The angel asserts that “the natural man is an enemy to God.” (Mosiah 3: 19.) Why is that so?
What is it about the natural state of man that, when a little child he is saved and anyone who thinks otherwise is in the gall of bitterness and offending God, but when grown is “an enemy to God?” How can these two statements at the opposite ends of the spectrum come from the same angel in the same message?
How does man become, in his “natural” state an enemy to God? What is it about this environment and the natural progression into adulthood that, as man becomes tempted he also becomes alienated from God? What forces contribute to this alienation?
-Abuse by others?
Is it inevitable that all develop into a condition where they are not only distant from God, but an “enemy to God?” How does that happen? What is going on here that you fall to this state? Is it “natural” for you to go through that?
If you are going to become by nature alienated from God, then how can you be certain you are not in your “natural” state as you go about practicing your religion? What is there about religion itself which appeals to the “natural” man? How does religion contribute to:
-Abuse of others?
-Calling that which is good evil?
-Killing the messengers, and even the Son of God?
It is inevitable that the “natural” man who is religious is no better than the “natural” man who is irreligious? Can a man be both “an enemy to God” and devoted to some religion? Are not all the prophets of the past killed by those who were religous? Even the mob that killed Joseph was led by lay ministers. How can you ever be certain your own “devotion” is not, in fact, the faith of an “enemy to God?”
How can any person avoid this catastrophe? What does the angel recommend to King Benjamin?
-“yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit” (Mosiah 3: 19.)
The word “yield” seems weak. The force of the Spirit is to invite, to request or to petition you. You are free to reject, to resist, and to refuse.
-“become a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord” (Id.)
The idea of “becoming” something suggests change. And how does one go about changing “through the atonement of Christ?” What does one have to do to acquire this change? How is the Holy Spirit and taking advantage of the atonement of Christ related to one another?
-“becometh as a little child”
How is this done? I’ll not repeat the chapter on this from The Second Comforter, but will only remind you that it requires something more than passivity. It requires the relentless search, as children do, for undertsanding and knowledge. It requires curiosity and pursuit of truth, as little children do.
To who? Men? Your peers? Your political, social, cultural, religious, or educational leaders? Or submissive to “the Holy Spirit” which only “entices” and never controls? If you submit to the arm of flesh, even the arm of a good man, are you really “submissive” in the sense spoken of here by the angel?
In the sense explained in Beloved Enos.
As between you and heaven, not as between you and the world. Indeed, since conflict with the world is inevitable if you follow the Lord, then humility is reckoned from a different vantage point. You will appear to the world to be rebellious, discordant, unruly, and difficult. That is because a citizen of heaven is not well fitted to this fallen world. Humility is directed toward the Lord, not your fellow man.
Because this world has little use for the truth, and will test and try you at every turn. It will fight you long enough to prove whether you are faithful in all things. Then some few will join in the struggle and also become a fellow citizen of a higher world.
-“full of love”
Not because of your own capacity, but because by submitting to the Holy Spirit you are able to borrow this as a gift through the atonement of Christ. Just like the angel explained.
-“willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him”
It is the Lord’s work to bring about salvation and exaltation. (Moses 1: 39.) To refine you, the Lord will “inflict” a great deal upon you. He knows when you are ready, when you are proven. You have no idea. You submit, and in the process you learn what you are capable of. Until you submit to all He sees, in His wisdom alone to inflict upon you, you remain an unfinished son or daughter. When you cry out from agony and uncertainty and you hear nothing but the patient silence of heaven, you must endure it, just as Joseph in Liberty Jail. (D&C 121: 1-3.) When your cup is filled and you think you cannot endure more, He will decide if the ordeal continues. He will remind you of His suffering. (D&C 122: 8.) You will learn from your own suffering to appreciate His.
-“even as a child doeth submit to his father.”
If you want to be His child, you allow Him to act the role of your Father. It is His right to punish, instruct, inflict you. It is acceptance of His Fatherhood over you to submit and not question His right to do what you cannot see any need for you to endure. He is preparing you for something so much greater than what you are now, that you cannot recieve the blessings unless you are enlarged. How can He “add upon” you without stretching, even breaking you? How can you grow without pain?
How foolish is our impatience? How small our irritations! How unequal His blessings to our gratitude! When He works with us, we resent Him. When He corrects us, we resist Him. When He tries us, we cry out: It is unfair!
The Son of Man hath descended below it all, art thou greater than He?
The “natural man is an enemy to God” and you must overcome that. You proud, arrogant, weak, insecure, devoted and pretentious “Saints.” You must change. Or you remain God’s enemy. …At least if the angel who spoke with King Benjamin knew what he was talking about.