But the People Believed Not – Ether 9:28-29

28 And there came prophets in the land again, crying repentance unto them–that they must prepare the way of the Lord or there should come a curse upon the face of the land; yea, even there should be a great famine, in which they should be destroyed if they did not repent.
29 But the people believed not the words of the prophets, but they cast them out; and some of them they cast into pits and left them to perish. And it came to pass that they did all these things according to the commandment of the king, Heth.
(Ether 9:28-29)

Why would the people reject the words of the prophets, who had no other motive than to help them? Because the prophets were telling them to repent. People don’t like to be told they’re wrong, and they don’t like to have change imposed upon them.
Note the three levels of rejection in verse 29:

  1. “Believed not” – The simplest way to reject the prophets of God is simply not to believe them. You still hear their words, but you refuse to accept that they may be right.
  2. “Cast them out” – A more explicit way to reject the prophets is to ensure that you don’t hear them. If you can avoid being exposed to their words of warning, then you don’t have to do the hard work of rejecting them in your heart.
  3. “Cast into pits” – The thing about prophets is that they really want you to hear their words. You may try to avoid them, but they will keep looking for ways to reach you. The ultimate way to reject a prophet is to attack him. Presumably, the thought is that, if you can get rid of the prophet, then the problem goes away, and you can get back to your “normal life.”

Today, I will recommit to heed the words of the prophets of God. As I am exposed to the words of Church leaders, I will pay particular attention to any words that are challenging to me or that push me out of my comfort zone. I will be careful not to reject these words in my heart, but will work on changing my life to conform more fully to the word of God.

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