Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wheat and Tares - Ether 2: 7-12

7 And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.
8 And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them.
9 And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.
10 For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.
11 And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.
12 Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.

(Book of Mormon | Ether 2:7 - 12)

I live in the land of promise. A land that is choice above all other lands. This land is reserved for the righteous. Though this conversation between the Lord and the brother of Jared took place several thousand years ago, verse 8 shows that it is still relevant today.

How are we as a nation serving God?

Are we ripened in iniquity yet? When you turn on your television and flip through the channels are you more likely to encounter programs that are in line with the word of God, or do they espouse themes that are contrary to His teachings?

I know that I can hardly find any programs that are worthy of my time. When watching T.V. I tend to spend my time on specialty channels like Discovery, ESPN, Food Network. Frequently when I try to find something worth watching on entertainment channels, I am disappointed in the quality of the shows.

However those shows wouldn’t be shown by the networks if they weren’t being watched. I wasn’t planning on writing about T.V., however, I feel strongly that there is a symbiotic relationship between what the media shows and what the populace wants to see.

The media tries to push society in certain directions and society will decide when the media has gone too far, or if they haven’t gone far enough.

Yesterday, my 14 year old son and I watched a commercial where Bigfoot was drinking from a river. Unbeknownst to him, a few feet away was a group of bathing suit clad teenagers. One of the guys was dared to go and snap Bigfoot in the backside with a wet towel.

My son and I were engrossed as this humorous scene played out. The guy snaps bigfoot in the butt with his rolled up wet towel and thinks it’s funny. Bigfoot, wasn’t so amused. The creature grabs the teenager by his swimsuit and hurtles him into the river. Colby and I are busting out laughing. However, the last scene shows that bigfoot still has a hold of the teenagers swimsuit in his hand and the camera clearly show a young man flying through the air without any clothes on. That last scene was very fast. If I had the opportunity to freeze frame it, maybe I’d see that the guy was now wearing a skin colored Speedo or something, I’m not sure. All I know is that it didn’t look like he was wearing anything. I don’t think that he was wearing anything, and that is definitely what the makers of the commercial wanted me to think.

I was shocked. And now a little disappointed that I had found it so funny, until that last 1 to 2 second scene. I was shown something filthy and wholly inappropriate for viewing by myself or my son. The filth was wrapped up in a pretty package of humor and made to look enticing. I was left shaking my head as the corruption of society inexorably moves forward.

The media reflects the morals and values of society in a free country.

Have we ripened in iniquity yet? How close are we to being swept off?
I am reminded of how a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, see Galatians 5:9.
I also reflect on the parable of the wheat and the tares found in Matthew 13:

24 ¶ Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

At the moment, both the wheat and the tares are growing together. How much longer do you think that can last?


thomas said...

Hey Dan,
I know what you mean when you say it's hard to find something wholesome on tv, or in the media in general. My father always uses the analogy of the "wall builders" (Alma 53 and subsequent chapters) when he talks about what we allowed in our home. I know for me, sometimes I grow so callous as to whats in the world around me, that It's very easy to forget what my standards are. But if we have built those walls around our homes, and our hearts, we can hold out the siege that the Adversary has laid for all followers of Christ.
Food for thought before Church :)

lachish said...

Dan and Wendy,

I have enjoyed your blog since I discovered it several weeks ago, and this is a very thought provoking post. The comment from Thomas about "wall builders" also contains great imagery. I thought I would share a verse or two with you, which I thought you would like.

In 2 Nephi 30, Nephi is talking about the Gentiles in our day. He talks about the remnant of his people, the restoration, the Jews, and God's way of reproving the earth. Verse 10 is particularly interesting in light of your questions: "Have we ripened in iniquity yet? How close are we to being swept off?" and "At the moment, both the wheat and the tares are growing together. How much longer do you think that can last?".

From 2 Nephi 30 verse 10:

"For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire."

Couple this verse with DC 63:54

"And until that hour there will be foolish virgins among the wise; and at that hour cometh an entire separation of the righteous and the wicked; and in that day will I send mine angels to pluck out the wicked and cast them into unquenchable fire."

I am fully convinced that the saints will withdraw from society (participating in the things which everybody else does), thus separating themselves.

For so many years we have been counselled to be "in the world, but not of the world." As the world continues to become increasingly more wicked, and pornography cannot be avoided in modern society, I believe this teaching will become a shining light to us, and the saints will individually withdraw from mainstream media and entertainment. It will be a somewhat gradual process at first, until we, as people, will flee in droves.

I am not talking about a physical separation, although that time will eventually come. I am talking about the process you described in your blog. Individuals making up their own minds, to let go of Hollywood style entertainment, even if that means to turn the TV off, change the radio station, or walk out of a theatre.

For that very reason, I rarely listen to any radio station but the local classical programs. Even commercials on the radio have become filled with innuendo, and I just couldn't stand it any more.

Thank you for your thoughts. I think you are right on target with this one. The scripture references you gave were great.

Daron D. Fraley

Dan and Wendy said...

Hey Thomas,

Good to hear from you. I like the wall building analogy you referenced. I will gladly take your food for thought with me to church today.


Are you an aspiring writer also? Your blog seems to suggest that. Me too. In fact, I also went on a French Speaking Mission, and feel like I'm too young to always feel so old. I've taught Gospel Doctrine several times, and youth Sunday School classes as well. We seem to have a lot in common.

Good luck with the writing.