What kind of warnings do we prefer?

There are occasions when I feel especially appreciative of the unique perspectives of life that come from being a Mormon. Let’s face it, we see life differently than most people of the world. We have the advantage of an understanding of the purpose of life that is very different. There are times when we can see the hand of the Lord in events that leave others perplexed.

So many in the world are bothered as they read the daily news accounts of trouble and anxiety and fear. Those who write headlines and stories that capitalize on fears and worries know this well. It is gripping to read how we are just a moment away from financial disaster and ruin that could turn into anarchy and despair, isn’t it? Those who write this way are experts at this style.

It seems there is not a day that goes by that we are not warned of the awful approaching doom of global warming, of the stock market crash and resulting anarchy that will surely follow. We are treated to headlines that proclaim the breakdown of society, the discontent and angst that seem to be afflicting and tormenting everyone, especially the youth. It all seems so tragic, doesn’t it? And it’s all threatened to happen any day now with much worse stuff to follow.

I prefer the quiet reassuring words of the scriptures; the simple, sweet and enduring writings of prophets and apostles. They do not shout out with headlines of doom and gloom, death and destruction, or do they? The warnings of the prophets and apostles are subdued, quiet and yet constant and steady. They are full of patience and longsuffering because so many do not listen or give heed. And yet they are no less dire in their predictions of the events of the last days.

One of those warnings from the Lord can be found right in the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants, “And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.” (v4) “Wherefore, fear and tremble, O ye people, for what I have decreed…shall be fulfilled.” (v7) How do we feel when we read warnings like this?

“And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth.” (v13) “Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth…” What calamity? Skip to Section 45: “…they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.” (v31) Well, there’s one.

“And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places, and many desolations…” (v. 33) “And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.” (v39) “And they shall see signs and wonders, for they shall be shown forth in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath.” (v40).

“And they shall behold blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke. And before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven.” (v41-42) “And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them.” (v 26) “And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound.” (v27) “…the heavens and the earth shall pass away.” (v22)

I offer my opinion that the Lord, through his prophets has caused to be written warnings and dire predictions that far exceed anything the fearmongers of today’s headlines could ever write. The verses I have just quoted are great examples. There are many more that are more dire in their prophetic tone about flies and maggots and hailstones of fire (meteorites). Need I go on?

No, I think I’ve made my point. The Lord has been warning us for many years, over and over again. The verses in sections 1 and 45 were given in 1831. That’s a long time ago. When will they be fulfilled? Well obviously we have seen and are seeing some of them fulfilled. How well do we recognize them for what they are? The conditions of unrest, anxiety, angst, doom, gloom and despair were foretold by the Lord. The very content of headlines are a fulfillment of prophecy.

I hope this post has not been too discouraging. It is not intended to be so. I simply wanted to point out that the tendency of the news media to find the worst and the most distressing things in the world and bring them to our front door, our televisions and our computer screens is one of the conditions foretold for our day. We should not be surprised by how desperate it all seems.

The Lord did not intend for us to live desperate lives of anxiety and fear. That’s what I meant when I started this post about having a unique perspective as a Mormon. It’s not as if we are also not alarmed by what is happening in the world. It’s just that it does not or should not have the same effect on us that the writers of the headlines and news stories perhaps intended. Our response should be the quiet determination to remain faithful as we watch and wait on the Lord.

“Pray always, that ye may not faint, until I come. Behold and lo, I will come quickly…” (88:126) “Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour.” (133:11) “And immediately there shall appear a great sign in heaven, and all people shall see it together.” (88:93) “…and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled.” (88:95)

What do you think? Are the headlines of today a fulfillment of prophecy or is it just the way things are? I’ve been reading the news for many years. It just seems to be getting more obvious to me. Will the doom and gloom get worse? Will the talented and able fearmongers continue to improve in their craft? I think we can count on it. But I prefer to heed the warnings of the Lord and respond the way the prophets have asked – with faith, preparation and watchfulness.

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