Not Automatic

Nothing is automatic. Anyone can get called to accomplish something, but unless they actually accomplish the work there is nothing to demonstrate they’ve been chosen. “I say unto you, there are many who have been ordained among you, whom I have called, but few of them are chosen. They who are not chosen have sinned a very grievous sin, in that they are walking in darkness at noonday.” T&C 94:2

And again, we are told: “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, that they do not learn this one lesson — that the rights of the Priesthood are inseparably connected with the Powers of Heaven and that the Powers of Heaven cannot be controlled nor handled, only upon the principles of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us, it is true, but when we undertake to cover our sins or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control, or dominion, or compulsion, upon the souls of the children of men in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the Heavens withdraw themselves, the spirit of the Lord is grieved, and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man. Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence many are called, but few are chosen.” T&C 139:5.

Sometimes even Joseph Smith was misled about people, as he was reminded by the Lord in a revelation: “but as you cannot always judge the righteous, or as you cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous …” JSH 1:Part 10:14. That was early on. Later, even at the end, Joseph trusted others thinking they were as trustworthy as he was himself. And so John C. Bennett was trusted and given an approved assignment in 1841. A revelation stated: “Again, let my servant John C. Bennett help you in your labor, in sending my word to the kings and peoples of the earth, and stand by you, even you my servant Joseph Smith, in the hour of affliction, and his reward shall not fail if he receive counsel.” T&C 141:6. But he did not do as instructed, and obviously forfeited his reward.

We have a description of what the president of the high priesthood is required to be: “And again, the duty of the president of the office of the high priesthood is to preside over the whole church and to be like unto Moses. Behold, here is wisdom — yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church.” T&C 59:11. That isn’t automatic. It is an assignment requiring the putative president to accomplish something. To rise up and fulfill the assignment. Failing that, he is not called. He is NOT the president of the high priesthood. He holds nothing that meets the standard required for the office, and cannot claim it as his.

Nothing is automatic. No matter what we may think, or hope to have others think, nothing is ours until we conform to the requirements of the job assigned to us. Being able to preach with authority from God is also not automatic. No matter how we may wish it to be otherwise. This is why the instructions we have in the Book of Mormon tell us that serving as a priest holds no glory, receives no compensation, but imposes only a burden: “And he also commanded them that the priests whom he had ordained should labor with their own hands for their support. And there was one day in every week that was set apart that they should gather themselves together to teach the people, and to worship the Lord their God, and also as often as it was in their power to assemble themselves together. And the priests were not to depend upon the people for their support, but for their labor they were to receive the grace of God, that they might wax strong in the spirit, having the knowledge of God, that they might teach with power and authority from God.” NC Mosiah 9:10. I’ve heard of at least two fellows who mistakenly believe that God has called them to spend their time studying the scriptures, and ought to be supported by the labors of others. That is contrary to the duty imposed on them by scripture, and also weakens their faith and prevents them from becoming strong in the spirit and being able to teach with power and authority from God.

The professional class of priests leading congregations throughout the Christian world, and including the various Mormon hierarchies are devoid of power to teach from God because they have handicapped themselves by their chosen profession. “He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world, but they seek not the welfare of Zion. Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing.” NC 2 Ne. 11:17.

Fools trifle with the souls of men: “None but fools will trifle with the souls of men.” T&C 138:18.

There are many people who willingly follow, uphold and adore false pretenders who have accomplished nothing other than pretensions of greatness. And their supporters think I am a charlatan and liar. I at least have the honor of laboring to support myself and my family. And I’ve never claimed a role other than a servant who tries in my own weakness to follow the Lord. I do not want your support or adoration. Nor do I ask for you to support me. If I do not persuade you of the truth, then go in peace. But if you are one of those who believes you are entitled to be employed for your preaching, you are really in the employ of Satan, and I would advise you to get out of his employ.