Evil's Beginnings: LDS Intro Post 4

Intro - LDS

Before we return to the notion from 4th Nephi that the Saints of the Latter-days should all be of one heart, we might find value in an examination of a subject that directly tends to keep Saints from that goal. We will all certainly agree that evil is, well, evil. However when the attempt is made to turn indirect philosophy into pragmatic labels, the Latter-day Saints often widely differ in their opinion. The cause of this difference, I believe, can be easily traced to culture and tradition. Not so easy is breaking through a barrier about which we are warned by Book of Mormon prophets. Thus, initially, we study LDS culture and then move on to an examination of the barrier.

We have noticed and easily agree that the influences of the World are immense and dark. We have also noticed that the Lord has commanded us to follow a path quite apart from that darkness and toward the satisfying light of His Gospel. By darkness, of course, we imply an absence of light—light as in truth and enlightenment of God. But darkness is not simply the absence of light as many suppose. Darkness is a kind of light, or philosophy.

The Savior informs us, “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light which is in thee be darkness, how great shall that darkness be.” (JST Matthew 6:23) If a mortal’s eye, focus, or that which they believe, espouse, practice, obey, and love is evil, then they are filled with the light of darkness. Darkness, then is not simply the absence of goodness and God’s light, it is the substance or light of evil. (See also Luke 11:35; 3 Nephi 13:23; D&C 14:9)

On what kind of light, then, do we focus? When the Lord describes an eye that is “single to my glory,” He is describing not just focus. The goal of a faithful Latter-day Saint can only be to banish all darkness from himself and “have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.” (Mosiah 5:2) In order to effectively differentiate between the two, a good portion of that goal’s task must then be a recognition of what constitutes the light of darkness. This is the understanding that Latter-day Saint culture tends to lack.

What if I ask the question: “Why have the Latter-day Saints, as a society, not effectively recognized the World’s darkness both in quantity and quality, and in the lack of recognition, followed the very darkness they profess to eschew?” How many would argue that my question is without merit? It appears that most, or at lease many, would.

Why do I proffer that opinion? Only because of the apparent naiveté of the LDS society in matters relating to most every aspect of our modern lives. This post will examine the reason for this naiveté as well as its substance. My purpose, however, is not to place blame but solely to awaken. Both Nephi and Moroni forward commandments from God that we do exactly that. (Ether 8:24; 2Ne 28:21, 24) Make no mistake: This is not a subject upon which to necessarily or overly dwell. It is, however, immensely important to understand if we are to view the world with any degree of realistic understanding. Which understanding the Lord has commanded we obtain. (See D&C 88:77-83)

If, in fact, Latter-day Saints in general are asleep or lulled into carnal security, as noted by the Lord through Moroni and Nephi, and the Lord has commanded that we not only awaken but become informed, what keeps us from that awakening and informative endeavor? I believe there are very specific reasons for our plight. Some are specifically aimed at us by the Adversary and some are unintended consequences. First we will examine the latter.

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