Lesson 9: Isaiah’s Warning to Latter-day Saints – Hard Truth & Answers (For Our Day)

Set the Course

"Mountain of the Lord" Motion Picture

Isaiah prophesies of a refuge of safety for Israel, built in the “tops of the mountains.” Where did the Lord intend for this refuge to be built? The Lord revealed to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young that a headquarters of Zion would be built in the Rocky Mountains. The early pioneers called this portion of the kingdom of modern Israel, “Deseret.”
In 1993, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints produced an inspiring film documenting the sacrifices, faith, and miracles accompanying the building of the Salt Lake Temple and settlement of Utah by the early pioneers.
The history of early Deseret not only fulfilled ancient Biblical prophecy—but it laid the foundation and cast a critical vision for us today. On the shoulders of present and future Latter-day Saints rests the sacred responsibility to return to our moorings and finish the Lord’s commandments to build this long foretold stake of Zion in the Rocky Mountains. There is much work left to be done.
This film reminds us of Deseret’s vision, the sacrifices made by our forefathers to lay this foundation, and the duty we have to continue the legacy.

Warnings For Our Day

Isaiah’s strong warnings in the Book of Mormon are given to Latter-day Israel as a loving reminder to heed the witnesses and warnings from prophets, ancient and modern, in our day.  Two excellent talks given by Presidents of the Church who speak as watchmen on the tower—and incorporate the Book of Mormon in their counsel—are President Benson’s “A Witness and a Warning,” and President Hinckley’s 1997 Freedom Festival address. Please take the time to listen to these inspired servants of the Lord, then take their words to heart.

President Ezra Taft Benson, “A Witness and a Warning,” October 1979 General Conference

Full transcript available at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

President Gordon B. Hinckley Freedom Festival Speech 1997

Full transcript available at LatterdayConservative.com.

One of the resources referenced in the podcast for Lesson 9 is a talk given by Geoffrey Botkin about the critical war against fatherhood and masculinity in our day. His talk, “Hollywood’s Most Despised Villain,” is available below.

Trust in the Lord to Deliver from Great Peril

The Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi 11-19 prophesy of great destruction, persecution, and suffering that is yet to come in our own day. President Benson warned:

There is a real sifting going on in the Church, and it is going to become more pronounced with the passing of time. It will sift the wheat from the tares, because we face some difficult days, the like of which we have never experienced in our lives. And those days are going to require faith and testimony and family unity, the like of which we have never had.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie likewise counseled Latter-day Saints:

We see the faithful Saints perfecting their lives and preparing for the coming of him whose children they are, preparing for the glorious mansion he has promised them in the kingdom of his Father.  But the vision of the future is not all sweetness and light and peace. All that is yet to be shall go forward in the midst of greater evils and perils and desolations than have been known on earth at any time. . . . Is it any wonder that we both rejoice and tremble at what lies ahead?  Truly the world is and will be in commotion, but the Zion of God will be unmoved. . . . The way ahead is dark and dreary and dreadful. There will yet be martyrs; the doors in Carthage shall again enclose the innocent. We have not been promised that the trials and evils of the world will entirely pass us by.

We can find comfort, faith, and help for navigating these trials through the examples of those who have gone before us.

Isaiah’s other writings in the Bible often use the names of characters and events in his days as a type and shadow of similar events in the last days. For example, Assyria was a major threat against Israel’s survival in Isaiah’s day and he uses Assyria as a codeword, if you will, to describe the enemies against the saints in the last days. 

The following motion picture is an adaptation of the Biblical story of Hezekiah, who was king in Isaiah’s day. Isaiah and Hezekiah faced a major threat when Assyria came to destroy Jerusalem, after destroying all the surrounding Israelite cities. We can draw strength and faith from the miraculous story of their deliverance, in our own day.

Israel’s Leaders Are Rejected

Ancient Israel rejected the prophets and leaders who were sent to warn and teach them the ways of God. The Isaiah chapters that Jacob and Nephi quote throughout the Book of Mormon emphasize that this is the same for modern Israel, those who have made covenants with God (Latter-day Saints). The following are a few examples of little-known teachings and counsel of inspired modern prophets for Latter-day Saints today.

Prophets Warn Against Franklin D. Roosevelt & Liberal Policies in America

Just as Isaiah and prophets in scripture have spoken on political matters and even condemned kings and leaders for their wickedness, so in our day prophets have also commented on some of our leaders.  

President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the author of a series of federal programs known as the New Deal. The First Presidency, consisting of Presidents Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark Jr., and David O. McKay, all strongly and unitedly condemned New Deal policies because of their socialistic and unconstitutional nature. At that time, the leadership of the Church repeatedly warned the Saints that as a people and as a nation we were moving toward Communism.

Prophetic Teachings on Rock Music

James F. Stoddard, founder of the Joseph Smith Foundation, shares his journey of discovering forgotten teachings of the Presidents of the Church on rock music, as a young college student in an article titled, “Music: The Forgotten Language of the Heart” and a fireside titled, “Discover Music.”

My story with music begins when I was very young. This was the age long before CDs or MP3 players. This was the age of the radio and a few cassettes. About age seven or eight, I can remember feeling strongly that the spirit accompanying the popular music of the day (the late 70s, early 80s) was corrupt. I am not referring to the words or lyrics, but the music itself. I could sense that the pop songs played on the radio were dangerous–some dark, others irreverent and still others anxious.

As I grew older, the near universal sentiment was opposed to such notions. Teachers and religious leaders often promoted the music and were strongly in favor of such entertainment. To a young child, and later to a young adult, this was utterly confusing. I would like to reiterate that these impressions were NOT connected with the lyrics of these popular tunes. This inspiration was warning me of a more subtle communicator: the beat, rhythm and other dynamics of the composition itself. This perplexity, almost smothered, continued in the back of my mind until I returned home from my mission in 1991. Having a very inquiring mind, and some strong promptings, I took my questions back off the shelf and began searching for answers. I wanted to know if the leadership of the Church had spoken on this subject and if they had, what had they said? Thus began an extraordinary journey.

Sneak peek:

  • “Issues with Answers” – President David O. McKay’s advice to BYU students: no “electronic bands” and no “loud beat.”
  • President Ezra Taft Benson – “Have you been listening to the music that many young folks are hearing today? Some of it is nerve-jamming in nature and much of it has been deliberately designed to promote revolution, dope, immorality, and a gap between parent and child. And some of this music has invaded our Church cultural halls.”
  • President Harold B. Lee – “. . . there’s damnable rock music that appeals to the lower senses of man, where the offbeat [rock beat] is just as vile and abrasive to human thought as it can be.”
  • President Spencer W. Kimball – “Musical sounds can be put together in such a way that they can express feelings . . .”
  • President Boyd K. Packer – “Music can, by its tempo, by its beat, by its intensity, dull the spiritual sensitivity of men.”
  • “D&C 8:2 — The Mind and Heart” – Is music the language of the heart?
  • … and more!

Prophetic Teachings on Education

Nearly half a century ago, after hearing that the Supreme Court of the United States had removed prayer and religious instruction from public schools, President David O. McKay made this insightful and prophetic statement:

The Supreme Court of the United States severs the connecting cord between the public schools of the United States and the source of divine intelligence, the Creator Himself.

The prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon warned:

And also trust no one to be your teacher . . . except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments.

Have we as Latter-day Saints carefully watched over our educational system to ensure that only teachers with faith in God, only teachers that live by the commandments are employed? What of our textbooks and teaching materials?

President John Taylor over 100 years ago encouraged the Saints to get the vision of the Lord’s education program. He directed:

Establish schools taught by those of our own faith, where being free from the trammels of State aid, [we can] unhesitatingly teach the doctrines of true religion combined with the various branches of general education. . . . [Youth] should be made familiar with the contents of the Bible, Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. These should be their chief textbooks . . . but under the common school system this is not possible . . . We would like to see schools of this character, independent of the District School System started in all places where it is possible.

Could this advice be relevant today?  What is the future of education?  The Joseph Smith Foundation has collected many hundreds of statements from latter-day prophets, the Scriptures, and others regarding pertinent education issues.  Please take a look at our free online resources!

Learn what prophets have said about topics such as science, government, doctrinal issues, education, music, and more! The FAQs are a compilation of prophets statements and scripture on some of the most vital questions of our day.

Embark on the Journey

Monthly “I Am a Latter-day Nephite” Theme!

I will cherish and rely on the revelations of God in scripture and the inspired words of Latter-day prophets.

Remember: While you absolutely may do every activity suggested if you would like, it is certainly not needed, nor are you limited by the ideas given here. Choose one or more that will work with your learning style, available time, or the group that you are working with. Even if you are an adult, don’t hesitate to choose an activity originally aimed at children—those can be the most fun!

Feel free to run with any other ideas that come to your mind! Allow the Lord to guide you in choosing the best activities for you. The ultimate goal is to engage with the material and become a “doer of the word.”

  • If this is your first week here, welcome! Please review our Welcome & How to Join the Quest” for some helpful information on how to use this resource. You may also want to check out the Embark on the Journey section of Lesson 1 for some activities that will be helpful in getting you started on this quest. In particular, you’ll want a journal, and perhaps the “I Am a Latter-day Nephite” resolution and a fun Book of Mormon reading chart. Just start where you are in the year—don’t feel like you have to backtrack and do every lesson, but grab these helpful tools and you’ll be good to go from here!
  • If you choose to download or purchase a designed cardstock version of the “I’m a Latter-day Nephite” resolution, you may want to post it where you will see it every day—on the fridge or your mirror, for example. Ponder on this month’s statement “I will cherish and rely on the revelations of God in scripture and the inspired words of Latter-day prophets.”
    • Do we really put enough weight on the words of the prophets?
    • The Nephite people that survived the destructions preceding the coming of the Savior did so because “it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not” (3 Nephi 10:12). In a similar way we are preparing for the Second Coming of the Savior. We may not physically stone the prophets, but what are some ways we as a society and individually “stone the prophets” in our day?
  • As discussed in the podcast, the building of the temple in Salt Lake City was a fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah. In recent new temple open houses and the traveling tabernacle experience, the following videos have been shown:
  • In your journal, reflect on the following prompts:
    • Looking at your family growing up and/or your family now, where do you see proper gospel principles of fatherhood and divine masculinity? If they are not readily apparent, how can you make a change in your current or future family to follow prophetic guidance on the role of fathers?
    • What are your thoughts on God in education? If you have children at home, how can you help them to put God back into their secular studies (i.e. supplemental experiences, discussions, religious curriculum, etc.)? 
    • What areas of your life are ready to change to come out of Babylon? What hard truth do you feel the Spirit prompting you to face? What are you going to do to make those changes?
  • Identify one way that your nation or community has fallen away from Judeo-Christian principles and reach out to your representative (in the United States, a mayor or congressman, for example) to share your thoughts and what you would like to see change.
  • In the United States, 2024 is an election year. As we prepare to elect a new President and other elected officials, prayerfully consider the qualities you feel would be demonstrated by a righteous leader. Research the candidates and determine who you feel will lead and make decisions most in line with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Have some fun exploring the Deseret Alphabet. You can even write letters to someone in your family in the “code” of the Deseret Alphabet. 

Unless otherwise stated, reference to any products, services, hypertext link to third parties or other information by trade name, trademark, supplier or otherwise does not constitute or imply its endorsement or sponsorship by us. They are for convenience only.

All Hands on Deck

  • Pray each morning this week for the Lord to give you an opportunity to share your thoughts on the Book of Mormon and/or what you’ve learned this week with someone. 
  • Join the For Our Day community on social media for uplifting shareable content, ideas on how to implement For Our Day in your home and classes, and to connect with others on the journey. You can find us here: Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
  • Do a social media post in the Deseret Alphabet and share what you’ve learned about it.
  • Invite a friend or family member to attend the temple with you. Before you go, you could watch the two temple videos posted in the Embark on the Journey section.
  • Share your testimony of the prophet or temples with a friend or on social media.Tag us at #ForOurDay – we’d love to read your testimony!

Find the Treasure

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