Only those who are aware of their lost and fallen state can take the mission of the Savior seriously, and before one can embrace it in terms of the eternities it must be grasped on the level of common, everyday reality … For behold, are we not all beggars? … The essence of [King] Benjamin’s preaching is to purge the people, if possible, of their flattering self-image as good guys.
-Hugh NibleyWrest the Scriptures
We are commanded to “Search the scriptures” (Luke 24:32). The book of Mormon states “Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction. “ (Alma 13:20). We are told it is our measuring stick. We are commanded to rely upon them “I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written” (D&C 18:3).
The pattern is clear. When a group of people begin to wrest the scriptures they are led down to destruction. You cannot be saved in ignorance. When one lacks knowledge they become susceptable to satan. Satan will have power over that individual. This is why the scriptures tell us to "pray always" "lest ye enter into temptation".
A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power. (TPJS, p 217)
Eve partook of the fruit of the tree and was "beguiled" by the serpent. She lacked knowledge, thus she was deceived. Knowledge (revelation) is required to put off the natural, carnal man.
21 And others will he[Satan] 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.It is this group of people that are asleep. Knowledge is required to wake up. And when awake we must arise to the task before us. Satan makes us feel like all is well. We are doing enough, if we continue doing just that than we will be saved. (Carnal Security)
But what we do is never enough. We will never live up to every covenant nor give up every sin. (Even if Satan tells us we will be under his power if do not live up to every covenant. HE IS A LIAR!) That is not what repentance is about. Want to know the message of repentance sounds like? Read Mosiah 2-4. We must continually acknowledge our nothingness before God. I will pull out a few verses.
40 O, all ye old men, and also ye young men, and you little children who can understand my words, for I have spoken plainly unto you that ye might understand, I pray that ye should awake to a remembrance of the awful situation of those that have fallen into transgression.
41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it. (Mosiah 2:40-41)
2 And the things which I shall tell you are made known unto me by an angel from God. And he said unto me: Awake; and I awoke, and behold he stood before me.Glad tidings of great joy is repentance. Its about the message of Jesus Christ. Its not about all the "dead works" or things that are wrong but its about the glad tidings that I can come as I am to Him. Joseph said when you are ready to come to Him he is ready to come to you. The message is about Coming to Christ, to converse with him, that we can converse with Him. Adam said concerning the redemption of Christ "in the flesh i shall have joy and in the flesh I shall see God" (Moses 5:9-10). That we may be redeemed from the Fall (Ether 3:13). He associated the idea of repentance (redemption) with seeing God. Receiving joy. To repent it requires knowledge. If you lack adequate knowledge you cannot repent.
3 And he said unto me: Awake, and hear the words which I shall tell thee; for behold, I am come to declare unto you the glad tidings of great joy. (Mosiah 3:2-3)
Go study chapter 2 and see the message the angel gave him including chapters 3 and 4.
The Awful Situation
Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel. (Ether 4:15)This is quite different than All is Well isn't it? Why is it this veil of unbelief cause us to remain in our awful state of wickedness? Perhaps this is why being redeemed is associated with removing the veil?
Awake to the Situation
Ether 8 is often quoted about the land, freedoms, etc... I believe this view is correct. I also believe there is a deeper application to us. I believe its directly related to our awful situation, as latter day saints. I will pull from a General Authority in another post how they apply this to OUR situation.
23 Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.McConkie informs us the ladder day saints are the Gentiles spoken in the book of Mormon. So what about Murder. What could murder mean? Normally we think of it as killing someone. But all things are spiritual in the eyes of God.
24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.
Lets look how the book of Alma defines murder. A man who was an Antichrist was converted back to the Lord.
14 Yea, and I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea, and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror. (Alma )So taking this as the meaning for murder, what is those combinations that will come above us? That will lead us down to destruction? This great combination is what we are commanded to wake up to, it was made known to us that "ye may repent of your sins". What sort of "wickedness" and where does it come from? It was this thought of the awful situation of those he led away that led Alma to rack his soul with the thought of coming into the presence of God. The message of repentance always makes one afraid (for their own salvation or "fear and trembling"). That is why many taketh the truth to be hard. They don't like being told they are doing everything wrong, or what they are doing will not save them.
Instead they like to focus on things that are visible, instead of the invisible. Going to church, temple, home teaching, numbers, dress and grooming, sacrament, temple recomend. If I hold a temple recommend and continue faithful I will enter the kingdom of God Right?
See these are fruits of the visible, not the invisible. But God looks at the inner countenance.
Most wicked According to Jesus
"…the worst sinners, according to Jesus, are not the harlots and publicans, but the religious leaders with their insistence on proper dress and grooming, their careful observance of all the rules, their precious concern for status-symbols, their strict legality, their pious patriotism. Longhairs, beards, and necklaces, LSD and rock, Big Sur and Woodstock, come and go, but Babylon is always there: rich, respectable, immovable… We want to be vindicated in our position and to know that the world is on our side as we all join in a chorus of righteous denunciation; the haircut becomes the test of virtue in a world where Satan deceives and rules by appearances." - Hugh NibleyThe Secret combination
The awful situation. I have given a few scriptures showing how its directly related to our standing before God and our inability to return back into the presence of god while in the flesh. It is carnal security, that all is well. That Zion prospereth. Well if it is not prospering what is going on? We must assume that things are not prospering, things are not well in Zion.
Awake! You cannot build Zion when you are asleep. Arise, cast off that which binds you down to destruction. Receive the message of glad tidings. Return to his presence. We are told we are under condemnation because we DO NOT UNDERSTAND the Book of Mormon (D&C 84). If the majority do not than how can you feel safe using them as a teaching tool? If a blind guide follows a blind guide they both fall into the ditch. Why not turn to God and he alone?