2 Nephi 15:13-24 — LeGrand Baker — premeditated blindness
2 Nephi 15:13-24
13 Therefore, my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge; and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.
14 Therefore, hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure; and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.
18 Wo unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope;
19 That say: Let him make speed, hasten his work, that we may see it; and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it.
20 Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
21 Wo unto the wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight!
22 Wo unto the mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink;
23 Who justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!
24 Therefore, as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, their root shall be rottenness, and their blossoms shall go up as dust; because they have cast away the law of the Lord of Hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel (2 Nephi 15:13-24).
In these verses, Isaiah has not so much given a catalog of sin as he has a description of premeditated blindness. His imagery is of the rich, learned, and powerful who are enslaved to their own absurdity. Who, like the most menial of slaves, are reduced to beasts of burden which “draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope.” Their world is so inverted that they “call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.” They neither know nor understand the realities of the world in which they live.
Two or three weeks ago (written in January 1999) Jim Cannon described to me the mathematical concept of an infinitely multi-dimensional object whose expanse reaches eternity. As he spoke I envisioned Ezekiel’s wheels which are an extension of the wondrous beings who are near the throne of God, and for the first time ever I had an imaginary image of what is meant by “God stood in the midst of them,” meaning the members of the Council.
The world we live in is nothing like that, yet it counterfeits everything like that. It offers temporary glory, passing power, vane riches, and expensive toys which break. Everything about such things insist they are transitory — everything about “worldliness” insists they are real. One of the major objects of one’s being in this physical environment is to give one experience so the person within may assert itself and define for oneself the difference between real and transitory.
Earlier this week, I wrote Cray a note in which I said, “I suspect that when we came into this world we were able to bring with us our love for the Saviour and our love for the people we loved then. While we are on this earth, everything around us testifies that it is temporary and tentative. When we die, that testimony is proven to be true. When we leave this world we have the power to keep what we brought with us and nurtured here — our love for the Saviour and our love for our family and friends. If we do not have that to take, we go empty handed.”
The Lord told the Prophet Joseph, “And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” (D&C 130:19)
I suspect the word “knowledge” must be understood in the way it was used by the Lord when he explained:
23 Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth;
24 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;
25 And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.
26 The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth;
27 And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments.
28 He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things (D&C 93:23-28).
And also I suspect the word “intelligence” should be understood to be the same as, “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake that evil one.” (D&C 93:36-37)
If those assumptions are correct, then “if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life,” he will have to do it in terms of his love for the Saviour and for His children. Otherwise rather than “ knowledge and intelligence” the person will only have acquired information and appetite which may have no relevance to truth. I cannot find in the scriptures that a Ph.D.’s worth of that kind of information or appetite will have much eternal value.
It seems to me that Isaiah is bemoaning the fate of those who walk on their heads in a world turned upside down — who have eyes but cannot see, ears but cannot hear, a mouth which cannot speak the truth — Well, you know the rest of the sequence. Think it through. It seems that Isaiah is saying, “Get with it. It’s either God’s way or nothing!”