It is not hard to figure out what has become of us. We swoon after the princes of darkness that roam the earth. A rock star dies and our members are saddened. We cannot hear the Holy Ghost when we are listening to either music or to lyrics which offend him.
We think the Holy Ghost is a light switch, instead of a God. We think we can read, watch, listen to, browse, or play that which offends the Holy Ghost one hour in the day, and then expect him to be there later after we have stopped. We think that we can just “switch him back on” because now we are being good, even if we were being bad earlier today.
And I suppose, that with tears and repentance it is true that the Holy Ghost may have returned in a measure. But that is not our expectation. We want to do it on a daily basis matter-of-factly.
We think we can drive listening to music which offends him, and then have him in our home after we arrive there 5 minutes later. Maybe 15 minutes for our most extreme music.
Joseph Smith made an interesting statement about other religions. He said:
“What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world.”
Do we really think our feelings of spirituality that tell us the Lord doesn’t mind the things we are entertaining ourselves with are something different?
No, it is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world that convinces our members, practically all of them, that they do not offend the Holy Ghost, or that he will come back later in the day after they watch that show with gay men kissing each other, or with crass jokes, or women who are not modest, and the list goes on.
How can we come out from under that influence once it has a hold on us?
We came under it by doing wrong, we will not escape it except by casting that wrong off completely until we can see rightly. We must put aside the devil’s missionary program by which he has gained the ears of the whole world, the saints included. We must stay away from anything that has innuendo, according to the teachings of our own dear prophet, President Monson. We must obviously stay away from anything that has worse than innuendo. We must stay away from that which is graphic and cruel. We must stay away from anything that presents immorality as normal or acceptable, or that is anyway seductive or sensual.
We must quit ourselves as men and require decency.
We must come out from under that smooth, sophisticated influence that whispers to us that the vile lyrics and evil music we are playing in our home does not ensure the Holy Ghost will not be there that day, nor the next, or that convince us he will easily return.
We must come out from under those whispers that deceive and lead us gently down telling us the Holy Ghost does not mind if adults watch things portraying the sin next to murder as normal and acceptable, or that tell us that we can just “turn the light back on” after offending him since the show will be over then, and he will easily come back.
We apparently think the Holy Ghost gladly just “steps out of the room” for a moment, then returns when the show is over or the music is off. We think this is the privilege of the saints. We think this is what is is to have the gift of the Holy Ghost. We think it means he is there whenever we are doing something not openly offensive to him.
And those thoughts come from the same smooth sophisticated influence of the devil Joseph Smith spoke of that blinds the rest of Christianity with a hope of salvation.
The gift of the Holy Ghost is a supreme privilege. He is God just as the Father and Son, and he is a God that will not be mocked.
We will not have the Holy Ghost unless we will both strive to obey, and also strive to cast off that which is offensive to him. Otherwise, we will enjoy the light of Christ as all men do. And that is all.
Tragically, we are so corrupted in this matter that we give our children poison by the dose because we would rather do that than to stop drinking it ourselves. We pour it into ourselves like a drug. Even when we know it is poison we prefer to let our children begin partaking than to give it up ourselves.
The issue is our commitment to God. We know we cannot serve both God and Mammon. Let us realize that we cannot serve both God and evil either.