Tuesday, May 22, 2012

FLATTER

Cody F Miller
The word of the day is "Flatter".
Mosiah 26:1-4
1 Now it came to pass that there were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe the the tradition of their fathers.
2 They did not believe what had been said concerning the resurrection of the dead, neither did they believe concerning the coming of Christ.
3 And now because of their unbelief they could not understand the word of God; and their hearts were hardened.
4 And they would not be baptized; neither would they join the church. And they were a separate people as to their faith, and remained so ever after, even in their carnal state; for they would not call upon the Lord their God.
So, today's word is Flatter. In primary we discussed the record of Mosiah 26, which details the beginning of the record of Alma the Younger. I feel that this record is of significance because the details are "modern". It tells of the "rising generation" in the land or rather the younger generation. They have rejected the traditions of their parents, they do not believe in God, and they have chosen not to be baptized. They separate themselves from their communities to form their own. So, what is so unusual about this, these young people were exercising their "agency" to make an informed choice as to either serve God or not? Right? This isn't the first time the people have made this choice, is it?
Mosiah 26: 5-65 And now in the reign of Mosiah they(the rising generation) they were not so numerous as the people of God; but because of the dissension's (apostasy) among the brethren, they became more numerous.
6 For it came to pass that they (the rising generation) did deceive many with their flattering words,(those) who were in the church, and did cause them to commit many sins; therefore it became expedient that those who committed sin, that were in the church should be admonished by the church.
So what does it mean to flatter? I looked up this word and the meaning is not relative to what is spoken of in Mosiah 26. The word flatter means  insincere and excessive praise, to become "puffed"up by flattery, and a second definition points to the act of flattering. What is that act?
I found 2 verses in the book of Psalms that will bring home this point.
Psalms 5:9
For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulcher; they flatter with their tongue.
This scripture is in reference to the children of Israel, but it is also a description of a man or woman,who the Lord has declared faithless, wicked to the core, a pathological liar, and prideful, among other sins. The Lord says that the inward part or the heart of this person is wicked. And the comparison of their open throats or open mouths is to an open sepulcher, or open grave. There is a stench because of the deadness of their souls.
Psalm 7:8
Nevertheless they did flatter him (God) with their mouth and they lied unto him with their tongues
Wow, these are "in your face" words. I have the impression that this is a "serious crime and misdemeanor"
Mosiah 26:6  For it came to pass that they (the rising generation) did deceive many with their flattering words,(those) who were in the church, and did cause them to commit many sins; therefore it became expedient that those who committed sin, that were in the church should be admonished by the church.
In  Mosiah 26:6, the rising generation, perpetrated deceptions on church members that evidently weakened their testimony and caused them to sin. What caused these people to sin? Doubt.
Moses:4:1-2
1 And I the Lord spoke unto Moses saying: That Satan whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying "Behold, here am I,send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it, wherefore give me thine honor.
2But behold, ,my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me- Father thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
Where is the lie? where is the flattery? Heavenly Father has spoken and has established the plan of salvation;he has chosen who will be his Son. Lucifer does not agree with this. The statement "Behold", is used as a verbal challenge to what has already been stated. It is a way to "challenge" or question the authority of God. The speech of Lucifer's did not afford him the right to be chosen, maybe he knew that, but the underlying damage was that he planted a seed of doubt in the hearts of a third of  God's spirit children. The resulting dissension caused a war in Heaven, resulting in all of them being cast out of God's presence and forfeiting everything.
I am curious to know what some of those words of "flattery" was. I feel that this type of dialogue can be insidious. One of the most prolific accounts of "flattery" is in Jacob 7, concerning a man named Sherem. When I first read this account, I thought, Who let this man in the gates? But wait, he came in from "among" them. He was known, not a stranger.
Jacob 7:1;4
And it came to pass after some years had passed away, there came a man among the people of Nephi, whose name was Sherem.
4 And he was learned, that he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people, wherefore he could use much flattery, and much power of speech, according to the power of the devil.
Note that Sherem had knowledge of the language (of worship) of the people. He was familiar with their "language" of worship, and their ordinances, their traditions.He knew the lingo, so he could ingratiate himself. He knew all the right words to say and how to twist them around. Maybe he would lend a sympathetic ear to anyone who had "complaints" about the church. Does this sound familiar?
Sherem had an agenda:
Jacob 7:5
And he had hope to shake me from the faith, not withstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time wherefore I could not be shaken.
Don't you love this testimony of Jacob, he had declared that he could not be shaken in his faith. How does "flattery" determine to shake one from the faith? If you would exchange the word sift for shaken then you can imagine that to be "sifted" from your faith, your belief and trust in God, can be pretty traumatic and violent. In  ancient times, wheat was sifted to separate the good parts from the tares. Sheaves of wheat would be tossed into the air with a tool called a fan, but it looked like a 2or 3 prong rake. The wheat would be tossed up and literally beaten with the fan until the wind separated the good parts from the tares. The tares were cast into the fire.
Ephesians 4:14
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
So what is flattery and how does it  lead people away from the church?
In my own personal experience, I associate some forms of flattery with information that I have seen presented on certain blogs. The blog sphere is a community unto itself, with many people voicing their opinions on everything. There is a large community of blogger's from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Some are good, some very good,and some are searching for an identity and ultimately followers. One subject that I have read a lot about concerns women having the priesthood. What I have observed is that there is a small contingent of women who question the commandment of God concerning the Priesthood and who gets to officiate. I have been a little confused about this dialogue. It seems that everything that the Lord has put out there for us to know is available, every instruction, every resource. I can see how this dialogue could cause confusion that would lead one who is weak in the faith, to question that faith, to become alienated and even wonder if they had made the correct choice. It is quite seductive but not in good way.
And finally, Alma was "troubled and he went and inquired of the Lord what he should do. I love the Lord, he is good and just and patient with us.
Mosiah 26:16 Blessed art they because of their exceeding faith in the words alone which thou has spoken unto them.
22 For behold; this is my church, whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance. And whomsoever ye receive shall believe in my name, and him will I freely forgive.
23 For it is I that taketh upon me the sins of the world, it is I that hath created them, and it is I that granteth unto him that believeth unto the end a place at my right hand.
24 For behold in my name are they called, and if they know me they shall come forth and they shall have a place eternally at my right hand.

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