There’s been plenty of discussion in recent years about the so-called “mass exodus” of people leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The topic is discussed often, so much in fact that we perhaps feel like it is a bigger issue than it really is.
I’m not going to deny that people are leaving The Church of Jesus Christ. What I don’t believe is that they are leaving in a statistically significant degree that is larger than exoduses in other Christian denominations. I think that people are leaving God and religion, not just this church.
I’ve previously written on this topic in the article, So, Your Friends And Family Are Leaving the Church? I tried to instill some hope in those who are having their foundation shaken whey they see the chaos around them. As I wrote in that article:
Knowing that a great falling away is prophesied doesn’t necessarily making the chaos around us easy, but it does make it easier. God knows all things and His Church and Kingdom will be established and will fulfill its divine mission. There is no question of that. It is a guaranteed.
Christ told us these things in advance so we would believe when the bad times came. In John 14:29, he said:
And now I have told before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
Christ KNEW this would be hard. Christ KNEW this would be a test of our faith – and HUGE test of our faith. Christ KNEW many would leave Him. That is EXACTLY why he warned us.
What The 5 Foolish Virgins Wanted in the End
As I was reading the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25 recently, something caught my attention that I had never focused on before. What I learned has brought me a great deal of comfort ever since.
We know that the 5 foolish virgins actually represent those who have made covenants with God and are members of His Church. We know that their lamps could not be filled with oil because they decided not to bring any with them, and because of that, when they left to purchase oil for their lamps, actually missed the arrival of the bridegroom and the doors were shut.
But what was their reaction? What will be the reaction of those who are shut out of God’s presence? Will they be enraged? Will they throw a tantrum? No.
Let’s read what it says in Matthew 25:
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
What was their desire? They wanted to come in. They wanted to be a part of the marriage feast.
Those Who Have Left
Let’s consider how that relates to the apostasy that is occurring today. I truly believe that the great majority of people, and I mean the overwhelming majority, who have been a part of this Church and then chose to leave will one day want to come back. They will ask the Lord to open the door – whether in this life or the next. “Every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ” in the end.
But this will not happen because of compulsion, this will be a personal choice and will be the desire of their hearts. Many who left, some never having felt a true conversion, are already coming back. There is a great podcast sharing the stories of some of these individuals called the Come Back Podcast.
May you have faith to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and appreciate his latter-day warnings. I echo the words of Russell M. Nelson who said, “I plead with you to take charge of your testimony of Jesus Christ. Work for it. Own it. Care for it. Nurture it so that it will grow. Then watch for miracles to happen in your life.”
Do not be concerned with the five foolish virgins who leave, in the sense that you would feel their departure has any impact on the truth being true. May we feel as Charles Spurgeon did when he said, “Long ago, I ceased to count heads. Truth is usually in the minority in this evil world. I have faith in the Lord Jesus for myself; a faith burned into me as with a hot iron. I thank God, what I believe I shall believe, even if I believe it alone.”