Simple Strategies to Avoid Personal Apostasy

Don't Get There By Not Going There!

Spanish version of the Bible
Spanish Bible. Photo courtesy of © Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Apostasy does not generally happen overnight. There is usually a process for getting there. The following should help LDS members from going there.

Always Do the Basics

If you consistently read and study the scriptures every day, the likelihood of apostasy is small. There is just something about the power of the scriptures that can ward off spiritual problems.

Prayer is also basic. You should spend quality time praying every day.

People that lose touch with the gospel probably are not praying regularly. Pray, even if you do not feel like praying. Brigham Young said to pray until you do feel like praying.

Keep the Sabbath holy.

Repent and reform yourself, regularly!

Immerse Yourself in Truth

There is truth, speculation, opinion, falsehood, damnable falsehood and a whole host of other categories. Stick close to what you know is truth and avoid the other materials.

Scripture and inspired teachings from prophets is truth. The further you get away from those sources, the further you get away from truth.

Commentaries, opinions, secular learning and so forth may be interesting; but it is not necessarily truth. Most likely, it is truth mixed up with a bundle of fiction. Be careful in how you access, and rely on, these materials.

Avoid Activities that Chase Away the Spirit

This list is endless. Modern day activities could include things like less than wholesome entertainment, which includes music, television, movies, conversations, topics and so forth.

Time wasting activities are also a culprit here. This would include video games, pointless conversations, light mindedness and excessive stewardship of unnecessary material possessions.

You can waste a great deal of time shopping for, housing, maintaining, cleaning, recording, updating and securing, etc., material things.

Avoid Spiritual or Gospel Hobbies

In Teaching, No Greater Call, this vice is described:

“Gospel hobbies—the special or exclusive emphasis of one principle of the gospel—should also be avoided by teachers” (Instructor, Sept. 1969, 334–35).

President Joseph F. Smith said: “Hobbies give to those who encourage them a false aspect of the gospel of the Redeemer; they distort and place out of harmony its principles and teachings. The point of view is unnatural. Every principle and practice revealed from God is essential to man’s salvation, and to place any one of them unduly in front, hiding and dimming all others, is unwise and dangerous; it jeopardizes our salvation, for it darkens our minds and beclouds our understandings” (Gospel Doctrine, 116–17).

Apostle, Quentin L. Cook warned:

Another sign of spiritual immaturity and sometimes apostasy is when one focuses on certain gospel principles or pursues “gospel hobbies” with excess zeal. Almost any virtue taken to excess can become a vice.

Avoid Arrogance and Cultivate Humility

Prophet and president, Brigham Young warned.

You hear many say, “I am a Latter-day Saint, and I never will apostatize;” “I am a Latter-day Saint, and shall be to the day of my death.” I never make such declarations, and never shall.  (DBY, 84).

Elder Claudio D. Zivic taught how our arrogance can lead to apostasy:

We enter a state of apostasy when we assume authority we do not possess or when we seek revelation for a stewardship outside of our sphere of responsibility.

Put Doubts in Perspective

It is easier to create doubt than to prove truth.

The existence of certain people who left the Church because of a particular circumstance, supposed fact, or historical event is unimportant. Consider that many equally intelligent and sophisticated people have not let that particular doubt derail their testimony or their faith. Why should it affect your faith?

Doubts are inevitable. Because we must walk in faith, doubts will always exist.

Recognize Satan's Likely Influence

Do not underestimate Satan's knowledge and sophistication, especially of you personally.

He will try to and lead you astray. He knows your weaknesses and will exploit them.

The Devil is real. If you act like he is not, you will inevitably get tripped up. Pray for help to avoid the traps he sets for you and to get out of the ones you fall into, fast.

Heavenly Father will always lead you to truth.

Engage in Personal Spiritual Introspection Regularly

Constantly take a hard look at what you are doing, how you are spending your time and so forth. Does it follow what we have been told we need to do or do you have deficiencies?

Do not rationalize or justify yourself. Consistently hold yourself to a high standard in thought, behavior and activities.

Master the Truth You Know

We know we should be kind, for example. Applying this knowledge is much more difficult than becoming convinced of the concept.

Your knowledge will not get you far if you do not live what you know. Sincerely living what you know will keep you amply busy in this life.

What does it matter whether or not we know where Zarahemla was physically located?

Do Not Find Fault

Brigham Young further warned:

When a man begins to find fault, inquiring in regard to this, that, and the other, saying, “Does this or that look as though the Lord dictated it?” you may know that that person has more or less of the spirit of apostasy. Every man in this Kingdom, or upon the face of the earth, who is seeking with all his heart to save himself, has as much to do as he can conveniently attend to, without calling in question that which does not belong to him. If he succeeds in saving himself, it has well occupied his time and attention. (DBY, 83).

Fault finding is always arrogance, because we assert that we know something better than others.

Take Yourself Out of the Equation

The gospel is not about what you think, or what you want. Instead of trying to make truth conform to your own perspective, focus on aligning your perspective with the truth.

Just keep telling yourself that.