So What If We’re Wrong?

Seriously – what if we’re wrong?  This isn’t a glib quip – I’m trying to consider the real possibility and what that would mean.  I thought I would put into essay form the head games I play, the scripture study it sparked, and the edifying conclusion I came to.

So what if we’re wrong?  Who really asks such a question?  I don’t think many do.  Think about it – is there anyone out there who regularly considers themselves wrong or close-minded?  Even the most ignorant, off-the-charts, tin-foil hat crazies feel justified in their opinions, and think they know the way the world really works.  [As an aside, if you discuss some of our common ideas at church, a lot of members will feel you are that off-the-charts guy/girl.]

So what distinguishes us, who read sites like this, and read the words of Bastiat, Mises, Rothbard, Paul, Woods, Napolitano, et al.?  What makes us different from the “hook, line, and sinker” folks, as I like to call all who fully believe what they’re told from the mainstream media and government ministries of information?

I’ll share with you my answer to this question shortly.  First, I’d like to take you through some doctrine.  The doctrine I sought out had to do with “opening eyes,” mostly spiritually.  The reason I did this was to explore what I feel happened to me when I started down the path we all did of “waking up” so to speak.  Just a couple of years ago, I was a “hook, line and sinker” member too.  Then I came across the writings of some persuasive men named J. Rueben Clark, Jr., Ezra Taft Benson, Ron Paul, Thomas Woods, Jr., and Murray Rothbard who planted questions in my mind and posited ideas never supplied by the approved spectrum of opinion.

John

In Chapter 9, Christ heals a man blind from birth.  The whole chapter is great!  In summary, as Christ’s disciples passed by the blind man, they asked the Lord who had sinned, him or his parents.  “Neither” was the answer, and Christ healed him – on the Sabbath.  It turned into quite the scene.  Most of the chapter concerns the Pharisees “investigation” into the matter.  They repeatedly ask the healed man how it happened, and tell him Christ is a sinner.  It’s thrilling to see the healed man’s transformation in light of the Pharisees’ bullying.  He turns from a grateful man delighted in an amazing gift, to a man sure in his heart of the truth when challenged by expert manipulators.  The fact that this man, who never learned to read, likely never went to school, and was virtually unlearned, could frustrate the Pharisees in such a manner is impressive, and entertaining.  The Pharisees had the power to “cast out” of the synagogue those who confessed Jesus was Christ.  So the man’s parents didn’t want to cross them when the Pharisees interviewed them.  When at last the healed man meets Christ again, and realizes he was the one who healed him, he worships him.  The last three verses read:

39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. 40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?  41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

I conclude there are two instances of blindness shown here.  First – the assumption that the blind man was blind due to wickedness.  This kind of belief was so widespread, that even the disciples thought this, hence the question to The Master.  Verse 34 shows that the Pharisees thought the same when they tell him he was “altogether born in sin” then cast him out.  What kind of blindness is this?  I consider it faulty judgment.  Men saw a condition (blindness), and assigned fault to be the cause of it, which then labeled a certain value on him and his family.  The seeing know they are in a better physical state, and the natural man suggests this is for a reason – something bad he did, or good the seeing did – whatever it takes for the seeing man to feel better than him.  The second instance of blindness I feel is the fear to put out of the synagogue.  The man’s parents most surely heard from their son how this happened, but would not say they knew when pressed by the Pharisees.   Verse 23 explicitly states this was due to their fear of being put out of the synagogue – so they didn’t want to mention the name of Jesus.  “He is of age, ask him.”  The healed man may have cared about it, maybe not – he was after all a beggar and social standing in the synagogue was likely not his concern.  But when the Pharisees pressed him, he took the little knowledge he had, never having even seen the written law, and reasoned away his attacker’s assertions.  What kind of blindness is this importance of the synagogue?  Needing to belong to the popular group.  Both types of blindness come from the same cause:  pride and self-importance.  The principle of truth I took from this chapter is that when we look for truth, we need to get ourselves (pride, self-importance) out of the way so we can actually see the truth, i.e. Jesus Christ.  Otherwise, we blind ourselves because we are in the way – we can’t see past ourselves.

Moses

In Moses, Chapter 1, The Lord showed Moses in vision the whole Earth and all the “children of men which are and were created …” (verse 8).  When he is left to reflect on his spectacular vision, he mentions the difference between spiritual vs. physical eyes.  In verse 11, Moses states:

But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him.

In the very next verse, Satan comes demanding that Moses worship him.  And this very distinction between the spiritual eyes and physical eyes is what Moses uses to tell the difference between God and Satan’s fraud.  “But I can look upon thee in the natural man” (verse 14).  Shortly thereafter, Moses casts Satan out in the name of the Son of God.

How does this account apply – what can we take from it?  Many of us pay attention to and read authors who frequently discuss the need to “turn things around” before it is “too late.”  The part about being “too late” is what I’d like to focus on here.  It’s important to see the world and current events not through physical eyes, where we feel the enemy (maybe the state) may actually win and it will be too late for hope, liberty, and freedom to prevail.  We need to see these things through spiritual eyes and remember key points about power and dominion.

Men imagine they can rise up to take what they consider to be power and dominion – which even then is but illusory, because even then it only lasts for the length of their temporal life in the temporal world.  They can obtain all the wealth, dominion, and control imaginable, but it is all really only an illusion.  No power is legitimate or lasting except it be given of God.  We must remember that in the end, the gloom and doom powers seeking to enslave man will fail, and true individual liberty, through Christ’s Atonement, is now and will always be victorious.

The Holy Ghost

In Moroni 10:5, he states:  “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”  In October 2010, Elder David A. Bednar gave a General Conference address titled “Receive the Holy Ghost.”  He discussed the ways to properly invite the Holy Ghost into our lives.  He stated:

Our invitations for the companionship of the Holy Ghost occur in many ways: through the making and keeping of covenants; by praying sincerely as individuals and families; by searching the scriptures diligently; through strengthening appropriate relationships with family members and friends; by seeking after virtuous thoughts, actions, and language; and by worshipping in our homes, in the holy temple, and at church.

Our very thoughts words and deeds can invite or chase away The Spirit.  Elder Bednar gets to the core of his point about the Holy Ghost:  “Fundamentally, all gospel teachings and activities are centered on coming unto Christ by receiving the Holy Ghost in our lives.”  That should be our main objective in doing the long litany of gospel activities.  He then invites us to be as the stripling warriors to get the Spirit by “perform[ing] every word of command with exactness….”  The manner in which we receive the Holy Ghost is another topic Elder Bednar spoke on in April 2011, in a General Conference address titled “The Spirit of Revelation.”  He stated:

We as members of the Church tend to emphasize marvelous and dramatic spiritual manifestations so much that we may fail to appreciate and may even overlook the customary pattern by which the Holy Ghost accomplishes His work. The very “simpleness of the way” (1 Nephi 17:41) of receiving small and incremental spiritual impressions that over time and in totality constitute a desired answer or the direction we need may cause us to look “beyond the mark” (Jacob 4:14).

Ultimately, our main objective in doing all we do – should be to “receive the Holy Ghost.”  And we should realize that most always, we’ll receive it in “small and incremental spiritual impressions … over time ….”  But as Elder Bednar states, so simple a system can cause many to look beyond the mark.  All of us have this potential, and should be careful not to attribute our political opinion to spiritual refinement.  It is obviously not impossible for The Spirit to lead and guide an individual to political truth – however, there are so many more important areas one would likely need spiritual guidance first; such as marriage, children, vocation, calling, health and fitness, diet, etc.  In my opinion, the Lord isn’t about to send His Spirit to refine us politically if we really need refinement in any of these areas.

Conclusion

So what is the difference between us and the crowd ignorantly chanting “U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!”?  A like-minded non-LDS colleague of mine would call it hesitation and fear.  “They fear where their mind goes,” he said – when they consider the state to be anything other than our benevolent protector.  They can’t get over the cognitive dissonance.

Could it be that we just see reality so much clearer – due to our spiritual refinement?  This is a tempting answer – because it just begs us to feel pride.  I reject such a subjective and pride-fuelling answer.  Such an answer can be used by anyone for anything.  Even if hypothetically true, it should not be the conscious answer we choose to have.

So what is the difference between us and the “hook, line, and sinker” crowd?  My conclusion:  nothing.  I have my opinion based on whatever forms it, just as others have their opinion based on whatever forms it.  Any other answer puts us on a path to self-righteousness, pride, and spiritual blindness.  If we can’t see past ourselves, we won’t see Jesus Christ, the Truth.

So what if we’re wrong?  If we are, then we’ll be the preppers, survivalists, and contrarians who are a bit quirky, and looked at funny in church and political discussions.  But we’ll all be just fine because things are better than we think they are.  If we’re wrong, then there is less peril – there really isn’t as much to lose as we thought.

Ultimately, “What if we’re wrong?” is the wrong question.  It should be, “So what if we’re wrong?”  “So what” – is the important part.  While paying attention to developing threats to liberty and temporal freedom is very important – it has the potential to distract and consume us.  What is more important is that we spend time on our knees, refining our ability to listen to the still, small voice, and developing into a truly Christ-like character.

What good is it to spend our whole life fighting the enemy of liberty, getting our dream retreat with all the required preparations, and persuading hundreds/thousands to flock to the title of liberty, if we ourselves miss the whole point – spiritual liberty through Jesus Christ?  I know of a temporally well-prepared member who’s been waiting for the end of the world for years.  Due to his missing the point, he is an unhappy, unloved, sorry soul.

While we head into a historic season where principles of physical liberty are directly confronted, debated, and decided, let us not get so wrapped up that we distract ourselves from the victorious author of real liberty, spiritual liberty, and eternal life – Jesus Christ.

Image: Billie WardCC BY 2.0

12 comments

  1. William, thank you so much for this article. It came into my life at exactly the right time. Over the last few years as I have ‘awakened’ and become more politically active I have found myself becoming more and more angry with what is going on politically in this country. I have been listening to talk radio and reading articles and books about liberty in almost all my spare time and I found that I was being consumed by it. I finally went and discussed how I was feeling with my bishop. I explained to him that I found myself almost constantly angry, frustrated and bitter and that this anger and frustration was spilling over into the relationships I have with my wife and children. He first asked me if I was a ‘Ron Paul guy’ and I laughed and confirmed his suspicion. He then told me that I needed to stop, for a time, all reading and listening to political stuff that was making me angry and focus instead on reading the scriptures, praying, and loving my family. He said it’s great to be politically active, but not at the expense of the things that are really important. So I’ve been trying to do that and as I was reading your article, I finally began to ‘see the light’. It’s amazing to me how ‘blind’ I have been the last few years, while thinking that I was being ‘enlightened’. There really can be a blindness to those of us who are pursuing truth. We can become blind to what is truly the most important part of the journey, our Savior and our relationship with Him. So, seriously, THANK YOU!

  2. ” If we are, then we’ll be the preppers, survivalists, and contrarians who are a bit quirky, and looked at funny in church and political discussions.”

    Hopefully, it only comes down to this. I wonder what people think of me at times. I usually am not really that bothered by it. I have noticed the distinction between the ignorant mind at one time. Then at another time a very concerned, overly anxious radical. When one studies proper teachings, especially the teachings of Christ and of Latter-day prophets and apostles, I have concluded with a very sober understanding of certain political differences in the world today.

    I’m not saying I’m better than anyone, but I consider myself a prepper and survivalist. The one who survives is the one who tries to understand ones environment and how to get through it, despite the threatening conditions. While I do what I can to work and avoid those threatening conditions, I ultimately have a very hope-filled conscious and faith-filled spirit that I will make it through difficult times the government(s) may cause.

    If we’re right, they’ll remember us. If we’re wrong, they’ll probably forget because they didn’t care enough in the beginning.

  3. Regarding this portion of your words:

    ” It is obviously not impossible for The Spirit to lead and guide an individual to political truth – however, there are so many more important areas one would likely need spiritual guidance first; such as marriage, children, vocation, calling, health and fitness, diet, etc. In my opinion, the Lord isn’t about to send His Spirit to refine us politically if we really need refinement in any of these areas.”

    Perhaps two of the most important questions we have in life will have to do with which church we join and which political path we should follow. Think about the importance of our vote in the preexistence! Without freedom, where is the gospel? The scriptures and the constitution are the most important documents, therefore the most important questions are those regarding these subjects.

    I am sorry that I have not the time to refine my thoughts, but I feel it is important to comment on that portion of your words that might cause some to pause in the effort to preserve freedom because they aren’t making enough money or haven’t become perfect in taking care of their bodies.

    When the Spirit poses a question to our minds and we have the courage to ask the question of Our God, with the real intent to live the answer, that is the proper time and order for our particular progression.

    When I work in the temple with many, many flawed, and physically imperfect people, who love the Lord and in spite of their shortcomings are willing to sacrifice in order to build up His kingdom, I truly feel that I am in heaven.

    I am a sinner. I am divorced. I am fat. I am handicapped. I am unemployed, and fast running out of means. I am under educated. I lack many modern skills but I know that the gospel is true. I know that Heavenly Father cares about our political beliefs and activities. These are the areas that I have felt His Spirit the strongest. Without freedom, where is our church? Where is our family? What will be our diet? The gospel could not be restored anywhere else but America. Freedom had to come before the gospel. Perhaps in the order of things, we should reflect on that great truth.

    Without following correct political principles, we are unwittingly building up Satan’s kingdom on earth. No matter what our personal failings are, we must continue the fight, just as the founders of our country did, and we must sacrifice something in order to do it.

  4. I second what Jan has commented. When I first read this that stuck out to me. Our political ideals are very important. Everyone is at a different point in their lives spiritually, and although we should focus on all other aspects mentioned, who’s to say when we will “wake up” politically. It just adds one more thing to study, but it isn’t any less important.

  5. We are wrong, at least in many vital things that will definitely affect our eternity, that hardly anyone in the Church realizes, but we’re not wrong in everything.

    “Only those who have the courage to seek the truth will find it.”

    To find out where we are wrong, we must study the proven & published words & testimony of Joseph Smith while he was alive, & not just believe what anyone in the Church says he said & did, as most all members do.

    We must prove all things, question everything & everyone, even Prophets, for we are warned that there will be many false prophets among us in these last days, even in the Church, just as there was in Joseph’s day.

    Do we know how to tell true Prophets from false ones? Do we realize that Prophets can be wrong, can fall, can be false & God will test us to see if we can tell falsehoods from truth & devils from saints & true prophets from false ones. We need more than just the Spirit to judge by, for everyone, right or wrong, thinks they are being led by the right Spirit. We can easily be deceived by our own inspiration or revelation, & not realize it is coming from a false source, as most people are.

    Those who refuse to study history are doomed to repeat it & are easily deceived.

    What we come to believe & what we support in this life determines our eternity, just like our beliefs, decisions & who & what we supported in the Pre-existence determined our progression in this life.

    Deception is our greatest test. Only those who aren’t deceived are promised Exaltation. And the scriptures warn that everyone today, even in the Church, will be deceived, expect a rare few by the precepts & falsehoods & craftiness of men, especially in the Church, where we least expect it. Pretty stiff odds.

    We must awake to our awful situation & gain all the light & knowledge we can, for as Joseph Smith said, “My people perish without knowledge.” Knowledge, plus the Spirit & pure Christlike unconditional love are what helps keep us from being deceived & learning of things as they really are & will be.

    1. Sunlight,

      I don’t agree with your comment in two respects: 1 – “pretty stiff odds.” You conclude without citing any authority that there will be a “rare few” who make it – ones who apparently are politically enlightened. Is it your position that someone otherwise worthy but politically ignorant, unconcerned, or mistaken, cannot make into the Celestial Kingdom? If so, I disagree – there are many wonderful, righteous, great people who may be mistaken in this field – and in my opinion, The Lord won’t exclude them from eternal life. All of us neglect something important in life – and that is where the Atonement’s grace comes in. Maybe there is a reason the church is so non-political over the last 30 years. Christ and His Atonement is the only thing that can save – being wrong on one temporal and Earthly matter shouldn’t disqualify one from Eternal Life. If so, we’re all in trouble.

      2 – You imply, maybe inadvertently, that some of our prophets have been false. I don’t agree. If you think you know more than some of the latter-day prophets – I guess that is a risk you’re willing to take – but I’m not.

      I lke your last paragraph – very true indeed.

      1. Will,

        We are mostly all in trouble, except a rare few.

        For the Atonement does not cover our sins if we allowed ourselves to be deceived. That is the whole test of this life, to see who can be deceived or not. Those with the holy Spirit as their guide will not be deceived.

        I believe that all those who are worthy, possess the Holy Spirit, member or not, & which would awaken them line upon line to the truth & thus they would not be deceived, or at least not for long, by false political philosophies, especially most of those who live in the U.S. where we have so much knowledge.

        The Spirit drives us to seek knowledge & tells us when something is not right. Those who are worthy of & follow those promptings seek more truth until they see their deceptions & repent. We must awake to our awful deception if we want to be assured of Eternal life. That is the test of this life, to see who will awaken in time & who can be deceived.

        Very few members or non-members seem to even ‘want’ to even wake up, even when shown the necessity to do so, let alone repent & stop being deceived to support evil.

        If a person is righteous they will feel the promptings to wake up, or would easily awaken at someone’s suggestion that they need to. They would easily be able to tell truth from error & right from wrong, IF they really live worthy of the Spirit.

        There are far more non-members in this nation who believe in the Constitution & God’s laws, then there are members. There are many people around the globe, who possess the Spirit, but who don’t understand political or spiritual truths only because they know not where to find it or they are kept from the truth by others.

        But if they possess the Spirit, which any mortal can live worthy of, then they would easily accept it all upon hearing it, like a ‘golden contact’ & the Spirit they carry would not allow them to be further deceived.

        As was prophesied (2 N 28, etc.), most church members & leaders seem to have lost the Spirit & thus are easily deceived to support or do the vilest of evil, not just politically but in every other way. Yet they continue to feel & look righteous to themselves & most everyone around them. They are active in Church & callings, etc. etc, are seem like wonderfully kind & good & honorable people, but have allowed themselves to be deceived & blinded to support or do evil.

        We are accountable if we are deceived, especially if we had access to the truth & light & knowledge to enable us to avoid such deception, yet rejected it & did not gain the necessary knowledge to save ourselves.

        ‘Deception’ as D&C 76 & 45:56 tells us, is the defining line of Celestial Spirit VS. Terrestrial Spirits.

        Deception is usually a choice, with eternal consequences, just like in the Pre-Existence.

        About Prophets, we are warned that there will be many false prophets today in the church, just like in Joseph’s day. Do you know how to tell a true Prophet from a false one? Can you tell if we have any false prophets today, like Joseph had in his group of Apostles?

        I encourage you to study more closely Church History, with the understanding that God would in fact allow Prophets to lead the Church astray, if the people desire to be lead astray or don’t have the Spirit to tell true Prophets from false ones.

        Knowledge is the key to not being deceived, even by false prophets.

        Following Prophets, true or false, is a risk we all have chosen to take in this life.

  6. Awesome stuff. We in the preparedness community are missing it if we think hunkering down is the way to go. Building neighborhoods and communities are going to get us through tough times. I know it is cliche, but serving our neighbor IS the way to Liberty.

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