(by Dennis B. Horne)
Today we have deception cunningly making its way into the Church and attacking faithful people and families, not only in regard to false doctrine about the origin of man but also concerning LGBT practices and activism, and various other strange and seducing doctrines of men and devils (see D&C 46:7). The below comments mostly relate to evolution but can apply to other methods Satan uses to infiltrate the Church, much of it from within. BYU biologists, NAMI, and the editors of BYUSQ are tragically at great fault here, pitting their worldly learning against the revelations of God. The Brethren warn and warn again against listening to or believing these counterfeit doctrines.
It seems sometimes as if the darkness that surrounds us is all but impenetrable. I can see on all sides the signs of one great evil master-mind [Satan] working for the overturning of our civilization, the destruction of religion, the reduction of men to the status of animals. This mind is working here and there and everywhere. (Conference Report, October 1935, 92; emphasis added.)
In the Book of Mormon the prophet Nephi exclaims: “O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.” (2 Ne. 4:34.)
Prophesying of our day, Nephi said, “. . . they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.” (2 Ne. 28:14.)
Yes, it is the precepts of men versus the principles of God. The more we follow the word of God, the less we are deceived, while those who follow the wisdom of men are deceived the most.
Increasingly the Latter-day Saints must choose between the reasoning of men and the revelations of God. This is a crucial choice, for we have those within the Church today who, with their worldly wisdom, are leading some of our members astray. President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., warned that “the ravening wolves are amongst us from our own membership and they, more than any others, are clothed in sheep's clothing, because they wear the habiliments of the Priesthood. ... We should be careful of them.” (Improvement Era, May 1949, p. 268.)
Now, we have not been using the Book of Mormon as we should. Our homes are not as strong unless we are using it to bring our children to Christ. Our families may be corrupted by worldly trends and teachings unless we know how to use the book to expose and combat the falsehoods in socialism, organic evolution, rationalism, humanism, etc.
Apparently there were in the early church those who taught for doctrines the sophistries of men. There are those today who seem to take pride in disagreeing with the orthodox teachings of the Church and who present their own opinions which are at variance with the revealed truth. Some may be partially innocent in the matter; others are feeding their own egotism; and some seem to be deliberate. Men may think as they please, but they have no right to impose upon others their unorthodox views. Such persons should realize that their own souls are in jeopardy.
If one cannot accept and teach the program of the Church in an orthodox way without reservations, he should not teach. It would be the part of honor to resign his position. Not only would he be dishonest and deceitful, but he is also actually under condemnation, for the Savior said that it were better that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he be cast into the sea than that he should lead astray doctrinally or betray the cause or give offense, destroying the faith of one of “these little ones” who believe in him. And remember that this means not only the small children, it includes even adults who believe and trust in God.
Now, while I feel that the many people of the earth today are so infected with the works of the flesh that they do not recognize them as such, and, therefore, many people are not possessed of the moral courage to pay the price of peace, still we should not, Jonah-like, sulk under a vine if some of them should turn to apply the principles of the Prince of Peace and find its joyful rewards. On the contrary, we should rejoice, for to proclaim peace is the sole purpose of our life’s mission. We should find no pleasure in the fact that men’s strivings for peace have proved ineffectual. I wage no war against their efforts. Many of them are doing the best they can in the light they have. Nevertheless, I can see no justification for us, who have the clear light of the revealed gospel of Christ, to spend our lives stumbling around through the mists following the uncertain glimmer of a flickering candle lighted by the wisdom of men. Rather, we should devote our energies to spreading the true light, and leave the mists to those who do not see that light.
Search the scriptures that you may not be deceived by false theories and practices and doctrines so prevalent in the world today. If you will do this, if you will have in your hearts the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord which every member of the Church has a right to have, the companionship of the Holy Ghost, you will not be led astray by the theories of men because the Spirit of the Lord will tell you they are false, and you will have the spirit of discernment that you may understand. …
We Latter-day Saints need not be, and we must not be, deceived by the sophistries of men concerning the reality of Satan. There is a personal devil, and we had better believe it. He and a countless host of followers, seen and unseen, are exercising a controlling influence upon men and their affairs in our world today. . . .
We know that the Spirit of Christ and the power of his priesthood are ample shields to the power of Satan. We know that there is available to each of us the gift of the Holy Ghost—the power of revelation which embraces the gift of discernment by which we may unerringly detect the devil and the counterfeits he is so successfully foisting upon this gullible generation. Our course is clear and certain. It is to strictly obey the commandments of the Lord, as they are recorded in the scriptures and as they are being given by the living prophets.
A great many Christians today, influenced by the modern teaching of the evolutionary origin of man from lower species, have long since abandoned the doctrine that man was created in the image of God. Since before the time of Augustine, the living God of revelation and the scriptures has been replaced by the god of Greek philosophy—a being without body, parts, or passions, beyond the bounds of time and space. These Christians, as well as persons who believe in no religion whatever, expect that the chance processes of evolution on other worlds would most likely bring about intelligent beings quite different from man. All of us have been made more or less familiar with this kind of thinking on a less refined scale through the green, bug-eyed monster types of popular science fiction.
Such things make interesting reading for the unknowledgeable, but no Latter-day Saint need be left in doubt. There is nothing more fundamental in God’s revelations than the basic premise that we are of the race of Gods. We are of his species. God looks like us. We look like him. He has two arms, two legs, a head—indeed, Jesus said, “If ye have seen me, ye have seen the Father.” Obviously, God’s sons and daughters would be of his species, would resemble him. This was one of the basic truths Joseph Smith knew after his vision in 1820. Consequently, people on other worlds would be like us, because we are all his children.
The world may think of green, bug-eyed monsters, and science fiction movies may fascinate and enthrall, but they are pure fiction! People “out there” are like people here, because we are all of the race of Gods.
Repeatedly, past prophets have declared “great and marvelous things unto the people, which they did not believe.”
It is no different in our day. Through the years, great and marvelous things have been heard from dedicated pulpits across the earth. Yet most people do not embrace these truths—either because they do not know where to look for them or because they are listening to those who do not have the whole truth or because they have rejected truth in favor of worldly pursuits.
The adversary is clever. For millennia he has been making good look evil and evil look good. His messages tend to be loud, bold, and boastful.
However, messages from our Heavenly Father are strikingly different. He communicates simply, quietly, and with such stunning plainness that we cannot misunderstand Him. . . .
We can also hear Him in the temple. The house of the Lord is a house of learning. There the Lord teaches in His own way. . . . There we learn how to part the veil and communicate more clearly with heaven.
Wouldn’t it be a great thing if all who are well schooled in secular learning could hold fast to the “iron rod,” or the word of God, which could lead them, through faith, to an understanding, rather than to have them stray away into strange paths of man-made theories and be plunged into the murky waters of disbelief and apostasy?
I heard one of our own eminent scientists say something to the effect that he believed more professors have taken themselves out of the Church by their trying to philosophize or intellectualize the fall of Adam and the subsequent atonement of the Savior. This was because they would rather accept the philosophies of men than what the Lord has revealed until they, and we, are able to understand the “mysteries of godliness” as explained to the prophets of the Lord and more fully revealed in sacred places.
The Lord issued a warning to those who would seek to destroy the faith of an individual or lead him away from the word of God or cause him to lose his grasp on the “iron rod,” wherein was safety by faith in a Divine Redeemer and his purposes concerning this earth and its peoples.
The Master warned: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better … that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matt. 18:6.)
The Master was impressing the fact that rather than ruin the soul of a true believer, it were better for a person to suffer an earthly death than to incur the penalty of jeopardizing his own eternal destiny.
[Missionaries] Confine your answer [to investigators] to the testimony you have that God lives and He has revealed some things to men which demonstrate the fallacy there is in evolution.