Wednesday, November 28, 2012

At The Very Same Time

"False prophets always arise to oppose the true prophets, and they will prophesy so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones... the devil always sets up his Kingdom at the very same time in opposition to God"  -  The Words of Joseph Smith (pg 4604 in the electronic edition)

The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets, and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves ‘in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth,’ and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men
- Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 206.

Human skill, tradition, or outward membership are not the tools the scriptures teach to discern the truth from the false.  Discernment would not be a gift of the Spirit if mere human capacity would get the job done. Joseph gives some sobering teachigns about how the kingdom of the Devil is set up at the same in opposition to God.  The way to avoid deception is by the Spirit of God. Not by science, not by sincerity, not by a white shirt and tie, not by a recognized religious title, and not by earthly credentials or status no matter how impressive.

When we think of false prophets and false teachers, we tend to think of those people who we see on the news who falsely predict the end of the world, or those who begin break off groups from mainstream religions who carry extreme views.  Or maybe those televangelists who  promise miracles if you will pick up the phone and pledge them money in the next 30 seconds.  Another assumption is that false prophets or teachers refers to small radical groups, or people with non traditional beliefs.  

We've been taught by many authorities that there are false prophets and false teachers who have or at least claim to have membership in the Church (Elder Ballard Conference Oct 99).  

I wonder if the most dangerous problems are not so much those foolish groups who can sell products piggybacking off of a church endorsement when they actually had none.  Nor is it the small non traditional group who sees things differently than the masses.  I wonder if the real problem, or the one that impacts the most people are those who actually do have church endorsement but who but put forth false teachings. Or as Joseph put it, "so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones".  Near the truth is no good.  99% truth is no good if the rest is misleading.  It still misses.  But it's prophesied that we live in a time when we are vulnerable to being deceived by "near" truth tellers.

The Book of Mormon was written to Mormons.  

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