Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion. - Ezra Taft Benson

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gathering is Part of the Gospel

"In various dispensations there are various differences in regard to certain requirements of the Gospel. For instance, in the day of Noah, when he preached the Gospel to the antediluvian world, he was given a special commandment, to build an ark, that in case the people would reject him and the message sent unto them, that himself and all who believed on him might be saved from the destruction that awaited them. In this dispensation there is a principle or commandment peculiar to it. What is that? It is the gathering the people unto one place. The gathering of this people is as necessary to be observed by believers, as faith, repentance, baptism, or any other ordinance. It is an essential part of the Gospel of this dispensation, as much so, as the necessity of building an ark by Noah, for his deliverance, was a part of the Gospel of his dispensation. Then the world was destroyed by a flood, now it is to be destroyed by war, pestilence, famine, earthquakes, storms, and tempests, the sea rolling beyond its bounds, malarious vapors, vermin, disease, and by fire and the lightnings of God's wrath poured out for destruction upon Babylon. The cry of the angel unto the righteous of this dispensation is, "Come out of her O my people, that ye partake not of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." We believe also in the principle of direct revelation from God to man. This is a part of the Gospel, but it is not peculiar to this dispensation. It is common in all ages and dispensations of the Gospel. The Gospel cannot be administered, nor the Church of God continue to exist without it. Christ is the head of his Church and not man, and the connection can only be maintained upon the principle of direct and continuous revelation. It is not a heritory principle, it cannot be handed down from father to son, or from generation to generation, but is a living vital principle to be enjoyed on certain conditions only, namely-through absolute faith in God and obedience to his laws and commandments. The moment this principle is cut off, that moment the Church is adrift, being severed from its ever-living head. In this condition it cannot continue, but must cease to be the Church of God, and like the ship at sea, without captain, compass or rudder, is afloat at the mercy of the storms and the waves, of ever contending human passions, and worldly interests, pride and folly, finally to be wrecked upon the strand of priestcraft and superstition. The religious world is in this condition to-day, ripening for the great destruction which awaits them, but there is an ark prepared for such as are worthy of eternal life, in the gathering of the Saints to the chambers of the Almighty, where they shall be preserved until the indignation of God is passed.

Joseph F. Smith - Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 19:, p.193