Years ago while reading the Book of Mormon I became intrigued with the phrase “ripe in iniquity”.
We are informed in the scriptures that destruction is sent upon the Lord’s people AFTER they become ripe in iniquity.
The exact phrase shows up two times in the Book of Mormon.
I began doing key word and key topic searches to determine just exactly what constitutes the condition of the Lord’s people being ripe in iniquity.
My thinking was that if I could determine what constitutes being ripe in iniquity, I could more easily ascertain the final condition of the apostate church just prior to the return of the servants, who will be coming to gather the elect with the last warning and the last testimony.
During this search I arrived at all sorts of speculative theories on what the answer might be but I never really felt like I felt I knew the answer for certain.
Eventually, years later while reading in the D&C , it was revealed to me that the reason I could not find the answer to my question was because my question was based on a false assumption resulting in asking the wrong question.
I also realized that there is a synergism that comes from searching all four standard works when studying a topic, even if the key phrase in question only shows up in one of the canonized volumes.
Anyway, one day I finally realized that the Lord’s people don’t become ripe in iniquity BEFORE the servants return..
..they become ripe in iniquity AFTER the servants return!
The ultimate ripeness of iniquity is to SIN AGAINST THE LORD (Zeph 1-3) by rejecting the true servants of the Lord who come to warn and gather God’s people and restore the fulness of the gospel and the fulness of the priesthood.
I believe that a search on this topic in all four of the standard works, reveals that God always sends angels or true prophets to warn his apostate church BEFORE he sends destruction upon them.
2nd Nephi 28 speaks about the latter day gentiles and makes the following statement
“Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish. But behold, if the inhabitants of the earth shall repent of their wickedness and abominations they shall not be destroyed, saith the Lord of Hosts.”
Notice that the “Wo” issued to the latter day gentiles has to do with rejecting the “just” in favor of a “thing of naught”.
They will be saying that something that is presented to them which is “good” is “of no worth”.
Following that we are informed that God will visit the inhabitants of the earth and those who do not REPENT shall be DESTROYED.
The obvious implication of these verses pertain to the time when the light shines forth and the Marvelous Work and a Wonder begins to take place. At this time, additional books of scriptures are brought forth, messengers are sent forth to testify of the truth and warn the people, etc.
This is the time the Book of Mormon speaks of, defining the Marvelous Work and a Wonder as a time when a great polarization will take place, which will result in peace and life eternal to those who accept the last messengers.
It will result in captivity and destruction for those who become ripe in iniquity be rejecting the message from God’s messengers-
“For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other—either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds unto their being brought down into captivity, and also into destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil, of which I have spoken.” ( 1 Nephi 14:7)
It only makes sense that God warns his apostate people and gives them a final opportunity to repent BEFORE he sends his destruction upon them.
Clearly, it is the rejection of the gospel message, as delivered by God’s servants that constitutes being fully ripe in iniquity followed by destruction.
The Jerusalem that Lehi and his family fled from is a great type.
The Lord did not just destroy his people in Jerusalem once they became extremely iniquitous within their apostate condition, he first sent Lehi and other true prophets among them to warn them for the last time, but Lehi was forced to flee for his life and the other prophets that warned Jerusalem were “cast out, and stoned, and slain” (1 Nephi 1:20)
It was the rejection of God’s ordained servants that constituted His people being “ripe in iniquity“.
Another great type was the destruction of the people as recorded in 3rd Nephi.
The Lord didn’t just wait until the apostate people reached a certain depth of transgression before raining down judgments upon them, the key to the ripeness factor was the rejection of the call to repent from true messengers.
During the years just before Christ visited the Nephites with destruction, Nephi and other prophets went forth warning the people and inviting them to repent.
“And there began to be men inspired from heaven and sent forth, standing among the people in all the land, preaching and testifying boldly of the sins and iniquities of the people, and testifying unto them concerning the redemption which the Lord would make for his people...”
When the Lord did come with destruction, he makes the following statement-
“O ye people of these great cities which have fallen, who are descendants of Jacob, yea, who are of the house of Israel, how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you.
5 And again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, who have fallen; yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, ye that dwell at Jerusalem, as ye that have fallen; yea, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not.
6 O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart.”
The Lord is informing them and us of a great principle in the above statements.
God offers to nourish and gather his people before he sends destruction on those who reject his messengers.
When reading the above passages, in the LDS scriptures, notice footnote 5a-
It takes you to section 43 in which we are informed that once again in the 3rd watch Christ is going to rain down destruction upon the gentiles who reject his servants and he will once again say, from heaven, almost word for word the same thing to the Gentiles that he said to the Nephites-
First he will send forth his servants in the 3rd watch to-
“Call upon the nations to repent, both old and young, both bond and free, saying: Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord” (43:20)
Following the invitation and warning of the first laborers of the last kingdom, the testimony of thunders and lightnings will sound.
“For if I [Joseph Smith] , who am a man, do lift up my voice and call upon you to repent, and ye hate me, what will ye say when the day cometh when the thunders shall utter their voices from the ends of the earth, speaking to the ears of all that live, saying—Repent, and prepare for the great day of the Lord?
22 Yea, and again, when the lightnings shall streak forth from the east unto the west, and shall utter forth their voices unto all that live, and make the ears of all tingle that hear, saying these words—Repent ye, for the great day of the Lord is come?”
Finally we are informed that after the testimony of God’s servants and the lightnings and thunders, The Lord will utter his voice from heaven again saying virtually the same thing to the gentiles that he did to the Nephites-
23 And again, the Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven, saying: Hearken, O ye nations of the earth, and hear the words of that God who made you.
24 O, ye nations of the earth, how often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not!
25 How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind, and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of mercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not!
26 Behold, the day has come, when the cup of the wrath of mine indignation is full.
27 Behold, verily I say unto you, that these are the words of the Lord your God.”
The scenario in 3rd Nephi is going to be repeated in the third watch and Christ will utter almost the exact same words that he did in 3rd Nephi!
Does the above sequence of events mentioned in section 43 ring a bell?
It is the same sequence given in section 88 where the Lord reminds the first elders that-
“AFTER YOUR TESTIMONY cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand and also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds” (88:88-91)
As you can see, the latter day apostate church will not become fully ripe in iniquity before the servants return. Indeed, it is AFTER they return that the unbelieving portion of the apostate church will become fully ripe in iniquity.
The only way to know who the servants are and when they have returned is to treasure up the word of God and to take the Holy Spirit as your guide.
One last thing, in doing the key word search pertaining to ripe and iniquity, I came across the following scripture in Alma 10 that probably sheds a typological light on the LDS succession crisis as well as the topic of an apostate people becoming ripe for destruction-
“Yea, well did Mosiah say, who was our last king, when he was about to deliver up the kingdom, having no one to confer it upon, causing that this people should be governed by their own voices—yea, well did he say that if the time should come that the voice of this people should choose iniquity, that is, if the time should come that this people should fall into transgression, they would be ripe for destruction.
20 And now I say unto you that well doth the Lord judge of your iniquities; well doth he cry unto this people, by the voice of his angels: Repent ye, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The above passages indicate that since King Mosiah had no one to deliver the kingdom to and confer the governing keys to, the people were left to be “governed by their own voices“.
It also speaks of how the people become ripe for destruction by rejecting the voice of his angels.
As we have discussed in previous posts, this is essentially what happened during the LDS succession crisis. The Church was split into about seven major schisms when the only person who had been ordained as a prophet seer and revelator had been rejected by the Church.
Each schism was governed by the voice of the people who chose their own leaders, or at least, chose which of the claimants they wanted to follow.
These passages in the Book of Mormon inform us that once God’s people fall into transgression, they would be ripe for destruction. They also inform us that angels had been crying repentance to them and, as we have demonstrated, it is the rejection of the call to repent from God’s messengers that constitutes the fulness of being ripe in iniquity.
Section 43 provides a very strict protocol for succession over the Church and kingdom of God in the latter days.
It informs us nobody except Joseph Smith will ever be appointed to receive commandments and revelations for the church IF Joseph continues to abide in the Lord.
The apparent reason for that is that if the church was obedient to the commandments, Joseph was to lead the Church to Zion and to preside over the translation of the Saints and a rapture, just as Enoch did with his people.
The law of succession in 43 stipulates however that Joseph could ordain another to that calling as a result of his own transgression.
God, in his infinite foreknowledge understood that the Saints would not repent and be obedient and that Joseph, like Moses of old would need to make an atonement for Israel and take upon him their transgressions.
History informs us that almost exactly one decade after the law of succession was given in section 43, Joseph did indeed receive a revelation to ordain Hyrum to the calling of being “prophet seer and revelator unto my church” to “act in concert” with Joseph.
Shortly after that, Joseph announced at a conference that he would no longer act in the “office” of co-prophet from that time forth.
After the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum, the various fragments of the church were left to be governed by the voice of the people.
HOWEVER- The law of succession in section 43 gives the following warning-
“And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments; and this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me.
For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed”
The whole reason for the succession crisis in Nauvoo is that the only living man who had “come in at the gate” and been “appointed by the Lord” was Sidney Rigdon.
He was the only living person who had entered through the gate of spiritual rebirth AND been ordained a prophet seer and revelator, and recieved every gift and calling that Joseph had been given, by the gift of prophecy, by God’s anointed prophet.
One of the few people at the time of the succession crisis who has a modern revelation scholar was William Marks, President of the Nauvoo Stake.
At the kangaroo trial that Brigham and his masonic brethren held for Sidney in absentia, William Marks mustered up all the courage he had and made the following declaration in defense of Sidney Rigdon-
“I laid my hands on brother Sidney with brother Joseph and he ordained hm to be a prophet, seer and revelator and be equal with him in holding the keys and authority of this kingdom”
Marks then pointed out that he was aware of every major ordination that had taken place and he was not aware of anyone else who had been ordained to the same calling as Sidney Rigdon-
“Now, is there a man in the Church who has received the ordination of Prophet Seer and Revelator? If there is, I want to see him!” I think I am knowing to all the ordinations but I don’t know of a man who has been ordained to the office and calling Brother Sidney has; ad if he is cut off, who will we have to obtain revelations?”
Marks then made a very astute observation… one that made the crisis so difficult-
“the Quorum of the Twelve don’t have the authority to ordain someone a prophet seer and revelator!”
” A man must be in possession of this power to be able to ordain a prophet and a seer and a revelator”
In short, Marks was simply pointing out that Rigdon was the only living person that had come through the gate and been ordained according to the law of succession in section 43. Rigdon was the only living prophet seer and revelator who had been approved by God to function in the highest priesthood quorum of the church and kingdom.
Marks was pointing out that the Quorum of the Twelve did not have authority to ordain someone to a power they themselves did not possess.
Of course Brigham Young and his brethren had the opportunity to correct Marks on these declarations and provide evidence that there was someone else who qualified but they remained silent on this issue.
Marks went on to explain that the quorum of the first presidency as never meant to be disorganized and he warned that if it was, it would leave no one to preside over the church-
“..I have never supposed that this quorum [of the First Presidency] could be disorganized!”
“..Who Will preside over the church?”
As you can see, Sidney was the only one that met the conditions of the law of succession as outlined in section 43, but Sidney was rejected by the main body of the Church.
Brigham and the others had clearly not “come in at the gate”. A close perusal at Brigham’s actions and his own acknowledgments in his personal journal reveals that he had not received the spiritual rebirth. LDS history reveals that Brigham was never ordained to be a prophet seer and revelator.
To further complicate things, Brigham was a member of the traveling quorum of the twelve apostles who had been given a strict command to not preside in any of the organized stakes of Zion. Their specific calling was missionary work outside of the stakes of Zion.
As you can see, section 43 was very prophetic. It foretold the replacing of Joseph with someone else because of Joseph’s transgression.
The Lord knew that Joseph and the church would not be successful in redeeming Zion in the 2nd watch.
The Lord was making it perfectly clear that another prophet seer and revelator would need to be ordained in the proper way, by revelation and the gift of Prophecy via the Lord’s anointed, at a future time.
That person was Hyrum.
Section 43 provides a clear protocol of the succession doctrine and section 124 provides a clear example of how the protocol is to take place. Section 124 makes it clear by published revelation through the existing prophet, who the next prophet seer and revelator is to be. Following that, he is ordained by the existing prophet.
The Lord also had Sidney, another member of the quorum, ordain as a prophet seer and revelator as well.
The Lord knew that after the death of Hyrum, the saints would reject Sidney and that the leadership of the church would ultimately default to someone who would be chosen by the “voice of the People” according to the “law of common consent” and that the church would be led without an inspired prophet seer and revelator who had been called and chosen by the Lord… someone who had entered in at the proper gate and been properly ordained by the gift of prophecy.
The Lord apparently decided to leave the apostate church without excuse by providing the succession protocol in section 43.
He therefore warned us that whoever the church chose to lead the church (regardless of which faction) would not be approved of God to teach doctrine or to present “revelations” or “commandments”.
God knew that the apostate faction that would retain the mandate to take the preparatory gospel to the nations of the earth, would appoint a man who had not come in through the GATE or been properly ordained.
This man would ultimately introduce another gospel to the saints.
He would implement a new array of covenants and ordinances that were not contained in the scriptures the were approved by God when Joseph was alive. (42:12 & 124:119)
He would teach an array of doctrines that contradicted the original doctrines of the restoration including the doctrine that Adam is God the Father and was the literal father of Christ, having had carnal sex with Mary.
He knew that this man would not seriously attempt to personally have all things in common with the Saints as required in the LAW of the gospel, indeed, this man would be a multi-millionaire real estate tycoon when he died.
He knew this man would add and delete sections to the doctrine and covenants without being authorized to do so.
He knew this man would mock the holy celestial law of monogamy as contained in the LAW of the Gospel found in section 42 and would claim that every word he spake could be considered as scripture.
The list of doctrines this man introduced to the church is to long to address at this time and I have gotten off of the original topic in my rant!
Suffice it to say-
“And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments; and this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me.”
Have we Latter day Saints received the teachings of anyone who has not come in at the gate, being called by prophecy and ordained by the Lords anointed to be the Prophet Seer and Revelator of the Church?
If so, we have most certainly been deceived.
Despite the awful situation we are currently in, being led by the latter day hirelings of the flock, no portion of the church will be fully ripe in iniquity until after they have been warned by the properly ordained servants and then rejected their message.