Off key: Religions so close, yet so far away

“I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles…and you have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.  But I have this against you….” (Revelation 2:2-4).

The Lord has “something” against certain ones calling themselves true believers while perverting the gospel and slandering His disciples.

When I heard of Florence Foster Jenkins, I thought of these who are both deceived and deceivers….

This woman who lived from 1868 to 1944 was a patron of the arts in New York City. She was rich and generous and in a hundred ways kind and gracious.  Her one over-riding fault was that she thought of herself as a gifted singer.  She was not.  In fact, she was comically bad.  And yet, her husband and those around her conspired to keep the truth from her.  When she learned the truth, she was devastated and died soon afterward.

In The New Yorker’s review of the new movie–the title is her name–the opening paragraph is wonderful and poignant and lends itself to our application.

The defining talent of Florence Foster Jenkins (1868-1944) was that she had no talent.  Of this she was unaware.  As a singer, she could not hit a note, yet somehow she touched a chord–murdering tune after tune, and drawing a legion of fans to the scene of the crime. Never has ignorance been such cloudless bliss; her self-delusion, buoyed by those about her, amounted to a kind of genius, and the story of that unknowing has now inspired a bio-pic….

May I make a prediction?

In Heaven, I can see a time when some celestial teacher gives a class about certain religious variations on the Gospel theme which, like Mrs. Jenkins, were almost right, but always wrong.  As with the tragic, near-comic story of this no-talent lady, it will be shown that the millions of followers of this religion or that cult were hood-winked. They were conned, deceived, and in many cases, actually enjoyed the deception.

The masses who followed these charlatans enjoyed their “cloudless bliss,” living out their earthly existence in expectation of a heaven filled with imaginary delights based on false promises given by deceitful prophets.

The Jim Jones, Joseph Smiths, Brigham Youngs, and Judge Rutherfords of history will have as much to account for as the Joseph Stalins and Adolf Hitlers, I expect.

So, why do people follow false prophets whose made-up theologies and home-made promises are without any factual basis?

“My people love it so,” said the Lord of His rebellious children. “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land:  The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority, and My people love it so!” (Jeremiah 5:31).

Why do people stay in these cults which promise so much without a shred of evidence for their claims and promises?

They love the deception. Their bliss is based on their ignorance. And as with Mrs. Jenkins, they do not want their ignorance messed with.

A ton of articles have been written, for instance, to show that the scriptures and holy writings of the Mormon faith (LDS) are false and unreliable.  And yet millions of these dear deluded people go right on year after year believing the nonsense they were taught, and basing their eternal souls on the delusion.  Why don’t they wise up?  Even many who have read the truth and know the deceit of their historic leadership go right on as before, scarcely pausing to catch their breath.

It is a matter of historical record that Joseph Smith prophesied that people live on the moon, that they are giants, and they dress like Quakers.

When I asked one of their leaders what he did with such a prophesy, he calmly answered, “He wasn’t speaking as a prophet, but was merely giving his opinion.”

Oh, I get it.  If it’s something you like, he was speaking as a prophet.  If you don’t like it, he wasn’t.

The first edition of the Book of Mormon–said by Joseph Smith to be the most perfect book ever–was found to have numerous inaccuracies, such as a compass, hundreds of years before it was invented.  A fierce wind drove the people across the Atlantic for (180 days? I’m not sure).  When someone realized that a wind of 10 mph would drive the boats 240 miles in a 24-hour period, and 180 days would cause them to circle the earth a few times, they “felt led” to correct their flawless scriptures.

Why do people put up with it? Why do they allow themselves to be deceived without rising up and taking charge of their eternal destinies?

When I asked a Mormon leader how he could believe this, “I know it’s true because it gives me a warm feeling inside when I read it.”

They love it so.

He loved warm feelings.

I told him chili did that for me.

He was offended.

One would think he would care more about the offense of the liar who initiated this vast deceit in the first place.  But wait, I remember.  The people love it so.

God help us all.

 

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