It’s a pleasing message that is sweeping over the world – and it’s one of many false philosophies. I talked about flattery in a prior post, and this post focuses on yet another false message that is consistently being injected into messaging of every kind.
It’s also a watered-down message, and as such messages do, they tend to make people feel warm and fuzzy but they aren’t entirely true.
And what is that false message? It’s “love, love, love.”
And, while it sounds very nice and Christian-like, it is far from it – and it’s not a message God ordained or His son Jesus Christ ever preached.
In our efforts to be good neighbors, spread love and kindness, and be empathetic to the needs and concerns of others, many of us have become soft and the truth of God has been diluted.
Prophets and Belly-Rubbers
Why are we diluting the truth and jumping on this bandwagon of love, tolerance, and acceptance? The short answer is that it’s easier to follow the crowd because people like us when we do.
Love, tolerance, and acceptance are beautiful principles – but it should be a package deal. We must be true to our fellow men and true to the first great commandment, to love the Lord thy God with all of our heart. If we love God with all of our heart, we will also keep His commandments and encourage others to do the same.
Do you recall Samuel the Lamanite and his sermon in Helaman 13 explaining the difference between how people treat a prophet verses a belly-rubber (meaning someone who tells you that everything you are doing is right). If you don’t remember this passage, I’ve included it below. It contrasts the difference between prophets and in a modern example, instagram influencers.
And now when ye talk, ye say: If our days had been in the days of our fathers of old, we would not have slain the prophets; we would not have stoned them, and cast them out.
Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil.
But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.
Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him.
O ye wicked and ye perverse generation; ye hardened and ye stiffnecked people, how long will ye suppose that the Lord will suffer you? Yea, how long will ye suffer yourselves to be led by foolish and blind guides? Yea, how long will ye choose darkness rather than light?
Yea, behold, the anger of the Lord is already kindled against you; behold, he hath cursed the land because of your iniquity.
Is there any doubt that this passage, containing this powerful example, was included in Mormon’s abridgment specifically for our day?
Prophets today, especially President Oaks are vilified, mock, threatened, and scoffed at when he mentions the plan of salvation, The Family: A Proclamation to the World, or the laws of God. Our first duty is to keep the commandments of God, not to please men.
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” – Matthew 22:36-39
First, we are commanded to love God. Second, we are commanded to love our neighbor. The order is important.
As Elder Scott D. Whiting said in a December 2020 devotional given on the campus of Brigham Young University, “…your efforts to love your fellow men and women will be the hallmark of your efforts to deepen your discipleship.”
Elder Whiting continued with a warning:
“However, I feel it important to caution you not to invert the two great commandments: the first being to “love the Lord thy God” and the second to “love thy neighbour as thyself.”
This seems to be an increasing area of confusion and misunderstanding—surely clouded by the adversary. The adversary knows that if he can invert these two great laws in our minds, then he can entice disciples from the path and dissuade others from stepping onto that path. We must be careful that in our efforts to love our neighbor we don’t begin advocating against the Lord.
Some, in their efforts to love others, feel it necessary to abandon the teachings and commandments of God or to advocate for a change of His doctrine. But to love God is to accept His teachings, commandments, and doctrine. Remember that Jesus taught, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
A true disciple does not try to change the Teacher, His teachings, or His laws of discipleship. Jesus warned of this when He taught, “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.”
Which Way Do You Face?
We are commanded to be a light upon a hill, the salt of the earth, the leaven that makes all the difference. But what if we aren’t different at all? As Elder Lynn G. Robbins said in a 2014 General Conference talked entitled, “Which Way Do You Face?”, he stated that “Trying to please others before pleasing God is inverting the first and second great commandments.”
Here are just a few quotes from Elder Robbin’s talk that have relevant application today in the social issues that many feel pressured to accept, even though they are contrary to the doctrine of the church and the plan of salvation:
- We seek respectful coexistence with those who point fingers, but when this fear of men tempts us to condone sin, it becomes a “snare”. The snare may be cleverly baited to appeal to our compassionate side to tolerate or even approve of something that has been condemned by God. For the weak of faith, it can be a major stumbling block.
- Decisions of character are made by remembering the right order of the first and second great commandments.
- When people try to save face with men, they can unwittingly lose face with God. Thinking one can please God and at the same time condone the disobedience of men isn’t neutrality but duplicity, or being two-faced or trying to “serve two masters”.
- While it certainly takes courage to face perils, the true badge of courage is overcoming the fear of men.
- The scornful often accuse prophets of not living in the 21st century or of being bigoted. They attempt to persuade or even pressure the Church into lowering God’s standards to the level of their own inappropriate behavior…
- Lowering the Lord’s standards to the level of a society’s inappropriate behavior is—apostasy.
This Was Jesus’ Real Message
What was Jesus’ real message?
When he appeared to the people on the American continent after His resurrection, He spoke to those who survived the devastating destruction. These were his words:
O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?
Christ wants us to be converted, and he wants to heal us, but that can only happen if we come unto Him and change. Repentance means change.
The world loves to separate gospel pairs like love and law. Christ says, “I don’t condemn you but sin no more” while the world say “I don’t condemn you and you be you.”
That is a false philosophy and it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Dallin H. Oaks recently posted the following reminder of the first great commandment on Facebook:
Why is love of God the first great commandment? It is first because it is fundamental to understanding and following God’s plan and His commandments for His children. Our love of God and His love for us is the central gospel principle—vital to what influences us and vital to what we must remember. Love has power: power to understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ, power to understand the plan of salvation, and power to explain God’s commandments.
The word repent or repentance is used 300 times in the Book of Mormon – and repentance means a change of mind and heart.
So many today, like the people of Samuel the Lamanites time, preach the “live your truth / you be you / you are perfect just the way you are” philosophy that sounds really good, because it means you don’t have to do anything else. The problem is, it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ and it won’t bring us closer to Him and it won’t bring a mighty change of heart that we need.
A Warning Voice and a Call to Change
If you are following voices that preach any of these messages below, consider if you are being deceived:
- Live your truth
- Don’t have expectations
- If it’s hard, don’t do it
- You are perfect just the way you are (sounds so nice but it won’t lead to changing things that need to be changed)
- A little bit is okay
- All that matters is love
- “My Jesus _________ (fill in the blank)
What is Love Then?
If we are to love as Christ loves, we don’t love unconditionally. (Not a word found in the scriptures) What we must do is understand what the pure love of Christ really is – and it’s not something the world understands. All the world needs is NOT love, but a CORRECT understanding of what love really is.
The world says that love means we let everyone do everything and anything they want and we must celebrate along with them.
God defines charity as the pure love, and it contains the following attributes:
- suffereth long
- is kind
- envieth not
- is not puffed up
- seeketh not her own
- is not easily provoked
- thinketh no evil
- rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth
- beareth all things
- believeth all things
- hopeth all things
- endureth all things
Love is kind BUT, and this is the missing piece, love REJOICETH NOT IN INQUITY, BUT REJOICE IN TRUTH.
The love of Christ, the pure love of Christ loves you, but always calls you to change. REPENT AND COME UNTO ME. As was exemplified with the woman caught in adultery:
Oh, that the members of the Church would understand this principle. Oh, that we would not fear the finger of scorn from the world and fear what man might do. Oh, that we would honor God and his commands first before the philosophies and social pressures of the world.
There is sin. The world needs to repent. We need to love, but love is kind AND tells the truth.
May we follow the example of the Savior, and invite others to come unto him and repent. Let us be a window to Christ’s love, and not a stumbling block. Let us not say, “Come unto me and I will love you.” Let us say, “Come unto Christ, repent of your sins, and He will heal you – and I’ll be by your side loving you and supporting you the whole way.”
To conclude, let me share the powerful words of Bonnie H. Cordon which she shared in the April 2020 General Conference Sunday Morning Session:
“The Lord’s invitation to let our light so shine is not just about randomly waving a beam of light and making the world generally brighter. It is about focusing our light so others may see the way to Christ. It is gathering Israel on this side of the veil—helping others see the next step forward in making and keeping sacred covenants with God.”
To learn more about this principle of love and law, or grace and truth, we recommend you check out this article > Two Gay Latter-day Saints Create Podcast to Address Controversial Topics While Defending Church of Jesus Christ