For behold, the Lord, the Lord of Hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem, and from Judah, the stay and the staff, the whole staff of bread, and the whole stay of water—
The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient;
The captain of fifty, and the honorable man, and the counselor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator.
And I will give children unto them to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.
And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbor; the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honorable.
This passage has often been on my mind for the last decade, when I consider our current paucity of talent and leadership. The recent bout of Trumpism simply amplifies it. Our civilisation certainly had its flaws and sins in earlier years, and none of our great leaders were perfect (they’re as human as we are). But consider the following speech: whatever one may think of Ronald Reagan, I think it should be clear that even setting aside Trump, the substance of this speech is far greater than that produced by any of his successors today. When we do consider Trump, I think one should see that there is a world of difference between a speech which appeals to our better instincts, and incoherent rants that appeal to the worst:
On to 2 Nephi 14:
And it shall come to pass, they that are left in Zion and remain in Jerusalem shall be called holy, every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem—
When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning.
I’ve commented a lot on God’s judgments in the most recent posts (I don’t know if that reflects my state of mind or simply Isaiah!), but what I think this passage underlines is that this process of judgment is not simply to punish, though there will be those who will be. God also intends to refine us, if we will let ourselves be refined. For those who endure, God’s actions will cleanse and sanctify us. Holiness is possible, if we submit to God’s will and endure what he sees fit to inflict upon us.