In trying times such as these there are many voices clamoring for our attention. Crises present opportunities for self-interested people to sell their wares. Often it’s an ideology that’s for sale, fueled by a vain ambition to be popular or to feel important and validated. It presents a challenge to expose the impure motives of such a person when there is no money trail. But, look closely enough and you’ll find that the tokens being sold are of greater value to the seller than today’s currency– they yield followers, flatterers, validators, comforters, listeners– in short POWER and VANITY.
For the seller, he/she is led to believe by the adversary that what they have to share is of great value. “You are great. Your message is great. You’re an enlightened soul of this last great and best generation. The ‘Lord’ speaks to you! If you don’t display courage and share your message, then who will?”
But, such fools are trifling with the souls of men.
Lately, fear has been peddled and in great supply. Fear is the opposite of faith. When fear is your product, you stand to make tremendous gains. Somehow because you sell fear, those who buy into it will also trust you to get them through it. You set yourself up, people look to you, and you extract your needed coin from the sycophants you produce.
A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination be aware of, because the things of God are of deep import, and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Your mind, O man, if you will lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost Heavens, and search into and contemplate the lowest considerations of the darkest abyss, and expand upon the broad considerations of eternal expanse. You must commune with God. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God than the vain imagination of the human heart? None but fools will trifle with the souls of men. (T&C 138:18, emphasis added)
Joseph Smith warned of those who would trifle with the souls of men. Their fanciful and flowery ideas, their fearmongering, their lies; we should be aware of and surely guard ourselves and others against.
I read Joseph Smith’s quote to say: If we have NOT communed with God, in other words, seen Him and partaken from Him and been redeemed by Him, then we must be extremely careful in what we say, teach, and share lest we too trifle with souls and damn them and ourselves to hell.
Someone online recently called me a coward because I don’t put my name on what I write on this blog. One of the many reasons I blog anonymously is because I don’t want attention drawn to myself. As you’ll notice, I write very little and very infrequently. I don’t believe that I have much of true value to share. I have not communed with Heaven. What I do share is my opinion and is not meant to be followed as if prophetically inspired. I don’t ever want to trifle with the souls of men, nor do I wish to lead them, where I am a blind guide at best. For all the times I have trifled with men’s souls, I plead for forgiveness. It is wrong and it is evil.
The above-mentioned person recently made the statement online that “more than 7 million Americans will die from the Corona Virus this year,” (paraphrasing) among many other dire and bold declarations. He also said that 2% or more of the world’s population would die from the virus. That’s 180 million people! He posted all this and much more on social media for all to see. I told this individual I believed he was wrong (a) and (b) that he should not be fearmongering. I would have hoped he would at least say that this was just his opinion rather than to put such shocking things out there that may cause people to panic, or heaven forbid do something extremely rash. People can be very fragile especially at a time like this.
In that moment, I was angry and feel bad that my anger was directed towards this individual. I was angry because this person spoke “as if it was so” — as if his every word would be vindicated because he was “brave” enough and inspired enough to publish it to the world under his name. I was the coward, but he was the bold and brave one. I should not have taken it so personally.
If and when only 50,000 to 100,000 people die from the Corona Virus this year in the U.S. for example, will this individual admit he was wrong? Will he repent for trifling with souls and ask for your forgiveness? Will he reimburse you for the extra toilet paper or other supplies you bought? Or will he compensate you for sleepless nights and other distress you experienced imagining 180,000,000 people dying? Wondering who in your own family might die…
More importantly, will YOU cease to give your time to such foolishness? Will YOU see this as a fruit of a false messenger and repent of your false belief?
Just because someone puts their name on something does not make them courageous. There is nothing more foolish or more cowardly in my view than to lead people astray with pretended authority from God.
Joseph Smith said:
A man must have the discerning of spirits before he can drag into daylight this hellish influence and unfold it unto the world in all its soul-destroying, diabolical, and horrid colors; for nothing is a greater injury to the children of men than to be under the influence of a false spirit when they think they have the spirit of God. Thousands have felt the influence of its terrible power and baneful effects. Long pilgrimages have been undertaken, penances endured, and pain, misery, and ruin have followed in their train; nations have been convulsed, kingdoms overthrown, provinces laid waste, and blood, carnage, and desolation are habiliments in which it has been clothed. The Turks, the Hindus, the Jews, the Christians, the Indians — in fact all nations have been deceived, imposed upon, and injured through the mischievous effects of false spirits. (T&C 147:5)
At a time when the Lord is doing His work to bring forth His Kingdom, it is only expected I think, that we will see an increase in such opposing messages. An increase of false statements and false ideas inside and out of the Church.
I’ve been very clear as to where I stand regarding such messengers. It’s not intended as unkind. I am doing what I believe is my duty regarding anyone who proclaims to have a message from God — to discern their fruits and if I believe they are not from God, then to warn others. It’s not my duty because I’m someone special, it’s OUR duty to NOT be deceived and to help each other figure these important things out.
In my view, subscribing to these types of titillating false messages, whether the example of “prophetic” fearmongering above, or the fables of Bishop Koyle’s Mine, or the Visions of Glory, or the Brazilian Gold Plates — ALL OF THIS HURTS us far more than them. They, as individuals, will answer to God. He will be their Judge. He knows their hearts. BUT, WE will never be of one mind and one heart while such fecal matter occupies our heads and WE will never be able to find refuge in Zion – let alone help build it. We must become more firm minded and we must cease giving our time and attention to such false messengers. In my opinion.
We may be nearing the end times, but surely there have been other times of great uncertainty in this world’s history. While fools have peddled fear, great souls such as C.S. Lewis peddled faith. Here is what he said during World War II to comfort the thousands of people who respected him:
In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb (Corona Virus). “How are we to live in an atomic (Corona Virus) age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb (Corona Virus) was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb (the Corona Virus), let that bomb (virus) when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds. (See full use of text at gospelcoalition.org)
Another message I have found of great worth recently was given by Denver Snuffer, who spoke a few weeks back just as CoVid19 was shutting things down and the world was beginning to panic. Contrast his message to the many others you hear. As always, we are forced to discern and we are forced to choose. Will we choose fear or we will choose faith? True messengers or false?
You can follow the link below to Snuffer’s remarks.