When the Pharisees asked Christ which was the greatest commandment in the law, He answered:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.Matthew 22:37-40
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Just like that, Jesus took the Ten Commandments and boiled them down to two: love God, and love our neighbor. Every law in the Gospel serves one of these two functions.
King Benjamin took it a step further and clarified that we show love to God specifically by showing love to our neighbor:
When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. (Mosiah 2:17)Mosiah 2:17
It seems until the last decade or so, this was a pretty clear principle. But today, for one reason or another, a lot of people have embraced a twisted interpretation of this teaching, wherein we capitulate to the whims and wants of others and call it pure love, even when said people need correction and guidance.
There are enough holes in this logic to sink a cruise liner without dragging it along an iceberg.
When we hear the phrase “false gods” or “idols” we usually think of Old Testament sculptures, like the golden calf among the Israelites, or the silver statuettes of Diana. There are modern equivalents too, like smartphone addiction, or overworking ourselves for money.
A most dangerous of these false gods–measured by its ability to subvert your faith and destroy your testimony–comes in the form of political power and ideology. Secular philosophy is a false god that has ensnared far too many Latter-day Saints, whether they realize it or not. This false god takes no prisoners and claims victims on all points of the political and ideological spectrum.
Brothers and sisters, we need to wake up to this, before it leads us down a dark, destructive path.
After all, if we call sinful behavior for what it is, that’s hypocritical, right? We can’t do that, it’s judgmental! And even worse, it’s mean! And Christ wasn’t mean, He was nice all the time! So I’m gonna need you to sign off on me as I engage in [insert sinful behavior here.]
Consider the book of Alma, Chapter 30, wherein Alma confronted an antichrist named Korihor. Korihor was one of three notable men in the Book of Mormon who led a significant number of people away from the Church, persuading them not to believe in God, and to seek other power instead in their mortality. (The other antichrists were Sherem and Nehor.)
Korihor’s actions and teachings eventually landed him in front of Alma, the prophet, whereupon he demanded a sign from Alma to prove whether or not there was a God. As a result, Korihor was struck dumb, and had to confess the truth of his actions in writing:
52 And Korihor put forth his hand and wrote, saying: I know that I am dumb, for I cannot speak; and I know that nothing save it were the power of God could bring this upon me; yea, and I always knew that there was a God.
53 But behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. And he said unto me: There is no God; yea, and he taught me that which I should say. And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me.
What was the end result of this? Well, for Korihor, not good:
56 And it came to pass that the curse was not taken off of Korihor; but he was cast out, and went about from house to house begging for his food.
And then he was trampled to death by a mob. Why?
60 … the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell.
Why were so many led astray by Korihor and other antichrists? We’ve been commanded to proclaim boldly while the devil leads many away through “soothing words.” Is charity “being nice” or is the mantra of being Christlike (a phrase enemies of the church often bludgeon believers with) really loving our neighbor enough to warn and declare repentance with boldness?
God has made His plan and His work as clear as possible. We know who we are, why we are here, and what we must do to come home to Him. We know His method of revelation, both personal as well as for His Church at large. We know that Russell M. Nelson is His prophet today.
I urge you, I implore you, to be watchful with your spiritual loyalties. Examine the ideas that you have prioritized above all others. Is it of God? Is it compliant with what He has already revealed? Do we frame our worldview according to our faith, or do we allow the world and its false gods to dictate our faith?
Is the adversary trying to deceive you, despite what you know to be true? Consider these questions when the devil comes at you in the form of an angel, subtly trying to appeal to your better nature while carefully leading you astray. He will attack the family, the priesthood, and the scriptures.
Be watchful. Be vigilant. Pray always, and study the words of the prophets. Don’t fall for the podcasts and blogs and YouTube channels that profess to be faithful, but teach sinister doctrines.
Shun false idols. Choose the Kingdom of God. No matter the cost.
“Hearing His Voice,” – Elder David P. Homer, April 2019
Alma 30 (Korihor)
Jacob 7 (Sherem)
Alma 1 (Nehor)