Have you noticed the moral relativism in our nation? Do you even know what moral relativism is? Could you define it if someone challenged you?
Moral relativism has been defined as “the view that moral judgments are true or false only relative to some particular standpoint (for instance, that of a culture or a historical period) and that no standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others.”
In other words, people who believe in moral relativism believe that there is no right or wrong, no evil or good, no sin or righteousness, etc. A standard means only what a certain person wants it to mean – and the meaning can change from time to time with the same person. The people who believe this way have been deceived by Satan and are under his power.
Our day was seen by the great Old Testament prophet Isaiah. He prophesied that people in our day would “call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).
Modern day prophets and apostles recognize that we are living in the time foretold by Isaiah and have added their own counsel. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated: “The societies in which many of us live have for more than a generation failed to foster moral discipline. They have taught that truth is relative and that everyone decides for himself or herself what is right. Concepts such as sin and wrong have been condemned as `value judgments.’ As the Lord describes it, `Every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god’ (Doctrine and Covenants 1:16).” (See “Moral Discipline,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 106.)
Moral relativism has also come to the attention of Daniel L. Belnap, Associate Professor of Ancient Scripture, Brigham Young University. The Ensign recently published an article entitled “The Book of Mormon and Modern Moral Relativism” written by Professor Belnap. In his article, Professor Belnap wrote: “While society in general may believe that moral relativism is a sign of progress, the Book of Mormon contains examples and teachings that warn us of the dangers of replacing God’s commandments with our own relative moral standards.”
Professor Belnap’s article is very enlightening and explains that the “Book of Mormon lays out the basic principles that help us see the difference between God’s truth and Satan’s sophistry, including a working definition of truth and how to know it. The prophet Jacob taught: `The Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Jacob 4:13; see also Doctrine and Covenants 93:24. The emphasis on truth as the way things really are suggests that it contrasts with the way things seem to be, no matter how convincing that deception may be.”
The Book of Mormon teaches about truth. It teaches about rights versus responsibilities. It teaches about God’s wisdom versus the wisdom of man. It also tells us how we can know the truth of all things. In the last chapter of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Moroni taught formula by which we can know the true of anything we need to know. “… and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
“And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:4-5; emphasis added).
I am so grateful for the knowledge that I can ask Heavenly Father about anything that concerns me and be told what is true. I have used this blessing in numerous ways. I receive many solicitations for funds and sometimes have a difficult time knowing if the request comes from a legitimate organization. I simply ask God for the information: should I donate to this cause? If the answer comes back “no,” I forget about it. If the answer comes back “yes,” I begin the process of learning how much money I should send to them.
I have used the blessing in knowing what consumer items I should purchase. I am currently in the process of purchasing a new sewing machine to replace my nearly fifty-year-old machine. The machines of today are very different from those of fifty years ago and much more expensive. Which company do I trust? Where can I find a machine that is quality enough to last? Do I need to spend thousands of dollars to find what I need in a sewing machine? I have not yet seen the machine that I am to purchase, but I know the machines I should not purchase!
I use the same process in deciding where to put my political support. I study out the situation and then ask God. Whatever He tells me is right. It is said that every politician lies; I suppose this is true because most mortals lie at some point. I caught myself in a lie just last week. I invited a friend to attend an Easter Cantata at our meetinghouse. She was impressed with the production and asked if all the talent came from members of our church. I told her yes only to later learn that there were a few members of the community participating. The next time I saw her, I corrected my statement, and she was still impressed!
Professor Belnap concluded his article: “Today, prophets and apostles have declared that although the world’s moral relativism will get worse, for many, the desire for truth and the peace that comes from knowing the way things really are will increase as well. To those who seek earnestly for the truth, the Book of Mormon offers clarity. Though it was written many centuries ago, its warnings concerning moral relativism, as well as its promise that everyone can know the truth, are relevant to us today….”
Moral relativism is a tool that Satan uses to deceive and enslave people. I know that we can avoid becoming slaves to Satan by asking God to let us know the truth as it really is, as it really was, or as it really will be. I know we can gain the knowledge we need from God if we turn to Him and let Him help us.