Ezekiel's 'watchman' metaphor has modern-day application

The "watchman" metaphor in Ezekiel prompted this application by Elder David B. Haight of the Council of the Twelve at the October 1992 general conference:

"In past times, as at present, prophets of God have delivered a voice of warning. The Lord said to Ezekiel, `I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word . . . , and give them warning from me.' (Ezek. 3:17.)"From what we are witnessing happening in the world around us, I am impressed today to raise a voice of warning for mankind to prepare - by repentance - for the great day of the Lord. (See D&C 1:11-12.)

"I am indebted to Elder Dallin Oaks for an account, a modern-day parable which I refer to as the parable of the bushy-tailed squirrel, the tree, and the dog, which illustrates my concern:

"As two men walked across an eastern university campus, they were attracted by a crowd of people surrounding a large maple tree. As they approached, they noticed that the crowd was being amused by the antics of a fox-tailed squirrel circling the tree, climbing it, and running back down again. A red Irish Setter dog crouched nearby, intently watching the squirrel. Each time the squirrel ran up the tree out of sight, the dog would slowly creep towards the tree. The squirrel paid little attention as the dog crept closer and closer, patiently biding its time. People watching this entertaining drama unfold knew what could happen, but they did nothing, until in a flash, the dog - catching the squirrel unaware - had it in the grip of its sharp teeth.

"The people then rushed forward in horror, forcing the dog's mouth open to rescue the squirrel. It was too late. The squirrel was dead. Anyone could have warned the squirrel or held back the dog. But they had been momentarily amused and watched silently while evil slowly crept up on good. When they rushed to the defense, it was too late.

"We see around us daily that which is portrayed in this parable. We sit idly by watching as an insidious stream of profanity, vulgarity, demeaning behavior, a mocking of righteous ideals and principles invade our homes and lives through most types of media, teaching our children negative values and moral corruption. We then become upset when our children perform differently than we would wish, and social behavior continues to deteriorate."

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed