As a definition to Saints, the word, idolatry, is the worship of someone or some thing other than God as though it were God; or, as the first of the ten commandments forbids, to put another god—by worship, or by adherence to—before Him.
In very simple terms, if God (the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) says to do it, we should do it. If God says to not do it, then we should not do it. One type of disobedience to God is a sin of omission, and the other a sin of commission.
As we look out in our society we see a variety of idolatry. We see work on the sabbath day, as well as sports competitions, music concerts, and other events.
Nehamiah 10:31 states:
And if the people of the land bring merchandise or any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day:Nehamiah 10:31
If we take into account just that one scripture, does not a clear picture of mass idolatry come to mind? Selling of merchandise and food at festivals, celebrations, competitions, etc., fill up every weekend throughout our land.
Clearly, idolatry is not always gross, or overt, acts of reverence addressed to a person or an object—the sun, the king, an animal, or a statue—but can be the misdirection of one’s confidence, loyalty, and devotion that properly belong only to the Creator. And idolatry may even exist alongside the acknowledgment of a supreme being (i.e. Israel’s worship of the golden calf at the foot of Mount Sinai).
Acts of Idolatry are easy to miss when one is of the world, but the act of idolatry is more outlined and distinguished when one comes into the familiarity of God’s voice—if even a whisper of the Spirit.
From 1st John 2:15-16:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world… is not of the Father, but is of the world.1st John 2:15-16
There is a difference between bowing to show respect to another individual, as often done in Asian countries, and bowing in worship to an idol, or a dictator, as Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego refused to do to king Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3.
But there is an even more subtle and subversive kind of idolatry that is much harder to detect among Christians. Just as a person’s decision to worship a golden idol begins with a single thought, Christians are guilty of thinking thoughts pertaining to doctrine that, while true or not true, misses the mark of what God’s priorities are.
From Jacob 4:13-14:
Behold, my brethren, he that prophesieth, let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls. But behold, we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old.
But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness,… and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.Jacob 4:13-14
From these two verses, many Jews in Lehi’s time were not necessarily guilty of idolatry as they were guilty of missing the mark. So the question is, “What is the mark?”
As a definition, I will submit that the mark is simply exactly and precisely what God wants us to know. All other truth beyond this centerpiece of specificity is missing the mark.
Remember that, from D&C 50, there is not only truth, but a way to preach truth; and if truth is taught in “…some other way, it is not of God.” (vs. 18)
Thus, I invite you to begin thinking of truth in this way—that truth is actually a prioritizing of truth, to be given and received in the right way. Then, if truth has a priority, the mark would be that centerpiece of specificity that God wants you to know, independent of and before, all of His other truth. Would you begin building a house by first constructing the roof?
I do believe that this centerpiece of specificity can be different for each individual, based on that person’s individual measure of creation, but God is one, and thus His own centerpiece of specificity cannot be many things.
Whatever the mark is, from Jacob 4:13 we are to believe that it is very plain, “these things are manifested unto us plainly…,” yet because of the mark’s importance and plainness, Satan, with his legions of demons, continually attempt to subvert and confuse this plainness. In effect, Satan will whisper to the believing Christian, you don’t have to worry about that, or others are worrying about that, no need for you to get involved.
Imagine a magnet that only has two negative sides to it, repulsing, or pushing away, this centerpiece of specificity from your mind. This is what Satan does—pulling your mind away from that vital beacon of light sent from God, which draws you to it if you will only understand His plainness. Although the mark is plain, Christians tend to become interested in, and then obsessed with, every other “truth” other than the mark. Victory: Satan, until we awaken.
From Jacob, the Jews looked beyond the mark, which doing caused them to falter. Literally, God gave the Jews a truth (that wasn’t the mark) which had the effect of poisoning them. This aspect of the Jews, the covenant people of the Lord, faltering—or being blinded— should cause every believing Christian to marvel greatly with great pause, because if they can fall, so can we.
The verbiage Jacob uses, “beyond the mark,” implies that a in front of the mark exists as well. If beyond the mark is searching for things they don’t understand, such as:
- Receiving the second Comforter
- Correct governance of the Law of Consecration
- The correct geographical area of where the Book of Mormon took place
- How to see Christ tomorrow
- How to translate oneself to another place
- The true or false of reincarnation, past lives, etc.
…wouldn’t in front of the mark mean:
- Don’t worry about reading the scriptures too much
- Teach within the boundaries of our Church manuals
- Don’t worry about seeing the face of Christ (see D&C 93:1), it isn’t required
- As pertaining to the law of man, anything more or less than the Constitution… hey, it really doesn’t matter, and we don’t need to talk about it in this Church (see D&C 98:4-7)
- Shallow quips and quotes from general authorities, such as “attitude determines altitude.”
- When you are “searching the mysteries” of God, if you have a question, ask us; we are God’s delegated authority to you
- Loyalty to the Church is above all else
Can you see it in your mind? A centerpiece of specificity, a mark, a truth within truths, in which Satan and all his demons are pulling you away from?
It is God alone who determines the mark, but He has the challenge of communicating to you and I His voice in the midst of a sea of voices from imposters. (The challenge is not really His, but ours).
And yet, He does this, and for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, His mark is the doctrine contained in the Book of Mormon, and NOT this holy volume filtered through men, and especially men claiming authority of this book, as “apostles” and “prophets.” These men are pharisees and sadducees who know very little of the scriptures and who only cling to their supposed positions because of the support of the LDS membership, who believe, NOT in the plainness of the scriptures, but in these imposter’s ability to replace this plainness.
The Book of Mormon Prophecies book (free in PDF) is an attempt to deliver and amplify this plainness to all those who truly desire to come unto Christ, and the strictness of His doctrine, that they may know how to come unto Him and be saved.
His plainness is all about His remnant, the ancient and long-dispersed covenant people of the Lord.
1st Nephi 15:14:
And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved.1st Nephi 15:14