Monday, July 25, 2016

3 Nephi 16: A Pointless Warning

Jesus continues.  He's very long winded.

Verse 10 contains a chilling warning that could be very easily applied to the present-day USA (or, honestly, just about any era in American history):
And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.
That's interesting.  Because in the preceding two verses, he was just talking about all the awful things the European settlers did to the Native Americans—scattered them upon the face of this land, trod them under their feet, slew them, made them a hiss and a byword, etc.  But it's not until they reject the truth that God will remove the gospel from them.  Because apparently all that business with the Europeans and the Native Americans wasn't quite enough pride, deceit, mischief, hypocrisy, murder, whoredom, or secret abomination to really get God's goat.

And it looks like nothing really has gotten God's goat, even now.  With all the doom and gloom foretold in Mormondom about the fate of America should the nation turn wicked, why hasn't it happened yet?  Why didn't it happen way before I was born?

Surely the slaughter and persecution of the Indians was enough to herald our destruction instead of fomenting the restoration of the gospel.  Well, not according to this chapter. 

What about the slave trade?  I mean, we were so much more enlightened than in Biblical times, so we should have known better, right?  I guess it's no big deal.  Besides, most of the time that slavery was a thing in the "promised land"—and even after full emancipation—God's church wasn't particularly bothered with the welfare of black people (temporally or eternally).

Our embarrassingly long struggle for civil rights must be too much for him, then.  After all the progress we've made, Ferguson and Dallas and so many other tragedies have reminded us how far we still have to go, and we still seem to have a lot of trouble accepting LGBT.  No, it can't be that, because God cares a lot more about religious freedom than equal rights.

Well, it has to be the violence, then.  Gangs and such, murder.  Only that stuff reached its nationwide peak a few decades back, so either we're off the hook or God hit the snooze button and plans to retroactively take the truth away from us once he's well rested.

Maybe the whoredoms will do it.  Pornography exploded with the advent of the internet.  Now that we're all touched by the deviant filth of digital voyeurism and remote whoredom, it seems like the time is right for that apocryphal white horse prophecy.

What about pride?  I mean, if the arrogance of scattering the Native Americans didn't have the mojo to incur God's deepest ire, then surely the blooming of manifest destiny or the jingoistic excesses of the early twentieth century must have done it.  Even now, we're in a bizarre period of intense patriotism and elitism despite a heavy presence of disillusionment, so how has America's pride not reached critical mass at any point in the last two hundred fifty years or so?

Or what about hypocrisy?  Purporting to be the land of the free and claiming to guarantee inalienable rights while still allowing fellow human beings to be property?  Fighting the tyranny of Nazi Germany while rounding up our own Japanese citizens into internment camps?  Pretending to have a moral authority while making unilateral decisions with lasting, devastating international consequences? 

Maybe our priestcraft has gotten out of hand, what with the rich pastors of megachurches and the con-men selling religion for money, power, and influence.  Apparently that hasn't peaked yet, although with an increasingly secular society, we may have missed our window there.

Then surely it must have been the corruption and mischief and secret combinations that have plagued presidencies.  Jackson?  Grant?  Nixon?  Maybe certain movements within current electoral organizations?  No?

So what prerequisites for the Lord's wrath and the removal of his gospel from us have the inhabitants of the promised land not satisfied?  We've sinned against the gospel, we've rejected the gospel, we've been lifted up in pride above all nations, we've been filled with lyings and deceits, we've been guilty of mischiefs, hypocrisies, murders, priestcrafts, whoredoms, and secret combinations.  We've done literally everything on this list numerous times.  Where are the consequences? 

This entire chapter is basically one long, toothless threat.


  1. So, I don't get the logic here. When they reject the gospel, then he'll take it away from them. That's like telling a kid that if he doesn't play with his Lego set anymore, you're going to give to Goodwill. So he say, I don't want it anyway, go ahead and take it.

    Now TBMs would say that God is preserving the gospel in the land for them and that they, the maybe 1-3% of the U.S. Population that is active Mormon, are the ones that are keeping God from destroying this nation.

    1. The Lego analogy is spot-on. And if I were God, I'd say that 1-3% of the country being active Mormons after 150 years of missionary work would qualify as the country rejecting the gospel. But it's still here.