2 Nephi 28: 3

2 Nephi 28: 3:

” For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord—

The Book of Mormon will become available to the remnant in a day when there will be “churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord.” Generally this is interpreted by Latter-day Saints to mean OTHER churches, but not ours.  However, the context requires all, including our own church, to be considered at risk as well. Here are the questions bearing on whether we (LDS) are among those being warned:

-Is the prophecy limited to the time before the Book of Mormon comes forth? (No; it will reach until the time when other records of the Lost Tribes are to come forth–a future event. (See, 2 Ne. 29: 13-14.)
-Is the prophecy about only those churches created by man, and not one intended to become Zion? (No; see verses 21-24.)
-Can a church established by the Lord become one which is not built up to Him?  (Of course; see Eze. 44: 10; Isa. 53: 6; John 5: 39.)

Does the promise that the Lord will never abandon His latter-day work (D&C 138: 44) mean that the church He established will not drift into condemnation?  (See D&C 84: 55-58.)

Should we, therefore, consider these warnings to be equally applicable to us as Latter-day Saints as to the larger community of churches? 

Nephi warns that each church will claim it is the Lord’s. Do we do that? Each will claim divine authority and approval. Do we do that? Each will assert it belongs to the Lord. Do we do that? But the question Nephi focuses upon is whether it is “unto the Lord.”

What does it mean for a church to be “unto the Lord?” What would the opposite be?

How certain are we that what we do as a church is building up to the Lord?  Do the procurement practices of the church “build up unto the Lord?” Does the auditor’s report in General Conference even begin to allow you to make that determination? If some of the large and well-connected Latter-day Saint families own the businesses which contract with the church and have become wealthy by reason of trading with the church, is there some question which ought to be considered about “building up unto the Lord” in how business is conducted?

I explained how the church distinguishes between tithing money and “investment income” in a post on April 1, 2010. Does this seem consistent with the Lord’s parable about the talents? (Luke 19: 20-23.) If in the parable, all returns realized on the money were the Lord’s, why does the return on the Lord’s tithing now become investment money to be used for commercial projects developing condominiums, shopping malls, banks, and other income-producing ventures? Who is benefiting? What careers and fortunes are being made? What families are being benefited? Are they the Lord?

Assuming the purpose of a church were to “build up unto the Lord” what single purpose would be most important? In the Book of Mormon, as I’ve explained earlier, the writers seek to have you trade unbelief for belief; then to trade belief for faith; then to come beyond faith and receive knowledge. The knowledge it would have you obtain is of Christ. (See Ether 3: 19.)

The lack of knowledge condemns a people who claim to be the Lord’s. Nephi quoted Isaiah in 2 Nephi 15: 13: [You will not understand Nephi’s purpose in quoting Isaiah if you are unacquainted with Nephi’s Isaiah.] “Therefore, my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge; and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.” Captivity comes from a lack of knowledge. Joseph Smith warned that “a man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge.” (DHC 5: 588.) The ones who are considered “honorable” are “famished” because they lack knowledge. The “multitude” who follow the “honorable men” are in turn “dried up with thirst” because they are not taught enough to become saved. (2 Ne. 28: 14.)

If the Lord promises to never abandon His latter-day work (D&C 138: 44), does that mean men cannot abandon Him? Although men may abandon Him, can He work with you individually and “remember” His promises? Even if others are without knowledge, can you still obtain knowledge from Him? Though others may be “dried up with thirst” can you still obtain “living waters” from Him?

Can you rely upon the assertions from any church today that it is “built up unto the Lord?”  How can you be “built up unto the Lord” even if you do not have any institution you can trust to bring to you that knowledge? Was the Lord always intended to be directly involved in your life? (Matt. 11: 27-30.)

If “captivity” comes from a lack of knowledge, and Joseph Smith tied knowledge to salvation, then why is the correlated curriculum of the church focusing less and less on doctrine? Why was the Relief Society and Priesthood Manual on Teachings of the Presidents volume on Joseph Smith carefully edited by the Correlation Department so as to support meanings somewhat different than Joseph’s? If you think meanings were not changed, then go to the sources quoted in the History of The Church and read each of the whole statements made by Joseph from which the excerpts were taken. I leave it to you to decide if the edited versions in the church manual were or were not both incomplete and misleading.  [Personally, I was dismayed. But I have a sensitivity to words that is quite acute, and therefore something left out that is important to me may not be significant to you. You must decide that question for yourself. You will find it an interesting exercise even if you disagree with my conclusion.]

If a church claims to be built up to the Lord, but does not attempt to confer knowledge of the Lord upon people, then how are you to seek after this knowledge? [We are going to be discussing Nephi’s instruction to us about this very subject for the coming weeks. So keep the question in mind as we go forward.]

Remember this is the promised day when all are intended to grow into knowledge of the Lord, from the least to the greatest. (See, e.g., JS-H 1: 41 and Joel 2: 28-29; and D&C 84: 96-97.) “Those who remain” will remain because they have “knowledge” that will save them. Hence Joseph’s teaching about the link between “knowledge” and “salvation.” Also, the captivity spoken of by Nephi because people lack knowledge.

Go back to the post on Lecture 6 of the Lectures on Faith, April 21, 2010. If your church encourages you to become part of a broad mainstream without asking for the sacrifice of all things, then it is not requiring you to take the steps necessary to develop faith to save you. Rest assured, however, the Lord still has the same requirements, and He will work directly with you to develop you into a person who has the required knowledge. It was always intended to be individual. It is your quest. Others may encourage you along, but you must confront the process for yourself.


[Now, as a complete aside, I want to address the misapplication and overreaching misinterpretation of the idea one is “evil speaking” when a person explains something that concerns them. First, we are dealing with the souls of men. We are addressing salvation itself. If there is an error in doctrine or practice, everyone has an obligation to speak up, from the least to the greatest. (D&C 20: 42, 46-47, 50-51, 59, among other places.) Second, the “truth” cannot ever be “evil.” Though the truth may cut with a two edged sword, truth is not and cannot be “evil.” Therefore, if someone should say something that is untrue or in error, then correct their doctrine, show the error, but do not claim what is good to be evil, nor support what is evil by calling it good. (2 Ne. 15: 20.) Using a broad generalization to stifle a discussion of the truth is a trick of the devil, who is an enemy to your soul. It is not the way of our Lord. He was always open to questions, always willing to answer questions, ever willing to speak the truth even when it caused those with authority over Him to be pained by His words. We must follow Him, and not men, in that example. Even if we would personally prefer to not endure insults but remain silent. So, rather than condemn something as “evil speaking” that you believe to be wrong, explain the error and bring us all into greater understanding. But if something is true, then even if it disturbs your peace of mind, it cannot be evil.]

22 thoughts on “2 Nephi 28: 3

  1. I just found some amazing information about the Ecuador Quichua people that reminded me of what has gone on in Ecuador with the indigenous people joining the Church. Gordon asked a great question back on the 3 Nephi 21: 26 post, and I’ve explained what I know and what I’ve found about the Quichua people in a comment there. Go read it if you’re interested.

    I think the work of the Father HAS commenced! :)

  2. My greatest concern it not with how the Church spends it’s money, but in how sadly most all leaders seem to be supporting, & often encouraging, the destruction of marriage & families today.

    The Church’s, or even a member’s, ‘only hope’ lies in doing it’s most important duty in protecting marriages & families from disintegration.

  3. When that couple came to Peter in the New Testament to present their consecrated property and Peter detected they had withheld some for their own family, at least they had the decency to drop dead.


  4. Let me be clear…I do not wish anyone’s death, but they ought to wish it for themselves. It had been better for them that they had never been born.

  5. Anonymous (@8:47) How do you figure “most leaders seem to be supporting, & often encouraging, the destruction of marriage & families?”

    most leaders? What are you seeing?

    I have not seen anything like you describe…. I’ve seen just the opposite.

  6. Kisi – re your comment in Sunday’s blog on DC 3 and DC 86:8-11 I checked those and as usual, checked the cross references – The whole of Sec. 86 is addressed to Joseph and those of this generation – having nothing to do with the Fathers of the Nephites, etc., of DC 3 – which I don’t have a clue concerning, but the Ref. for 86:8 and the “fathers’ or lineage is that of Joseph – See Ref. DC 113: read the whole of that section to understand it. It is the Lord’s explanation of this ‘lineage’ and Priesthood. The lineage is priesthood lineage. Isn’t this what Denver was talking about when he covered Alma 13 – the Priesthood Lineage which stems from Before the World was – and is what we need to seek to understand for our selves and our family? What we were ‘elected to’?

  7. Kisi:

    Some info you might find interesting about the book of mormon amongst native tribes.

    I served a mission in Paraguay and many times wanted a book of mormon in the native indian language of Guarani. Only portions of it are translated into that language (number 87 on that wikipedia list). Some returning missionaries who learned the language really well wanted to be involved in helping out the translation effort. The native people responded well to the selected portions the church has published. However those portions were not really avialable for the missionaries to distribute. Many of the people couldn’t read it even if it was fully translated. But there were those who could.

    There are some extreemly isolated tribes of native folks living in the interior of paraguay who only have portions of the book of mormon at best. Many of those tribes are all members of the church. Sadly I never got the chance to go visit them but those who did all say it was quite an experience teaching them about the restoration and the Book Of Mormon. Many members living there had to learn spanish in order to read the Book of Mormon.


  8. I thought this was interesting:

    The letter from Pontius Pilate to Tiberius Caesar

    This is a reprinting of a letter from Pontius Pilate to Tiberius Caesar describing the physical appearance of Jesus. Copies are in the Congressional Library in Washington, D.C.


    A young man appeared in Galilee preaching with humble unction, a new law in the Name of the God that had sent Him. At first I was apprehensive that His design was to stir up the people against the Romans, but my fears were soon dispelled. Jesus of Nazareth spoke rather as a friend of the Romans than of the Jews. One day I observed in the midst of a group of people a young man who was leaning against a tree, calmly addressing the multitude. I was told it was Jesus. This I could easily have suspected so great was the difference between Him and those who were listening to Him. His golden colored hair and beard gave to his appearance a celestial aspect. He appeared to be about 30 years of age. Never have I seen a sweeter or more serene countenance. What a contrast between Him and His bearers with their black beards and tawny complexions! Unwilling to interrupt Him by my presence, I continued my walk but signified to my secretary to join the group and listen. Later, my secretary reported that never had he seen in the works of all the philosophers anything that compared to the teachings of Jesus. He told me that Jesus was neither seditious nor rebellious, so we extended to Him our protection. He was at liberty to act, to speak, to assemble and to address the people. This unlimited freedom provoked the Jews — not the poor but the rich and powerful.

    Later, I wrote to Jesus requesting an interview with Him at the Praetorium. He came. When the Nazarene made His appearance I was having my morning walk and as I faced Him my feet seemed fastened with an iron hand to the marble pavement and I trembled in every limb as a guilty culprit, though he was calm. For some time I stood admiring this extraordinary Man. There was nothing in Him that was repelling, nor in His character, yet I felt awed in His presence. I told Him that there was a magnetic simplicity about Him and His personality that elevated Him far above the philosophers and teachers of His day.

    Now, Noble Sovereign, these are the facts concerning Jesus of Nazareth and I have taken the time to write you in detail concerning these matters. I say that such a man who could convert water into wine, change death into life, disease into health; calm the stormy seas, is not guilty of any criminal offense and as others have said, we must agree — truly this is the Son of God.

    Your most obedient servant,
    Pontius Pilate

  9. DKD & Taylor,

    Interesting about the Book of Mormon translations. I asked my daughter why the Book of Mormon is only published in some languages by selections, and she said it is because it takes so long to get good and sure translations that they publish what they can until they have more. Is this correct?

    Why were the translated selections not available for distribution by the missionaries in Paraguay?

  10. Denver,

    I appreciated your comments about what it means to speak evil. I have wondered about this. A couple further questions I have…

    If it is not considered “evil” because it is the truth…how can I be certain that my perspective is IN FACT the truth and I’m not the one in error? Is it just because you are weighing actions against the scriptures?(Personally, I have had many of the same observations you have had, but have only shared them with my most intimate family as I felt I was stepping into forbidden territory in my thoughts and would possibly damage someone else’s testimony with observations that I believed true,but nonetheless did not shake my faith or desire to remain an active particpant in the Church. I have also feared that even if it was the truth…there was a poison I was succombing to by being overly critical. Is there a concern with being too critical?

    My second question stems from my husband…(this is the one I would really love to hear an answer about) whereas he agrees with your assessments(he would say they are the truth), he struggles with the fact that you are voicing them publicly because he fears that in essence it is the same thing as trying to “steady the ark”…which of course didn’t go over to well in the Old Testament. He basically thinks the Lord has forbidden any of us to try and steady the ark…no matter how precarious the situation it is in. That is not our appointment. I would love to know how you respond to that concern because I don’t really have a good response to that.
    Is it just in the use of the scriptures you posted talking about “watching over the church?” How can I address the specific concern of steadying the ark? Is there no correlation between the ark then and the church? Maybe I just need some enlightenment on the proper context of what steadying the ark was versus you trying to point out weaknesses or errors. Would love a response.

    BTW, I have read all six of your books and read the blog daily and really appreciate it all

  11. Kisi:

    Copies of the Book of Mormon were available in Guarani but as I recall you had to special order them. They were not part of the stock of books given to the companionships to distribute. We only had spanish copies.

    As I recall the selected portions available needed some translation corrections, I’m guessing that is one of the big reasons why it wasn’t highly encouraged.

    I hope a good updated version becomes available soon.

  12. I wonder how much of a barrier language will be to members of the remnant recieving the Book of Mormon.

    Some of the tribes in the interior of paraguay didn’t speak Spanish or Guarani. Obvious barriers for the missionaries there.

  13. Joseph Smith:

    “I will give you one of the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom. It is
    an eternal principle that has existed with God from all Eternity that
    that man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the
    Church, saying that they are out of the way while he himself is
    righteous, then know assuredly that that man is in the high road to
    apostacy and if he does not repent will apostatize as God lives The
    principle is as correct as the one that Jesus put forth in saying that
    he who seeketh a sign is an adulterous person, 8 & that principle is
    Eternal, undeviating & firm as the pillars of heaven, for whenever you
    see a man seeking after a sign you may set it down that he is an
    adulterous man.” WJS p.20

  14. Anonymous:
    The problem with steadying the ark was related to interfering with a function assigned to someone else. No one other than properly called priesthood authorities have the right to: organize a stake, call a stake presidency, organize a ward, call a bishop and his counselors, organize an elder’s quorum and its presidency, call a conference, preside at a conference, conduct at conferences, authorize baptisms, interview for worthiness for baptism, interview for worthiness for callings, interview for priesthood advancement in church assignments, organize auxilary organizations, collect tithing money, build and dedicate chapels, temples, etc. If anyone other than a properly designated authority were to undertake any of these, they would be steadying the ark and without appropriate authority to do so.

    On the other hand, every one of us is obligated to preach, teach, exhort, expound and cry repentance as soon as we have been given the Aaronic office of teacher. Every adult who has been warned, is required to warn their neighbor. We are required to teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.

    Further, with respect to this particular effort, Elder Ballard has imposed the obligation to use the Internet to preach the Gospel.

    This is NOT steadying the ark.

    Finally, you must understand that there are many Saints who are perfectly content with their version of the Gospel and who have no interest in confronting questions or grappling to understand something more. I do not want to trouble them. But there are many more who are inactive and disaffected, or who continue to attend but who are alienated by the teaching which appears in church, or who would leave the church altogether if they wouldn’t disrupt their families. I believe they are struggling becuase they haven’t yet read the Book of Mormon and been informed that this process, this struggle, their frustrations are not a defect in themselves. They can be active, faithful members of the church while searching more deeply into the faith. When eyes begin to open, they needn’t abandon the church because they see issues. It will be alright. There is still hope. I write to help them, to show how to put context to problems. To see that despite all we have and will pass through, the Gospel is a personal journey, and they can remain in that personal journey despite earth and hell.

    I should add, also, that none of you either get the off-blog emails or participate in the personal conversations which I have. There are some people whose names you would recognize who are quite supportive of my effort. I have it on good authority that presiding authorities are themselves divided over the correlation process and how it is affecting the church. Some have the identical view I express on this blog. I am not as radical in my view as some of you may think. Or, if radical, there are some in authority who share my view. I am trying to help them, as well.

  15. Denver,

    Thank you so much for answering my questions on steadying the ark. This was VERY helpful. I am anxious to share it with my husband. Keep it up…I keep telling my husband that reading someone else acknowledge the very things I have been keeping mostly to myself has actually helped me be at peace with my frustrations.(Case in point…the Salt Lake City Ordinance issue you covered in several blogs was a true blessing for me. I was soooo conflicted with WHY my position and the Church’s stance were polar opposities after I had tried to base my position on correct doctrine and consitutional law…your insights were so appreciated. A friend in a BYU political science class told me she disagreed with the Church’s position, too, but once they came out with their position…she was basically silenced in all her classes because now she was “going against the brethren” if she did not agree). We’ve all been so filled with the notion that we are on the road to apostacy if we don’t follow every jot and tittle that comes from anyone “above” us that it is sometimes scary to think outside of that box because most of us really just want to do what is right and be found on the Lord’s side and it’s foreign to us that one can actually admit that not all decisions made are perfect and yet still be “true and faithful.”

    Thanks again.


  16. The “Anonymous” quoting Joseph Smith:

    Show me where on this blog I have criticized any leader of the Church. I have praised President Monson, singled out President Packer repeatedly for praise, spoken of Elder Scott and Elder Oaks in high terms, and explained that this blog is as a result of Elder Ballard’s admonition to use the Internet to teach the Gospel.

    I freely admit I have criticized the Correlation Department, which I believe to be working at cross-purposes to the Brethren. They deserve criticism. I hope to see their department either come to an end altogether, or to be so vastly reduced in their influence as to become irrelevant.

    I have high hopes for the Saints, and for the ability of the church to repent and remove its condemnation for neglecting the Book of Mormon. A proposition which President Benson and Elder Oaks have urged us onward to accomplish.

  17. Thanks for addressing those questions, Denver. As you know, I’ve been bothered a bit by SOME of the tone here that seemed to be “evil speaking.” Turning back to your books and again reading your explanation and feelings about the Church helps put all that goes on here in perspective. The disclaimer at the top of the site really is necessary.

    Although some comments are worthwile in your posts, I’ve found it much less distracting to read your posts alone on my kindle (I use calibre to sync them). I spent about 2 hours one evening going back and reading the “remnant” posts from the beginning. Although not as polished as your books, leaving the distractions of comments behind helps me be able to better focus on what you’re saying, more like the experience of your books. I’ve found that reading that way the spirit is more able to help me understand better what you are saying.

    Keep up the great work.

  18. JR – (is this JR Morgan or a different JR?)

    I think you’re misunderstanding what I’m trying to say. D&C 86 (although given “through Joseph Smith”) begins in verse 8 to talk to some group who are lawful heirs to the priesthood. This indicates to me that the Lord is addressing a group or people alive and on the earth at the time of Joseph Smith, but who have been “hid from the world with Christ in God”. That rules out Joseph Smith and the all the early brethren. They were never hidden from the world.

    But D&C 3: 16-20 gives us a POSSIBLE clue as to whom the Lord could be addressing — not the fathers of the Nephites, etc., but Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, and Zoramites themselves — alive and well and on the earth still at the time of Joseph Smith — perhaps a mixed group or even separate groups who are descendants of righteous Book of Mormon peoples who were led away sometime before the destruction of the Nephites. Notice that Mormon is addressing a group of people in Moroni 7: 1-4 whom he called his “beloved brethren” who had all entered into the rest of the Lord in this life. Who were these peopl?. Their existence doesn’t fit with anything we typically believe about the Nephites at the time of Mormon. Did Mormon travel somewhere to visit a group of faithful saints who had been led away some time before?

    It is really easy to read over all these verses and ascribe automatic meanings to them that really aren’t there, which we are all great at doing. But look really carefully at the difference described in Section 3 in how the above four named peoples will come by a knowledge of the Savior vs. how the Lamanites, Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites will come to that knowledge.

    Section 113 only helps my point, especially verses 4 & 6. Apparently we’re going to have a prophet come forward who has great power. He’ll be someone who has a right to the priesthood by lineage. What if the Lord sent an indigenous prophet who is not from within the hierarchy of the church to call us to repentance — someone like Samuel the Lamanite or Abinadi? Can you imagine that? Someone who is a Mormon by direct descent from the Nephites, etc. Someone who has the priesthood through the lineage of his fathers (since they never lost it) and who has also been ordained by the Lord himself.

    If you’d like to discuss this more, we can. We can continue here (if Denver is OK with it), or by email (kwatki2@gmail.com).

    I don’t know that my point is true, but there are clues all over the place that point in this direction.

  19. Hmmmm…..I have personally called folks out on my mission for wickedness and adultery and seem to have an innate sense of when someone is operating under that damning influence. I have gone round and round with all sorts of folks who have left the church while embroiled in sexual sin (from my MIL to my former Scoutmaster to one of Ed Decker’s adherents here in Seattle, ad nauseum). With that unusual introduction, I can personally vouch for Denver (never having met him – but just having read his words) as a guy not tainted in that way….:)

    Here is a writeup on the words of Joseph Smith and my own experience from my blog that illustrates the principle (of heaven):


  20. Kisi
    Different JR: I went back and read DC 3 and DC 86. Denver spoke recently about truth and that truth will always reveal itself if we seek understanding according to the Spirit of Truth [or words to that effect]. I will stand with what I received as I read these two scriptures – the Fathers in the one are the ‘fathers’ which the Book of Mormon bear witness of – that there may be pockets of Lehi et al, descendants but given the subject of the whole revelation think these ‘fathers’ are those Joseph is translating about. In 86 – These are the fathers connected with the Abrahamic Covenant. Joseph was given the same calling and authority for this dispensation as Abraham was given in his dispensation, i.e., the keys to the Patriarchal Order of Jesus Christ on the earth – these he received in Kirtland. I offer this as an explanation – not as a rebuttal. God bless and guide us all who contribute to the comments on this blog, that we will be led to act as a witness of truth to Denver’s blogs.

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