All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. Doctrine and Covenants 93:30
One of my favorite parts about being a father is seeing my children develop and become happy, becoming more and more who they really are. This development often happens in unpredictable ways, which makes each instance all the better to observe and enjoy—it is particularly gratifying to see them learn and do things I don’t do or don’t do well.
While I want to have an influence on my children, I also feel so strongly that I should not attempt to mold them. There is so much to be learned from the Garden of Eden in which God provides numerous trees and plants with only the fruit of one of those trees being forbidden and then gives Adam and Eve time to explore and learn on their own. He also watches as they develop their own language rather than giving them a language. While it is obvious that there are age and other factors that should modify the degree of direction and restriction given to a child, wonderful things happen when a child is given the freedom to become who they really are. This principle is the same for those of all ages.
The world is generally opposed to freedom, and thus to growth, existence, and happiness in so many direct and subtle ways. At the end of my last post I asked the following questions regarding the story of Jesus, Mary, and Martha contained in Luke 10:38-42: What happens when someone like Mary is surrounded by expectations and pressures from ten people instead of from one? Or from a hundred, and each of these surrounded by another hundred, each with their own form of expectations and pressures and efforts to control? And what happens when a portion of these expectations and pressures are more coercive or even cruel and violent? What are the inevitable cultural implications of this complex web? What are the cultural or societal inevitabilities of making unto ourselves and worshiping graven images?
My answer to these questions is that we inevitably find ourselves in the world in which we currently live. At the least this includes characteristics like the tendency to control, lifestyle pressure, social pressure, political pressure and conflicts, a multiplying of laws and regulations and general complexity and centralization, etc. Eventually systems of complete or near complete repression exist, enslaving and tormenting their subjects, including systems that prey on the vulnerable such as sex slavery and forced labor and repressive, totalitarian regimes.
This is the most serious consequence of disobeying the second commandment: making unto ourselves graven images and bowing down and serving them always leads to bondage. God gives and continually restores freedom; and man continually places himself and those around him into bondage.
The ancient practice of sacrificing the innocent and vulnerable to idols is symbolic of so much occurring in all worldly cultures in every time period. In the future in this world this reality will not change, but instead will worsen, up until the day that Christ reigns, again restoring freedom.
Revelation 13 tells of a time of two beasts, worship of image, and enslavement, and while in scripture this appears as a dystopian extreme that will be clearly distinguishable and avoidable, it will in reality be not that much different from the current world and will be brought about in such a way as to create question, confusion, uncertainty, and acceptance. It will be discernable only for those for whom communion with God is central to their existence. In the pattern of the great deceiver, that which is described in Revelation 13 is in many details a parallel to God’s influence in the world of that time as described in Revelation 11. Again, it will not be clear without light from God. Evil as always will be more attractive and compelling to most, and how people understand the world and live accordingly will come down to how they understand or don’t understand God and live or don’t live the commandments, including the second of the Ten Commandments.