I find members increasingly turning to the world to interpret the past, to understand the present, and to anticipate the future.
The world's learning is blind to the meaning of current events. I am astonished at the members who are anxious to provide more and more legal protections to immoral perversions such as homosexuality. These members seem to anticipate that as we hand our laws over to such people they will have shown Christlike love and will receive kindness in return.
But it doesn't take a lot of discernment to recognize that these immoral groups are driven by the adversary, and they will not be satisfied until they have destroyed the last faithful remnants of any religion that clings to enough truth to teach that their practices lead to damnation.
When we read the book of Mormon we see a society as God sees it. We see it through the eyes of a prophet. But for those people living in those days there were also worldly men presenting a different interpretation of things.
Take the example of Amalakiah. We read it and see it through the eyes of a prophet. We see through the guise of Amalakiahs proposed "small changes in the law" and know that those changes would destroy their liberty. But that certainly isn't how Amalakiah and his followers presented their cause. They didn't have large "Down with liberty!" banners hanging from their rooftops. No. They presented a worldly interpretation of what they were doing that made it seem not only innocent, but even like a worthy cause to those who were willing to be duped.
It has been the same through the ages. Sin rarely comes out and calls itself sin. It much prefers to put on a costume and call itself virtue. Those who see through the light of the gospel are not fooled. But those, whether in the church or out, who choose to see through lens of the world are fooled by even the thinnest disguise.
The lens the world offers portrays the pioneers as having been driven from place to place because they voted as a block, because they were opposed to slavery, and because they were polygamists. But that isn't what Brigham Young said about it. Brigham Young said if they had put aside polygamy, the world would have demanded something else next. And the world wouldn't have been satisfied and given up their persecution until the Mormons gave up Joseph Smith and the Book or Mormon as well. The lens the world offers sounds so reasonable, but with the light of Christ a different story appears entirely, and the world's lens shows forth as dark and distorted.
Christ spoke of the importance of discerning through the light of Christ instead of listening to worldly interpretations of past, present, and future. He said:
If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy body shall be full of darkness. If the light that be in thee be darkness how great is that darkness.
"If the light that in thee be darkness" is a phrase that means "if you see the world around you by a light other than the gospel light". If we see Joseph Smith through the eyes of "Rough Stone Rolling" we are choosing to let the light inside ourselves be darkness. If we see the persecution of the pioneers through the eyes of worldly interpretations instead of through the light of the gospel, we are choosing to let the light inside ourselves be darkness. If we choose to see questions of religious freedom through the lens of worldly norms then we are letting the light in us be darkness.
The world's lens into the past and the prophetic lens into the past stand in opposition. We must choose which one we look through, and accordingly choose to be full of light or darkness.
I am disturbed at the members that read "Rough Stone Rolling" or some of the dismal commentary included in the recent collections of Joseph Smith's writings and revelations. These are prime examples of Amalakiah like work. They take the truth and make it look ridiculous by presenting a worldly interpretation of events in its place. The prophet Joseph Smith knew the truth of the matter. He had miraculous insight. Yes, he was a man, but these books portray him as a frequently misguided man and "Rough Stone Rolling" accuses Joseph Smith of being in frequent violation of God's commandment of chastity. They choose to use the world's lens to look into the past, and not surprisingly, fail to find a real prophet of God there. When you let the adversary loan you a spyglass, it is no surprise that you can't see a prophet rightly through it. And it is ridiculously hard for people who once start looking through it to truly return to their full former faith. They think they have the inside story and pride themselves for their insider knowledge. Soon, they loose the light that is in them.
Truly, if the light that be in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness.
I find increasing pressure being mounted on good members to use the lens of the world to interpret the past, understand the present, and to anticipate the future.
There are those who seek to see the world around them through the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost, and there are those who look to the world for their understanding.
In these days, the issues of religious freedom and moral perversion are primary examples. Some choose to listen to the world.
The worldly lens into the future is no more accurate than its lens into the past. The world sees the past wrong. And it sees the future wrong.
One of the most obvious current fronts of this has been the homosexual "rights" movement. Members have been frequently duped into supporting legal measures that will, in time, only be turned against them and their faith. According to the world, these measures will bring a greater spirit of friendship and human happiness to the world. But if we look with the light of the gospel we see an altogether different picture where the "special rights" now being afforded to the homosexual community are used to silence and punish those who are true to the faith of God. This has already begun to manifest itself, and still, even as we begin to see gross miscarriages of justice brought about by exactly that means, still many of our own members seem to be easily duped into affording yet more power into the hands of those who only will use it to punish them, their posterity, and anyone who stands by the commandments of the true and living God.
We must look through the lens of the light of Christ to discern, and when we do we will know Joseph and Brigham had it right.
We must look through the lens of the light of Christ to see the past the way it really is. We must look through the same lens to see the future as it really will unfold. Even the present cannot be seen rightly by a man who looks at it through any other means.
And if our eye is single to God's glory, then in time, our whole bodies will be full of light. Let us therefore shun any light but his.