Monday, July 23, 2012

The Danger of Infallibility, Part 4

“It is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men; For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him…How oft you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men…Because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall.” – The Lord to Joseph Smith (D&C 3:3-4, 6, 9)

Here is a revelation given to the head of this dispensation.  Joseph was warned by the Lord that if he was "not aware" he would fall.  The Lord taught Joseph that the "work of men" can be frustrated.  In plain language the Lord offers a few reasons that would cause a man to fall:
  • Boasting in his own strength
  • Setting at naught God's counsels
  • Following the dictates of his own will
  • Following the dictates of his carnal desires
  • Going on in the persuasions of men
  • Transgression
If Joseph Smith had to be "aware" lest he fall, that should tell you something about every other person who's been called to lead in this Church.  The reasons given by the Lord that a man may fall seem to me to be general problems we all face, and not problems that were specific to the Prophet.

Brigham Young described the attitude of humble diligence demonstrated by the prophet Joseph Smith:

“I recollect many times when brother Joseph, reflecting upon how many would come into the Kingdom of God and go out again, would say, ‘Brethren, I have not apostatized yet, and don't feel like doing so.’ Many of you, no doubt, can call to mind his words. Joseph had to pray all the time, exercise faith, live his religion, and magnify his calling, to obtain the manifestations of the Lord, and to keep him steadfast in the faith" (Discourse by Brigham Young, JD 2:257).

It appears times have changed since the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  We, at least, impose an unfair standard upon those who have been called to be leaders in the Lord's Church.  They don't deserve such an inappropriate imposition.  We've got what we wanted, however.  It's so much easier to place our trust in the arm of flesh.      

Prophets are given to the children of men to point them from the darkened, apostate mess they find themselves in back to Christ.  That is their purpose.  Repentance is their message (Moro. 7:29-32).  Their calling is to point us to Christ.

Nephi warned Latter-day Saints to beware of those that say, “All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well" (2 Ne 28:21).  This doctrine is among the greatest threats of deception we face today.  This is the message that keeps us sleeping.  This doctrine leadeth souls carefully down to hell (ibid.).  This is a doctrine of the devil that will damn us if we teach it, and listeners if they believe it (2 Ne 28:21-24).  The message that we cannot be led astray only facilitates the doctrine that all is well.  We have been forewarned.

“Modern revelation is what Joseph Smith said, unless Spencer W. Kimball says otherwise" (S. Dilworth Young, BYU fireside, 5 May 1974).
We love what Joseph Smith said about anything and everything under the sun, unless our current leaders change it.  This pretty well typifies our attitude.  We were recently taught "not to question", or even to consider “whether it makes sense" (Bennett, supra, “Follow the Prophet," see part 1).
Such obedience is worse than folly.  A man of God would despise the idea (Joseph Smith, part 1).
All that matters now is that you can trust in man.  Those who believe such a thing are perhaps worse off than those of other Christian sects who know nothing about the restoration of the gospel in the last days, but who strive to “follow him" (John 10:4).

We will remain asleep and unredeemed believing in that flattery.  We must awake and arise to our awful situation.

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