While there exist beliefs we have in common that unite us, many other beliefs exist that divide us. The ten virgins in Jesus’ parable were evidently united in their common beliefs. But when it came to the truth of God and his Holy Spirit, five were not only lacking but were actually “deceived” (Doctrine & Covenants 45:56–57). Indeed, we might say that not believing and being deceived are two halves of the same coin. When a person’s reality or life’s view isn’t based entirely on God’s truth, then what isn’t based on it must be grounded in things that aren’t true, though they may be mixed up and confused with God’s truth.
A patriarchal blessing I received many years ago from a centenarian church leader states that many people would believe the things I would teach. At that time, I had barely arrived in America from Israel and had no intention of teaching anyone. Nor did those words inspire me to take on the task of teaching. It simply happened over time as my life aligned more and more with what I perceived was my mission in life. Of course, the idea that “many people” would believe the things I would teach implies also that some or many would not believe them. That brings me to a case in point on which many church members are divided.
This division had its origins some years ago when a well-known Mormon theologian declared that the doctrine of a latter-day David or of an end-time servant was a heresy. Before that time, there had existed a general consensus that such a person would indeed come and prepare the way for Jesus’ Second Coming to reign on the earth. The idea that all messianic prophecies apply exclusively to Jesus—not also to one who prepares the way before him—has created confusion in people’s minds as they try unsuccessfully to match prophecies of key events that immediately precede Jesus’ coming with things Jesus himself will do.
So divisive has been this issue that even when you point out messianic prophecies of a temporal nature to people—those that show Jesus does not build his own temple, does not physically gather and reconstitute Israel’s twelve tribes, and does not reestablish the political kingdom of God on the earth—they seem unable or unwilling to apply those preparatory events to anyone other than Jesus. This unwillingness or actual inability to see messianic prophecies of a preparatory nature for what they are has been a source of grief to me personally. I have struggled with such categorical rejection of prophecies that are in plain sight.
Just as the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ day seemed unable to believe in him, so the current spiritual climate has seen belief, on the one hand, and unbelief on the other grow more divisive on this point. But so has belief and unbelief on numerous parallel issues—on things occurring in the world today concerning which foolish virgins cling to fake news as though it were true while the wise see beyond Satan’s efforts to deceive the masses. How sad that many “good people” in the church appear incapable of distinguishing reality that is scripturally based from a vast unreality grounded in untruths! What has caused this, I ask?