In recent decades the Church has largely been spared the terrible misunderstandings and persecutions experienced by the early Saints. It will not always be so. The world is moving away from the Lord faster and farther than ever before. The adversary has been loosed upon the earth. We watch, hear, read, study, and share the words of prophets to be forewarned and protected.
For example, ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ was given long before we experienced the challenges now facing the family. ‘The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles’ was prepared in advance of when we will need it most.” Robert D Hales – Strengthening Faith and Testimony
Part 2 – Discern Truth from Error
The world comes upon us like a wave. And like a wave, we all rise and fall together, unless we remove ourselves from the world’s filthy waters.
Modern science “knows” the earth is full of magma and has a solid iron-nickel core even though they’ve never observed it—they’ve only seen what appears to them to be evidence. With that level of faith, it boggles my mind when I hear science mock faith in God.
O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God. 2 Nephi 9:28
God knows the end from the beginning. He gives us truths that are contested by devils and men so that we can learn to walk by faith.
Have we tied ourselves to science’s latest theory, or do we trust in God’s word despite conflicts that seem to exist between the theories of men and the revealed truths of God?
The last several decades have seen an explosion of technological advancement. Many people give gratitude to science for these achievements, forgetting that “in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.” Doctrine and Covenants 59:21
With how little there is of confessing His hand in our lives and obeying His commandments, it’s safe to say that His wrath is kindled. And there surely will be great tribulation.
But that doesn’t mean that disciples of Christ have to navigate through these terrible storms blindly.
In all gospel dispensations, the forces of evil have opposed God and His work. But God’s work will not be frustrated. In these latter days, the stone has been cut out of the mountain, and it will “roll forth, until it fills the whole earth” (D&C 65:2). However, because individual members of the Church can be deceived, we each need to “watch and pray always” (3 Nephi 18:18). (LDS – Foundations of the Restoration Lesson 10)
The Lord’s servants have provided a plethora of inspired guidance to the end we’ll not be deceived.
There is no need for you or for me, in this enlightened age when the fulness of the gospel has been restored, to sail uncharted seas or to travel unmarked roads in search of truth. A loving Heavenly Father has plotted our course and provided an un-failing guide—even obedience.
A knowledge of truth and the answers to our greatest questions come to us as we are obedient to the commandments of God. Thomas S. Monson – Obedience Brings Blessings
Doubt your doubts
My dear friends—please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Dieter F. Uchtdorf – Come, Join with Us
Satan is the great deceiver, ‘the accuser of [the] brethren’ [Revelation 12:10], the father of all lies [see John 8:44], who continually seeks to deceive that he might overthrow us [D&C 50:3]. . . .
For those who already embrace the truth, his primary strategy is to spread the seeds of doubt. For example, he has caused many members of the Church to stumble when they discover information about the Church that seems to contradict what they had learned previously.
If you experience such a moment, remember that in this age of information there are many who create doubt about anything and everything, at any time and every place. . . .
. . . And it is always good to keep in mind that just because something is printed on paper, appears on the Internet, is frequently repeated, or has a powerful group of followers doesn’t make it true.
Sometimes untrue claims or information are presented in such a way that they appear quite credible. . . .
. . . What may seem contradictory now may be perfectly understandable as we search for and receive more trustworthy information. Dieter F. Uchtdorf – What Is Truth?
When we begin by measuring modern practices and proposals against what we know of God’s plan and the premises given in the word of God and the teachings of His living prophets, . . . we know that this puts us on safe ground eternally. Dallin H. Oaks – As He Thinketh in His Heart
Hold your righteous ground
In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited. . . . When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. Jeffrey R. Holland – Lord, I Believe
Untrue information is untrue
We might remind the sincere inquirer that Internet information does not have a ‘truth’ filter. Some information, no matter how convincing, is simply not true. Neil L. Andersen – Joseph Smith
Answers to spiritual questions are given to individuals who don’t harden their hearts; who ask in faith, believing they will receive; and who diligently keep the commandments. Paul V. Johnson – A Pattern for Learning Spiritual Things
Studying the Church … through the eyes of its defectors [is] like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus. Neal A. Maxwell – All Hell Is Moved
The devil rages in the hearts of his victims, and he goes about teaching all manner of false doctrines.
Stand with fortitude. God is mightier than all. Take the scriptures and hold them close.
For example, this excerpt from 2 Nephi 28 will expose many of the deceptions in your path:
And they shall . . . teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance.
And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;
Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.
. . . there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.
And . . . many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.
Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.
And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them.
Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted.
Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.
They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up.
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.
O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!
Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish.
But behold, if the inhabitants of the earth shall repent of their wickedness and abominations they shall not be destroyed, saith the Lord of Hosts.
But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof.
For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish;
For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.
And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.
Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.
Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!
Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!
Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!
Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more!
And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall.
Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!
For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.