The LDS Awakening

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Our Responsibilities

What is the objective for some of us, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in publishing this blog?  It is to make us all aware of the danger we face in not heeding the commandments of the Lord… assuming we are not already doing so.  Are we doing as well as we could or should?  If not, how can we rectify our actions as members of the Lord’s true church?

We are not concerned with the leadership of the Church.  If there is anything wrong in the Church, ultimately, it is not the leaders’ fault.  It is the members’ fault.  This has always been the case in any age of this world.  The people get the leaders they deserve.  If there have been any changes or modifications of doctrine, it is because of the desire of the majority of the members of the Church that these changes have been made.

Take, for example, the controversial doctrine of the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, taught in Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants.  Was it the Church president’s fault that this doctrine was discontinued?  Was it the Church leadership who instigated its end?  No.  It was the members’ wishes.  When put to vote, only 10% of the membership chose in favor of this most sacred law; therefore, God allowed us to discontinue its practice.

Even at its zenith, only 2 ½ percent of the Church membership lived this principle.  Furthermore, most of the men and women (of the 2 ½ percent) who embraced this law did not live it correctly.  Except for a few families, there were strife and malice, favoritism, and many more unholy and unfair actions among most of those who tried to live it.

The people as a whole had lost the meaning, spirit, and reason for living this most sacred covenant.  They did not understand that this marriage was by He who is everlasting, meaning that each and every instance had to involve revelation.  It was given to men and women only by revelation.  God alone would be the one to determine if a man or woman were ready and worthy of such an arrangement.

Those who went on their own to live this principle may have had the proper understanding at first.  However, because there was no central leadership, corrupt men took over; the vilest form of marriage arrangements came into being, making this holy sacrament a total mockery and failure.  In most instances, these men have made it into a brothel-and-harem quagmire that is totally devoid of God’s love, wisdom, and mercy.  God has a label for this.  He calls it an abomination.

The Church authorities changed the garment for the same reason.  The people became ashamed of it showing outside their fashionably scant outfits.  It was the will of the people to have it changed.

These same people were also offended by some of the temple ordinances.  Consequently, the leaders deleted or changed these holy covenants to conform to the people’s wishes.  There were a few who objected to these changes because they knew that these changes were in error, but their voices were disregarded and unheeded because the majority fully embraced the changes.

We all must be aware that the Lord will soon arrive and judge us all, and we must also realize this includes the living and the dead.  If you are not strong enough to object to these compromises when you are alive, you may have a little difficulty when you face your judgment.  Those of us who are still living have a chance to do what?  Repent is the word.

If enough of us step forward and confront our bishops and stake authorities, telling them that we desire to conform to all of God’s commandments laid out so plainly for us through the prophets Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and John Taylor, we can assure you that God will see to it that either the present leadership will repent or that proper authorities will be chosen who will conform to our wishes.  It is up to us as members to step forward.

We erred and demanded the lesser blessings as the people did at the time of Moses.  Let us get back to the greater promises being fulfilled because we are worthy to receive these blessings.  Rewards are only based on works, not words (D&C 78:7).

If you think you are going to the celestial kingdom, my friends, you are totally deceived.  You must live God’s commandments to be worthy and qualify for the great rewards of the celestial realms.  There are insufficient works left in the LDS Church that prepare us for this privilege.  And we, the membership, are mostly at fault.

We have allowed this watered-down version of the gospel to happen.  We cannot blame it totally on the Church authorities.  We, the membership, wanted and demanded this watered-down telestial-kingdom version of the gospel.

We will not be in the bosom of Abraham.  We will not be privileged to have our own kingdoms, and we will not even have the privilege of the eternal association of our marriage partners.  And if you believe you will, you are sorely deceived.  Besides this, the covenants made in the temple are not valid anymore.  These covenants cannot be realized because they are forbidden to be enacted.

Let us ask ourselves a couple of questions:

  1. Do you live the law of consecration or even understand what it involves?  The correct living of this law is absolutely necessary for qualifying to enter into the celestial kingdom.
  2. Do you really live the everlasting covenant of marriage?  The present covenants we make in the temple (assuming they are valid at the time they are made) are actually only valid promises if we live all of God’s commandments to the end of our lives.  Are we keeping all of God’s commandments?  And only if God accepts our efforts, which include living the principle of plural marriage and the living of all other laws, will we then be called by revelation to participate in the real marriage ceremony which will seal our spouse to us for eternity.  How many of these real sealings are taking place today, or are there any at all?
  3. You have been led to believe that your marriage is for eternity if you are married in the temple.  This is false doctrine.  The temple marriage performed in the Church today has been conformed to the laws of the land.  The person performing the ceremony is an agent of the government who can legally perform these marriages in the temple.  These marriages are then recognized by government authorities as a legal marriage.  Is this then a temple marriage?  You make that distinction.
  4. All of the marriages performed in the temple today are temporal marriages only, with a promise that if lived in a righteous manner may qualify at a later date to be an eternal arrangement.  If you follow the temple ceremony carefully, it states this clearly.  Do these millions of people “married” in the temple realize that the eternal part of it is on condition only?  How many of these marriages that you are aware of have had the eternal part of their marriage performed at a later date through the principle of revelation?

We know from early Church records that men and women were called by the spirit of revelation by those in authority to present themselves before these authorities in their temple clothing, and then these eternal sealings were performed.  These people were sealed to be kings and queens, priests and priestesses in God’s kingdom by the Holy Spirit of Promise.  These sealings were called the second anointings.  

These men and women had lived their covenants in a perfect manner and were called by revelation.  Consequently, they were entitled to these ordinances being performed on their behalf.  Over time, there were fewer and fewer of these ordinances performed, and today there is no way on earth that the Church can perform these ordinances at all.  The main reason is that the Church forbids anyone to even live the sacred laws that would qualify them to have these ordinances performed.

All those who have been “married” in the temple should be aware of this, and if they believe that this ordinance is of an eternal nature, they are mistaken.  If every one of them were to muster enough courage to go to the Church authorities demanding that all the deletions and corruptions that have been made (which make it impossible for anyone to reach the celestial kingdom) be reversed, we believe that something would be done about it.

If the membership refuses to do this, they have only themselves to blame.  When the day of judgment comes (as to where they are to be assigned in the hereafter), they definitely will not go where they think they are going.  Actually, we believe these qualifications are understood by very few today.

We hope these examples help us understand what has happened in the Church and just how serious the problem has become.  These examples are only a small portion of what is wrong.  This topic could be elaborated on extensively.

What will it take to make us really wake up to our awful situation?  This does not mean that some of the blame does not lie at the feet of the General Authorities.  They could have steered us correctly and called us to repentance.  But who would have listened?  No one likes to be told they are wrong.  And such a continual tirade would have turned the majority of the membership off.

It is only the membership that can rectify the situation.  Pointing the finger at the authorities and saying they are to blame does not do a bit of good.  It is similar to a growing child who blames all his woes on his parents.  It just promotes guilt and anger and does not do any good whatsoever.  Only when these accusations cease and the realization comes that only we can rectify these errors and abuses can results begin to show.

Let us take responsibility for these woes and do everything we can to correct the errors that have been made.  It will be a great step forward.  Then, even if we fail, we ourselves will be vindicated and be able to go before the judgment with no excuses, showing that we really tried.

The Lord judges correctly, so who knows?  We may be able to be welcomed in the higher realms of His kingdom having made this concerted effort to set things right.  Let us look carefully at an occurrence that happened in ancient history, which has been recently repeated:

He was a weak-willed, vacillating, milquetoast figure who stood for very little but his own self-interest.  His positions changed depending on who confronted him.  The one who stood before him the most was his wife who manipulated him and the government which he controlled.

She, his wife, was a highly motivated, politically directed feminist who was well versed on how to use her position for personal gain.  There was no doubt about it.  She was the brains of the two, and she was as hard as nails.  Her ambition was never satisfied.

Their greed was finally exposed through a mismanaged, fraudulent, real estate deal.  Evidence of her involvement was on the incriminating government documents.  At least one man died because he knew too much.  But even then, she was so feared that no one dared ask too many questions.

Does this sound familiar?  Their names were Ahab and Jezebel.  They ruled the Kingdom of Israel 2,300 years ago.  They wove such a web of witchcraft that the whole nation became corrupt.  Government officials lied about one another, and innocent people were falsely charged and prosecuted.

Only a few men were brave enough and had the courage to speak up. But in order for these men to survive, like Elijah, they had to live in caves.  Elijah was the only one to publicly challenge Ahab and Jezebel but became so discouraged at one point that he begged God to take his life.

Now do you believe that there were many good men and women living in Israel at that time?  Yes, I am sure there were hundreds or even thousands who were living God’s laws as best they could under the circumstances.  Why were all these good people destroyed or made to suffer exceedingly when God’s judgments were finally executed because of the wickedness of the king and queen?

The reason is quite clear.  They did not stand up for righteousness like Elijah but were afraid to say anything in fear of losing their status in the kingdom.  They did not exercise their priesthood and condemn and confront the king and queen who had brought into their kingdom the corruption of witchcraft, prostitution, and murder.  They may have spoken out about the apparent evil but were careful not to point fingers or disturb the status quo.  In other words, the priesthood was impotent.

If we as members of God’s church do not take a stand, begin to repent, and separate ourselves from the wicked, cannot the Lord assign us the same punishment as He did to those living at the time of Ahab and Jezebel?

Current Leadership Recognition

Is there any recognition today among the Church authorities expressing their concern about the general state of apostasy taking place in the LDS Church?   Yes, there has been.  For example, President Joseph Fielding Smith once wrote:

“It is a very apparent fact that we have traveled far and wide in the past 20 years.  What the future will bring I do not know.  But if we drift as far afield from fundamental things in the next 20 years, what will be left of the foundation laid by the Prophet Joseph Smith?  It is easy for one who observes to see how the apostasy came about in the primitive church of Christ.  Are we not traveling the same road?”  (Joseph Fielding Smith Journal, Dec. 28, 1938).

President Ezra Taft Benson once declared:

“Not only are there apostates within our midst, but there are also apostate doctrines that are sometimes taught in our classes and from our pulpits and that appear in our publications.  And these apostate precepts of men cause our people to stumble.  As the Book of Mormon, speaking of our day, states:

‘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’  (2 Nephi 28:14) (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 89-90; emphasis added).

Notice how President Benson associates the scripture in 2 Nephi 28:14 with the present members of the LDS Church.  Most of the time when this scripture is used, the assumption is that it refers to those outside the LDS Church.  However, it is clear that President Benson interpreted this verse quite differently.  He pointed his finger directly at us, the members of the LDS Church.  President Benson also pointed out the following:

“Watchmen — what of the night?  We must respond by saying that all is not well in Zion” (Ensign, May 1986, p. 4; emphasis added; see JST Isaiah 21:11).

This statement was made concerning the conditions of the Church from President Benson’s perspective.  Basically, President Benson has told us that the Church is under condemnation because of the lack of diligence given to the word of God:

“The Lord declares that the whole Church and all the children of Zion are under condemnation because of the way we have treated the Book of Mormon.  This condemnation has not been lifted, nor will it be until we repent (D&C 84:51-81).  The Lord states that we must not only say but we must do!

We have neither said enough nor have we done enough with this divine instrument — the key to conversion.  As a result, as individuals, as families, and as the Church, we sometimes have felt the scourge and judgment God said would be ‘poured out upon the children of Zion’ because of our neglect of this book (D&C 84:58).

The Lord inspired His servant Lorenzo Snow to reemphasize the principle of tithing to redeem the Church from financial bondage.  In those days the General Authorities took that message to the members of the Church.  So too in our day the Lord has inspired His servant to reemphasize the Book of Mormon to get the Church out from under condemnation — the scourge and judgment”

(Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 63-66; see also A Witness and a Warning, pp. vii-viii and p. 9).

Imagine if similar words were uttered by Alma to the church in his day regarding the way they were treating the brass plates.  If Alma had said that the church in his day was under condemnation, we would likely view it as a very serious situation, one of great apostasy and wickedness.  When viewed in this light, we can perhaps better understand the direct language President Benson has used with us in our time.

Let us read what other current Church leaders have to say concerning this matter.  In a 1990 meeting with regional representatives of the LDS Church, Elder Boyd K. Packer expressed his concern about the state of the Church today:

“In recent years I have felt, and I think I am not alone, that we are losing the ability to correct the course of the church.  You cannot appreciate how deeply I feel about the importance of this present opportunity unless you know the regard, the reverence, I have for the Book of Mormon and how seriously I have taken the warnings of the prophets, particularly Alma and Helaman.

Both Alma and Helaman told the church in their day.  They warned about fast growth, the desire to be accepted by the world, to be popular, and particularly they warned about prosperity.  Each time those conditions existed in combination, the church has drifted off course.  All of those conditions are present in the church today.

Helaman repeatedly warned, I think four times he used these words, that the fatal drift of the church could occur in the space of not many years.  In one instance it took only six years” (Helaman 6:32; 7:6; 11:26) (“Let Them Govern Themselves”, Regional Representatives Seminar, Mar. 30, 1990; emphasis added).

“We are losing the ability to correct the course of the church.”  This implies two very important points:  First, the Church is indeed off course.  Otherwise there would be no need to correct its course.  Second, we are so far off course that Elder Packer is worried that we are losing the ability to correct it.  This is coming from the present Twelve Apostles of the Church!

Likewise, Elder L. Tom Perry has made some rather direct comments about the state of the Church today.  In a recent conference address, he taught that some of the most condemning prophecies found in the Book of Mormon apply not to those outside the LDS Church but to those within it.  In the October 1992 General Conference, Elder Perry stated:

“He [Moroni] realizes that the record will be a voice of warning to future generations of what occurs when nations like his own turn away from the teachings of the Lord.  It is from the depths of his heart that Moroni cries out to those who will eventually receive the record.  He wants to spare those who read his account the heartache and misery which comes from disobedience.

He writes first to the members of the Church and then to those who have not embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Moroni’s last words to the members of the Church are written as a voice of warning.  He writes as one who sees the history of his people repeating itself in the future.  From the Book of Mormon we read:

‘Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.  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.

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?  Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ?  Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies–because of the praise of the world?’  (Mormon 8:34-38).

I guess one of the greatest mysteries of mortality is why mankind fails to learn from history.  Why do those who profess to be true followers of Christ so often become victims of the enticements of the world?  The evidence is so strong regarding the blessings which accrue to those who trust in and follow the ways the Lord has prescribed for us” (Conference Report, Ensign, Nov. 1992; emphasis added).

The question could be asked:  Did the saints hearing this understand its significance?  I doubt that they did.  According to Elder Perry, these verses apply directly to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Elder Perry associates the following evils with those in the LDS Church today, as prophesied by Moroni long ago:

  • Walking in the pride of their hearts
  • Lifting themselves up in the pride of their hearts
  • Wearing very fine apparel
  • Envying
  • Strifes
  • Malice
  • Persecutions
  • All manner of iniquities
  • Being polluted
  • Being hypocrites
  • Selling themselves for that which will canker
  • Polluting the holy church of God
  • Polluting every single one of their churches
  • Being ashamed to take upon them the name of Christ
  • Loving money, and their substance, and their fine apparel, and the adorning of their churches more than they love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted
  • Not thinking that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies — because of the praise of the world

Who can say that the Church leaders are not among the most righteous people on the earth?  Their garments are spotless.  They religiously keep the Sunday sabbath, attend to all their church functions, give blessings, are faithful to their wives, and raise wonderful families.  Are these not God’s servants?  Let us look at the full Book of Mormon quotation:

“Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you.  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.

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?  Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ?  Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies–because of the praise of the world?

Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?  Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?

Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer” (Mormon 8:34-41; emphasis added).

Very serious consequences are promised.  The iniquities described above do not refer to the sins of drunkenness, drugs, or debauchery but about the more serious crimes of pride, wearing of fine apparel, envying, and strife.  This results in the persecution of the righteous; the love of money, goods, and fine apparel; the adornment of churches; and, finally, desiring the praise of the world.  But the most serious iniquity is the abandonment of the law of continuance, which is described in verse 40 as not taking the widows’ and orphans’ rights seriously.

Does this refer to the Church leadership?  No!  It refers mainly to us, the membership!  If these accusations do not seem serious, then we as Church members are not seeing things clearly.  We are blinded and are in total darkness to the reality that the Lord is actually addressing us here.  The preceding list clearly describes an apostate people.  How can one interpret Elder Perry’s comments in any other way than to say that he is using Moroni’s prophecy to describe the LDS Church today?

Years before Elder Perry’s teachings, Elder H. Verlan Anderson of the First Council of the Seventy also pointed out that these verses in the Book of Mormon referred directly to the LDS Church:

“Moroni was similarly explicit in predicting false teachings among the saints.  Reflect upon the unmistakable implications of this point-blank indictment of members of the ‘holy church of God’:

‘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 8:38).

Since there is only one ‘holy church of God’ on earth, and since it is being polluted, the blame therefore appears to rest upon the teachers and hypocrites within that church” (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, pp. 170-171; emphasis added).

President Spencer W. Kimball had the same understanding:

“Saints must keep the covenant of consecration.  The Lord has blessed us as a people with a prosperity unequaled in times past.  The resources that have been placed in our power are good, and necessary to our work here on the earth.  But I am afraid that many of us have been surfeited with flocks and herds and acres and barns and wealth and have begun to worship them as false gods, and they have power over us.  Do we have more of these good things than our faith can stand?

Many people spend most of their time working in the service of a self-image that includes sufficient money, stocks, bonds, investment portfolios, property, credit cards, furnishings, automobiles, and the like to guarantee carnal security throughout, it is hoped, a long and happy life.  Forgotten is the fact that our assignment is to use these many resources in our families and quorums to build up the kingdom of God—to further the missionary effort and the genealogical and temple work; to raise our children up as fruitful servants unto the Lord; to bless others in every way, that they may also be fruitful.

Instead, we expend these blessings on our own desires, and as Moroni said, ‘Ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not  (Mormon 8:39)” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 357; emphasis added).

President Kimball duplicated this understanding:

“…when I review the performance of this people in comparison with what is expected, I am appalled and frightened.  If we insist on spending all our time and resources building up for ourselves a worldly kingdom, that is exactly what we will inherit.  In spite of our delight in defining ourselves as modern, and our tendency to think we possess a sophistication that no people in the past ever had–in spite of these things, we are, on the whole, an idolatrous people–a condition most repugnant to the Lord” (“The False Gods We Worship,” Ensign, June 1976).

Some of the current LDS Church leaders are extremely concerned regarding the apostasy within the Church.  They use the word apostasy to describe our current situation.  These accusations are not coming from enemies or outsiders of the LDS Church.  These accusations are coming from within — from the leadership of the LDS Church.

If what these brethren are saying is true, then the Church has some serious problems.  If what they say is not true, then at least a few of our leaders have some serious problems, including a few of our most recent prophets.

On Becoming Popular

As Elder Packer stated, one of the first areas that should catch our attention regarding apostasy in the LDS Church is the focus of modern Mormonism on becoming popular.  For example, President Gordon B. Hinckley once stated:

“Ours is the blessing to live in a better season [than the early saints].  The terrible persecutions of the past are behind us.  Today we are looked upon with respect by people across the world” (Conference Report, Ensign, Nov. 1996).

President Hinckley has made other similar statements from time to time, including a statement on the television program 60 Minutes where he classified the LDS Church as being “mainstream” with other churches.

It is difficult to listen to a General Conference session or read a Church publication these days without some reference given to the LDS Church’s growth, influence, and the respect it receives from the world.  Even other religions and the media are coming to the Church’s defense for perhaps the first time in history.

Yet, as much as we seem to enjoy basking in our newfound popularity, it should be recognized that the early leaders of this Church both predicted and condemned this state of affairs, especially President Brigham Young.  Notice his direct prophetic tone as he expresses his concerns and the consequences he associates with popularity:

“And when the spirit of persecution, the spirit of hatred, of wrath, and malice ceases in the world against this people, it will be the time that this people have apostatized and joined hands with the wicked, and never until then; which I pray may never come” (Journal of Discourses 4:326-327).

“There is nothing that would so soon weaken my hope and discourage me as to see this people in full fellowship with the world, and receive no more persecution from them because they are one with them.  In such an event, we might bid farewell to the Holy Priesthood with all its blessings, privileges and aids to exaltations, principalities and powers in the eternities of the Gods” (Journal of Discourses 10:32).

“When we see the time that we can willingly strike hands and have full fellowship with those who despise the Kingdom of God, know ye then that the Priesthood of the Son of God is out of your possession.  Let us be careful how we make friends with and fellowship unrighteousness, lest the curse of God descends heavily upon us” (Journal of Discourses 10:273; emphasis added).

“When Mormonism finds favor with the wicked in this land, it will have gone into the shade; but until the power of the Priesthood is gone, ‘Mormonism’ will never become popular with the wicked” (Journal of Discourses 4:38: ).

“They would come now by thousands and thousands, if the Latter-day Saints were only popular. ‘What, these honorable men?’  Yes, they would say, ‘I want to be baptized.  I admire your industry, and your skill in governing.  You have a system of governing that is not to be found anywhere else.  You know how to govern cities, territories, or the world, and I would like to join you.’

But take care if you join this people without the love of God in your soul it will do you no good.  If they were to do this, they would bring in their sophistry, and introduce that which would poison the innocent and honest and lead them astray.  I look at this, and I am satisfied that it will not do for the Lord to make this people popular.  Why?  Because all hell would want to be in the Church.

The people must be kept where the finger of scorn can be pointed at them.  Although it is admitted that we are honest, industrious, truthful, virtuous, self-denying, and, as a community, possess every moral excellence, yet we must be looked upon as ignorant and unworthy, and as the off scouring of society, and be hated by the world.

What is the reason of this?  Christ and Baal can not become friends.  When I see this people grow and spread and prosper, I feel that there is more danger than when they are in poverty.  Being driven from city to city or into the mountains is nothing compared to the danger of our becoming rich and being hailed by outsiders as a first-class community.

I am afraid of only one thing.  What is that?  That we will not live our religion, and that we will partially slide a little from the path of rectitude, and go part of the way to meet our friends” (Journal of Discourses 12:272; emphasis added).

This last reference should perhaps be of particular concern to us, considering that certain cities in Utah have taken great pride in recent years for being classified among the best places to live in America.

Notice how the aforementioned statements by President Hinckley sound like a fulfilling of these prophecies made by President Young more than 100 years earlier.  What President Hinckley perceives as a “blessing” is what President Young clearly viewed as a “curse”, placing the very priesthood itself in jeopardy.

Church Becoming Popular

As previously mentioned, Elder Boyd K. Packer has expressed his concern about becoming popular as a church:

“Both Alma and Helaman told the church in their day.  They warned about fast growth, the desire to be accepted by the world, to be popular, and particularly they warned about prosperity.  Each time those conditions existed in combination, the church has drifted off course.  All of those conditions are present in the church today (Helaman 6:32; 7:6; 11:26)” (“Let Them Govern Themselves”, Regional Representatives Seminar, Mar. 30, 1990; emphasis added).

In addition to statements such as these, it seems clear from the scriptures themselves that the Lord’s people are seldom very popular when they are truly living and preaching the word of God.  In fact, a good argument could be presented to show that the higher the doctrines lived by the people of God, the more persecution they generally receive from the world.

There seems to be a direct relationship between righteousness and persecution.  There has seldom, if ever, been a time when the Lord’s people were praised and accepted by those around them.  Why should we believe that Latter-day Saints today are any different than all the other examples of God’s people throughout history?

The conclusion we come to on this subject is that although we may enjoy our current popularity in the world and a general lack of persecution, this may be nothing more or less than an indication that the LDS people have apostatized and joined hands with the wicked, as President Young put it.  This should be of great concern to us as we consider the possibility of apostasy within the LDS Church.

In connection with the problems associated with becoming popular, there are also other prophetic statements suggesting that Salt Lake City will become one of the wickedest cities in the world.  For example, Elder Heber C. Kimball once prophesied:

“After a while the gentiles will gather to this place by the thousands and Salt Lake will be classified among the wicked cities of the world.  A spirit of speculation and extravagance will take possession of the saints, and the result will be financial bondage” (Amanda Wilcox records, BYU; emphasis added).

It is important to note in this prophecy that Elder Kimball is associating this wickedness with the saints.  He is not referring to those who are not members of the LDS Church.  Rather, it seems clear that his concern is focused on those within the LDS Church.

Mosiah Hancock also tells of President Brigham Young’s views on “the saints in the mountains”:

“He [Brigham Young] conversed freely on the situation of the saints in the mountains, and said that he dreaded the time when the saints would become popular with the world; for he had seen in sorrow, in a dream, or in dreams, this people clothed in the fashions of Babylon and drinking in the spirit of Babylon until one could hardly tell a saint from a blackleg… Many of this people for the sake of riches and popularity will sell themselves for that which will canker their souls and lead them down to misery and despair” (Mosiah Hancock Journal, p. 73).

Notice that President Young refers to this people.  He is speaking to us.  It is our own desires that will cause the misery and despair that will eventually fall upon our heads.

In another account from Mosiah Hancock, we find similar concerns about the saints in Salt Lake City.  This time Brother Hancock is quoting the Prophet Joseph Smith on the subject:

“…you will travel west until you come to the valley of the Great Salt Lake… you will live to see men rise in power in the church who will seek to put down your friends and the friends of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Many will be hoisted because of their money and the worldly learning which they seem to be in possession of; and many who are the true followers of our Lord and Savior will be cast down because of their poverty” (Mosiah Hancock Journal, p. 19).

It seems clear from these references that the early brethren were quite convinced that Salt Lake City would become ranked among the most wicked cities of the world and that this wickedness would be among the members and leaders of the LDS Church.  It is difficult to interpret these prophecies any other way.

Church Cleansed First

Another important prophecy about the latter-day apostasy can be found in the Doctrine and Covenants.  Notice in the following verses that the calamities of the last days will actually begin upon the Lord’s house:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.

Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;  First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord(D&C 112:23-26; emphasis added).

Now, regardless of how we define my house in this verse, there are few Latter-day Saints who would say that these verses are talking about anything other than the LDS Church.  Notice the sins that accompany those who belong to the Lord’s house, those who are described as a people who profess to know God’s name but who have not really known Him.  [See section called “God’s Disappearance”.]  They are a people who have blasphemed against God in the midst of His house.  Can this be interpreted as anything other than apostasy within the LDS Church?

In the Midst of His House

This prophecy, “in the midst of my house”, could not refer to anything other than the Church leadership.  Possibly the time has come to fulfill this prophecy.  Let us take a close look at the following photos:

President Thomas S. Monson shaking hands with President George W. Bush. Notice the location of the index fingers.

President Thomas S. Monson shaking hands with President
George W. Bush. Notice the location of the index fingers.

Why are these two men, one the President of the LDS Church and the other the President of the United States — a non-Mormon — consciously using this sacred sign?

President Gordon B. Hinckley shaking hands with Vice President Dick Cheney. Again notice the location of the index fingers.

President Gordon B. Hinckley shaking hands with Vice President
Dick Cheney. Again notice the location of the index fingers.

Why is Vice President Cheney using this same sacred sign with President Hinckley?  This sacred sign cannot be done accidentally; it must be done consciously.

Has the sacred sign been compromised?

“Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee” (JST Exodus 34:12).

Pope John Paul II shaking hands with U.S. Cardinal John O'Connor. Note the position of the thumb.

Pope John Paul II shaking hands with U.S. Cardinal John O’Connor. Note the position of the thumb.

Again the same configuration in the handshake of Pope Benedict XVI and Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Again the same configuration in the handshake of Pope Benedict XVI and Prime Minister Tony Blair.

In the above two instances, another sacred sign is being used by the Pope and one of his cardinals as well as between the Pope and Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of England.  This sacred sign likewise cannot be done accidentally.  It must be done consciously.

What has happened here?  Has the Church “joined hands” with the Masonic Lodge?  Is the secrecy and sacredness of these signs just another sign of fellowship or identification between brothers and not sacred at all?  According to our Mormon beliefs, these signs cannot be used outside of the temples.  One of the reasons these temples are built is to keep these signs secret and sacred.  Why build a temple for this purpose if such is not the case?

“And it came to pass that they did have their signs, yea, their secret signs, and their secret words; and this that they might distinguish a brother who had entered into the covenant, that whatsoever wickedness his brother should do he should not be injured by his brother, nor by those who did belong to his band, who had taken this covenant” (Helaman 6:22).

Possibly this is why President Hinckley has used the term mainstream in recently describing the LDS Church’s present status.  What are we as regular LDS members to think?  Should we just close our eyes to these obvious breeches, or should we begin to stand up as God would want us to and question what is going on?

The main question is:  Are we being lied to?  If so, do we do or say nothing and jeopardize our status before God in not at least demanding an explanation to these obvious and unusual occurrences?

Joseph Smith’s Dispensation

Joseph Smith was and is the head of the dispensation of the fullness of times.  He was a savior, so to speak, to the Gentiles (who consisted mainly of the tribe of Ephraim) — not in the same context as the Savior Jesus Christ, who was the Savior not only to the Jews but also to all of the tribes of Israel.  Joseph Smith was a savior to the Gentiles in that he brought them the restored gospel, which, if lived, would bring them unto salvation.  But, just like the Jews, the Gentiles killed their savior.

Just who are these Gentiles that are so important that a prophet such as Joseph Smith was sent especially to them?  Well, that’s a long story.  Basically, they are a mixture of the heathen nations and the descendants of the twelve tribes of Israel.

The tribes were dispersed among the heathen nations in two basic groups:  First, 10 ½ tribes were taken into captivity by the Medes and the Persians.  Later, the second group, comprised of the tribe of Judah and the ½ tribe of Benjamin, were taken into captivity by the Babylonians.

Both of these groups eventually escaped their captors and were dispersed north and west, becoming the nations of Europe, Russia, and Great Britain.  Many from these tribes intermarried with the heathen nations and lost their identity.  This intermarrying caused a mixture of the bloods, and thus the nations of the Gentiles came about.

The Savior came to the Jews in Jerusalem.  This is, of course, another story.  Put simply, a portion of the 1 ½ tribes taken into captivity by the Babylonians were allowed to return to their homeland.  Therefore, the dispersion did not include them, and they remained identified.  Since the main portion of them were of the tribe of Judah, they were called Jews.  The lineage through which the Savior was to come was among this group, and, when the meridian of time came, the Savior was born of Mary and Joseph.

The Savior was brought up well educated and became a rabbi.  He understood well that the people in Jerusalem represented only the 1 ½ tribes of the original twelve tribes and also represented the Levites who were not originally counted because they were mixed up among all of the tribes (but mostly among the 1 ½ tribes).

The Levites were identifiable, as they still performed their duties and ordinances among the Jews at the time of the Savior and were recognized by their priesthood duties.  On the other hand, the Levites who were among the dispersed 10 ½ tribes no longer functioned in their priesthood duties and lost their identity, intermarrying among the remnant of the dispersed tribes.

The Savior came to the 1 ½ tribes plus the Levites (called as a group the Jews), and they rejected Him and had Him put to death.  However, before His death, He stated on several occasions that He was well aware that the other 10 ½ tribes were out there, and He knew basically where they were.

After Jesus was martyred, His disciples, under the direction of the Apostle Peter who received revelation on what to do, went and preached to the other 10 ½ tribes classified as the Gentile nations.  This marked the shift from the 1 ½ tribes (including Levi) to the 10 ½ tribes mixed up among the heathen (with the tribe of Ephraim being the major player in this group).

Of course most of us are familiar with what happened after the rejection of the gospel by the Jews.  The Gentiles (Ephraim) accepted the gospel at first; however, because of their mixed blood and their heathen traditional background, they soon corrupted these pure doctrines of the teachings of the Savior, and the great apostasy occurred.

Over the years, the form of baptism was changed, and priesthood offices were molded and blended with former pagan rites.  The sabbath day was changed from the seventh to the first day of the week (thus the Gentile sabbath).

The scriptures were no longer taught by the rabbis to the general public, as in the past, but were kept secret so that only a few were allowed to study the sacred writings.  The people were taught to follow the leader and not to question ecclesiastical authority.  Consequently great abuses occurred, resulting in the great apostasy.

Under the reformers, John Knox, Martin Luther, John Wesley, etc., the Gentile nations started to wake up and somewhat repented of this apostate condition.  To this conglomeration of religions, the Lord sent Joseph Smith with the pure restored gospel, but, before he completed the work, he was shot down in cold blood.  Just like the Savior was killed by the Jews (1 ½ tribes), Joseph Smith, the savior to the Gentiles (Ephraim — 10 ½ tribes), was likewise killed by the Gentiles.

All of these shifts were prophesied of several times in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine & Covenants very, very clearly.  [See section called “The First Last”.]  However, it is often hard for the people to understand that these things apply to us at the present time.  Most members today would say that it does not apply to us but to a different people or to a different time.

However, it was clearly prophesied that the Gentiles would again change the ordinances and break the everlasting covenant.  It did not take today’s Gentiles nearly 400 years to bring about this apostasy like it did the first time after the crucifixion of the Savior.  Instead it took us less than 100 years!

We will not relate all of the changes that have been made to the pure gospel restored by Joseph Smith, but some of the main ones are:

  1. True repentance is not required for baptism.
  2. People no longer kneel before their Savior while the sacrament is being blessed.
  3. Functions of the various priesthood offices have been changed.  Bishops are no longer required to supervise the United Order.
  4. Temple ordinances have undergone significant deletions.  Members have been advised that the Church leaders have made these changes because of the times we live in but should not worry because the Church leaders cannot lead us astray.  In other words, follow the leader without question.

On one occasion the Lord told Joseph Smith that He will send one mighty and strong to “set in order the house of God”:

“And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God (D&C 85:7; emphasis added).

Why would God need to set something in order if it were not already out of order?  The Book of Mormon describes clearly who has gone astray (apostatized) in the last days:

“They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, 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” (2 Nephi 28:14).

President Ezra Taft Benson said this, referring to those who are members of the LDS Church — not those outside the Church:

“Not only are there apostates within our midst, but there are also apostate doctrines that are sometimes taught in our classes and from our pulpits and that appear in our publications.  And these apostate precepts of men cause our people to stumble.  As the Book of Mormon, speaking of our day, states:

‘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’  (2 Nephi 28:14)” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 89-90).

God’s Disappearance

Listed below are remarks given by President Gordon B. Hinckley in his talks to the press.  An interview given by the San Francisco Chronicle with President Hinckley on April 13, 1997, shows the questions and answers exchanged concerning the LDS concept of God:

Q: There are some significant differences in your beliefs.  For instance, don’t Mormons believe that God was once a man? 

A: I wouldn’t say that.  There was a little couplet coined, ‘As man is, God once was.  As God is, man may become.’  Now that’s more of a couplet than anything else.  That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don’t know very much about. 

Q: So you’re saying the church is still struggling to understand this? 

A: Well, as God is, man may become.  We believe in eternal progression.  Very strongly.  We believe that the glory of God is intelligence and whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.  Knowledge, learning, is an eternal thing.  And for that reason, we stress education.  We’re trying to do all we can to make of our people the ablest, best, brightest people that we can” (San Francisco Chronicle, Apr. 13, 1997).

Notice here that President Hinckley clearly states that he “wouldn’t say” that Mormons believe God was once a man.  This same issue came up again several months later in an interview with Time Magazine:

“On whether his church still holds that God the Father was once a man, he [President Hinckley] sounded uncertain, ‘I don’t know that we teach it.  I don’t know that we emphasize it… I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don’t know a lot about it, and I don’t think others know a lot about it’” (Time Magazine, Aug. 4, 1997).

Statements such as these create certain problems for those who have spent the time to research this doctrine.  Not only is this doctrine taught with great clarity in the Church by both the Gospel Principles manual and the 1998 Priesthood and Relief Society manuals, but it is clear that this doctrine has been an important part of LDS theology since the time of Joseph Smith.  Joseph Smith himself had this to say about the doctrine:

“These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple.  It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345).

Notice how Joseph Smith considered this doctrine to be part of the “first principle of the gospel.”  It was clearly a very important doctrine to him.  The inconsistency is made even worse by the fact that President Hinckley claimed that we don’t understand this doctrine.

This seems to fit right in with Joseph Smith’s statement that although these are simple concepts, “These are incomprehensible ideas to some….”  Understandably, this does not sit well with many of those who love this doctrine and view it as one of the pearls of great price of the restoration.

With perhaps even more force than Joseph Smith, President Lorenzo Snow once taught the following concerning this doctrine:

“I had a direct revelation of this.  It was most perfect and complete.  If there ever was a thing revealed to man perfectly, clearly, so that there could be no doubt or dubiety, this was revealed to me, and it came in these words: ‘As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be.’” (Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 5).

Given the teachings of the early leaders of the Church, combined with what we are taught in our current manuals, it is difficult to reconcile President Hinckley’s remarks concerning this doctrine.

Other Incriminating Comments

Other comments from President Hinckley seem equally alarming.  Compare the following answers to the same basic question, first from Gordon B. Hinckley and then from Brigham Young 120 years earlier:

Q: And this belief in contemporary revelation and prophecy?  As the prophet, tell us how that works.  How do you receive divine revelation?  What does it feel like?

A: Let me say first that we have a great body of revelation, the vast majority of which came from the prophet Joseph Smith.  We don’t need much revelation.  We need to pay more attention to the revelation we’ve already received.

Now, if a problem should arise on which we don’t have an answer, we pray about it, we may fast about it, and it comes.  Quietly.  Usually no voice of any kind, but just a perception in the mind.  I liken it to Elijah’s experience.  When he sought the Lord, there was a great wind, and the Lord was not in the wind.  And there was an earthquake, and the Lord was not in the earthquake.  And a fire, and the Lord was not in the fire.  But in a still, small voice.  Now that’s the way it works” (San Francisco Chronicle, Apr. 13, 1997).

And now the same basic question is answered by Brigham Young:

Q:  [Do] you, like the old prophets, receive direct revelation from God?

A:  Yes, and not only me but my brethren also.

Q:  Does that extend to all the church without reserve or rank?

A:  Yes, and it is just as necessary for the mother to possess this spirit in training and rearing her children as for anyone else.

Q:  It is not absolutely necessary, then, that each person receive revelations through you?

A:  Oh, no; through the spirit of Christ, the Holy Ghost; but to dictate to the church is my part of it” (Deseret News, May 23, 1877).

It is easy to see a stark contrast in these two answers.  There is a clear difference in not only the content but in the attitude with which these questions were answered.

As mentioned earlier, there are also differences regarding how the Church should be viewed and accepted by the world.  President Hinckley apparently likes the idea of the Church becoming popular in the world:

“Ours is the blessing to live in a better season [than the early saints].  The terrible persecutions of the past are behind us.  Today we are looked upon with respect by people across the world” (Conference Report, Ensign, Nov. 1996).

President Brigham Young, on the other hand, apparently viewed this issue quite differently:

“And when the spirit of persecution, the spirit of hatred, of wrath, and malice ceases in the world against this people, it will be the time that this people have apostatized and joined hands with the wicked, and never until then; which I pray may never come” (Journal of Discourses 4:326-327).

I dare say that anyone who fails to see a major difference in these two statements is simply not comprehending the obvious.  These views are dramatically different.

This list could go on to include many other examples of different doctrines and approaches between early Mormonism and modern Mormonism.  These teachings are by no means restricted to President Hinckley.  They can be and have been fairly easily documented over the course of many years of LDS Church history.  Many have found a rather lengthy list of discrepancies between the teachings of the early LDS prophets and those of more recent years.  How do we explain these discrepancies?  Who is right, and who is wrong?

Or is it somehow possible that both groups are right or both are wrong?  It seems unfair that many of those who are honestly asking such questions with sincere hearts are judged rather harshly and are often cast out as obvious apostates.  Although some may be a little too hasty in their judgments of such issues, these are legitimate questions for which there are few good answers.

One possible conclusion is that the leaders of the LDS Church are indeed fallible and may not possess all the answers or revelation that we would like.  We may not like that answer, but, if we are honest with ourselves, it must be listed among our possible conclusions to this dilemma.  If we accept the fact that the leaders are fallible, then we must ask which ones are right – the early prophets or the modern ones?  Both cannot be.

Arm of Flesh

Notice in the following remarks that President Benson not only opens the door for continued problems within the leadership of the Church, but he even goes as far as to equate the General Authorities with “the arm of flesh”:

“Six of the original Twelve Apostles selected by Joseph Smith were excommunicated.  The Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon left the Church.  Three of Joseph Smith’s counselors fell — one even helped plot his death.

A natural question that might arise would be that if the Lord knew in advance that these men would fall, as He undoubtedly did, why did He have His prophet call them to such high office?  The answer is: to fill the Lord’s purposes.  For even the Master followed the will of the Father by selecting Judas.

President George Q. Cannon suggested an explanation, too, when he stated, ‘Perhaps it is his own design that faults and weaknesses should appear in high places in order that his saints may learn to trust in him and not in any man or men’ (Millennial Star 53:658, 1891).

And this would parallel Nephi’s warning, put not your ‘trust in the arm of flesh’ (2 Nephi 4:34)” (An Enemy Hath Done This, p. 290; see also Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 89; emphasis added).

The entire verse in 2 Nephi quoted by President Benson reads as follows:

“O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever.  I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh.  Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm” (2 Nephi 4:34).

“Certain individuals within the Church may go astray and even fall away.  This may happen even to a person in the Church who is in a position of some influence and authority.  It has happened in the past.  It will happen in the future.  If our faith is in Jesus Christ and not in the arm of flesh, then we will know that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ and not the church of men” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 90).

It is interesting to note that the doctrine of infallibility itself seems to be one of the apparent discrepancies between the early brethren and the modern leaders.  Although it is taught with great frequency and force in the LDS Church today (in spite of President Benson’s warning), most of the early brethren seemed to stay away from the doctrine of infallibility.  For example, the Prophet Joseph Smith boldly taught:

“We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them [even] if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly.  A man of God would despise the idea.

Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without any questions.  When the Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves” (Millennial Star, Vol. 14, Issue 38, pp. 593-595).

President Brigham Young was also very concerned about the saints blindly following their leaders:

“What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction!  Are you afraid of this?  I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him.  I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way.

Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not.  This has been my exhortation continually” (Journal of Discourses 9:151).

“The First Presidency have of right a great influence over this people; and if we should get out of the way and lead this people to destruction, what a pity it would be!  How can you know whether we lead you correctly or not?  Can you know by any other power than that of the Holy Ghost?  I have uniformly exhorted the people to obtain this living witness, each for themselves; then no man on earth can lead them astray” (Journal of Discourses 6:100).

“I do not want men to come to me or my brethren for testimony as to the truth of this work; but let them take the Scriptures of divine truth, and there the path is pointed out to them as plainly as ever a guideboard indicated the right path to the weary traveler.  There they are directed to go, not to Brothers Brigham, Heber, or Daniel, to any apostle or elder in Israel, but to the Father in the name of Jesus, and ask for the information they need.

Can they who take this course in honesty and sincerity receive information?  Will the Lord turn away from the honest heart seeking for truth?  No, He will not; He will prove to them, by the revelations of His Spirit, the facts in the case.

And when the mind is open to the revelations of the Lord it comprehends them quicker and keener than anything that is seen by the natural eye.  It is not what we see with our eyes — they may be deceived — but what is revealed by the Lord from Heaven is sure and steadfast, and abides for ever.  We do not want the people to rely on human testimony, although that cannot be confuted and destroyed; still, there is a more sure word of prophecy that all may gain if they will seek it earnestly before the Lord” (Journal of Discourses 12:96).

Consider this:  It is the nature of man to try and put their reliance on other men.  When a true prophet of God feels this inappropriate weight from the people, he will correct it just as Joseph Smith and Brigham Young did.  However, conversely, if a leader accepts this doctrine of infallibility, he will direct the responsibility of the people’s errors to himself.

What a crushing responsibility!  These people then have a valid excuse at judgment.  “He told me so.”  Wow!  No wonder Joseph Smith and Brigham Young steered away from this concept.

Parts Sealed

Besides these quotes from the Book of Mormon used by the current leaders of the Church to describe the Church of today, let us look further in the Book of Mormon for other quotes that clearly refer to this time.

When Nephi was writing down what the Savior said in His sermon to the people at that time, it is significant that he was forbidden to write down certain portions of the Savior’s sermon.  It is quite clear that certain parts of the Book of Mormon were sealed; if this is the case, why were they sealed?  Alma explains this:

“And now, my son, I command you that ye retain all their oaths and their covenants, and their agreements and their secret abominations; yea, and all their signs and wonders ye shall keep from this people, that they know them not, lest peradventure they should fall into darkness also and be destroyed” (Alma 37:27).

First, some parts were sealed to prevent the perpetuation of these great evils because the content was so wicked and could be used by evil people in the current generation.  Second, certain parts of the true gospel were withheld to prevent people from coming under condemnation for not living by those principles.

For example, if we compare the Law of Tithing with the Law of Consecration, we find two similar but somewhat opposing laws of God.  Basically, the Law of Tithing is intended to be replaced by the Law of Consecration.  It is fair to say that where one exists, the other will not.  If you are living the Law of Consecration, there is no need to live the Law of Tithing.  What is giving 10% of your income compared with giving all of your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you?

Once you begin to live the Law of Consecration, the Law of Tithing becomes obsolete.  Yet both of these laws came to us by God through revelation via proper authority.  One law is simply higher than the other.  You might accurately say that one law is of higher quality than the other, one taking us to the celestial kingdom and the other taking us to the telestial kingdom.  You may even go as far as to ask if the Law of Tithing is even correctly understood and lived today.

Another example of higher and lower laws is found in the Law of Moses, which is clearly a lower law.  It was given to the children of Israel because they rejected the higher law.  Then when Christ came to earth in the meridian of time, this lower law was replaced by a higher law.  It is not that the Law of Moses was false or incorrect.  Nor is it the case that Moses was a fallen prophet because he taught such low laws.  It is simply a lower law given by God according to the faithfulness and diligence of the people at that time.

“And these things have I [Mormon] written, which are a lesser part of the things which he [Jesus] taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken” (3 Nephi 26:8; emphasis added).

The Lord knew that when the true gospel was restored by Joseph Smith, most of that generation would reject the higher portion, just as the Israelites in Moses’ time rejected greater enlightenment and had to receive the lesser law of the ten carnal commandments.

We know that the angel told Joseph Smith that certain parts of the gold plates were sealed.  Why?  For the same reason as above.  Because God knew beforehand that the higher laws of the gospel would be rejected by the Gentiles, the sealed portion of the plates would not be revealed until the very end when all of the knowledge of the Lord would be revealed, and nothing would be hidden.  In no other way could the final punishment of the wicked be justified.  Only when the fullness is revealed and rejected by the people can the final judgment come.

We have not received further light and knowledge through the Church authorities because we are not worthy:

“And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them.  And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation.  Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people” (3 Nephi 26:9-11; emphasis added).

The Salt That Has Lost Its Savor

By reading all of 3 Nephi 16, it is easy to see that the Savior is talking about the last days, after the gospel has been restored through Joseph Smith.  By comparing 3 Nephi 16:15 with D&C 101:39-40, we can also see that the Gentiles spoken of here are the covenant people.  Notice how the Lord refers to the Gentiles in this verse as “salt that hath lost its savor”:

“But if they [the Gentiles] 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 under foot of my people, O house of Israel” (3 Nephi 16:15; emphasis added).

Are we, as members of the Church, to be destroyed?  The church Joseph Smith set up was to the Gentiles.  We, the membership of the Church, are those to whom He is talking.  To help us better understand these words, the Lord has given us a definition of salt that hath lost its savor:

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; emphasis added).

We can clearly see from these verses that the Gentiles spoken of by the Savior are not those who reject the missionaries, but they are those who have made an everlasting covenant with God and then reject that covenant.  The Savior is referring to us, the members of the holy church of God in the latter days.  Concerning this, the Prophet Joseph Smith once said:

No true angel from God will ever come to ordain any man, because they have once been sent to establish the priesthood by ordaining me thereunto;…the priesthood once being established on earth, with power to ordain others, no heavenly messenger will ever come to interfere with that power by ordaining any more…You may therefore know, from this time forward, that if any man comes to you professing to be ordained by an angel, he is either a liar or has been imposed upon in consequence of transgression by an angel of the devil, for this priesthood shall never be taken away from this church.

And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fullness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, 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; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fullness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fullness of my gospel from among them(Millennial Star, Nov. 20, 1846, p. 139; emphasis added).

This prophecy has been fulfilled, although the Gentile membership has not realized it yet.

The First Last

“And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.  And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel(3 Nephi 16:11-12; emphasis added).

Here we can see that the Lord makes a clear distinction between the Gentile church and the Israelite nation which has been prophesied to come.  He says that He is going to bring the fullness of His gospel from among the Gentiles (that is us).  Then He is going to remember the covenant which He has made unto His people, the house of Israel, thereby transferring that fullness of the gospel to the house of Israel (D&C 14:10).

Now we will discuss the “first and last” prophecy found in the following volumes of scripture: JST Luke 13:30, 1 Nephi 10:14 and 13:42, Ether 13:12, Jacob 5:63, D&C 107:35 and 133:8.

“And the time cometh that he shall manifest himself unto all nations, both unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles; and after he has manifested himself unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles, then he shall manifest himself unto the Gentiles and also unto the Jews, and the last shall be first, and the first shall be last” (1 Nephi 13:42).

First: Through the instrumentality of the Savior, the true gospel came first to the Jews, who were the identified portion of the 1 1⁄2 tribes of Israel.  The Jews rejected the gospel and crucified their Savior.

Last: This pure gospel was then preached to and accepted wholeheartedly by the dispersed 10 1⁄2 tribes, who were classified as the Gentiles.  They eventually corrupted the pure gospel, causing the great apostasy.

The Last First: In these last days the Lord sent Joseph Smith to restore the fullness of the gospel.  And who did He send it to?  Just as He promised, He sent it to us, the Gentiles (Ephraim).  For the same reasons that the early Gentile church rejected the gospel after the time of the Savior, we have done so again.  As our current apostles have figured out, the apostasy from the fullness has occurred, and we are left with a watered-down version of the gospel.  Now we are no different than the other churches and have become mainstream with the world.

The First Last: Therefore, as clearly described in the aforementioned scriptures, the true gospel in its fullness will go back to not just the 10 ½ or 1 ½ tribes but to the entire 12 tribes together, excluding Ephraim.  Why not this tribe?  Because they were gathered first, being totally mixed up and combined with the Gentile nations:

And the number of them who were sealed, were an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.

Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.

Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.

Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand” (JST Revelation 7:4-8).

It doesn’t seem to strike the present members of the LDS Church that the time of the Gentiles (Ephraim) is fulfilled.  The twelve tribes will now come into prominence and be identified.  But, before this is to happen, there may be one more effort to cleanse what is left of the Church.

Is it possible that the Lord could reserve a righteous people unto himself in our day — a people apart from the mainstream LDS Church?  Read the following prediction of Elder Orson Pratt:

“There must be a reformation. There will be a reformation among this people, but He will plead with the stronger ones of Zion, He will plead with this people, He will plead with those in high places, He will plead with the priesthood of this church, until Zion shall become clean before him.

I do not know but what it would be an utter impossibility to commence and carry out some principles pertaining to Zion right in the midst of this people. They have strayed so far that to get a people who would conform to heavenly laws it may be needful to lead some from the midst of this people and commence anew in the regions round about in these mountains” (Journal of Discourses 15:360; emphasis added).

This cannot be called a prophecy, just a probability. Elder Pratt understood that the majority of the LDS Church would be led astray, but he got the last part incorrect. We know that there will be “one mighty and strong” who will come along at this time to cleanse the Church.

Clear Identity Revealed

Now comes an important truth that may astonish some.  Let us ask a question:  Who are these prophecies directed to?  Obviously it is us, the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Next question:  Who are we?  What race and origin?  Literally 95% of the LDS Church who have had their patriarchal blessings are said to be from which tribe?  Look at your own blessing.  You are from the tribe of Ephraim.  You are a descendant of Jacob, through his son Joseph and Joseph’s son Ephraim, either by lineage or adoption.

It was promised that Ephraim would be gathered out first, which he was (JST 1 Chronicles 5:1-2 and JST Jeremiah 31:9).  Because Joseph saved Israel at the time of the great famine in Egypt when Israel consisted of merely 70 souls, his son Ephraim was privileged to be gathered first.

Ephraim will pass the priesthood to the other twelve tribes as they appear and are identified (JST Deuteronomy 33:17 and D&C 133:32).  Just as the brothers of Joseph were joyous in the recognition of Joseph who they thought was dead, so also will they be joyous when he presents them with the holy priesthood, which time is soon to come (D&C 133:32-34).

Now it is time for the other twelve tribes to either be identified or located.  This does not include any other people (e.g., the Arabs, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Negroes, the East Indians, or any other like people).  This includes only the descendants of Jacob (Israel), as the Lord named him and no others.

The Israelites are the only nation to which this law applies, as they are the only nation entitled to the Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthoods.  (However, the Aaronic Priesthood belongs to just one tribe in Israel, which is the tribe of Levi, and particularly the descendants of Aaron.)  This is clearly written in the scriptures:

“Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.  And the number of them who were sealed, were an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel” (JST Revelation 7:3-4).

The Book of Revelation goes on to show that 12,000 from each tribe will be called.  As explained earlier, Ephraim was excluded, as they were already gathered at the time of Joseph Smith because they were first.  No other nation is involved, just the descendants of Jacob (Israel).

These 144,000 will be high priests, which shows that Israel alone is called to preside in the latter days, and they alone have the responsibility of the priesthood.  At the same time, an innumerable multitude are gathered, consisting of all those who have recognized that Jesus is the Savior and who bow their heads and bend their knees in respect to Him.  Verse 14 explains who qualifies:

“And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest.  And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (JST Revelation 7:14).

This verse sounds like it is to those who have passed on and qualified themselves.  We are not told whether or not these people are only from the twelve tribes.  Verse 9 says “all nations”; however, in many places in the Bible, nations refers only to the twelve tribes.

Now the big problem is how will all these people be identified?  Some believe that the tribes are all together in the north country and that they will come down as a group.  This may be the case for a small group that may have been hidden up, but, if we know the history of the dispersion, we know this could also mean that they are dispersed among all the nations of the earth and will somehow be identified.

Since the majority of the Caucasian nations are from the north (if we concur that the original land base for Israel was around Jerusalem), anything north of Jerusalem would classify as north country.  This area includes Russia, Europe, Canada, and Alaska.  We know from history that when Israel was dispersed, they went north and west and became the nations mentioned above (1 Nephi 10:12-13).

What We Can Do

Now we can say with certainty that the Church has truly not been doing what it should be doing.  We then come back to the question of whose fault it is.  Yes, like a childish gesture, you can point to the Church authorities and say it is their fault.  But we do not believe this.  We believe the fault lies right here among us rank-and-file members.

President Monson and President Hinckley are following just what the majority of us members have been asking them to do.  They have been following the will and desires of the membership to become mainstream with the world.

To celebrate the release of a Harry Potter novel about witchcraft, the BYU Bookstore (which is ultimately run by the Church authorities) held a party in 2007 which was astoundingly successful.  About 4,000 people were in attendance and participated in wand making and a magic show, involving many young, impressionable children and their parents.

Yes, we the parents of this young generation are quick to latch on to these current trends and even join in by condoning the evil of witchcraft.  We, the membership of the Church, could have boycotted this celebration.  It could have been downgraded by the Church and abandoned.  Instead of doing this, we the membership totally embraced it and made it a great success — just what we wanted, and we got it.  How sad that we do not see in front of our own eyes.

This whole thing boils down to whether we want to continue to follow the mainstream telestial church or return to the fundamental truths restored by the true prophet Joseph Smith, which will take us on to the celestial realms.  Do we want to go through the sifting, sifting, and more sifting that is prophesied to happen to us if we fail to repent and turn away from our wayward conduct — and then be destroyed with the wicked?  The choice is ours and ours alone.

We, the authors of this newsletter, are not apostates.  We are stalwarts, and our only desire is to cause the membership of the Church to repent and support and encourage the leaders of this great church to again embrace the fullness of the gospel, which will enable us to reach the celestial realms.

We have to prepare ourselves to live the terrestrial (Garden of Eden) laws and gather to places of refuge in order to survive the calamities that are shortly to come.  If we do not gather to places of refuge, we will suffer untold persecutions and (if you can believe it) have our lives spared by denying Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Most people think that they would never do such a thing.  But look at Peter, the Lord’s senior apostle, and many others.  They did not think that would happen to them either.

We must prepare to go as a nation (Israel) to Independence, Missouri.  We will either do it by purchase or by war.  No matter the way, it will happen.