Tuesday, September 1, 2009
A Scourge is Coming
54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received--
55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
57 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--
58 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. (emphasis added)
In the early history of the Church the saints were chastised by the Lord for not keeping the commandments and for treating the Book of Mormon lightly. A portion of Doctrine and Covenants section 84 was given to warn the saints to repent. As a result Elders Hyrum Smith and Orson Hyde were assigned to write a letter to the saints in Missouri asking them to repent and to read the Book of Mormon and obey it,
From a conference of twelve high priests, to the bishop, his council, and the inhabitants of Zion.
Orson Hyde and Hyrum Smith being appointed by the said conference, to write this epistle in obedience to the commandment, given the 22nd and 23rd of September last, which says, "But verily I say unto all those to whom the kingdom has been given, from you it must be preached unto them, that they shall repent of their former evil works, for they are to be upbraided for their evil hearts of unbelief; and your brethren in Zion, for their rebellion against you at the time I sent you."
Brother Joseph, and certain others, have written to you on this all important subject, but you have never been apprized of these things, by the united voice of a conference of those high priests that were present at the time this commandment was given.
We therefore, Orson and Hyrum, the committee appointed by said conference to write this epistle, having received the prayers of said conference that we might be enabled to write the mind and will of God upon this subject; now take up our pen to address you in the name of the conference, relying upon the arm of the great head of the church.
In the commandment above alluded to, the children of Zion were all, yea, even every one, under condemnation, and were to remain in that state until they repented and remembered the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon, and the former commandments, which the Lord had given them, not only to say but to do them, and bring forth fruit meet for the Father's kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and a judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion: for shall the children of the kingdom pollute the holy land? I say unto you nay!
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We have the best of feelings, and feelings of the greatest anxiety for the welfare of Zion: we feel more like weeping over Zion than we do like rejoicing over her, for we know the judgments of God hang over her, and will fall upon her except she repent, and purify herself before the Lord, and put away from her every foul spirit. We now say to Zion, this once, in the name of the Lord, repent! repent! awake, awake, put on thy beautiful garments, before you are made to feel the chastening rod of him, whose anger is kindled against you. Let not Satan tempt you to think we want to make you bow to us to domineer over you, for God knows this is not the case: our eyes are watered with tears, and our hearts are poured out to God in prayer for you, that he will spare you, and turn away his anger from you.
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We now close our epistle by saying unto you, the Lord has commanded us to purify ourselves, to wash our hands and our feet, that he may testify to his Father, and our Father; to his God and our God, that we are clean from the blood of this generation, and before we could wash our hands and our feet, we were constrained to write this letter. Therefore, with the feelings of inexpressible anxiety for your welfare, we say again, repent, repent, or Zion must suffer, for the scourge and judgment must come upon her.
Let the bishop read this to the elders, that they may warn the members of the scourge that is coming, except they repent. Tell them to read the Book of Mormon and obey it; read the commandments that are printed, and obey them: yea, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that peradventure he may turn away his anger form you. Tell them that they have not come up to Zion to sit down in idleness, neglecting the things of God, but they are to be diligent and faithful in obeying the new covenant.
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(History of Joseph Smith. (continued.), Times and Seasons, vol. 5 (January 1844-January 1, 1845), No. 21. Nauvoo, Illinois, Nov. 15, 1844. Whole No. 105, p.720-722)
In 1986 President Ezra Taft Benson reminded the Church that the condemnation and scourge still are in effect until we use the Book of Mormon as it was intended by the Lord. Click here to read the talk.