2 Ne 28:1 I have spoken...according as the Spirit hath constrained me
When one speaks by the power of the Holy Spirit, the words uttered are counted as scripture, whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation (DC 68:4). Because of this principle, Nephi knew that the things which he was constrained by the Spirit to speak must surely come to pass.
2 Ne 28:2 the things which shall be written out of the book shall be of great worth
Can one estimate the importance of the Book of Mormon to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Joseph Smith exclaimed that it was the keystone of our religion but it is more than that. It is the voice from the dust, the proof of the Bible's divinity, the best of all missionary tools, the only extant history of the early Americas, the doctrinal peacemaker, and the secret weapon in the fight against the powers of Satan in the last days. As Nephi exclaimed it shall be of great worth unto the children of men. Those who are seeking to come unto Christ are the ones who will recognize the priceless gift of the Book of Mormon, for "a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 194)
2 Ne 28:3 the churches...shall say...I, I am the Lord's
Nephi, in this chapter, is going to describe the sectarian churches of the last days. It is useful to make a list of the things which characterize these churches:
- They declare, 'I am the Lord's' (v. 3)
- They deny the Holy Ghost (v. 4)
- They deny the power of God (v. 5)
- They teach false doctrines (v. 12)
- They have become corrupted because of pride (v. 12)
- They rob the poor (v. 13)
- They wear fine clothing (v. 13)
- They persecute the meek and the poor (v. 13)
- They have all gone astray save it be a few (v. 14)
- They revile against that which is good (v. 16)
These characteristics describe more than just the churches of Joseph Smith's day. Millet and McConkie explain the fulfillment of the phrase I, I am the Lord's as follows:
"This prophecy was fulfilled with exactness in the early years of the nineteenth century. 'There was in the place where we lived,' Joseph Smith wrote, 'an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, 'Lo, here!' and others 'Lo there!' Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist' (Joseph Smith History 1:5). That is, 'upon inquiring [about] the plan of salvation, I found that there was a great clash in religious sentiment; if I went to one society they referred me to one plan, and another to another, each one pointing to his own particular creed as the summum bonum of perfections.' (HC 4:536.)
"Most religious orders in our modern day are prone to take a moderate stance toward a single true church; many claim that 'all roads lead to Rome,' that all churches teach the truth, and that because God is so merciful everyone will eventually inherit heaven's blessings. Doctrines are thus diluted and witnesses watered down such that (at least in the minds of a surprising number of modernists) all notions of 'one Lord, one faith, and one baptism' are nullified through an undiscriminating ecumenism." (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1, p. 329)
2 Ne 28:4 their priests shall contend one with another
Note how accurately this phrase describes the religious tension in Joseph Smith's day, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued-priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions (JS-Hist 1:6).
2 Ne 28:4-5 deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance. And they deny the power of God
"Respecting the Melchizedek Priesthood, the sectarians never professed to have it; consequently they never could save any one, and would all be damned together. There was an Episcopal priest who said he had the priesthood of Aaron, but had not the priesthood of Melchizedek: and I bear testimony that I never have found the man who claimed the Priesthood of Melchizedek. The power of the Melchizedek Priesthood is to have the power of 'endless lives'; for the everlasting covenant cannot be broken." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 322)
"Many objections are urged against the Latter-day Saints for not admitting the validity of sectarian baptism, and for withholding fellowship from sectarian churches. Yet to do otherwise would be like putting new wine into old bottles, and putting old wine into new bottles. What! new revelations in the old churches? New revelations would knock out the bottom of their bottomless pit. New wine into old bottles! The bottles burst and the wine runs out! What! Sadducees in the new church! Old wine in new leathern bottles will leak through the pores and escape. So the Sadducee saints mock at authority, kick out of the traces, and run to the mountains of perdition, leaving the long echo of their braying behind them." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 192)
2 Ne 28:5 there is no God
"I have just had the privilege, with my wife, by appointment of President McKay, of touring five of the missions of Europe -- the Danish, the Swedish, the Norwegian, the Finnish, and the Netherlands Missions -- and Sister Richards and I appreciate that opportunity very, very much. I love missionary work....
"When you stop to think in those lands, according to reports, there are only about five percent (I think it was three, but to be safe I will say five percent) of the people of those lands who attend church at all of any kind, and then you know how little there can be in their lives really to live for. Sometimes I thought as we went through those missions that about all they live for was their vacation, because they are great people to have a vacation every summer. I will not take time to go into detail about that. But they did not seem to be looking to eternal life or eternal exaltation or eternal companionship with those whom they love. They did not know anything about things like that. The newspapers even write articles discussing the fact that there is no God.
"I was told that many of the ministers will openly admit to their members that they do not know whether there is a God or not. So, you see, they need the missionaries. They need this wonderful message that we have." (Conference Report, Oct. 1, 1959, p. 33-4)
Elder A. Theodore Tuttle
"Several years ago in a seminary recognized as perhaps the greatest in this country, a doctor of divinity, who had a string of honorary doctoral degrees and who is on the board of directors of one of the largest Protestant churches in America, in lecturing to a large group of students, most of whom already had bachelor of divinity degrees, said, sympathetically:
'I know that it is difficult for you men to teach creeds which you, yourselves, do not believe, but you have the social obligation to do it.'
"Another man in the same institution, having about the same academic credentials, declared: 'Who knows but what in the year 2004 or some other year, there will live a man who will live more perfectly than did Jesus. Then we will worship him as the Son of God, rather than Jesus. The reason we worship Jesus as the Son of God is because he lived the most perfect life of any man of whom we have knowledge.'" (Conference Report, Oct. 1960, p. 54 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 161)
Harold B. Lee
"I recently heard a missionary for the Church tell of an incident which occurred in an atheist-dominated country. A young student with a fervent belief in God and in the mission of the Savior of the world was ridiculed and abused by her teacher who scorned the idea of a God. As a punishment, the teacher required that she write twenty times, 'There is no God.' The young student refused. In a rage the teacher demanded that she write her denial of God, fifty times and added, as a veiled threat, 'If you don't, something terrible will happen.' That night mother and daughter fasted and prayed far into the night to that God whom they could not and dared not deny. When school time came the next morning, mother and daughter went to see the teacher. The school convened and the teacher had not arrived. As they waited, the principal of the school came to inform them that the teacher had died suddenly in the night of a heart attack. Something terrible had happened but not to this young girl who came without fear 'in the name of the Lord.'" (Conference Report, Apr. 1955, p. 19)
2 Ne 28:6 he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work
Moroni prophesied of the day when the Book of Mormon would come forth. He said it would be a day when it shall be said that miracles are done away (Mormon 8:26). He explains the falseness of this doctrine later when he writes:
'And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.
Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God?
Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?
And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.
And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.' (Mormon 9:15-20)
"Because faith is wanting, the fruits are. No man since the world was had faith without having something along with it. The ancients quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, women received their dead, etc. By faith the worlds were made. A man who has none of the gifts has no faith; and he deceives himself, if he supposes he has. Faith has been wanting, not only among the heathen, but in professed Christendom also, so that tongues, healings, prophecy, and prophets and apostles, and all the gifts and blessings have been wanting." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 270)
2 Ne 28:7 Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die
Neal A. Maxwell
"Denying the doctrine of the premortal existence of man shrinks man's perspective. He begins to think, mistakenly, that this life is all there is; that the insignificant 'me' of a tiny 'now' is not only all there is, but all there ever was. The adversary is quick to use the 'what if' there is no purpose to life in order to induce some to act 'as if' such were the case. The resultant misbehavior only deepens the despair (see Moroni 10:22).
"Naturally, such a view tends to be accompanied by a diminished belief or a pronounced unbelief in the resurrection and a perpetuation of personality, which pushes a person's hope for the future down to nil. This 'no-answer' attitude equates with a 'no-answerability' concept that too often leads to the 'eat, drink, and be merry' outlook. Thus one-dimensional mortality relentlessly promotes a one-dimensional morality!" (But For a Small Moment, p. 89)
Joseph F. Smith
"Some people cannot think of anything else but annihilation. What a glorious prospect for the sinner! Then he could say, 'Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die, and next day we will be annihilated, and that will be the end of our sorrow and of God's judgment upon us.' Do not flatter yourselves that you are going to get out of it so easy. This Book of Mormon is replete all the way through with the testimonies of the servants of God that men are born to be immortal; that after the resurrection their bodies are to live as long as their spirits, and their spirits cannot die. They are immortal beings, and they are destined, if they commit the unpardonable sin, to be banished from the presence of God and endure the punishment of the devil and his angels throughout all eternity. I think the wicked would prefer annihilation to the suffering of such punishment. That would be an end to punishment--an end to being. This view cannot be reconciled with the word of God." (Collected Discourses 1886-1898, ed. by Brian Stuy, vol. 4, Joseph F. Smith, Jan. 20, 1995)
2 Ne 28:8 he will justify in committing a little sin
George Albert Smith
"I want you to note that: 'He will justify in committing a little sin.' That cunning adversary knowing that if he could only get a man or woman to do a little wrong, that far they had gone into his territory, that far they were in his power.
"'Nevertheless, fear God, he will justify in committing a little sin, yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this. And do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the Kingdom of God.'
"Isn't that just exactly what the devil says to the children of men today as plainly as it is written here? Oh, commit a little sin, that won't do any harm, lie a little, that won't do any particular damage, the Lord will forgive that and you will only be beaten with a few stripes and at last you shall be saved in the kingdom of God. That is what he says to the man or the woman who has been taught the Word of Wisdom when he says, oh, drink a little tea, that won't hurt you; use a little tobacco, that won't make any difference: a little liquor won't do any harm. These are little things; he always does it a little at a time, not all at once. That is what I would like us to remember, my brethren, this morning. It is these insignificant insidious whisperings that betray mankind and that place us in the power of the devil. (Conference Report, Apr. 1918, p. 39-40)
2 Ne 28:12 Because of pride...and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted
This chapter is replete with the false doctrines of the sectarian churches of the last days. The falseness of other belief systems can be detected if they include any of the doctrines discussed in this chapter:
1) There is no God (v. 5)
2) The Lord hath done his work (v. 5)
3) There are no more miracles (v. 6)
4) Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die (v. 7)
5) The Lord will justify in committing a little sin (v. 8)
6) There is no hell (v. 22)
7) There is no devil (v. 22)
8) All is well in Zion (v. 21, 25)
"Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God anyhow-three in one, and one in three! It is a curious organization. 'Father, I pray not for the world, but I pray for them which thou hast given me.' 'Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are.' All are to be crammed into one God, according to sectarianism. It would make the biggest God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God-he would be a giant or a monster." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 372)
"The idea that some men form of the justice, judgment, and mercy of God, is too foolish for an intelligent man to think of: for instance, it is common for many of our orthodox preachers to suppose that if a man is not what they call converted, if he dies in that state he must remain eternally in hell without any hope. Infinite years in torment must he spend, and never, never, never have an end; and yet this eternal misery is made frequently to rest upon the merest casualty. The breaking of a shoe-string, the tearing of a coat of those officiating, or the peculiar location in which a person lives, may be the means, indirectly of his damnation, or the cause of his not being saved. I will suppose a case which is not extraordinary: Two men, who have been equally wicked, who have neglected religion, are both of them taken sick at the same time; one of them has the good fortune to be visited by a praying man, and he gets converted a few minutes before he dies; the other sends for three different praying men, a tailor, a shoemaker, and a tinman; the tinman has a handle to solder to a can, the tailor has a buttonhole to work on some coat that he needed in a hurry, and the shoemaker has a patch to put on somebody's boot; they none of them can go in time, the man dies, and goes to hell: one of these is exalted to Abraham's bosom, he sits down in the presence of God and enjoys eternal, uninterrupted happiness, while the other, equally as good as he, sinks to eternal damnation, irretrievable misery and hopeless despair, because a man had a boot mend, the button-hole of a coat to work, or a handle to solder on to a saucepan." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 220-1)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"President Clawson this afternoon read to us some views that are expressed today by certain ministers, religionists who call themselves modernists, and they appear to be in the ascendency; their doctrines are growing, and are finding place in the hearts of the people, and the true doctrines of Christ, and the testimony that Jesus is the Son of God, is diminishing, is dying out in the world. It may be true, as one divine stated, that the Christian Era is at an end, and the Church is in the course of dissolution, if he had reference to the so-called Christian churches of the day; because their doctrine is spurious, it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ, but a man-made system. But Christianity, pure and undefiled, is not in the course of dissolution; it is not dying out, it is becoming more firmly rooted in the earth, and must do so, and shall continue until it shall fill the earth, for so it has been predicted." (Conference Report, Apr. 1924, p. 41)
2 Ne 28:14 the humble followers of Christ
Nephi is referring to the humble followers of Christ among the many churches of the last days. In another scripture, he refers to those outside the Mormon Church as saints, Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God...for the praise of the world do they destroy the saints of God, and bring them down into captivity (1 Ne 13:5,9). In this latter example, Nephi is speaking of the saints among the Gentile nations prior to the life and mission of Columbus. Therefore, in these two separate instances, Nephi refers to those outside the church as being acknowledged by the Lord. This should not surprise us. For the Lord to save an unrighteous Mormon and damn a righteous Methodist is an unacceptable doctrine that denies the justice of God.
Many have wondered, "what will happen to those of the other churches who followed Christ their entire lives, but never joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"? Nephi makes it clear that the Lord recognizes those humble followers of Christ even if they are few in number and err because they are taught by the precepts of men. Like everyone else, they will be judged according to their works and according to that portion of light which they had received in mortality.
However, in order for these to receive all the blessings that the Lord has promised for the righteous, they must receive the ordinances of salvation. Whether in this life or the next, they must receive baptism and temple ordinances in order to enter the celestial kingdom-for baptism, performed by one with priesthood authority, is the key to entering the gate of the celestial kingdom:
'Therefore in the ordinances [of the kingdom], the power of godliness is manifest.
And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh;
For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.' (DC 84:20-22)
2 Ne 28:16 Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught
How many times has the Book of Mormon been rejected by those who should have recognized its worth? Many Christians have reviled against the Book of Mormon and said that it is of no worth. Most of the time this occurs because they have made their minds up before reading the book that it cannot be true. Therefore, they don't read with an open mind and humble heart. Rather, they read to find fault, to find cause to reject the book. They have not followed the promise contained in Moroni 10:3-5.
I once spoke with a preacher who had just read first and second Nephi of the Book of Mormon. He couldn't bring himself to say anything nice about the book. He claimed that these two books had three faults. 1) there was no such thing as brass plates in the days of Zedekiah, 2) there was no way that the Book of Mormon prophets could have used the language of the New Testament prior to the coming of Christ, and 3) why was it that no one in Jerusalem knew of the departure of Lehi's family (all three of these contentions can be easily addressed but need not be done here). He concluded by saying that the Book of Mormon did not carry the same spirit as the Bible. I asked him what he thought of the Isaiah section, anticipating that if he read the book with an open mind, he should have said that the book contained no spirit except for those passages of Isaiah which were quoted. That was not his response demonstrating that he had made up his mind that the book was false before he read the first page. Humble students of the Book of Mormon have no difficulty feeling the spirit of the book. It practically jumps out of the pages. That this preacher could not feel this spirit is evidence that he had not the sincere heart, real intent, or faith in Christ spoken of in Moroni 10:4. Rather he effectively turned aside the just for a thing of naught, reviled against that which is good, and said that it is of no worth.
2 Ne 28:20 stir them up to anger against that which is good
Marvin J. Ashton
"It should come as no surprise that one of the adversary's tactics in the latter days is stirring up hatred among the children of men. He loves to see us criticize each other, make fun or take advantage of our neighbor's known flaws, and generally pick on each other. The Book of Mormon is clear from where all anger, malice, greed, and hate come [2 Ne 28:20]. By the looks of what we constantly see depicted in the news media, it appears that Satan is doing a pretty good job. In the name of reporting the news, we are besieged with sometimes graphic depictions-too often in living color-of greed, extortion, violent sexual crimes, and insults between business, athletic, or political opponents." (Ensign, May 1992, p. 19 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 160)
2 Ne 28:21 others will he pacify and lull them away into carnal security
Richard G. Scott
Satan has become a master at using the addictive power of pornography... All who are caught in its seductive, tantalizing web and remain so will become addicted to its immoral, destructive influence. For many, that addiction cannot be overcome without help. The tragic pattern is so familiar. It begins with curiosity that is fueled by its stimulation and is justified by the false premise that when done privately, it does no harm to anyone else. For those lulled by this lie the experimentation goes deeper, with more powerful stimulations, until the trap closes and a terribly immoral, addictive habit exercises its vicious control.
Participation in pornography in any of its lurid forms is a manifestation of unbridled selfishness. How can a man, particularly a priesthood bearer, not think of the emotional and spiritual damage caused to women, especially his wife, by such abhorrent activity?
Well did inspired Nephi declare, "And [the devil] will... pacify, and lull them away into carnal security,... and thus [he] cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell." (Ensign, Nov. 2009, 8-9)
2 Ne 28:21 All is well in Zion
Nephi teaches that one of the lies of Satan is complacency-that we would be content with the state of affairs in Zion, saying all is well in Zion, yea, Zion prospereth. Satan understands that as soon as we believe this, we have let our guard down and practically opened the door for him to cheat our souls and lead us carefully down to hell. We should never be content with our own faithfulness or the state of affairs in Zion. Both can be improved and our efforts should be unceasingly aimed at improvement. When they are not, Satan smiles and is let in the door. Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion! Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well! (v. 24-5)
Spencer W. Kimball
"We have discussed elsewhere that other class of people who are basically unrepentant because they are not 'doing the commandments.' They are Church members who are steeped in lethargy. They neither drink nor commit the sexual sins. They do not gamble nor rob nor kill. They are good citizens and splendid neighbors, but spiritually speaking they seem to be in a long, deep sleep. They are doing nothing seriously wrong except in their failures to do the right things to earn their exaltation." (Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 211-2 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 160)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"It is not possible, as some of us have supposed, for us to slip along easily through this life, keeping the commandments of the Lord indifferently-accepting some of the doctrines and not others, and indulging our appetites or desires, and, because we consider them little things, failing to understand and comprehend our duty to them-and then expect to receive a fulness of glory in the kingdom of God." (Doctrines of Salvation, p. 14 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 160)
2 Ne 28:22 he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none
"I doubt if there was a Christian minister in all the world who would have said there was no devil at the time the Book of Mormon was published in 1830, and yet when a questionnaire was sent out by the Northwestern University School of Religion in 1934 to five hundred Christian ministers, of the five hundred, fifty-four percent, or two hundred and seventy of them, said: 'There is no devil.' Thirty-nine percent, or one hundred and ninety-five, said there would be no judgment day; and eighty percent were opposed to teaching that hell was a place of burning...If the world could just get rid of the devil, probably it would be a different world. They little realize how much his influence and power is being felt.
"...What in the world could the devil, the enemy of all righteousness, desire more than to make our young people think that chastity is outmoded? To accomplish this, he must make them believe there is no devil, and that there is no hell or judgment day. Thus 'he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.'" (Conference Report, Oct. 1949, p. 51,53)
Marion G. Romney
"A corollary to the pernicious falsehood that God is dead is the equally pernicious doctrine that there is no devil. Satan himself is the father of both of these lies. To believe them is to surrender to him. Such surrender has always led, is leading now, and will continue to lead men to destruction." (Conference Report, Apr. 1971, p. 22)
Harold B. Lee
"We see some of the signs...we know lead us downward. Some are called taverns; some are called lounges; and some are called roadhouses. They have bright, neon-lighted signs outside with catch-phrase names. They are dimly lighted inside; they have sensuous music. These are the unmistakable trademarks of the hell holes of Satan.
Nephi spoke of some teachings against which we must be on guard lest we follow that road, when he said that in a day to come, which we realize now is our day, there would be those who would 'teach us to become angry against that which is good, to lull us away into carnal security and to flatter us by telling us there is no devil, there is no hell.' (See 2 Nephi 28:20-22.) (Conference Report, Apr. 1956, p. 110)
2 Ne 28:30 line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little
Some might wonder why we must read the Book of Mormon over and over again. Some might wonder why the temple teachings are repeated again and again. Those members of the church who have said to themselves, we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough (v. 29), will receive no more. They will not learn anything new if they read the Book of Mormon a hundred more times. The Lord has said that our learning stops when we stop receiving the word of God. In contrast, if we understand that new things can be learned with every reading of the Book of Mormon and every visit to the House of the Lord, then the Lord says, unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
The plan of the Lord is to teach us in a piecemeal fashion, line upon line. He must feed us a bite at a time because we are not capable of swallowing an entire meal in one bite. He gives us time to taste the spiritual food, savor it, and digest it before the next delicious morsel is dispensed. The Lord has promised us that we need not stop eating at his hand-indeed, the feast is never over. Rather, we can continue to partake of his goodness as long as we are willing to receive it, and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom. Spence Condie quotes Elder Packer on this subject:
"Many of us desire to know certain information before we are either prepared or able to act upon that knowledge. Elder Boyd K. Packer has eloquently addressed such concerns as follows:
You cannot force spiritual things. Such words as compel, coerce, constrain, pressure, demand do not describe our privileges with the Spirit.
You can no more force the Spirit to respond than you can force a bean to sprout, or an egg to hatch before its time. You can create a climate to foster growth; you can nourish, and protect; but you cannot force or compel: You must await the growth.
Do not be impatient to gain great spiritual knowledge. Let it grow, help it grow; but do not force it, or you will open the way to be misled. ...
... Should we stand in need of revealed instruction to alter our course, it will be waiting along the way as we arrive at the point of need. (In Perfect Balance, p. 252-3)
2 Ne 28:32 I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day
Neal A. Maxwell
"Our merciful and long-suffering Lord is ever ready to help. His 'arm is lengthened out all the day long' (2 Ne. 28:32), and even if His arm goes ungrasped, it was unarguably there! In the same redemptive reaching out, our desiring to improve our human relationships usually requires some long-suffering. Sometimes reaching out is like trying to pat a porcupine. Even so, the accumulated quill marks are evidence that our hands of fellowship have been stretched out, too!" (Ensign, Nov. 1996, 22 as taken from Commentaries on Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, ed. by K. Douglas Bassett, [American Fork, UT: Covenant Publishing Co., 2003], 153)
2 Ne 28:32 Wo be unto the Gentiles...For...they will deny me
This passage predicts that the Gentiles will turn from the Lord. If they don't repent the following promise is given:
'And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people--
Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off' (3 Ne 20:15-17).
"Thus after this chosen family (the house of Israel) had rejected Christ and His proposals, the heralds of salvation said to them, 'Lo we turn unto the Gentiles;' and the Gentiles received the covenant, and were grafted in from whence the chosen family were broken off: but the Gentiles have not continued in the goodness of God, but have departed from the faith that was once delivered to the Saints, and have broken the covenant in which their fathers were established (see Isaiah 24:5); and have become high-minded, and have not feared; therefore, but few of them will be gathered with the chosen family. Have not the pride, high-mindedness, and unbelief of the Gentiles, provoked the Holy One of Israel to withdraw His Holy Spirit from them, and send forth His judgments to scourge them for their wickedness? This is certainly the case." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 15)