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.
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, 2015That’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.