“Depart from Me Ye That Work Iniquity”

D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner

President John Taylor declared: “‘We are told that “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name and in Thy name have cast out devils, and in Thy name done many wonderful works?” Yet to all such he will say; “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” You say that means the outsiders? No, it does not. Do they do many wonderful works in the name of Jesus? No; if they do anything it is done in the name of themselves or of the devil. Sometimes they will do things in the name of God; but it is simply an act of blasphemy. This means you, Latter-day Saints, who heal the sick, cast out devils and do many wonderful things in the name of Jesus. And yet how many we see among this people of this class, that become careless, and treat lightly the ordinances of God’s house and the Priesthood of the Son of God; yet they think they are going by and by, to slide into the kingdom of God; but I tell you unless they are righteous and keep their covenants they will never go there. Hear it, ye Latter-day Saints!’”55

To live eternally with our Father in Heaven, we must learn his will and do it. We must obey the Father and know the Son, too. Joseph Smith made an interesting change in the concept expressed in verse 23, “I never knew you” (compare Mosiah 26:27). He reversed the pronouns to read: “Ye never knew me” (JST, Matthew 7:33). In essence, the Savior was saying that his listeners knew that he was born in Bethlehem, that he carried on his ministry around the Sea of Galilee, chose twelve apostles, died and was resurrected, visited and taught his disciples in the ancient Americas, and even that he would come in this last dispensation to restore his gospel and his Church to the earth—but his listeners did not really know him. They did not pay the price to become personally acquainted with him to the point that they understood well his plan and purposes and were willing to sacrifice anything to accomplish his will.

Verse by Verse: The Book of Mormon: Vol. 2