When the opposition rejoices, it doesn’t mean they’re winning

Oct 23, 2019
5 min read

There are a lot of changes happening in the Church today, and for some, it is refreshing, but for others, it is concerning.

I have heard some explain that various groups that have criticized the Church are happy with some recent changes because they think they are getting their way; some more conservative church members agree and are upset.

Some people out there might be hearing church critics patting themselves on the back saying:

Ha! We have successfully forced the Church to change its policies because of the pressure we put on them. The Church is just a human-made organization that is losing members and money and will compromise its doctrine and principles to survive. Let’s see what else we can get them to compromise on next! #TOTALSCAM #WEKNEWIT

But is the Church (or the Lord) capitulating to the world? Lehi was told to go and preach to the people in Jerusalem, and the people’s response did have an effect. The reaction of the people required the Lord to have Lehi flee with his family to save his life.

In that way, you could say that outside influences had an impact on the Lord’s work, but not in the way they might have thought. They might have rejoiced at how Lehi responded to their persecution by saying something like:

So much for Lehi being a prophet of the Lord! We yelled at him and threw some stones, and he ran away like a coward! Sure, we were planning on killing him, but where was the Lord? He sure wasn’t watching over and protecting his so-called ‘prophet’ from us! #FAKEPROPHET #LELIE

Well, it turns out that God had other plans. It worked out well for Lehi in the end and no so well for them. They didn’t know the mind of God and trusted only in what they thought they saw rather than what was.

Laman and Lemuel acted in much the same way:

“And now it came to pass that I, Nephi, was exceedingly sorrowful because of the hardness of their hearts; and now when they saw that I began to be sorrowful they were glad in their hearts, insomuch that they did rejoice over me, saying: We knew that ye could not construct a ship, for we knew that ye were lacking in judgment; wherefore, thou canst not accomplish so great a work.” #NOBOATNEPHI #SHOULDHAVESTAYEDINJERUSALEM

1 Nephi 17:19

The opposition thought they were winning because they misunderstood Nephi’s body language. Nephi was not sorrowing because he doubted himself; he was sorrowing because of Laman and Lemuel’s doubt. They rejoiced over the wrong things.

The army of Giddianhi also prematurely rejoiced over what they thought they saw:

“And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites, when they saw the appearance of the army of Giddianhi, had all fallen to the earth, and did lift their cries to the Lord their God, that he would spare them and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies.

And it came to pass that when the armies of Giddianhi saw this they began to shout with a loud voice, because of their joy, for they had supposed that the Nephites had fallen with fear because of the terror of their armies. #NEPHITESARECOWARDS #EASYWIN

But in this thing they were disappointed, for the Nephites did not fear them; but they did fear their God and did supplicate him for protection; therefore, when the armies of Giddianhi did rush upon them they were prepared to meet them; yea, in the strength of the Lord they did receive them.”

3 Nephi 4:8-10

When the big picture isn’t known, some may rejoice over the wrong things. They see and claim victory where there is none and comfort themselves in their false hopes built upon incorrect assumptions.

We live in a day when our culture and society are rapidly changing, and all kinds of new ideas are invented and promoted daily. What is the source of these ideas? Do they have a foundation, or are they hovering in the air only to come crashing down at any moment?

As the world is twisting and distorting certain essential things, shouldn’t we expect some additional instruction or light from the Lord to help us see things better, line upon line?

Consider the following verses and notice how well they apply to the climate of our day:

For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

2 Nephi 28:30-32

We live in a world of headlines. The world sees good in all of the wrong places and expects evil from anything that appears or attempts to be good.

The world doesn’t see reality through the lens of context, deep thought, meditation, pondering, searching, scripture and revelation.

Imagine only being able to read half a novel, or quitting at the climax when all seems lost. We read books word after word, and line after line; God reveals things to us in the same way.

Remember, we know how this story ends so let’s not be too hasty.



  1. This is a really good point. I’ve felt a little worried lately that some writers I respect seem to be reacting reflexively to changes in the church that *appear* to be “capitulating” to feminism or whatever. They seem to think that if something is making the feminists (or whoever) gleeful, it must not be truly inspired. Or they think maybe God is letting it happen because it’s “what we (in all our badness, like JS asking to let Martin take the plates) deserve” but not because it’s what’s truly good. And maybe that is correct, sometimes, but I can’t think that way—it’s too depressing! I have to just believe that changes in the church ARE happening just as God wishes. And we should try to embrace and be happy about them (and not speculate that they’re actually because we weren’t worthy of a higher way). At least, for me that is a better way to view things and brings me more peace.

    • Yeah, there are a lot of people taking the negative take on things. Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually a VERY skeptical person. I do think that there are probably many IN the church in high places that want to push woke agendas, Boyd K. Packer said as much one time (there are false doctrines spoken over our pulpits and printed in our magazines).

      I just think you have to look at the other side as well. God is always in the details there somewhere. I was talking about this with my Mother-in-law the other day. When God’s people are righteous, like King Benjamin’s people, they’ll take new revelation with gratitude. But when the people are a mix of righteous and wicked, when the world has infected their minds, then any revelation may look like apostasy.

      We can make mistakes as a church, and I think we have, but we can correct those mistakes. I like the direction we are going and I didn’t really think that some of these things would have been possible a few years ago and here they are.

      I am, as always, cautiously optimistic.

  2. I simply remember when Nephi said, “I know he loveth his children, but I know not the meaning of all things.” When it comes to things the Lord does that I don’t understand, I remember that at some point, I will. But when I finally do understand the “why” of everything…. will it even matter?

    • That’s a great question to ponder. It does seem that if it were necessary to understand the why of everything then there would be a way for anyone to understand anything at any time.

      Even with the Brother of Jared’s great faith, the Lord could show him all things, but nothing was said about him being able to understand what he saw. I think the eternal retrospect we will have WILL matter as we progress in the eternities.

      Whenever I encounter difficulty with anything, and things look blurry, I eventually come to realize that I’m too close to the problem and so I zoom out to a wider angle and everything tends to clarify.

      Think of things in terms of micro-whys and macro-whys. We may not understand all of the micro-whys, but we can understand all the macro-whys. Elder Bednar taught that doctrines answer the question of why, so we can always fall back onto the macro-whys as a sure foundation. Perhaps if we start there and then follow the trail down we can understand the micro-whys better than if we just examine at them as isolated issues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *