“And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.”
What does it mean to “endure to the end?” It is to put up with all the difficulties of mortality? Are we simply supposed to overcome boredom, irritation, trials of our patience, and the offenses caused by others? Is that what it means to “endure?”
What about “endure to the end in following the example of the Son of the living God?” Is that something different?
What if you see errors and mistakes all around you? Is it “enduring” to keep your mouth shut? Do you need to speak up?
What about the changes that have been made or are being made which alarm you? Is it “enduring” to stay silent in the face of things that suggest this is harmful?
When I first went through the Temple, it was the understood and longstanding practice of the Saints to hold prayer circles in their homes, invoking the “True Order of Prayer” as taught in the Temple. President Kimball sent a letter to the Stake Presidents terminating that practice. I have a copy of that letter. It said that prayer circles were no longer to be practiced outside the Temple – by anyone in the church.
Then in 1990 the True Order of Prayer was altered again, with the elimination of penalties. Thereafter the name changed to the “Order of Prayer,” rather than the “True Order of Prayer.”
Those who went through the Temple before 1990 would know about how to conduct a prayer circle involving the True Order of Prayer. But they were instructed not to do so outside the Temple. Those who went through after 1990 would not know how to conduct a True Order of Prayer circle, because they were not instructed in the Temple in anything other than the Order of Prayer.
It was still possible for those who knew the pre-1990 form to communicate the process in the Temple to others. However, recently there has begun a practice of hushing any discussions seen taking place inside the Celestial Rooms of the Temples.
It is as if those who are in control are opposed to keeping the earlier information, and working to keep it from being preserved by others. Is it “enduring to the end” to watch these changes and say nothing? Or is it “enduring” to actually endure, to preserve, to persevere against opposition and to keep as an enduring feature of the faith, information you received if you went through the Temple before 1990? Does a person who, in all sincerity before God, believes that Isaiah’s prophecy warned against this (Isa. 24: 5), “endure” if he remains silent? Or must he speak up? If so, how and to who? Which is enduring? Which is enduring to the end in following the example of the Son of the Living God? What example did Christ set in relation to this kind of a conflict? Did Christ submit, or resist authority? If He did both, how does one endure while appropriately weighing those things they will submit to, and those things they will resist?
What about Nephi’s warning that you “cannot be saved” if you fail to do the right kind of “enduring” to the end? If salvation itself hinges upon solving this riddle, then how carefully must you weigh what you resist and what you submit to?
It is for this reason we work out our salvation before God as Nephi has explained, acting no hypocrisy, with real intent, having faith in God, but also with fear and trembling. (Mormon 9: 27, also Philip. 2: 12.)
Indeed, God has given us a test worthy of a God. And only those worthy of becoming among the gods will be able to solve the riddle. Because only they will humble themselves, come with a contrite spirit and broken heart to offer upon the altar a sacrifice worthy of being accepted. Others will proceed in ignorance and arrogance to proudly proclaim: “I know my culture is true!” “I know all is well in Zion!” “I follow a broad and safe mainstream into a great and spacious building where there is peace, pride, success, prosperity and assurance that I am saved while all around me there are those who will be cast down to hell!” Or similar such nonsense… Warmed over Evangelical gibberish, with a vague Mormonesque vocabulary applied to it. Having a form of godliness, but without power. This new form of ungodliness will not be lacking in body, parts and passions, for the image of the idol raised will be the very image of the person looking in the mirror. They will think themselves destined to rule and reign over principalities, dominions, heights, depths and others. They are their own idols! What irony it all invokes! It must make the devil look up to heaven and laugh still. (Moses 7: 26.) Perhaps we ought to see some humor in it as well. …Or, since we’re speaking of the loss of men’s souls, maybe it can never be humorous. Only tragedy. Only disappointment. Only foolishness.
Where is the hope? Is there none? Yes, in repentance! Changing our course! Remembering God again! Restoring what has been lost! Returning and repenting! That’s right! And Nephi has invited us to do just that.
So “enduring to the end in following the example of the Son of the living God” is not easy. Even understanding the meaning of these words is challenging. Thank you Nephi. You have proven yet again how prayerful we all must be. Let us, therefore, repent!