Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fairy Tale Fails

What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.
—Habakuk 2:18-19

Elder Jeffrey Holland, when bearing his testimony, is fond of culminating with an emphatic statement similar to the following: “I have not devoted my life to a fairy tale!” This is really a powerful way to phrase it, which is not surprising for Jeff. The man has a knack for turning a phrase.

So what defines a “fairy tale?”

Dictionary definitions include “a children's story about magical and imaginary beings and lands,” and “a fabricated story, especially one intended to deceive.” This got me thinking…which led to the realization that, really, almost all religion consists of fairy tales. Don’t pretty much all religions teach about supernatural, or “magical” beings? Don’t they all deal with places that exist only in the imagination?

But wait, there’s that “fabricated” part. What if the stories are true? What if the magical beings and imaginary lands actually exist? Well, that’s where it starts to get interesting. And that’s why I said “almost” all religion consists of fairy tales. If you happen to have true knowledge about things that actually exist, well then, my friend, you don’t have a fairy tale. You have truth. And it can save you. The trick is to know when you have truth and when you simply have a “fabricated story…intended to deceive.” Because…

…there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Nephi 14:10)
If you learn and obey truth, you are part of the group Christ refers to as His church. If you believe ANYTHING else, you are in the other category. It’s pretty straightforward. Truth saves. All else is fairy tales.

This week, I watched people ritually wash, burn incense, throw coins, and pray in sincerity to stone statues, sometimes leaving an offering of food or drink. As I watched, I considered the role of religion in human existence. In my travels, I’ve observed a number of major world religions, and what fascinates me most is that the majority of them hold so many elements in common. In general, most religions consist of beliefs to explain the following:

  • The nature and purpose of life
  • The origin of the world 
  • The origin of humanity
  • Belief in the unseen supernatural or divine, including good and evil forces or beings
  • Belief in a god or gods, as well as a devil or demons who directly interfere and intervene in human life.
  • A connection with or responsibility to ancestors who are dead
  • Behavior and rituals required to please or appease diety, often involving purification to alleviate the effects of misbehavior or unfavorable events
  • Expectation of favors or blessings for in return pleasing diety, often including health, wealth, love, luck, success, better circumstances, or whatever else one desires.
  • Consequences for failure to please or appease diety, including punishments, loss of favor and blessings, uncleanness, etc.
  • A belief in some sort of life after mortality, with favorable or unfavorable circumstances contingent on performance in this life

These common elements exist in the vast majority of religions, and seem to be part of the universal human experience. We hunger for explanations, meaning, purpose and direction. Whether we pray to a stone statue for rain, or to Jesus for money, the underlying principles hold. Though the answers and explanations differ, the universal hunger and need remains so deep seated and closely held that millions will kill or die in the service of their unseen gods, believing such behavior curries favor with the divine. We take our fairy tales VERY seriously.

Even in societies too “civilized” to kill each other over religion, we still find shunning, punishment, anger, fear, and hatred when adherents encounter someone who simply believes a different set of stories than they do.

And yet, the stories all exist to answer the same universal questions. Hugh Nibley referred to these as the “terrible questions” by which he meant the most fundamental perplexities of human existence. “Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? What is the purpose of life?” Which set of stories you prefer ultimately doesn’t matter if you don’t have the correct answers to these questions. For an entire generation, the marketing message of LDS mormonism focused on LDS answers to these questions.

And that’s where Joseph Smith comes in. Beginning as a fourteen-year-old boy, he somehow had the unique ability to see past the commonly accepted fairy tales and find the real thing. Therefore his religion is unique in the modern world, and rare in world history. I summarize Joseph’s unique teachings thusly:

  • God is not unseen; I have seen Him. 
  • God is not unknowable; I know Him. He is a real person with a real body who exists in a real place.
  • The purpose of life is to make humans into gods—not some unknowable, effete spirit sort of dead-ancestor god, but real, living, breathing physical beings who dwell in a family connection or kingdom of gods, in a physical place.
  • And perhaps, most important, you DO NOT have to accept these things merely on faith. You can know them by personal experience. You can and should meet and converse with these divine beings. You can and should meet and know God personally. He will speak with you; he will teach you these things himself.

This principle ought (in its proper place) to be taught, for God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them, for the day must come when no man need say to his neighbor, Know ye the Lord; for all shall know Him (who remain) from the least to the greatest. (TPJS 149)
That is an absolutely revolutionary set of teachings, and it flies in the face of nearly all other world religions, where the gods remain unseen and unseeable, unknown and unknowable, forever the objects of blind devotion or horror until death ends the mystery of the great unknown. Joseph made the astounding claim that these not only AREN’T fairy tales, but that you can obtain actual, physical proof for yourself, as he did.

Unfortunately, we don’t much believe what Joseph taught anymore. Instead, the religion he founded has been hijacked, and revelation has been supplanted with tradition to bring great wealth and power to some few, while requiring the masses to pay, pray, and obey, but never expect to experience what Joseph did. Like all other religions, it has simply devolved into fairy tales, requiring a lifetime of blind faith and ignorant obedience to receive an undefined favorable outcome in the unknown afterlife. This is most certainly NOT the religion Joseph taught.

Much has changed since Joseph lived, and falsehoods have turned truths into myths. We have intentionally and unintentionally added “fabricated stories…intended to deceive.” Here’s an illustration:

On the Autumn equinox in 1823, Joseph Smith went to bed and besought the Lord in supplication and prayer. In response, an angel visited him in his bedroom. Throughout Joseph’s life, and in at least 4 direct, written accounts, he specifically identified that angel as “Nephi.” But somewhere along the line, after Joseph’s death, someone wrote “Moroni” to replace Nephi. The change stuck, the history became a myth, and now a golden statue named “Moroni” tops most LDS temples. The LDS church continues to tell the false story that Moroni visited Joseph Smith on the night of September 21, 1823, even though the historical information that has come to light—and is published by the church—clearly demonstrates the error. (See here, here, here (page 753), and here (page 53).

But in the end, does the identity of the angel really matter? It seems a small error, really, and doesn’t much change your quest for redemption. Does it?

I’d like to suggest at least three reasons why something even as seemingly insignificant as the angel’s identity matters.

1. Resurrection

The identity is significant because it bears directly on understanding the gospel principle of resurrection. Nephi and Moroni lived a thousand years apart, at opposite ends of the Nephite dispensation. Between their lifetimes, Christ performed His mortal mission and attained to the resurrection of the dead. Nephi was resurrected at the time Christ was, and therefore appeared to Joseph as a resurrected being with a body. Moroni lived hundreds of years after Christ and therefore has not yet been resurrected. If he appeared, it would have been in spirit form only.

Joseph’s detailed explanation of the angel’s appearance therefore properly applies to a resurrected being, and not to a disembodied spirit. There was a physical being with a physical body standing in the air above the floor in Joseph’s bedroom. The fact that Nephi had a body would have been necessary to his ability to handle physical things in this world, like the gold plates. Nephi’s visit provides us the vital information that resurrected beings come here and minister, foreshadowing John the Baptist’s later visit, when he laid physical hands on Joseph and Oliver.

A proper understanding of the resurrection is indispensable to understanding the gospel. In fact, Joseph grouped it with what he termed the “first principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The Doctrines of the Resurrection of the Dead and the Eternal Judgment are necessary to preach among the first principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (TPJS 149)
By corrupting the angel’s identity, we fundamentally impair understanding, not only of the resurrection, but also of the covenants and connections that govern early resurrection, embodying Nephi in flesh while Moroni yet waits for that opportunity. These covenants and principles have become largely lost to us, and we therefore fundamentally misunderstand the “first principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”  A “small” error in identity has major ramifications.

2. Altered Records

Joseph’s records were altered after his death. In the Joseph Smith papers, you can see the alteration, where someone wrote in Moroni’s name. There is no explanation as to who did this or why, but the record has undeniably been altered.

Since this is the case for something as seemingly insignificant as a name, what happens when even more significant records have been demonstrably altered? Such is the case with polygamy, where Joseph’s clear and ardent teachings against the practice, were altered to promote polygamy.

Those who made this alteration in the written record attempted to turn their adultery into something sanctioned by God and taught by Joseph, and by so doing, they led thousands into significant error and gross sin. By altering Joseph’s words, they showed contempt for God, who said:

Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith. (D&C 21:4-5)
The records were changed to establish a false tradition, which is a nice way of saying “a fairy tale.” Will you continue to believe that fairy tale now that you have more reliable information about what Joseph actually taught?

3. In a Corner

In each case, faced with clear evidence that Joseph’s teachings have been altered, the LDS church has been required to make a choice: Admit the error, correct it, and move forward more closely aligned with truth, or double down and continue teaching the false tradition as if the real records simply don’t exist.

The trouble is that the false tradition also claims that the prophet, and by extension the church, cannot lead you astray. Therefore, any concession and error correction would also be an admission that the prophet and the church do indeed make significant errors, which admission would threaten the power structure built on the foundation of the false tradition. Sadly, because of this “all or nothing” facet of the tradition, the majority of those who discover errors, walk away from it all—concluding that Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ, God the Father, angels, demons, and the rest are all just fairy tales. When it’s “all or nothing” many simply check the box next to nothing, and head off into atheism. Secular humanism becomes their new preferred set of stories. This is the most pernicious result of the all-or-nothing fairy tale.

The LDS church has painted itself into a corner. They—quite literally—rely on church members’ ignorance to keep the organization staffed and funded, and the leadership in power. They know they teach fairy tales, and hope to keep doing so, because admitting error is unthinkable, and produces disastrous results.

But reliance on ignorance doesn’t work so well in the information age. The truth is readily available and easily accessed. Many cherished LDS stories are turning out to only be fairy tales after all. The transfiguration of Brigham Young, the seagulls and locusts, false quotes from Joseph Smith, manufactured modern revelation…the list goes on. Here’s another one—and a quite important one—that has recently come to light:

Joseph’s Final Charge

It’s a well-known and undisputed historical fact that the original twelve LDS apostles were never ordained by Joseph Smith, and therefore could not claim, as Brigham Young attempted to, Joseph’s authority by virtue of the apostleship alone. The continuation of Joseph’s gifts, keys, and authority is, of course, foundational to the current LDS church claims to authority, which is a problem if you can’t quite explain how other men got what God gave to Joseph.

The narrative that solves this problem is now known as the “final charge.” The story goes that in March, 1844 Joseph Smith met in council with the twelve and gave them all the ordinances, keys, covenants, endowments, and sealing powers of the priesthood, and that he rolled off onto their shoulders the responsibility to lead and govern the kingdom of God on earth. Various accounts of this meeting exist, though it was never mentioned until well after Joseph had died and the twelve needed a way to claim Joseph’s authority.

The trouble is that the minutes of those meetings are now available—and they tell no such story. Neither do contemporary journal entries of those in attendance. There’s no indication anything particularly significant happened at all. But as with other fables like Brigham Young’s transfiguration, the tale has gotten better and better through the years, until various versions have Joseph glowing as he spoke, threatening the twelve with damnation if they failed, and jumping up and down, clapping like a schoolboy as he rejoiced that he was off the hook as the only one carrying God’s authority.

Such is the tradition by which the LDS church claims rights to Joseph’s keys, powers, gifts and position. The historical record indicates it never happened. The church insists it somehow did—and thus the leaders must be obeyed and believed, even as they teach tall tales opposite what Joseph taught. Like I said, they’ve painted themselves into a corner, and they believe their only option is to double down on the lies, telling members not to look too closely, nor ask too many questions.

In other words, we ain’t gonna see a press release any time soon—not about Nephi, not about polygamy, not about Joseph’s final charge. We’ll just see more sound bites and general conference memes, pushing platitudes as if they had power to redeem. Those who point out the truth in the LDS church’s own published materials will continue to be accused of trying to “destroy faith” by telling you the truth.

And in the end it comes down to a question of truth. Joseph taught truth, including the reality of God and the opportunity to know Him. Others have traded truth for fairy tales, and continue to not only teach them, but insist you not question them. Do you want to hitch your wagon to that? Are you loyal to truth or to something else?

“I have not devoted my life to a fairy tale!” 

I’m sorry Jeff, but you have. We all have in some way or another. The Book of Mormon goes to some trouble to warn us against believing “the traditions of our fathers” when those traditions have no foundation in truth. That’s not the issue. The issue is how we respond when the traditions are unmasked as false.

Turn to God and alter your view to align with truth—this is the appropriate response. In fact, this is the very definition of repentance. It doesn’t matter if you used to believe a fairy tale; it matters how you respond when confronted with truth. If you refuse to change course, your heart is hard. And it will damn you.

It’s one thing to believe ignorantly, but once you see the written proof of the fabrication, will you still prefer tales over truth? Is it worth knowing what Joseph knew, and experiencing what he experienced? Or are you satisfied throwing a few coins, making a wish, and praying to gods of stone?

And so this brings us back to where we started. The religion of Joseph Smith—which is the religion of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Enoch, Elijah, Nephi and Jesus Christ—brings men into literal contact with Gods. It worked for ancient believers. It worked for Joseph Smith. It has worked for people now living who can testify first hand. God wants it to work for you, as well.

If your chosen set of fairy tales doesn’t produce this result, then it matters not if you pray to a stone, a cloud, an elephant, or an emperor. Though your need for fables may be satisfied, your soul never will be. Nothing but actual knowledge of truth can adequately fill that void.

Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands; And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away. For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel.

—3 Nephi 21:17-20

Saturday, October 1, 2016

How to Receive God’s Word

And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?

—D&C 50:19

In my last post, we discussed the preparation process behind the talks presented at LDS General Conference. (Does the phrase “laws and sausages” come to mind?) We then contrasted that process with the way God intends for His word to be delivered. In this post we’ll take the next step by discussing how to receive God’s word.

Feeling the Spirit

The common Mormon expectation, as taught by the LDS church is that you recognize God’s word because you “feel the spirit” when truth is being taught. This feeling may take the form of chills, tears, emotion, warmth, or a myriad of other positive feelings meant to convince you what you’re hearing is true because you feel good about it.

Contrastingly, if you feel doubt, fear, darkness, sorrow, anger, or any other negative emotion, this is perceived as a sign that what you are hearing is false.

The above notions are, unfortunately, lies. Your feelings are NOT the way to distinguish truth, and attempting to do so will lead you down the path of deception. I wrote at length about this previously, but thought it worth mentioning again. If you haven’t read that previous piece, I highly recommend it. It’s one of the most important things I’ve written. Here’s the link, if you need it.

Emotion as a Substitute for Truth

The purpose of the Lord’s Spirit is to enlighten and teach; to give you new knowledge; to provide “sudden strokes of ideas;” to bring truth to your remembrance, and to help you overcome your profound ignorance of the things of God. The Holy Spirit is the source of light and truth, not chills and tears.

An authentic message from God will most often call you to repentance. You may be convicted in your heart. You will likely feel distress, fear, or even anger when a true message convinces you of your need to repent.

Ask yourself: Did Samuel’s message bring good feelings? What about Nephi’s? Or the other Nephi’s? Abinadi? Elijah? John the Baptist? Jonah? Alma? Paul? Do you think the listeners commented afterwards about how good the message made them feel?

“Boy, wasn’t that a great talk ol’ Abinadi gave? What, about how King Noah is wicked and we’re all about to be destroyed and everything? The spirit was SO strong! I just loved it! I bet we’ll be hearing that again in stake conference!

Sell it with the Heart

The LDS church is, of course, very aware of the confusion between emotion and truth, and actively promotes this confusion. This is because emotions are easily manipulated. In fact, Bonneville International, the church’s communications arm that produces and broadcasts General Conference, once developed and marketed a whole process of emotional-manipulation-based advertising called “HeartSell.” Here’s the description from their website:

Affecting Change by Reaching the Hearts and Minds of our Audiences 
At Bonneville Communications, our ability to touch the hearts and minds of audiences makes us an essential resource for organizations with vital messages. 
For more than 30 years, our creative professionals have designed public service and direct response messages for national nonprofit organizations such as the Huntsman Cancer Institute, Boy Scouts of America, National Hospice Foundation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and The Salvation Army. 
Our unique strength is the ability to touch the hearts and minds of our audiences, evoking first feeling, then thought and, finally, action. We call this uniquely powerful brand of creative “HeartSell”® - strategic emotional advertising that stimulates response. 
Our people not only create effective messages; we get them out effectively. We maintain an ongoing public service relationship with more than 11,000 radio and TV stations and networks, and cable networks and systems in North America alone. We distribute public service and paid media campaigns directly from our offices in Salt Lake City. 
We provide all pre-production, production, and post-production services, as well as state-of-the-art special effects and post-production facilities, closed captioning, electronic tagging, and video and audio duplication.
Think about it. The old Mormon TV spots. The 1990’s smarmy church videos. The current online, feel-good video offerings. The new temple endowment films. The orchestrated PR events. General Conference. Are they not all designed to “evoke first feeling?” And will the church then eagerly tell you that you’ve “felt the spirit” as a result of what you were shown? It’s highly effective manipulation, honed over the last 30 years by experts in the craft. And good grief, they’ve laid it all out right there! Don’t be fooled. 

Well, the marketing industry has moved on, and HeartSell is no longer a current buzzword, or even listed any more on the Bonneville website. So it has been quietly retired. You won’t even find it in internet archives of their site. But despite the jargon moving on, the practice yet continues, and the church still employs “Strategic Emotional Advertising That Stimulates Response.”

Come to think of it, there’s a pretty good acronym there: SEATS Response. As in, if you want to keep butts in seats on Sundays, you better keep serving up the emotional fuzzies and calling it the Spirit. It’s the creative, professional substitute for truth—that you can buy for money!

The more current trend is now market research. Polling, testing, focus groups, market surveys—these are the tools those calling themselves prophets employ to craft God’s message and resonate with audiences. Rather than seeking God’s word by revelation, they seek success through popularity. The church does a massive amount of this sort of market research—far more than typical corporations. I suppose when the only product you sell is your message, you spare no expense or effort to make it popular. 

What to Look For

Let’s get back to conference now, and discard the emotions, the costumes, the lights, the teleprompters, and the other distractions accompanying the messages. Instead, let’s focus on the messages themselves. If these are God’s words, how are we to tell?

We’ll start with the most complete statement on the process anywhere in scripture. In D&C 50, we find the following:

Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way it is not of God. 
And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? If it be some other way it is not of God. 
Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth? Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together. 
And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.  
That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. (D&C 50:17-24)
So God’s word must be both preached and received by the spirit of truth, not by emotion. And what is the spirit of truth?
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (John 15:26)
And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come; And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning. The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth; (D&C 93:24-26)
So we should be looking for “knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.” Anything beyond that, including attempts at emotional manipulation, are the spirit of that wicked one.

The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. (D&C 93:36). Any authentic message from God will always impart light and truth. This means you will know, understand, comprehend, or remember something you didn’t a few moments before you received the message. You will be more informed, and therefore more intelligent as a result.

Note also the requirement that God’s word will edify you. To edify means to instruct and improve the mind in knowledge generally, and particularly in moral and religious knowledge, in faith and holiness.

Does the message make you more faithful and holy? Do you find yourself more perfectly instructed and your mind improved in the things of God? Are you more filled with light, truth and intelligence as a result of the message? Or are you only somewhat entertained but ultimately no different?

Wake Up!

God’s word is lively and interesting. It is stimulating, challenging, exciting, and even surprising. It’s not easy to sleep through. It is food to the starving soul. It may cause you despair as you realize your awful, unredeemed situation. But it will always lead to greater understanding of, and reliance upon, Christ. It will lead you to new insights about God and yourself. It will change you.

Sadly, most are not comfortable with authentic messages. In fact, this is almost always the case because authentic messages are seldom comfortable. So adjustments are made, talks are endlessly rewritten, and the message is reworked until it’s only positive platitudes mingled with scripture. We wouldn’t want to offend or sound negative.

I vividly recall watching an incident from the October, 1990 General Conference, while I was on my mission. Hartman Rector delivered a rousing call to repentance in his talk, pointing out specific behaviors and commanding the guilty to repent. As soon as he finished, Gordon Hinckley, who was conducting the meeting, stood and said words to the effect of, “You’ll have to forgive Elder Rector. He’s from Missouri, and that’s how they talk back there.” The comment got a few laughs and the tension of God’s word dissipated as the choir sang yet another hymn. Nothing to see here. Go back to sleep. (Interestingly, that particular comment never appeared in the official conference report. Because, you know, it was just an offhand joke, right?)

Well, like Hartman Rector, I’m also from Missouri, and I was shocked when Hinckley cut off the call to repent right at the knees. I thought it was a good talk, and a great reminder. Was Hinckley actually apologizing for it?

Either way, the problem has been solved. Now, such a talk would simply not be allowed. Positive messages only, please.

Finding Light with Light

From above: That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

Remember, your ability to recognize and assimilate light and truth is dependent upon the light and truth already in you. Therefore, it’s imperative that your prayer, scripture study, and efforts to know the Lord be sincere, continuous, and effective. Do you cry out to Him? Do you ask, seek and knock? Do you search the scriptures, or merely read them? Are you familiar enough with them to use them as your standard for whatever you hear? Is it your quest to be redeemed, or are you too busy to bother? Do those who preach to you teach you to look to them, or to find the Lord for yourself?

Behold, that which you hear is as the voice of one crying in the wilderness—in the wilderness, because you cannot see him—my voice, because my voice is Spirit; my Spirit is truth; truth abideth and hath no end; and if it be in you it shall abound. And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things. (D&C 88:66-67)
If you have sufficient light, you can comprehend the truth of all things, including God. If you don’t, you can and will be deceived, and led away to destruction by false traditions and pretenders. Whether by HeartSell or Arts of Hell, it is the same.

If you watch the LDS General Conference, you’ll hear stories and analogies, poetry and prose, philosophy and platitudes. Snippets of scripture will be mingled in but not expounded, and it will all be done in accordance with long-standing traditions, right down to the monotone cadence. When it’s over, you should ask yourself if you’ve become more godly in your understanding, more fortified in knowledge of the gospel, more convinced of your sins, and more determined to see the face of Christ. Don’t bother asking yourself how you feel. Ask what you know.

And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.

—D&C 93:39