THE APOSTASY CYCLE
If you’ve ever served as a full-time missionary for the Church, you might remember teaching your investigators about “ the pattern of apostasy and restoration.” According to the Church’s “ Guide to Missionary Service,” this concept should normally be taught during an investigator’s very first lesson.
To briefly summarize, investigators are informed that every occurrence of widespread apostasy throughout history is eventually followed by a restoration; and since God never changes, we can know with certainty that He will never deviate from that pattern. In other words, a restoration will always follow an apostasy since God will “ never cease His labors to redeem His posterity.”
Have we failed to realize the full implications of what we’re teaching here? If this “pattern of apostasy and restoration” has consistently repeated itself throughout history, then wouldn’t it be more accurate to call it a “cycle” rather than a “pattern”? If “apostasy and restoration” is indeed a cycle, then not only are we justified in declaring that a restoration will always follow apostasy, but we may also rightly acknowledge the opposite order of events : apostasy apparently always follows a restoration. Think about that for a moment. If we’re justified in believing one portion of this concept, simply because it’s supported by the historical record, then why not the other portion, which is equally supported?
Elder H. Verlan Andersen, who would later serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy, made the following observation:
“No people to whom the gospel has been given have remained faithful to their covenants for more than a few generations. Time after time the Lord has established His Church among a group who have lived His commandments for a few years and then fallen away, thus bringing upon themselves His judgments. This cycle of human folly, which so many prophets have noted, has repeated itself with such consistent regularity, that any group which finds itself to be the favored recipients of the gospel would do well to assume that their own apostasy is certain, and the only question about it is how long it will take. . . . The fact that the Lord has found it necessary to restore His gospel so many times is in itself evidence of the regularity with which apostasy has occurred, because the only thing which will cause the destruction of His Church is the wickedness of its members.
To their credit, the missionaries do acknowledge that in every “dispensation, people eventually used their agency to choose to reject the gospel and then fell into apostasy.”
However, notwithstanding this admission, very few members of the Church seem capable of comprehending the legitimate application of this principle to the present dispensation. “To fail to consider the possibility that the members of the Church are again ‘falling away’ would be to ignore one of the most thoroughly documented lessons of history,” said Elder Andersen.
Also read The Time and Season of The Gentiles
HISTORY WARNS THAT APOSTASY MUST BE EXPECTED
Religious history testifies that, with the single exception of the inhabitants of the City of Enoch, no people to whom the gospel has been given have remained faithful to their covenants for more than a few generations. Time after time the Lord has established His Church among a group who have lived His commandments for a few years and then fallen away, thus bringing upon themselves His judgments. This cycle of human folly which so many prophets have noted, has repeated itself with such consistent regularity that any group which finds itself to be the favored recipients of the gospel would do well to assume that their apostasy is certain, and the only question about it is how long it will take.
Christ, who as the Governor of this world and has the painful duty of punishing transgression, has spoken of the infidelity of the House of Israel and the frequency with which it has rejected Him. Just before He made His appearance to those righteous Nephites and Lamanites who survived the terrible disaster inflicted upon them, He uttered these words of anguish:
O ye people of these great cities which have fallen, who are descendants of Jacob, yea, who are of the house of Israel, how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you.
And again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, who have fallen;.. . how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not. (3 Nephi 10:4–5)
To the Jews, the Lord has said:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matt. 23:37)
The fact that the Lord has found it necessary to restore His gospel so many times is in itself evidence of the regularity with which apostasy has occurred because the only thing which will cause the destruction of His Church is the wickedness of its members. As the angel told Alma who had been trying to destroy the Lord’s work among the Nephites:
Alma, arise and stand forth, for why persecutest thou the church of God? For the Lord hath said: This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people. (Mosiah 27:13)
The prophet, Mormon, whose labors as a historian gave him an opportunity to observe the frequency of the righteousness-wickedness-punishment cycle, spoke of it as though it were a law of life which operates as a certain consequence of universal human weakness. His analysis of apostasy and its causes should interest us deeply:
And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.
O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men. (Hela. 12:1-4)
ARE THE CONDITIONS WHICH ORDINARILY ACCOMPANY APOSTASY PRESENT TODAY?
Do the words of Mormon quoted above have application today? If “ease” and “exceedingly great prosperity” are certain to cause people to “forget the Lord their God,” then the Church is in deep trouble because seldom, if ever, has any group been as prosperous as it is today. Its beginnings were humble enough. Starting in 1830 with an initial membership of six, the Church was persecuted, its property destroyed and confiscated, its leaders slain, and the people finally driven into a forbidding wilderness before they could find a measure of peace. But all that has now changed. After 140 years of growth, membership numbers in the millions, persecution has largely vanished, and instead of ostracism, members are, for the most part, accepted and respected.
These conditions in prior dispensations have been sure signs of weakened faith. To fail to consider the possibility that the members of the Church are again “falling away” would be to ignore one of the most thoroughly documented lessons of history. Especially is this true in light of the fact that the cultural, political, and educational life of Church members has become so deeply and thoroughly involved with that of non-members that they are being overwhelmingly influenced by the “ways of the world.” Through newspapers and magazines, motion pictures and television, schools and lecture halls, and a thoroughly integrated economic system, Church members come into close and continuous contact with those not of their faith.
Some may assume that a “Gentile apostasy” in these latter days cannot occur because Christ’s Church is here to stay this time. They may assume that widespread departure from gospel principles by Church members is contrary to prophecy. While the scriptures do assure us that the Church will continue to exist and be divinely led by prophets of the Lord right up until his Second Coming, they do not state that all, or even a majority of its members will follow those prophets. On the contrary, they foretell extensive, and in some cases, almost total defection from true principles. For example in Chapter 2 herein, we noted the Lord’s prophecy that only one half of that small group he calls “virgins” will avoid being deceived and destroyed. Let us consider other scriptures which discuss this problem.
PROPHECIES REGARDING APOSTASY IN THESE LATTER DAYS
The Book of Mormon contains many predictions of a falling away among the “Gentiles” in the latter days. While the non-Jewish, non-Lamanite members of Christ’s Church may not call themselves Gentiles, the Book of Mormon prophets did. This is clearly shown by the title page of the Nephite scripture which states in the following passage that this book will come forth “by way of the Gentile:”
Wherefore, it is an abridgement of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites—Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile…to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile—… (See also D&C 20:9)
Christ also used the name “Gentile” to identify those through whom the gospel would go to the Lamanites. (3 Nephi 21:2–4) If Church members from Gentile nations will bear in mind that the term “Gentile” when used in the Book of Mormon includes them, the prophecies therein will have much greater meaning and be more disturbing.
Some of the predictions clearly refer to members of Christ’s Church. Consider, for example, the following statement which is found among Nephi’s comments regarding latter-day conditions:
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. (2 Nephi 28:14)
Even one who considers himself a “humble follower of Christ” is here warned that he will err “in many instances” because he is “taught by the precepts of men.”
Moroni was similarly explicit in predicting false teachings among the Saints. Reflect upon the unmistakable implications of this point-blank indictment of members of the “holy church of God:”
O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? (Mormon 8:38)
Since there is only one “holy church of God” on earth, and since it is being polluted, the blame therefore appears to rest upon teachers and hypocrites within that church. Christ levelled His own charge that iniquity would prevail among Gentile members of His Church in the last days in these words:
At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel… and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations… (3 Nephi 16:10)
That He was referring to members of His Church in this passage is evident not only from the fact that He states that the Gentiles will sin against His gospel, but also in discussing the possibility of their failing to repent, He refers to them as the “Salt of the earth:”
But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of my people, O house of Israel. (3 Nephi 16:15)
When Christ uses the term “the salt of the earth”, He means His covenant people, as the following passage explains:
When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men;
They are called to be the savor of men; therefore, if that salt of the earth lose its savor, behold, it is thenceforth good for nothing only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men. (D&C 101:39–40)
There are two other instances of record wherein the Lord told the Nephites that unless the Gentiles repented, they would be trodden down and torn in pieces. (3 Nephi 20:16, 21:12-14) Mormon, who had witnessed the Lamanites exterminate his own people, used almost the same words as did Christ in the quotations referred to above, in predicting the destruction of the unrepentant Gentiles by a remnant of the house of Jacob:
And then, O ye Gentiles, how can ye stand before the power of God, except ye shall repent and turn from your evil ways?
Therefore, repent ye, and humble yourselves before him lest he shall come out in justice against you—lest a remnant of the seed of Jacob shall go forth among you as a lion, and tear you in pieces, and there is none to deliver. (Mormon 5:22, 24)
Then we have the following words of Moroni which state that the Gentiles would become so wicked that unless they repented they would be destroyed:
And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done. (Ether 2:11)
It should be emphasized that the above quoted statements are not merely warnings against iniquity but they are prophecies also. In the clearest of language, they predict that the Gentiles will become so wicked that unless repentance occurs we will be destroyed. Or, as the last scripture quoted states it, our iniquities will become so great that if we “continue” in them, we will be swept off as were our predecessors.
That such a destruction will occur, and that it will consume everyone who fails to repent is indicated in the following words of Nephi:
And now behold, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you; for I, Nephi, would not suffer that ye should suppose that ye are more righteous than the Gentiles shall be. For behold, except ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall all likewise perish; and because of the words which have been spoken ye need not suppose that the Gentiles are utterly destroyed. For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord… (2 Nephi 30:1–2)
So sweeping had been Nephi’s description of Gentile wickedness and destruction that in the above passage, he considered it necessary to warn his readers against assuming that the “Gentiles are utterly destroyed.” As many as will turn from their wicked ways may be spared and numbered with the remnant.
THE FAILURE OF PEOPLE TO RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS OF APOSTASY
In the great majority of cases where apostasy has occurred, it appears that the people became wicked while believing themselves righteous. This happened time and again to the Children of Israel and the Nephites, and was plainly evident in the case of the Jews at the time of Christ. There are recorded exceptions to this rule. For example, when the Nephites apostatized immediately prior to Christ’s visit, we are told:
Now they did not sin ignorantly, for they knew the will of God concerning them, for it had been taught unto them; therefore they did wilfully rebel against God. (3 Nephi 6:18)
But the typical situation is described thus by Mormon as he commented on the frequency and rapidity with which a people who have been blessed forsake the Lord:
they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity. (Hela 12:2)
Prophecies regarding the Gentile apostasy of the latter days indicate that it will be the typical one wherein Church members will be led away by false beliefs into evil practices. Nephi had much to say regarding the event. Among other things he predicted that:
1. “Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted..” (2 Nephi 28:12)
2. “the humble followers of Christ” will err in many instances because they are taught by the precepts of men. (2 Nephi 28:14)
3. Some will be lulled 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.” (2 Nephi 28:2 1)
4. Others will be deceived into believing that there is no devil and no hell. (2 Nephi 28:22)
5. There will be many who will say:…
Eat, drink and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will just 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… (2 Nephi 28:8–9)
THE VERY MAINSPRING OF ALL CORRUPTION
Since the scriptures state that the Gentile apostasy will be accompanied by many false beliefs, as has been the case in times past, it should be of profit and interest to attempt to discover wherein we are being misled today.
It will be recalled from our discussion in Chapter 3, that one of the most difficult problems we face in this life is that of distinguishing between right and wrong. We saw there that the purpose of the fall was that men might become “as gods knowing good and evil,” (Moses 4:11, 28) and that Satan’s great purpose here is to deceive mankind. (Moses 4:4) Having done this, he can induce honorable men to do evil because they believe it to be good, and induce them to refrain from doing good because they believe it to be evil.
Because of the very pronounced tendency of people to accept as proper, beliefs and practices of those amongst whom they are reared, the difficulty of distinguishing good from evil is greatly magnified for those who live in the midst of wickedness. The scriptures confirm this by pointing out that “the very mainspring of all corruption” is “the influence of that spirit which hath so strongly riveted the creeds of the fathers, who have inherited lies, upon the hearts of the children.” (D&C 123:7; see also D&C 93:39) Only those who have the faith and independence of character to seek the word of God in its purity from the scriptures and the teachings of the Holy Ghost can expect to escape the influence of inherited lies.
People who regard themselves as members of the only true Church have the fatal tendency to consider themselves immune from the disease of deception. Knowing that they belong to the Lord’s Church and have His scriptures and His prophet to guide them, they blindly assume that this adequately protects them against false beliefs. All history teaches the folly of such an assumption, and the scriptures specifically deny its validity. In fact, it is those who have the truth “plainly manifest unto them” who have the most to fear as the following scriptures state:
Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. (D&C 93:31; see also 2 Nephi 32:7)
Mormons Don’t Stone Their Prophets
In another there is even more to consider, we do stone our prophets.
Obviously not the literal sense. In Old Testament days, prophets could be stoned without legal consequences. Today we must stone them in much more subtle ways. Instead of physically stoning them, we pretend to support “modern revelation” and sit atop our proverbial Rameumptom so thankful that we are not “led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren” and oh so grateful that we are a “chosen and holy people” (Alma 31:17–18)
Like the Zoramites, we don’t need to kill the prophets; we just ignore them and change what they teach. The Zoramites did this and claimed they were taught that there was no Christ.
Joseph Fielding Smith said,
“It has become unpopular to preach the unadulterated gospel in the stakes of Zion.” –Life of Joseph Fielding Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith & John J. Stewart, Deseret Book 1972, page 211
Joseph Fielding Smith further explained that it is those of us that consider ourselves to be Latter-day Saints that are the ones following in the steps of the Zoramites when he wrote,
“Are we not too much inclined to blame the generations that are past for the breaking of the new and e everlasting covenant, and to think it is because of the great apostasy which followed the ministry of the Apostles in primitive times, that these troubles are coming upon the earth? Perhaps we should wake up to the realization that it is because of the breaking of covenants, especially the new and everlasting covenant, which is the fullness of the Gospel as it has been revealed , that the world is to be consumed by fire and few men left. Since this punishment is to come at the time of the cleansing of the earth when Christ comes again, should not Latter-day Saints take heed unto themselves? We have been given the new and everlasting covenant and many among us have broken it, and many are now breaking it; therefore all who are guilty of this offense will aid in bringing to pass this destruction in which they will find themselves swept from the earth when the great and dreadful day of the Lord shall come.” Joseph Fielding Smith, Deseret News, Church Department, Oct 17, 1936, page 7
President J. Reuben Clark also warned of this happening among us when he said,
“I tell you we are beginning to follow along the course of the early Christian church. . . . There is creeping into our midst, and I warn you brethren about it, and I urge you to meet it, a great host of sectarian doctrines that have no place amongst us. The gospel in its simplicity, is to be found in the revelations, the teachings of the Prophet and the early leaders of the Church. We shall make no mistake if we follow them.” – Gen Conf. Oct 1944
Joseph Fielding Smith was very worried about this and wrote in his journal that he could see how we were, as President Clark pointed out, following the course of the early Christian church;
“It is a very apparent fact that we have traveled far and wide in the past 20 years [since his father’s death]. What the future will bring I do not know. But if we drift as far afield from fundamental things in the next 20 years, what will be left of the foundation laid by the Prophet Joseph Smith? It is easy for one who observes to see how the apostasy came about in the Primitive Church of Jesus Christ. Are we not traveling the same road?” Joseph Fielding Smith, personal journal, Dec 28, 1938 and quoted in Life of Joseph Fielding Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith & John J. Stewart, Deseret Book 1972, page 212
- What parts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are unpopular to teach in the Stakes of Zion?
- In what ways are we breaking the new and everlasting covenant?
- In what ways are we following the course of the early Christian church?
- In what ways have we drifted from the foundation laid by the Prophet Joseph Smith?
I think we’d better find out, since as the Prophet Joseph Smith taught,
“[I]f Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved in all things in His (Gods) sight, He (God) will seek another people.” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 18
SOURCE * About Ezra Taylor, Ezra Taylor has appeared in national (Fox news, USA Today), as well as several other regional publications. Ezra also writes for several freedom oriented publications, has been a radio talk show host and is a grassroots organizer.
READ D&C SECTION ONE CHAPTER HEADING: Revelation given through Joseph Smith November 1, 1831. So sometime between 1831 and the Second Coming, Apostasy and wickedness will precede the Second Coming: D&C 1:15- For they have *strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant; *see LDS footnote: * ISAIAH CHAPTER 24 Chapter Heading: Men shall transgress the law and break the everlasting covenant—At the Second Coming they shall be burned
ISAIAH 24:5-The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. D&C 1 Goes on to say: 22-That mine *everlasting covenant might (not yet) be established; 23-That the fulness of my gospel might (going to-but not yet) be proclaimed
Then in D&C 132 the Fulness (Everlasting covenant) is revealed:
1- The principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—
2- Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter.
3- Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.
4- For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an *everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.
5- And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.
So we see-the fulness of the gospel is the doctrine of their having many wives and concubines.
Apostasy and wickedness will precede the Second Coming happen Officially on October 6, 1890 see Official Declaration-1 and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory. (Thus fulfilling D&C 1:15; Isaiah 24:5; 3 Nephi 16:10)
“Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion That they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands. And this cannot be brought to pass until mine elders are endowed with power from on high. For behold, I have prepared a great endowment and blessing to be poured out upon them, inasmuch as they are faithful and continue in humility before me. Therefore it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion.” (D&C 105:9:13)
Some years ago President Joseph F. Smith, a prophet of the Lord, warned that “there are at least three dangers that threaten the Church within.” (Gospel Doctrine, p. 312.) He also counseled the authorities of the Church to warn the people unceasingly against them. These dangers are:
Flattery of prominent men in the world,
False educational ideas,
I should like to comment briefly on these three dangers.
First, the flattery of prominent men in the world:
The Master warned, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26)
As Latter-day Saints we have been driven, mobbed, misunderstood, and maligned. We have been a peculiar people. Now we are faced with world applause. It has been a welcome change but can we stand acceptance? Can we meet the danger of applause? In the hour of a man’s success, applause can be his greatest danger.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with being honored by men if one is being honored for a good thing, if one comes to these honors through righteous living, and if, while holding these honors, one lives honorably. One should strive to have wide influence for good.
However, virtue is not the only basis for being singled out and promoted. As the world gets more wicked, a possible way to attain worldly success may be to join the wicked. The time is fast approaching when it will require great courage for Latter-day Saints to stand up for their peculiar standards and doctrine—all of their doctrine, including the more weighty principles such as the principle of freedom. Opposition to this weighty principle of freedom caused many of our brothers and sisters in the preexistence to lose their first estate in the war in heaven.
We are far removed from the days of our forefathers who were persecuted for their peculiar beliefs. Some of us seem to want to share their reward but are ofttimes afraid to stand up for principles that are controversial in our generation. We need not solicit persecution, but neither should we remain silent in the presence of overwhelming evil, for this makes cowards of men. We should not go out of the path of duty to pick up a cross there is no need to bear, but neither should we sidestep a cross that clearly lies within the path of duty.
We are in the world, and I fear some of us are getting too much like the world. Rather than continue as a peculiar people, some are priding themselves on how much they are like everybody else, when the world is getting more wicked. The Lord, as he prayed for his apostles, said, “. . . the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:14) As Latter-day Saints, we too have been called out of the world.
Some things are changeless—priceless. We must anchor ourselves to the eternal verities of life, for life is eternal. The honors of men more often than not are fleeting…
Yes, President Joseph F. Smith was right. Today we are being plagued within by the flattery of prominent men in the world.
Second, false educational ideas:
During the past several years many of our institutions of learning have been turning out an increasing number of students schooled in amorality, relativity, and atheism—students divested of a belief in God, without fixed moral principles or an understanding of our constitutional republic and our capitalistic, free enterprise economic system. This follows a pattern that was established years ago at some of our key colleges that produced many of the teachers and leaders in the educational field across the country today.
The fruits of this kind of teaching have been tragic, not only to the souls of the individuals involved, but also to the parents and even to our country…
In school history textbooks of recent years, some of the greatest phrases in American history have been dropped. This Week magazine surveyed history books issued before 1920 and since 1920. Patrick Henry’s famous words, “Give me liberty or give me death,” appeared in twelve out of the fourteen earlier texts, but in only two out of forty-five recent texts. Perhaps this might help explain the percentage of students who are willing to surrender to communism…
The Lord has stated that his church will never again be taken from the earth because of apostasy. But he has also stated that some members of his church will fall away. There has been individual apostasy in the past, it is going on now, and there will be an even increasing amount in the future. While we cannot save all the flock from being deceived, we should, without compromising our doctrine, strive to save as many as we can…
Parents, stay close to your children; you cannot delegate your responsibility to the educators no matter how competent they may be. Parents have a duty to train their children, to talk over their problems with them, to discuss what they are learning at school. And it is neither wise nor safe to leave the determination of our educational system and policies exclusively to the professional educators.
Students, study the writings of the prophets. Fortunately, a consistent position has been taken over the years by the prophets of the Church on vital issues facing this nation. Pray for inspiration and knowledge. Counsel with your parents. Let Sunday be the day to fill up your spiritual batteries for the week by reading good Church books, particularly the Book of Mormon. Take time to meditate. Don’t let the philosophies and falsehoods of men throw you. Hold on to the iron rod. Learn to sift. Learn to discern error through the promptings of the Spirit and your study of the truth.
Yes, false educational ideas are a serious threat today.
Third, sexual immorality:
Sexual immorality is a viper that is striking not only in the world, but in the Church today. Not to admit it is to be dangerously complacent or is like putting one’s head in the sand. In the category of crimes, only murder and denying the Holy Ghost come ahead of illicit sexual relations, which we call fornication when it involves an unmarried person, or the graver sin of adultery when it involves one who is married. I know the laws of the land do not consider unchastity as serious as God does, nor punish as severely as God does, but that does not change its abominableness. In the eyes of God, there is but one moral standard for men and women. In the eyes of God, chastity will never be out of date.
The natural desire for men and women to be together is from God. But such association is bounded by his laws. Those things properly reserved for marriage, when taken within the bonds of marriage, are right and pleasing before God and fulfill the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth. But those same things when taken outside the bonds of marriage are a curse.
No sin is causing the loss of the Spirit of the Lord among our people more today than sexual promiscuity. It is causing our people to stumble, damning their growth, darkening their spiritual powers, and making them subject to other sins…
So garbled in values have our morals become that some youth would not dare touch a cigarette, but freely engage in petting. Both are wrong, but one is infinitely more serious than the other…
May I suggest some steps to avoid the pitfalls of immorality:
1. Avoid late hours and weariness. The Lord said to retire to your bed early (D&C 88:124), and there are good reasons for that. Some of the worst sins are committed after midnight by tired heads…
2. Keep your dress modest…
3. Have good associates or don’t associate at all. Be careful in the selection of your friends…
4. Avoid necking and petting like a plague, for necking and petting are the concession that precedes the complete loss of virtue.
5. Have a good physical outlet of some sport or exercise. Overcome evil with good…
6. Think clean thoughts. Those who think clean thoughts do not do dirty deeds. You are responsible before God not only for your acts but also for controlling your thoughts… “As [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Prov 23:7)
Yes, avoid late hours; dress modestly; seek good associates; avoid necking and petting; have a good physical outlet; think good thoughts; pray. May the Lord bless us as a people. We have taken upon us sacred covenants. We must be faithful. We are in the world, it is true, but we must not partake of the evils of the world. Let us ever be on guard against the flattery of prominent men in the world, false educational ideas, and sexual impurity.
Source: General Conference, October 3, 1964
(Edited for publication from the chapter by the same name in “The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil”) Posted by H. Verlan Andersen
1. See Preach My Gospel (Salt Lake City, Utah : Published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ©2004), pages 7, 88–87.
2. See “ The Book of Mormon,” chapter 9, verse 9, The Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. : Published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,1981), page 485.
3. Brigham Young, 6 May 1885, The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, volume 2, edited by Richard S. Van Wagoner (Salt Lake City : The Smith-Pettit Foundation, 2009), page 485 ; spelling and capitalization modified.
4. The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil (Published by H. Verlan Andersen, ©1972), pages 178, 179 ; punctuation and capitalization modifi ed.
5. Preach My Gospel (Salt Lake City, Utah : Published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ©2004), page 33.
6. The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil (Published by H. Verlan Andersen, ©1972), page 180.