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Words of the Damned

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is full of religious truths. It is also a source of remarkable stories and people.

Used to be that heaven was the desired place to be of people in the Judeo-Christian culture that predominates in the United States of America. No matter the indignation suffered, people hoped to meet at the pearly gates where tradition dictates Peter would be there to open and let in for eternal felicity. That belief was evident in our movies and literature for decades, but something happened. Something changed from the pearly gates to the often expressed statement by dying heroes or anti-heroes, "I'll see you in hell!"

I remember the judgment that the good guys would pass on the bad guy to burn in hell. Now, the supposed good guys include themselves in the hell-judgment--judgments which are both inappropriate since God is the Person Who judges eternal destination and not other people.

Reading in my Scriptures, I came to the part of The Book of Mormon that I hate the most. It is the part following the visit of Jesus Christ to the ancient societies of the children of Lehi in what we call the Americas. Two hundred years following Christ's visit, society began to devolve into a state of wickedness. Mormon described it.

...for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin. And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword for their lives. And it came to pass that my sorrow did return unto me again, and I saw that the day of grace was passed with them, both temporally and spiritually; for I saw thousands of them hewn down in open rebellion against their God, and heaped up as dung upon the face of the land. [Mormon 2:13-15]

Mormon called it the sorrowing of the damned. The damned sorrowed because they could not sin without consequences. So instead of living good lives, they resented the fact that God required keeping commandments for His blessing but "did curse God, and wish to die." [Mormon 2:14]

See You In Hell

When did the epitaph change from "Burn in hell." or "Go to hell." as representative of our society? When did the sentiment change to the self-judgment, "All are going to hell anyway so see you there?"

Was it during the Civil Rights Movement in the United States that the cultural trend started to rage in the hearts of a generation? When was a hero like Superman turned into a cliche despised by so many and all heroes were more believable if they had personal issues that turned them into anti-heroes who did the right thing only part of the time?

When did society decline to the point that no one is good enough for heaven unless he or she was an unrealistic knave? Society has become cynical and unbelieving despite the words of warning from Isaiah that such things would happen before the end of the nations of Judah and Israel.

Mormon called it the sorrowing of the damned. The damned sorrowed because they could not sin without consequences. So instead of living good lives, they resented the fact that God required keeping commandments for His blessing but "did curse God, and wish to die."

In the last days before the destruction of the ancient Nephites, Mormon etched into what became the Book of Mormon that "they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless, they would struggle with the sword for their lives. [Mormon 2:14] The same thing happened to ancient Israel. It was broken up as kingdoms, save the tribe of Judah and the half-tribe of Benjamin because of one thing: cynicism. Israel stopped following Jehovah and were scattered all over the planet. Judah did not stop following Jehovah but did take council with nations against the Lord's advice causing Him to allow them to fall into the traps they made for themselves by not heeding God's warnings.

Trust is a missing factor. Hope is a missing factor. Hope that there is an ending in mortal life that is worth achieving is the reason why people move away from the traditional Superman of the past to the more rugged version peddled to the current generation. Being a cynic means rooted in reality while being an idealist means rooted in fantasy.

The philosophy that people do not change saturates American society negating the promise upon which much of what America is built that people can and do change. It flies in the face of the Judeo-Christian foundation that God is the impetus for change. So, "I am going to do the right thing in this life, and we can sort the rest out in hell." is the new standard for a grounded and "woke" person, I perceive.

And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.

— Isaiah 3:5

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When did society declined to the point that no one is good enough for heaven unless he or she was an unrealistic knave? Society has become cynical and unbelieving despite the words of warning from Isaiah...

What I See

During the elections in the United States, especially presidential elections, people result to the most pernicious plans to destroy the peace of the citizenry to advance their ideas. Fear is the biggest of the tools of President Trump for the last two elections. Former Vice-President Biden resulted in passive-aggressive behavior that seemed to the inattentive hear as peaceful.

Instead of building society up, would-be leaders tear it down with words calling it patriotism. Telling others that one way is the only way, which is "my way" when it comes to politics destroying faith in God. Why? When people see that there isn't one way in political things, we wonder if there is more than one way in spiritual things. If there is not one way, then there must be multiple ways. If there are multiple ways, then no way really matters. Choose one!

Jesus taught that He is THE WAY! No person goes to the Father except through Jesus. With pundits claiming to be the one true way for our temporal salvation and no one reaffirming our faiths as more than opinions, no faith is safe.

I see Jesus becoming a joke in the minds of many and an offensive word rather than the person He is who only wants us to follow Him because His path worked to get Him to the Father. Now Christianity is nothing more than a political party in the eyes of many, especially the youth.

Reading the Book of Mormon during the declining years of faith among the Nephites causes me to mourn when I notice the same thing occurring in my society. People will curse God, but will still fight for their rights to Constitutional endorsed freedoms. People deny the inspiration of the document and worship the document as their new god or curse it as the new devil disguised as a god. People call good things evil and evil things good. Society shifts so much that nothing is good or bad and wonder why the upcoming generation is confused and depressed.

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What I Used to "Know."

  • Americans were always the good guys. Americans wanted everyone to be free with the right to pursue happiness without oppressive governments.
  • Hard work pays off if you play by the rules and treat others with fairness.
  • Every person's faith and views matter and should be respected.
  • God is the ruler of us all and we pray to Him though we call Him by different names--know Him through differing faiths.
  • My fellow Americans would fight to protect my freedom as I would fight to protect theirs.
  • I mattered.

This is the sorrowing of the damned in modern times. Lamenting things that do not turn out the way we think they should and mourning about it instead of adjusting our views. The things I used to "know" were beliefs that I did not doubt, but have come to question in the midst of the political turmoil and hatred spread by so many. Reading my Scriptures, I see that just like now, people lived in despair questioning their beliefs and faith before disillusion resulted in their societies' destruction.

Reading the Book of Mormon during the declining years of faith among the Nephites causes me to mourn when I notice the same thing occurring in my society. People will curse God, but will still fight for their rights to Constitutional endorsed freedoms.

Natural

A beating heart of stone

You gotta be so cold

To make it in this world

Yeah, you're a natural

Living your life cutthroat

You gotta be so cold

Yeah, you're a natural

— Imagine Dragons

Is This The End?

It might be close. The despair of the moment passes before the next moment of despair begins. Each episode in our lives seems to be the most consequential to our survival until we have passed it. And, it is.

In order to progress to the next test of character, we must pass the one in which we dwell now. Mormon, seeing his society crumble morally, then by war had to accept what went before him before he could deal with the next circumstance. He never would have been able to etch his woes and experiences into sheets of gold without a determination to one day reach willing readers who could learn to endure with faith to follow the God he followed, Jesus Christ.

After surviving the death of thousands of his countrymen, Mormon continued his goal. Yes, he's a natural. He had a heart of stone, solid and strong. He did not allow himself to sorrow as if he was damned, blocked from progressing, though all society fell into chaos.

We too can be naturals, leaders among our peers. Even if our peers refuse to listen to our wisdom and succumb to sorrowing of the damned, the blocked, we can sorrow for those in despair for a season and take the stairs of hope from the pitfalls in our lives. That hope is through Jesus Christ. It is through the good things of life that people mistake for being too easy to help.

This may be the end of one situation, but there is ALWAYS another beginning with Jesus Christ. Let Isaiah's warning to the House of Israel be a warning to us also.

Let us not become oppressors to each other. Let not the youth behave proudly against the older more experienced people for any reason. Let us not tolerate ourselves to be dishonorable in our attitudes to our leaders and call it good.

© 2020 Rodric Anthony

Comments

Rodric Anthony (author) from Surprise, Arizona on November 08, 2020:

Richard, if a BYU grad and a Utah grad can get along and marry each other, then that is historic healing! That is an eternal rivalry!

Mark Richardson from Utah on November 08, 2020:

That's good to hear. Along

those lines, my wife went to BYU and I went to the University of Utah and we still talk to each other.

Rodric Anthony (author) from Surprise, Arizona on November 08, 2020:

Amen, Mark. President Russel M. Nelson said it best when he and senior leaders of the NAACP came together and supported "racial reform, asking 'people everywhere to join us in a journey of understanding and overcoming.'

'We invite all to pray to God that the people of this land will heed the Divine call to abandon attitudes of prejudice against any group of God’s children,' wrote the leaders. 'We also invite people of goodwill everywhere to look for ways to reach out and serve someone of a different background or race. Everyone can do something.'" [https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders-and-ministry...].

It is okay to disagree on things. We do not have to be enemies, however. President-Elect Joe Biden said this repeatedly during his recent public addresses. I did not vote for him, but I support that sentiment. I voted for Trump. My wife voted for Biden. We are not getting a divorce just because our opinions differ. We focus on what we agree on, which is freedom of choice and respect for other's political views.

Mark Richardson from Utah on November 08, 2020:

Thanks for your article.

What we need right now is tolerance. We need to allow people to believe what they want.

I was amazed at how split the country was. The media had me thinking that much more would be voting Democratic instead of Republican. But it goes to show you that all do not believe the same.

Rodric Anthony (author) from Surprise, Arizona on November 07, 2020:

Bill, I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment. I mentioned to Pamela how President Trump and President-elect Biden's messages are polar opposites when it comes to their uniting the US. I don't know what that means precisely for the future, but I know that I want the peace and unity President-elect Biden speaks of. I did not vote for Biden, but I love his message above the person I voted for. It is hard to have hope, but the fact that you still have it makes me feel like there is hope enough. You expressed it was hard to see, not that you did not see it. That is hope enough.

Rodric Anthony (author) from Surprise, Arizona on November 07, 2020:

Pamela, thanks for reading. Isaiah is filled with nuggets of truth that repeat in each generation. He is quoted in the Book of Mormon often because of the expanse of his prophecies regarding the House of Israel. I believe that at least two of the tribes are in the Americas, Ephraim and Manasseh, in large numbers. If we as followers of God can remember to keep the covenant we can avoid some of the pitfalls of ancient Israel. I really feel like we can exist as nonbacksliding Israel where ever we live and in any nation under any governmental system.

President-elect Joe Biden speaks of peace and unity while President Trump speaks of division and fraud. The last four years have been hectic, at least on social media. We have to determine who represents best our goodwill in nations where we vote for our leaders and pray for goodwill from the leaders in nations where we don't choose the leaders.

Rodric Anthony (author) from Surprise, Arizona on November 07, 2020:

John, I know that I focused on America in this article. We across the globe are experiencing Isaiah's warning in Isaiah 3:5. Before Israel's destruction came the signs in this verse that it would happen.

I am glad the racism and inequality are on review now, but while working on this change to society, something bad came in with that freedom and equality going out. Now, everything that was once considered bad is good almost and almost everything that was once good is now bad. I am happy that you found this article worth the read. I appreciate that.

Rodric Anthony (author) from Surprise, Arizona on November 07, 2020:

Eric, that is so true what you instructed. We do not decide either our damnation or redemption. Jesus Christ is the judge of our salvation. We are only the receivers of His grace.

There are interpretations that teach that we are our own judges due to the record in heaven or the information we hold in our minds. I concede to your teaching, however. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. I always love it when I get them.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 07, 2020:

Well-written, my friend!

I am basically a hopeful person. I usually look at the current affairs and think "change happens slowly, be patient," but there is so much hate and distrust and fear in the U.S. today. It's very hard to see a bright light at the end of this tunnel we find ourselves in.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 07, 2020:

This is a very thought-provoking articlem Rodric. I have never read the Book of Mormon, but I have read the Bible. I see the clever comparison you are making relating to the current awful political climate. There is no doubt that ideally people should come together, get along and work out some of our problems. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 06, 2020:

You covered a lot here. My heroes are the ones that overcame destructive tendencies. Of course we mean sins. While a man may not decide damned, he also cannot decide redemption.

This strikes the chord of judge not lest the be judged so well.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on November 06, 2020:

Rodric, no matter what a reader’s faith, this article has so many lessons and truths within. Yes, things have changed as you have stated, in so many ways. We need to take a long hard look at the direction our society is going, and “fix” the areas that are totally unacceptable and against the values our countries were built on.

Thank you for sharing your insights.