Monday, November 5, 2012

His Hand Is Stretched Out Still

The pre-eminent doctrine of the Book of Mormon is that only Christ can save you and that you must repent and seek his face for redemption from the fall.  It is the message of all the major prophet-writers.  It is the message of all true prophets.  It is the message of the Book of Mormon over and over again.  The Lord works with individuals to prepare them in all things to be presented at the veil and enter his presence.  In spite of that persistent message we, as a people, fail to see that book as an invitation to us personally.  We have no hope that this opportunity is available to us (Ether 12:32).    

This is an indictment of how sick our culture is, and how misleading our traditions are.  To bring up these ideas stirs up contention and discomfort among some of our best people.  Satan has great hold upon our hearts because we wrest the scriptures and do not understand these things (D&C 10:63).  Our misunderstanding, and non-acceptance of these ideas is the overarching reason we are condemned of God (D&C 84:54-57).  In these, if in no other principles set forth in the Book of Mormon, we are guilty of unbelief.  We must do according to that which is written (ibid.).

Our temple rites should inform our interpretation of the Book of Mormon message.  If you consider yourself the individual to whom the temple drama is aiming its instruction, it is clear that your commission is to persist on the path that leads back to the presence of the Lord.  That path will ultimately require you to consecrate your whole soul to God (Omni 1:26).  True messengers will come to instruct you how this is to be done.  When you fully comply, you will be prepared in all things and the Lord will make his abode with you (John 14:23).

Christ was commanded by the Father to prophesy concerning the rejection of the fulness of the gospel in the last days (3 Ne. 16:10).  To interpret this prophecy as somehow referring to those Gentiles who refuse to be baptized members of the Church is at best incomplete.  Rather, the way in which the Gentiles have rejected "the fulness of my gospel" is by a rejection of the doctrines that we must repent and seek the face of the Lord.  It is because of unbelief that the fulness is being rejected.  And yet strangely, the Gentiles "shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth" (ibid.).    

What is it about our heritage that has discouraged such a search for God?  Of all the people on the earth, we who have a knowledge of the restoration and the Book of Mormon should be seeking the face of God.  When in our history did our present mentality begin robbing us of truth?  Why have we somehow been conditioned to believe such a search is inappropriate or fanatical?  3 Ne. 16:10 contains some helpful ideas.  Satan surely looks with pleasure upon our traditions and laughs.

God be praised for extending to the Gentiles another opportunity to receive the fulness of the gospel (D&C 45:28-30).  If it will not be accepted, it will be because men remain blinded by the traditions of men (ibid.).  For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

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