Be Not Deceived

After traversing through a difficult trial that tested the limits of my faith, a church leader read Doctrine and Covenants 112:24-26 to me. Whether he intended to have me read it as a warning because of the actions of others or my own actions I’m still unclear. But it did get me thinking about the verses and led to a personal study. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject of being deceived. Or rather, how I can avoid being deceived in the days that blur the line between fact and fiction, right and wrong, light and dark.

 

The calamity

We have been warned what the days preceding the Second Coming will be like. “Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth” Doctrine and Covenants 1:17. What is a calamity? According to the Encarta Dictionary, a calamity is a disaster or distress from a disastrous event. The disastrous event is mentioned again a few verses down when it clarifies that “peace shall be taken from the earth” Doctrine and Covenants 1:35.

It will get so intense that even those who have testimonies of Christ will fall away.

“Vengeance cometh speedily… upon my house shall it begin… first among those among you….who have professed to know my name and have not known me.” Doctrine and Covenants 112:24-26.

I shortened it quite a bit and shared the key phrases that stuck out to me. The key phrases warn me that it isn’t enough to make covenants or to claim the cause of Christianity. Even some who have taken the name of Christ upon themselves will not act accordingly. This is enough to ask the very same question the disciples asked when they found out one would betray Jesus, Lord, is it I?

 

Mine elect

But why will they fall away? In Matthew 24, Jesus tells His disciples the signs of His Second Coming. The Joseph Smith translation of Matthew 24 adds this insight to verse 22 “If possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant.” We live in a time when the very elect may be deceived. Who are the elect?   The Lord explains what it means to be called one of His elect in Doctrine and Covenants 29:7 when He said, “Mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts.” We are told how we will hear the voice of the Lord in our day and age “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” Doctrine and Covenants 1:38.

 

Be not deceived

My original question remains, how to not be deceived? President Harold B. Lee addressed this very topic during the October 1970 General Conference (Conference report, pp 152-153). He said, “We have some tight places to go…there will be inroads within the church.

“Now the only safety we have as members of this church is to do exactly what the Lord said… We must learn to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through his prophet.”

The current prophet and president of the church I sustain today is Thomas S. Monson. A friend[1] pointed out the topics President Monson has taught within the last few years in what we call the ‘short sermons’:

                Charity

                Principles and promises

                Path to happiness

                Choices

                Priesthood

                Book of Mormon

IMG_1948

Heidi Shuler note used by permission. Note: BofM crossed out because listed twice on complete note  

Where does our Prophet direct us to look so that we won’t be deceived? “It is essential that we read and study and ponder the scriptures. Communication with our Heavenly Father is vital. We cannot afford to neglect these things.” (Be an Example and Light, October 2015).

We may be living during calamitous times but we don’t need to panic. It is possible to make it through without being deceived if we only follow the plan that has been laid out for us. Always remember, we are here to succeed, not to fail. That alone should provide peace.

 

 

[1] Heidi Shuler study notes

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