Sunday, June 3, 2018

The World Always Mistook False Prophets For True Ones

Who was John the Baptist to the people of his time? He wasn't like one of the Jews from the cities of Judea. He was only "the voice of one crying in the wilderness". He wore clothes made of camel's hair and ate locusts and wild honey. So, why did so many from the cities come out to him, hear his message, and get baptized?

Who was Abinadi to the people of King Noah? He possessed no credentials or office to make him worth listening to. Indeed, he spoke out against the established religious officers of his day. One might say that he was a failure, if not for one named Alma who heard his message and believed.

Who was Mary Magdalene to claim that she had seen the Lord when none of the 12 disciples had seen him? Why would the Lord appear first to a woman? Did they not follow him throughout his ministry? Why would a woman receive such an honor?

Who was Joseph Smith to the Christian ministers of his time? Why would God speak to a boy when He had not spoken to them? Who could believe such a strange tale from such a boy about an angel and gold plates?

Who was Christ to the religious scribes and Pharisees of his day? Was he not just a lowly Galilean? What right did he have to criticize the leaders of the Church who sat in Moses' seat?

Similar things could be said about Enoch, Noah, Samuel the Lamanite, and many more.

Isn't it strange how so often the messengers God sends come without honors, titles, or position? It is not hard to find this pattern in the scriptures. Perhaps it is the message they bear, and not the office they hold, that really matters. As the Lord taught, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."

The Lord is testing us when He sends His words through those who are unusual and without recognized authority. We reveal the condition of our hearts by how we react. In this way, the wheat and the tares are identified.

Would you have accepted John the Baptist's message, even though he was strange and came without authority? If you had lived in Joseph Smith's time, how would you have responded if someone told you a crazy story about a boy who had seen angels and received a gold bible? If God sent such a messenger today, how would you recognize him?

"The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves "in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth," and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 205)

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