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A Sickening Realization ~ 2012-09-21
This morning in my personal scripture study I was reading in the Book of Mormon, Alma chapter 14. In this chapter Alma and Amulek have just had a big confrontation with the lawyers and politicians of the day who are angered by their preaching against the establishment. They are imprisoned on trumped-up charges and then the government goes after the families who have believed the words of Alma and Amulek. First, all the men in these families are chased out of town by men throwing rocks. Next, the government rounds up all the women and children who are counted among the believers and throws them into a giant furnace. They also throw in their records, i.e. their scriptures. Alma and Amulek are brought up in restraints and forced to watch it all.
I've read this chapter and heard the story many times before, but today it hit me: This is going to happen again, in my lifetime. Even now, the forces of corrupt government are turning on the Christians. It started with nice little words like 'tolerance', 'alternative lifestyle', 'pro-choice' and 'free speech'. Now we find they have no tolerance for us; they give us no alternative to accepting their lifestyle; they want to take away our choice and take away our right to free speech. We find ourselves ridiculed, harassed and violently persecuted when we speak out against non-Chirstian behaviors that we feel are ruining this once-great country.
Throughout history, the faithful have always believed that God would take care of them if they kept his commandments. That doesn't mean he will spare every individual life and shield everyone from the effects of the evil acts of others, but it DOES mean that as a people or a nation, he will see that those who follow him will prosper, and those individuals who do suffer or die will have it counted in their favor. This is what made America the greatest nation in history; it was the greatest CHRISTIAN nation. It's in our national anthem; it's in our Declaration of Independence and other writings of our Founding Fathers. It's printed on our money. It's in our pledge of allegiance. There's no point in denying it: This nation was founded - and for over two hundred years remained - a Christian nation.
But sometimes I feel like the scales are close to the tipping point. Do most people still go to church? Do most people study the scriptures? Pray? Keep the sabbath? Refrain from sexual sin? Remain honest and fair in their dealings? Avoid greed and pride? Worship nothing else before God? Treat their bodies as temples? Keep their thoughts and language clean? Have faith? Believe that working for something is better than taking it from someone else?
So maybe we're near the tipping point and maybe we're not. It's hard to tell, because those who control the mainstream media would like us to believe that we're well past this supposed 'tipping point' and that there are no consequences to speak of. These evil forces would like us to believe that a future of endless physical pleasures and no consequences is eagerly awaiting us, as soon as we can cast off the rusted shackles of religion and morality. But I think that if we were actually living the lifestyles portrayed in our popular entertainment we would already have wiped ourselves out.
I guess it depends on where you live; it seems to me like small towns are still quite a bit nicer than our our filthy, sprawling cities. It seems it's easier to avoid responsibility for your actions in a big city; less accountability. Less chance that you'll run into one of your neighbors when you're doing something you shouldn't be. There are some cities that actually pride themselves on the amount of evil you can find there while remaining safely anonymous. (I was at a conference in Las Vegas earlier this week, but Vegas is by no means the ONLY place you can get into trouble!)
Those who do NOT believe in God have always trusted on their own strength to save them, and for some reason have always felt it necessary to tear down or destroy the faith of those who still had it. Why do they do this? There are many answers, but I think the basis of it all is that there is no surer way to make sure that Satan rules your heart than to pretend that God doesn't exist. Or to put it another way: When you push God out of your heart, something is going to move in and take his place.
We know from the scriptures that this time around is going to be different. The whole world is not going to become wicked and lose the light of the gospel as has happened in every previous era: There is going to be a split. There are going to be some people who remain faithful until the end, and then the wicked will be burned. BUT until that time comes, good and evil are going to battle it out here on the Earth, in a raging war that will allow no fence-sitters.
And thus I have my sickening realization. I always knew the prophecies about the last days, but I think I've gotten a distinct feel for the kinds of horrible things we're going to see. The message? For me, I guess the point is, This is what happens when you let evil in the door: It takes over. We have let it happen in our government, in public policy and in our schools and media: 'Tolerance' for that which cannot be tolerated. The filthy rats that we let in our house because they told us to feel sorry for them are now trying to force us out into the storm... or better yet, push us into the fireplace.