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: The Wilderness Continued
Our prophet today is doing the same work with this people that the ancient prophets did. The gospel is the same. Don't treat these things lightly like our forefathers did. Ten times did the people rebel against Moses. He went up into the mountains for forty days and forty nights, to learn from the Lord. There is a great lesson here because we are connected with the prophet, who is a man in mortality. Many people treat him just like he is another man and if they want to listen, they listen, and if they don't, they don't. How you treat the prophet is how you treat the Lord, and how you treat the prophet is how the Lord will treat you. Your attitude and what you do to the prophet will return upon you. The Lord revealed to Moses something so strong. He told Moses to make an ark, or box, which would be covered with gold, and in it Moses was to put the scriptures the Lord would write. With His own finger, the Lord wrote the Celestial Law on tablets of stone. While Moses was in the mountains, the people wanted to make statues like the Egyptians. They looked to another leader besides the prophet, who was Aaron. You young people know, when your father leaves your home, who’s the boss? You could say, well the mother is, or the big sister or brother, but that's the wrong answer. When your father leaves the home, he is still the boss. Everybody still obeys the father, even when he's not right there in your house. The mothers are supposed to make sure you obey the father, who is the boss. When Moses goes up to the mountain, the people are to obey him still. Before he left, they all promised to follow the ten commandments of God. They promised by ordinances, to obey. Here's the lesson of history: When people lose sight of the prophet, they start turning to the world and follow after other Gods, even their own selfishness. The people said we want other Gods since Moses was gone. Aaron told them to bring all the gold to him and he melted down the gold and they molded it into the form of a calf. Many of the people bowed down to the statues. They began to play and became very rude and Aaron even told them it's ok to go undressed. Many of them took off their clothes and started running around in this party. They got those ideas from the Egyptians, who lived that way. Now young people, take this lesson - I don't want to pass by it. If you forget what the prophet says and don't turn to him and don't love him, you will turn to the world - automatically, it will happen. As this was happening, the Lord told Moses to go, for the people were creating mischief. The Lord was so angry this time, He told Moses He would destroy all of them and make of Moses a great nation - He would bring forth children from Moses, who would be the father of the nation. Moses plead for their lives. The lesson in this is, the prophet doesn't ask for something to disobey the Lord. The Lord says he can do this - it is the prayer of the prophets that give us time when we have been disobedient. Uncle Roy suffered for seven years to give us time to repent and do better. The Lord could have taken him from among us if He chose.
The Lord said this time, Moses' prayer would not be enough. He would bring judgment upon the people, but would forgive those who repent. Seventy elders and Joshua were up on the mountain - they weren't part of this. Moses came down from the mountain, his face shining so that people couldn't look upon him for a while. Later, he had to cover his face when they came to talk to him. Aaron had stayed back at camp and done this evil. On the stones were written the celestial law, the ways of God, When he came down off the mountain he was met by Joshua. When he saw the wickedness of the people, he was angry and he threw those tablets and they broke to pieces. He rebuked the people and demanded they choose whether they were for the Lord or not. Many of the Levites stood by Moses and he commanded all who were rebellious to be killed by the Levites. Three thousand Israelites were killed by the sword. This was not enough for the Lord who sent diseases and destructions upon the people because of their evil. Aaron said he did it because the people wanted it. Moses was most offended, how the people went naked, so he told the people they must repent and he would go to the Lord again and ask for forgiveness. He prayed and the Lord said He would continue the judgments on the people. When he' returned, the people murmured against Moses because he told them the Lord was angry with them, and would not lead them personally because of their wickedness and disobedience, but would send one angel to lead them. The Lord still had the intention of leading the people to the Promised Land and He promised them that they would drive out all the other people. The people got tired of eating manna and wanted meat. Instead of going to the prophet and ask him to pray for them, they complained, wanting to go back to Egypt where they could have fish and other food. The Lord's anger was great and Moses wept because of the great burden upon him. The Lord punished the people with nothing but the meat of quail for one month. The Lord in His anger sent a plague among the people. It caused them to die as they ate this flesh. They buried many people because they lusted after flesh and they complained. Many of the gripers were killed as they ate their meat. While still in the wilderness, Moses married a certain woman who was from Ethiopia, a country in Eastern Africa. Moses had many wives. Miriam, the sister, and Aaron, the brother of Moses rebuked him for marrying this woman. They said the Lord could talk to them as well as to Moses. Now, even the people closest to the prophet complained against him. Our big lesson today is, how you treat the prophet is how you treat the Lord, and here in this story you see, that's how the Lord will treat us. The anger of the Lord was kindled against Aaron and Miriam for complaining against Moses. Miriam was covered with leprosy, this terrible disease. Aaron ran to Moses and wanted him to ask the Lord to forgive her, for she had complained the worst. Moses went to the Lord and He said, "If a child offends their father, shouldn't they be ashamed?" So the Lord said Miriam had to go outside of the camp with the animals and she had to stay there for seven days, as a rebuke to get after her for complaining against Moses. After that, the Lord healed her of her leprosy. She was humbled in front of all the people because she complained against the prophet. Are you getting the lesson here, young people? How do you complain against the prophet? You might not say his name, but you do it by saying, concerning the things the prophet teaches, "Why do we have to do this or that?" We should be anxious to hear the word of God through His prophet, willing to change and do anything the Lord says. I'll tell you how I feel after studying these stories. It would be a wonderful thing if the Lord would come and let us hear His voice, and guide us personally. Yet, we
have the prophet who will lead us as God. Let us stand faithful to President Jeffs, young people, for as we treat the prophet, so the Lord will treat us.
December 25,1995 Subject: Israel Is Cursed
Today we are learning of the prophets so we know how to live in obedience to our prophet. The Lord is bound to bless us if we obey, so if we don't have the blessing, it means we're not obedient. The Lord was ready to destroy the whole people and make of Moses a new people. The Lord started killing some people because of their rebellion. Truly, rebellion against the prophet is death. The Lord told Moses to chose one man from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, and send them north to the land of Canaan as spies, to see the blessings of the Lord to that people, etc. - for the purpose of conquering that people. Joshua told the people to obey the prophet Moses and conquer the people in the north, who were giants. The people complained and were ready to stone the prophet. Do you see how far complaining can lead you? Just start complaining and it can lead you to murder, immorality or any other sins. Young people, complaining is you listening to an evil spirit, choosing to follow an evil spirit. It was a moment in time in their lives., that would lead to success or failure, and the people chose to fail. The Lord told Moses to separate from the people and He would consume them in a moment, wipe them all out, and make of Moses a nation that would obey. Moses knew it was the purpose of God to preserve the people and asked for mercy for the rebellious people, but the Lord said the prayers were not enough. The people were not allowed to see the Promised Land and were cursed to wander in the wilderness for forty years. They could have made it, but they treated the prophet wrong. The Lord was so angry, He caused those eleven spies to be killed by disease. Caleb did not die because he told the people to obey the prophet. The people mourned and wept and said they would go north to fight. They lost the battle and many were killed. Here we have the story of what real obedience is, for you must obey at the time you are told because if you later say, "Now I'll obey", it could very well be disobedience. Young people, there's a great lesson here in this story. How is it in your family when somebody does something wrong or something needs to be improved? How is it when you report what you witnessed? Do you go to your father and say, "Look what so-and-so did. They're so bad, punish them, they're doing wrong." And then do you go about the members of your family, criticizing and complaining - tearing down the supposed wrongdoer? Do you spread your feelings and dark spirit among your own family, or when you give a report to your father, is it through love? We can be a united family by doing this through love for one another, not speaking that persons wrongs and letting the father take care of it. Which kind of person are you? Are you like Nephi who, when told to do a work, went forward in faith - or are you like Laman and Lemuel, saying it couldn't be done? Dear young people, as you grow up, you'll be given jobs to do and sometimes it will be a challenge. Are you like the eleven spies, or like Caleb, in faith? You are either a strength or a great burden, holding back this work. We can do as our prophet commands us, but we have to do it when he says or we'll lose the blessing. You must obey the first time to be called obedient. Not obeying the first time, though you say later that you'll obey, you must answer for that disobedience, and it hurts you.
Literally everyone had to die, except Joshua and Caleb. Only two men would go to the Promised Land forty years later. The tribe of Levi were the priests who gave blessings to the people. Several men wanted to rule the people. They were so rebellious, they wouldn't even respond to the prophet any more. Moses prophesied that the earth would swallow them up and they and their families were killed. That's how the Lord handled the enemies of the prophet. Fire came out of heaven and burned them until there was nothing left. The next day, all the children of Israel came and accused Moses of a terrible thing. Now you would think the people would be smarter, but no, they were so dark, they went to the prophet and said, "You are a wicked man for killing our friends." The Lord came down in the cloud again and told Moses to get away from these people so He could destroy all of them. Moses looked at the people and it was as if an angel of death were attacking them. Fourteen thousand people died that fast. The disease stopped at Aaron, by the command of Moses. Those that lived did so by Moses' prayer for mercy. Then they went through forty years of being punished for their evils. The tribe of Levi would not have a land, but they would be among all the tribes, giving them their blessings. Moses and Aaron were rebuked by the Lord for taking the credit, for getting water from a rock and not turning the people to him. So, the Lord caused that Aaron had to die, because of his rebellion. Aaron's son Eleazar, would now be the man who would teach the people under Moses' direction. The king of Canaan went forward to fight the Israelites. He took many of them prisoners. Then the Lord gave them victory and they wiped out an entire city. After that, they started to complain about not having meat again. The Lord sent fiery serpents among them to bite and kill the people, then told Moses to make a cross out of brass, an image of a serpent, then put it in a certain place. Anybody bitten by the snakes would just have to run and look at the cross, and they wouldn't die. Those that didn't believe the prophet would rather die than to look at the cross. Just to look at it and they would have survived. The cross symbolized our Lord and Savior. The ones that did not believe in that teaching, died. That story is recorded in the Book of Mormon. Can you see the lesson in all these stories? Obey the prophet when he speaks and you'll be blessed. Disobey him and it is death. Obeying him later will not give you the full blessing. Now young people, after ten times rebelling against the prophet Moses, and the people were cursed. I ask you to look into your own life. Have you been rebellious ten times in your life? We need to be careful how we treat our fathers and our prophet, or the Lord might give us what we demand. If you demand to leave, He just might give you what you want, but it will be a curse. When you're offered blessings and you reject them, all that's left is cursings. None of us wants to be cursed. Now I'll bring this story of ancient times down to our time to show you why we should be very humble. In 1831, the Lord told the prophet Joseph Smith, "Go to the land of Zion and have the people live there in our promised land in America - in Missouri. By 1832, the Lord said they were wicked and by 1833, he drove us out of the land of Zion. In 1834, the prophet went with Zion's camp. The Lord would have fought their battles, we could have been living on the Promised Land and built the city and temple. Zion's camp failed and by 1838, all the priesthood people were driven out of Missouri. Since then, we have been driven out of our promised land. For 162 years, we have been wandering in the wilderness.
The Lord has been looking for an obedient people in our day. He hasn't found them yet. The people in Moses' day wandered for forty years. We have been cast out for 160 years. Do you see why these stories apply to us? We need to be perfectly obedient to our prophet. You're not the first young people to hear these stories. Now it's your turn. If you'll obey the prophet, you can go back to redeem Zion, but you must obey him when you're told. Don't wait until you're grown up more. Today is the day to be good and obey the prophet now, in keeping sweet. Obey your parents today.
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