“Eat Drink, and Be Merry”

D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner

Nephi began this section by bearing witness of the truth and credibility of all the prophecies he had just written about; they will be of great value to Israel at the end of time. In the last days some churches will deny the Holy Ghost (revelation) and the power of God (miracles). They will claim “there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work”—there is no more need for prophets and revelation. Some will even claim that God is dead; for example, the nineteenth-century German philosopher Nietzsche promoted that ideology. To him and all like-minded souls who deny the existence of deity, we offer the following that was found on a classroom blackboard:

God is dead. —Nietzsche

Nietzsche is dead. —God

Various false doctrines and beliefs of the last days are highlighted by Nephi: God is no longer a God of miracles, and such dogma is a thing of the past. That was the view of many of Joseph Smith’s contemporaries: “There were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and that there would never be any more of them” (Joseph Smith–History 1:21; see also 3 Nephi 29:5–6).

Others popularize the notion that we might as well relax, “eat, drink, and be merry”; when we die we might have to suffer a little for our “indiscretions,” but God has “unconditional love” for his children and will punish us lightly and ultimately save us. It is normal and natural to sin; don’t put yourself on a “guilt trip.” It is understandable and justifiable to sin a little; there is no long-term damage done, so enjoy some minor sins now—you can always repent later. Go ahead and enjoy a little lustful indulgence in pornographic materials; go ahead and engage in a little sexual exploration, not “all the way,” just a little touching, stimulation, and simulation of the act; go ahead and cheat on a few test questions or take a few insignificant items home from the workplace; go ahead and copy the videos and DVDs, the CDs, or the sheet music—“there is no harm in this; … and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.”

Can God do that? Can he perpetuate wickedness? Is he tolerant and merciful of those living in sin? He answers, “I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance; nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven” (D&C 1:31–32; see also Alma 45:16). Elder Richard G. Scott warned: “The thought of intentionally committing serious sin now and repenting later is perilously wrong… . Premeditated sin has greater penalties and is harder to overcome.” 82

President James E. Faust taught: “[One deception of the world] is what some erroneously call ‘premeditated repentance.’ There is no such doctrine in this Church. This may sound subtly appealing, but it is in fact pernicious and a false concept. Its objective is to persuade us that we can consciously and deliberately transgress with the forethought that quick repentance will permit us to enjoy the full blessings of the gospel, such as temple blessings or a mission. True repentance can be a long, painful process.” 83

Of the twisted views represented in verses 7 and 8, President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: “Do not think that this was said of the world… . It is said of the members of the Church.” 84

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