Identifying and Leaving Babylon
with Morgan Philpot
Meghan Farner: Hey everyone. Welcome to this episode of the Latter-Day Disciples Podcast. Really excited to be joined today by Morgan Philpot. Morgan lives in Utah. He’s married to his wife, Natalie, and they have five kids. Morgan is an attorney and has practiced law in Utah, Oregon, Nevada and California. His experience is diverse, including high profile civil liberties, criminal civil litigation and appellate cases. He was one of the attorneys for the Malheur, Oregon Refuge Occupation Trial, the Nevada Bundy Ranch Standoff Trial, the Finicum wrongful death suit and the Count My Vote lawsuit that went before the Utah Supreme Court. Prior to becoming an attorney, Morgan served as a Utah state representative and as vice chair of the Utah Republican Party. Morgan also clerked for Utah’s attorney general and has served as the general counsel slash government affairs director for a Utah company. Morgan, thanks so much for joining us today.
Morgan Philpot: You bet. Glad to be here.
Meghan Farner: Absolutely. So when we were talking previously, one of the things that you mentioned to me is that 2020 was for you as well as I think for a lot of other people, myself included, was kind of a wake up call in a few different ways. Can you tell us a little bit about why that was and what impact that’s had on you and your study of this topic?
Morgan Philpot: Sure if you know–I don’t know if it’s appropriate, if I just try to do that without giving a little bit of a recap of, I think, why that happened prior to 2020. Most of my effort and I’d say focus in life was political, legal, and in my mind, the solution to most of our problems was to be a good church member. Which I still think is really important. And then external from that, you were supposed to fight for the Constitution, to whatever varying degree you believed in it, participate in politics, and eventually all of that would work out in the wash and everything would be okay. And then 2020 hit and I kind of went, “Oh, this is not working so well. I think there’s a world wide conspiracy afoot right now, and we don’t seem to know how to respond to that as a people.” And a lot of the people that I know– kind of the conservative crowd–started to kind of respond, “Well, man, the church ought to do something. Why isn’t the church doing something?” And my immediate response was, “Well, I don’t know if that’s their job.” And that was kind of my internal guide because I’d been kind of an Ezra Taft Benson fan. And he’d always talked about being politically active and the church would send out a message every year, you know, “Go get active in politics.” So my thought was, “Okay, well, who’s supposed to be doing what here?” And then I came across this one particular verse that kind of threw me for a loop because you’ve probably heard the Constitution hanging by a thread thing, right? I mean, we’ve all heard that. And the elders of Israel are someday supposed to step up and do something related to that. But the elders of Israel can barely move people. And don’t like to get politically active. So, of course, the elders of Israel are not going to step up and save the constitution. They haven’t done it yet. And COVID hits. And the first thing we do as a church is we shut down our own churches, shut down our own temples and start to wonder why the government has put masks on children who, by the way, in 2020 had a 0% death rate from COVID. And I’m thinking to myself, “Man, we’ve gone nuts.” And, so that’s when I guess that the mythology just kind of dissipated from my belief system, that the Constitution was going to hang by a thread and the elders of Israel were going to save it. Now, not to say that I don’t believe that some form of that doesn’t maintain some truth in all time and all eras of time. But it was kind of at that moment in particular where my typical response would be, “Well, go get active in politics and do something in politics.” And that just didn’t feel right anymore. And then I came across this verse in Doctrine & Covenants Section 87 which we all kind of know is the prophecy on civil war. And it was verse six in particular, where it said that “…with the sword and by bloodshed, the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn with famine, plague, earthquake, thunder, lightning shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath and indignation and chastening hand of an Almighty God until”–and this was the part that kind of hit me– “the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations.” And I thought, “Well, golly, if that’s all nations, where does America fit into that scenario? And clearly, all would include America.” And so I had some friends who were pointing to different political events going on around the United States and I thought to myself, “That’s not going to work anymore.” This is it. This is the end of all nations. And the only way to survive the end of all nations would be to repent and to draw near to the Lord. To reconcile yourself to his gospel and then he could spare you. But barring that, I mean, what’s the inevitable outcome of any nation that doesn’t repent? And I think the answer to that is pretty obvious. D&C 87:6 says you’re coming to an end. And that’s kind of what caused me to say, “Well, you know, I need to probably change the way I do things a little bit. Personally and in my family and in my circles.”
Meghan Farner: Yeah. Thank you. Thanks for sharing that. I think that’s something that has gotten really convoluted in the church because we are so politically positive in terms of, as you were saying, choosing to be active in the political process, especially in the United States, but in any country around the world, depending on what options there are for you to get engaged politically. The church has always been very adamant about that, Ezra Taft Benson really being one of the key figures that really pushed that. And I think that there is a lot of value in being educated, but I kind of went through a similar thing. 2020 was more of a political awakening for me, I think, in the way that I hadn’t really figured out what my political philosophies were at the time. And then 2021 was kind of when it hit me that this isn’t going to work. Like, whatever political side that you favor as you were saying, it’s going to come to an end. That’s not going to be the way that we save anything. And that’s pretty well prophesied throughout scripture. Why do you think it is that we continue to cling to political processes as a savior of sorts? Do you think it’s just ignorance at this point?
Morgan Philpot: I think a little bit. I usually tell people if I’m doing a presentation or talking to someone, open your gospel library app and go to the search feature, which is down at the bottom. And I’m going to do it right now while we’re talking. And you punch in in the search bar, the word politic that way, if you punch in politic, you cover all the bases politic, politics, political. And so what’s going to happen? Now if I push search which I will do, it will return every single hit in all of the scriptures for the word politic or politics or political. And so I’m going to narrow that down. You can see this. Other people may not be able to, but they ought to do this while they listen to you. Actually go through this routine. And then once you do that and you narrow it down to the scriptures, you can actually just click like the Old Testament and the word politics appears zero times in the Old Testament. It appears zero times in the New Testament. It appears zero times in the Book of Mormon and one time in the Official Declaration. So it’s not even in the canonical text of the Doctrine and Covenants or in the Pearl of Great price. Now that’s really interesting, right? Why isn’t the word politics anywhere in scripture? Nowhere. And so I asked myself, “Well, does the word politics appear in Joseph Smith’s day, in regular usage?” And one of the best ways to determine that is to open up your Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, which anybody can download onto their phone and you search the word politics. And sure enough, there it is. I mean, it’s in regular use. And so you ask yourself, “Well, if God never uses the word politics, why are we so heavy into the belief that politics is the method by which we make reform and change?” And I think that’s obvious, right? We all grew up inside this system; we grew up in America’s educational system or a system very similar to it, where we’ve all learned from the day we were young that politics is where you go to make a difference. Well, it finally dawned on me as I was kind of going through these parables, these great parables within the scriptures; I came across an idea that Karl Marx might actually have something to do with scriptural fulfillment, that people like him were foreseen in the latter days. And I came across a quote in particular by Karl Marx –and he was for those of your listeners who might not be very familiar with him –he was born in, I think, 1818, so 13 years after Joseph Smith was born. And so when you look at the life of Joseph Smith and that of Karl Marx in contrast or comparison, Joseph will finish most of his work prior to his martyrdom, of course. Karl Marx won’t really start his greatest era or his greatest works until post 1844 in Europe and Karl Marx will make this statement in his writings. He will say, “The criticism of heaven turns into the criticism of Earth, the criticism of religion into the criticism of law and the criticism of theology into the criticism of politics.” And so when you when you think about that from kind of a philosophical perspective, a religious perspective, Karl Marx is seeking to eliminate public discourse from the perspective of theology and turn it into a public discourse that is down to earth, that is based not in religion, but in law, not in theology, but in arbitrary politics, whoever rules makes the laws. And that’s fundamentally different from Joseph Smith and his views that law and light and truth are one and the same, and are manifestations that come from Christ. So, when you think about who we are today as a people, we have been conditioned from our youth to think from a perspective of politics and not theology. And so six days a week, we live in a political world and one day a week we enter into a theological world, a day that we worship God on the Sabbath. And in my personal opinion, I think that’s offensive to God that you spend six days with what John the Revelator and Nephi would call the whore of all the earth, in a political system that denies the existence of God and we spend one day a week in theology and then we consider our political participation sufficient to alter the course of human action. And it doesn’t work that way. You don’t bring about the protection that is required for the church to function from the perspective of the Bill of Rights, let’s say, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, you don’t do that by being political. You do that by being grounded in eternal principles and in practicing true theology. And we’ve abandoned theology for the realm of politics now and arbitrary law.
Meghan Farner: Yeah. We talk a lot about modern idolatry, which is all over. In reading the Old Testament last year, I just saw it speaking to us the entire time because we have so many idols. And politics has certainly become one where in a lot of ways we look to the politics in the political system more than we look to God. And I think that 2020 was a perfect example of that to the degree that we even tried to write God into the politics, which in addition to what you were saying I also think that’s really offensive to God when we hear people say, “Oh, God is a Democrat” “God is a Republican.” And it’s like, “No, not even close. Not even. No.” It is a horrible, horrible thing, I think, to compare God to the political systems that are in existence today.
So when you kind of had this awakening and you’re realizing you’ve spent your entire life in law and in politics and very much in that world, even more so than the average person, was there some cognitive dissonance when you had this realization? How did you process that? Because this wasn’t just saying, “Oh, I need to not listen to so many political talk shows.” This was like your life. This was your career. So how did you process that?
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Morgan Philpot: A lot of that stuff lost a lot of meaning to me. I became completely disenchanted and disappointed in almost all politicians, which is because of what they do. We don’t live in an honest political system where politicians say, “I will govern myself by the tenets of my faith.” They avoid doing that at all costs because of this notion that we have separation of church and state. And if we’re all really honest with each other Latter-day Saints don’t separate church and state. It’s all about religion for us. We make covenants to that nature. And so I started to say to myself, “Well, why? Why haven’t I been–when I ran for office–why didn’t I tell people who I really was? Why didn’t I advertise in my campaign literature that I was going to stand for Christ and his kingdom?” Because you wouldn’t get elected. And so even right here in Utah, where you would think that everybody would kind of gravitate towards that level of honesty, we don’t we don’t want you to say that we like to send our kids to government schools that have made the preaching of Christ illegal, except from a historical perspective, which fundamentally contradicts the very heart of our religion, that Christ and the light of Christ is in all things of all things, and through all things; the law by which all things are governed. So at some point in time we have to kind of have this come to Jesus moment as a people and also recognize that we’re sending our children, every day to an institution where if their teachers were honest about their beliefs and tried to teach them, they would get fired because we have so effectively separated church from state. That our system in total has become what the Book of Mormon classified as a Nehorite system, or a priestcraft system, or governed by the philosophies of Korihor, who was called an anti-Christ. And when you study those doctrines, for example–a good one to just kind of tackle right up front is go to the Book of Mormon, the book of Alma in the very first chapter where you have the transition of Nephite government from a kingship to a system of judges, and in the very first chapter, the very first year of the reign of judges, this guy named Nehor shows up and he goes about bearing down against the church, which is a really interesting thing. I can imagine him saying, “Hey, look, we’ve had the church rule long enough, this kingship and now we have a separation of church and state. So you guys don’t belong in the body politic anymore.” He then declares that every priest and teacher ought to become popular. Well, that’s exactly how we run our elections, right? If you want to run for office, you do it by popularity. You show everybody the best side of your face and give them your most milk toast arguments so you don’t lose votes. You want to appeal to everyone. And then he says they ought not labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people. Well, you know, check, check and check. In the state of Utah, that’s exactly how we run our government in Utah. And so here we are in Utah claiming to be God’s people and we’re running our system of politics in the manner of the Nehors. And then you jump over to Korihor. Korihor shows up in the land and he starts to become a real quandary and he becomes a legal perplexity for the people of Nephi because they don’t know how to prosecute him. And one of the things that you notice happening is he’ll go into a land, he’ll be driven out of the land, and then the people will be like, “Well, we know there’s something wrong with this guy, but we’re not quite sure how to prosecute him.” And so they keep kind of pushing him out until finally a group of them drag him, apparently contrary to their laws by the way, they drag him before the chief judge and say, “We can’t seem to convict this guy. What do you want to do with him?” And that’s when Korihor and Alma engage in this back and forth, this philosophical back and forth. And one of the things that they say is that the law could have no hold upon Korihor because he claimed to believe what he was saying. And that’s what’s interesting when you compare that with the way we live today, the way we believe, we believe very similarly in the United States of America. The law can’t have hold upon a person for their beliefs. And so, you have this guy who appears to be the first guy in the Nephite civilization to step up and say, “There’s nothing wrong with adultery, there’s nothing wrong with believing that Christ is not real.” And so they don’t know how to prosecute him. And when you break down Korihor and the conundrum that Korihor is, he is a conundrum under the Ten Commandments because he’s preaching the opposite of the Ten Commandments. And it looks like in the Nephite realm, where the Ten Commandments form the basis of Nephite criminal law, not civil law and that’s why they don’t know how to prosecute him. And so you apply that to our day today, right here in Utah. We don’t hold adultery to be criminally prosecutable anymore. We don’t prosecute people for being anti-Christ, for coveting. We have a hard time prosecuting people for any of the Ten Commandments these days because as a state, we have come down to believe that a person has the right, like Korihor, if they don’t believe in the existence of God to contradict all of those. Now, I would even say that that’s a correct application of the law. However, you don’t go teach that to your children, okay? You don’t take the Ten Commandments and teach them the opposite of the Ten Commandments. It’s okay to kill in the United States of America if you’re a baby. It’s okay to covet so long as you do it through the legal education system and want to build yourself a 10,000 square foot home in Alpine or Draper. It’s okay to steal from people in Utah if you do it as a politician through the treasury of the state or through secret combinations with lobbyists who write the laws. When you become that kind of a people, and you teach that to your children, of course you’re not going to kind of get it right politically. And of course, the solution that most people begin to see is not going to be a religious solution to the problem, but they’re going to turn back to their idolatry, like the dog to their vomit, right? Thinking about how can we correct these age-old political problems? And then inevitably, when you do that, it’s division politics. “Well, it’s the Democrats fault.” And the Democrats say, “No, it’s the Republicans’ fault.” And the Republicans say, “Well, the Democrats are the tares and we’re the wheat.” And then you even have the conservative Republicans who think they’re even better than everybody and vice versa over on the far left. So that’s very problematic. And to me, the epiphany was, I think that the Lord, and teaching the gospel, and trying to liken the scriptures unto ourselves as a people and even to myself, was the way to cope with what 2020 brought. And I’ll stop there because I could now delve into what was 2020, and I’m not sure we want to go there.
Meghan Farner: Yeah, maybe not. Maybe another time, maybe offline. But yeah, that’s awesome. I really appreciate that insight and it makes me think about things in a different way because again, I think that we have been taught to idolize our political system. I see this economically with the system that we have of capitalism. And I see it with our constitutional democratic republic. Well, that’s what it should be, at least, right? We see those as celestial, I think in a lot of ways. And the fact of the matter is that they’re not. They’re not at all, they’re telestial in organization and they’re just maybe better options than some others on the table, but just as easily corruptible and definitely not the kind of system that God would have. It’s interesting because there are some books that I’ve read pertaining to our study of the Second Coming and the last days that really strongly advocate this idea of the Constitution being saved and us setting up a constitutional republic of sorts in Zion. And I think that there is nothing in scripture that could corroborate that that will be the case. Zion will be a kingdom with a king. And so I think that it does take a little bit of effort. And it is a wake up call for us to realize that although we’ve been taught to adore these systems that we grow up in, they are going to come to an end. They’re imperfect in really substantial ways, and we should work now, I think, to extricate our love for them because they’re not going to last very much longer.
Let’s transition a little bit and talk a little bit more about–so after coming to this awakening, especially for yourself politically and figuring out how that was going to manifest for you in your life, you talked about how the Lord allowed the scriptures and the pattern of the scriptures to really kind of soften that blow for you. And it’s my understanding that this is when you really started diving into a study of the signs of the times of study of the Second Coming. So can you talk a little bit about that and what the Lord led you to in the scriptures that really progressed your understanding of the times that we live in?
Morgan Philpot: Yeah, so one of my favorite sections of scripture, which is –I’m going to play a little devil’s advocate with my LDS friends here– it’s a little unimpressive when you look at your friends who are not LDS. You got to give them a little credit, in this favorite section of mine, which I’m going to turn to– Joseph Smith, if he’s supposedly the author of The Book of Mormon it’s not really that impressive– it’s first Nephi 13, where he’s giving the recitation of the history of the United States. And he talks about, I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles who was separated from the seed of my brethren. A lot of times we assign that to being Christopher Columbus. And then it’ll go through a narrative of the founding of America relative to the Revolutionary War. And I love that chapter and those chapters that surround it. But again, if I give my friends who are not LDS a little credence, it’s not that impressive because it’s all being written in hindsight, right? Joseph In 1820 to 1830 already knew about the American Revolution. But what Joseph–and I think this is a testament to Joseph’s prophetic calling–what Joseph does in those verses, is he connects modern theology to the most ancient patriarchs of the gospel, including Adam. And when you go back to Adam, you begin to realize that there is in these scriptures that Joseph has brought forth for the Lord, there is a narrative and a parable that runs all the way back consistently through all canon of scripture that seems to point to the second coming of Christ. In particular in Moses, Chapter six, in the Pearl of Great Price, Adam is commanded to keep a book of remembrance. And it says that as part of that and several other elements in Moses six, that this same type of priesthood, which was in the beginning, shall be in the end of the world. Also again pointing towards the end of the latter days,Joseph will then reveal in Doctrine & Covenants section 107, verse 56 in particular, he says, “Adam stood in the midst of the congregation and notwithstanding, he was bowed down with age being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation.” Again, here’s this– from the very beginning of time– prophecy that relates to the coming of the Second Coming of Christ. So you take that and begin to build upon Joseph’s effort through modern day revelation to tie latter day theology to this ancient way. And it takes you right back to the Book of Mormon. And in particular in First Nephi when Nephi is going through this dream or this interpretation of this dream and vision, at one point in time, the angel says to him, “Do you remember the covenants of the Father unto the House of Israel?” And it’s first Nephi 14. This is the end of the vision of the deliverance of the Gentiles from the mother Gentiles. Or, today we would just say that was the Revolutionary War and the establishing of America as a free nation. Well, the statement that the angel makes to Nephi “Rememberest thou the covenants of the Father unto the House of Israel?” And Nephi says, “Yes, I do.” Well, this harkens us back to the very beginning, to Adam, to Enoch, to all the prophets who received these covenants from God. And in particular, it begs us to look at Deuteronomy chapter 28 and in Deuteronomy chapter 28, the Lord says to Moses and to the children of Israel, he says, “Look, if you’ll listen to what I say and if you’ll observe to do my commandments, then the covenant goes to work.” And God says, “I will set thee on high above all the nations of the earth.” And you imagine the Founding Fathers and their forefathers and mothers knowing these scriptures– like Deuteronomy– like the back of their hand and how important these scriptures were to them. And the Lord says at the end of 28, he says, –I think it’s actually in 29 –he says, “I’m not just making this covenant with those of you who stand here today, I’m making it with all of Israel, including your children.” And then in the end of Deuteronomy 29, he says, “That these things will be forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” He’ll then go into Deuteronomy 30 and talk about how there’s going to come a day when Israel will be scattered and driven to the corners of the earth. And in that future day, if you will call these covenants to mind among the nations where God has driven you, the Lord says, “I will return to you and turn your captivity and gather you from all the nations.” Now you think about that from the perspective of what Joseph Smith is doing in restoring lost truths through the Book of Mormon and it directly ties in to the founding of America, because you go back to the first people who came to this continent, who were Gentiles driven by the Lord from original Israel and they–before the pilgrims of the Mayflower, will even step foot on the American continent–they make a covenant with God exactly as is required in Deuteronomy 28 through 30. And that happens in 1620 and 200 years later, in the spring of 1820, God fulfills his ancient covenant to turn their captivity, to return to them, to a young boy in a grove in upstate New York, where he begins to restore the fullness of the gospel and then begins to gather Israel from all the nations of the earth after he has raised America up above all the nations of the earth, as he promised to do in Deuteronomy 28. And as I begin to see this narrative which so perfectly matches the establishment of America and the restoration of the gospel, I tell myself, “Well, the whole thing has to be there. It’s not just in Nephi. It’s not just in Deuteronomy. It’s got to be elsewhere.” And so I start to poke around in different sections trying to find this narrative or this grand parable of the restoration. And ultimately I realize that it’s all the parable, but there are easier parts to understand for me that help me to be able to understand it. And you probably know, as well as anybody else in the church ,when is it that Nephi kind of stops the narrative and will go no further? Do you remember that? It’s the particular part where he says somebody else is going to write the rest of this. And we all know that’s John, John the Revelator. And so Nephi’s hint is, “Hey, you better jump over for the next segment of the narrative to John the Revelator.” And so you go over to John, John’s revelations in Revelation chapter 12, where you get a very precise description of the restoration of the gospel. Now, you can just go from there. You can go through Revelation chapter 12, and you can begin to put exact and approximate dates on almost every single verse in Revelation chapter 12. So just start to carry that out and what the scriptures become is this amazing testament of the truthfulness of the restoration of the Gospel and the Lord’s Latter-Day Church, which if we can get ahold of that as a people I think our testimonies can survive anything, including 2020, 2122, and whatever else is coming between now and the time, the Lord comes again. Because that’s what’s happening. That’s the thing that everybody is awakening to, is that the Lord is coming. So that grand parable to me became ultimately important because it informed how I should behave and what I should be doing. And when you begin to understand that the Lord is coming, all the peripheral things in life become so much less important. And if you can’t take everything you do and channel it into the Second Coming of the Lord and His kingdom, then I think it’s a good time to reconsider. For me, it was a good time for me to reconsider what I was doing.
Meghan Farner: I have a good friend who produces some content often about the words of our modern prophets and how they’re pointing us towards the Second Coming and being prepared for that. And she was so bold in one of the videos that she made, she basically said she’s like, “If you have not experienced a spiritual awakening since 2020, then you’re still asleep. And you need to wake up.” And I really appreciated that. Thank you for sharing your insights and sort of your story and how that happened.
So can you talk a little bit about how this parable that you found declaring the restoration of the gospel and just the divinity of that and how it had been prophesied from so many different angles over time, how did that then morph into a study of the Second Coming? Because I think people can see and it will resonate on a testimonial level with a lot of people, what you’re saying about the scriptures prophesying about the restoration. But it seems like sometimes there’s a hesitation to move forward into an actual study of the Second Coming in the last days. So what did that transition look like for you and what did you begin to see in scripture?
Morgan Philpot: So can I use you as a guinea pig here and ask you a couple of questions? Okay.
Meghan Farner: Yeah, absolutely.
Morgan Philpot: So accepting Nephi and his family in the Book of Mormon. You go through a little bit of a spell in which the narrative or more of like a story narrative is lost for a moment. So you go from Nephi’s family on this kind of narrative journey to Nephi and Jacob lecturing for a while, right? Do you know where? You know what I mean?
Meghan Farner: So you start losing the narrative. The story narrative a little bit.
Morgan Philpot: And instead you get a series of lectures and short stories. So First Nephi is that narrative, Second Nephi, Lehi dies, and then you get a lot of ponderings and philosophizing by Nephi and then Jacob and you get a couple short stories, Enos and then snippets: Jerom, Omni, Words of Mormon. You come to Mosiah where the narrative begins again and the narrative picks up with a guy named King Benjamin. And if you look kind of closely, King Benjamin appears on his face to be a usurper. Okay, now I’m playing devil’s advocate here because King Benjamin and his father, Mosiah, do not appear to be the rightful inheritors of the kingdom, but rather they seem to be informed by the Lord to gather anybody who will follow them and get out of the land of Nephi. Now, how important is the land of Nephi to the Nephites? Pretty important, right?
Meghan Farner: Paramount. I mean, that’s a covenant blessing, to have an inherited land.
Morgan Philpot: So you kind of ask yourself, “Well, why isn’t Mosiah going back for it? Why isn’t his father– Mosiah the second–why doesn’t King Benjamin go back for it? Why doesn’t Mosiah the first go back for the land?” And it’s not until you get to–I think it’s Mosiah Chapter nine–where a guy named Zeniff takes off from Zarahemla to go reclaim the land of Lehi-Nephi. And you’re kind of like, “What’s going on here? Why is this guy leaving?” And out of those people; Zeniff followed by Noah followed by Limhi,comes this guy named Alma. And Alma transforms the Book of Mormon because we’re no longer in this easy to discern kingship, but instead we’re in this reign of judges where this guy named King Mosiah transfers the authority of the church to Alma. And you find yourself kind of wondering what in the world has happened? Well, I think it’s really helpful for Latter-day Saints to really look at what is happening in that land of Nephi, because these are the people who are trying to reclaim the birthright and the inheritance. And as they are doing that, this king named Noah rises up. And we all know the story of Noah and we know the story of Abinadi. But one of the interesting challenges that Abinadi makes against the Nephites is he says that you have denied that Christ shall come down among the children of men, literally. And for that statement they accuse him of blasphemy and they burn him at the stake. Okay, that’s what happens to Abinadi and it’s the blasphemy that Christ will come down literally, that gets him killed. So are we the same here in Utah as the people of King Noah? Do we literally believe that Christ shall come down again? And I would say the answer to that is yes, we believe that culturally, but we do not practice that belief. Does that make sense?
Meghan Farner: Yeah, that’s exactly what I was going to say. We profess to believe that–to take a word that Jesus used with the Pharisees–you profess to believe something with your lips, but your heart, your behavior definitely says something opposite. I think generally speaking, in the church, I think it’s a very small percentage that actually take that very seriously: that the Lord will be returning.
Morgan Philpot: Right? So apply that to our lives and go back in time to Christ on the cross. And what are the last words that he utters on the cross? Do you remember? It says he takes some vinegar and then he says, “Tt is finished.” Well, that is in 34 AD and if you read the Book of Mormon, you’ll know that it’s in the first month, on the fourth day of the 34th year. So that would be approximately Passover in April of 34. AD.
Well, we all love the story of the woman at the well and the place that Christ visits. The woman at the well is called Sychar, in the land of the Samaritans or Samaria, which is the home of the ten tribes who were given unto Jeroboam when the two kingdoms of Israel split: the southern Kingdom of Judah and the Northern Kingdom of Israel. So here comes Christ to the well of Jacob in the land of Sychar, which means, the drunkard, just think, Isaiah, Chapter 28 the drunkards of Ephraim and he says he spends two days with them. Now, think about that for a second; what’s two days in the Lord’s time?
Meghan Farner: 2000 years.
Morgan Philpot: 2000 years. So, are we learning a parable in the woman at the well? Why does Christ spend two days with the Gentiles? Well, now go to Hosea chapter six and in Hosea chapter six it says that after two days he shall revive us and we shall live in his sight. Again, there’s that two days. And can Christ revive us if he hasn’t finished the work of the Father? I think the answer would be no. And so when Christ is on the cross in 34 AD and says, “It is finished”, he can now ascend to the Father to gain the right to revive us after two days. And as it says in the parable of the woman at the well, he will spend two days with the Gentiles. We’ll just add 2000 years to 34 AD and our time’s up, right? As a group of Judeo-Christian Latter day Saints you can’t claim that the temporal existence of the world is 6000 years, followed by a seventh, you know, seventh thousand year millennial reign and then keep putting it off. At some point in time, your testimony comes due. And I think that’s this time for us as kind of gentiles in the gospel, as the scattered tribes of Israel. It’s time for us to own our religion. The Lord is coming and it’s time to live like it. But instead, we run a legislature filled with Latter-day Saints who don’t do anything impressive. We pay allegiance to a Democratic and Republican Party who are both part of the same worthless secret combination, we elect governors who do not stand for Christ and we allow people who we don’t know to run our state and govern its ways. I just think at some point in time, you gotta own that as a people and start to preach that Christ is coming back and live like he’s coming back. And so I think Mosiah and the story of Abinadi was literally written by Mormon or editorialized into the Book of Mormon, by Mormon for the state of Utah in our day today, begging us as a people to stop following after the King Noah’s of the world and electing worthless priests to our political bodies, our cities, our counties and our state. And to start believing that Christ truly and literally is coming again.
Meghan Farner: I love some of the counsel that the Lord gave to Emma in the Doctrine & Covenants. He said, “You need to lay aside the things of this world and seek for things of a better.” And the problem is that because we are veiled and we live in a state of spiritual darkness, we live in a telestial realm. We’re very, very comfortable with the telestial kingdom right now. And all these things that we’re talking about, our legislative bodies, political systems and parties and persons, they’re all telestial features. And as long as we continue to rely on them, as long as we feel compelled to–I think there’s an element of we just can’t imagine living life any differently than relying on our political systems. Like, how do you even do that? I think that’s a question some people have but until we start actually trying to answer that question and then, as you said, live differently, live like we are celestial beings, live like we worship the living God and his son, Jesus Christ, instead of kowtowing to the powers that may be in our political system, we’re just not going to be prepared to inherit a celestial glory or even a terrestrial one, which is what Zion will be, which is what the Earth will be transitioning to in the near future.
Morgan Philpot: Yeah, I would actually challenge people to stop worrying about national politics– not because you shouldn’t worry about it, but because there’s something more important to worry about–and take a test with your local politics, right in your own city and ask yourself if you could do what Lot did and find just nine other righteous men and begin to ask yourself, “What was the standard of righteousness that Lot was looking for, that the Lord was looking for when he challenged Lot to do that?” And that will hopefully lead people into a study of the methodology by which God has always organized his people; in groups of ten, 50, hundreds and thousands. And in particular you can go all the way back to Deuteronomy and this neighborhood-like organization amongst the people where when you have that group of ten, they would never kill you or imprison you for your money. They would never take your money to fund their education. They would never throw you in jail because you don’t pay for abortions or any other random law that some self-important group of politicians and lawyers comes up with that they think you should be thrown in prison for if you won’t support it. And that’s how we run our entire state. And I think if people would do that, you’d find that there’s not too many righteous people left because all of them today will support governments that will kill and imprison if you don’t participate in their system. And if you don’t believe that, just try to stop paying your taxes someday. I would not advise that anybody actually do that, but if you don’t believe that your own neighbors won’t believe that you should be imprisoned. just try to stop paying your taxes and see what happens to your life.. It’s not going to go well, so don’t do that. But walk through that process and ask yourself, “Do you believe that everything you pay for today is moral?” And if not, then you ought to ask yourself, “Why are you required to pay it? Why are you required to support a governmental education system today that is anti-Christ on its face?” I understand that there are many teachers and families and individuals who are not anti-Christ, but the system itself is anti-Christ by the Book of Mormon’s definition. So, you know, go through that process and study the way God organizes his people. You’ll come across some also in Third Nephi, where the Lord or Mormon says that it was in the times of righteousness that the people would select for their captains, men who had the gift of prophecy and revelation. And he qualifies it he says, “They only did that in the times of their righteousness.” And ask yourself, “Do we do that as a people in our cities, on our city councils, our county commissions, our state legislators? Do we know that these men and women have the gift of prophecy and revelation?” Because if they do, you can know that they are in the spirit of liberty, which is the spirit of Christ. And that’s an interesting exercise to go through because it’s hard to stay in a place in the latter days –when the world is more and more in commotion– it’s hard to stay in those places where people think they’re righteous, but they will readily allow you to be dragged off to prison for not paying for the wicked system.
Meghan Farner: Well, and that is the pattern of history, we read the scriptures like a history book and in our Greek mindsets that we’ve inherited in Western culture, that means that everything happens one time and you review the story and you learn different morals and lessons from it each time, maybe. But it was written from a Hebrew perspective and in Hebrew, history repeats itself over and over and over again. I think that it would be appropriate to see ourselves just as the latest iteration of the fallen Israelites and the Sadducees and the Pharisees. And that’s really hard to do. Like you don’t want to, you don’t ever want to read the scriptures and say, “Oh, I’m the bad guy.” But the fact of the matter is that a lot of the time we are. We’re not better than our historical counterparts. And I think that it really does take a lot of humility to be willing to open yourself up to the revelation of the Lord and ask, “Is it me? Am I the problem? Am I making the same mistakes that some of our ancestors made?” And inevitably the answer will be yes.
Morgan Philpot: Are you familiar with how long it was, before the destruction of Jerusalem, that Lehi left?
Meghan Farner: It was like 13 years.
Morgan Philpot: Thirteen years. And you think about what Lehi’s neighbors were thinking of him eleven years after he left; he was crazy. And I think you’re right, I can’t tell you how many people I meet who are like, “Well, when do you think the Lord’s coming?” And if you give a date, right, they’ll be like, “Oh, good, I have some more time.” “I’m like, some more time to what, live in Babylon or to get ready?”
Meghan Farner: Right? Yeah, It’s so true. It’s funny how we procrastinate the day of our repentance all the time. It’s so important to see these patterns and to realize these things and to take a hard look. And, you know, I’ve heard an excuse– kind of going back to the political factions that we rely on and just clinging to the telestial world that we do–Neil Maxwell had a quote where he said something to the effect of it’s really hard to live by celestial laws when you’re in terrestrial traffic. And I’ve heard that used as an excuse. I think, for bowing to the ways of the world and playing the political games and all the other sorts of games that there are that are a feature of the Telestial world. And 100% that is not at all what Neil Maxwell’s context was when he gave that quote. What he was saying is that you have to transcend this telestial world. You can’t pay attention to that traffic anymore because you are living a celestial law. And inevitably that is going to cause some inconvenience. That’s going to cause contention, perhaps with people that are around you, hopefully not with yourself. It’s going to make you stand out, to try and abide by that level. But that’s exactly what the Lord did. There was not a single time when he said, “Okay, I’m going to play by the rules because it’s a telestial world so I kind of have to.” And it’s such an important pattern that he set for us –and something that I hope we can all take away from just this conversation– is not only the necessity, but also the possibility that we can transcend these systems that we think are all powerful in this life, because the reality is, that they’re not. It’s really hard. It’ll be a challenge. But guess what? All those systems are going to be coming to an end soon. So my philosophy is, better for me to disentangle myself now than to be drowning with the ship and trying to get out later.
Morgan Philpot: I think that’s a good policy. Let me share with you one other quick kind of parable type thought out of the Book of Mormon. I don’t have time, unfortunately, to cover all of it with you, but this one I find interesting. I think your listeners might like it. I think you’re a bit younger than me but back in my youth, there was a song that became pretty popular by Prince. And one of the lines in that song was, “Tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1999.” Do you remember this?
Meghan Farner: Oh, yes.
Morgan Philpot: Okay. So do you know what’s ironic and kind of funny about that statement is that 1999 was not the last year of the millennium. The year 2000 was and so 2000 was the 2,000th year or the thousandth year of the millennium. And the new millennium would begin, according to our Greco-Roman calendar, January 1st of 2001. But for some reason, the entire world celebrated January 1st of the year 2000 as the beginning of a new millennium. And President Hinckley will get up in April of 2000–and in his talk called, “To All The World in Testimony”, he will say, “In this historic season, when we mark the birth of a new century and the beginning of a new millennium, we’ve built this new and wonderful conference center.” And so the church will kind of join in acknowledging the year 2000 as a new millennium, and they will have the dedication of the Palmyra temple in April, and they’ll have a solemn assembly in that time, and then they’ll have a dedication of the conference center in October of 2000, in which they will have another solemn assembly. Now, if you do mark our new millennium as the year 2000, then the year 2000 becomes year number one. You see how that works? Rather than 2001 becoming the first year of the new millennium? So what we did do ourselves is we set ourselves off by one year. Okay, so just kind of ingrain that in your head for a second and go to Third Nephi Chapter four and in the 16th verse it says this: “In the 20 and first year. They,–speaking of the gadianton robbers–did not come up to battle, but they came up on all sides to lay siege round about the people of Nephi, for they did suppose that if they should cut off the people of Nephi from their lands and hem them in on every side, and if they should cut them off from all their outward privileges that they could cause them to yield themselves up according to their wishes.” Now, the 21st year of the Nephites new millennium would be marked as year 21. But the 21st year of our new millennium was 2020 because of our mistake in the reckoning of our time. Now in our 21st year, what was 2020? We had a siege upon the people of the world in which a secret combination cut off all the people, hemmed them in on every side and cut the world off from its outward privileges to get the world to yield themselves up according to the wishes of a great secret combination that spread itself around the world. Almost exactly one year after President Nelson said in Rome, Italy, that we were at a hinge point in the history of the church. Now you go back and study that timeline, and it’s amazing how the Book of Mormon becomes incredibly relevant year by year to our modern lives. And it’s an amazing, wonderful prophetic book that was truly written for our time.
Meghan Farner: Amen. Yes, thank you. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah, that’s so fascinating. When you read that scripture, you’re like, “Wow, that. Yep, that was 2020 to a T. “ And unfortunate that we did yield ourselves up according to the wishes of men. Again, something that I hope that we can learn to not do in the future because surely this pattern will be repeating itself again shortly. Well, thank you, Morgan. Do you have any last pieces of counsel or just anything else that you feel impressed to share for those of us who want to disentangle from these institutions and from this environment as much as possible and really set our sights on preparing for the Lord?
Morgan Philpot: Well, I would probably say to live like the Lord is coming and adapt accordingly. Write-off anything that is not conducive to living a life wherein that is your primary focus–I think a life that is less fulfilling than you’re entitled to as a disciple of Christ– and study the scriptures because all of the problems and consternations that I see people going through, like the faith crises, including with the brethren–which to me are a little bit shocking because it’s all in scripture–there’s no need to go through that faith crisis. There’s no need to question the apostolic keys that are held within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints because it’s all there in the scriptures to guide you through these challenges without losing your testimony and without disrupting your life. Go to the scriptures and study them, make them your best friend and then listen to the words of living prophets and watch the future become bright and glorious and wonderful as you comprehend that Christ is coming and you live in the greatest era of time possible.
Meghan Farner: Thank goodness. Yeah, it is such a privilege. I love all the quotes that talk about how all the prophets–you started off speaking with Adam from Adam all the way down–they’ve all seen our day and they’ve longed for it. And so we should feel privileged that we have the opportunity to be alive at this time, this most crucial climax in all of human history, it’s very exciting. Well, Morgan, thank you so much. I appreciate your time, your testimony, the studies you’ve obviously done. You’ve put a lot of work into understanding these things. Thanks for sharing with us today.
Morgan Philpot: You bet. Thank you.
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