Saturday, June 6, 2015

All that Glitters, Part 2:
Ornaments of Gold

Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, and their ringlets, and their bracelets, and their ornaments of gold, and all their precious things which they are ornamented with; and behold, their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say—We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish. 
—Alma 31:28

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

In Part One of this series, we discussed the underlying message of the Book of Mormon—that we can, and should, come unto Christ, know Him personally, and be redeemed by Him. In this installment, we're going to begin examining the distractions that prevent us from coming unto Christ.

Of course, this world is filled with distractions. They're part of the test we face.

The fool’s gold of glamour and fashion, money and power, diversions, delusions, and a million interesting ways to occupy our time all vie for our attention as we're distracted by shiny things. If you have an emptiness within, Satan will offer you a broad menu of ways to attempt to fill it. But they are fleeting and ultimately disappointing. The hungry soul still yearns.

And so, to those who yet yearn, Satan offers a special course of false religion, built on deceit, half-truths and flattery. Rather than being pure gold throughout, like the Book of Mormon, such teachings are only ornamented with gold—attractive, even beautiful, but inconsistent and polluted. Such have been called the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture.

Or jewelry on a pig.

Let's examine Satan's shiny religion of flattery.

Nehor taught it:
And he also testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life. (Alma 1:4)
The Zoramites believed it:
Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ. 
But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bind them down to a belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God. 
And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen. (Alma 31:16-18)
And sadly, the Gentiles of the last days believe it in spades:
And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.
Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.
And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. (2 Nephi 28:8-9, 21-22)
I’m very saddened to even have to bring this up, but here’s a current example of this devilish doctrine, posted just a few days ago on Elder Jeffrey Holland’s Facebook page:
What a terrific time to be alive!
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most certain, the most secure, the most reliable, and the most rewarding truth on earth and in heaven, in time and in eternity. Nothing—not anything, not anyone, not any influence—will keep this Church from fulfilling its mission and realizing its destiny declared from before the foundation of the world. Ours is that fail-safe, inexorable, indestructible dispensation of the fulness of the gospel. There is no need to be afraid or tentative about the future. 
Unlike every other era before us, this dispensation will not experience an institutional apostasy; it will not see a loss of priesthood keys; it will not suffer a cessation of revelation from the voice of Almighty God. Individuals will apostatize or turn a deaf ear to heaven, but never again will the dispensation collectively do so. What a secure thought! What a day in which to live!
—Jeffrey R. Holland, posted May 27, 2015
That’s right—Ye need not fear nor tremble. Enjoy your carnal security! If you just stay on the boat, you will sail inexorably to heaven! Unlike every dispensation before us, we’re chosen to be saved! It’s wonderful! It's destiny! All is well in Zion!

It pains me to point this out, but there’s not a shred of scriptural support for the idea that the LDS church cannot possibly lose revelation, forfeit keys, or fall into apostasy. There is no destiny declared from the foundation of the world for any church organization. There is no scriptural support for the idea that the Gospel and the LDS church are synonyms.

These flattering words come not from scripture, but from men seeking power and gain and control. Notice the bits of golden truth that ornament these false notions. Those who teach such false and vain and foolish doctrines are collectively known as the church of the devil. Repeated warnings about such falsehoods thunder forth from the pages of the book of gold.
And thus he cheateth their souls and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. (2 Nephi 28:21)
Contrast Elder Holland’s exuberant assessment with Moroni’s dire admonition:
Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.
(Who do you think Moroni's talking to? The people of other churches who will never read his book? He’s talking to US! You and ME! The readers of his words!)
And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. 
For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. 
O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? (Mormon 8:35-38)
A polluted church cannot redeem you. Only Christ can. Come unto Him while there’s yet time! The long night of darkness is coming; don’t let it overtake you unprepared.
Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. 
Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well! 
Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost! 
Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more! (2 Nephi 28:23-27)
True messengers will always call you to repentance. Their message will bring you down into the depths of humility. (Helaman 6:5, 3 Nephi 12:2, 2 Nephi 9:42, Mosiah 4:11) It will drive you in desperation to Christ, who is your only hope.

If a message flatters you and appeals to your natural man, if a messenger tells you you cannot fail, if someone declares that all is well in Zion and that success is your absolute destiny...RUN!

And the seats which were set apart for the high priests, which were above all the other seats, he did ornament with pure gold; and he caused a breastwork to be built before them, that they might rest their bodies and their arms upon while they should speak lying and vain words to his people.
—Mosiah 11:11


14 comments:

  1. TRUTH! I thank God for the warnings given in the Book of Mormon!!! Great post Adrian!

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  2. Only recently have I begun to study the scripture with REAL intent and with an open heart. Up until this point I have passed over these warnings, reading them dozens of times. Who did I think they were talking about? I feel like I have been reading an entirely new Book of Mormon recently and it has been good for my soul.
    - tg

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  3. Great post, Adrian.

    Chapter 3 of "Come, let us adore Him" is something we all need to read again and become very familiar with. It's entitled "Chosen People." It shows the pattern of success and failure of God's "chosen" ones. It could also be very prophetic for our future if we get it right...

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    1. Time of the gentiles has passed. Remnant now will take the lead and awaken then bring down city if enoch

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  4. About 2 years ago, someone pointed out that WE, LDS, are considered gentiles. (D&C 109:60) and are not considered anything special. D&C 1:1 does not call us "His" people but "Ye" people of my church. I had never understood this before. With this insight, the Book of Mormon has unfold itself differently for me, especially 3rd Nephi, where he call those descendants of Jacob "His" people.

    It is now my understanding that the "Remnant" is not the LDS people but a "Remnant" of those Book of Mormon people Christ was talking to. The last verse in 4th Nephi (4 Nephi 1:49) seems to support this point of view. However, those who are faithful to the teachings of Christ will be ask to join them and become a member of the "Remnant" in the last days to prepare for His Coming. If I am wrong in this understanding, I invite correction.

    This past year, I have been reading the Book of Mormon as a "Gentile", and with this new insight it has not only opened new understanding but humbled me as I have taken the warnings personally.

    Adrian, as you have pointed out in these verses (2 Nephi 28:8-9, 21-22) we LDS people are in the mix of those being warned. It's not hard to tie Elder Holland's words, "There is no need to be afraid or tentative about the future", into this very warning.

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    1. Agreed, times of the Gentiles is fulfilled and the natural branch will begin to usher in the last days. The seed of Lehi, the covenant people, them that will soon 'blossom like a rose', very exciting and sad at the same time for the drunkards of ephraim

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  5. 2 Nephi 28 testifies against the LDS church: "they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men". This was me, and is the so-called true believing Mormons. That WHOLE chapter condemns the Mormon church, but we teach it talks about other people, not us, and we grow in pride.

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  6. An Open Letter to Elder Holland

    Dear Elder Holland,

    I second what Adrian has written on this topic, and I have some additional thoughts to add.

    It is tragic that you use the phrase "What a secure thought!" in a positive and exclamatory way, in reference to the idea that the mortal, corporate entity in which you play a non-trivial role can never fail -- that the priesthood is somehow inseparably connected with an institution, rather than with righteousness -- as if the mainstream leadership of the Church is invincible and can never fall outside the favor of God. It would be difficult to find a more exact match than your words with regard to the warned against attitudes in 2 Nephi 28.

    In 1972, then Elder Benson recommended a book "Many are Called but Few are Chosen" (http://www.inspiredconstitution.org/books.html), in a speech called Civic Standards for the Faithful Saints.

    Part of his speech was idolatrous ("always-worship-the-living-president-of-the-Church"), but the book he recommends nonetheless makes an accurate observation about our near total apostasy from the principles of liberty that underpin the gospel of Christ.

    Elder Benson later recommended another book by the same author (Hans Andersen), in a letter responding to a member who was asking about Many are Called. The name of this other book is The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil. In chapter 18 of this book, (http://www.inspiredconstitution.org/hva_great/chapter_18.html), the apostasy is again explicitly outlined.

    Another aspect of our downfall has been our apostasy from teaching faith in Christ, to teaching faith in mortal men. Carnally pleasing ideas like the ones below should have no place among disciples of Christ:

    “The Saints can have faith in their leaders and vote unanimously on all propositions, knowing that the things presented for their sustaining vote were approved of the Lord to their leaders before being presented to the membership of the Church” (Ensign, May 1974, Alma P. Burton, BYU Professor of Church History and Doctrine).

    "We will not lead you astray. We cannot. ...Keep your eyes riveted on the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles." Elder M.Russel Ballard, December 1996 Ensign

    Instead, we should be teaching faith in this way:

    “You must work through the Spirit. If that leads you into conflict with the program of the Church, you follow the voice of the Spirit.” (Elder Seymour B. Young, First Quorum of the Seventy 1882-1924).

    “If we have presidents or apostles or anybody that we do not like, let us vote them out, and be free men, and cultivate and cherish in our bosoms the principles of liberty.” (John Taylor, 7 October 1872; “Discourse,” The Deseret News Weekly, volume 21, number 48.)

    "And if thine eye which seeth for thee, him that is appointed to watch over thee to show thee light, become a transgressor and offend thee, pluck him out." Mark 9:46, JST

    Zion is burning while you and others with high titles proclaim that all is well. If you are willing to dig deeply into these issues, you will find that all is not well. There is a darkness of mind within the Church. Most members do not take some of their most important responsibilities seriously (cross ref Joseph Smith's Ezekiel 14 warning).

    I hope and pray that some day we will get past this darkness, and begin to respect the duties that devolve upon us. We are in deep apostasy.

    I admire your testimony of the Book of Mormon. I have felt the Spirit attend many of your speeches -- at least portions of them. I pray that you will be willing to exercise greater loyalty to the Spirit and follow it no matter the cost. I pray that you will stop upholding the idolatry and false security that currently dominate our culture.

    Sincerely,

    -Joe Murff

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  7. If Zion is to be built by the remnant of the house of Jacob, then why did Joseph try to establish Zion?

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    1. Hi Christian,

      Great question. Thanks for asking.

      As you may know, the first missionaries sent by the church were sent to the Lamanites, in an attempt to locate the remnant so Zion could be established.

      Doctrine and Covenants 28: 8-9, "And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings thou shalt cause my church to be established among them; and thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment. And now, behold, I say unto you that it is not revealed, and no man knoweth where the city Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites."

      Our current version says: "on the borders by the Lamanites." If you go to the Joseph Smith Papers and look at the original Revelation, it was revised. What Joseph Smith originally received as a Revelation says, "it shall be among the Lamanites." Then in the handwriting of Sidney Rigdon, "among" is eliminated, and "on the borders by" is inserted in its place. So the first missionaries were sent to be "among" the Lamanites where the city of Zion would be located. This was an odd priority indeed for a fledgling church Joseph Smith founded in upstate New York.

      The reasons for the change are too lengthy to go into here, but they are covered in Denver Snuffer's lecture 6, on Zion. The effort in Missouri is explained there.

      It's also worth noting that when Joseph fled Nauvoo to save his life in 1844, he was headed to the Rocky mountains to locate the remnant so Zion could be established. But as you know, he was persuaded to come back, and was killed.

      Joseph was fully aware of the requirement that the remnant of Jacob establish Zion and he made concerted efforts to locate them and begin the process.

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    2. To add one more thing to Adrian's response:

      Every time the Church of Christ has been established, whether recorded in the Book of Mormon or Bible, there has been "no poor among them". That is a hallmark of true followers of Jesus Christ. (Which is why I find Harvest Evangelism's ministry so beautiful: they gauge their success by the elimination of systemic poverty.)

      Joseph Smith followed God's instructions to try to help the saints understand what was necessary if they wanted to have outpourings of the Spirit, which are withheld when a people are not equal in temporal things (D&C 70:14). So, the Remnant had to be found, and Joseph wanted the Gentile people prepared to join them.

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  8. Adrian, I appreciate this post. Until we wake up and realize the state of our own idolatry, we cannot come to know the truth of our Savior and be received by Him. I think 3 Nephi 16 is also applicable here, especially verse 10, where Jesus is prophesying about what will be amongst the Gentiles to whom He has given His gospel. The "whoredoms" He mentions here, as He is speaking to a branch of the house of Israel, would be idolatry: in other words, unfaithfulness to Christ.

    I only recently discovered your blog, but I have been reading it (mostly in order) and really appreciate the truths here and the personal call to repentance it has helped me receive. Thank you.
    --Diane

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  9. In support of Adrian’s comments, I thought this would give additional insight into
    Joseph’s understanding of the importance of the Remnant.

    Joseph Smith Diary Entry: Thursday May 23, 1844 (1 month before his death)

    “1 p.m. held council with the Indians - Sac & Fox in my back kitchen.
    I replied.... Great Spirit wants you to be united and live in peace. I found a book, (presenting the book of Mormon) which told me about your fathers & Great Spirit told me you must send to all the tribes you can and tell them then to live in peace, and when any of our people come to see you treat them as we treat you.”

    Ronald W. Walker, Historian. Journal of Book of Mormon History Vol. 19, Issue 1 Spring 1993

    “There were a few last events that gave his (Joseph Smith) career a symmetry. He had begun to be preoccupied by the Lamanite and interested in the West, and his final days had similar themes. Five days before his death, Smith and his closets associates passed over the Mississippi River.

    .... standing on a “Tall House Frame,” (he) spoke to his followers before going to fateful Carthage.

    “You will yet be called upon to go to the stronghold of the Rocky Mountains”

    Smith predicted.

    "You will gather the Red man...from their scattered and dispersed situation to become the strong arm of Jehovah.”

    On a personal note: I thing this give further credence to the Heartland Model of the geography of the Book of Mormon rather than the Mesoamerica setting.

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    1. The One Mighty and Strong is Native American indeed and Zions prepratory place will be in the southwest and then the New Jerusal will come down from heaven and that will be im missouri (imo) The Choice Seer is an Indian and posseses the staff of Moses and Brass plates and will build the Zion prepratory place.
      Great references Kathryn, thanks.

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