I've been thinking . . . There's so much talk about apostasy, and there's a lot of finger pointing. How is someone to identify a true follower of Christ? I've heard it said, “We can't go wrong! God has promised us that we can't be led astray!” That doesn't make sense. God gives everyone a choice.
There are a few people who did not choose to turn away from God. “And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is Fled.” Moses 7:69
Now, there's another group of people who chose God for a long time. We read about them in 4 Nephi, but eventually even these people chose to apostatize and turn away from God? 4 Nephi 1:20-49
What are the characteristics of these people when they were choosing God?
- There were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. 4 Nephi 1:2
- They had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. 4 Nephi 1:3
- They did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men; and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus. 4 Nephi 1:5
- There were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God. 4 Nephi 1:16
This is what I would expect from any group who claims to be God's people. Anything less than this would be categorized as some form of apostasy.
Melchizedek found himself among a wicked people. Look at what he did . . .
Now this Melchizedek was a king over the land of Salem; and his people had waxed strong in iniquity and abomination; yea, they had all gone astray; they were full of all manner of wickedness; But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people. And behold, they did repent; and Melchizedek did establish peace in the land in his days; therefore he was called the prince of peace, for he was the king of Salem; and he did reign under his father.Alma 13:17-18
Finding myself among an apostate group where do I start? It would seem sensible to start with myself . . . then my marriage . . . then my family . . . and then my community. It's time for us to rise up and become the happiest people among all the people who have been created by the hand of God.