------ Forwarded message ------
From: Francis Harper
Francis Harper Message for 5/4/18
The Apostle Paul’s description of the last days is very similar to the news we see in the daily newspaper, or watch on television. It is generally bad news that we see and hear. Paul wrote, “In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, false accusers, incontinent [lacking self-control], fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady [rash; with opinions, divorced from truth], high-minded [cannot be told anything], lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) What a fitting description of our day!
Jeremiah described Jerusalem before they were taken as captives to Babylon (586 BC); “. . . though they say, The Lord liveth; surely they sware falsely” (Jeremiah 5:2). It was as Jesus said to Joseph Smith, Jr., “They draw near me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (History of the Church, Vol. 1, p 9). This is hypocrisy! The Lord wants our hearts!
Jeremiah continues his description of Jerusalem: “. . . thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; . . . they have refused to receive correction.” Jeremiah could have been describing our nation. America has been stricken with preliminary judgments. These judgments began on the day the twin towers fell (9-11-01), and have continued. Have we been grieved by the massacres of Orlando and Las Vegas? Have we received correction? Our need is for much more than gun control. Our greater need is to turn to God and follow Jesus “with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent . . .” (2 Nephi 13:16). God’s protective hand has shielded our nation from many calamities in the past. It appears the hand that has “preserved us a nation” may have been partially removed.
“How can we expect that God will stay his hand in judgment against us?” (Moroni 9:12). This question, asked more than a thousand years ago, could be appropriately asked today. An epistle of Mormon to his son, Moroni, could be fittingly written in our day: “O, my beloved son, how can . . . a delightsome people, in only a few years, delight so much in abomination . . .?” (Moroni 9:12).
The population of the USA was 312 million in 2012. Since 1960 (in only a few years), violence has increased 463 percent; out of wedlock births have increased 461 percent; children living in single parent homes have increased 200 percent; teen suicides increased 200 percent and there was a 150 percent increase in welfare recipients. Ten states have more on welfare than are in the labor force. These states include New York and California. Cohabiting couples increased tenfold and divorces have doubled. SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Tests) scores are down 60 percent and there have been 53 million abortions since 1973. Homosexuality is also exploding!
Mormon continues: “O the depravity [moral corruption] of my people! They are without order and mercy . . . the suffering of our children . . . doth exceed everything” (Moroni 9:17-19). “And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God” (Moroni 9:6).
We need to pray for a saving remnant in our land. God spoke to Jeremiah, “Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem . . . if ye can find a man . . . that seeketh truth . . . I will pardon it” (Jeremiah 5:1).
A primary cause of the many problems we face in our nation today is that we have too few twice-born men and women among us. We have an overabundance of the unredeemed. These are they who have been called “natural” men; “. . . the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been since the fall of Adam . . .” (Mosiah 11:119). He is not only an enemy to God, he is also an enemy to himself, his fellow man and his nation. He needs to be born again!
A natural man can become a vicious beast; even worse than a beast, because he has intelligence with which he can devise evil acts of wickedness. In an epistle to his son, Moroni, Mormon mentioned that some of the daughters of their enemy (the Lamanites), were taken as prisoners, “and after depriving them of that which was most dear and precious above all things; which is chastity and virtue; and after they had done this thing, they did murder them in a cruel manner . . .” (Moroni 9:11). Such a creature as this, a rapist and serial killer, was recently found and reported to be living in our country. “Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
Perhaps you have been asked, “Have you been born again?” What was your answer? All of us need to be born a second time. Nicodemus was puzzled when Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). He asked, “How can a man be born again when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:4). Jesus explained: “Unless a man be born of water, and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God . . . Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again” (John 3:5-7).
The second-birth process begins with the complete immersion in water, followed by the laying on of hands for the bestowal of the Holy Spirit, by those having the authority to administer these ordinances. Then the process continues. The Lord said to Alma, “Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; and thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in no wise inherit and kingdom of God” (Mosiah 11:187-188).
Who can truthfully say they have been born again? Have we become new creatures? Have we experienced the mighty change?
A few years ago, I asked a high school student if there were any in her class seeking for truth and reality. She could not name even one. Sadly, we are a generation that is “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). Jesus said, “Blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 5:8).
In the early hours of the morning on February 19, 2012, I saw in a dream or vision, a calf which was very gaunt and weak, walking with a staggering gait. The calf was not bawling for its mother, nor was the mother cow calling for her calf. I thought of the many in our nation who are weak and malnourished, yet they have no hunger for truth. Adding to this tragedy, the servants of the Lord are quite often negligent in feeding their sheep and lambs! The faithful and wise servant “watcheth to impart his portion of meat in due season” (Luke 12:49-52).
During a recent drive through the hills of western Iowa, we witnessed a happy fulfillment of my dream. A good mother cow was walking toward her calf, and the youthful offspring was prancing to meet her, obviously anticipating the nourishment about to be received.
I long for the day of which Isaiah spoke, when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children” (Isaiah 54:13).
My love to all,