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—
That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. (D&C 84:56-58)
Even as we have turned a page on our calendar to declare a New Year-2017- there rests a condemnation upon the People of the Word - Even the Book of Mormon. Our minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because we have treated lightly the things we have received. Indeed it appears we have the "SAYING" part of the Book of Mormon down. We attend our conferences, our sacrament meetings, our firesides, etc,, but have we, like ancient Israel, missed the mark as well as we conform our worship of God to firesides, sacrament meetings, meetings in general, conferences, etc? Is the giving of intellectual or inspirational talks (while they do have their place) the acceptable worship that God desires?
ARE WE CONFINING OUR WORSHIP TO THE "SAYING"?
Alma's description of the Zoramites gives us a key insight into the "SAYING" engaged in by a group of people who went to church on the "Day of the Lord" and engaged in continual "SAYING":
Now, when they had come into the land, behold, to their astonishment they found that the Zoramites had built synagogues, and that they did gather themselves together on one day of the week, which day they did call the day of the Lord; and they did worship after a manner which Alma and his brethren had never beheld; For they had a place built up in the center of their synagogue, a place for standing, which was high above the head; and the top thereof would only admit one person.
Therefore, whosoever desired to worship must go forth and stand upon the top thereof, and stretch forth his hands towards heaven, and cry with a loud voice, saying:
Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy, and that thou wast a spirit, and that thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever. Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ. But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bind them down to a belief of Christ, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God. And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen.
Now it came to pass that after Alma and his brethren and his sons had heard these prayers, they were astonished beyond all measure. For behold, every man did go forth and offer up these same prayers.
Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which, being interpreted, is the holy stand. Now, from this stand they did offer up, every man, the selfsame prayer unto God, thanking their God that they were chosen of him, and that he did not lead them away after the tradition of their brethren, and that their hearts were not stolen away to believe in things to come, which they knew nothing about.
Now, after the people had all offered up thanks after this manner, they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand, to offer up thanks after their manner" ( Alma 31:8-23)
CONFERENCES, TALKS, AND YADA YADA YADA!
While there is a place for going to conferences and other meetings, if we find ourselves engaging in routine conferences, meetings, or talks for the sake of intellectual or social stimulation or public affirmations of faith, then perhaps the account of the Zoramites may hit a little too close to home. How often have we engaged in conferences, firesides, meetings, and the current Mormon Fad Movement only to find that once we have heard the many talks the people give each other loving hugs, the chairs get put away, and then the lights go out. The "SAYING" part being thus done the people then go to their homes and we wonder, "Will I ever have a relationship with God like Nephi? Will I ever have the privilege of hearing the voice from Heaven, "Behold, My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorfied my name, HEAR YE HIM?"
When does it become us instead of the Nephites at the temple in Bountiful? When does it become us instead of the Children of Israel at Sinai? When does the Kingdom Of God, his word, and his presence become real for me?
WHERE THE RUBBER HITS THE ROAD-- THE DOING
Actions of Faith are based upon the promises and commandments of God. God revealed himself to the Fathers and established his sovereignty over all things through a covenant relationship. For us and in the Land of America, our covenant relationship is governed by our covenant treaty and land grant--THE BOOK OF MORMON. We are then presented with a choice will we accept God's rule and pledge our loyalty to him as the center of our faith? As we go down into the waters of baptism we make a formal declaration of our loyalty and our intent to obey the God of our Fathers (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, Enos). Having made a declaration of our acceptance of him and our loyalty to him, we must then search diligently in record of the Fathers to identify the promises God made to them and then takes actions of faith to manifest the fruit of those promises.
Once we have identified the promises made, the journey really begins. We must lay hold upon the promises-- or in other words we must make a claim for the promises. God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that fears God and works righteousness is accepted of him. (Acts 10:43) As a covenant relationship is bound by legal terms, we must also make legal requests under the covenant. In other words, we have to ask for the promises to be fulfilled. The fruits that God desires are based upon us taking real action to fulfill those commandments:
"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.That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and 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." (D&C 84:58-59)
THE "DOING" of the Book of Mormon goes far beyond motivational or intellectual talks. It involves taking real covenant action by a group of people to stand up and be counted, to present themselves before the throne of God, and to call upon the God for the mercy, grace, and wisdom we so desperately need. Are you ready to make 2017 real by doing that which has been commanded by God? Do you desire to call upon the name of the Lord like the Fathers of old? Are we an assembly of people (i.e. church, community, etc) that builds itself upon the covenant works of God or the works of men?"
"Verily I say unto you, that ye are built upon my gospel; therefore ye shall call whatsoever things ye do call, in my name; therefore if ye call upon the Father, for the church, if it be in my name the Father will hear you; And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it.
But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return. For their works do follow them, for it is because of their works that they are hewn down; therefore remember the things that I have told you." (3 Nephi 27:9-12)
LET US MAKE 2017 REAL BY REMEMBERING THE BOOK OF MORMON--NOT ONLY TO SAY BUT TO DO! THAT WE MAY BRING FORTH THE FRUIT THE FATHER TRULY DESIRES!