April 2021 Spring Conference
Friday April 2nd till Wednesday Noon April 7th
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Update and Articles
When we look at the happenings all around us and even in the church, we feel confusion and want stability instead. I submit it was no different in 1830, except they didn’t have covid-19 then. Look at this time as an opportunity to reflect on where we need to be as individuals and as a people. Below is an article that will call us to meditate and repent.
SECTION 83:8 TODAY'S THOUGHT
February 17, 2021
We read section 83:8a. "And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received, which vanity and unbelief hath brought the whole church under condemnation. 8b And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all; and they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written, 8c. that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father's kingdom, otherwise there remaineth a scourge and a judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion; for, shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay."
Some strive to understand the words of God by their learning derived from man. A good education is valuable if used with wisdom and common sense. We should remember that today's learning grew out of that which was developed through the Roman Church, into whose hands the Children of Israel were given. Isa 47:6 "I was wroth with my people, I have polluted mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand; thou didst show them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke."
The yoke that is upon our shoulders is our culture, and that is defined as the dictionary says: "The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively." So, if we look to the source from which our culture is derived, we should realize the need for wisdom and the gift of the Holy Ghost along with common sense.
In Sect 83:8a. above we read, "And your minds in times past have been darkened..." but it does not say how dark. Yet when we look to the prophets, we can get an idea of the darkness. Lamentations 2:1 "How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger and cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel and remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger!"
"Covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud." Is this not the same as saying "minds have been darkened?" We could say their minds have become "clouded." The point is their minds were affected, their ability to think clearly was restricted. This was given to the early church in 1832, 2 years 5 months after the organization on April 6, 1830. Not only did He cover them with a cloud, but in His anger, He cast down from heaven the beauty of Israel. What is the beauty of Israel? Is it not God's favor to Israel? Did he not covenant with the children of Israel to be His people? Did He not choose them to be a special people before the world? Did He not choose Israel to establish His Kingdom, His Church here on this land through the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr?
With what learning I have, and a little common sense, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and using some wisdom, I have come to believe that the early Church lost God's favor after September 1832. If that is true, then the facts of History will show the effect of losing that favor in the following years. 8b "And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all; and they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written."
One year later, the Saints were driven out of Jackson County, Missouri, the place for the House of the Lord. Did They repent and remember? No, they said "we will go back to Kirtland and build the House of the Lord there." They did build the House of the Lord there, and received back some of God's favor, but did they remember to do what they were told to do to lift the condemnation? Did they repent? No, nor did they remember the former commandments to do as He had written. In fact, in 1835 they watered them down to fit their desires, yet they would still not obey even the diluted version. Eventually they were driven out of Kirtland.
From 1836 through 1838 persecution became so intense they began to move back to Missouri, and after more persecution, ended up in Far West where they laid the foundation again for the House of the Lord. Still, they did not repent and correct the condemnation. Consequently, they were driven out of Far West and eventually out of the state of Missouri, ending up in Illinois. They still had not repented to address the issue of condemnation. There they did build a temple and the Lord destroyed it with fire and wind. In 1844, Joseph and Hyrum, his brother, were killed and the Church broken into confusion.
Thus, we can see the intensity of the darkness, brought on by unbelief and vanity. Unbelief because they did not obey the commandments of God, and vanity because they chose rather to follow the thoughts and learning of men, setting aside the word of God in favor of the words of men. This has been and still is now the weakness of Israel.
Joseph F Smith