Friday, April 28, 2017

My Awakening, Part 4 - Knowing Not the God in Whom We Should Trust

Misconceptions About God

Growing up in the church gave me a certain idea of what God was like. I imagined God as a cold and distant executive, delegating authority to others to carry out His work, but never personally interacting with the weak, poor, or unremarkable members of His kingdom. I imagined interaction with God being something like a personal priesthood interview or temple recommend interview, except more stressful.

It was natural for me to think of God this way because that is how things functioned within the Church. Even as a child, going to see the Bishop with my parents was an intimidating thing. He would be imposing in his dark suit, sitting in an plush, leather chair, separated from us by a large wood desk. Despite how charming and pleasant some bishops can be, the whole setup seems designed to make sure you know who is in charge.

This always left me confused, as the scriptures describe a very different kind of God. Consider this example,
13 And behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem threescore furlongs.
14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
15 And it came to pass that while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.
16 But their eyes were holden or covered, that they could not know him.
17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these which ye have one with another as ye walk and are sad?
18 And one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou a stranger in Jerusalem and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people;
20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death and have crucified him.
21 But we trusted that it had been he who should have redeemed Israel. And besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done.
22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, who were early at the sepulcher,
23 And when they found not his body they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive.
24 And certain of them who were with us went to the sepulcher and found it even so as the women had said, but him they saw not.
25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.
26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 And they drew nigh unto the village whither they went and he made as though he would have gone farther.
29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us for it is toward evening and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them.
31 And their eyes were opened and they knew him and he was taken up out of their sight.
32 And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us by the way and while he opened to us the scriptures? (JST Luke 24:13-32)
Think of the beautiful irony in this story! Christ, the Lord of Creation, had just successfully completed the most difficult task in human history! He had worked out the atonement and the resurrection. There could be no other being in the universe with greater cause to celebrate or to boast than Him. Yet, here he was, unassuming, unpretentious, appearing to his disciples in disguise as a lowly traveler.. He didn't impress them with power and glory or with a show of great authority. He taught them simply by opening the scriptures. If it had not been for the disciple's persistence, he would have continued on his way and they never would have known his true identity. But, He took the time with two of his disciples to open the scriptures and explain what it all meant. Doesn't this story say something about the personality of Christ?

I remember in my youth being plagued with so many doubts and fears about what God thought of me. I feared He didn't care about me or that He was disappointed in me. I assumed He was busy and didn't have enough time for me.

Publishing the Revelations

The Lord often required of the saints to print and publish the revelations that had been given thus far. (See D&C 1:672:2184:104, and 104:58)

This was first attempted with the Book of Commandments in 1833. However, an anti-mormon mob destroyed the printing press and most of the printed pages. You've probably heard the story of Caroline and Mary Elizabeth Rollins who saved some of the pages by grabbing them and running into a cornfield to hide.

The next attempt was in 1835 when the first edition of the Doctrine & Covenants was presented to the Church. This was the only edition published while Joseph was still alive. You can see scans of an original copy here.

Lectures on Faith

The 1835 D&C is a remarkable book, and not only because it is so different from the D&C used in the present-day church. The most notable difference for me was the inclusion of the Lectures on Faith. The Lectures were originally presented to the elders in the school of the prophets. They were later edited by Joseph Smith and included in the D&C.

There can be no doubt to the importance that Joseph attributed to these lectures. The preface to the 1835 D&C reads, in part:

Dear Brethren:
We deem it to be unnecessary  to entertain you with a lengthy preface to the following volume, but merely to say, that it contains in short, the leading items of the religion which we have professed to believe.
The first part of the book will be found to contain a series of Lectures as delivered before a Theological class in this place, and in consequence of their embracing the important doctrine of salvation, we have arranged them into the following work.
The second part contains items or principles for the  regulation of the church, as taken from the revelations  which have been given since its organization, as well as from former ones.
We do not present this little volume with any other  expectation than that we are to be called to answer to every principle advanced, in that day when the secrets of all hearts will be revealed, and the reward of every man’s labor be given him.
With sentiments of esteem and sincere respect, we subscribe ourselves your brethren in the bonds of  the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
F[rederick] G. WILLIAMS
Kirtland, Ohio, February 17, 1835. [p. iv]

In addition, the Lectures were placed first (before the revelations) and printed in a larger font. On the first page of the Lectures, they are presented to be: "On the doctrine of the church of the Latter-Day Saints". The second part of the D&C, which contains the revelations, are presented as "Covenants and commandments of the Lord to his servants of the church of the Latter-Day Saints". Thus, the Lectures were the doctrine of the church, and the revelations were the covenants.

The Historical Introduction on the Joseph Smith papers page linked to above includes the following history:
On 17 August 1835, a general assembly of the church met “for the purpose of Examining a book of commandments and covenants” that had been “compiled and written by” the publication committee. “This Committee having finished said Book according to the instructions given them,” the minutes read, “it was deemed necessary to call the general assembly of the Church to see whether the book be approved or not by the authorities of the church, that it may, if approved, become a law unto the church, and a rule of faith and practice unto the same...Voting on the book proceeded by quorums and groups, with the leader of each group bearing witness of the truth of the volume before his group voted to accept it. After the voting by quorums, the entire church membership present, both male and female, voted to accept the book as “the doctrine and covenants of their faith.

The Character of God

I remember reading the Lectures for the first time as a teenager, but the message was lost on me and I quickly forgot about them. I rediscovered them several years ago. However, this time, because of my experiences, they had a great impact upon me.

Lecture 3, in particular, which discusses the character of God, had a profound influence upon me. I remember as I read it that I could almost feel the darkness in my mind receding and my faith increasing. The doubts and fears that the devil had filled my head with for all those years lost their power over me. I realized they were all lies.

I was about to summarize Lecture 3 here, but I don't want to take away from the experience. Instead, I invite you, no, I implore you to go read the Lectures on Faith. You can find them online here:

Lost Doctrine

The Lectures on Faith remained a part of the D&C for 86 years. However, in 1921, the Lectures on Faith were dropped from the scriptures by a committee comprised of George F. Richards, Anthony W. Ivins, Melvin J. Ballard, James E. Talmage, John A. Widstoe, and Joseph Fielding Smith. The committee gave the explanation that they "were never presented to nor accepted by the Church as being otherwise than theological lectures or lessons."

As I've shown with the quotes above, that explanation is false. The Lectures on Faith, included with the revelations, was accepted and voted upon in a conference of the church as "a law unto the church and a rule of faith and practice unto the same". They were removed from the scriptures without a vote of consent by the body of the church but rather by fiat from a council of leading authorities. Today, what we call the Doctrine & Covenants, should actually just be called The Covenants, as the Doctrine was removed.

Eternal Scripture

I assume most members today probably haven't read or even heard of the Lectures on Faith. I remember once asking a ward librarian if they carried a copy. The librarian responded, "I'm not sure...Who wrote it?" At that, I knew there was no point in pursuing it any further.

Despite the ignorance of the membership, it has been praised by the leadership in years past. Bruce R. McConkie, in a BYU devotional said:
In my judgment it is the most comprehensive, intelligent, inspired utterance that now exists in the English language that exists in one place defining, interpreting, expounding, announcing, and testifying of what kind of being God is. It was written by the power of the Holy Ghost, by the Spirit of Inspiration. It is in effect, eternal scripture. It is true. ("The Lord God of Joseph Smith", Devotional on Jan. 4, 1972) 
I know for myself that if I had learned and understood the principles taught in the Lectures, that I would not have been prey to the fears and doubts that I am sure plague so many of the youth and adults in the church. I would have had greater confidence in approaching God.

Would there be so much unbelief among members of the Church today if we studied and directed our lives by these Lectures that Joseph called "the leading items of the religion which we have professed to believe" because they embrace "the important doctrine of salvation"? Many of the topics discussed by the lectures are never taught in Gospel doctrine and Sunday school lessons. It is apparent to me that the church suffered a loss when the Lectures on Faith were removed from our scriptures. Because of it, there seem to be few today who know the God in whom they should trust.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

My Awakening, Part 3 - Departing From the Right Way

Moroni tells us that one reason why God ceases to do miracles among us is because we "have departed from the right way" (Mormon 9:20).

What is the right way?
 29 And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out. (2 Nephi 25:29)
In Joseph's day, belief was more than accepting something as true, it was to "To expect or hope with confidence; to trust." (Webster's 1828 dictionary, believe) Therefore, to believe in Christ is to put your hope and trust in Him. To deny Him is to contradict, gainsay, disown, refuse, neglect to acknowledge, reject, and not receive or embrace Him. (Webster's 1828 dictionary, deny)

Today, it is estimated that there are 40,000 different "Christian" denominations worldwide. Presumably, every one of those denominations professes belief in Jesus Christ. Yet, how many of them actually believe in Him and deny him not? When Joseph asked the Lord which church to join, the Lord described the state of the Christian world.
"...they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof." (JS-H 1:19)
Anyone who believes in the restoration can agree that all Christian sects have departed from the right way, but what about the Latter-day Saints? Do we draw near to Him with our hearts and not just our lips? Do we teach His commandments, or the commandments of men? Do we have the power of godliness, or only a form thereof?

Even a casual reading of the Doctrine & Covenants will show that from the very beginning of the restoration, the Latter-day Saints had departed from the right way. Within two years of the organization of the Church, the Elders received a revelation that said:
54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received
55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—
58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. (D&C 84:54-58)
The saints in Jackson County, Missouri were commanded to build up Zion, but were suffering under great persecution. The Lord gave them this promise in August of 1833:
25 Nevertheless, Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her.
26 But if she observe not to do whatsoever I have commanded her, I will visit her according to all her works, with sore affliction, with pestilence, with plague, with sword, with vengeance, with devouring fire. (D&C 97:25-26)
By December of that same year, the saints had been driven from their homes by mobs. The Lord explained why:
1 Verily I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted, and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance—
2 I, the Lord, have suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions;
3 Yet I will own them, and they shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels.
4 Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son.
5 For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified.
6 Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances.
7 They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble.
8 In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me. (D&C 101:1-8)
The Lord also said the following concerning the saints in Kirtland:
19 Behold, I, the Lord, am not well pleased with many who are in the church at Kirtland;
20 For they do not forsake their sins, and their wicked ways, the pride of their hearts, and their covetousness, and all their detestable things, and observe the words of wisdom and eternal life which I have given unto them.
21 Verily I say unto you, that I, the Lord, will chasten them and will do whatsoever I list, if they do not repent and observe all things whatsoever I have said unto them.
22 And again I say unto you, if ye observe to do whatsoever I command you, I, the Lord, will turn away all wrath and indignation from you, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against you. (D&C 98:19-22)
God always promises to protect His people who keep His commandments, yet the saints were expelled from both Kirtland and Missouri because of their wickedness and hard hearts. The Lord gave them one more chance in Nauvoo. There, they were commanded to build a temple.
28 For there is not a place found on earth that he may come to and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood. (D&C 124:28)
It should be emphasized here that the Lord had taken away the fulness of the priesthood at some time previous to this, because the saints had not lived worthy of it. The Lord now required the temple to be built so that it could be restored.
31 But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me.
32 But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God. (D&C 124:31-32)
The seriousness of the situation for the saints here cannot be overstated. The Lord gave them sufficient time to build a temple. If they did not build it in that time, then they would be rejected as a church, with all their dead. That means that no amount of family history and temple work will matter, because the Lord would reject it. The Lord even goes on to say:
43 And ye shall build it on the place where you have contemplated building it, for that is the spot which I have chosen for you to build it.
44 If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy.
45 And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.
46 But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them.
47 And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord.
48 For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practice before me, saith the Lord. (D&C 124:43-48)
So, what happened? Did they build the temple in the time given them? Did the Lord come to that temple, as promised?

3.5 years after the revelation in D&C 124 was received, Joseph and his brother Hyrum were martyred. According to Wikipedia, by that time the Nauvoo Temple was only 50% complete. The walls were built up to the second floor. You can actually see how far it was completed because of the martyr line. Before the death of Joseph and Hyrum, they used small bricks, but after the martyrdom, they decided to hurry and finish, so they began to use larger bricks so as to complete the walls faster. The new Nauvoo Temple (dedicated in 2002), in order to stay authentic with the original, replicated the martyr line. You can see pictures of it here.

There were buildings that were completed in the 3.5 year time frame, including houses for the church leaders, a Seventies’ Hall, and a Masonic Lodge. Following is an excerpt from Wikipedia on what happened to the temple.
 As mob violence increased during the summer of 1845, [Brigham Young] encouraged the Latter Day Saints to complete the temple even as they prepared to abandon the city, so portions of it could be used for Latter Day Saint ordinance, such as baptisms for the dead in the basement font. During the winter of 1845-46, the temple began to be used for additional ordinances, including the Nauvoo-era endowment, sealings in marriage, and adoptions.
The Nauvoo Temple was in use for less than three months.
Most of the Latter Day Saints left Nauvoo, beginning in February 1846, but a small crew remained to finish the temple's first floor, so that it could be formally dedicated. Once the first floor was finished with pulpits and benches, the building was finally dedicated in private services on 30 April 1846, and in public services on 1 May. In September 1846 the remaining Latter Day Saints were driven from the city and vigilantes from the neighboring region, including Carthage, Illinois, entered the near-empty city and vandalized the temple.
...around midnight on 8–9 October 1848, the temple was set on fire by an unknown arsonist. Nauvoo's residents attempted to put out the fire, but the temple was gutted...
After the fire of 9 October 1848, only the four exterior walls remained standing.
...On 27 May 1850, Nauvoo was struck by a major tornado which toppled one of the walls of the temple. One source claimed the storm seemed to "single out the Temple", felling "the walls with a roar that was heard miles away" (from
Here are some additional facts taken from historical sources:
  • The endowments performed in 1845-46 were performed in an unfinished attic. Canvas was used as temporary partitions in the attic to separate different areas used for the endowment.
  • On the February 9th, 1846, the roof caught fire and the attic was left badly damaged. It was never fully restored.
  • The public dedication of the temple occurred on May 1, 1846. By this time, most of the saints had already fled Nauvoo. "The Temple was dedicated in the presence of strangers and all who would pay one dollar for admittance."
  • On the third day of dedicatory services, "the Saints approved a resolution to sell the Temple and use the funds to help the poor in their move West."
Based on the above history, here are some questions to consider:

Did the saints build the temple in the sufficient time allotted by the Lord? (D&C 124:31)
Is there any record of the Lord coming to the temple and restoring that "which was lost unto you, or which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood"? (D&C 124:28)
Were the saints "moved out of their place"? (D&C 124:45)
Considering what you know of what followed for the saints in the following years, would it be easier to characterize what they lived through as "blessings" or "cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments"? (D&C 124:48)

They say history repeats itself. Perhaps the Lord knew what was going to happen when he said:
23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;
24 But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.
25 Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;
26 And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel; (D&C 84:23-26)
The Lord wanted the saints to sanctify themselves, so that they could behold His face. They were commanded to build up Zion. Yet, the revelations show that they failed in Kirtland, they failed in Missouri, and they failed again in Nauvoo. Where are we today?

Joseph taught:
The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day; but they died without the sight; we are the favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day glory; it is left for us to see, participate in and help to roll forward the Latter-day glory. (History of the Church, 4:609–10; from “The Temple,” an editorial published in Times and Seasons, May 2, 1842, p. 776; Joseph Smith was the editor of the periodical.)
Are we establishing Zion? Are we any closer to Zion today than the saints in Joseph's day? They attempted to build up Zion but failed. Are we even attempting it anymore? If not, then have we not departed from the right way?

Sunday, April 9, 2017

My Awakening, Part 2 - Dwindling in Unbelief

1. To diminish; to become less; to shrink; to waste or consume away. The body dwindles by pining or consumption; an estate swindles by waste, by want of industry or economy; an object dwindles in size, as it recedes from view; an army dwindles by death or desertion. 
2. To degenerate; to sink; to fall away. (Webster's Dictionary 1828 - Online Edition)
In Helaman chapter 4, we find the Nephites in a precarious position. Dissenters from among them had gone over to the Lamanites and stirred them up to battle. These dissenters and the Lamanites then attacked the cities of the Nephites, even gaining possession of the capital city, Zarahemla. The Nephites were driven back, having lost many of their possessions and strongholds.

Why did this happen? Mormon tells us why.
  11 Now this great loss of the Nephites, and the great slaughter which was among them, would not have happened had it not been for their wickedness and their abomination which was among them; yea, and it was among those also who professed to belong to the church of God.
 12 And it was because of the pride of their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, yea, it was because of their oppression to the poor, withholding their food from the hungry, withholding their clothing from the naked, and smiting their humble brethren upon the cheek, making a mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation, murdering, plundering, lying, stealing, committing adultery, rising up in great contentions, and deserting away into the land of Nephi, among the Lamanites—
 13 And because of this their great wickedness, and their boastings in their own strength, they were left in their own strength; therefore they did not prosper, but were afflicted and smitten, and driven before the Lamanites, until they had lost possession of almost all their lands. (Helaman 4:11-13)
Because of their wickedness and abominations, they had ceased to prosper and their enemies had gained power of them. The few godly men left among them preached repentance and told them what would happen if they did not repent. So...
 21 ...they saw that they had been a stiffnecked people, and that they had set at naught the commandments of God;
 22 And that they had altered and trampled under their feet the laws of Mosiah, or that which the Lord commanded him to give unto the people; and they saw that their laws had become corrupted, and that they had become a wicked people, insomuch that they were wicked even like unto the Lamanites.
 23 And because of their iniquity the church had begun to dwindle; and they began to disbelieve in the spirit of prophecy and in the spirit of revelation; and the judgments of God did stare them in the face.
 24 And they saw that they had become weak, like unto their brethren, the Lamanites, and that the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; yea, it had withdrawn from them because the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples
 25 Therefore the Lord did cease to preserve them by his miraculous and matchless power, for they had fallen into a state of unbelief and awful wickedness; and they saw that the Lamanites were exceedingly more numerous than they, and except they should cleave unto the Lord their God they must unavoidably perish.
 26 For behold, they saw that the strength of the Lamanites was as great as their strength, even man for man. And thus had they fallen into this great transgression; yea, thus had they become weak, because of their transgression, in the space of not many years. (Helaman 4:21-26)
Why does Mormon go to the trouble to tell us all of this. In the previous chapter he wrote:
14 But behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and dissensions, and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building of ships, and their building of temples, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries, and their righteousness, and their wickedness, and their murders, and their robbings, and their plundering, and all manner of abominations and whoredoms, cannot be contained in this work. (Helaman 3:14) 
Not even a hundredth part! Yet, he told us that he was writing "the things which have been commanded me" (3 Nephi 26:12) "according to the knowledge and the understanding which God has given me" (Words of Mormon 1:9) So, is it significant that, after telling us he can't write even one out of a hundred things that happened among his people, that in the very next chapter he goes into great detail about the wickedness of the people and the dwindling of the church? Why would he do that? Who is this book written for anyway?

What is Mormon telling us? Is there iniquity and abomination in our day? What about among those who profess to belong to the church of God? Is there any pride in our hearts? Do we have exceeding riches? Have we oppressed the poor? Withheld food from the hungry? Is there murdering, or plundering, or lying, or stealing, or adultery among us? Do we rise up in great contentions?

Should we boast in our own strength and status before God? Is it really safe to say that "All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well"? Or rather, is it not better to say:

4 O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!
5 Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!
6 Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide.
7 O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth. (Helaman 12:4-7)
...yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made. (Alma 34:9)
Can there be any doubt that we as a people are dwindling in unbelief? Where are the fruits of conversion? I don't mean the expensive temples and meetinghouses. Any church can build those. I mean the fruits referenced in my first post. Are our lives filled with miracles? Are we seeing frequent healings, revelations, visions, dreams, visitations, new scripture, etc? The scriptures promise all these things to the people of God. They were common in the days of the apostles, until the falling away when they ceased.

Likewise, in Joseph's day these things were common among the Saints. Yet, I see no indication that they have continued to this day. Instead, I see wickedness, abomination, and dwindling in unbelief; just as Mormon saw, even among those who "[profess] to belong to the church of God".
35 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.
36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.
37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?
39 Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?
40 Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?
41 Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer.
God is not trifling with us; we who are identified with the Gentiles. Indeed, the Lord has said "Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent". I don't know about you, but I want to repent and cast off my unbelief.