If the adversary can succeed in separating us from God, he knows that he can control us Moses 4:4, Alma 12:11. He’ll feed us a lie so we won’t even make the attempt to come to God. He might tell us that we’re not good enough, or God doesn’t want to talk to a sinner like us. This is only a half truth. It’s true that we are lacking and are not good enough on our own. It is not true that God doesn’t want to talk to a sinner like us.
Far too many individuals fall for Satan’s clever deception, think and believe that God doesn’t want to talk to them, and give up on the journey to God. Christ invites all sinners to come to Him and be healed. He is willing and able to cover our sins and minister to us, even the vilest of sinners. Mosiah 28:3-4
In fact, Christ was criticized for spending time with the sinners. He is not full of the pious prejudice that the self-proclaimed righteous are. He said, “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:30-32
The irony is we are all sick and defective. The arrogant, gloating Pharisees did not see that they were in desperate need of what Jesus had to offer Luke 18:9-14. It is the teachable sinner who is in preparation to hear the word of God. Alma 32:6 We fall into Satan’s great trap when we believe that we are too wicked to come to the only one who can heal us or too righteous to need Him. D&C 112:10, 13, 2 Nephi 25:13, 3 Nephi 17:7
Try as we will, there's nothing we can do to impress God. There's a common misconception that somehow we’re going to work our way back into His good graces, but it just isn’t so. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
By our works and by the law we are damned Galatians 2:16, 2 Nephi 2:5. But the good news is: His love and sacrifice are big enough to save you and me 2 Nephi 2:6-10. All he asks is for us to turn to Him and follow His voice Mark 8:34-38. He is completely motivated by love and seeks our happiness Moroni 7:45-47. Jesus wants to walk with us, but He will not force himself upon us Revelation 3:20-22. “When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us.” TPJS pages 349-350
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. Start where you are, turn, and come. God wants to talk to you. If you don’t know how to recognize His voice, ask Him to teach you. He will instruct you and speak to you in the way you can understand. “For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding”. 2 Nephi 31:3
“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” Moroni 10:4
What does it mean to pray with real intent?
Intent - Literally, having the mind strained or bent on an object; hence, fixed closely; sedulously applied; eager in pursuit of an object. . . the stretching of the mind towards an object; hence, a design; a purpose; intention. . .
When God gives me an answer, do I intend to obey Him? At times it’s been difficult for me to get a response, and I’ve become desperate. Not knowing what else to do, I’ve cried out, “I’ll do anything you say; just tell me what to do.” The answer comes, and it usually comes quite quickly, but many times it’s not what I expected.
Before accepting anything as true, it would be wise to ask God, the Eternal Father to manifest the truth of it unto you. “What greater witness can you have than from God?” D&C 6:22-23 True messengers will teach you this process.
God’s servants keep pointing you to the Source and will not accept any credit or honor for God’s word delivered through them Revelation 19:10, 1 Nephi 17:55. It’s because they know the message is what’s important, not them. They don’t see themselves as the Master, “for one is your Master, even Christ” Matthew 23:10. They also refuse the riches of this world as a reward for doing God’s work 2 Kings 5:15-27, Mosiah 18:26.
Servants of God are meek D&C 121:41-45, Galatians 5:22-26. They feel no need to force, coerce, or control others. It’s not God’s way. Men are free to choose 2 Nephi 10:23, 2 Nephi 2:27. Their responsibility is to deliver the message. This task is not always an easy one. They are often rejected, ridiculed, mocked, scorned, and put to death. 1 Nephi 7:14, Ether 11:2, Helaman 13:24
On the other hand, men practicing priestcrafts do not point others to Christ because the doctrine of Christ destroys their craft Alma 35:3, Moroni 7:15-17. Instead they teach false doctrines for the sake of riches and honor Alma 1:16. They “preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world” 2 Nephi 26:29.
These false priests would like to be the negotiator between God and man. They want to appear as God’s substitute and mislead others into thinking that salvation is theirs to offer or withhold. If it were possible, they would displace Christ as the keeper of the gate 2 Nephi 9:41.
Why do false priests find it alarming when people start going to God to find answers for themselves? Why do they hide the doctrine of Christ? 2 Nephi 32:1-6 Scorn and mock those seeking the path? 1 Nephi 8:26-27 Or discourage others from seeking and receiving the Second Comforter? John 14:23 What is their motivation?
Do they fear people who know the truth? Are they afraid of being discovered? Does it seem threatening to lose control of “their” flock? Is the truth going to release others from their clutches? John 8:31-32 It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to manipulate and control individuals who are connected with heaven. The doctrine of Christ unveils the false images of men and shatters the foundation upon which they’ve built their empire. Luke 12:3, D&C 1:3
False priests may use the name of God in vain to promote their own purposes. They claim that “the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men” 2 Nephi 28:5. If they can convince the children of men that they speak for God, there would be no reason for anyone to ask God directly and obtain a personal witness from heaven. With this belief firmly in place, the false priests can control the minds of others. They are now in a place of being worshipped and supported by the people. Alma 1:3
Why do we let them get away with such a thing? One reason might be that the children of men like to hear smooth things Isaiah 30:9-11. Be at ease in Zion; All is well 2 Nephi 28:24-25. Odds are you’ll be exalted. You’re going to be saved. You don’t need to fear nor tremble. Lift up you heads and rejoice Alma 1:4-6. We have a reservoir of revelation. We have enough. We don’t need any more 2 Nephi 28:29. Just be normal and do the ordinary things Exodus 19:5, Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 2:9. Trust us and be assured that we will never lead you astray. We will let you know if anything changes. Psalms 146:3
Samuel the Lamanite explains this perverse deception:
24 Yea, wo unto this people, because of this time which has arrived, that ye do cast out the prophets, and do mock them, and cast stones at them, and do slay them, and do all manner of iniquity unto them, even as they did of old time.
25 And now when ye talk, ye say: If our days had been in the days of our fathers of old, we would not have slain the prophets; we would not have stoned them, and cast them out.
26 Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil.
27 But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.
28 Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him.
29 O ye wicked and ye perverse generation; ye hardened and ye stiffnecked people, how long will ye suppose that the Lord will suffer you? Yea, how long will ye suffer yourselves to be led by foolish and blind guides? Yea, how long will ye choose darkness rather than light? Helaman 13:24-29
It’s an awesome undertaking to come to God. We have an individual responsibility to seek God and live His word. Many will continue to think it’s easier and more flattering to just trust in the arm of flesh 2 Nephi 28:31. Satan tries to hide the fact that when we choose to follow men instead of God we are qualified for nothing greater than the telestial kingdom D&C 76:98-103. But it doesn’t have to be this way. No matter where we’ve been, we can turn and face God. There is still time to repent. Alma 34:32, Alma 5:28
“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” The Father knows how to lead His willing children. Luke 11:9-13