There was a certain tribe who lived peaceably in nature. They understood and lived in harmony with the laws of nature to such a degree that the surrounding plants and animals assisted the tribe in their efforts. The land yielded its fruit, the trees grew into home-like structures, and birds even attended and sang at special events. All benefited from the perfect harmony that followed the tribe’s lifestyle.
Foremost among these was a great lion who defended the tribe against foreign invaders. The lion was loyal to the tribe, showing no aggression towards anyone. He protected those who fed and cared for him. Never was a single enemy successful in killing the lion or hurting any member of the tribe, and never did the lion fail at what he sought to do.
The tribe became known abroad for the lion that was with them.
Outsiders feared and hated the lion. They could not understand why it regarded them as enemies while giving allegiance to the tribe. They generally lived outside of nature in cities they had built by their own wit, using technology to gather resources for their survival and progress, though they never achieved the harmony or prosperity of the tribe.
With time, the tribe gradually grew in its wealth and prosperity, having more than sufficient for their needs. They considered such abundant prosperity nature’s reward for their lifestyle. As generations passed, the tribe grew proud of its inheritance and lived off the excess produced by previous generations. They lost sight of what it took to produce all that was before them, and considering their own needs were taken care of, saw less reason to do so.
They took pride that the lion made its abode with them and not their enemies, but began to forget why he did so. Considering themselves invulnerable, they had little regard for outsiders. As their pride grew, their understanding of how to maintain their way of life waned.
Their attitude towards outsiders created a feeling of hostility and resentment abroad for the tribe. It had been some time since they had heard of any great thing done by the lion, and questioned whether or not their power was as myth.
The increasing tension between the tribe and the outsiders grew until at last, the tribe declared war on its enemies. They rallied troops and marshaled themselves for battle. They prepared their champion the lion, confident they could not fail with him at their side.
At last, it began. At the tribe’s battle cry the lion, who had not been properly fed or cared for in many years, turned on and devoured his own people. And he did not fail at what he sought to do.
“The gifts of God are all useful in their place, but when they are applied to that which God does not intend, they prove an injury, a snare, and a curse instead of a blessing.” (Joseph Smith, TPJS p. 248).
“Verily, I say unto you, I am the stone, and those wicked ones reject me. I am the head of the corner. These Jews shall fall upon me, and shall be broken. And the kingdom of God shall be taken from them, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof (meaning the Gentiles); wherefore, on whomsoever this stone shall fall, it shall grind him to powder.
“And when the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, he will destroy those miserable, wicked men, and will let again his vineyard unto other husbandmen, even in the last days, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons. And then understood they the parable which he spake unto them, that the Gentiles should be destroyed also, when the Lord should descend out of heaven to reign in his vineyard, which is the earth and the inhabitants thereof” (JST Matthew 21:51-56; emphasis added).
“And [the Gentiles] shall be a scourge unto the people of this land. Nevertheless, when they shall have received the fulness of my gospel, then if they shall harden their hearts against me I will return their iniquities upon their own heads, saith the Father. And I will remember the covenant which I have made with my people; and I have covenanted with them that I would gather them together in mine own due time, that I would give unto them again the land of their fathers for their inheritance, which is the land of Jerusalem, which is the promised land unto them forever, saith the Father” (3 Nephi 20:28-29; emphasis added).
“And the time cometh that he shall manifest himself unto all nations,
both unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles;
and after he has manifested himself unto the Jews
and also unto the Gentiles,
then he shall manifest himself unto the Gentiles
and also unto the Jews,
and the last shall be first,
and the first shall be last” (1 Nephi 13:42).