December 11, 2016
Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ. This is a day of trouble and danger on many fronts.
As the people of Christ, we should not be surprised by these events. What is surprising is the
anemic response of the people of God to the day of trouble in the world.
The world's challenges include political uncertainty and tremendous social unrest between
various people groups and religions of the world. There is an increasing degree of lawlessness in
the societies of the world as well as governmental unrest. The economy is fragile worldwide.
Terrorism and personal violence appear to be on the rise. Even the elements are in turmoil with
storms, earthquakes, fires and water contamination.
If any day has ever seemed to fit the description of the last days, the days in which we live
qualify. The issues of civil unrest, corruption, health crises, violence and family stress appear to
ignore the reality that essential laws of truth and righteousness are beyond the scope of political
solutions. We know the only cure for these ills is repentance with deep humility and honoring the
God of this and all lands.
The Restoration gospel was especially prepared for such a day as this. We are stewards of this
great gift today and we find ourselves unprepared, weak and divided. Now is a day for the Saints
of the living God to come together to accomplish the work of the kingdom of God and the
gathering of the House of Israel (see Psalm 50:5).
Jesus died for the souls of men, women and children. He died to liberate us from the grip of
eternal death and bring us safe again into the Father’s presence through the gospel of Jesus
Christ. Our calling is to extend the declaration of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the
earth. We confess the hand of the Lord is preparing the way for the gospel to move forward to
meet the challenges of this day and to fulfill the words of the prophets.
The Restoration branches have two choices. We can continue to view ourselves as pieces of a
fractured church, much like a window that has been broken by a rock. We can defend our piece
of glass, using the sharp edges and points to harm or drive others away, or we can surrender our
individual pieces into the hand of the Lord and let him make something new and beautiful out of
us, as the craftsman does in creating a stained-glass window.
Agency of individuals and groups is a precious thing. Our Father gave us agency in creation and
redeemed our agency in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He bought it for us by the
blood of the Son. He preserves our agency by the word of his power.
Agency was given for the exercise of charity. In Genesis 7:39-40 the Lord told Enoch agency
was intended to allow us to choose to love each other as brothers and sisters and to choose God as
our Father. This is true love. It is consistent with the testimony of Jesus when he revealed the two
greatest commandments of the law (Matthew 22:34-39) and John’s witness in his first epistle.
One Protestant theologian has written that sin is disordered love. When any person chooses to
love outside of the parameters of the love which God proposed, he or she is committing sin. It is
sin against God and his intent for our lives and his creation. This is inordinate love of self, idols
or false gods.
The evidence of our disordered love is seen in fear, fighting, divisions, dissension, pride,
bitterness and envy. Where is faith, hope and charity?
God is calling us to repentance. The words of Zenos regarding the olive tree in the vineyard of
Jacob 3 apply to the Restoration branches.
Who is it that has corrupted my vineyard? And it came to pass that the servant said unto
his master, Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard? Have not the branches thereof overcome
the roots, which are good? And because the branches have overcome the roots thereof,
behold, they grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves.
Behold, I say, Is not this the cause that the trees of thy vineyard have become corrupted
The word applies because rather than submit to the hand of the Lord of the vineyard, we have
rebelled against him and exalted the branches above the root. He has called us to be one and we
have continually refused. He has scattered and divided us to humble ourselves, but we have
become proud in our independence and perception of right thinking. We give lip service to the
scriptures and to the genuine calling of the Lord to the latter-day church while setting ourselves
up as judges over our brothers and sisters and suffering them or refusing them based on standards
of our own making. Do men preach the fullness of the gospel? Do men follow the patterns of
D&C 52:4 and preach by the standard of D&C 50:4-5? Why are we divided on minutiae? As in
the days of his visit to Bountiful, the Lord can set things aright in a moment when the time is
This is a time to humble ourselves before the Lord. We are scattered and distressed because
God’s hand is on us to chasten us for our sin and pride. He is seeking to convince us that his
wisdom, not ours, is all that matters. We must surrender pride of place and position and abandon
priestcraft. Be generous one to another and in brotherly kindness serve one another in affection
and charity that is worthy of the Saints of the Most High God.
Agency is a powerful thing. When used as our Father intended, it allows the fullness of the
blessing of God and Christ into our souls. The misuse of agency, a refusal to love God
completely as our Father and to love one another, excludes us from Celestial glory and perhaps
consigns us to wait for the Second Resurrection and, at best, Telestial glory.
Ezekiel was told to raise a warning voice in his generation. Like other warning voices, Ezekiel
was to call the people to repentance. And the Lord said:
Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore, hear the
word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou
shalt surely die-and thou givest him not warning nor speakest to warn the wicked from
his wicked way, to save his life-the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his
blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his
wickedness nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered
thy soul. Again, when a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness and commit
iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because thou hast not given
him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be
remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the
righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live because
he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul (Ezekiel 3:17-21).
We, of the Restoration, have been charged to preach the gospel to all the people of the world,
first to the Gentiles and then to the Jews. We are commanded to take the Book of Mormon to the
remnant of the House of Israel. We have a message of repentance and a voice of warning to
Let us now rally to the cause of Christ and labor together for the common cause of the gospel
and Zion. Our organizational disputes are a distraction we cannot afford. It is time for the elders
to come together to seek the Lord’s direction and to be bold in preaching the gospel in the last
days. It is a day for filling our vessels with oil, NOT comparing designs and functionality of our
It is therefore, a day of repentance. Repentance from dead works and from whatever is more
important to us today than the gospel and the salvation of souls. We must forsake our individual
and corporate idols. We must repent of priestcraft in all its forms. We must abandon Babylon’s
system of secret combinations.
It is a day for humility and sore repentance before the Lord. It is a day of sackcloth and ashes. It
is a day of fasting, mourning and mighty prayer.
Everything else is a distraction. Seek to love the Truth and sell it not. There is a day coming
when these other matters will be dealt with for good.
Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient
shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days; and the rebellious shall be cut off
out of the land of Zion, and shall be sent away, and shall not inherit the land; for verily, I
say that the rebellious are not of the blood of Ephraim; wherefore, they shall be plucked
out. Behold, I, the Lord, have made my church in these last days like unto a judge sitting
on a hill, or in a high place, to judge the nations; for it shall come to pass that the
inhabitants of Zion shall judge all things pertaining to Zion; and liars and hypocrites shall
be proved by them; and they who are not apostles and prophets shall be known (D&C
Who will we be? Those who yield their heart with a willing mind and faithful obedience and thus
eat the spoils of the land of Zion? Or will we be the rebellious who are cast out of the land.
The day will come when those who are not apostles and prophets will be made known. When
that day comes, we can settle our secondary disputes. Until then, there is the real, urgent work of
his Kingdom that must be done. Even in our fractured condition we can carry the same message
of the fullness of his restored gospel. Let us, therefore, together become those with willing minds
and hearts yielding to obey the Lord in all things. Secondly, let every man, every Saint, learn his
or her duty and with one voice let us preach repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ for the
glory of the kingdom of God and the restoration of the House of Israel. Today is not a day of
many words, but of choosing and of action, so let us therefore, in the name of Jesus Christ, rally
to the gospel call and work while the day lasts. If we do nothing, the blood of this generation will
stain our garments at that last day when opportunity for repentance and the cleansing power of
the blood of the Lamb will have passed.
In Gospel Bonds,
Gary R. Whiting & Randy L. Vick
Apostles of Jesus Christ by the will of God.