Thursday, September 2, 2010

2 Nephi 32: 7

2 Nephi 32: 7:

"And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be."

Nephi has reached the limit of what he can say. He has alluded to the Second Comforter, or the appearance of Christ to you in the flesh, but then his message ends. He "cannot say more." But he has told you that when Christ appears to you that you should do what Christ tells you to do.

Then Nephi laments our unbelief, wickedness, ignorance and stiffneckedness. You have already been told that in the vocabulary of the Book of Mormon the word "unbelief" means that you do not understand correct doctrine. You accept false notions, or your understanding is so incomplete as to make it wrong.

What is "wicked" about not following the "doctrine of Christ" so that you can receive the tongue of an angel? What is wicked about not pressing forward in the light of the Holy Ghost to the point where you receive Christ in the flesh? Why would that failing be "wicked?" (D&C 88: 33.)

Why are we "ignorant?" Is it because of our lack of learning or sophistication, or instead because of it? Studied ignorance is the most indelible kind. It prevents someone from ever casting away unbelief. It enshrines unbelief.

These conditions are all culminated by "stiffneckedness." Meaning that we are not only in error, but we are decidedly committed to remaining so. We won't budge. Won't humble ourselves and ask the Lord to remove our scales of darkness. We just remain devoted disciples of unbelief, leading in turn to our wickedness, borne upon the shoulders of our ignorance. What a spectacle we are when seen in the light of the Holy Ghost - that is, through the eyes of a prophet like Nephi.

What is interesting is this comment comes at the very end of Nephi's ministry. It is an aged prophet carving his last message targeted to the last day audience of first gentiles, then secondarily the remnant, and finally the Jews. And to this latter-day audience beginning with us, Nephi is rebuking us. It must be because of his love for us. It must be motivated by the love of Christ, because it follows immediately after explaining to us the "doctrine of Christ." So whether it seems to be the case or not, this is a loving, kind, light-filled warning from someone who knows what we lack.

Soberly, however, this rebuke should be compared to the rebuke he leveled at Laman and Lemuel. He told them to stop debating the meaning of a revelation given to their father, and start asking God for answers. Compare Nephi's earlier warning and rebuke to his brothers with this verse addressed to us:

"And they said: Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive-tree, and also concerning the Gentiles.  And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?  And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.  Behold, I said unto them: How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts?  Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you." (1 Nephi 15: 7-11.)

We read that and think ourselves better than Laman and Lemuel because we identify ourselves with Nephi. Nephi, on the other hand, sees our day, and identifies us with Laman and Lemuel. What a profound disconnect our arrogance causes between Nephi's meaning and our reading.

He is being as plain as words can be. And we are being as obstinate and obtuse as unbelief, wickedness, ignorance and stiffneckedness can cause. You can feel the irony.


  1. These last two versus hit me like a ton of bricks. It is so in-your-face plain by Nephi’s words that we are to seek an audience with Christ in this life. I am dumfounded as to why this is not the common teaching proclaimed from the rooftops as we attend church. Was this part of why Nephi lamented? I’ve tried sharing Denver’s book to several of my associates with mixed reactions. Some have eagerly borrowed my book or bought their own. Others have been polite and listened but let it pass by. I’ve even had others say they won’t read it because such a book can only be written by a Church leader. So much power and excitement would exist in the Church if all members’ intent and learning were to seek His personal manifestation?

  2. Denver asked: "What is "wicked" about not following the "doctrine of Christ" so that you can receive the tongue of an angel? What is wicked about not pressing forward in the light of the Holy Ghost to the point where you receive Christ in the flesh? Why would that failing be "wicked?"

    It is wicked because it defeats the reason we came here to earth; and because it defies the reason that the church was established in the first place. (D&C 1:17-20)

  3. Great Post. So incredible & sad but true. I don't think I know anyone who really understands & believes in the doctrine of Christ.

    While most everyone in the Church thinks they believe in what Christ taught, when it's truly explained to them they become angry & refuse to believe it. It is so scary to them, for it requires more sacrifice than they want to give.

    It does seem that Nephi was right, that all members today have become wicked & deceived to do evil & willingly cling to the far easier false notions of the world than the truths that Christ taught. Christ's doctrine just seems too hard for anyone to accept.

    It never ceases to amaze me how it seems that all members & leaders can sit among such evil atrocities going on all around them & not see it nor understand how awful our state is & not feel like Moroni & want to do something about it.

    I continually feel, especially at church, like the guy in the movie "Life is Beautiful", when he was in the Concentration Camp & tried to get his Dr. friend to help him & his family to escape, but suddenly realized that his Dr. Friend was completely unaware of the evil going on around him, having lost his mind & awareness because he supported evil & focused on trivial things.

    Is there anyone out there who is awake & aware of just how evil it is everywhere, in our families, wards, towns & country & how black & dire things are? It's far worse than anyone can imagine or even describe.

    No wonder Nephi couldn't say more than he did. Who would believe it or listen to him.

  4. Anonymous, not only is evil everywhere, I've found it residing in me. Ever since I've found this blog, I've been rooting out the evil in my life and becoming more in "compliance". What a difference it has made! My relationships with my wife and children have become much better and I feel closer to the Master than ever before. I feel I can hear the whisperings of the Spirit clearer. What have I been missing!

    Yes evil is all around us, but as this work becomes better known, I think more people will have their eyes opened as I have and want to change themselves.

  5. It is a sad state of things. I don't know if the members have desired this so the leaders delivered, or the leaders are caught up in priestcraft and the members don't recognize it. Or maybe it's a combination. Read the following articles and see what the Spirit tells you:

    Deseret Book celebrates release of President Monson biography with display (includes original pulpit where he delivered his first talk

    President Monson captures crowd at the dedication of Zion's Bank.

  6. Denver once said:

    Almost without exception the Book of Mormon uses these words in this way:
    "Belief" means you understand and accept true doctrine.
    "Unbelief" means you do not understand and have not accepted true doctrine.
    "Faith" means you have been visited by an angel.
    "Knowledge" means you have been visited by the Lord.

    It helps bring a clearer meaning to "...they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge..."

    So, if knowledge has to do with a visitation from the Lord, would great knowledge (Great Knowledge) be a visit with the Father?


  7. @John C. Personally, I am content to have the Spirit of Christ in my life. In that way, I feel close to Him without even seeing Him. Sure, seeing Him would be iciing on the cake but I don't think you should over emphasize seeing Him...put that doctrine in it's place. That's my opinion.

  8. @ Anonymous - who are you to speak for the whole church? You use the phrase "most members" in your post often. How do you know what "most members" are thinking and feeling?
    Also, how is a biography about the prophet priestcraft?
    It is not an autobiography!

  9. I would feel remiss if I didn't stand up for what I know to be true. I feel bashing upon the leaders of our true church takes away from the spirit of this blog. Denver has written in his book "Receiving the Second Comforter" about being accusers. If anyone is a serious seeker of promises in the Book of Mormon, they would be very careful what they would write or say out loud. Denver has written that we will be responsible for them. There is no need to make negative remarks-for the spirit of the message is then lost.

    I know that our wonderful prophet is called of God along with His Apostles. To say they are not upholding their responsibililties would be wrong.

  10. To Anonymous September 2, 2010 8:25 PM:

    Well done, soldier Wormwood. Accusing the accusers! That will throw them for a loop!

    -Uncle Screwtape

  11. "We read that and think ourselves better than Laman and Lemuel because we identify ourselves with Nephi. Nephi, on the other hand, sees our day, and identifies us with Laman and Lemuel."
    How many times have I identified myself with the group I thought was on the right track, when actually I was probably closer to the other group.
    More than I care to count.

    Pure Gold, Denver

  12. To Anon, Sep 2, 11:30 AM Quite possibly we sit on the same bench at church each Sunday and you don't know I'm "lc" and I don't know you're "anon." :)

    To Anon, Sep 2, 7:40 PM That's a frightening thought to me. How long will you be content? Eons?

  13. Denver, your words make me grieve for my friends. At first (when I first began reading your book, The Second Comforter) I didn't want to believe your condemnation of those those whom I love who don't accept the plain and precious truths that they receive, but I'm beginning to see that what you say is true. I thought I had enough to be discouraged about with the awful state of the world without having to consider the disbelief of my friends.


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