3 Ne 14:2 for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged
The scriptures do not categorically prohibit judging. Rather, the Joseph Smith Translation of Matt 7:1, says, Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged: but judge righteous judgment. Daily, we are to discern good from evil. This inevitably includes discerning good or evil in the actions of others. But when our discernment turns to gossip and condemnation, we are in danger of the same short-sighted, unmerciful treatment.
Milton R. Hunter
"Throughout my life...I have observed that as a rule it seems as if human beings like to gossip. We like to hear unsavory things about our neighbors and talk about each other. It seems that ofttimes we get a certain degree of satisfaction or even joy out of saying bad things about other people. We thoughtlessly and sometimes maliciously judge each other. We censure our associates sometimes unjustly, many times unkindly; and most of the time we speak without having the evidence to back up what we are saying. We seem to forget that James, the brother of the Lord, warned that the unbridled tongue is 'full of deadly poison.' (James 3:8.)
"I know that even sometimes people who are faithful in the Church pass judgment and condemnation on those with whom they associate without knowing the facts. Such is displeasing to God." (Conference Report, Oct. 1960, p. 64)
Spencer W. Kimball
"What a monster is prejudice! It means pre-judging. How many of us are guilty of it? Often we think ourselves free of its destructive force, but we need only to test ourselves. Our expressions, our voice tones, our movements, our thoughts betray us." (Conference Report, Apr. 1954, p. 106)
Spencer W. Kimball
"One man came in with his erring wife, and when she had been disciplined by dis-fellowshipment he taunted her, saying, 'Now, how do you like it? You can't take the sacrament. Now don't you wish you had listened to me?' As this despicable husband was judging, it reminded me of the corrupt men who brought the adulteress to the Lord, whose soft answer puts all such accusers to flight: 'He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.' (John 8:7.) The scriptures are very strict upon the unauthorized judging. The Lord himself made it clear and emphatic:
'Judge not, that ye be not judged.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.' (Matt. 7:1-2.)
"The Lord will judge with the same measurements meted out by us. If we are harsh, we should not expect other than harshness. If we are merciful with those who injure us, he will be merciful with us in our errors. If we are unforgiving, he will leave us weltering in our own sins.
"While the scriptures are plain in their declaration that man shall have meted out to him the same measure that he gives his fellowmen, the meting out even of warranted judgment is not for the layman, but for proper authorities in Church and state. The Lord will do the judging in the final analysis.
"...The Lord can judge men by their thoughts as well as by what they say and do, for he knows even the intents of their hearts; but this is not true of humans. We hear what people say, we see what they do, but being unable to discern what they think or intend, we often judge wrongfully if we try to fathom the meaning and motives behind their actions and place on them our own interpretation." (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 267-8)
Jeffrey R. Holland
"Remember that whatever you toss out mentally or verbally comes back to you according to God's plan of compensation: 'For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.' (Matthew 7:2.) A critical, petty, or vicious remark is simply an attack on our own self-worth. On the other hand, if our minds are constantly seeing good in others, that, too, will return, and we will truly feel good about ourselves." (On Earth As It Is In Heaven, p. 29)
3 Ne 14:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine
Boyd K. Packer
"A teacher must be wise also in the use of his own spiritual experiences. I have come to believe that deep spiritual experiences are given to individuals for the most part for their own instruction and edification, and they are not ordinarily to be talked about. I heard one member of the First Presidency say once, 'I do not tell all I know. I have not told my wife all I know. I have found that if I tell everything I know and explain every experience that I have had, the Lord will not trust me.'
"There is also a scripture that says: 'Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.' (Matthew 7:6.) Sacred personal experiences are to be related only on rare occasions.
"I made a rule for myself a number of years ago with reference to this subject. When someone relates a spiritual experience to me, personally or in a small, intimate group, I make it a rigid rule not to talk about it thereafter. I assume that it was told to me in a moment of trust and confidence, and therefore I never talk about it. If, however, on some future occasion I hear that individual talk about it in public in a large gathering, or where a number of people are present, then I know that it has been stated publicly and I can feel free under the right circumstances to relate it. But I know many, many sacred and important things that have been related to me by others that I will not discuss unless I am privileged to do so under the rule stated above. I know that others of the Brethren have the same feeling." (Teach Ye Diligently, p. 326)
"The Savior has commanded not to cast pearls before swine. I am sorry to say that this instruction is not always sufficiently regarded by those to whom our Lord has given, through the Everlasting Covenant, His pearls of wisdom, knowledge, and precious gifts. The consequence is, we lose blessings instead of retaining them-a decrease of the Holy Spirit follows, instead of an increase, and our minds become darkened.
"What I allude to is this: we too frequently engage in conversation concerning things of the kingdom of God, with persons of a wrong spirit; and feeling over anxious to make them see, understand, and acknowledge the light presented, we urge on, and persist in the conversation until we partake of the spirit of those with whom we are conversing. We ought to be particularly guarded against falling into errors of this kind." (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 73)
3 Ne 14:7 Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find
In English, this scripture provides its own acronym:
Ask, and it shall be given you;
Seek, and ye shall find;
Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
Many times in life, we fail to receive all that we could, simply because we fail to ask. Many blessings and answers come only after diligent seeking and persistent knocking, but the responsibility is ours to ask. The Lord does all he can to be available for us, Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me (Rev 3:20). For many of us, the Lord spends more time knocking on our door than we do on His. Ironically, we fail to hear his voice and ignore his knocking, yet he always hears our prayers. In our disobedience, we do not grant all of his requests, but he is willing to grant all of ours, Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you (DC 88:64).
Spencer W. Kimball
"The promise is made to everyone. There is no discrimination, no favored few, but the Lord has not promised to crash the door. He stands and knocks. If we do not listen, he will not sup with us nor give answer to our prayers. We must learn how to listen, grasp, interpret, understand. The Lord stands knocking. He never retreats. But he will never force himself upon us. If our distance from him increases, it is we who have moved and not the Lord. And should we ever fail to get an answer to our prayers, we must look into our lives for a reason. We have failed to do what we should do, or we have done something we should not have done. We have dulled our hearing or impaired our eyesight." (Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 208)
Howard W. Hunter
"Every seeker receives; every seeker finds. Yet not every asker receives what he asks; not every seeker finds what he seeks. As an earthly father gives good gifts to his children, so God gives good things to those that ask himnot always what they ask, for they often ask amiss, but something far better than that which they ask for or seek. Those who would obtain exactly what they ask must confine their will to God's and ask for things which they know he is willing to give." (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, p. 37-38)
Boyd K. Packer
"It is clear that the Lord wants us to come unto Him and ask Him for whatever we need. The simple invitation to 'ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you' was repeated by the Lord on many occasions. He gave this message to the people He taught while He lived on earth. He repeated it twice to the people of the New World at the time of His visit to them following His resurrection, including His last words He gave them before returning to His Father in heaven. Interestingly, the Lord repeated the same invitation seven times in the Doctrine and Covenants. In varying ways throughout the scriptures, He has invited us to ask Him for whatever we need in righteousness, that He might give it unto us.
"The initiative, then, is ours. We must ask and pray and seek, and then we will find.
"There are several paintings depicting Christ at the door, illustrating a New Testament scripture: 'Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.' (Revelation 3:20.) In the more famous paintings He is shown holding a lantern as he knocks at the door.
"The story is told that a little girl once remarked to one painter that his painting of Jesus at the door was not finished. 'You have left something out,' she said. 'You have left out the door latch.' The artist replied, 'The painting is complete. That door represents the door of the human heart. It opens only from within.'" (Teach Ye Diligently, p. 18 - 19)
3 Ne 14:12 all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them
David B. Haight
"Someone said, 'We have committed the Golden Rule to memory. May we now commit it to life.' The Savior's teaching, 'Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,' should be the basis for all human relationships...The time is now to rededicate our lives to eternal ideals and values, to make those changes that we may need to make in our own lives and conduct to conform to the Savior's teachings. From the beginning to the end of His ministry, Jesus asked His followers to adopt new, higher standards in contrast to their former ways. As believers, they were to live by a spiritual and moral code that would separate them not only from the rest of the world but also even from some of their traditions. He asks nothing less of those who follow Him today." (Ensign, Nov. 1987, p. 15 as taken from The Mount & The Master by Robert E. Wells, pp. 180-1)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"May I remind us . . . that if only each of us would reflect occasionally on that Christ-given mandate and make an effort to observe it, this would be a different world. There would be greater happiness in our homes; there would be kinder feelings among our associates; there would be much less of litigation and a greater effort to compose differences. There would be a new measure of love and appreciation and respect.
"There would be more generous hearts, more thoughtful consideration and concern, and a greater desire to spread the gospel of peace and to advance the work of salvation among the children of men. (Ensign, December 1991, p. 4.)
Robert E. Wells
"Some authors state that Confucius taught a form of the Golden Rule twenty-five centuries ago. It was the reversal from that of the Savior's. He purportedly said: 'What you do not wish done to yourself, do not do to others.' These same experts on ancient religious philosophy point out that er taught the same concept in Persia several hundred years before Confucius. Five hundred years after Confucius, Christ taught the concept but used it in the positive form we find in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Perhaps someday we will learn that it was also taught in the beginning by Adam and all the prophets down through the ages. It is a timeless and an uplifting concept. It is one of those eternal principles that we recognize as such from the first time we read it." (The Mount & The Master, p. 183)
3 Ne 14:13 strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life
The latter-day scriptures are more expressive:
'For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world, neither do ye know me. But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation: that where I am ye shall be also.' (D&C 132:22-23, italics added)
Delbert L. Stapley
"'What is the straight gate spoken of by the Savior by which we should enter?' All who have repented and then been baptized and received the Holy Ghost by authorized servants of God have entered in by the strait gate. The narrow way can only be followed by obedience and faithfulness to all the sacred ordinances and requirements of the higher gospel plan, obtained in the holy temples of God." (Conference Report, Apr. 1955, pp. 66-68 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p.32)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"Mark you, this word strait is spelled s-t-r-a-I-t and not s-t-r-a-I-g-h-t. While no doubt, that path which leads into the presence of God is straight, it is also strait, which means that those who enter into it will find it restricted; it is narrow; they cannot take with them that which does not apply, or which does not belong to the kingdom of God. All such things must be left behind when we enter into this narrow way which leads in to the presence of God, where we can receive life eternal. 'Few there be that find it.'" (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2. pp. 13-14 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p.31-2)
Bruce R. McConkie
"The course leading to eternal life is both strait and straight. It is straight because it has an invariable direction -- always it is the same. There are no diversions, crooked paths, or tangents leading to the kingdom of God. It is strait because it is narrow and restricted, a course where full obedience to the full law is required. Straightness has reference to direction, straitness to width. The gate is strait; the path is both strait and straight. (2 Ne. 9:41; 31:9, 17-18; 33:9; Alma 37:44-45; Hela. 3:29-30; 3 Ne. 14:13-14; 27:33; D. & C. 22; 132:22; Matt. 7:13-14; Luke 13:23-24; Heb. 12:13; Jer. 31:9.)
"Thus by entering in at the strait gate (which is repentance and baptism) a person gets on the 'straight and narrow path which leads to eternal life.' (2 Ne. 31:17-18.)" (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 769)
3 Ne 14:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing
"The regular scriptural term to describe the leaders of all unauthorized congregations is false prophets. The fatal defect of such congregations is that they are led by false prophets, and we are told that these would abound in the earth, all claiming to be followers of Christ.
"What is a false prophet? He is one who usurps the prerogatives and the authority which by right belong only to a prophet of God. The false prophet need not claim to be a prophet; indeed, most false prophets do not believe in prophecy or even in God, nor do they want anyone else to...we still live in a world of false prophets. Anyone whose work competes with God's work, who makes claims on the time and energies of men which rightly belong to God, who puts the word of God in second place to the theories of men, or forces the teachings of true prophets to yield precedence to his own discourses--anyone, in a word, who puts his own knowledge above or on a level with revelation from heaven is a false prophet." (The World and the Prophets, pp. 254-5)
"If any person should ask me if I were a prophet, I should not deny it, as that would give me the lie; for, according to John, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy; therefore, if I profess to be a witness or teacher, and have not the spirit of prophecy, which is the testimony of Jesus, I must be a false witness; but if I be a true teacher and witness, I must possess the spirit of prophecy, and that constitutes a prophet; and any man who says he is a teacher or a preacher of righteousness, and denies the spirit of prophecy, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; and by this key false teachers and impostors may be detected." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 269)
"False prophets always arise to oppose the true prophets and they will prophesy so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 365.)
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
"The ravening wolves are amongst us, from our own membership, and they, more than any others, are clothed in sheep's clothing, because they wear the habiliments of the priesthood; they are they [who are] distorting the truth. We should be careful of them." (Conference Report, Apr. 1949, p. 163)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Following the Brethren can be more difficult when in some settings wolves are sent among the flock. False prophets will arise, enticing some to follow them, and by their evil works they deceive careless observers into discounting any and all who claim to be prophets. Satan's order of battle is such that if it is necessary to encourage a hundred false prophets in order to obscure the validity of one true prophet, he will gladly do so." (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, p. 115)
3 Ne 14:16-20 Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them
In the purest sense, these verses are a key by which false prophets can be detected. A prophecy which goes unfulfilled is the fruit of a corrupt tree. Furthermore, a man who claims to be a prophet must have a personal life which is able to withstand intense scrutiny-his fruits will give him away. But this passage also applies to members of the Church. Elder John Wells has said, "We Latter-day Saints are willing to accept this standard. With all the weaknesses and frailties of human nature, both inherited and acquired, we are willing to be judged by this standard." (Conference Report, Apr. 1925, p. 88) Yet, how often do we say to an investigator, "Don't judge the Church by the members-the Church is perfect, but its members are not"? Certainly, the members of the Church are not perfect, but the fruits of their discipleship should stand as a witness to the goodness of their souls. If not, we are not living up to the standard which the Lord has established.
Elder M. Russell Ballard catalogs some of the fruits which result from true discipleship:
"-the fruits of confidence, security, and community that come from belonging to a church that cares about its people enough to assign home teachers and visiting teachers to make regular monthly visits to every home to make sure that everyone who lives there is healthy, happy, and spiritually well;
"-the positive fruits that come from living balanced, healthy lives, with as much attention paid to spiritual growth and development as to physical, economic, and social concerns;
"-and the collective fruits of lives guided by traditional values of honesty, integrity, morality, sacrifice, and faithfulness.
"With these few examples, does it sound like I'm bragging? If so, please forgive me. We don't claim to have a corner on the goodness market. Nor would we pretend to profess that Latter-day Saints live lives free of worldly care and concern. But we honestly and sincerely feel that God has given us something special, something infinitely worth sharing. And that's why I ask you to consider the fruits that come from the lives of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for as the Savior Himself said: 'Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?' (Our Search For Happiness, p. 115-6)
George F. Richards
"The fruits of the Prophet Joseph Smith, of those who associated with him in the early days of this Church, and of those who have succeeded to the Presidency of the Church, from the days of the Prophet Joseph to the present time, are evidences that should be convincing and conclusive that this work is the work of the Lord, that those who are at its head are divinely inspired, for no mortal man, or men, could have accomplished what is being accomplished and has been accomplished in this Church up to the present time." (Conference Report, Oct. 1938, p. 54)
3 Ne 14:21-23 Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven
This passage is an important missionary scripture. Many will preach that the phrase, "by grace ye are saved," means that the individual only has to believe in Christ to be saved. Confessing his name and believing in Him, they argue, will ensure salvation, regardless of works. Obviously, in this scripture, the individuals to which the Lord is speaking consider Him to be their Lord, they have confessed his name and certainly expect a great reward. But, their great works cannot hide the shallowness of their faith pool. Stephen R. Robinson said, "In other words, merely acknowledging Jesus' lordship, merely saying the words or making the confession, while refusing to make him our lord by serving him and conforming our behavior to his will-this will not get us into the kingdom. The confession or the acknowledgment must be accompanied by doing the will of the Father in heaven and by not doing iniquity." (Following Christ, p. 77) Along these lines the Savior also said, why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Lu 6:46)
However, we should not smugly assume that this warning is directed only at false prophets and hypocritical sectarians. The Lord directly warned the saints, saying, ye that hear me not will I curse, that have professed my name, with the heaviest of all cursings (DC 41:1). For the lazy Latter-day saint, the passage could read, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, are we not members of thy kingdom, and have we not sent our children to Church and paid some fast offerings?" For the abusive husbands and fathers, "Lord, Lord, are we not holders of thy priesthood, and did we not hold responsible positions in thy kingdom, and attend church regularly." For the prideful, "Lord, Lord, have I not done as well as the rest of my ward, and do not my worldly attainments demonstrate my ability, and my riches demonstrate thy good pleasure?" For all these people, the answer may well be, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Alma asks, do ye imagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord in that day, and say-Lord, our works have been righteous works upon the face of the earth-and that he will save you?...Behold, my brethren, do ye suppose that such an one can have a place to sit down in the kingdom of God, with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the holy prophets, whose garments are cleansed and are spotless, pure and white? I say unto you, Nay (Alma 5:17, 24-25).
Joseph B. Wirthlin
"'And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.' (Matthew 7:21-23.)
"None would want to hear the Lord speak such disappointing words. That is why we need to do everything in our power to be certain our spiritual bonfire of testimony is burning brightly enough to keep the wolves of darkness away. We can always use more dry kindling. As the Apostle Paul taught, each of us has 'come short of the glory of God.' (Romans 3:23.) None of us has progressed so far in this life that we do not need to continually fortify our testimonies." (Finding Peace in Our Lives, p. 126)
"I think that Scripture is just as true to-day as it was eighteen hundred years ago, just as binding, and we shall find the results of it just as true, and when the secrets of all hearts are revealed, when the judgment is set and the books are opened, these things will be known and understood. How will it be then with Latter-day Saints? Why those who are doing right and are full of integrity, and have kept their covenants, observed the law of God and walked in obedience to his commands will hear Jesus say-'Thou hast been faithful over a few things and I will make thee ruler over many things.' And then there are some others mentioned. Who are they, and what are they? 'Why, many will come to me and say, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? Have we not cast out devils in thy name, and in thy name done many wonderful works? Then he will say to them-'Depart from me, for I never knew you.'
"How will that fit on some of us do you think? That belongs a little closer to some of us than we imagine; for I do not think that Gentiles do much prophesying in the name of God; I do not think they cast out many devils in the name of God, or do any wonderful works in his name. Jesus was speaking to a people that had done these things, the same, perhaps, as some of you have, and yet you have become careless and indifferent, and in many instances have made shipwreck of a good conscience and failed to keep the covenants you have made." (Journal of Discourses, 18:201)
3 Ne 14:24 whoso heareth these saying of mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock
"Every person builds a house of faith. We do so knowingly or unknowingly. And every builder soon learns that a good building with bad foundations is worse than useless; it is dangerous. As one Christian writer has observed, 'If the stability of buildings depends largely on their foundations, so does the stability of human lives. The search for personal security is a primal instinct, but many fail to find it today. Old familiar landmarks [will be] obliterated. Moral absolutes which were once thought to be eternal are being abandoned' (Stott 22). Thus our house of faith can be no more secure than the foundation upon which it is built. Foolish men build upon the shifting sands of ethics and the marshlands of human philosophies and doctrines. The wise build upon the rock of revelation, heeding carefully the living oracles, lest they be 'brought under condemnation ... and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house' (D&C 90:5). All that we do as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must be built upon a foundation of faith and testimony and conversion. When external supports fail us, then our hearts must be riveted upon the things of the Spirit, those internal realities which provide the meaning, the perspective, and the sustenance for all else that matters in life." (Robert L. Millet, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, Helaman 3 - 3 Nephi 8, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, pp. 26-8)
Joseph B. Wirthlin
"What a magnificent blueprint for life at its best! These commandments and all that they encompass constitute a glorious challenge and an unassailable fortress against evil. They involve the use of time in the best and highest sense and will certainly safeguard our integrity and morality and help us be a good example. This is the kind of life building that is possible for Latter-day Saints...
"If we build our life with and for our Savior, we will build it from the best materials and with the best effort we can give. We won't skimp on study or training or diligence or obedience. We won't misrepresent what we're trying to build...We will wish to build something noble and solid, something worthy of the trust we have been given." (New Era, Mar. 1990, pp. 65-66 as taken from The Mount and the Master, by Robert E. Wells, p. 209)
Thomas S. Monson
"Where could any of us locate a more suitable blueprint whereby he could wisely and properly build? Such a house would meet the building code outlined in Matthew, even a house built 'upon a rock.'...a house capable of withstanding the rains of adversity, the floods of opposition, and the winds of doubt everywhere present in our challenging world...Let the Lord be the General Contractor for the family-even the home-we build. Then each of us can be the subcontractors responsible for a vital segment of the whole project. All of us are thereby builders." (Live the Good Life, p. 124 as taken from The Mount and the Master, by Robert E. Wells, p. 211-12)