Must the innocent suffer with the guilty? No.

Now here is a great teaching of Joseph Smith that we simply don’t believe.

“When I contemplate upon all things that have been manifested, I am aware that I ought not to murmur, and do not murmur, only in this, that those who are innocent are compelled to suffer for the iniquities of the guilty; and I cannot account for this, only on this wise, that the saying of the Savior has not been strictly observed: ‘If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; or if thy right arm offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee.’ Now the fact is, if any of the members of our body is disordered, the rest of our body will be affected with it, and then all are brought into bondage together..”

But let us consider what he saying so we can at least understand it. He says “those who are innocent are compelled to suffer for the iniquities of the guilty”. That is familiar and we consider that a normal part of life. But Joseph Smith doesn’t. He says “And I cannot account for this…”

What?!? Isn’t that just a normal part of reality?

No. Listen to what the prophet says:

“And I cannot account for it only on this wise, that the saying of the Savior has not been strictly observed”

Wow. Joseph Smith is saying that the righteous should not have been suffering if they had strictly observed a teaching of the Savior. We hear that the righteous suffer with the wicked, but apparently that, while common, is no eternal principle. Rather, the opposite is the design as Joseph Smith understood it. It is when we fail to observe one of Christ’s teachings that this comes into play.

And what teaching of the Savior does Joseph Smith say we neglect, and thereby cause the righteous to suffer with the wicked?

It is ‘If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; or if thy right arm offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee.’

The issue is not casting out the wicked as we ought. He does not congratulate us for it, but tells us that it is disobedience to Christ and that as a consequence the righteous suffer with the wicked. The prophet even explains “Now the fact is, if any of the members of our body is disordered, the rest of our body will be affected with it, and then all are brought into bondage together”.

I am afraid that some among us think that this is Christlike of us. I am sure they do.

And how failing to obey Christ is deemed Christlike I can only imagine. But I am afraid we are perfectly capable of such wild delusions.

We think that the righteous need to suffer with the wicked. But if we would strictly observe the Savior’s teaching in this regard, it would not be so.

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