Can the true church of God be under condemnation? According to Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord refers to the church as “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually—(D&C 1: 30). So, we know that God is pleased with his church on the whole but he may be displeased with its individual members.
President Ezra Taft Benson in October 1986 general conference in a talk entitled “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion” said, “If the early Saints were rebuked for treating the Book of Mormon lightly, are we under any less condemnation if we do the same? Can a small number of us bring the whole Church under condemnation because we trifle with sacred things?” (D&C 84:54–57). President Benson goes on quote one of his own talks from 10 years prior, “So, do eternal consequences rest upon our response to this book? Yes, either to our blessing or our condemnation.” (Ensign, May 1975, p. 65).
The Jews of the Old Testament are a good example of the chosen people living under condemnation. Can you imagine living at the time of the Jew’s exodus from Egypt? Lets say you lived in Assyria or Babylon. What would have been your view of the chosen people of God? I’m sure it wouldn’t look too desirable to join up with God’s people while they were wandering around in the desert for 40 years, especially after news of the Red Sea miracle. I can imagine them saying to themselves, “What God saves his people just to have them die in the desert?”
Sometimes, as I took at the church today, I wonder if we as a church aren’t under a bit of condemnation like the Jews. Even though we have the miracles of the First Vision and the Book of Mormon, outsiders may look at us and see a people wondering in the wilderness. Because of condemnation because of a lack of faith or obedience, can it be said of us that "and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him" (Isa. 53: 2).
See, I work in an ER and I see the consequences and suffering of a great many bad decisions and also the suffering and pain caused by poverty, ignorance, hatred and bigotry first-hand. I treat drug-overdoses, shootings, assaults, rapes, sexually transmitted disease, lung disease from smoking, diabetes from overeating, heart disease from not exercising, car accidents from alcohol abuse, etc, etc. And, I hope one day to live in a better society. And I hope to make some sort of real difference to better our community; not just the "band-aid" fixes I do in the ER.
Many Christians also believe that the righteous of the Earth will one day live in a perfect society during a thousand-year period after the second coming of Jesus Christ. However, only the Mormon Church interprets the Bible to teach that God expects us to actually establish the foundation of that perfect society before Christ comes. That is a lot of responsibility for a church to take on. I think it’s a “cop-out” that some mainstream Christian churches to say that Christ will do it all for us when he comes so why bother. I think that all Christians should tirelessly seek to establish Zion here and now.
So, what would the perfect society look like? Well, the scriptures give us the blue print. They say that in a perfect society there would be no poor among us. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon talk about communities living “with all things in common.” Everyone would be equal in heavenly and earthly things. And only then can the people of Zion, which are called “the pure in heart “ be of “one heart and one mind,” living in absolute peace and prosperity on Earth.
Everyone seems to have an idea of how to build the perfect society and get rid of poverty. We have names for these people. We call them socialists, or communists. We call them neo-cons or secular progressives. Everyone has a different theory about how to go about building a Zion or Utopia. Socialists and Secular progressives say the answer is in government programs and income re-distribution. Capitalists and neo-cons say that we should let the markets work and practice social darwinism (survival of the fittest).
The scriptures have the answer to the perfect society. We have to end poverty. But how do you do that. Do you put the government in charge of everything? If you have a problem, just turn to the government for help. That’s what we call in medicine “symptomatic treatment.” To truly be a perfect society, we have to cure the causes of poverty, ignorance, and bigotry, and hatred and not just cover them up with a welfare Band-Aid or by playing Robin Hood and imposing a mandatory income redistribution program.
To end poverty you need to attack the causes of poverty. The major cause of poverty is illegitimacy and the breakdown of the traditional family. I see the evidence of this everyday in the ER. Children have the right to be born into a family with both a mother and a father. The father should work outside the home and provide for or oversee the temporal and spiritual needs of the children. The mother should work inside the home and provide for the social and emotional needs of the children.
What happens today? We live in a sexually immoral and materialistic society. Single mothers are stretched too thin to be able to fulfill all the needs of their children by themselves. And even in cases where there is a mom and dad, many times both decide to work to fund an extravagantly materialistic lifestyle. And when the children’s spiritual, social and emotional needs are not being met, they are more likely to struggle with depression or turn to gangs, sex, porn, tobacco, alcohol, drugs which then leads to crime, disease, and injury (a visit to the ER). And the cycle repeats itself over and over again.