faithful saints. The saints are the hunted, not the hunters. They are the victims, not the murderers in this quotation. Revelation attests to this, for we read of the last days that “they have shed the blood of the saints and the prophets”(Revelation 16:6).

Christ himself speaks of this, for he said

Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

We see these things looming on the horizon. But we are not preparing our members or one another with the sort of spiritual preparation such difficulties would require. Instead we are preparing by fretting over whether anyone feels judged in our midst. We take the enemies doctrine and incorporate it into our teachings. We are worried about camaraderie, not about saving truth and doctrine. We are worried about making sure no truth that might offend is stated too much, too plainly, more than we are worried about offending the Holy Ghost.

Difficult days are on the horizon. Do I know when? No. Will every prophecy be fulfilled? Yes. And they will force a preparation among us after the fact if we will not make one properly beforehand. But the losses will be far more tremendous if we have not prepared in measure with the circumstances we know may be faced beforehand. How vastly better to seek the strength found only in God, in his commandments, in his ordinances, in his covenants, and in his saving truths in these days of ease instead of whiling away the day of our opportunity.

What preparation can be made?

I think that deserves a post of its own. But here let me lay out an example.

There are things that we do not teach, and that we actually silence within our midst, that would be of great aid to our members. Let me give an illustration:

My wife tried to post a picture on an lds gospel site that was no more than a landscape scene with a quote from the savior. The words he spoke were these:

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.

That post was prevented from ever appearing.

Why?

Because in our pride we think we know better than God how to save his children. There was no objection to the pretty background in the post. It was the scripture itself that was the problem. I think that the admins thought it was “unchristlike”.

But it was Christ who was speaking. And, no surprise, I think there is real saving power in that scripture. It forces us to face the sort of devotion God requires from us. It forces us to face the question of whether we are “worthy of him”. We like to pretend there is no such thing as being “worthy of him”. But he says the opposite. There is saving power in knowing and teaching that basic truth.

And it was Christ that said it. Can we say we love him, but not honor his words as having come from the mouth of the Son of God?

And if we can’t face that sort of basic truth, we really can’t do the rest of it. We can have temple covenants, but then water down our notion of strict obedience so much that it doesn’t really mean anything anymore.

We need to teach that God requires devotion of us. We need to teach that he requires obedience from us. In an effort to increase cameraderie and good feeling among our members we have imagined up a God that will gladly be mocked as long as that will make someone feel more converted. We need to remember that we worship the God of the scriptures, and we need to teach plainly that God will not be mocked, which our ancestors knew and the scriptures declare with perfect plainness, but which we have swept aside as not conducive to the sort of spirit and good feeling we like to have in our wards.

We are missing both sides of the picture. We do not believe or teach a God that is angry with the wicked. And on the other side, we are not fully partaking of his mercies and his love.

I don’t know how anyone who is a parent cannot understand that if you are angry with a child that does not mean you have lost your parental love for that child. In fact, I think most of us know that a child whose parents are never angry with him is doomed to a miserable life.

We are missing both sides. We need to remember a God who will not be mocked and is angry with the wicked. We need to really have faith in and partake of the love and merciful blessings he loves to pour out on his children.

Now don’t get me wrong. We certainly preach a great deal about God’s love and mercies. But we are not particularly good about really believing in them and really partaking of them.

We need to cast off those things that we know better than. Remembering that God will not be mocked and that he really is angry with the wicked will help us do that. No, of course that isn’t the whole picture either, but that is the half we have forgotten and must be recalled. And if we will remember that half we will begin to really enjoy not just the preaching of his love and bountiful mercies, but we will begin to enjoy and to feast on them in truth, in a way that will make us wonder why we were so foolish as to become so entangled in that which brought us only sorrow, and which we knew better than at the time.

Chief among those things we need to cast off would be our compromises in our media. I remember a shocked member describing a talent show in which a woman and her daughter sang a Katie Perry song together. The song included lyrics about enjoying having sex in a threesome.

We have set up a system of spiritual rationalization about our media that rivals the spiritual rationalizations of the pharisees.

We must cast off any and all rationalizations about what we watch, listen to, read, or look at. If it is immodest (note, that immodest involves far more clothing than “naked”) then we should not watch it. If it portrays immorality or perversion as normal and acceptable, including portraying apostatizing from one’s own gender as normal and acceptable, we must cast it off.

If we would make this a point of major emphasis at the local level, we could cast the yokes of bondage off many of the members of our ward, and those who do not cast them off would at least understand the source of their pains. Then in a day of trouble they may also choose to repent.

But we don’t, because at the local level the leaders are generally not doing that much differently than the members in that regards.

We are indulging in evil, we think without consequence, and yet we cut ourselves off from so much of what God would willingly pour out upon us. We offend the Holy Ghost when we participate in the vast host of our media, and we do so daily. Thus we cut down the spirit from the Missouri river to a trickle, because we do not wish to remember that God will not be mocked.

Ironically, forgetting that God will not be mocked, and that we anger him when we are wicked, cuts us of from the abundance of the manifestations of his love. We are too willing to rationalize and excuse ourselves with a God we believe doesn’t mind our misbehavior.

And thus we speak of his love not because we are enjoying the full benefits of it, but because we believe it allows us to misbehave without consequence. And, consequently, we enjoy only a trickle of the bounty and the real manifestations of his love that he intends for his saints.

Oh that we could be wise and prepare now in our days of ease.

And not remember afterwards the need to prepare, and recall again then a god that will not be mocked, and have to discover the bounty he has in store for the saints only after discovering that indeed, as the scriptures declare, God is angry with the wicked every day.

 

 

 

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Published by

John Robertson

I am nothing more than a regular member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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