Saturday, March 10, 2012

"Zion's" Thirty Pieces of Silver

My family decided to stop doing business with certain retailers a number of years ago. We felt apposed to their advertising style. We felt offended every time we walked past their advertising at their store windows. In a world where we were trying hard to keep our own minds and the minds of our children free from the onslaught of sexual filth that bombards us daily, we decided the kind of sexual advertising employed by some of these retailers to sell their wares was not right for us or our kids. We are not particularly prudish people, but we know pornography when we see it. And we try to avoid it in all its forms.

Interestingly, now, with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint's City Creek Center about to make its fabulous debut in downtown Salt Lake City, there is talk that some of these very retailers will find their newest glitzy nests squarely in the middle of "Zion's" investments for gain. I guess my family just needed to wait for the church to begin its direct support of such establishments before they could be deemed "safe" for us. If it has become a  valuable paying part of "Zion's" investments; what's good for Zion, must certainly be good for my family! Right? Hmmm.

Well, it was clear to Moses where the light was when he encountered Satan after having been in God's presence. (Moses 1: 12-16) Moses pointed out to Satan, "but I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?...I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve. Get thee hence Satan;" It can be equally clear to any person where the light is and is not. Does there seem to be an eminence of light from "Zion's" investments for gain?

The leaders of the Jews bought with thirty pieces of silver what they needed in order to find and arrest Christ. (Matt. 26: 14-16) For Judas' part, he chose to do business with the enemy. Choosing to do business with your enemies is poor business indeed. But, if you think about it, you can buy anything in this world with money. Having sufficient to meet needs only ought to be the preferred economic position.  Meeting its needs does not seem to be enough for "Zion." 

Nephi, in his great prophecy of the latter days recorded in the Book of Mormon, looks very narrowly upon any church where "gain" is a motive. He said,

"For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet. (1Nephi 22: 23)

Moroni concurred with Nephi's assessment of churches that focus on "gain," he said,

O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at that day when all these things must be fulfilled. (Mormon 8: 33)

Churches that focus on "gain" seem to be a concern for Book of Mormon prophets who saw and spoke about the latter days. What can their words and prophecies possibly have to do with us latter day saints? Well, one view, is that the living mouthpiece of God is ultimately behind all of the church's investments. Therefore they cannot fail. The Lord must approve because he hasn't "taken" the prophets life. It must all be good. The Book of Mormon prophets must be talking about all those other evil churches that don't have the restored gospel and a living prophet and a divine destiny.

Here's another view given by the Lord Jesus Christ in His own words. Interestingly, these words are directed to and at latter day Gentiles:

14 Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;
15 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds;
16 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers;
17 Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands;
18 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities.
19 And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away.
20 For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel;
21 And I will execute vengeance and furyupon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.

What does retail business and City Creek Center have to do with any of these words of the Lord?

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