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Jonathan Decker: The Tragedy in Mexico, Our True Enemy, and Compassion in the Last Days

by | Nov. 08, 2019

Author's Note: I wrote this in place of my "Ask a Latter-day Saint Therapist" article this week. It was written for those both within and outside of our faith. My normal column will return next week.

For news coverage of the Mexico Massacre on Deseret.com.

I've been thinking about the tragedy in Mexico, in which a cartel brutally shot and burned alive American women and children. Having a wife and kids who mean the world to me, the reality of it hit me hard. I actually cried about it uncontrollably yesterday. And yet, I have heard some people claim that these people deserved their fate because of their beliefs and religious practices. This simply isn’t true.

I felt to write this today. Even if you disagree, bear with me. I believe we're in the last days before Christ returns. Prophets and the Lord himself have foretold that things will get worse before that time.

Unlike some, I don't see non-Christians, atheists, LGBT persons, Muslims, or anyone of kind heart and integrity as the enemy, destined for destruction when Christ comes back. While I do believe that sin exists, I also believe that we're all sinners, and God will be more merciful and tolerant to all people of goodwill than many of us imagine, for "love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8). Whatever you believe, whatever your lifestyle, do good. Follow your conscience. Help others. Practice love.

The return of Christ will signal the destruction of ultimate evil, which is NOT personified in your gay neighbor, your Jewish or Muslim neighbor, your immigrant neighbor, your Democrat or Republican neighbor, or your neighbor of a different color. If you're fighting any of those, you're fighting the wrong fight.

Ultimate evil is what The Book of Mormon calls "secret combinations." Those who smile and pretend to be persons of integrity but secretly seek power at any cost. Those who murder, overthrow liberty, engage in human trafficking, rape, steal, commit acts of terrorism and torture, and who engage in unnecessary violence. These are the gangs, the cartels, organized crime, and wicked people in high places who abuse their power for their own gain.

Until that day when the Savior returns, we have to do our best to eradicate as much of it as we can. We won't eliminate evil from the world, but we can try, and that will make a difference in so many lives.

The Book of Mormon, which we Latter-day Saints revere alongside the Bible as a prophetic witness of Jesus Christ, was specifically written for our day, with its events foreshadowing what will happen in our time before the Savior returns. In it, two ancient American prophets, Alma and Amulek, met with such resistance that those who rejected them gathered up the women and children from among the believers and burned them alive. I can't help but think of what happened this week in Mexico as I read:

"And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames. But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day" (Alma 14:10-11).

Another prophet, a military leader who fought to preserve liberty and protect the innocent, proclaimed that "the Lord suffereth the righteous to be slain that his justice and judgment may come upon the wicked; therefore ye need not suppose that the righteous are lost because they are slain; but behold, they do enter into the rest of the Lord their God" (Alma 60:13).

I believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. To some, that may sound like fantasy, but there it is. One of my favorite hymns has these lyrics: "Once all things he meekly bore, but he now will bear no more." Christ will return to "put all his enemies under his feet" (1 Corinthians 15:25). Cartels, human traffickers, warmongerers, gangs, mafia, murderers, and rapists, I'm out here on the street corner, holding up the big cardboard sign that says "Repent." Your days are numbered. Turn yourself in and face justice for your crimes. Turn to God and change your life. "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Matthew 16:26).

Until then, I pray for God to come back, and I weep for those who suffer in this time of "wars and rumors of wars" when "nation shall rise against nation" and "kingdom against kingdom," when "many shall be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another." This time when "because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (see Matthew 24:6-12).

But Jesus said that this was also a joyous time, a time when 'this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations" (Matthew 24:14). If any of you who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ever want to talk with me about the gospel, I would love to tell you. I won't pressure you to convert, but I will answer your questions.

Even if you never share my belief in Christ, I want you to know that I believe He loves you, and His love inspires me to love you too. Whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, gay, straight, black, white, male, or female, "all are alike unto God" (2 Nephi 26:33, The Book of Mormon). We don't have to see eye to eye to love one another, look out for one another's rights, and stand together against the evil of this world.

God bless you all. My love to you. If you feel like sharing this, please do so. This is a message I'd like spread.

Jonwe

Jonathan Decker, LMFT

Jonathan Decker is a licensed marriage and family therapist and clinical director of Your Family Expert. He offers online relationship courses to people anywhere, as well as face-to-face and online therapy to persons in several states. Jonathan has presented at Brigham Young University Education Week and at regional conferences in Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. He is married with five children. Contact him here and join his Facebook group for daily Gospel-based relationship tips. 

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