The Crux of the Entire Matter – A Humbling Is Coming

Michael Claridge Humility, Michael 1 Comment

I won’t lie to you, I’m not going to even pretend that I know what’s coming, but I hope to spend the entirety of this blog post talking about one of the basic tenants and purposes of PrisonTemple, and by so doing share with you some very personal beliefs about what I think our future holds.

I think it’s pretty safe to say we all just experienced one of the most turbulent elections that any of us have ever seen in our lives.

I’m sorry, but it’s blatantly obvious to me that neither Mr. Trump nor Mrs. Clinton were, nor are, one of those whom the Lord would have chosen to “save us” or “spare us.” And I’m not going to even begin to go into politics in this post. Please don’t get me started on that rant, it’s not pretty.

I’m reminded of the scripture in 2 Timothy:

2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2 Timothy 3:2-5)

You can almost go down that list item by item and put a footnote next to each one of those words that says something like, “See Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton.”

So tell me friends, what part of “from such turn away” are we having such difficulties with and don’t seem to understand?

Really?  Especially for those who have entered into the temple and made sacred covenants – what? Did you check your covenants at the door regarding the political future of our country? Like I said, please don’t get me started on the hypocrisy, and blindness of it all. The Book of Mormon is replete with warnings, types and shadows, and prophesies regarding evil in our day.

If you don’t believe me give Mormon chapter 8, or Ether chapter 8 a read-thru at your convenience.  Here are some of the highlights:

31 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth; there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations; when there shall be many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will uphold such at the last day. But wo unto such, for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity. (Mormon 8:31)

18 And it came to pass that they formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God… (Ether 8:18)

22 And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; (Ether 8:22)

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… (Ether 8:24)

25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies…(Ether 8:25)

I’m pretty sure Paul had it right:

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2 Timothy 3:1)

We are most certainly in the midst of those perilous times.

In his October General Conference talk less than a month after the 9/11 attack, President Hinckley said some very interesting things that I think many of us have forgotten, and I bet there were some things he said you probably didn’t even know he said.

I have just been handed a note that says that a U.S. missile attack is under way. I need not remind you that we live in perilous times. I desire to speak concerning these times and our circumstances as members of this Church.

And then he went on to talk about the hunting down the terrorists, and being at war as a country.  He also spoke about the economy being in trouble, and about the terrible forces of evil in the last days.

We of this Church know something of such groups. The Book of Mormon speaks of the Gadianton robbers, a vicious, oath-bound, and secret organization bent on evil and destruction. In their day they did all in their power, by whatever means available, to bring down the Church, to woo the people with sophistry, and to take control of the society. We see the same thing in the present situation.

We are people of peace. We are followers of the Christ who was and is the Prince of Peace. But there are times when we must stand up for right and decency, for freedom and civilization, just as Moroni rallied his people in his day to the defense of their wives, their children, and the cause of liberty (see Alma 48:10).

And then he spoke of being self-reliant and urged us to get out of debt.

I urge you as members of this Church to get free of debt where possible and to have a little laid aside against a rainy day.

We cannot provide against every contingency. But we can provide against many contingencies. Let the present situation remind us that this we should do.

As we have been continuously counseled for more than 60 years, let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time in case of need. But let us not panic nor go to extremes. Let us be prudent in every respect. And, above all, my brothers and sisters, let us move forward with faith in the Living God and His Beloved Son.

Great are the promises concerning this land of America. We are told unequivocally that it “is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ” (Ether 2:12). This is the crux of the entire matter—obedience to the commandments of God.

And my dear friends, the crux of the entire matter is what I desire to write about today.

If you’ve been awake and paying attention the Prophet and Apostles have been doing a great job of keeping their eye on the ball and warning us, and preparing us for what is coming.

In an April 2015 General Conference talk given by Dallin H. Oaks entitled “The Parable of the Sower” he spoke directly to the membership of the church, ”My message concerns those of us who have committed to be followers of Christ,” as he divided us (the Latter-Day Saints) into 3 separate groups:

I. Stony Ground, No Root
These are those people who receive the gospel with gladness, but when affliction and persecution occur the are the ones who immediately are offended and fall away. He says, “Not being rooted in the word, they can be scorched and wither away when opposition arises.” He then goes on to say:

Spiritual food is necessary for spiritual survival, especially in a world that is moving away from belief in God and the absolutes of right and wrong. In an age dominated by the Internet, which magnifies messages that menace faith, we must increase our exposure to spiritual truth in order to strengthen our faith and stay rooted in the gospel. (April 2015, The Parable of the Sower, Dallin H. Oaks)

II. Thorns: The Cares of This World and the Deceitfulness of Riches
These are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and riches, and lusts for things choke out the word, and they bear no fruit.

The most subtle thorns to choke out the effect of the gospel word in our lives are the worldly forces that Jesus called the “cares and riches and pleasures of this life” (Luke 8:14). (ibid.)

III. Fell into Good Ground and Brought Forth Fruit
These are the honest in heart who upon hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit.

We must seek to be firmly rooted and converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Colossians 2:6–7). We achieve this conversion by praying, by scripture reading, by serving, and by regularly partaking of the sacrament to always have His Spirit to be with us. We must also seek that mighty change of heart (see Alma 5:12–14) that replaces evil desires and selfish concerns with the love of God and the desire to serve Him and His children. (ibid.)

Again, remember what the “crux of the entire matter” is – obedience to the commandments of God, or in other words, to hear the word, keep it, so you can, and will bring forth fruit.

But unfortunately, there are too many Saints that aren’t Saints in these latter days, instead they fall into the first two groups and are deceived by the master deceiver.

In another powerful General Conference talk entitled “Opposition In All Things” Elder Oaks rehearses with us several of the tactics ol’ loser-zit-weasel uses to keep us on the wrong side of the things.

To illustrate the opposition of temptation, the Book of Mormon describes three methods the devil will use in the last days. First, he will “rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good” (2 Nephi 28:20). Second, he will “pacify, and lull [members] away into carnal security,” saying “Zion prospereth, all is well” (verse 21). Third, he will tell us “there is no hell; and … I am no devil, for there is none” (verse 22), and therefore there is no right and wrong. Because of this opposition, we are warned not to be “at ease in Zion!” (verse 24). (April 2016, Opposition In All Things, Dallin H. Oaks)

I’m fairly convinced that when it comes to the subject of tribulations in these latter days most LDS people think that since they are LDS, or “card carrying” LDS, and since they pay “fire insurance (tithing),” and wear the correct under-clothing, and do their visiting teaching, and home teaching, and do their callings, that they are protected and safe from what’s coming. Or worse, they think “all is well in Zion,” especially for them.

This is where my opinion varies – tremendously.

But friends there’s just too many scriptures that say otherwise.  I can’t ignore the scriptures.  Perhaps it’s because you haven’t read them or you have interpreted them differently than I have, but I simply don’t feel I can sit back any longer and keep my mouth shut about these things.

In Doctrine and Covenants section 88 the Lord gives us a commandment, and me and Lindon have tried our very best to take this commandment seriously in PrisonTemple.

77 And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.

78 Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;

79 Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms— (D&C 88:77-79)

So pretty much, we are supposed to teach each other just about everything we can, and we are to do it with all diligence. Why?

80 That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you.

81 Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor. (D&C (88:80-81)

So here’s the warning my dear friends: A humbling is coming.

In his same “Perilous Times” General Conference talk President Hinckley said two very short but powerful sentences, but included no rhetoric or commentary with either of them.  They were just statements, non-sequiturs, and without explanation. Whenever I hear statements like these they kind of stick out like sore thumbs to me, where to others they almost go unnoticed.  But you’re in luck, I’m going to draw your attention to them today – they are just that important!

These are the two things that I inferred you probably didn’t even know he had said.  Let’s take them one at a time:

“I cannot forget the great lesson of Pharaoh’s dream of the fat and lean kine and of the full and withered stalks of corn.”

So what is the “great lesson” that President Hinckley couldn’t forget? Do you know? Do you know the story of the Pharaoh’s dreams?

In short, the Pharaoh had two dreams, one of seven fat cows that were eaten by seven lean cows, and the other dream was of seven good ears of corn being blasted out by seven ears of thin corn.

Joseph, Jacob’s son who had been in the Pharaoh’s prison interpreted the dreams for the Pharaoh, and within his words are the “great lesson” President Hinckley spoke of:

25 ¶And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do.

26 The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one.

27 And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.

28 This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh.

29 Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt:

30 And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land;

31 And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous.

32 And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. (Genesis 41:25-32)

Did you catch that? God will shortly bring these things to pass, and it was something President Hinckley back in October Conference of 2001 couldn’t forget. Oh, but we don’t have anything to worry about, do we? All is well in Zion. Right? Go back to your IPad and Pokémon, nothing to see here.

And the second thing that President Hinckley said in his General Conference talk that I find quite interesting and alarming was this:

“I cannot dismiss from my mind the grim warnings of the Lord as set forth in the 24th chapter of Matthew.”

So dear friends, what are the “grim warnings of the Lord” found in the 24th chapter of Mathew that President Hinckley couldn’t dismiss from his mind?

Incidentally, I find it extremely coincidental (or is it?) that another Joseph interpreted these warnings, the ones found in Matthew chapter 24, for us in our day, and they can be found in the Pearl of Great Price.  What’s more interesting is that’s the ONLY translated Bible chapter Joseph Smith included in the Pearl of Great Price.

The chapter heading says:

Jesus foretells the impending destruction of Jerusalem—He also discourses on the Second Coming of the Son of Man, and the destruction of the wicked.

Gulp.

Are you awake yet? Are you paying attention?  These things are VERY important.

The two verses that give me the most concern are:

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:21)

20 And except those days should be shortened, there should none of their flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake, according to the covenant, those days shall be shortened. (JS Matthew 1:20)

Did you get that?  Of all the horrible wars that have ever been fought, ponder that for a minute.  Think about Genghis Khan, or Attila the Hun, or Alexander the Great, or the tremendous battles of both World Wars, or the complete destruction of the Nephite people.  Or think about the deadliest famines in world history where tens of millions of people died gruesome horrible deaths. Or what about the worst hurricanes, or tornadoes, or volcanoes, or earthquakes that have occurred throughout history? None of these destruction’s, none of them will compare to what is coming. In fact, it will be so bad that unless the Lord shortens it, no one will be saved.

I’m not trying to be all doom and gloom, I’m trying to paint a picture of truth here that I think most people are in denial about or are blind to.

Do you see a pattern here?  This is what Ezra Taft Benson had to say:

The Lord has warned and forewarned us against a day of great tribulation and given us counsel, through His servants, on how we can be prepared for these difficult times. Have we heeded His counsel? (Oct. 1980, Ezra Taft Benson, emphasis added)

A while back, through much personal heartache and tribulation, Lindon and I were brought to this powerful gospel truth:  Either you humble yourself by your own free will and choice, or if you are one those who the Lord cares about He’s going to compel you to be humble. Either way, He ends up with humble people.

That my friends, is the reason for the coming tribulations.

16 For I will raise up unto myself a pure people, that will serve me in righteousness; (D&C 100:16)

He will have a people who are humble – there’s an easy way, and there’s a hard way – you get to choose.

And that my friends, is the crux of the entire matter.  Remember, humility is the key.

Michael-sig

   

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Without a doubt the most important thing I have ever learned in life is that no matter what you can't stop breathing.

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