In 1820, the country was full of religious crazies. This pressure cooked environment was the catalyst for Joseph Smith’s desire to pray to know which of all the competing churches were true. For each of them preached christianity, yet would privately, and not so privately, denigrate and attempt to disprove each other.
We now know, that in response to his simple prayer, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and told him that “all of the churches were wrong”, and that he should join none of them. The personage who addressed Joseph also loosely quoted two scriptures to describe the men who were leading the churches in 1820. Isaiah 29:13, and 2 Timothy 3:5.
“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:”
2 Timothy 3:5
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
Those churches leaders were not genuine. They were all bark, and no bite. All fluff, no substance. I’m sure they said all the right things, appeared to live the right way, but were not motivated by the proper end goal. They wanted more parishioners filling their churches. They wanted to be the winners, or the ones with the biggest congregation. It was a competition. They were hypocrites.
To a certain extent, we are all hypocrites, because we know what we should be doing, how we should behave, how we should treat each other, and how we should be within the church. But, we all fall short.
What is the difference between ourselves, and the preachers in 1820? We have the truth, but do we live it? do we pretend to live it? Have we tried to make the gospel who we are? All these questions are ones we should ask ourselves, and see if we can take one step closer to getting rid of our hypocritical tendencies, because we all know how much the Lord loves hypocrites….
When I stop and look at me
What exactly do I see?
Do my actions every day
mirror what I teach? or say?
Do I see a child of God?
Or just elaborate facade?
Am I who I claim to be?
Or, am I like the Pharisees?
Who loudly preach humility,
with proud and boastful piety,
Who say the words, and play the part
Yet stray from God within their heart.
Does my appearance matter most?
Or, worthiness for Holy Ghost?
When God looks deep inside of me,
Will He be pleased with what He sees?
A phony hypocrite, am I?
Or truthful, honest, free from pride.
For after all, it’s WHO we are,
Not WHAT we do, that gets us far
Tho’ worldly praise may man impress,
It falls well short in Heaven’s test.