Chapter 29: If Ye Are Not One Ye Are Not Mine
The Responsibilities of the Salt of the Earth
It should be a point of the most intense interest to members of the Lords Church that they are so few in number and yet bear responsibilities of such enormous magnitude. Strange though it may seem, the scriptures indicate that it is common for the Lord to select a small number and place upon them the vital duty of bearing the message of His gospel to the many. He told His disciples among the Jews that they were called to be the salt of the earth, (Matt. 5:13) and made a similar statement to those He addressed among the Nephites. (3 Ne. 12:13)
The Lord has identified those He has called to be the salt of the earth in this last dispensation as follows:
When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men,
They are called to be the savor of men; therefore, if that salt of the earth lose its savor, behold, it is thenceforth good for nothing only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men. (D&C 101:39-40)
To be counted among that small number who are the covenant people is, of course, a high privilege. But as the foregoing scripture indicates, the penalty for failing to carry out the duties connected therewith is extremely severe. To hold a position and calling so high and important, and then to be accounted so worthless and good for nothing that we are cast out and trodden under foot seems to be the ultimate disgrace. And yet the Lord told the Nephites and Lamanites that this is exactly what would happen to Gentile Church members of this dispensation who failed to repent of the sins He enumerated. (3 Ne. 16:10-15) [p. 220]
The Need to Awaken
The first thing which is necessary for Church members to do in discharging their duties as the salt of the earth, is to recognize what those duties are, which, according to the Lord and our modern prophets seems to be particularly urgent.
In his keynote address to Church members in the general conference of April, 1986, President Benson referred to some awake passages in the Book of Mormon as he urged us to study that book. One such scripture is found in Ether 8:24 wherein the Lord commands us to awake to a sense of your awful situation because of this secret combination which shall be among you.
In his statement on communism given in the priesthood session of general conference in April, 1966, President David O. McKay expressed the desire that all Church members would become informed regarding this movement and awaken to the alarming conditions which are rapidly advancing about us.
As Church members we are the only people on the face of the earth who are aware of these warning messages and the predicted tragedy which will come upon this nation if we fail to heed them. This should give us some idea of the responsibility we bear as the salt of the earth. Surely we are good for nothing if we do nothing about them.
Unity Necessary Among Those Called to Be the Salt of the Earth
It should be most apparent that the salt of the earth will largely fail in their responsibilities unless they are united. Working separately and alone we can do but little. On the other hand if we join together, miracles are possible. The following scripture should provide much encouragement to those who fear defeat because those called to be the salt of the earth are so few in number:
Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven
These should then be attended to with great earnestness.
Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth [p. 221] in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things.
You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves. (D&C 123:13-16)
The following quote from our late prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, seems appropriate here:
I come to realize more and more as my experience broadens, the vast influence and power that a small minority may wield in this work, in politics, in religion, in social activities, everywhere you go. A small group, united in purpose, with definite goals may greatly influence the great majorities. (Teachings, p. 178)
Unity Is Possible Only on the Basis of Truth
Only by using the word of the Lord as our guide can we ever hope to reach agreement on the goals we should seek and the procedure which should be followed in reaching them. This means that we must cast aside the misleading precepts of men and the wisdom of the world and accept the Lord as our guide, our king, and our lawgiver.
This may be difficult because some are not accustomed to looking to the scriptures for guidance in political matters. However as we have heretofore seen, our political convictions constitute our most deeply held moral and religious convictions. Therefore those scriptures which caution us against hearkening to the precepts of men are especially applicable to our beliefs about the laws of the land. When the following scriptures are read with this thought in mind they may take on new meaning. (2 Ne. 9:28; 28:14; D&C 45:28, 29)
Unity of Belief Demands Humility
By going to the Lord for guidance on political matters, we thereby demonstrate that humility we must have to become united. However since the sin of pride is so pervasive, and since it is the primary cause of disunity, let us note what the scriptures say must be done to overcome it.
First let us remind ourselves that according to the following oft- quoted scripture, almost all men are afflicted with this sin: [p. 222]
Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men . . . (D&C 121:4-5)
The first step in overcoming the sin of pride is to recognize that in all probability, we are guilty. We can know for certain that we have not overcome it if we have a spirit of contention. The Lord told the Nephites this:
. . . And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. (3 Ne. 11:28-29)
The following scripture gives some specific rules regarding what must be done to overcome pride:
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 richesyea, 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 Ne. 9:42)
The Necessity of Implicit Faith in God and His Justice
If we have complete faith in the omnipotence, the omniscience and the justice of God, we will realize that when the Lord gives a commandment, we need have no fear regarding the consequences which will flow from obedience thereto. The Lord knows the end from the beginning. He anticipates and makes provision for every event which will occur.
. . . all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things,
. . . men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. (2 Ne. 2:24, 27) [p. 223]
A failure to exercise faith in God and His justice is a sin as the following scripture indicates:
And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments. (D&C 59:21)
To obey not the Lords commandments because we fear that by so doing we might cause injustice or harm to others, would appear to be contrary to this scripture. What we should really concern ourselves with is the justice which will be meted out to us if we fail to follow His commandments. But in deciding what should be done, we should always remember that the Lord has His prophets here on earth and that we should follow their counsel implicitly. The scriptures are most plain that those who do not follow the Lord and His prophets and apostles, will be cut off from among the people. (D&C 1:14; Joseph Smith 2:40) [p. 224]
Words of Ezra Taft Benson
This is a most important lesson for all of us to learn, namely, that the communists use the socialists to pave the way for them wherever possible. This is why communists and socialists are often found supporting each other, collaborating together and fighting for the same goals.
The paramount issue today is freedom against creeping socialism. The well-known British writer, John Strachey, who for many years was an openly avowed communist and who served as Minister of War in the Socialist government in 1950, made this very plain in his book, The Theory and Practice of Socialism. Said he:
It is impossible to establish communism as the immediate successor to capitalism. It is accordingly proposed to establish socialism as something which we can put in place of our present decaying capitalism. Hence, communists work for the establishment of socialism as a necessary transition stage on the road to communism.
Now obviously, the worst thing that can happen to a socialist is to have himself openly identified with the work of the communists who are generally feared and despised.
The socialists know they cannot seize property and power by due process of law unless they are politically popular, therefore, they try desperately to avoid the taint of the communists and present their program so that it appears moral, democratic, peaceful, and so gradual that the people will not resist it. (Ezra Taft Benson, The Red Carpet, Socialism, The Royal Road to Communism, pp. 69-70) [p. 225]