Do You Know Why Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen?
The following questions and answers relate to some of the topics treated in the book, Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen, written by Elder H. Verlan Andersen.
Question: What is the most important revelation ever received?
Answer: According to David O. McKay, Section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants is “the greatest revelation that God has ever given to man.”
Question: What does D&C 121 contain which entitles it to this position of pre-eminence in which our prophet has placed it?
Answer: Among other things it discusses the conditions a man must comply with in order to exercise the power of the priesthood in the hereafter. It also enumerates certain faults and weaknesses which will cause one to forfeit his Priesthood.
Question: What are these faults and weaknesses?
Answer: While several are mentioned, the revelation indicates that there is one fatal weakness which is so common among men that because thereof, only a “few” of the “many” ordained to the Priesthood in this life will be permitted to retain it in the next. Verse 37 says:
“…when we undertake to…exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness,…Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.”
Then verses 39 and 40 contain this terrible tragic truth:
“…it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence many are called but few are chosen.”
Question: If almost all of us are going to lose our priesthood because we undertake “to exercise control or dominion or compulsion,” unrighteously, what is it we are doing which condemns us?
Answer: There are only four situations where force or compulsion is intentionally used by one person upon another. They are:
- When one commits or resists a criminal act.
- When parents discipline children.
- In sports, play or athletic contests.
- Through the agency of government.
While each person must examine his own life to determine wherein he might be using force against his fellow man for improper purposes, the following comments should help pinpoint the real problem.
- Relatively few men are involved in crimes of violence and therefore it is unlikely that this is the activity which condemns the majority.
- While a person might be a brute in his own home, it would seem that parental affection would be strong enough to rule out this possibility in most cases.
- Since those who engage in sporting or athletic events do so voluntarily and therefore consent to the force used, this activity would not likely qualify as unrighteous dominion.
- This leaves government as the force most likely abused. The following questions consider why this might be so.
Question: Is government an instrument of force or compulsion?
Answer: (a) The only means by which government can act is by using force and the threat of force. It can act legally only in accordance with a law authorizing the act; but every law either commands or forbids certain human conduct and in each case the law contains a penalty which directs the officers of government to take either the life, liberty, or property of any who disobey. This is the very essence of compulsion.
(b) Every person should clearly understand this fundamental fact about government: The only reason we ever adopt a law is to compel those people to obey it who would not do so unless threatened with a loss of life, liberty, or property.
(c) Government has an exclusive monopoly on the use of force in that it is the only organization legally authorized to compel people against their will. Unless we desire to use force, we do not use government. If we want only voluntary cooperation, we use a church, a club, a lodge, or some other non-compulsory organization. The only ones who join such groups are those who want to. The only ones who pay dues and obey the rules are those who do so of their own free will and choice. It is only when we want to compel those people to join, pay dues, and obey the rules who would not do so unless threatened with physical violence, that we resort to the use of government and law.
Question: Am I, as an individual, morally responsible for the force used by my government?
Answer: (a) In a nation of self-governing people such as ours, there is no other place to rest the blame for what government does, except on the individual citizen.
(b) While the officers of government must bear their fair share of the blame for what they do as officers, in the final analysis they are merely the agents or servants of the voters. As long as they are carrying out our wishes, we are just as responsible for the force they use as if we were using it ourselves, we are the ones who have the power to elect and defeat. We are the ones who pass judgment on candidates, platforms, and issues.
(c) LDS scriptures indicate that the individual is accountable to God for his actions in the field of government: “WE BELIEVE THAT GOVERNMENTS WERE INSTITUTED OF GOD FOR THE BENEFIT OF MAN; AND THAT HE HOLDS MEN ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTS IN RELATION TO THEM, BOTH IN MAKING LAWS AND ADMINISTERING THEM, FOR THE GOOD AND SAFETY OF SOCIETY,” D&C 134:1
Question: Assuming that God holds us accountable for any force used by our government of which we approve, is it reasonable to believe that “almost all men” might be losing their priesthood by abusing this power which God has placed in our hands?
Answer: There are literally thousands of laws on both the state and federal level for the citizen to pass judgment on. It seems very likely that “almost all” of us would support some laws which would constitute unrighteous dominion unless we were very careful. This seems especially true in view of the fact that “it is the nature and disposition of almost all men” to abuse any power given them.
Question: is not the Lord expecting too much in requiring us to distinguish with precision between those laws which preserve freedom and those which destroy it?
Answer: It is no more difficult to distinguish between good and bad “group action” than to distinguish between good and bad individual action because the test is the same in both cases. D&C 134:4, 5 tell us that the civil magistrate should never violate freedom of conscience. This is an application of the Golden Rule which we use to judge individual action. It provides, in effect, that we should never favor a law which would take from another any freedom which we would desire for ourselves. Since every person loves his freedom and knows exactly what will injure or destroy it, this knowledge enables him to know exactly what he should not do to his neighbor either through government or otherwise. In applying the “Golden Rule” test we might ask ourselves such questions as these: 1. Remembering that I am individually accountable for the force used under any law which I favor, would it violate my conscience to enact this law myself and then personally punish my neighbors if they disobeyed it? 2. If I had violated this law, would my conscience tell me I had done evil? 3. Remembering that every law either compels or restrains a person against his will, I should place myself in the position of the one against whom the law will be enforced and ask if I would consider it fair to have my own freedom of action restrained in the manner required by the law.
Question: why would the Lord deprive a man of his priesthood because of false political beliefs and practices?
Answer: Because when we abandon the principles of freedom contained in the Constitution, we reject Christ’s plan to preserve freedom (D&C 101:77, 78), and substitute in place thereof Satan’s plan to destroy freedom. It will be recalled that in the pre-earth life, Satan proposed a plan of compulsion to destroy the agency of man on this earth. The Lord divided us up on the basis of whether we accepted or rejected that plan. However since almost all of us who rejected that plan are still inclined to exercise unrighteous dominion when given the opportunity, it was necessary that Satan be allowed to continue to tempt us to accept it here in order that we might completely overcome this weakness. D&C Sec. 121 tells us that if, at the end of this life, we are still inclined to use Satan’s methods, the Lord will not be able to entrust us with His Priesthood power in the hereafter.
Question: what is Satan’s plan to destroy the agency of man on this earth?
Answer: While Satan is continually tempting us to commit crimes and thus destroy freedom on an individual basis, his master plan is to induce us to use government, the supreme physical force in society, for this purpose. Each time Christ establishes an organization here on earth, Satan tries to control it for his own purposes. Time after time he has induced men to corrupt, not only Christ’s Church, but also Christ’s form of government. According to the scriptures, Satan’s great objective is to seize control of government through secret combinations. This is the greatest wickedness of all in the sight of God. (Ether 8:18; 3 Ne. 9:9) In our day, our prophet has told us that this secret combination is known as Communism. He has called it “the greatest satanical threat…on the face of the earth,” and has stated that the “entire concept and philosophy of Communism is diametrically opposed to everything for which the Church stands,” He has also told us that if we lend aid, encouragement or sympathy to any of these false philosophies, they will prove snares to our feet. (Era, June, 1966, pp. 477, 580) The Book of Mormon prophets predicted that the same satanic threat which destroyed them would come among us and they advised us to awaken to a sense of our awful situation when this happened. (Ether 8:24) Since communism is completely evil, one must conclude that if he accepts any part of this satanic plan to destroy freedom he is to this same extent exercising unrighteous dominion through government and is thereby disqualifying himself to exercise his priesthood in the next life. He will be one of the “many” who was called but not chosen. Probably the most accurate statement of Satan’s program to corrupt the Lord’s form of government and establish Communism in place thereof is contained in the “COMMUNIST MANIFESTO.” It expresses the central aim of Communism in these words: “…the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: abolition of private property.” Thus while the Lord would use the police power to protect the right of private property, Satan would corrupt government and use it to destroy this same right which is the basis of individual freedom. His plan to corrupt is also found in the MANIFESTO and consists of a 10-point political platform which, if adopted, will completely destroy private property. Those ten points are as follows:
- Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
- A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
- Abolition of all right of inheritance.
- Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
- Centralization of credit in the hands of the state by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
- Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
- Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
- Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
- Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
- Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of child factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.
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Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen Chapters: