What does the gospel require of us?
There are the commandments, and there are sacred things to partake of. There are the scriptures, there is the temple, the sacrament, and much more.
And yet, none of those capture it by themselves. We are too clever at rationalizing, and we live in a corrupt society that makes those rationalizations seem like virtues..
The gospel requires us to go on a quest. That quest is to live so we are truly keeping the command to receive the Holy Ghost more and more in our life. If we are not growing into the gift of the Holy Ghost, then we are failing to live the gospel. On the other hand, we cannot have the Holy Ghost increasing in our life over the years and not be living the gospel.
I am not saying we need to get it all at once. I think it takes most of us some time. And then some more time, for it is a continuing process.
And it is a quest precisely because we are so good at rationalizing that only through making it a quest will we discern where we have accepted the philosophies of men in place of truth from God. It is a quest because only through making it a quest will we discern what we are rationalizing as being of no spiritual consequence that offends the Holy Ghost. We must be questing to live to please God, or we will not overcome the natural man in truth.
But where things are dangerous is when people in the church are doing things so that they are never really receiving the Holy Ghost. It is very dangerous when many members are not experiencing particularly more in the one true church than what they will experience in any other church.
That is, essentially THE great threat to the church from within. It is the means by which the great apostasy took place.
It is a very dangerous position for the church to be in.
When I do something wrong, I feel the loss of the Holy Ghost. I know I have offended him. God’s gifts have absolute standards.
And those standards will only be maintained in the long term by a people who are enjoying those gifts and know and feel the loss of them.
The great threat to the church from within is when members of the church allow their rationalizations to keep them from ever receiving those spiritual benefits found only in God’s true church. Then the adversary can quickly lead them to cast out critical commandments and truths, as they cannot tell what they are missing.
If they do not receive the Holy Ghost, they have no priesthood power. Sure, the Lord may respect an ordinance done by their hand, but they have no power to speak in his name. They have no guidance. They are members of his church, but bear no actual connection to him, the mighty God.