Thursday, February 5, 2015

In the Dark ?

According to Lehi’s dream, this mortal experience entails many hours of wandering in darkness:
And it came to pass that as I followed [the angel] I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste. And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies. … And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood. And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree. And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost. And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree. (Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 8:7-8, 21-24; bold emphasis added.)
But what if we have managed to survive the mists of darkness only to find ourselves waiting at a door as night deepens? I have recently wondered about those ten virgins waiting at a door1—wondered if the five foolish ones, profiled in Jesus’ parable, ever found oil to buy at that midnight hour? The parable doesn’t say, but perhaps this scripture gives a hint:
Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. (Old Testament | Jeremiah 13:16)
I have wondered about the days and nights of our lives as we wander in the shifting mists? I look at us and wonder whether we are really mindful in dividing the light from the dark.

Would we recognize the déjà vu of
Hearken, O ye people of my church, and ye elders listen together, and hear my voice while it is called today, and harden not your hearts; For verily I say unto you that I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the light and the life of the world—a light that shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 45:6-7)?
Sometimes it seems we are so caught up in the traditions of the world mingled with our religious customs that it might be said of us:
(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. (New Testament | Romans 11:8)

They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man. (Old Testament | Job 12:25)
Do we really comprehend how strait the gate? how narrow the way? how strict the law? how steep the ascent? how eternal the consequence?2 When I consider:
▪  our food habits;
▪  our unconquered addictions to things of the world;
▪  our pursuit of success and money;
▪  our unthinking adherence to the philosophies and economic theories of the world;
▪  our frequent preference for ease and entertainment over increasing consciousness;
▪  our consumption of so much of the trite and trivial;
▪  our avoidance of being a peculiar people;
▪  our desperation to be “liked” and assimilated;
▪  our unpreparedness in discerning signs, symbols, mysteries, and prophecies;
▪  our trust in the arms of flesh (authorities, armaments, medication,3 technology, media, mortal perceptions, wars, lies, secrets, propaganda, “celebrities,” “elites,” Babylon,4 etc. etc.);
▪  our naiveté concerning the ways, means, and intrusions of the adversary and his devotees;
it seems many of us are coasting along thinking all is well in Zion; that Zion prospereth;5 that God will protect us and all our things, even when we only seek the surface of good.

One of our greatest dangers in these latter days is how much we willfully remain  in the dark about the:
“evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days”6 (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 89:4);
and so we trust in things and people that work to our destruction. When we hide our heads in the sand of ignorance or bliss, might we not, at some future time, face this accounting:
Let not that which I have appointed be polluted by mine enemies, by the consent of those who call themselves after my name; (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 101:97)
God did not warn us and forewarn us only in the “word of wisdom” (D&C 89), but gave other warnings about darkness.If we cannot discern the enemy, and are thus “blinded by the craftiness of men,”8 how can we not know that we are complicit with Babylon?

 But sooner or later, we shall all come to know how deceived and complicit—or not—we were:
Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. (New Testament | Luke 12:3)

There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light; and there is nothing which is sealed upon the earth save it shall be loosed. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 30:17)

For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated. And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 1:2-3)
So if we feel in the dark, here are five recommendations:
Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren [and sisters], that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ. (Book of Mormon | Moroni 7:19; bold emphasis added.)

And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. (Book of Mormon | Alma 34:33; bold emphasis added.)

And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: (Old Testament | Isaiah 58:10)

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (New Testament | 1 Peter 2:9)

Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—These should then be attended to with great earnestness. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 123:13-14)
1. New Testament | Matthew 25:1-13
THEN shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps,
and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
[Questions to ponder: Were the five foolish thus consigned to outer darkness? Did that leave the five wise to be distributed amongst the three kingdoms of glory as set out in Doctrine and Covenants 76? Does that adjust our notion that 50% will make it to celestial glory with God's statement that "few there be that find it" as set out in the footnote 2? Does that reduce our odds of coasting in?]
2. New Testament | Matthew 7:14 ~ Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (See also Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 14:14)
Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 27:33 ~ And it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he said unto his disciples: Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 132:21-22 ~ Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory. For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.
Book of Mormon | Alma 37:13 ~ O remember, remember, my son Helaman, how strict are the commandments of God. And he said: If ye will keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land—but if ye keep not his commandments ye shall be cut off from his presence.
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 9:41 ~ O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.
Old Testament | Isaiah 6:1 ~ IN the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. (Bold emphasis added.)
Book of Mormon | Alma 34:33 ~ And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
5. Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 28:20- ~ For behold, at that day shall [the devil] rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good. And others will he 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.
7. Old Testament | Isaiah 29:15 ~ Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?
Old Testament | Ezekiel 8:12 ~ Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 27:27 ~ And wo unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord! And their works are in the dark; and they say: Who seeth us, and who knoweth us? And they also say: Surely, your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay. But behold, I will show unto them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that I know all their works.
Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 28:9 ~ Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.
Pearl of Great Price | Moses 5:51 ~ For, from the days of Cain, there was a secret combination, and their works were in the dark, and they knew every man his brother.
New Testament | 1 John 2:9 ~ He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
Old Testament | Ecclesiastes 2:13 ~ Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.
Old Testament | Isaiah 5:20 ~ Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (See also Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 15:20)
New Testament | Matthew 6:22 - 23 ~ The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
New Testament | John 3:19-20 ~ And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
Book of Mormon | Helaman 13:29 ~ O ye wicked and ye perverse generation; ye hardened and ye stiffnecked people, how long will ye suppose that the Lord will suffer you? Yea, how long will ye suffer yourselves to be led by foolish and blind guides? Yea, how long will ye choose darkness rather than light?
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 10:57-58 ~ Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I came unto mine own, and mine own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 50:23 ~ And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 82:5 ~ Therefore, what I say unto one I say unto all: Watch, for the adversary spreadeth his dominions, and darkness reigneth;
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 95:5-6 ~ But behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many who have been ordained among you, whom I have called but few of them are chosen. They who are not chosen have sinned a very grievous sin, in that they are walking in darkness at noon–day.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 112:23 ~ Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 39:1-2 ~ HEARKEN and listen to the voice of him who is from all eternity to all eternity, the Great I AM, even Jesus Christ— The light and the life of the world; a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not; (see also Sections 34:1-2; 45:7; 88:49)
John Taylor ~ “There are events in the future, and not very far ahead, that will require all our faith, all our energy, all our confidence, all our trust in God, to enable us to withstand the influences that will be brought to bear against us. … We cannot trust in our intelligence; we cannot trust in our wealth; we cannot trust to any surrounding circumstances with which we are enveloped; we must trust alone in the living God to guide us, to direct us, to lead us, to teach us and to instruct us. And there never was a time when we needed to be more humble and more prayerful; there never was a time when we needed more fidelity, self-denial, and adherence to the principles of truth, than we do this day.” (John Taylor, 24 July 1880 speech, as quoted by Joseph Fielding Smith, Essentials in Church History [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1950], 479.)
8. Doctrine and Covenants | Section 76:75 - 76 ~ These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men. These are they who receive of his glory [terrestrial], but not of his fulness.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 123:12 ~ [T]here are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—
New Testament | Matthew 6:22-24 ~ The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (See also: 3 Nephi 13:23-24)