Blessings and Cursings

When church members make covenants, it means something. Keeping covenants brings blessings, trifling with or not keeping covenants can result in cursings.

The following is from a book written by Blaine M. Yorgason, I Need Thee Every Hour, pages 106-110. Highlighting is mine.

Blessings and Cursings

Perhaps if we clearly understood the nature of sin, we would be more anxious to have it purged from our souls and left in the wake of our increasing spirituality. To do that, however, we must also understand the nature of blessings and curses, and the relationship between the two.

Brigham Young declared, “There is one principle I would like to have the Latter-day Saints perfectly understand-that is, of blessings and cursings” (Journal of Discourses, 18:262).

The Law of Blessings

With this principle in mind-that both blessings and cursings exist-we must remember that any blessing we obtain is based on our obedience to a specific law of God. As the Lord explained to Joseph Smith, “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated-and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:20-21).

For example, those who pay their tithing will not be burned at the Lord’s coming (D&C 64:23), and those who keep the Word of Wisdom are promised that they will have “health in their navel and marrow to their bones; and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; and shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. And . . . the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them” (D&C 89:18-21).

As these examples show, all God’s laws have specific blessings attached to them, and these blessings come to those who obey. This is the law of blessings.

The Law of Curses

Frequently the Lord has spoken to His prophets concerning curses, which are judgments, or consequences, that follow disobedience (Moses 7:9, 16; Joshua 8:34; Proverbs 3:33; Jeremiah 11:3). Through Joseph Smith the Lord declared to us, “Hearken and hear, O ye my people, saith the Lord and your God, ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of all blessings, ye that hear me; and ye that hear me not will I curse, that have professed my name, with the heaviest of all cursings” (D&C 41:1; italics mine).

Brigham Young taught, “We read that war, pestilence, plagues, famine, etc., will be visited upon the inhabitants of the earth; but if distress through the judgements of God comes upon this people, it will be because the majority have turned away from the Lord. Let the majority of the people turn away from the Holy Commandments which the Lord has delivered to us, and cease to hold the balance of power in the Church, and we may expect the judgements of God to come upon us; but while six-tenths or three-fourths of this people will keep the commandments of God, the curse and judgements of the Almighty will never come upon them, though we will have trials of various kinds, and the elements to contend with-natural and spiritual elements” (Journal of Discourses, 18:262; italics mine).

Besides blessings, God’s laws also have curses attached to them, which arbitrarily fall upon those who choose to disobey. Mormon declares that “repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law” (Moroni 8:24; italics mine), and Malachi proclaims, “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 3:7-11; italics mine).

According to Malachi, three things bring this particular curse upon a member of the house of Israel: (1) going away from, or not living, God’s ordinances, which would include baptismal and temple covenants; (2) robbing God by not paying an honest tithe; and (3) not offering up a broken heart and a contrite spirit (3 Nephi 9:20; D&C 59:8). If we are guilty of any one of these three categories of sin (and it is interesting that all of them have to do with sincere temple worship), then we will be cursed by something called “the devourer,” which according to Malachi has power to destabilize and even destroy our economic lives.

How is the curse removed? By returning to the Lord in all three areas-by repenting. Then the Lord (and only He) will rebuke the devourer, and the curse will be ended or removed so that God can pour out blessings upon us. Otherwise the curse must apparently run its course to a full end, whatever that means, and until then the blessings are withheld.

This is especially significant in light of the Lord’s word to Joseph Smith concerning those who have been endowed in His holy temples: “If you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord. For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practice before me, saith the Lord” (D&C 124:47-48; italics mine).

Since both of these scriptures regarding curses pertain to integrity in temple worship, the conclusion is inescapable that whenever the Lord’s people have had access to the blessings of the priesthood as administered within the holy temples, and have not lived up to all they have covenanted to do therein, then with their sins they have brought upon themselves cursings rather than blessings, which curses bring upon them wrath, indignation, and the judgments of God.

Thus, curses are placed upon people by their own actions as a consequence of their sins and can be removed only by their enduring the curse until it has fully ended, or through the redemptive power of the Savior, which comes through total and sincere repentance (Galatians 3:13).

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