“But the Laborer in Zion Shall Labor for Zion for If They Labor for Money They Shall Perish”

D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner

Satan is a master counterfeiter, an expert in cheap imitation. For example, whereas God always encourages his people to build sacred temples in which he can reveal the holiest instructions, covenants, and ordinances necessary for exaltation, Satan sponsors among the civilizations and peoples of the earth “temples” wherein they prostitute sacred rituals with fertility worship of false gods and goddesses.

Whereas God always encourages men to take upon themselves and use his very own power, the holy priesthood, Satan comes along sponsoring priestcraft, which means that “men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.” The early Church of Jesus Christ faced this problem. It was, in truth, at the heart of what we sometimes call the Great Apostasy (the first through the nineteenth centuries), as the apostle Paul testified: “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29–30).

Because the Savior is the light of the world, he forbids his true followers to set themselves up “for a light unto the world” just to get money and popularity—wealth and fame—and to build up their own little kingdoms instead of the kingdom of God, the cause of Zion.

While traveling in the Yucatan Peninsula, the authors have spent hours scouring the ruins of the religious center of Chichen Itza, where Kukulcan, alias Quetzalcoatl, was worshipped. The priests certainly perverted true worship and adulterated temples. What a classic example of priestcraft. Instead of being servants of all, they set themselves above others and expected their subjects to serve them. They were adorned, as the Book of Mormon frequently notes, in luxurious apparel. Compare the high priests in the Lord’s temples today. In the beginning there were true principles and true symbols, but then came perversions. None of this would have happened had they lived one principle: the greatest of all are the servants of all.

Verse by Verse: The Book of Mormon: Vol. 1