Friday, September 10, 2010

"They Shall Not Be Moved Out of Their Place"

When I was reflecting the other day on the early days of the Welfare Program, and Harold B. Lee's role in it, I was reminded again how imperative it was then to encourage the members of the Church to follow the Brethren the Lord had raised up in these last days.  If there is a recurring theme in the sermons of Harold B. Lee, it would have to be the counsel to "follow the Brethren."

He was fond of quoting this scripture: 

Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his [Joseph Smith's] words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.
For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name's glory.
For thus saith the Lord God: Him have I inspired to move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good, and his diligence I know, and his prayers I have heard.
Yea, his weeping for Zion I have seen, and I will cause that he shall mourn for her no longer; for his days of rejoicing are come unto the remission of his sins, and the manifestations of my blessings upon his works.
For, behold, I will bless all those who labor in my vineyard with a mighty blessing, and they shall believe on his words, which are given him through me by the Comforter, which manifesteth that Jesus was crucified by sinful men for the sins of the world, yea, for the remission of sins unto the contrite heart.  (D&C 21:4-9).

That revelation was given on the day the Church was organized, April 6, 1830.  It always struck me as significant that even before the Church was organized, apparently Joseph Smith had "wept" for Zion.  In those formative years as revelation upon revelation burst upon him, it is striking to think what the enormity of the task that lay ahead of him must have been.  From the moment the Church was organized until this very writing, the cause of Zion has grown throughout the world.  We are witnessing its steady progress across the earth today.

Did anyone foresee the day when there would be temples in Russia?  On August 29, 2010, the temple in Kyiv Ukraine was dedicated by President Thomas S. Monson, making it the 134th operating temple worldwide.  We are living in the day foretold in that first formative revelation on April 6, 1830, when the cause of Zion is literally being fulfilled before our eyes.

There was a difficult time in Church history, when the Lord gave perhaps the sternest warning appearing anywhere in scripture.  It was when the first Nauvoo Temple was being built.  We still encounter opposition whenever a new temple is announced, that is true, but it was nothing like what it was in those days.  For that reason, it seems, the Saints delayed in commencing the work to build the Nauvoo Temple, knowing that the minute they set about the task persecution would surely come. 

In His patience, the Lord extended the time, but the extension also brought about the stern warning:  "If you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God."  (D&C 124:32). 

But as is so often with the Lord, there are marvelous blessings coupled with the warnings.  This time was proof of that:  "If my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place." (D&C 124:45). 

There are many people struggling in this worldwide economy and society to hold on to their families in the midst of the gathering storms ahead.  This promise should give great comfort.  Who doesn't want to hold on to the hope that if faithful they will have a place of inheritance?

We live now in an openly hostile and wicked world seeking to not only undermine traditional family values, but to topple the very pillars by which they are upheld.  I never would have believed that by statute and by constitutional amendment state by state, we would see a day when marriage would of necessity have to be defined legally as between a man and a woman.  Living prophets have declared: 

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
All human beings — male and female — are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.  ("The Family:  A Proclamation to the World," read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah).

The promise we shall not be moved out of our place is a restatement of what the Lord told the multitude: "Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants." (3 Nephi 12:1). 

I repeat the promise that those who hearken to the voice of these men whom the Lord has raised up "shall not be moved out of their place."' (D&C 124:45). 

But the promise was followed with this caution: "But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest." (D&C 124:46).

There are among us today some very erudite and persuasive voices who would have us believe that changing the views of the leaders of the Church on the bedrock eternal principles they have published in the Proclamation is akin to "waiting them out" until their views soften and they finally cave under pressure from the world as they did on plural marriage and the blacks and the priesthood.  These voices are not in harmony with the living prophets, and gay and lesbian marriage stands in stark opposition to the revealed will of God through His servants. 

We can and should reach out in love to all, but to believe for one instant this fundamental truth can be altered somehow is folly and will end in misery if pursued to its logical conclusion.

I say that because the definition of marriage is in a separate category.  The leaders of the Church are either inspired or they are mere mortals free to alter doctrine as they might policies and procedures at their whim and fancy.

In order to have the promise not to be moved out of our place, we must stand with the living prophets and smite the threatening waves before us, even though our stance will be increasingly unpopular.

In the October 1970 General Conference, President Harold B. Lee made some prophetic remarks as he introduced President Joseph Fielding Smith.  This is what he said:

We have some tight places to go before the Lord is through with this church and the world in this dispensation, which is the last dispensation, which shall usher in the coming of the Lord. The gospel was restored to prepare a people ready to receive him. The power of Satan will increase; we see it in evidence on every hand. There will be inroads within the Church. There will be, as President Tanner has said, "Hypocrites, those professing, but secretly are full of dead men's bones." We will see those who profess membership but secretly are plotting and trying to lead people not to follow the leadership that the Lord has set up to preside in this church.

Now the only safety we have as members of this church is to do exactly what the Lord said to the Church in that day when the Church was organized. We must learn to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through his prophet, "as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me. . . as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith." (D&C 21:4-5). There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name's glory." (D&C 21:6).  (CR, October 1970, 152-3).

In three short weeks we will have the privilege once again of sitting at the feet of the living prophets among us and taking counsel from them.  As we sustain them and uphold them with our faith and prayers, the promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against us and that we will not be moved out of our place will come to pass. 

Ignore them, and we will not be blessed.

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