Patriotic Poetry: The Cry From the Dust Poetry Collection
New Books: The Mormon Religion is Still True
Salvation: What IS at Stake? (Published April 12, 2002)
"And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have never heard." (3 Nephi, 21:21)
A religious man once instructed his son to always remember the following words while he lived his life: "It took trillions of years for you to earn your birthright and place in eternity, and it can all be lost in a moment."
These words stayed with the son, who was the descendant of several significant religious leaders, and when he grew up, he taught his children to value this same wisdom about the precariousness of this temporal mortal existence, and of the principles of advancement in the spirit world and eternal heaven.
Few people seem to comprehend the significance of their brief earthly life in the context of eternal existence. The concept of an eternal existence can be better understood by viewing this mortal life as a brief but vitally necessary and significant test in the eternal timeline. Although brief, the chance to live this life is a necessary proving of one's worthiness to be numbered with the Lord's sheep, or the "House of Israel."
The man referred to above also taught his children that throughout history all true servants of the Lord, and anyone who has ever chosen to stand for truth and on the opposite side of the adversarial influence of Satan's powers, has found that choosing to serve the Lord has always carried with it a price (As in the words of George Q. Cannon):
"...from the very beginning down through all the generations, even to our own day, it has been the case that truth has been unpopular. Hence the saying of the Apostle Paul: "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." He did not say that they might suffer, or that they perhaps might suffer, but that they shall suffer. It should be one of the consequences of living godly in Christ Jesus"...They were willing to endure all things; to have their names cast out as evil; to be persecuted..."
What is at stake, that it would be of uttermost importance for a man to teach his loved ones to understand and have a knowledge of such principles?
(3 Nephi, 21:20). "For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel.
21. "And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have never heard.
22. But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come into the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob(-Lehi's son) , unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance"
What is at stake?
It is clear we have a choice as outlined in the above scriptures, to repent and "(verse 6)...be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine...", or to suffer the consequences of not repenting, as in the statement "...I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have never heard."
Unless one has actually visited environments of severe poverty, hunger, disease, and oppression of certain third world countries, is difficult to comprehend the hardships of actually living in such a place, much less such conditions "as they had never heard." The prospect of "vengeance and fury, even as upon the heathen" occurring in any form in our own land should fill anyone with horror at such a prospect. This is among the judgments promised for those who do not repent and hearken unto the words of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
When one contemplates the freedoms and privileges of living in America as compared to oppressive tyranny ridden foreign countries, one realizes how truly blessed we are to live in this greatest country, and how greatly the Lord's influence has blessed this country to allow such liberties of worship and thought. What a truly blessed position it is to be born an American citizen, to be born in this country, at this point in the world's history. What a blessing it is to be born an American citizen and have free access to the knowledge of God, and to have the chance of spreading this knowledge for the benefit of mankind. And what a tragedy it would be to waste these blessings and this position with a life not well lived, and to be among the many who suffer a fate worse than is known anywhere in the world today ("such as they have never heard") and be cut off in the time of the Lord's judgments for not repenting.
What a tremendously wonderful opportunity the Lord has given the people of free countries to have his knowledge and his scriptures at their fingertips. When one reads these scriptures and realizes the significance of a series of great miracles in the forming of our country and freedoms, one must naturally acknowledge the Father's hand in the formation of our country. The timely sending of our greatest heroes nourished the rise of this greatest of all countries, with their contributions and sacrifices:
3 Nephi, 21,4: "For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed (the American Indians), that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O House of Israel."
3 Nephi 21,8: "And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
9. "For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it to them."
At the beginning of the same chapter, 3 Nephi 21, the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is prophesied by Christ.
"...when these things...shall be made known unto the Gentiles that they may know concerning this people who are a remnant of the house of Jacob and concerning this my people who shall be scattered by them... Therefore, when these works and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter shall come forth from the Gentiles, unto your seed (the American Indians) which shall dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity;
"For thus it behooveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel (the American Indians).
Sermon of George Q. Cannon:
"It is not always - neither has it been the case with the majority of mankind who have comprehended the truth - the popular voice that is expressive of truth. On the contrary, from the very beginning down through all the generations, even to our own day, it has been the case that truth has been unpopular. Hence the saying of the Apostle Paul: "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." He did not say that they might suffer, or that they perhaps might suffer, but that they shall suffer. It should be one of the consequences of living godly in Christ Jesus. The Savior told His disciples the same thing. He led them to expect that they would be persecuted, that they would be hated of all men for His name's sake. He cited the attention of His disciples to the Prophets who had preceded them; they had been persecuted, they had been slain, and in like manner they might expect a similar fate, and we know full well that this was all fulfilled, that they did meet this fate; as He himself died a martyr to the truth, so His Apostles died in like manner, and the great body of his followers suffered persecution..."
"...They were willing to endure all things; to have their names cast out as evil; to be persecuted; to be stripped of everything that they had. Paul says: "They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, etc." They suffered all manner of afflictions because of their love for the Gospel. But they lived in peace with themselves and with their God."
The principle of persecution for those who serve the Lord makes it clear that those who have not encountered persecution and are enjoying the praise and rewards of the world can be presumed to be among those who have chosen to go the way of the world, which is the pathway of least resistance.
Excerpts of Lehi's Dream (1 Nephi 8):
20. "And I also beheld a straight and narrow path, which came along by the rod of the iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world.
21. And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood."
23. "And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceeding great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost."
26. "And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.
27. "And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female, and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.
28. "And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost."
We will all be judged by the fruits of our efforts in this life. The fruits of some is to content themselves on finding and dwelling on the rotten fruit of others. For those that choose to live their life for their Savior; injustices against you will occur when you choose to serve the Lord and are a required price.
The people of King Benjamin were a righteous and blessed people, as in his words: "And moreover, I shall give this people a name, that thereby they may be distinguished above all the people which the Lord God hath brought out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I do because they have been a diligent people in keeping the commandments of the Lord." (Mosiah 1:11)
Yet he was commanded to address his people at length in the following manner:
(Mosiah 2:25)"And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you."
Mosiah 3:23-25 "...I have spoken the words which the Lord God hath commanded me.
"And thus saith the Lord: They shall stand as a bright testimony against this people, at the judgment day; whereof they shall be judged, every man according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil.
"And if they be evil they are consigned to an awful view of their own guilt and abominations, which does cause them to shrink from the presence of the Lord into a state of misery and endless torment, from whence they can no more return; therefore they have drunk damnation to their own souls."
When what was at stake was made clear to the righteous people of King Benjamin they were overcome with fear:
(4:1) "And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them.
"And they viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men." (Mosiah 4:2)
Similar reactions are recorded throughout the Book of Mormon, such as the conversion of King Lamoni:
(Alma 18:41)"And he began to cry unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, have mercy; according to thy abundant mercy which thou hast had upon the people of Nephi, have upon me, and my people.
"And now, when he had said this, he fell unto the earth, as if he were dead.
(Chapter 19)" And it came to pass that after two days and two nights they were about to take his body and lay it in a sepulchre, which they had made for the purpose of burying their dead..."
6. "Now... Ammon...knew that King Lamoni was under the power of God...
8. "And he said unto the queen: He is not dead, but he sleepeth in God, and on the morrow he shall rise again; therefore bury him not."
Excerpts from Piece by Elder Hugh W. Nibley:
"We might as well recognize the fact that whatever we say and do in righteousness is going to be misinterpreted. The only way we can make things easier for ourselves in the world is to go the way of the world. It would be hard to deny that the peace and prosperity of the Church in the past years has been largely the fruit of willingness to go the way the world goes."
"Do we really believe the First Vision? Thousands of Latter Day Saints attest to it every Fast Sunday; but when the earliest, fullest, and best account of the First Vision, dictated by the Prophet at the age of 26 to Frederick G. Williams, was discovered and published in 1968 it caused not the slightest ripple of interest in the Church. It is enough, apparently, to know that God has spoken again from the heavens—never mind what he said."
"Where all truth is encompassed in one great whole to raise one question is to raise many others, and any issue relevant to the gospel inevitably leads to a discussion of the whole thing."
"Though some may find it hard to believe, I find no cause for boasting in my priesthood—nothing is easier than conferring it upon one, but that is only the beginning; for it to be a real power requires a degree of concentration, dedication, and self-discipline which few ever attain to, and for the rest priesthood is not a blessing but a terrible risk. The priesthood is not a badge of office to be worn as a feather in a cap."
"The most useful lesson is the silence of heaven on this particular issue in the light of our own woeful ignorance. There is a connection between the two. Where the people do not seek for wisdom and knowledge, God will not give it to them, and so they remain in ignorance, and may not ask for help from above."
"Nothing pleases God more than to have his children 'seek greater light and knowledge"_it was for that that Adam, Abraham, Enoch, Moses, and Joseph Smith were rewarded with the richest blessings. Nothing displeases him more than to have them "seek for power, and authority, and riches" (3 Nephi 6:15). Through the years the Latter_day Saints have consistently sought not for the former but for the latter. It is only right and proper that we should stew in our own juice for a while."
"I sought for the blessings of the fathers . . . desiring also to be one who possessed greater knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess greater knowledge..."(Abraham 1:2)
"A former president of the BYU pompously announced at a convention of educators that we at the BYU are not seeking for truth, because we have the truth! 1_his is where we stand today It is common at the BYU for students to protest against being taught anything they did not know before: "Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? . . . And because that I have spoken one word he need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be unto the end of man . . . (2 Nephi 29:8_9)
"The fact is that the Latter_day Saints "will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be" (2 Nephi 32:7). They simply are just not interested. How little we know about things. How little we want to know. The information is there, far more abundant than we have been willing to realize, if we will only reach out for it."