A few days ago in response to a statement made by the first presidency of the church that I read we had a conversation with our daughter about why we were going to be taking her out of the sex education curriculum. It prompted me to write sex ed for kids found at (https://gospelperspective.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/sex-ed-for-kids/)
I had an opportunity to expand upon this conversation a few days latter while reading from the scriptures as a family. We were reading in 2nd peter chapter 2 vs 1-3
1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
This scripture gives some clear warning and does not mince words. We have been warned about false prophets and teachers that will come in amongst us to deceive us. Many who have read this passage or at least have heard the concept and idea set forth, think in terms of false teachers and prophets amongst the religions of the world. There can be no doubt that there are false teachers and prophets in many religious settings, and I do not discount that there are even those within the church that could be labelled false prophets and teachers, though I do not know any personally.
The idea of false prophets and teachers goes beyond the religious setting and is in my experience most prevalent not in churches where almost everyone will teach the gospel as truthfully as they understand it. False prophets and teachers run rampant throughout the world, as they preach of doom and disasters. As a case study lets look at one prominent doomsday predictor Al Gore
– 8 years ago in the film an inconvenient truth by Al Gore we were told we had only 10 years to stop the global warming disaster, its 8 years later and still nothing coming close to disaster he described, at least not in the scales he described has happenned yet
– in 2009 he stated that the entirety of the north pole could be ice free in 5-7 years, This has proven false, as the poles have not come close to melting in their entirety during the summer or any other time of year. see the video below.
however Al Gore is not the only one guilty of this. 2012 was a year of many false prophecies concerning the ending of the Mayan calendar. From polar shifts to Armageddon and the end of the world. Nostradamus is widely considered a famous prophet. I admit his prophecies are intriguing and certainly capture a great deal of interest for many reasons. Many believe his prophecies have come true with alarming accuracy. I Don’t know if he was inspired by God or not but I would not classify him as a true prophet, as a true prophet “must be acalled of God, by bprophecy, and by the laying on of chands by those who are in dauthority, to epreach the Gospel and administer in the fordinances thereof.” (article of faith 5)
We have also been warned against false teachers. Many are brought away from the gospel and embrace this evil ideology that is taught via “their pernicious ways” The way of atruth has been evil spoken of and continues to be evil spoken of. More and more christian ideals come under attack while the gospel of the devil is preached by many as the the truth and right. In our public school system our children are taught many “doctrines” of men. Damnable heresies such as abortion are spoken of as right and acceptable, Christian pastors and churches are being forced to perform gay marriages (http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/i-am-still-not-getting-what-i-want-gay-couple-suing-church-for-refusing-wed) and are evil spoken of if they refuse. we are consistently taught ideals contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We hear much about teaching kids to think critically, however when a child dares to think contrary to the will and ideology of the teacher or school system they are often failed, criticized and lectured for it.
As an example of this from my own experience in high school I was given a writing assignment. I was given a picture something like this
In the picture however there were 2 children walking towards the light rather than just the one person in this picture. The assignment was to write an essay with the picture as my subject matter. I wrote about the gospel and how it is the light at the end of the tunnel. In our lives we are surrounded by darkness but if we keep our eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel we will make it back home to safety. We need to use the light of the gospel to guide us out of the darkness.
I failed the assignment. I had only a few marks for grammar, not enough to fail me in the assignment however. When I asked my teacher about it I was told I failed the assignment because it was not a religious class and I was not to be writing about religious topics. He asked me to re-write the assignment. I told him that I would do no such thing as at no time during the assignment was it stated that any religious writing would not be accepted. I spent quite a while arguing with him and asking him to remark the paper based on the quality of the writing not the content. He refused. I told him I would rather take the failed grade than re-wright an assignment I felt had been unfairly judged.
Another example of false teachers is from my daughters schooling. She was asked to write a letter to her MLA (member of legislative assembly) to make certain things illegal. They had failed to truly teach critical thinking and did not stop to educate the kids on the consequences of the proposed course of action. They had taught the kids false doctrine by requesting further freedoms be revoked all in the name of the greater good. Our children’s minds are being taught doctrines that will contribute to greater loss of freedoms as they form ideology through our public education systems.
Going back to 2nd peter we read the phrase “And through covetousness shall they with afeigned words make merchandise of you:” My rough translation of this statement would read something like this.
“Because they are jealous of your righteousness, they will use flattering and fake arguments and words to profit at your expense”
This is a common practice today. We see “expert opinions”, political pundits, news media commentaries, propaganda campaigns by special interest groups, professional bloggers, politicians, regular human rights complainers, frivolous law suites over perceived rights violations. the list could go on and on. There are many that profit at the expense of those who preach righteousness. Sometimes it is not even about preaching righteousness but just trying to profit off of you because what you did offended someone and they are often quite successful and get awarded large cash settlements effectively making merchandise of you for daring to go against there ideology.
Take a look at this wording from the human rights commissions of Saskatchewan
“tribunals must focus their analysis on the effect of the expression at issue, namely whether it is likely to expose the targeted person or group to hatred by others. The repugnancy of the ideas being expressed is not sufficient to justify restricting the expression, and whether or not the author of the expression intended to incite hatred or discriminatory treatment is irrelevant. The key is to determine the likely effect of the expression on its audience” (http://www.lexisnexis.ca/documents/2013scc011.pdf)
Let me translate that statement for you, what you say, and the medium you use to deliver your message is of no importance, your intent is irrelevant what is important is how your audience feels about what you said or did. You can be prosecuted via the human rights commissions simply for speaking your mind, preaching God’s truth and someone “through covetousness” will then be able to take you to the human rights court and “with afeigned words make merchandise of you:” All the while proclaiming and teaching false doctrines and convincing the rest of the world while profiting off of you, claiming that what you have said is wrong. This happens all the time and is nothing new.
How then can we know who is a false teacher and profit. Thankfully we have a very simple formula for that. From Matthew chapter 7
20 Wherefore by their afruits ye shall know them.
Like wolves, false profits and teachers hunt for their prey in packs and large groups, dressed up as lambs to deceive the people. They never work alone, there are always more wolves in sheeps clothing behind every false proft and teacher. If we live worthy of the spirit of God and pay attention to the fruits of their labors we will know if they are false teachers and profits or not.