I Would Not That Ye Should Be Ignorant


Elder Mark Green


I would like to commend Zion's Lamp for publishing in the April issue, the article by Elder J. R. Respess concerning "The Old and the New Man." This article, of course, dealt with the old Two Seed and Eternal Children errors, which at one time constituted one of the most serious heresies our people had to fight. It has been said many times that ignorant people will be condemned to fight the same battles over and over again. I am not aware of the existence of these particular errors today among our people (some of the Absoluters do hold to the Eternal Children position), but I also know that strange ideas have a tendency to spring up, come into vogue, and spread like wildfire when the devil fans the flame. Our old brethren used the term "well informed" to refer to men who had taken the time to become well established in the doctrines of our people and who were capable to refuting those errors that from time to time pop up among us. I fear that today we have far fewer of such brethren among us, and that is true even with the communication and educational advantages that we have today. The reason is that people today watch and react; they generally do not read and think. Thankfully there are exceptions to that, but I fear that that characterization is becoming more and more an accurate description of our people, even as it is of society at large.


The apostle Paul said, "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea." He then goes on to list a number of things to be included in the list of those about which he wished his brethren to be well informed. He says, "Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted." By divine inspiration we have recorded for us a long history of the errors and sins of the nation of Israel "to the intent" or for the specific purpose that we might avoid those things. He did not want us to be ignorant. He wanted us to be well informed. He told the Corinthians to learn the history of God's people so that they would not fall into the same traps of Satan. Are we any less at risk of such a lapse than were the Corinthians?


I fear for us, brethren. While our young people fritter away more and more of their time with the machinery of modern communications, which tends to trivialize everything it touches, we are almost completely losing the habit of reading and thinking. (Accessing and scanning is NOT reading and thinking.) Elder Pat Young is giving time and thought to include in this paper articles that, in his judgment, are worthy of our careful consideration. Note this fact, brethren, and mark it down: a little time spent CAREFULLY reading the best material is of infinitely more value to a person's mind and soul than a mountain of less relevant material given a "once over lightly" treatment, if even that. It is not having access to writings that makes a people wise, but a thorough acquaintance with the best of them.