Any word about the moral rot and perversion of today is quickly met by, “Why do you care? They can do whatever they want in the privacy of their own homes and it won’t affect you. It’s none of your business.” This is meant to shut you up rather than address the problems, but it shows two important underlying assumptions: you should only care about someone if it directly affects you, and what people do by themselves doesn’t affect you.
While this may seem “current year”, it’s actually one of the oldest arguments out there. Cain’s first instinct when called out by the Lord for his sins is to say, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” or to update it “Why should I care about someone else, even my brother?”
People are defensive. They don’t want to deal with others and especially don’t want their sins getting called out. Cain wouldn’t be out of place in a Twitter thread ranting against legislating morality. But does the Lord want us to do that? Not give a toss if someone is destroying himself? You already know the answer.
Prophets are constantly recorded warning people about sin and imploring them to turn to God. Regular members as well are commanded to warn others about sin and invite them to follow Christ. This is contrary to modern sensibilities which is to turn a blind eye to the sins of someone you aren’t responsible for (and sometimes even if you are). As church members, we know we are all brothers and sisters. Shouldn’t we be looking out for our family?
When we see people advocating for causes that go against the Lord’s way, we need to notice it and call them out on it. They may tell you to sod off, but it may also get them to think and change. Being yelled at a bit is worth it if you can help someone get on the straight and narrow.
“But what about the other part?” you may ask. “The part about it not affecting us?” Well, that’s never been true and never will be true. The Book of Mormon is full of subgroups in societies turning away from Christ and the ruin that brings to not only them, but to all people in their society. The Order of Nehors introduced priestcraft to Nephite society, and it led to civil war and oppression. After Christ’s visit, peace and unity reigned throughout the land, but after a few generations, rebels and doubters led to the sorrow of many and eventual genocide of the entire Nephite people.
Prophets are not called to only preach to people who come to General Conference. They preach to societies, nations, and peoples. This of course includes people in the Church, but it also includes all people for we are all sons and daughters of God. Sin brings misery and suffering, whether from getting addicted to heroin or ruining one’s body through mutilation.
This is why the Lord has His prophets sound the trump of warning, and why He expects all of us to fight. Ceding the culture to those who would encourage sin isn’t being respectful. It’s slapping the Lord in the face and inviting the destruction of everyone.
Our duty as members is to share with everyone what we know is right and stand firm about gospel principles. We do this because we love them but also because the culture we live in affects everyone. The Lord expects strong men and women to stand firm against the tide of lies, hate, and bitterness rising everywhere. Let’s not disappoint Him.