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Voice of Warning

by Neil J. Flinders

The concept of a divine warning is part of the Judeo-Christian tradition and is a primary focus in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which by revelation is designated as a preface (verse 6), proclaims the voice of warning to be an essential thrust of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ: "And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days" (verse 4). The gospel of Jesus Christ is by nature a voice of warning because it calls people to repentance.

In LDS theology the voice of warning has four components: (1) deity, who originates the message; (2) the message, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ; (3) an authorized messenger, who delivers the message; and (4) mankind, to whom the message is delivered.

The voice is the voice of God, whether by his Spirit (D&C 88:66), his servants (D&C 1:38), or inspired writings (2 Ne. 33:13-15). The warning is for mankind to prepare by repentance for the great day of the Lord (D&C 1:11-12). The warning voice is a proclamation of revealed truth to the inhabitants of the earth so "that all that will hear may hear" (D&C 1:11). Eventually all will be persuaded or left without just excuse (D&C 88:81-82; 101:91-93; 124:3-10).

In modern time as in antiquity, a solemn responsibility envelops both the messengers and those to whom the message is delivered. The Lord informed Ezekiel, "I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth and give them warning from me" (Ezek. 3:17). Only those who hearken to the warning are spared the punishments and receive the blessings. The messengers who deliver the message also save their own souls; if they fail to deliver the message they acquire responsibility for those whom they failed to warn—"[their] blood will I require at thine hand" (Ezek. 3:18-21).

It is a covenant obligation of all who are baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ to "stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places" (Mosiah 18:9). Once warned, "it becometh every man…to warn his neighbor" (D&C 88:81). The messengers who deliver the warning will be present at the day of judgment as witnesses (D&C 75:21; 2 Ne. 33:11; Moro. 10:34). The essence of missionary work is for each member of the Church to become a voice of warning to those who have not been warned (see DS 1:307-311).

(See Voice of Warning by Elder Henry B. Eyring; Missionary Work home page; Daily Living home page)

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, Voice of Warning

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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