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Is the Church following the martyrdom of Joseph Smith more like the Kingdom of Noah or the people of Alma?
Following that thinking, when is the scripture in 2 Nephi 28:24-25 going to be fulfilled where all is not well in Zion and the people are asleep? When are we allowed to point it out?





Dear Bo,

As I have pondered how to answer your question, I find myself up to my ears in relevant scriptures and General Conference talks.  I can think of nothing in scripture or General Conference that doesn’t apply.  All of it is designed to bring to Christ those who will come, teaching us to try a little harder or do a little better – that is, not to be “at ease”.  Whether it’s keeping our covenants, repenting, forgiving, gathering Israel, or “thinking celestial”, General Conference talks are already encouraging the saints to remain awake and anxiously engaged on the covenant path.

I find myself overwhelmed by the number of ways I could answer your questions.  We could talk about stewardship.  Each of us would do well to ponder what is and is not within our stewardship and how best to care for those entrusted to us.  What can we do that will help them come unto Christ rather than run from His Church in fear, anger, or frustration?

We could talk about agency. Agency is a gift from God to every person. Each of us is free to use our agency as we choose. Agency is so important that we fought a war over it in the pre-mortal realm. While we may not like how others use their agency, we must be careful not to infringe on another’s agency. Rather, we should ask ourselves how to help others better use their agency.

We could talk about righteous judgment, motes and beams, mercy and grace, repentance and forgiveness.  Two of my favorite scriptures fall into this category:

Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.


37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:


38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

This reminds me that if I wish for mercy and generosity from my Heavenly Father – and I surely need them – I must extend them to others.

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

And this one reminds me that though there will eventually be a time for condemnation, that time is not now.  It is not too late for anyone to come unto Christ to be saved.  I can repent, and I can help others to see His light so that they might be encouraged to come as well.

On the topic of grace, I recently realized something we tend to overlook in Ether 12 in our hurry to discuss verse 27, namely, verse 26.  Before this, Moroni is concerned that the Gentiles will mock the writing in the Book of Mormon.  Here is the Lord’s answer (emphasis mine):

26 And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;

Grace is not only to help us overcome our weaknesses, but it is also to help us be patient with weaknesses in others!

Back to your specific questions.  When will the events of 2 Nephi 28 happen?  They already are.  Each time a person puts anything ahead of God or chooses to yield to temptation, they are falling into the traps described. We can see these things around us and even within the Church whenever someone is casual about their covenants or dismisses them altogether.

When are we allowed to point it out? Please see above. Also, please carefully note verse 23 (“they” are those Satan has grasped “with his awful chains”):

23 Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.

Satan is already condemned.  Perhaps there will be some formality at the end of judgment day wherein he will be judged further, but even so, Revelation 12:10 comes to mind (emphasis mine):

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

This “accuser of our brethren” is Satan.  I believe that in verse 23, Satan isn’t there (only) to be judged, rather, he is there condemning the very people he led to hell, playing his part as “accuser”.  In that line, Bo, please don’t be in a hurry to join him.  Rather, look for ways to minister to and lift others.  Be a witness of Christ at all times, in all things, and in all places.  Want to encourage people to attend the temple? Testify of your love for it. Want to encourage repentance? Speak of how you have been blessed through repentance. Want to encourage scripture study? Speak up enthusiastically during classes, showing your love of the scriptures. Want to encourage obedience? Be quick to obey. I’m sure you get the idea. Set the example in word and deed. Love the Lord and your fellow men.  Let His light shine through you. Most of all, follow the Spirit and living prophets as you serve the Lord.

In short, change your desire from “point out that all is not well” to “help others come unto Christ”.  That second desire will yield greater success and happiness. I pray that all of us will strive ever harder to come unto our Savior, and bring with us all who are willing to come.







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