Mormon, the Nephite prophet, offers a stark warning about rejecting Christ by rejecting His words.
“…Wo be unto him that will not hearken unto the words of Jesus, and also to them whom he hath chosen and sent among them; for whoso receiveth not the words of Jesus and the words of those whom he hath sent receiveth not him; and therefore he will not receive them at the last day; And it would be better for them if they had not been born. For do you suppose that ye can get rid of the justice of an offended God, who hath been trampled under feet of men that thereby salvation might come?” (3 Nephi 28:34-35)
-How many opportunities does Christ provide a soul to hearken to His words?
-Does the phrase “better for them if they had not been born” only apply to those who do not receive Christ’s words even up to and after the Last Judgment (i.e. does it only apply to those who reject His Atonement even after receiving an undeniable witness of His role as the Savior and His perfect justice and mercy)?
Mormon reinforces that there are real and eternal consequences when it comes to one’s thoughts, intents and actions.
“…In the great and last day there are some who shall be cast out, yea, who shall be cast off from the presence of the Lord; Yea, who shall be consigned to a state of endless misery, fulfilling the words which say: They that have done good shall have everlasting life; and they that have done evil shall have everlasting damnation. And thus it is. Amen.” (Helaman 12:25-26)
-If the Lord has revealed that there are three degrees of glory (and outer darkness) and that all souls will inhabit one of these degrees for all eternity after the Judgment: Why does Mormon use such stark contrast in describing only those who choose evil and those who choose good?
-Is he intentionally drawing attention to the worst and the best case in terms of the different degrees (i.e. focusing on outer darkness and the Celestial Kingdom)?
While recording the history of the Nephite people on the Gold Plates, Mormon pauses to describe the tragic tendency for people to take God for granted, forget Him, and discount His power at the very time of their greatest prosperity under his care.
“…We can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him. Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity. And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.” (Helaman 12:1-3)
-Why does prosperity tempt people to turn away from God?
-Is it possible to avoid this temptation? How does one do so?
-How important is it to remember God?
Alma teaches that a person must walk according to God’s decrees in order to be saved.
“…The decrees of God are unalterable; therefore, the way is prepared that whosoever will may walk therein and be saved.” (Alma 41:8)
-What are the decrees of God?
-How important is the necessity of repentance through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (as one of God’s decrees)?
God holds those who have the truths of the gospel to a higher standard than those who do not. A people who have God’s commandments and do not live by them reap destruction by their sinful actions.
“…The Lord hath said: I will not succor my people in the day of their transgression; but I will hedge up their ways that they prosper not; and their doings shall be as a stumbling block before them. And again, he saith: If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the chaff thereof in the whirlwind; and the effect thereof is poison. And again he saith: If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction.” (Mosiah 7:29-32)
-Is it reasonable that God would treat those who know better, and do wrong anyway, differently than those who do wrong without knowing better?
-What do the quick and unequivocal judgments God sends — to His people who know better and choose to do wrong in mortality anyway — say about how much He wants to keep his children awake to eternal consequences?