Curse of Condemnation

President Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, 1988

D&C 84 – 1832

54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received-
55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written- (D&C 84:54-57, 1832)

Benson – 1984 (152 Years Later)

Among the hallmarks of Ezra Taft Benson ‘s tenure as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was his stirring summons to reemphasize the Book of Mormon.

“My beloved brethren and sisters,” he said during the October 1984 general conference, “for some years now I have been deeply concerned that we are not using the Book of Mormon as God intends. As I participated in the Mexico City Temple dedication, I received the distinct impression that God is not pleased with our neglect of the Book of Mormon. In the 84th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord decreed that the whole church was under condemnation, even all the children of Zion, because of the way they treated the Book of Mormon. ‘And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent,’ said the Lord, ‘and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon’ (Doctrine and Covenants 84:57).” (Dan Peterson, “Embracing the power of the Book of Mormon,” Deseret News, January 5, 2012)

Benson – 1986 (154 Years Later)

“Unless we read the Book of Mormon and give heed to its teachings, the Lord has stated in section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants that the whole Church is under condemnation: ‘And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.’ (D&C 84:56, 1832)”

“Why? The Lord answers: “That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.” (D&C 84:58, 1832) We have felt that scourge and judgment!”

“We must first cleanse the inner vessel by awaking and arising, being morally clean, using the Book of Mormon in a manner so that God will lift the condemnation, and finally conquering pride by humbling ourselves.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May, 1986, p. 4)

Oaks – 1994 (162 Years Later)

“As in that important first address, President Benson has often referred to the condemnation that section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants describes as being imposed on the Saints for neglect of the Book of Mormon. This revelation was given to the Church in September 1832, just two and one-half years after the Church was organized.”

“Along with other General Authorities, I have a clear recollection of the General Authority temple meeting on 5 March 1987. For a year, President Benson had been stressing the reading of the Book of Mormon. Repeatedly he had quoted these verses from the Doctrine and Covenants, including the Lord’s statement that the Saints’ conduct had “brought the whole church under condemnation” (D&C 84:55).

In that temple meeting, President Benson reread those statements and declared, “This condemnation has not been lifted, nor will it be until we repent.” He also repeated his declaration of a year earlier that “in our day the Lord has inspired His servant to reemphasize the Book of Mormon to get the Church out from under condemnation.

“Expressly and by implication, President Benson has affirmed that this subject is the most important of all. I believe that it was the neglect-the “treating lightly”-of this subject that brought the early Church under condemnation. I believe it is the neglect of this subject that has continued the condemnation in our own day.”

“May we follow the commandment to give diligent heed to these words of eternal life; may we follow our prophet’s challenge to remove the condemnation that comes from treating this new covenant lightly; may we be true to our sacred responsibilities…” (Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, March 1994, p. 60)

Millet – 1994 (162 Years Later)

“In a broader sense, I believe the condemnation that rests upon the Latter-day Saints is a loss of spiritual power, a loss of blessings, a loss of perspective about eternal possibilities. Perhaps we have not enjoyed the revelations, the divine direction, the sweet promptings of the Spirit, that might have been ours. We have not been the recipients of the fruit of the Spirit–‘love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance’ (Galatians 5:22-23)–as we could have been. Surely we have not enjoyed the understanding, the light and truth, the lens of pure intelligence, that is so readily accessible. In too many cases our minds and hearts have not been shaped and prepared by the Book of Mormon, by its lessons and logic, testimony and transforming power, and thus too often the judgment and discernment so essential to perceiving the false doctrines of the world, and even the irrelevant, have not been as strong as they might have been. Because we have not immersed and washed ourselves in those living waters that flow from the Book of Mormon, we have not enjoyed faith like the ancients, that faith which strengthens resolve and provides courage and peace in a time of unrest. So much of the stress and fear and apprehension and exhaustion that now exist in society is so very unnecessary; ours could be the right to that lifting and liberating Spirit that produces hope and peace and rest. Though the light of the fulness of the everlasting gospel has begun to break forth into a world of darkness (see D&C 45:28), yet too often we walk in darkness at noonday, or at least we traverse the path of life in twilight when we might bask in the bright light of the Son.” (Robert L. Millet, The Power of the Word: Saving Doctrines from the Book of Mormon, 1994, p. 303)

Christianson – 2007 (175 Years Later)

[When will Mormons know their condemnation is over? When additional records come forth.]

“Evidently the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon contains a history of ‘all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof’ – even the answer to the nagging question about where the dinosaurs came from! Again, all the questions can be answered if we can lift the condemnation and receive all the teachings the Lord desires us to have.” (Jack R. Christianson, and K. Douglas Bassett, Life Lessons From the Book of Mormon, 2007, p. 31)