Every dispensation has had its tests.
Abraham had his test by sacrificing his son Isaac. As Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, they constantly complained against the prophet even though they had witnessed dramatic miracles. They failed their test and were not allowed to inherit the land.
There are several other examples in Scriptures that we could point out, but let’s skip to more modern times. During the establishment of Zion in Joseph Smith’s day, many people left the church when the Kirtland Safety Society folded, and they blamed Joseph. While trying to establish Zion in Missouri, they sent a Mormon Battalion group to rescue the persecuted Saints. The rescue did not take place, and many of the people complained against the prophet.
Brigham Young led the saints towards the Rocky Mountains after the mobs martyred Joseph, yet many stayed behind. As the Saints traveled westward, several saints complained against the leadership, and some even dropped out.
In 1891 the Lord rescinded the law of plural marriage and commanded everyone not to live it anymore. Many saints living that law spoke out quite forcefully against the prophet for bowing down to the government. Some Saints fled to other countries in order they may remain a polygamist family. Most of the fundamentalist break-off churches today come from this incident.
When Spencer W Kimball received the revelation to allow the priesthood to go to all worthy members, some voiced their opposition and stepped away from the church. There are still some people that are not happy with this decision but have remained in the church.
When more and more church members who suffered same-sex attraction became more proliferate, the church softened its stance on what it used to teach and now says that same-sex attraction is not a sin. Still, the leadership has remained boldly against sexual relations outside of the marriage of a husband and wife, a man and woman. Many have complained that the church is kowtowing to the world instead of standing up as it should.
The change in church meeting schedules and emphasis upon church-supported, home-centered meetings has caused some families to flourish and others to take a vacation.
During the recent Covid-19 pandemic, we endured months of zoom meetings and sacrament held at home. They placed mask restrictions on the member once it finally became possible for us to re-attend church in person, including social distancing and careful attention to cleaning podiums and sacrament trays.
During this time, there was lots of opposition to masks questioning their reliability and effectiveness. President Trump promised a vaccine as he broke through several restrictive barriers held in place by medical research to alleviate the emergency. People on both sides expressed their opinions in very vocal terms. I need not rehearse to you the loudness with which this was all made.
The vaccine became available, and the vocal opinions significantly increased. Some felt this was nothing short of a way to get the mark of the beast that it was not a vaccine but a genetic experiment.
On the opposite side of things were endless public service announcements and Facebook fact-checking showing it was safe. “Here are several celebrities getting the vaccine; therefore, you should too!” they would say. You couldn’t read a single post that mentioned the vaccine in any way, shape, or form without some sort of notice sending you to a biased answer.
President Nelson and several of the other general authorities also showed themselves getting the vaccine. They left it up to us each individually to decide whether we should get it or not, but they made no demands upon the general membership to get it. They did place a requirement on missionaries going to foreign lands and some other groups such as Tabernacle choir members.
There have been numerous reports of people who have gotten sick or died from taking the vaccine. As of this date, over 5000 people have been killed in the United States, including over 1100 young men. Tens of thousands have had to go to the emergency room because of complications. In previous vaccines in history, everything was shut down, even with just 10-15 deaths. Now, it’s still going strong, and the push for everyone to get vaccinated is immense as we are reminded about it multiple times an hour. (Edit Update: as of July 11, 2021, there have been 5,734 deaths and 426,328 adverse “events” to the vaccine according to the VAERS website that collects this data).
Because of this, several church members outright proclaimed that the prophet had been deceived and that we need not follow him. While the prophet urged us to each have faith and move forward following the spirit and learning how to “hear him,” other members showed very visually and vocally that they had decided to leave the church. They said that the prophet is too close to the medical industry and cannot see what is happening outside his office.
All kinds of articles and videos have arisen showing us which way they think we need to go.
Why would the prophet urge members of the church, by example, to take the vaccine and require missionaries and Tabernacle choir members to take it knowing full well that some might die? Why didn’t the church stand up and declare our rights not to be forced to wear masks, practice social distancing or take a genetic experimental shot? Why are we relinquishing fundamental constitutional rights for a non-FDA-approved procedure?
But the real question is, did you pass the test?
What I’m about to say is 100% speculation on my part. I’ve not heard or read or seen anyone else say what I’m about to say. You can take it for what it’s worth because I have no authority whatsoever to speak this. I’m just a member of the church and the Elders Quorum President in my ward.
Just as generals who have a goal to win the war must send battalions into a specific position even though they know they’re going to lose that battle, it may require that sacrifice to reach that final goal. Generals have to weigh that on their minds forever, but that’s what makes them generals. Without them, we would never win a war, and we would lose every battle.
I believe that the church is doing everything it can to stay out of the line of fire of an apparent secret organization controlling everything in our country. If President Nelson would’ve stood up and declared the need to obey our constitutional rights proclaiming we would not take the shots or obey social distancing laws under any conditions, the church would’ve been a massive target for a very evil organization. It would have drawn away vast amounts of resources, taken an enormous amount of time, and been extremely costly. I believe that the results would’ve been the same as if the church would have remained living the law of polygamy: it would have ceased to exist! We would have lost the war!
We must win the war. This battle is not the time yet to make a final stand. Yes, we will lose some members and test some members’ testimonies, but those who boldly stood up and declared that they would not follow the prophet and kick themselves out of the church have failed a crucial test of our day. They didn’t look up and believe the brass serpent would heal them. They may fail to enter the promised land.
Fortunately, there is still time to repent and come back, and I would encourage everyone who has had hard feelings against church leadership to humble themselves and do everything they can to be in good standing again. Besides, what is the alternative? Being alone against the beast is indeed a losing proposition.
There will come a time to gather the righteous, and we will be able to make a stand against such massive opposition, but right now is not that time. It is not the final battle. We needed to make some sacrifices to win the war, and I’m genuinely sorry for those who have lost loved ones during this time, especially those who have lost ones after taking the shot! That is a difficult test. It is excruciating, and my heart goes out to all of you. I know it does not seem fair, and it isn’t, but being called to sacrifice a son like Abraham, was not fair either.
That may be the main reason President Nelson urged us to have faith and keep moving forward!
I hope that you passed the test. It has been a strain on almost every business, ward, program, quorum, group, family, and relationship throughout the church.
This has been our test.
But it won’t be the last test. Far greater ones are coming, and now is the time to recognize that the only safety is within the walls of Zion. We know from prophecy that Civil War and economic collapse are just around the corner. I believe we have started seven years of famine from a dream I had in January 2021. The good news is that some people will build the New Jerusalem, while others will stay where they are and assist those who cannot flee.
I hope you passed your test, but if you didn’t, hurry up and repent because the alternative is horrifying.