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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

16. Spiritual Land Mine #4: Building a Second Residence in Babylon

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the 16th examining the phrase "calleth on my name".

How serious you are about calling upon the Lord’s name (D&C 93:1)? If so, then I invite you to take a pop quiz.

Ready?  Set?  Go!

Your Pop Quiz About Your Seriousness on Calling on the Lord


Set of questions #1: Do you trust in the arm of flesh?  Do you adulate other mortals?  Do you accept (or extol those who accept) praise without redirecting it to God? 

Set of questions #2: If the Savior were to visit your home today (ignoring any messes), what would He say about the value of your home electronics, your jewelry, your clothes, your cars, your home(s)?  What about those “big kid” or family toys of yours?  How would you feel while showing him these “things?” Would He leave your property convinced of your humility?

Set of questions #3: How about the organizations that you are a member of, or promote? How about its products -- can you honestly say that they are not grossly overpriced? Do its corporate executives and top associates lead lavish lifestyles (and entice you with prospects of the same)?  Do those same corporate executives hold conventions and conferences, and distribute marketing materials, that link words like “elevate” and “inspire” with making more money?

OK, Pop Quiz is Over


So, how did you do?

If you got a less-than stellar score, may I ask: If you’re here to prove yourself to God, then what are you proving to Him?
“Ah! how cheerfully we consign ourselves to perdition!” (Herman Melville, “Moby Dick”)
True, “men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25), but other scriptures repeatedly tell us that “the natural man clearly prefers perishable pleasure” (Neal A. Maxwell, A Wonderful Flood of Light, BYU Devotional, March 26, 1989).
“Perhaps we have grown too accustomed to the place [of Babylon]. Even if we leave Babylon, some of us endeavor to keep a second residence there...or we commute on weekends.” (Maxwell, ibid).
(Or, as Lot’s wife, we move our bodies in the direction of safety, but our hearts and minds are actually tied to that which condemns us).

As President Marion G. Romney described it, 
“Now there are those among us who are trying to serve the Lord without offending the devil.” (“The Price of Peace,” Brigham Young University Devotional, March 1, 1955, p. 7)
The Savior put it more eloquently:
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24; 3 Nephi 13:24).
Hence, you and the Lord may be worlds apart: you and Babylon (and possibly your excuses why Babylon should have a toehold in your life), vs. the Lord (and His true disciples) who are “not of the world” (John 17:16).

Babylon Does Not Give Exit Permits Gladly

“Babylon is also a noisy, distracting place.  No wonder, therefore, some who live therein are called many times, and would not hear.  No wonder Jesus’ marvelous invitation to leave Babylon’s slums and join him in the stunning spiritual highlands goes largely unheeded.” (Maxwell, ibid)
Do not believe that you can continue your luxurious, materialistic lifestyle and hope to hear His voice, let alone effectively call upon Him with an expectation of being heard.  As stated in my previous post, our God is a jealous God, and if you are slow to hear His importunings to join Him, He will likewise be slow to hear your cries -- even in times of trial, tribulation and trouble (Mosiah 11:24; 21:15).

Take it from me: There are a few alive today who are amazed at how soon “all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people” (D&C 88:91) immediately prior to His Second Coming.

Why will all people fear? Because they have procrastinated the day of their repentance, even until death (Alma 34:35).

Yet the Lord’s "...disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved..." (D&C 45:32; Psalms 16:8, 55:22, 62:2,6) because they have faith in Jesus Christ, have heeded His words and therefore know that He, too, will hear their prayers.

Indeed, real eternal glory requires real humility.

An Invitation


No matter how much you blew the above virtual exam, despite all your failure and flaws, relapses and rejections of Him, please know that a redeeming Jesus waits with open arms to receive you. 

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me.

Therefore, I invite you to pass this virtual quiz by not only turning your back, but also running away from the philosophy of “...eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us” (2 Nephi 28:7).

Ask God for opportunities to praise Him.  He will deliver...in spades.  Put Him to the test.

Stop confusing wants and needs.  Avoid the temptation to say “There, there, little luxury, don’t you cry. You’ll be a necessity by and by.”  Alter your lifestyle - today.  Sell those needless things “where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal” (3 Nephi 13:19) so that you can return to this virtual quiz and, perhaps, feel more confident that the Lord would find your lifestyle less like a cottage in Babylon and more like an appendage of the Temple.

Re-evaluate your allegiances. As one inspired blogger stated, “We've got to stop pointing our fingers at other people's materialism and recognize our own.”  Seriously question if "elevation" and "inspiration" are truly tied to money (because you can buy anything in this world with...what?).  Also seriously consider the fairness of selling products that are grossly overpriced. Avoid being accused someday as one who empowered someone else’s Babylonian lifestyle.

Instead, truly elevate yourself in the scriptures and in meditation (“one of the most secret, most sacred doors through which we pass into the presence of the Lord" -- Pres. David O. McKay). In return, you’ll not only find yourself far more elevated and inspired than you supposed possible, but also brought closer to the veil which separates you from God -- an accomplishment anathema to Babylon. 

Your spiritual task is to make God’s work your own, and not the other way around.

I promise you that as you do so, you will have taken a huge step in consecrating yourself to Him.  And you will be more confident in calling upon the Lord, because you will more easily hear His voice in your heart and mind.

Oh it is wonderful...wonderful to me.


2 comments:

  1. I've been saving this post in my inbox for some reason ..... I really needed to read it tonight. Thank you.

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  2. How I love this post! The cleansing of the western hemisphere starts with the Lord's house, with the membership of the church. I am reminded by the Lord that all that I possess that is materialistic is telestial. It will not survive this forth coming cleansing that will soon be here. I keep asking myself again and again, "Could I take my temple recommend and my driver's license as identification and with just the clothes I have on walk out the front door and never look back if the Lord requires it of me?" Everything that I would be leaving behind is telestial worldly goods that the Lord claims are dross. The law of sacrifice requires that we put everything upon the alter. The moment of truth will come to every latter-day saint in the near future. The Lord will require all that we have been blessed with physically to be sacrificed for our own spiritual good. I pray that my heart will not fail me and that I, by the grace of God, will choose now to have my priorities in order with the will of God so that when that moment of truth arrives in the near future, I will have the courage to make the right choice. Thank you for this post.

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