Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Unpleasant Condemnation of the Church

This post is a bunch of thoughts I had in my mind this morning.

Lots of things in the Gospel I've noticed come together, meaning in pairs. When you have one, you'll pretty much always have the other. When you have condemnation, you will also have deception. They seem to be kind of joined at the hip. If there's one thing people do not like to contemplate, its condemnation. And therefore, deception. Especially the kind that they may be involved in. Makes me squirm too. But avoiding it doesn't fix it. So with that in mind here's a scriptural recap of the Church's status:

-In 1830 the Lord called the church “true and living” (D&C 1:30). This was 2 years after it was organized.

-By 1832 the Lord stated that the church is “condemned” "even all" (D&C 84:54-57). Failure to appreciate the Book of Mormon (of all things) and the former commandments brought the whole church under condemnation. He said they would remain under this condemnation until the requirements were met.

-By 1841 the Lord says He has taken the fullness of the priesthood away from the church and it would need to be restored (D&C 124:28). The conduct of the saints was such that priesthood fullness was taken away. And to date, the LDS Church has never claimed to have gotten revelatory word from the Lord restoring it. We have to rely on assumption. The Lord said they would be rejected as a Church and cut off if they didn't complete the Nauvoo Temple. And we know that the saints barely even got to use half the structure before being expelled from the city and forced to move westward.  Then the temple got destroyed and burned by a mob, then a tornado took a turn destroying what was left. 

But going back to the condemnation:D&C 84:54-56. This is the Lord talking, 2 years after the statement about the Church being true and living. 
54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
This church-wide condemnation has been referred to by modern members of the quorum of the 12, president of the church and general authorities. According to them, the condemnation referred to has not yet been lifted. 
  • Ezra Taft Benson April 1986 General Conference
  • Marion G Romney 1980  
  • Russell M Nelson October 1999 General Conference 
  • -1986- General Conference: Ezra Taft Benson:  We have made some wonderful strides in the past. We will be lengthening our stride in the future. To do so, we must first cleanse the inner vessel by awaking and arising, being morally clean, using the Book of Mormon in a manner so that God will lift the condemnation, and finally conquering pride by humbling ourselves. 
  • Elder Oaks June 6 th 1993: “Along with other General Authorities, I have a clear recollection of the General Authority temple meeting on 5 March 1987. For a year, President Benson had been stressing the reading of the Book of Mormon. Repeatedly he had quoted these verses from the Doctrine and Covenants, including the Lord’s statement that the Saints’ conduct had “brought the whole church under condemnation” (D&C 84:55). In that temple meeting, President Benson reread those statements and declared, “This condemnation has not been lifted, nor will it be until we repent.
  • 2010 from Elder Oaks:

"True and living" and "condemned" are not synonyms. We can't take what the Lord said in 1830 and skip everything in between and go applying the earlier description to ourselves in our day. That wouldn't make any sense to do that.

But ours is the only true church, and we all have a testimony of it, right? People say that every single Sunday, but that doesn't change the unpleasant truth. Unless we can convince ourselves that the condemnation isn't real, then we can all go back to sleep. That however doesn't satisfy me. I'd like to remove that condemnation from me personally. So I've been thinking a lot about all this.

Going back to the first part of this post. So whats the deception that caused or is embedded in the condemnation we are under? It must be VERY pervasive. Must be core and fundamental to our thinking. Vanity and unbelief most likely. And they have caused The Book of Mormon to be neglected which brought about the condemnation. That makes sense.

The comfortable deception is always the nasty one. If were human, and live in this world, thinking we have always avoided deception is probably a very deceptive thought. Deception covers it's own tracks. It attempts to causes a false sense of security and comfort, and apparently the teaching is very well received. When someone points it out, or speaks of the need to repent, it hurts because it disrupts the sense of security (which was false anyway).

So it's not rude, unkind, or negative for inspired things to find there way into our lives. Harshness can be incredibly kind. It helps me to think of that in order to understand why Christ and his followers are mistreated and often killed because of their message to repent. No one wants to hear the truth when they are embedded in lies. Even though harkening is the very thing that would save them. Pride prevents it.

The book of Mormon is for the most part written by prophets about fallen people. So it's a good manual for identifying deception because the majority of the subjects (people) spoken of are under it. The authors are usually the folks who have found their way out. What an excellent example they are of removing condemnation. According to D&C WE are the condemned subjects just like the ones in the book of Mormon. Probably why were supposed to read about them so we can wake up, and stop being vain, and come to the Light.

I have to say, as part of my own testimony that the condemnation the Lord speaks of is accurate. After taking those words seriously and doing my best to personally get out from under the condemnation, the results have been nothing short of shocking. Absolutely shocking. It's an ongoing attempt, I'm human and prone to many errors. The Lord however has responded to my attempt and I find on occasion I say to myself "How could I have been so blind".

1 comment:

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