Two Masters

We live in a world where the vast majority of us operate our lives in shades of gray. We relate to one another more easily in this vast Telestial and dreary sphere. Very few, if any, operate at the opposite ends of the spectrum being either black or white or in other words, utter darkness or glorious light. If you ever run into one of these two, your instinct would very soon impel you to turn around and avoid such a person. Very few would be drawn to such an individual. One such person who existed on the light end of this scale was Jesus Christ. During His mortal life, He said:

Matthew 6:24 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.

There was no room in between. You were expected to drop what you were doing and never look back if you wanted to follow Him. This is why people either loved or hated Jesus Christ. Our world is full of of all kinds of permissiveness and it extends well into the lives of all who claim to follow Him. In a world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, people permit varying degrees of pornography, graphic violence, and other vices into their homes and thus into their hearts. Furthermore, idleness and idolatry in all its colors permeate the very spaces that should be most closely guarded. We live in an age where all this information is instantly accessible by the touch and swipe of a finger.

If Jesus Christ or any such individual who operates solely in the white came into your life, he would seem weird to you. You would not want to spend very much time around him if at all. He would not care to indulge in all the things that you consider enjoyable or relaxing. Conversations with such a person would be very brief; your eyes might even glaze over. You would ultimately become bored of such a friendship and you really wouldn’t want to be around him.

We should spend our lives tirelessly pushing toward the light and striving to push all the filthy gray behind us. If you ever make friends with a person or people striving to cling only to the light and to avoid all the shades of gray, do yourself and that person a favor and cling tightly to that friendship and strive together. It is all too easy to find those who are drawn to the dark end of the scale and desire to partake in its filthy blackness. This leads to death.

The Drunkards of Ephraim

There are four “woe” chapters in Isaiah (28-31) representative of a covenant curse. Obedience to God’s commandments brings covenant blessings while disobedience brings covenant curses. In chapter twenty-eight, Isaiah addresses Ephraim:

Isaiah 28:1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!
2 Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.
3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:
4 And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.

Isaiah addresses the heads of Ephraim crowned with pride yet refers to them as fat valleys, or in other words, rich and low. They are drunk with wine, or in other words, intoxicated with their own sense of pride, power, and glory. But they will reap destruction. Isaiah can always be read as a historical record as Ephraim was indeed destroyed along with the entire northern kingdom, but it can also be read allegorically and prophetically. Because human nature is the same in every generation and every civilization, we can expect the same to happen with Ephraim in the last days. Ephraim’s father was Joseph who was sold into Egypt who married Asenath an Egyptian woman. So Ephraim was half Hebrew and half Egyptian. Jews always seemed to have familial and economical ties with Egypt, a superpower in its day and its influence no doubt is seen in Lehi’s life as well as Nephi whose name’s etymology is Egyptian.

“The Prophet Joseph Smith informed us that the record of Lehi was contained on the one hundred sixteen pages that were first translated and subsequently stolen, and of which an abridgment is given us in the First Book of Nephi, which is the record of Nephi individually, he himself being of the lineage of Manasseh; but that Ishmael was of the lineage of Ephraim, and that his sons married into Lehi’s family, and Lehi’s sons married Ishmael’s daughters, thus fulfilling the words of Jacob upon Ephraim and Manasseh in the 48th chapter of Genesis [verse 16] which says: ‘And let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.’ Thus these descendants of Manasseh and Ephraim grew together upon this American continent, with a sprinkling from the house of Judah, from Mulek descended, who left Jerusalem eleven years after Lehi, and founded the colony afterwards known as Zarahemla found by Mosiah — thus making a combination, an intermixture of Ephraim and Manasseh with the remnants of Judah, and for aught we know, the remnants of some other tribes that might have accompanied Mulek. And such have grown up upon the American continent.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 23, pp. 184, 185)

So why do I bring up Lehi? Well, I sometimes tend to go off on tangents and this is one of them, although it’s all connected. But if we liken Isaiah’s words concerning Ephraim to ourselves, what does his ties with Egypt have to do with us? Egypt and America fit the same superpower archetype. I like how Avraham Gileadi described the matter:

“It would be inconsistent with a God who communicates his will to his children if the endtime revelations he gave through his prophets didn’t specifically mention America, the superpower of the world today. In fact, America features prominently in Isaiah’s prophecy under another name.

That name—a codename belonging to the great superpower of Isaiah’s day—is Egypt. Having seen the end from the beginning, Isaiah synchronized the things he chose to write about ancient Egypt so they would match endtime America, one nation being the mirror image of the other.

Like Egypt, America reaches a peak of prosperity, then experiences sudden decline. Nations who rely on America’s military for protection against an endtime Assyrian alliance, are disappointed as America descends into anarchy and a harsh taskmaster takes over the reins of government:

Isaiah 31:1
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
     relying on horses,
putting their trust in immense numbers
     of chariots and vast forces of horsemen,
but who do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
     nor inquire of Jehovah!

Isaiah 19:2
I will stir up the Egyptians against the Egyptians;
     they will fight brother against brother
and neighbor against neighbor,
     city against city and state against state.

Isaiah 19:3
Egypt’s spirit shall be drained from within;
     I will frustrate their plans,
and they will resort to the idols and to spiritists,
     to mediums and witchcraft.

Isaiah 19:4
Then will I deliver the Egyptians
     into the handof a cruel master;
a harsh ruler will subject them,
     says the Lord, Jehovah of Hosts.

Because of the people’s wickedness, idolatries, and abominations, plagues and natural disasters desolate America and its economy collapses. Its heads of state in the political capital consider themselves as wise as the founding fathers but they make a total mess of the nation’s affairs:

Isaiah 19:5–6
The waters of the lakes shall ebb away
     as stream beds become desolate and dry.
The rivers shall turn foul,
     and Egypt’s waterways recede and dry up.

Isaiah 19:9–10
Manufacturers of combed linen
     and weavers of fine fabrics will be dismayed.
The textile workers will know despair,
     and all who work for wages suffer distress.

Isaiah 19:13–15
The ministers of Zoan have been foolish,
     the officials of Noph deluded;
     the heads of state have led Egypt astray.
Jehovah has permeated them
     with a spirit of confusion;
they have misled Egypt in all that it does,
     causing it to stagger like a drunkard into his vomit.
And there will be nothing the Egyptians can do about it.”

We see this happening today. But what about Ephraim? Most Latter-day Saints are grafted into that great tree through Ephraim. In another blog, I quoted the following scripture:

Isaiah 2:2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

I also posed the following question:

Could one replace Judah with Ephraim and Jerusalem with Salt Lake City? Is there another candidate for the Lord’s covenant people in the latter days if not Judah? Who else sang joyfully, “O Babylon, O Babylon, we bid thee farewell. We’re going to the mountains of Ephraim to dwell?” (LDS Hymns, Ye Elders of Israel, p. 319).

And yet Brigham Young lamented how much the saints had brought Babylon with them:

Have we separated ourselves from the nations? Yes. And what else have we done?… Have we not brought Babylon with us? Are we not promoting Babylon here in our midst? Are we not fostering the spirit of Babylon that is now abroad on the face of the whole earth?… Yes, yes, to some extent, and there is not a Latter-day Saint but what feels that we have too much of Babylon in our midst.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 17, p. 38).

Brigham Young also declared:

I am more afraid of covetousness in our elders than I am of the hordes of hell. Have we men out now of that class? I believe so. I am afraid of such spirits; for they are more powerful and injurious to this people than all hell outside our borders. All of her enemies in the United States or in the world and all hell with them marshaled against us to not do us the injury that covetousness in the hearts of this people to do us; For it is idolatry. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 12, p. 269).

Before him, Joseph exclaimed the following at Far West:

Brethren, we are gathering to this beautiful land to build up Zion…But since I have been here I perceive the spirit of selfishness, covetousness exists in the hearts of the saints…Here are those who begin to spread out, buying up all the land they are able to do…thinking to lay foundations for themselves only, looking to their own individual families…Now I want to tell you that Zion cannot be built up in any such way…I see signs put out, beer signs, speculative schemes are being introduced. This is the ways of the world—Babylon indeed, and I tell you in the name of the God of Israel, if there is not repentance…you will be broken up and scattered from this choice land. (Edward Stevenson, Life and History of Elder Edward Stevenson, p. 40-41).

The saints indeed were broken up and scattered. The Lord gave them an opportunity to build Zion, but they built up foundations of commerce for themselves instead. They served Mammon rather than God. Hugh Nibley expounded further:

“Elders of Israel are greedy after the things of this world. If you ask them if they are ready to build up the kingdom of God, their answer is prompt–”Why, to be sure we are, with our whole souls; but we want first to get so much gold, speculate and get rich, and then we can help the church considerably. We will go to California and get gold, go and buy goods and get rich, trade with the emigrants, build a mill, make a farm, get a large herd of cattle, and then we can do a great deal for Israel.

I have heard this many times from friends and relatives, but it is hokum. What they are saying is, “If God will give me a million dollars, I will let him have a generous cut of it.” And so they pray and speculate and expect the Lord to come through for them. He won’t do it: “And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property” (D&C 19:26). “Let them repent of all their sins, and of all their covetous desires, before me, saith the Lord; for what is property unto me? saith the Lord” (D&C 117:4). He does not need our property or our help.

Every rhetorician knows that his most effective weapons by far are labels. He can demolish the opposition with simple and devastating labels such as communism, socialism, or atheism, popery, militarism, or Mormonism, or give his clients’ worst crimes a religious glow with noble labels such as integrity, old-fashioned honesty, tough-mindedness, or free competitive enterprise. “You can get away with anything if you just wave the flag,” a business partner of my father once told me. He called that patriotism. But the label game reaches its all-time peak of skill and effrontery in the Madison Avenue master stroke of pasting the lovely label of Zion on all the most typical institutions of Babylon: Zion’s Loans, Zion’s Real Estate, Zion’s Used Cars, Zion’s Jewelry, Zion’s Supermart, Zion’s Auto Wrecking, Zion’s Outdoor Advertising, Zion’s Gunshop, Zion’s Land and Mining, Zion’s Development, Zion’s Securities–all that is quintessentially Babylon now masquerades as Zion.”

The drunkards of Ephraim in the last days are on course to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy. They pretend to build up Zion by waving the flag, but they prop up Babylon instead.

To the Lamanites, Part 3

Four years ago, I wrote an analysis of the Lord’s promises and the prophecies of Book of Mormon prophets regarding the remnant of Joseph in the last days and about the building of New Jerusalem:

To the Lamanites
To the Lamanites, Part 2

Over the years, I have read commentaries and watched videos of people attempting to discredit the Book of Mormon and rationalize and reason to themselves why Native Americans cannot be Lamanites or whether there were any Lamanites “among” the Native Americans. One of the biggest arguments deals with the various DNA tests that have been conducted in order to determine whether any candidates exist whose markers can be traced back to Jewish ancestry. And while there may exist a substantial collection of data to make an argument, a substantial collection is not the same as a complete collection. To put it simply, ALL indigenous peoples of the Americas have not been tested. There does not exist a complete and total collection of data.

The Lord keeps His promises. He does and will vindicate His prophets. The world will not pass away before all His words are fulfilled. In the New Testament, we read:

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

It is traditionally believed that Jesus referred to the Gentiles to whom the gospel would be preached after His ministry to the Jews. But in the Book of Mormon, Jesus vindicates His words:

3 Nephi 15:12 Ye are my disciples; and ye are a light unto this people, who are a remnant of the house of Joseph.
13 And behold, this is the land of your inheritance; and the Father hath given it unto you.
14 And not at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell it unto your brethren at Jerusalem.
15 Neither at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell unto them concerning the other tribes of the house of Israel, whom the Father hath led away out of the land.
16 This much did the Father command me, that I should tell unto them:
17 That other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
18 And now, because of stiffneckedness and unbelief they understood not my word; therefore I was commanded to say no more of the Father concerning this thing unto them.
19 But, verily, I say unto you that the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you, that ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity; therefore it is because of their iniquity that they know not of you.
20 And verily, I say unto you again that the other tribes hath the Father separated from them; and it is because of their iniquity that they know not of them.
21 And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
22 And they understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching.

The lost and dispersed tribes of Israel may be lost and unknown to the world, but they were never lost or unknown to the Lord. And He repeatedly declared in the Book of Ezekiel that He would again gather them up.

God needs only one seed and a generous amount of patience and time in order to produce a vast harvest of good fruit. He only needed Adam and Eve to multiply and replenish the Earth. He only needed one man and his family of eight to preserve humankind from the flood. He only needed to promise one very elderly Abraham and his barren wife that a nation would spring forth from them and that his descendants would be as many as the stars that Abraham might be able to count. God only needed one man and his family to preserve brass plates that his posterity might have the commandments of the Lord when they were sent to inherit a new promised land in America. And God needs at least one man and his family to preserve the blood of Lehi to fulfill His promise and blessing that in due time, Jacob will flourish in the wilderness and the Lamanites will blossom as the rose (D&C 49:24)!

Until the learned men of the world test every last American person for the correct DNA markers, they cannot unequivocally say that no posterity of Lehi exists. They would need a sample of Lehi’s DNA to make a conclusive statement anyway. The Lord is never too late in His doings. He is always right on time, according to His own wisdom and timing.

Do Christians need archeological evidence of the Bible to believe in Jesus Christ? Then why do they need genetic evidence to believe that before the great day of the Lord, Lamanites will once again flourish? How often has God vindicated His own words and yet people doubt and walk away?

A Voice of Warning

Ten years ago today, as a call to action by M. Russell Ballard to share the gospel using the internet, I began this blog. It seems fitting that to celebrate this ten year anniversary, I share Parley P. Pratt’s small, but powerful book which he wrote while on a two month mission to New York. It was probably the most powerful LDS missionary tract of the 19th century. It’s a must read!

“You may blame me, and say that I am a false prophet, or mad, or possessed of the devil; but behold, your mocking will be of short duration; for soon the great Jehovah will mock when your fear cometh, and laugh at your calamity; and as for your scoffs, or frowns, or flatteries, I regard them not, for the Lord God has sent me, to warn you, and to prophesy these things, and him alone do I fear, And when I walk through the midst of you, and behold your abominations, I dare no longer hold my peace, lest the very stones should cry out.”–Parley P. Pratt, Voice of Warning, ch. 5, p. 142.