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‘Many of us are like the scoffers in Lehi’s vision’

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There are many examples related in both ancient and modern scriptures of those who profess to believe and yet shun the counsel of the Brethren if disagreeable. One example is the account of Nephi in Helaman 7-10. In chapter 7, it is recounted that in the sixty and ninth year of the reign of the judges, Nephi was rejected by the people in the "land northward" and returned sorrowfully to Zarahemla." (Verses 1-3.)

Even Nephi, in his sorrow, exclaimed: "Oh, that I could have had my days in the days when my father Nephi first came out of the land of Jerusalem, that I could have joyed with him in the promised land; then were his people easy to be entreated, firm to keep the commandments of God, and slow to be led to do iniquity; and they were quick to hearken unto the words of the Lord." (Verse 7.)

Ironically, his lamentations to the Lord were upon a tower in his garden by a highway in Zarahemla. Curious travelers paused to listen and watch the prophet pray. (Verses 10-11.) This gathering led Nephi to reveal by the Holy Spirit the death of the chief judge and to identify his murderer. (Chapter 7-9.) Finally, even those who believed he was a prophet began such a heated debate with others that "there arose a division among the people, insomuch that they divided hither and thither and went their ways, leaving Nephi alone, as he was standing in the midst of them." (Helaman 10:1.) In his October 1995 general conference address, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke of the "cries we hear coming from the great and spacious building," spoken of in 1 Nephi, Chapter 8, from those who deride the Lord's anointed and those who choose to follow them.

"Unfortunately there are too many of us that are like the scoffers in Lehi's vision. They stand aloof and are inclined to hold in derision the faithful who have chosen to accept Church authorities as God's special witnesses of the gospel and His agents in directing the affairs of the Church. My sincere counsel to you today is to remember the good basic principles we have been taught from the very beginning — principles of thrift, industry and integrity that have served mankind in every period of time. Avoid the great and spacious building that is the pride of the world, for it will fall, and great will be the fall thereof."