Introduction to Hidden Things of Darkness: An Expose of the Enemies of Christ
Keeping All Of The Commandments
“Who am I that made man, saith the Lord, that will hold him guiltless that obeys not my commandments?”
Obedience to God’s Commandments
The importance of obedience to God’s commandments can hardly be overstated (D&C 59:21). Indeed, one of the major overarching messages of the standard works is the need for strict obedience to all of Heavenly Father’s commandments (D&C 98:11). Yet the world at present, if it obeys God’s commandments at all, usually approaches such strict divine requirements with a relativistic set of ethics, and a lackadaisical, “moderation-in-all-things” attitude (2 Nephi 28:7-9; Mormon 8:31). The Prophet Joseph Smith boldly preached to a congregation of non-members the folly of such an attitude towards God’s commandments, as if people can pick and choose which ones they want to keep like they were some kind of smorgasbord of divine rules.
In words as applicable to today as ever, the Prophet Joseph said, “to get salvation we must not only do some things, but everything which God has commanded.”1 Expressing what his personal motto was, he said, “the object with me is to obey and teach others to obey God in just what He tells us to do.”2 Demonstrating his commitment to such a stand (and as was evidenced by his life’s example itself), no matter what the cost, he declared, “it mattereth not whether the principle is popular or unpopular, I will always maintain a true principle, even if I stand alone in it.”3
On another occasion he stated,
[I]n obedience there is joy and peace unspotted, unalloyed; and as God has designed our happiness—and the happiness of all His creatures, he never has—He never will institute an ordinance or give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness which He has designed, and which will not end in the greatest amount of good and glory to those who become the recipients of his law and ordinances. 4
But to those who will not obey, the Lord queried, “Who am I that made man, saith the Lord, that will hold him guiltless that obeys not my commandments” (D&C 58:30)?
Some Commandments Well Received, Others Not
The world at present, as it plunges deeper and deeper into spiritual darkness and wickedness, is unarguably turning a collective deaf ear toward God’s divine teachings (D&C 5:8). But how do Latter-day Saints fare, who are members of Christ’s true Church, are beneficiaries of the priesthood, and have the Holy Ghost for guidance? Besides what ancient prophets saw in vision (see 2 Nephi 28:14), a cursory look at Church history plainly shows that the prophets’ pronouncements have been received with mixed attitudes of acceptance.
While Joseph Smith was viewed as a prophet by almost all of the Latter-day Saints, his revealing of the principle of polygamy was too much for some members of the Church to handle. Many apostatized and became his enemies. The reverse happened under President Wilford Woodruff’s administration. When polygamy was abandoned, some members could not let the principle go, even though the Lord had once declared, “I…command and revoke, as it seemeth me good” (D&C 56:4).
President Heber J. Grant taught the Saints many beautiful truths about the gospel, and its principles, but when he spoke out against government “old age assistance,” some members thought that he “ought to keep his mouth shut.”5 Many members were undoubtedly motivated at hearing President David O. McKay’s famous declaration that “every member is a missionary.” But when he said, “Next to being one in worshipping God, there is nothing in this world upon which this Church should be more united than in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States,”6 many refused to listen. Even now today, certain members think that America’s Constitution is out-dated and that its independence and sovereignty should be scrapped in favor of joining a world government.
President Spencer W. Kimball was well received when he declared that every “worthy young man” should serve a mission, and that members of the Church must “lengthen their stride.” Yet, how many rejoiced at his plea for mothers to stay in the home and raise their children? Or, how many took seriously his admonition for families to fix up their homes and to garden, and to obtain a year’s supply of food? President Ezra Taft Benson received accolades for reemphasizing the Book of Mormon, but how many listened to him as he spoke about the Constitution of the United States of America, and the evils of a secret combination that is seeking to “overthrow the freedom of all
lands, nations, and countries”? 7
Of how many blessings have members been deprived, by failing to obey God’s commandments that He has revealed through His servants the prophets? And for that matter, since God will not hold “guiltless” those who do not keep His commandments, what price will Latter-day Saints have to pay for ignoring prophetic counsel (1 Nephi 10:20)?
While the exact answers to these questions are probably only understood and known by God, a little pondering of the following verse of scripture might well provide a heavenly response that would generate a flood of understanding. The Lord said, “I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing” (D&C 58:32). Other scripture is more blunt. To those who half-heartedly attempt to follow divine counsel, the Lord said, “But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with a doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned” (D&C 58:29). If they who follow divine counsel with a “doubtful heart” and with “slothfulness” are “damned,” what is to be said about they who willfully disobey?
In the sections and chapters that follow, special consideration is given to certain commandments that will have far-reaching negative effects if members of the Church continue to ignore them (see D&C 1:33), or outright disobey them. Those effects will be far more amplified if they who seek to obey those commandments are mocked, ridiculed, and thwarted by those who do not. Or even worse, surely God will not withhold His wrath should His own people actually work towards building up the very enemies of Christ that the scriptures and prophets, both ancient and modern, have warned about (see D&C 112:23-26).
Even though some of the subject matter presented throughout the rest of this book might appear to be unrelated at first, evidence for the interconnected nature of these seemingly diverse topics will be given. Each topic will be examined separately in some detail, which will accordingly serve as a building block for the subsequent ones to follow and be placed upon. As all of these subjects are examined in their proper context, each piece will be tied together in its relationship to the rest into one seamless whole. When completed, it will be clear how they are all parts of one total picture. The purpose of such an endeavor is to bear witness of the importance of these commandments, especially in how they relate to one another. Individually, these commandments can easily be overlooked. Taken together collectively, in light of the burden and responsibility they represent, they cannot be ignored.
Christopher S. Bentley is the former managing editor of The New American, and former Operations Manager for the John Birch Society.
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1 Joseph Fielding Smith, ed., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, (Salt Lake
City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), p. 332.
3 Smith, p. 332.
4 Ibid., p. 256-257.
5 Elder Marion G. Romney, General Conference, April 1953.
6 President David O. McKay, The Instructor, (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1956), vol. 91, p. 34.
7 President Ezra Taft Benson, “I Testify,” The Ensign, (Salt Lake City, UT: The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, November, 1988), p.87.