There is the Lord’s plan for Zion. It makes strict requirements of us. It requires a great deal from us. But it will bring us joy that we cannot comprehend. If we will follow it, we will look back at the way we are living now with shock at how foolishly we were choosing to live so miserably. We will see ourselves the same way we now see ancient Israel. We will look back and wonder at our own folly, unsteadiness, lack of knowledge, and lack of principle.
And we will wonder at that because we will understand the supreme joy that we have come to. We will feel peace that passes all understanding. We will enjoy the joy that the Lord reserves for his saints. And we will be astonished that we used to reject that, and be horrified at the idea of returning to our current ways.
To obtain this will require that we cast off the philosophies of men, and feast on the scriptures accepting them as the mind and will of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation. It will require, most particularly, that we deny ourselves of all ungodliness, and return to requiring strict decency in what we watch, listen to, read, and view on the internet. It will require that we return to honesty, and no longer rationalize being dishonest in the name of business, marketing, or salesmanship.
It will require transformative changes in our lives.
Because we are not in the habit of pressing forward. We are in the habit of speaking about it, but that is a different thing. If anything, we are currently regressing. We are in rapid retreat. That which used to be normal goodness among us is now being questioned. That which used to be recognize as perversion is now being defended by more and more among us as being irrelevant to morality.
We are moving forward in numbers, but with regard to Zion, we are in rapid retreat.
The path we move down if we do not press forward toward Zion in our wicked world is degenerative. It is the path that leads to the same transformation in many of our wards that we have seen in our country. It is the path that leads to members being hauled in before the Bishop for calling homosexuality and its variants immoral, on the basis that we are being “contentious” by saying such unloving things.
We do not want to hear that such a transformation could take place. But such things are found plainly in the scriptures. Who was it that destroyed the government of the Nephites? It was the Jacobites and the Lord destroyed them by fire for it. And who were they? They were the high priests of the true church and the lawyers.
We can press forward as a church and enjoy the grand rewards God lays out before us. Or we can continue our rapid retreat until our wards are deeply troubled places where it will be those who are determined to be valiant in the testimony of Jesus who are sometimes most in danger of church discipline by local leaders.
Let us repent now, and press forward. As Joseph Smith asked, shall we not go forward in so great a cause? Forward and not back?
We can only stop our retreat by plainly and frequently teaching precisely the doctrines that we are most afraid will offend. Otherwise our members will continue their retreat as their fear to offend gradually turns to acceptance and in time becomes endorsement.
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
That to be hated needs but to be seen
But seen too oft, familiar with her face
We first pity, then endure, then embrace.
Zion stands before us waiting with her joys, but it is the turmoil of hell that we are marching towards when we cease to stand for truth even in the middle of the very chapels in which we eat Christ’s flesh and drink his blood and have sworn that we will always remember him.