People are easily led astray when motivated by false philosophies, ideas, notions, beliefs, and ceremonies. This is especially true when a bona-fide religious institution or flattering church leaders of high regard justify false or evil practices. What happens when anyone who has major religious influence smothers the ideas, viewpoints, and beliefs of another? How about when one in authority criticizes, mocks, or persecutes people who refuse to be correlated and controlled? What do they do with saints who won't conform to the institutional protocol and procedure?
When a few humble followers of Christ recognize the distorted doctrine, see it for what it really is, and say, "I don't believe what is being taught", the church of the adversary begins to enforce by power and influence. The saints are scoffed at, ridiculed, and condemned. Often, they are rejected, abandoned, and cast out. Abomination looks right and is justified in the minds of many people because the church says so and the majority really believe it.
“Alma saw the wickedness of the church, and he saw also that the example of the church began to lead those who were unbelievers on from one piece of iniquity to another, thus bringing on the destruction of the people.” He saw the afflictions of the humble followers of God, the persecutions which were heaped upon them by the remainder of the people, and the inequality that was created. This caused Alma to be very sorrowful. Alma 4:11-15
Does this mean that the church was corrupt and evil and actually leading people away from the saving truths? Was the accepted religion claiming to act in the name of God, when in fact, it was drawing many away from God and leading them to hell? Why did the people, who claimed to be religious, heap persecutions upon the humble followers of Christ?
These humble followers of Christ were abasing themselves, succoring those who stood in need of their succor, such as imparting their substance to the poor and the needy, feeding the hungry, and suffering all manner of afflictions for Christ’s sake. Alma 4:13 These saints were being mocked, rejected, and persecuted by a religious body who claimed to be the church of God. Why? What motivated the persecutors?
Satan seeks and loves to have authority and control in the world, nations, and institutions by using money, power, and pride to purchase the souls of men. Even more invigorating to Satan is to slither in, buy up church leaders’ commitment and devotion, and thereby control churches and religious institutions all in the name of God. Then, many saints will not only feel justified and acceptable, but dignified, glorious, and exalted for religiously following and obeying the false, corrupt, and abominable practices.
Joseph Smith observed an overwhelming fact: "The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves "in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth," and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men.” TPJS 205-206
Being so blinded by the abominations of the world and the precepts of men, people are deceived. They actually believe they are on the Lord’s errand while following distinguished and influential men who represent the church and are elected (sustained) by the people. These religious leaders are held up in high esteem, worshiped, and supported by many, and thus, the great and abominable church expands and moves on.
Joseph Smith had something to say about unrighteous dominion and controlling others' beliefs. “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” Article of Faith #11.
A heavenly safety mechanism is in place. As soon as any leader holding whatever capacity, position, or title begins to exercise control or dominion upon others, in any degree of unrighteousness, the heavens withdraw and power from above departs D&C 121:34-40.
A leader may possess capacity, competence, and skill. He may hold high-ranking positions, titles, and status. With supreme influence and clout, he may even claim to be representing deity and acting in the name of God while setting himself up for a light unto the world, that he may get gain and praise of the world; but he seeks not the welfare of Zion. Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing, which is called priestcraft. 2 Nephi 26:29-30
Whenever a person infringes upon the agency or belief of another through devilish methods of force, manipulation, coercion, or control, he walks unstable paths of destruction and ruin. Such a prideful and calculating character practicing God-forbidden priestcrafts is left on his own without lasting support. He fights against God.
The great and abominable church is made up of legal institutions, accepted organizations, and well-established traditions. The head of the church is Satan himself. He bribes high officials in all places and prides himself in having not just a foothold, but being the head honcho with extreme power and control in religion. He does this all in the name of God.
Therefore, Lucifer has a stronghold on many nations and holds people in an awful state of blindness. He pacifies and lulls them away into carnal security. He cunningly assures them that "all is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance." 2 Nephi 28:21-22
Satan speaks softly in the ears of mankind and gently whispers, “You are in good hands, trust me, go back to sleep, and slumber. Do not awake or arise until it’s too late, the day is past, and the night has come.”
Many choose to heed the false philosophies of men mingled with scripture. Others listen to and observe false philosophies of men NOT mingled with scripture. Either way, they end up believing the corrupt and counterfeit teachings of the great and abominable church. By so doing, they have procrastinated the day of their repentance, become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and succumb to captivity. Satan doth seal them his and hath all power over them. Alma 34:35
So, what are the plain and most precious parts of the gospel that are kept back by the great and abominable church? Does it have something to do with coming unto Christ? Knowing about Him? Knowing Him? Is there a difference between “knowing Christ” and just merely “knowing about Him?” Does it have something to do with rending the veil of unbelief and receiving the light of everlasting life and being carried away in God? Alma 19:6 This is important stuff that may be worthy of consideration.
To be continued . . .