BETA

Applying the scriptures: Lord's commands hold through the years

Abraham knew that the cities of the plains - Sodom and Gomorrah and other places - were inhabited by wicked, godless people. He was aware that destruction of those cities was imminent; but in his compassion for his fellowman, he pleaded with the Lord that if "there be fifty righteous within the city" to spare the others of the city. (Gen. 18:24.) He then prayed that the cities would be saved if 45 righteous were found, or 40 or 30 or 20 or even ten. Apparently, there could not be found even 10 people who were righteous in those cities. (See Gen. 18:24-32.)

At the April 1975 general conference, President Spencer W. Kimball spoke of the evil that continued among the people of those cities: "The sin was too well entrenched. They had laughed and joked about a destruction. The transgressions for which Sodom had apparently been renowned continued on. In fact, the people wanted to take advantage of the pure angel men they had seen come into the city. The vicious men pressed and would have broken down the doors to get to them. (See Gen. 19:4-11.)"Everything was done that could be done by Abraham to save the city, but it had become so depraved and wanton that to save it was impossible.

" `Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;

" `And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.' " (Gen. 19:24-25.)

President Kimball said further: "When we see the pornography, the adulterous practices, homosexuality gone rampant, the looseness and permissiveness of an apparently increasing proportion of the people, we say the days of Satan have returned and history seems to repeat itself.

"When we see the depravity of numerous people of our own society in their determination to force upon people vulgar presentations, filthy communications, unnatural practices, we wonder, has Satan reached forth with his wicked, evil hand to pull into his forces the people of this earth? Do we not have enough good people left to stamp out the evil which threatens our world? Why do we continue to compromise with evil and why do we continue to tolerate sin?

"Recently I came across a statement of the presidency of the Church in another day, about six presidents ago, and I should like to have read many of the lines from that statement, for it brings to our mind that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the commandments that He gave to the early prophets in other millennia and to the prophets in the day of the Savior, and to prophets of this day, bring to our minds fully and conclusively that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever."