Today I read Docrtine and Covenants section 56. I was immediately struck by the tone of the section as soon as I started reading it. The very first line was powerful, "Hearken, O ye that profess my name, saith the Lord your God". Even before the next phrase where the Lord declared He was angry I got the feeling He was not pleased with the people. It was the word profess. I got a strong feeling that the Lord feels that the people are not sincere in their devotion to Him.
It got me thinking of the difference between the word profess and confess. Because have been told in the scriptures that every tongue will confess that the Lord is God among other things. But the word profess just gives a whole different meaning/conotation compared to confess. I looked up both words and they were very similar in definition with one exception. With the word profess, the very first definition had a negative conatation. Specifically of being insincere.
Which led to other thoughts. I served my mission in California among the Chinese speaking population as I believe I have mentioned in the past. I'm a little ashamed to admit that as missionaries when we would meet someone who said they were a Buddhist, we basically reacted as if someone had told us they were Catholic. By that I mean we assumed that they had a basic belief in God but never went to church and did not really adhere to the tennents of their belief. Now, my intent is not to bash anyone's religion. I have met good, wonderful people who attend Catholic church every single week and live the teaches of their church, but I think even they would agree with me that they are the minority.
We unfortunately live in a day and age where "being religious" does not really hold much weight anymore. Most people will tell you that they are religious, but they do not attend church. I will say though that I think it is different based on geography. Since moving down to Alabama, I have met more non-LDS people who really do attend church every Sunday. It's kinda nice actually. There are many, many more people though that consider themselves close to God and feel they are religious that would be hard pressed to tell you the last time they stepped foot into a church building and do not follow their own church's beliefs. I am by no means an expert on other church's beliefs, but I know for fact that we are not the only church that teaches no sex before marriage or not drinking to excess if at all. And yet, the LDS church is not without it's members who do not adhere to the rules although I do feel we have a higher percentage of people following the rules than average or is the new norm.
The point to all this though, is I feel that when God looks at such people if He were to describe them, I think He would use the word profess instead of confess in regards to their belief in Him. God does not want people who are idle in their worship of Him. God requires certain things from His followers and I suspect that when we do not hold up our end of the bargain, He views it as a mockery. We of course do not perceive it that way, but put yourself in His shoes. Say you had a friend, and you needed that friend's help. You ask and he says yes he will be there to help out. On the given day at the given time your friend does not show up. What's worse, when you finally catch up him, he does not feel remorse in the slightest and wonders why you are upset with him. This same friend as time goes on start's doing things that you and he promised each other you would never do, starts using bad languge, sleeping around and using drugs. Does it really sound like this person is your friend? You can't really blame Heavenly Father for getting upset with us and saying that we are professing his name instead of confessing it.
This is the reason that God proclaimed to Joseph Smith that the people drew near unto God with their lips but their hearts were far from Him. As He said, as recorded in the book of John in the New Testament, if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. Other scriptures urge us to be doers of the word and not hearers only. It should be no surprise if Heavenly Father does not take our commitment to Him seriously. He has already spelled out for us what it means to be true disciples to Him and if we don't do it, we should not be surprised if He does not feel we are sincere in our faith to Him. As we strive to live our lives in accordance with His teachings and true principles, I hope that you will strive to confess your belief in Him and not just profess it. Until tomorrow.