One of my favorite Bible stories is that of the prophet Elijah and the priest of Baal. Elijah was a prophet during a time of great wickedness among the Israelites. They had a wicked King, King Ahab and his wife Queen Jezebel. Jezebel made an order that all the prophets of God must be killed, but Obadiah, the King’s servant, hid 100 of the prophets instead of killing them. Most of the Israelites no longer followed God, but worshiped idols instead. In time, when the people would not repent, the Lord sent a famine upon the land. It did not rain, their crops did not grow, many of their animals died. When the Lord felt like it was time to end the famine he sent Elijah to the king. Elijah told Ahab to gather all of the people of Israel and all of the Priests of Baal and other false priests that ate at Jezebel’s table. Knowing Elijah to be a powerful prophet, Ahab obeyed.
Elijah told the people they would know who the true God was that day.
Elijah had the priests prepare a bull for a sacrifice. When they did, he told them to use no fire, but to call on their God to bring fire down from heaven. The priests prayed to Baal and nothing happened. They cut themselves, as the scripture said was their custom, and nothing happened.
In the evening Elijah rebuilt the alter of the Lord, prepared a bull and put wood there to burn. Then he built a trench around the alter. He soaked the alter, the wood, the trench, and the bull with water. He called to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and all of Israel to bring down fire. The Lord sent fire and the bull, the water, the wood, and the stones were all consumed. The people then declared that the Lord is God. Soon after the famine ended. (1 Kings 17 and 1 Kings 18)
We have had such a miracle even in our day. The servant that brought this miracle was the Prophet Joseph Smith. In Joseph Smith’s time, just as in our time, there were many who clamored and claimed that they had the truth. Joseph called upon the God of Israel, and the Lord answered. Through Joseph Smith, the world received the knowledge of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, sacred covenants and ordinances, temples and temple work, forever families, healings, and miracles. Through Joseph Smith, fire has been brought down from Heaven. It has been brought down in the form of the Holy Ghost that can be given to all who are baptized and continue to obey the commandments. It has been brought down through the power of the priesthood. The famine of the knowledge of God ended with Joseph Smith and the restoration.
With the Church revealing the seer stone, I heard someone compare it to oddities such as Ouija boards, tarot cards, and 8-Balls. Immediately, I thought of Elijah and the Priests of Baal. There were priests who claimed to be able to do miracles, and to help people and to give them things if they worshiped their god. When called out publicly to deliver on their promises of miracles and power they could not make it happen. Ouiji boards, tarot cards, and 8-balls, and many, many things today make promises to help people, to give them knowledge, or to make their lives better. In essence, they promise to end spiritual famine and bring people out of darkness and into light. How can we know which things are from God and which are not?
The answer, of course, is found in the scriptures. Matthew 7:18-20 says:
“18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
We need to look and ask ourselves what is the fruit? From Joseph Smith and through the seer stone and the urim and thummin, the world has gained the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, the power and authority of the priesthood, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the ordinance of the sacrament, Temples and the covenants and ordinances found therein. For nearly 200 years millions of lives have been changed for the better, hard hearts have been softened, people have been healed both mentally and physically, eternal families have been formed, knowledge and power have been given to all those who seek it. Those who believe have been brought out of darkness and into the light.
Personally, my life has been changed because of the Book of Mormon and the knowledge and power it gives to me. My parents, my siblings, my husband and children have all had the same experience. We have been changed, our lives have improved because of the Book of Mormon.
What then are the fruits of things such as tarot cards and ouiji boards? Nothing. They do not predict the future in any meaningful way. They do not change hearts and improve lives. They do not deliver on the promises they make. Their power is equal to that of the Priests of Baal.
Today, we have many, many things clamoring for our attention, belief, and worship. There are opposing ideas from the media, the schools and universities, from politicians, and think tanks. Everyone wants us to believe what they believe and worship how they worship. How shall we know what is true and what is good? What will bring us to God and light and truth and what will take us away from God and light and truth? We can know them by their fruits. “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” If the fruit is good, then it is from God. We must seek and ask, learn and gain knowledge, so that we can discern the fruits of all that is around us. Because by their fruits, we can know them. Then, when we taste of the fruit of the God of Israel, the famine ends.
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