I am spoiled by having wonderful associates to buoy me up in these difficult times.
H Verlan Anderson:
At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations? (3 Nephi 16:10)That He was referring to members of His Church in this passage is evident not only from the fact that He states that the Gentiles will sin against His gospel, but also in discussing the possibility of their failing to repent, He refers to them as the “Salt of the earth:”But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of my people, O house of Israel. (3 Nephi 16:15)When Christ uses the term “the salt of the earth”, He means His covenant people, as the following passage explains:When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men;They are called to be the savor of men; therefore, if that salt of the earth lose its savor, behold, it is thenceforth good for nothing only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men. (D&C 101:39-40)There are two other instances of record wherein the Lord told the Nephites that unless the Gentiles repented, they would be trodden down and torn in pieces. (3 Nephi 20:16, 21:12-14)Mormon, who had witnessed the Lamanites exterminate his own people, used almost the same words as did Christ in the quotations referred to above, in predicting the destruction of the unrepentant Gentiles by a remnant of the house of Jacob:And then, O ye Gentiles, how can ye stand before the power of God, except ye shall repent and turn from your evil ways?Therefore, repent ye, and humble yourselves before him lest he shall come out in justice against you—lest a remnant of the seed of Jacob shall go forth among you as a lion, and tear you in pieces, and there is none to deliver. (Mormon 5:22, 24)Then we have the following words of Moroni which state that the Gentiles would become so wicked that unless they repented they would be destroyed:And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done. (Ether 2:11)It should be emphasized that the above quoted statements are not merely warnings against iniquity but they are prophecies also. In the clearest of language, they predict that the Gentiles will become so wicked that unless repentance occurs we will be destroyed. Or, as the last scripture quoted states it, our iniquities will become so great that if we “continue” in them, we will be swept off as were our predecessors.That such a destruction will occur, and that it will consume everyone who fails to repent is indicated in the following words of Nephi:And now behold, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you; for I, Nephi, would not suffer that ye should suppose that ye are more righteous than the Gentiles shall be. For behold, except ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall all likewise perish; and because of the words which have been spoken ye need not suppose that the Gentiles are utterly destroyed.For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord? (2 Nephi 30:1-2)So sweeping had been Nephi’s description of Gentile wickedness and destruction that in the above passage, he considered it necessary to warn his readers against assuming that the “Gentiles are utterly destroyed.” As many as will turn from their wicked ways may be spared and numbered with the remnant.The Failure Of People To Recognize The Signs Of ApostasyIn the great majority of cases where apostasy has occurred, it appears that the people became wicked while believing themselves righteous. This happened time and again to the Children of Israel and the Nephites, and was plainly evident in the case of the Jews at the time of Christ. There are recorded exceptions to this rule. For example, when the Nephites apostatized immediately prior to Christ’s visit, we are told:Now they did not sin ignorantly, for they knew the will of God concerning them, for it had been taught unto them; therefore they did wilfully rebel against God. (3 Nephi 6:18)But the typical situation is described thus by Mormon as he commented on the frequency and rapidity with which a people who have been blessed forsake the Lord:they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity. (Hela 12:2)Prophecies regarding the Gentile apostasy of the latter days indicate that it will be the typical one wherein Church members will be led away by false beliefs into evil practices. Nephi had much to say regarding the event. Among other things he predicted that:1. “Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted..” (2 Nephi 28:12)2. “the humble followers of Christ” will err in many instances because they are taught by the precepts of men. (2 Nephi 28:14)3. Some will be lulled 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.” (2 Nephi 28:2 1)4. Others will be deceived into believing that there is no devil and no hell. (2 Nephi 28:22)5. There will be many who will 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. (2 Nephi 28:8-9)The Very Mainspring Of All CorruptionSince the scriptures state that the Gentile apostasy will be accompanied by many false beliefs, as has been the case in times past, it should be of profit and interest to attempt to discover wherein we are being misled today.It will be recalled from our discussion in Chapter 3, that one of the most difficult problems we face in this life is that of distinguishing between right and wrong. We saw there that the purpose of the fall was that men might become “as gods knowing good and evil,” (Moses 4:11, 28) and that Satan’s great purpose here is to deceive mankind. (Moses 4:4) Having done this, he can induce honorable men to do evil because they believe it to be good, and induce them to refrain from doing good because they believe it to be evil.Because of the very pronounced tendency of people to accept as proper, beliefs and practices of those amongst whom they are reared, the difficulty of distinguishing good from evil is greatly magnified for those who live in the midst of wickedness. The scriptures confirm this by pointing out that “the very mainspring of all corruption” is “the influence of that spirit which hath so strongly riveted the creeds of the fathers, who have inherited lies, upon the hearts of the children.” (D&C 123:7; see also D&C 93:39) Only those who have the faith and independence of character to seek the word of God in its purity from the scriptures and the teachings of the Holy Ghost can expect to escape the influence of inherited lies.THE WHOLE CHURCH UNDER CONDEMNATION FOR FAILURE TO HEARKEN TOTHE BOOK OF MORMONEven though many of the Book of Mormon records are being withheld, it appears that we are under condemnation because we are not studying and comprehending that which has already been given. The charge of “unbelief’ made against us in the foregoing scriptures would seem to bear this out. Let us ponder the following modern revelation wherein the Lord has placed the whole Church under condemnation. He states we would remain there until we repent of our unbelief and failure to heed the messages of the Nephite scriptures:And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief and because you havetreated lightly the things you have received— Which vanity and unbelief have brought the wholechurch under condemnation.And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written. (D&C 84:54, 55,57)Taken together, the above scriptures should convince us that there are some vital messages in the Book of Mormon which are addressed to us “Gentiles” which are not being heeded. Furthermore, if we fail to repent of this neglect, the succeeding verses promise that we will be punished:That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth ascourge and judgement to be poured out upon the children of Zion.For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.(D&C 84:58-59)The scourge referred to could be an attack by Satan’s church on the Church of the Lamb, for Nephi was shown that it would:gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God (1 Nephi 14:13)In spite of such predictions of a culminating conflict between the forces of good and evil, relatively few of those who consider themselves members of Christ’s Church seem to concern themselves with the identity of the opposition. Such apathy may prove disastrous, because in order to prepare for battle it is essential to identify the enemy, especially if he is combined and organized.The Lord has instructed us to “Contend against no church, save it be the church of the devil.” (D&C 18:20) But if we are going to contend only against the devil’s church, we must be able to distinguish it from all others. If a diligent search of the Book of Mormon would reveal the exact nature of the danger which those prophets foresaw, then such a search should be made with all haste. If a knowledge of how Satan used his organizations to destroy the Nephite and Jaredite civilizations would enable us to avoid the “scourge” and ‘judgement” which the Lord has decreed if we continue to ignore the Book of Mormon, such knowledge is worth any effort to obtain. The Lord has instructed his servants to set forth “clearly and understandingly the desolation of abomination in the last days.” (D&C 84:117) To follow such an instruction, it is essential to identify the great and abominable organization which will cause such a desolation.There is another compelling reason why the members of Christ’s Church should be able to identify the church of the devil. There is much scriptural evidence that many of them will be deceived into joining Satan’s organization, thus accepting his plan to destroy free agency. Such could hardly occur if the people understood that organization and that plan.Before Nephi ceased recording what he saw, he made known some interesting facts about the Great and Abominable Church. Though he saw the rise of that organization before the Gentiles came upon the promised land, it was not until after the Americas were settled by them and the Book of Mormon came forth, that it assumes such terrifying proportions. It corrupts the entire earth with its awful wickedness and overwhelming power. Note from the following quotation that this monstrous evil is destined to hold dominion in every nation in the world, and everyone will belong to it, except the few who remain true to the Church of the Lamb:And it came to pass that he [the angel] said unto me [Nephi]: Look, and behold that great andabominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose foundation is the devil.And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of theLamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to thechurch 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.And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. (1 Nephi 14:9-11)The above prophecy sets forth these startling facts:1. There is on the earth in these latter days a specific, identifiable organization founded and operated by Satan which is “most abominable above all other churches.”2. This “church of the devil” will eventually control and have dominion over every nation on the face of the earth.3. The time will come when a great division will occur and everyone will belong to the devil’s church except a few who belong to the Church of the Lamb.4. There will be a culminating war between Christ and Satan when this “whore of all the earth” will “gather together multitudes upon the face of the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God.” (v. 13)THE “TARES” AND “FOOLISH VIRGINS” ARE MEMBERS OF SATAN’S CHURCHAs unlikely as it may seem to those who regard themselves as members of Christ’s Church, the scriptures indicate that many will be deceived into belonging to Satan’s Great and Abominable Church also. According to the parables of the “wheat and the tares” and the “ten virgins,” when the “great division” comes, at least one-half of those who regard themselves as “faithful” members of the Lord’s Church will be classified as members of Satan’s organization. Let us examine these two parables with this possibility in mind. Both were taught during the Lord’s ministry on earth, and are also presented in modern scripture as having application in this last dispensation. Regarding the “wheat and tares” parable, Elder James E. Talmage has said:So important is the lesson embodied in this parable, and so assured is the literal fulfillment of its contained predictions, that the Lord has given a further explication through revelation in the current dispensation, a period in which the application is direct and immediate. (Talmage,Jesus the Christ, p. 288)In the last days, the angels will be pleading with the Lord to allow them to reap down the fields, but he will restrain them with these words:pluck not up the tares while the blade is yet tender (for verily your faith is weak), lest you destroy the wheat also. Therefore, let the wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest is fully ripe; then ye shall first gather out the wheat from among the tares, and after the gathering of the wheat, behold and lo, the tares are bound in bundles, and the field remaineth to be burned (D&C 86:6-7)Another modern revelation states that these tares are indeed members of Satan’s great and abominable church:That great church, the mother of abominations, that made all nations drink of the wine of thewrath of her fornication, that persecuteth the saints of God, that shed their blood—she who sitteth upon many waters, and upon the islands of the sea—behold, she is the tarès of the earth;.(D&C 88:94)President Joseph Fielding Smith has assured us that there will be “tares” among the Church members. Said he:There are so many influences at work to divide us asunder, right among the members of the Church, and there is going to come, one of these days in the near future, a separation of thewheat from the tares, and we are either wheat or tares. We are going to be on one side or theother. (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.111, p. 16)The parable of the “virgins” is perhaps even more explicit in warning Church members that Satan will ensnare many of them. We may assume that the group to which Christ referred in this parable are all “good Christians.” All of them believe in, and are looking anxiously forward to, the second coming. Each considers herself equally worthy to enter into the marriage with the bridegroom, and is waiting up even until midnight watching for the Master. Outwardly, they are indistinguishable one from another, however, at the last moment, fully one half of this “faithful” assemblage will be rejected by the Savior with these words:Verily I say unto you, I know you not. (Matt. 25:12)Another warning that Christ will reject “many” of those who have labored in his Church and regard themselves as worthy for the kingdom is contained in the Sermon on the Mount. Christ taught:Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.(Matt. 7:21-23)The late President of the Church, John Taylor, commented on this scripture as follows:We are told that, many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works?’ Yet to all such will he say, ‘Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.’ You say that means the outsiders? No, it does not. Do they do many wonderful works in the name of Jesus? No. This means you Latter-day Saints, who heal the sick, cast out devils and do many wonderful things in the name of Jesus…Hear it, ye Latter-day Saints! Hear it, ye Seventies and ye High Priests!… (D&C Commentary, pp. 462, 463)A BOOK OF MORMON PROPHET FORESAW A “GREAT DIVISION” AMONG THEPEOPLEThe Book of Mormon also testifies of a great division. Nephi, who prophesied much concerning the Gentiles said:For the time speedily cometh that the Lord shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire. (2 Nephi 30:10)Nephi was also shown that everyone would belong either to Christ’s Church or to Satan’s:Behold 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)REASONS WHY MEMBERS OF THE LORD’S CHURCH MIGHT ALSO BELONG TOSATAN’SIn the following passage the Lord explains why fully one-half of those ten virgins who have faith in his second coming and consider themselves prepared therefore, will be rejected:And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spakeconcerning the ten virgins.For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day. (D&C 45:56-57)If one-half of those members of the Church who are classified by the Lord as “virgins” can be deceived into belonging to Satan’s church, no member should disregard the possibility of his own deception. Neither can one take lightly the penalty for being “foolish,” which penalty is to be burned along with the rest of the wicked:And until that hour [the day of the coming of the Son of Man] there will be foolish virgins among the wise; and at that hour cometh an entire separation of the righteous and the wicked; and in that day will I send mine angels to pluck out the wicked and cast them out into unquenchable fire. (D&C 63:54)Some might question the justice of classifying the foolish virgins with the wicked and destroying them merely because they had allowed themselves to be deceived. However, when it is remembered that they have accepted Satan’s doctrines and supported his organization right during the time that they were members of the Lord’s Church with a prophet to guide them, this punishment is easier to understand.Book of Mormon prophets also warned the Gentiles against deception. Nephi stated that “the humble followers of Christ…in many instances… do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.” (2 Nephi 28:14) The following verses indicate that the fault lies in hearkening unto the “precepts of men” and relying on the “arm of flesh” rather than the gift of the Holy Ghost and the power of God:Yea, woe be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!…Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost. (2 Nephi28:26, 31)Nephi foresees that some of the prosperous ones in Zion are lulled, “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.” (Ibid., v.21)Still others are deceived and are “at ease in Zion” because they refuse to believe the scriptures and the prophets which teach that there is a devil: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. (Ibid., v.22)Those who believe there is no Satan are not going to believe that he has a Great and Abominable Church on earth either. Such people could easily be led to accept those philosophies of men which are the doctrines of Satan, and thus support those organizations which teach and practice them. In the following verse, Nephi says these members of the devil’s kingdom must be “stirred up unto repentance,” or they will be “stirred up to anger, and perish:”But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish; (Ibid., v. 18-19)The prophet Jacob also expressed concern about the Gentiles joining the devil’s church. Our salvation, he says, depends upon our not doing so:And blessed are the Gentiles, they of whom the prophet [Isaiah] has written; for behold, if it so be that they shall repent and fight not against Zion, and do not unite themselves to that great and abominable church, they shall be saved;… (2 Nephi 6:12)These scriptures, as well as many others, indicate an urgent need to identify Satan’s great church and the philosophies and precepts it teaches and practices so that those who sincerely desire to avoid the fate of the tares and the foolish virgins may do so.Our Nation will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of the God of this land, Jesus Christ, and quit building up and upholding secret combinations,…(Ensign, July 1988, p. 80)I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society (See D&C 1:14-16; 84:49-53.) It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations that seek to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world. [See Ether 8:18-25] (Ensign, November 1988, p. 87)THE PERSECUTION AND MURDER OF THE SAINTS AND PROPHETS IN THE LATTERDAYSThe United States has already experienced the judgments of God which inevitably flow from the unpunished murder of prophets. The 135th Section of the Doctrine & Covenants which describes the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith says of them:They were innocent of any crime, as they had often been proved before, and were only confined in jail by the conspiracy of traitors and wicked men; and their innocent blood,…with the innocent blood of all the martyrs under the altar that John saw, will cry unto the Lord of Hosts till he avenges that blood on the earth. Amen. (v. 7)In a revelation given to the Saints while they were camped at Winter Quarters where they had been driven by their enemies just prior to their forced exodus to the west, the Lord said:Thy brethren have rejected you and your testimony, even the nation that has driven you out; And now cometh the day of their calamity, even the days of sorrow, like a woman that is taken in travail; and their sorrow shall be great unless they speedily repent, yea, very speedily. For they killed the prophets, and them that were sent unto them; and they have shed innocent blood, which crieth from the ground against them. (D&C 136:34-36)A few years following the expulsion of the saints and the murder of their leaders, a terrible civil war was suffered by the nation responsible therefor. President Brigham Young, through whom the last revelation cited was given, spoke of the connection between the murder of the prophets and the Civil War on a number of occasions. In a talk given in 1867 just a couple of years after the cessation of hostilities, he said:The destruction of property and life during the war has been enormous. They killed the prophet. The mob that collected at Carthage, Illinois, to commit the deed of blood contained a delegation representing every State in the Union. Each has received its bloodstain.If they had hearkened to the counsel of Joseph Smith, this nation would have had no wars; there would have been no division in the Government, but it would have gone on in harmony andprosperity. (JD 12:120-121)The conclusions reached herein regarding Satan’s church and kingdom seem to the author to be so at variance with prevailing opinion that he anticipates they may engender ridicule and even animosity in some quarters. Today, people are inclined to look to government for the solution to almost all problems. The remedy for ignorance, poverty, disease, or the lack of culture, facilities, or opportunities of any description is commonly sought for through the compulsion of state action.As President McKay once stated, there is today a “trend to a welfare state in which people look to and worship government more than their God.” (Letter to BYU Admin. & Faculty, 5/25/67) To attack this god as has been done herein by denominating all government functions, except the preservation of freedom, as part of the devil’s plan to destroy free agency, may produce in some, feelings of resentment.Let those who may experience such feelings know that in writing this book, the author has been motivated only by a desire to present the correct meaning of certain scriptures for which he could find no other explanation than the one herein given. For example, if these are the last days as the prophets are saying, and if the prophecies of Nephi and John regarding Satan’s organized efforts during this period are true as the author believes them to be, then the following conclusions cannot be avoided:1. Satan is a personage who is as real as is Jesus Christ;2. Satan is guiding a specific identifiable organization here on earth today just as surely as Christ is guiding his Church.3. Satan’s organization covers the entire earth and either now has, or shortly will have, dominion “among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.”4. Everyone except a few either belong to Satan’s organization now or will belong to it in the near future.If the reader believes the scriptures to be the word of God, and if he rejects the explanation of Satan’s activities herein given, he is invited to find an organization other than government which executes the devil’s plan and satisfies the descriptions of it given by the prophets. Insofar as the author is aware, government is the only organization which has dominion over all the earth; it is the only organization to which all men belong; according to the scriptures, it is the one organization Satan has always sought to use; and finally the only freedom-destroying philosophy which almost all men have in common is that the police power should be used to limit or destroy the Lord’s system of individual stewardships. It is probably true that upwards of ninety percent of the laws being enforced by governments throughout the world today are unjust in the sight of God because their purpose is not to punish evil, but rather to deny men their freedom to manage their private affairs. One may test the validity of this assertion for himself and if he does, he will find that in the overwhelming majority of cases, proof of an evil intent is not required to convict one for violating a law.