For a very long time when ever I thought of idols or idolatry I always thought of worshiping the golden calf like the Israelites did. This of course is a form of idolatry however it is only one of many forms of idolatry. The idols we worship, while failing to notice them as such, are honestly far worse than the golden calf. These seemingly small and innocuous idols are perfect examples of the flaxen cords as described in 2 Nephi 26:22 that bind us until it is everlastingly too late.
In general, anything can be taken to an extreme and become an idol since it can take us away from the true worship of God. This means even good things can become idols if we don’t approach them correctly. We like Israel of old are surrounded by false gods that constantly demand our attention. These false gods are quite alluring and once you give in a little it is much easier to compromise a little bit more.
This is increasingly becoming a problem which is readily apparent in the current generation of youth. There are so many things that can distract them away from the best things for them to be doing. In addition society as a whole will tell them certain things are acceptable for them to do which are clearly not in line with the worship of a divine being that wants to give us everything that he has.
The most pernicious aspect of idolatry is it necessarily takes our heart away from God and places it on things far less than God. When this happens then we stunt the communication channel between us and God limiting what he can, and how he can, instruct us. Idolatry quickly becomes pervasive in a society and forms self referential reasoning justifying its own existence. This can easily be seen in the literal worship of statues. Parents were willing to sacrifice their children to hunks of metal and stone because if they didn’t then whatever bad thing around the corner would be a result of their refusal. This became self-evident logic that was unfortunately quite false.
Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; and then the LORD’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.Deuteronomy 11:16-17
In studying the topic of idolatry I would highly recommend Avraham Gileadi’s book, “Modern Idolatry and The End of The World“. This book opened my eyes to many things that I knew were a little off, but finally know for certain that they are stumbling blocks in my quest to more fully understand God. In addition, the information presented in the book or in this article is in no way comprehensive. The only certain way to know what is an idol in your life is to ask your Heavenly Father who has promised to reveal the truth of all things to you.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.Moroni 10:5
If we do though ask God a question such as this when he reveals to us the answer, we must be fully prepared and ready to obey, otherwise he will stop revealing truth to us as we are not ready to receive it. This is no different from a children that asks a parent a question and then merrily ignores the response. The parent will quickly no that the answer doesn’t matter to the children and so we react accordingly. This in fact is even worse when we are communicating with God. If we come to God with an iniquitous heart then God will answer us according to our desires.
I the LORD will answer him that cometh [before me], according to the multitude of his idols; that I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.Ezekiel 14:4-5
Just a little bit false
When looking at idols or idolatry in general, it is rarely the case where a society is fully turned over to the complete worship of false gods. It is generally the case where the true God is worshipped in some fashion. However many invalid doctrines of men are intermingled with the true worship practices of God. This yields divine eternal blessings from God, for following his laws, which are consequently ascribed to many of the false practices associated with that worship.
This is highly dangerous because people feel as if they are worshipping the true God. However they are worshipping a manufactured image of the true God that in reality is leading them to destruction. A perfect example of this is the people of King Noah described in Mosiah 11 & 12. These people had been given righteous laws by the founder of their group of people Zeniff. However over time their thoughts, ideas, and religion in general was changed degree by degree until gross wickedness was openly accepted.
This perversion of the truth was so widespread that when Abinadi came to teach them of their falsehoods the wicked priests of King Noah were genuinely confused. They thought they were teaching truth as is evident in their reference to Isaiah 52:7-10 in Mosiah 12. They thought because they were spiritual leaders of the people they were somehow inherently special in the eyes of God. With this idea in mind, they felt justified in condemning Abinadi to death for the crime of speaking against their system of belief. Today many people are condemned to spiritual death by their churches for speaking against rampant false practices. Very few people want to hear that their ideas of religion are wrong and fewer still will take that knowledge and seek out what is actually true.
Another great example is the opening of the Book of Mormon itself. We are introduced to the Jews of the time we are honestly quite observant in the physical rites of their religion. These ordinances and rites were so pervasive they became a part of the culture itself. When Nephi was explaining to his brothers that the Jews of the time were actually a wicked people they couldn’t comprehend it. How could they be wicked if they went to church and the temple? Is this even possible?
We know that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people; for they kept the statutes and judgments of the Lord, and all his commandmentsLaman and Lemuel in – 1 Nephi 17:22
This was in reality vacuous logic. They were excellent at the outward observances of their religion however were in reality worshipping a false god. They sought to kill Lehi when he told them the truth. Jeremiah who was a contemporary of Lehi described the Jews of the time has having “changed their gods … for that which doth not profit” in Jeremiah 2:11.
Over time this mixture of truth and falsehoods changes however it is important to realize that anything less than divine perfection is outside the realm of God. He is by definition perfection and we can’t fully come to him without being perfect ourselves. Therefore just a little bit of falsehood puts us entirely outside of the realm of God.
For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;D&C 1:31
In studying the idea of how the doctrines of men can be mingled with scripture, I would highly recommend the book, “Teaching for Doctrines the Commandments of Men: Tradition in Modern Mormonism” by Robert Smith. This is focused on an LDS audience and quite clearly lays out the case in how the doctrines of the LDS church have been perverted over time from their original simplicity. I really enjoy that book and would recommend it to anyone who is searching for truth.
The first commandment God gave as part of what we know as the 10 Commandments had 2 major parts. The first one was to have no gods before the true God. The second part of the commandment was to not make anything in the likeness of God. It is important to note that the Hebrew word used for idol is pesel which means an image or representation. The word used for image is temunah which means create, shape or form which would naturally include statues.
According to Egyptian language, which the Israelites were very familiar, the triple inclusion of heaven, earth, and water signified the entire observable universe. Nothing can exist outside of this sphere of creation. The Egyptians had individual Gods for each of the levels of creation and worshipped them accordingly. A minor rewording of the commandment would be as follows, “Don’t make any images or statues of me or anything else and don’t worship them”. This would naturally be in stark contrast to all the societies around the Israelites because they all had images or statues of a god that they worshipped and ascribed divine powers to.
This commandment is not specifically prohibiting art in general. It is prohibiting seeking after the representation of God instead of the true God, which we sadly do today in many ways. Whenever we create something then it naturally becomes significant and has value. This value is misplaced away from the true source of all things to something that “moth and rust doth corrupt” as 3 Nephi 13:19 states.
One dangerous aspect of creating images of God is that we are now ascribing physical characteristics to an infinite divine being. We are saying that he operates or is fashioned in a certain way or form. While this can be helpful to many who can not comprehend a being outside of their understanding. It can equally be damaging to others who misplace their understanding of the divine onto the flawed representation created by men.
As we limit God to our physical representations then we are inherently participating in a lie and a delusion of sorts. This lie deadens our understanding and limits our ability to commune with the true God. Some may think this is extreme, however it is very important to remember the golden calf in Exodus 32. The Israelites had personally seen miracles that would confound the wise today. They knew that the God of Heaven was personally guiding them and taking care of them against the strongest military in the world.
When they felt that Moses was not going to return then they fashioned a physical representation of this god so they could worship it. This was the god that had helped them against the Egyptian might and had led them in a cloud to that mountain. Aaron, who knew the true God more than most, declared the revelry and lewd behavior as a “feast to Jehovah” in Exodus 32:5. I can totally understand why God wanted to destroy his people and Moses needed to intervene.
These images are without a doubt an abomination to God and anything connected to them immediately becomes unclean and is also an abomination. When studying the ups and downs of the Israelites God was very clear about his utter dislike for worshiping images or creating them in the first place.
Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsmanDeuteronomy 28:15
Today it is quite troubling that we have made images of God and are so thoroughly governed by the false images we allow presented to us in the form of TV or online sources. One modern example of this is the Christus statue that the LDS church spared no effort to fashion. The finished statue is almost 12 feet high and towers over all things near it. While I am sure this means a lot to some people it is a clear perversion of the commandment God gave to us. We are clearly not to fashion anything in his likeness and the statue is a literal representation of him. In addition the statue cost a significant amount of money to mine, fashion, and transport. Would God be more pleased with a statue of himself that has no life or using that money to help destitute people?
One last point about images is the fact that we have effectively constructed for ourselves a false reality that is consumed through our screens. We have highly scripted “reality” shows. We have highly manipulated “news” organizations with clear biases. Lastly, we have the new creation of a purely digital space where our entire perceived reality can be molded by algorithms. We are constructing our own reality and worshipping the works of our hands as Isaiah foresaw. In 3 Nephi 23: 1-3, the great God that we claim to worship said the things described in Isaiah will happen again and I believe it.
Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made.Isaiah 2:8
If we believe that God must have certain characteristics or must be in a certain fashion or form then how will be recognize him when he comes again? He will appear several times before the final time in which he appears in glory. Many will sadly miss him because they are not looking for the correct things. However I am sure the Anti-Christ will appear to be exactly like people would expect. Would Satan not be cunning enough to do this? This is the most pernicious of all deceptions. Many will worship the Anti-Christ thinking they are worshipping the true God Jehovah.
Almost all of our entertainment is centered around violence and sex. These things appeal to our base core desires and are impulses that take work to master. We want to see the good guy win, the bully hurt, and we want to experience physical sensations of pleasure. It seems all basic and straightforward. However what does it mean when we are shown these things constantly in situations where it makes it seem accepted? In movies the good guy can go guns blazing however in real life we would be appalled if that was done.
The Annenberg Public Policy Center conducted a study in 2013 and found that almost 90% of all popular movies featured violence and/or sex in some degree. This is astounding because it means if you want to find movies without these things then you have to actually search and avoid very popular movies in the process. Today there are streaming services, like Living Scriptures, that make it much easier however you certainly have to give up the idea still of watching the newest hits. There are other services that remove various scenes from the movies themselves however I feel like that is trying to not support the system while supporting it still.
For a long time I felt that a little violence and a little sex were acceptable because it wasn’t “really that bad”. However that is approaching the entire thing from the wrong perspective. We are letting things we know to be less than God into our hearts and minds. We then expect to commune with a divine being and expect him to reveal truth to us when we are fully embracing a telestial experience. If we want to be like God then we must do the things of God.
The LORD loveth the righteous, but the wicked, and him that loveth violence, his soul hateth.Psalms 11:5
It is also interesting to note that in 2 Kings 2, King Balak asks Balaam to curse Israel. Balaam couldn’t do this as he wanted to do the will of God. He even tried to do it more than once however he was incapable of cursing Israel. However Balaam was tempted by the rewards that Balak offered and so told him that Israel could be weakened by getting them to eat unclean food and participate in sexual immorality. These things prevented God from more fully communicating with the Israelites and thus they were left to their own devices. You can read more about this here. Today we are no better than those in the past. When we glorify violence or sexual immorality we distance ourselves from God. When we fully understand what God is offering us, then we immediately want to close that distance as much as we can.
Music has an ability to communicate with us at a deeper level than words. We think of words and their meaning while feeling and experiencing music. The lyrics of songs can also have deeper meanings that we continually think about due to the song itself. This can be highly beneficial if the song is positive, but can also be quite negative if the song is not pushing us closer towards God.
I grew up in the 1980’s and 1990’s during which MTV was very popular. This was a great place to access the latest pop music before the advent of the internet. It was this popular music that brought sex, drugs, and a revolutionary spirit into most people homes. The songs and music videos features beautiful mostly naked women, excessive drinking and drugs, along with feelings that life is unfair. These songs appealed to base desires in youth and almost always supported or directly advocated for ungodly activities.
During my youth one of my favorite songs was Enter Sandman, by Metallica. The song is quite catchy and has a very rhythmic tone. However the song itself is about demons attacking, primarily children, while they are sleeping. It is not something that anyone should be listening to especially not people who are trying to elevate themselves to God.
In addition to music that is separating us from God many of the most popular artists have described sinister influences as they were developing their music. There are so many instances of this that it is not realistic to think that there is to a large degree sinister forces trying to influence and infect us mentally through the music we listen to.
- “I wanted to marry Lucifer I don’t consider Lucifer an evil force. I feel his presence with his music. I feel like he comes and sits on my piano.” – Tori Amos
- “I swear to Lucifer” – Laga Gaga
- “I sold my soul to the devil” – John Lennon
- [My life goal is to] “get stoned and worship Satan” – Kurt Cobain
- “Rock has always been the Devil’s music, you can’t convince me that it isn’t” – David Bowie
Music can be an amazing tool to augment our worship. It can also be something that manipulates our thoughts and feeling away from God. This sinister music can permeate all aspects of our lives until we don’t realize that we have separated ourselves from God and can no longer hear his literal voice.
In Daniel 3:7 it states that Nebuchadnezzar wanted his people to know when it was time to worship the false God. Therefore he had special music play that signified this. Whenever it was heard the people would worship the false god of the music. How is this different today? When we hear the music of a false god then we also worship at the alter of the false god. Do you think the worship of the idol would have had the same significance if there was no music involved?
Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshiped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.Daniel 3:7
As a child I remember my father never showed any interest in sports whatsoever however he always had to watch the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl of course is always on a Sunday which I thought was strange. We would turn it into a fun party and we would watch not really knowing what was going on. My father wouldn’t even know the teams that were playing before he turned the game on.
Later in life, my wife and I visited my parents during one of these Super Bowl Sundays and we sat in the kitchen while everyone else was watching the game. Eventually we left after realizing it was not a good time to visit. This is not to speak against anyone in particular, but the concept in general. Sports in general is an all engrossing activity that supposedly brings us together however it offers an escape from the things that truly matter. Sports athletes make obscene wealth while playing a game children play and they become role models for the next generation.
There is nothing wrong with sports in general. It is actually a good activity and an enjoyable way to get some exercise which we are missing today. It becomes an idol when it encompasses your whole society and takes your focus away from God. In addition, it is quite often a time of wild drunkenness and lewd behaviors. Many people “let go” because they have been cooped up in the other confines of society. After the game in certain parts of the country the game is the only thing to talk about and becomes the fixation of everyone even after it is long since past.
Today highly elaborate stadiums, training complexes, and sporting venues are constructed. These are excessive locations that typically cost in the 100’s of millions of dollars and require continuous attention and money in order to keep them in acceptable condition. These locations are dead and lifeless while people are suffering around them with real needs. How would things be different if instead that time, money, and effort was used to improve peoples lives? What if tens of thousands of people came together to build up their society instead of participating in diversions. Coming together at sports events is nice however what is the true societal cost for these events?
Sports is not wrong, however when it takes our attention away from what is important in this world then it becomes an idol that is not worthy of our attention. When the games become more important to us than the suffering around us then we know that our eyes need to focus elsewhere. When we are worshipping at the pinnacle of human athleticism then we are not worshipping at the altar of God.
In our modern society you can hardly look anywhere without seeing a celebrity of some fashion. We have celebrity shows, we have celebrity endorsements, we can celebrity influencers. We are told what to wear, what to eat, and what to do by celebrities. We are told to buy their expensive programs so that we can become better like them. As we are exposed to these people endlessly and as others accept then then we subconsciously begin to accept them also. Large segments of the population hang on their every words and need to buy whatever the latest thing is in order to feel complete.
These celebrity idols were never what God wanted his people to worship. They are false gods and are leading us to destruction. An entire generation of youth are idolizing empty shells on platforms like Instagram. They are subconsciously told they are not good enough unless they meet the artificial and digitally altered standards they regularly see.
Our vision and desires must be placed on the things of eternity if we want to be worthy of the blessings of God. How can we be called his people if we care more about what someone is selling us than we care what God is telling us?
Jehovah of Hosts devised it, to make all glorying in excellence a profanity, and the world’s celebrities an utter execration.Isaiah 23:9 – Gileadi translation
The ultimate twist on the worship of false celebrity idols is going to be when the Anti-Christ figure reaches full power. He will command all to worship him and most will gladly do it because he will be manifesting unseen power and abilities. He will effectively be a god to most people. He will also build a cult of personality so that the worship of this person becomes infectious. Those that don’t worship him will be killed or cast out leading to a highly concordant echo chamber.
And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying: Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?Revelations 13:4
Today we have built up high complex structures and programs to ensure that things happen according to our plans. It is truly marvelous to see when these operate for our betterment and truly terrible when they are for our condemnation before God. We seek to control every outcome however in the process ignore the great Creator and what he knows is the best course for us.
There are many pernicious ways we are doing this today. Among the worst of these is the false idea that we can qualify for the blessings of God and are equal to the great patriarchs in scriptures while sacrificing nothing similar to them. We think going to church occasionally and talking about good things makes us worthy of the sacrifice of Christ. This is a self-deception of the highest level because it makes us feel like we are spiritually finished. We have reached the pinnacle and just have to “endure to the end” until we can walk right into heaven without actually being heavenly.
Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.2 Nephi 28:7
It is quite important to realize that 2 Nephi 28 and the entire Book of Mormon was written for the only audience that would read, the latter day people of God. Many will be deceived by deceptions of slothfulness, and spiritual idolatry which is rampant today. Nephi continues to describe a people “puffed up in their hearts” and those that follow “false and vain and foolish doctrines”. Of course no one thinks that describes them just their neighbors. However we can’t even begin to come before God until we realize that it describes us individually and collectively. No one is immune from the deception of the Devil.
Another related and very harmful idea is that since we are part of the “one true church” then we really have to do nothing other than just stay in “the old ship Zion“. This is quite comforting since it means that if we are in good standing with the church when we die, which is quite easy to do, then we are right before God. We don’t have to do the works of God we just have to be a member of an organization.
In fact I personally have heard people on fast and testimony meetings get up and give testimonies that sounded alarmingly like those the Zoramites gave from their Rameumptom. They were so grateful to have the truth while the rest of the world did not and were thankful to be “better” than everyone else.
There is a real reason that Christ says people will be before him at the judgement bar and will be confused because they thought they were in alignment with him only to be cast off because they never knew God by doing his works.
And many will say unto me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name; and in thy name cast out devils; and in thy name done many wonderful works?” And then will I say, “Ye never knew me; depart from me ye that work iniquity.”Matthew 7:22-23
Experiencing nature is a great time for us to exit the major confines of our society and exist in a different realm for a time. This can be an opportunity to connect with the divine however it can also be an opportunity to participate in activities that society as a whole would generally shun. These can of course be rather fun and innocent or sinister and nefarious as has been seen anciently in various nature cults.
In ancient Israel many would go outside the city to participate in gross abominations before God. They would set aside special religious groves of trees where they could be hidden from sight and worship their false gods. Today this is also purported to happen in various places like the Bohemian Grove where the elite gather in nature to participate in abominations outside the watchful eye of others. Isaiah foresaw abominations happening in nature both anciently and modern when he wrote the following.
Inflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clefts of the rocks?Isaiah 57:5
At various times we all feel a part of a larger whole and nature allows us an opportunity to connect with this creation. However many will worship the creation and not the Creator. This is evident in various gods being attributed to animals, seasons, or various random natural phenomenon. Today we don’t have many gods for everything in nature however we still can be deceived into worshipping the creation and not the creator.
Many will go on regular outdoor excursions which can be a great time. However these times can also be an excuse that can take time away from other better things. Due to the standard modern Monday through Friday modern society these excursions quite often also involve treating the Sabbath day as less than God would want. Are we still treating it as holy or just as a way to get home from our “fun times” and prepare again for daily life?
Going through life it can be quite easy to place all our faith and trust in modern society without even thinking of the divine Creator of us all. This is further compounded by the fact that we have to participate in the economic system in order to benefit from society at all. Standardized economic systems like ours make the trading of goods and services so much easier. However as with all things the pursuit of more and more can become an idol that we worship.
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.Matthew 6:24
If we have come to love the eternally trivial things of this world more than the eternal things of God then we are worshipping at the idol of mammon. This is a hard thing to notice at first because we are all seeking to elevate our situation and do the best we can. It is only apparent when we place our material possessions higher than we place the work of God.
The economic system of God is equality in goods and services. If someone needs something and you can offer it, then God wants you to provide it. This can be especially hard for some who have mentally elevated themselves above others. This also means that when the city of Zion is established then accumulating wealth in order to elevate your position above others will be unrighteous. Why would a true servant of God even do this when there is so much need in the world anyway? We will work together to achieve righteousness not live in our gated mansions while those around us fight for scraps.
This is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low. For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves. Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.D&C 104:16-18
One key message of Christ’s ministry was that the rich are to help the poor since everything the rich has was given to them from God as a stewardship. It is when this relationship is misunderstood and someone thinks they are more deserving than another that our idol worship is evident. Of course many are not as good with time, money, or resources as others. The wealthiest in our society are quite often hard working and very wise in their approaches. However this doesn’t excuse them to ignore the suffering of others.
Many people will work very hard only to suffer unfortunate and unknown set backs. These financial or other setbacks can have life long repercussions that we can never fully understand. Therefore that person on the street could very likely be that successful office worker you met previously who experienced a serious of terrible consequences. When these things hit someone one after another, it can be very difficult to get back on your feet financially.
God wants to bless us and certainly wants us to be happy. The Earth is abundant in resources and there is far more than enough to go around. However what good is money if it is going to be a stumbling block in our relationship with God? Honestly it is better to be destitute and aligned with God than rich and aligned with the devil. However if you can be rich and aligned with God then you can be a great force for good in the world.
But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.Jacob 2:18-19
One dangerous aspect of modern existence is that we have built a complex system where we are all dependent on each other for our survival. We need the farmers to do their part, we need the manufacturers to do their, and the grocers to do theirs. Each of us plays and small part and we naturally get mentally and physically lost in the system. Since our focus and energies are elsewhere we no longer think of or remember God at all. We have removed him from the process and have built for ourselves a false god that is self perpetuating. Many could live and die in the Babylon system and not realize that God is the upholder of all things.
As we have progressed, connecting with the land through farming and raising of animals has become an almost necessary evil. Many are even trying to remove this aspect through the use of chemical food products. We are perverting the ways things have been done since the beginning through the abusing of the land and animals. Animals are fattened to extreme degrees so often they can’t stand. The land is injected over and over with unnatural fertilizers until it can no longer support life without them. We are taking the amazing gifts of God and changing them to suit our purposes with no understanding.
In our quest to optimize and improve we are no longer interested in learning about the natural laws of God and are seeking to become gods ourselves. While this may seem natural it is a perversion of the plan of God. If we could become like God through technological progress then wouldn’t God have done that already? It seems technology to a degree is a self-perpetuating idol that distracts us from the true God. This economic system is also one significant disaster away from total collapse. When that happens then most will be totally unable to care for themselves and be in complete ruin. This is not what God wanted.
Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul; be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’s vengeance; he will render unto her a recompense.Jeremiah 51:6
As a contrast, Zion is a very simple economic system of sharing and agricultural. Those who live in Zion will live off the land and experience the direct blessings of God while having all things in common according to 4 Nephi. They will understand things as they are and no longer need complex systems in order to support themselves. Zion will flourish because it will be in harmony with divine laws not fighting against them for supremacy.
I personally love technology and am amazed at what we have accomplished. I also understand though that we have become prisoners in a prison of our own making. Technology is a master that seems to have an endless appetite and a sense for perverting the divine. Of course, it offers many amazing things however it also requires many sacrifices that may not be worth it. Rarely can we ever take all the good with none of the bad.
If we are God’s people and follow God’s laws then he will fight our battles and defend his people. This is a promise that we have been given and a promise that we have seen multiple times in the scriptures. There are several cases of this like the 185,000 Assyrians killed in 2 Kings 19, the miraculous delivery of Goliath in David’s hands in 1 Samuel 17, and the parting of the red sea in Exodus 14. God’s people are to follow him and trust in his divine protection.
It becomes a problem when instead of relying on God for protection we develop sophisticated militaries and complex alliances and treaties. We no longer follow the commandment of God in not going to war until he commands us to and instead engage in constant warfare. These battles are rarely over things significant enough to justify the loss of human life.
And if any nation, tongue, or people should proclaim war against them, they should first lift a standard of peace unto that people, nation, or tongue; and if that people did not accept the offering of peace, neither the second nor the third time, they should bring these testimonies before the Lord; then I, the Lord, would give unto them a commandment, and justify them in going out to battle against that nation, tongue, or people.D&C 98:34-36
According to Isaiah 28:15, trusting in the arm of flesh is making a “covenant with death” in that we think our systems will protect us at the last day. We are taking refuge in the delusional lies that we can avoid the negative consequences for disobedience. These will be removed from us and exposed as folly. This is the same rational that the ancients had when they attempted to make a tower to God in order to escape the flood if it happened again. The only protection is in God and following his commandments. Nothing else is sufficient.
Today many churches, including the LDS church, are aligning themselves with evil organizations like the United Nations. This is appalling and wrong. God does not want us to form alliances with corrupt organizations whose mission statement is directly against the principles of God. We are are trust in God and follow him not rely on our own understanding. There is no reason we need to become a part of the evil around us in order to do the work of God.
The concept of being elite or special is a pernicious idol to increased spirituality because people don’t feel the need for improvement or seeking out God. They feel they have already attained the exalted level already. In addition these elite have a form of righteousness however are empty and hollow inside. Christ describe it perfectly when condemning the Pharisees about their empty religious practices.
Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but are within full of the bones of the dead, and of all uncleanness. Even so, ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.Matthew 23:27-28
These elite are righteous in their own eyes and in fact are taking people away from God in their practices. They seek for the praise of men while ignoring the will of God. God seeks for humble followers that want to learn their weaknesses and turn them into strengths. The elite are the opposite in they hide their weaknesses and seek to elevate themselves compared with others. This hypocrisy is abominable to God
As was shown previously there is no elite in Zion or in Gods eyes. “God is no respecter of persons” according to Acts 10:34 which means we are all equal in Gods eyes. We also know that Zion will be composed of people that have all things common. This is not compatible with the idea of special classes of people or special groups. All are equal to God and all have the same opportunities.
He that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased of him; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted of him.Matthew 23:11-12
Pollution of the Sacred
Anciently as with modern times the temple was the most sacred location on earth and was used for God’s people to commune with him. It was a special location and was to be treated with the utmost respect. Over time the temple became more common in the eyes of the people and the pollution of the world slowly crept in. This is evident in the many abominations Ezekiel 8 describes in the temple. There was a statue at the entrance v5, artwork on the walls v10, pleasant incense v11, and a profane worship of a false deity v16.
Today unfortunately we can’t say we are much better. We have statues of someone who we claim is a god, we have distracting artwork on the walls, women sometimes wear very strong perfumes, and some would claim we elevate Satan beyond where he should be. At one time Brigham Young was very insistent that false doctrine was taught in the temples. How is this not a pollution of the most sacred locations we have to commune with God?
During the fall of Jerusalem, the Israelites had polluted the house of God and as a result the temple offered no place of refuge to them according to Jeremiah 52:13. If the temple was indeed the house of God then it would have been a place of protection and safety. It was just a shell and a shadow of what it once was. During the battle sadly many fled to the temple for safety however were killed anyway while no doubt calling out to God for help.
It is interesting to note though that according to Ezekiel 9, some escaped the destruction because they were given a mark by God. This mark served to protect them and separate them from the gross idolatry of their brethren. These individuals recognized how far they had fallen from God and knew God had removed his protective hand. Today we can also escape the destruction that is to follow by removing all forms of idolatry from our lives and seeking God with our whole souls.