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Thursday, June 27, 2013

187: MARTYRDOM OF TWO BROTHERS: HYRUM and JOSEPH

Those who seek the truth are few and unloved in this world.
One who receives adulation or popularity is not a seeker of truth.
Christ was not popular. Joseph Smith was not popular.
 
.....
Today is the 169th year anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and his older brother, Hyrum. Ironically, I found out today that a friend of mine, a truthseeker, who was only a few years older than me, passed away. He has a strong testimony of the Prophet Joseph. I can only imagine the reunion.

"On June 27, 1844, at about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were assassinated by enemies of the Church in the county jail at Carthage, Illinois. John Taylor, severely wounded at the same time, later called the Smith brothers " martyrs of religion" and declared that the Restoration of the gospel had "cost the best blood of the nineteenth century." These faithful souls personified the Savior's teaching: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. "God is my friend," wrote Joseph Smith to his wife in 1832. "In him I shall find comfort. I have given my life into his hands. I am prepared to go at his call. I desire to be with Christ. I count not my life dear to me, only to do his will." Days before his death in 1844, the Prophet reiterated: "I am ready to be offered a sacrifice for this people." Leaving Nauvoo for Carthage, Joseph said, "I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men." The Prophet humbly acknowledged, "I am a lover of the cause of Christ." .... from the Life of the Prophet

I received an email from a friend yesterday. I asked him if I could post it, since I think others could benefit from it. I post it with his permission. He entitled the email: The Subversive Prophets: Why We All Just Can’t Get Along

Here is the entire email:

Do you think Jesus had career goals? Apprentice carpenter by age 16, Rabbi by 30? To think the Lord maintained earthly aspirations of any type beyond strict obedience to whatever Father asked of Him seems silly:

 “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:30)

And yet, if Jesus truly is our exemplar; “be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect,” why do we insist on plotting our own course with the vigor and self determination that rivals that of the proudest gentiles? (3 Nephi 1:48)

Who do you think runs this world? The great quest for stuff, glory, pleasure, and power are the shiny lures Satan employs to divert our minds from heavenly gifts by reminding us of the best his world has to offer. But let’s be clear; his ability to reward is real. His game would have collapsed long ago it he weren’t able to compensate his followers. As the god of this world, Satan has been given dominion over some specific things:

“And the Spirit taketh him up into a high mountain, and he beheld all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” (Luke 4:5-8, see JST 4:5)

Jesus never questioned or refuted Satan’s assertion that the power to distribute power and glory in this world had been specifically delegated to him. Jesus clearly identified the confines of his dominion to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36)

If the natural man’s heart is automatically attuned to the frequency of Satan’s revelation, it would be easy to influence his followers to reward those he chooses with praise, popularity, power, and the other things that gold and silver can buy. What’s interesting is that in both Satan’s plan, “If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine,” and in the Lord’s plan, “therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him,” the reward structures are the same. (Luke 4:7 and D&C 84:38) Both the God of Heaven and the god of this world promise all they control as gifts to their faithful followers. While their approaches are similar, their rewards are not. One offers the riches of heaven, one offers the power and glory of this world. The god we worship is a function of the rewards we desire. When we pray desiring wealth or fame, who is likely to respond?

 A strange thing in the land; wild men among us.

 At this point we ought to consider the unruly band of miscreants otherwise known as the prophets. Why is it that these faithful souls who, having partaken of the tree of life and paid no attention to those from Satan’s “strange building” pointing the finger of scorn in their general direction (ever consider which finger that might be?), and having received the testimony of Jesus and the accompanying gift of prophecy seem to be in constant contention with everybody around them? (see 1 Nephi 8:33 and Revelation 19:10) Consider, for example, Lehi, Nephi, Abinadi, Captain Moroni, Nephi (Helaman’s grandson), Enoch, Moses, Joseph Smith, John the Baptist, and Jesus Himself. They simply don’t play by the rules. The world’s rules, that is. See, it turns out that the well dressed folks over at Camp Satan are tolerant of pretty much any message except repentance. And that’s why sparks always fly—because that’s the one message true prophets always bring. The world’s method of operation is to induce compliance through social pressure. Team Great and Spacious will do whatever they can to shame everybody else into accepting and following their rules. Righteous saints have a very distinct reaction to this campaign of shame; they despise it. The word “despise” comes to us from the Latin despicere “look down on, scorn.”

“But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.” (2 Nephi 9:18)

It may seem strange that in our quest for meekness we should need to despise anything. But the spirit of this world and the Spirit of Heaven are intrinsically opposed, and once we truly desire the latter, the former becomes distasteful and even loathsome. You can’t hold to the one without despising the other. (see Matthew 6:24)
The saints don’t like the world, and the world can’t stand the saints. It’s not often you’ll find instances of the Lord Himself despising people, but in this case, He sides with the saints:

“And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.” (2 Nephi 9:42)

Is this the enmity placed by the Lord between us and Satan’s followers to protect us from their desire to take possession of our bodies? Does true love of the Kingdom of Heaven bring with it a true distaste for the things Satan has to offer us here in this telestial kingdom? If what I truly want is pleasure, power, praise, or popularity, then I want what this world has to offer, and when I pray for (or desire) those things, there is a god ready and willing to answer my plea. If what I truly want is peace, to be enveloped in the loving arms of my God in Heaven, then when I pray for (or desire) to be in His presence, there is a God ready and willing to answer my plea. What matters most is what I want. Not what I think I’m supposed to want or what other people tell me I should want, but what I honestly, at the core of my heart where nobody else knows but me, really, truly long for. What we want is what we worship.