The More Serious Sins

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The Lord has said that if we can cause just one person to repent, then our whole life is worthwhile. I hope by this small journal some people might stop and think and turn from their wayward course, which path may be far different from what you may think.

Everyone who watches TV knows what evil is. You witness it every day. The evils you see are about lying, cheating, hate, anger, drugs of infinite kind, prostitution, illicit sex, and murder. But these are not the sins that the Lord accuses us of (Jesus doesn’t lie) when He says in the Book of Mormon that He sees what we are doing and that He is not pleased with us.

Notice that, in the Lord’s warning below, not one of the above sins is mentioned. “What?” you say. “You mean that not one of the above sins is mentioned?” No, not one! Instead the Lord mentions the more serious sins, the ones that are harder to detect and even harder to overcome. In speaking through the prophet Moroni, the Lord says the following:

“Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me [Moroni] 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?” (Mormon 8:34-40; emphasis added).

List of sins mentioned:

  1. Walking in the pride of your hearts.
  2. Wearing of very fine apparel.
  3. Envying.
  4. Strifes.
  5. Malice.
  6. Persecutions.
  7. Love of money.
  8. Love of substance.
  9. Love of apparel.
  10. Excessive adornment of churches.
  11. Adorning churches more than helping the poor.
  12. Leaders (teachers) selling themselves and becoming hypocrites.
  13. Polluting the holy church of God.
  14. Feeling ashamed to take on the name of Christ.
  15. No recognition of the sick or afflicted.
  16. Building up secret abominations to get gain.
  17. Causing widows and orphans to mourn.
  18. Causing fathers and husbands (who have died) to cry for vengeance.

This is quite a list of sins and abominations without a mention of lying, cheating, hate, anger, drugs, prostitution, illicit sex, and even murder. Of course these sins are also extremely bad. But the Lord has placed these sins in a secondary position to the ones mentioned by Moroni.

Apparently pride is the #1 sin because the Lord mentions it first. There is a saying: “Pride goeth before a fall.” Pride also says, “I don’t need the Lord, I pretty well know what I want, and I will get it myself.”

There is pride in men as well as women about apparel. Men often spend a significant amount for a special suit or a fancy silk tie that they can show off at church.

Some people covet their neighbor’s new car and go into significant debt to one-up the neighbors. Or if they cannot trump their neighbors, they become envious.

Because marriages are in gross error, strife between husband and wife and between children and parents has caused so many divorces resulting in great malice and hatred.

Because of pride, we think we are better than other religious groups and are superior in keeping the basic laws. We also feel that those who question our pride and point it out are inferior to us.

Consequently we treat those outside the Church with disdain, which often leads to ignoring them, denying them opportunities of advancement in business, and criticizing them behind their backs. This is a form of persecution.

Concerning some of the recently built temples, are such edifices really necessary to please God? My understanding is that we ourselves are the temples, and God wants us to be refined as gold.

What about money? Overextended credit indicates one thing among many others — that we are greedy, wanting more than we can afford. These materialistic tendencies are unfortunately encouraged by very popular books and videos like “The Secret”.

We also overextend our credit to purchase substance we do not need and without which we would not suffer, such as twenty different outfits while three or four would suffice.

Also many of our churches and especially our temples are extremely extravagant. Often we have spent this money instead of adequately providing for the poor.

Just recently a friend of mine was called in by his bishop because someone reported that he was drinking coffee. The truth is he was drinking coffee not because he wanted to but because his doctor recommended it for health reasons. Yet he found his good standing in the Church in jeopardy. Is this not straining at a gnat?

The Lord has said that the General Authorities have become hypocrites like the Pharisees of old, and, because they have changed the ordinances and broken the everlasting covenant, He asks the question, “Why have ye polluted the holy church of God?” This statement proves beyond a doubt that He is speaking to those of us living today.

God says that we are ashamed to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ. We manifest this by our denial of several principles of the gospel restored by Joseph Smith.

I recently read a history of Brigham Young written for young adults, which detailed many of this man’s virtues but did not once mention his practice of plural marriage and the fact that he had approximately 15 wives. Some of these women were previously the wives of Joseph Smith, who himself had, as it is recorded in Church history, somewhere in the vicinity of 33 wives.

Why were these facts not mentioned? Is it because the author was ashamed to divulge that the Savior himself restored this principle for men’s and women’s exaltation?

The Lord says we don’t recognize the needs of the sick or afflicted, citing the example of us causing the widows and orphans to mourn. This was one of the main reasons for plural marriage, as the widow would be looked after by her dead husband’s brother.

The Levirate marriage, or what God has called the law of continuance, has been abandoned. This was a very strict law in ancient Israel, primarily to ensure that widows and orphans were adequately looked after both materially and spiritually after a husband’s death (see the book of Ruth). The abandonment of this law causes widows and orphans to mourn and their dead husbands to cry for vengeance.

We have gone down the list of serious sins except for one — “secret abominations”. When I first joined the Church, every year a detailed account of the Church’s assets and liabilities was published in the Improvement Era. Church leaders discontinued this practice in the 1960s and have since kept the details of the Church’s finances secret.

Nowadays the financial investment of our tithing funds is entrusted to a company called Ensign Peak Advisors. Recently this company funneled several million dollars to build a huge mall in downtown Salt Lake City — not an ordinary mall, but a luxury retail mall. I myself nor any of my friends could shop there, as we could not afford the merchandise marketed.

In the most recent General Conference, H. David Burton was released from the position of Presiding Bishop. The Church has not said that it is in consequence of his objections to the actions of Ensign Peak’s investments of our tithing money that his position was terminated.

So if this is not the case, then what is the reason for the unprecedented removal of a Presiding Bishop? On top of that, Robert Gay, an officer with Ensign Peak Advisors, was just appointed to the First Quorum of the Seventy!

Do you feel that this is how the Church assets should be put to use? Or is this what the Lord is referring to when he speaks of secret abominations?

Now brethren, we have to look at ourselves to see if we are guilty of any of these sins which are sure to rid us of our salvation if we continue to engage in them or if we continue to support those who are fostering these abominations. What does He say if we don’t recognize what we are doing and then repent?

“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 8:41).

What have we done here? Because we as Church members have feared men and not stood up for God’s principles, we have caused what God Himself calls abominations to occur in the Lord’s true church.