19 For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish;
20 For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.
21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.
Many today get angry or disaffected when they encounter teachings of the Church of Christ which they see as harsh or judgmental. They chaff at standards of morality that seem outdated or unnecessary. And tragically, so many people walk away because they do not believe these things can come of God.
But Nephi reveals the truth. Because we live in Satan’s world, there will come times when gospel teachings are upsetting and cut against what we hold dear. Indeed, as the world further moves away from God’s commandments this dissonance will only increase. When this happens, we have a choice: We can be stirred up to repentance or stirred up to anger. The discontent that we feel can push us to our knees and open our eyes to the dire state of the world, or it can push us to rise up in anger and see fault in God’s kingdom and his messengers. If we do the later, then we are will be kicking against the pricks and fighting against the Kingdom of God.
Satan leads people into that awful state in different ways. Anger, indifference, or denial are equally powerful tools. In our day, we see Satan employing these same tactics to lead people from his Church. Some he provokes to anger and outrage at the injustice that purportedly comes from the commandments. Others he lulls with carnal security and the praise and promises of the world. Increasingly, he pushes people towards moral relativism and the believe that it is judgmental to uphold rigorous standards. All those who fall for Satan’s lies will–gradually or quickly–fall away from the Savior and into the grasp of Satan.
Never has Nephi’s prophecy been more starkly fulfilled than in our day. Never has his warning been more needed. Never have the consequences been more dire.
When the world’s standards