Monday, April 18, 2016

#YOLO for Tomorrow We Die

The Book of Mormon was written for us today. It is a record of an ancient people compiled by the Prophet Mormon. God told him what to put in the book, so God is the author. It is written for us today. "The Book of Mormon was written for us today. God is the author of the book. It is a record of a fallen people, compiled by inspired men for our blessing today. Those people never had the book—it was meant for us. Mormon, the ancient prophet after whom the book is named, abridged centuries of records. God, who knows the end from the beginning, told him what to include in his abridgment that we would need for our day. Mormon turned the records over to his son Moroni, the last recorder; and Moroni, writing over 1,500 years ago but speaking to us today, states: “Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.”" (Ezra Taft Benson).

As such, we know that each verse was calculated by the Almighty to teach us how to survive today's world. One section comes in 2 Nephi 28:7-10:
7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us. 
8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God. 
9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.
10 And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them.
In modern terms, #YOLO. While in its mild forms, this philosophy is not inherently bad, pushed to extremes, it can separate a person from their God. We live in a day where Satan reigns in the hearts of men and women with both blinding hatred on one end of the spectrum to subtle sophistry on the other. The line between using #YOLO as a tool to live life to the fullest and the hellish philosophy that nothing ultimately matters is ill-defined and should be given as wide a berth as possible. Truly, "We live in a time when even the wisest will be hard-pressed to distinguish truth from clever deception" (Henry B Eyring).

So how? How do we remain safe in a world more and more going towards #YOLO? We should seek the face of God, daily. While most will likely go through this life without a personal visitation from the Father, we can each be worthy to see the Father today.

How do you know if you are worthy to see the Father? The ordinances of the Temple teach us how "to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels...and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell" (Brigham Young). If you are worthy to learn how to walk back to His presence there, you are worthy to be in His presence here.

You may not see the harm in some philosophies of men. But the blood of the saints cries from the ground against those who teach these philosophies. While there is nobody in a sinister group who created #YOLO to kill the saints, the spiritual casualties from not being firmly fixed upon the moorings of Zion are bound to increase if we are not guided by personal revelation and the counsels of the living prophets.

One such casualty is one not readily seen. "[Some] among us may one day wake up and realize what power in the priesthood really is and face the deep regret that they spent far more time seeking power over others or power at work than learning to exercise fully the power of God" (Russell M Nelson). While we may not fully recognize the atrophy, we do not gain strength. How do you replace the strength from daily prayers and daily scripture study for twenty years? How do you replace the protection of regularly attending the Temple? How do you replace the cleansing of partaking the sacrament weekly? In short, you cannot. "Why would any man waste his days and settle for Esau’s mess of pottage when he has been entrusted with the possibility of receiving all of the blessings of Abraham?" (Russell M Nelson). Yet that is precisely what we do.

Guard yourselves. "Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord" (Doctrine & Covenants 133:5). And watch with the assistance of the Spirit to avoid the pitfalls which are deceitfully covered by the adversary to trip the saints.