So there’s been some talk amidst the “end of days” crowds that this September is supposed to be the beginning of the end. Or the beginning of an end. Or the seventh year in the cycle of Jewish numbers of Old Testament things and 9/11 and the recession and UN troops cross over an earthquake while Seattle is underwater and China is selling back our debt and making the stock market crash while we live in tent-cities under a blood moon, Obama something bad.
As you can tell, I’m pretty much all caught up.
Now there are several sources for this info; the most famous LDS one being a woman named Julie Rowe. She has stated that she had visions during a near-death experience and written some books about what she saw. While my intro is pretty flippant of the mass hysteria around these predictions, I am not one to deny that strange spiritual experiences can and do happen to reveal things to us. But I am very wary of those experiences being taken too definitively or too literally, because they are experiences filtered through the mortal minds, hearts, and biases we posses, and we may not really understand it. How many times in the scriptures were prophetic visions 100% literal and easily explained? Even after hearing his father’s vision, Nephi had to really parse out what it meant with the help of the Holy Ghost because he couldn’t figure it out on his own. Pharaoh knew he had had a really significant dream, but he also knew it wasn’t literal or he would have told everyone to kill any skinny cow they saw. He needed someone to translate it for him, which Joseph was able to do. So in light of that, incredibly specific predictions that get right down to the date and location sound a bit suspect to me.
The other part that always disturbs me, is that some people seem weirdly excited about these disasters. And if they don’t come to pass, I sense there is some disappointment from the “elect” believers that massive suffering was once more put off, and they missed out on getting to tell whoever is left, “I told you so.” Well, there’s a whole list of things I’ve read about in these predictions that apparently have yet to pass, and I imagine some are very disappointed about that. Like when are we finally going to see the white tent-cities?
Citizens fighting their own government?
A terrified mass exodus of an entire population on foot?
A once-wealthy people reduced to 3rd-world conditions?
Unimaginable horrors inflicted on the innocent? (this was one of the least offensive images I could find)
The fulfillment of the scripture that says “And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!”?
And people fleeing to places of safe refuge?
Is it just me, or could those who have reported dreams and visions, have been given visions of what is actually happening right now? But then are we so focused on the potential of violence and upheaval in our own land, that we become willfully ignorant of actual violence and upheaval in the lives of others? Do we subtly think we’re the people who really “count” when it comes to the last days, giving us leave to ignore the plight of others as though it’s just background noise to our story? Could some of these visions actually be a reminder to remember each other instead of turning excessively inward? I would hope that instead of making us more closed-off, dreams and visions would give us more courage to be open and full of charity-something this world needs more, I would argue, than another can of food storage or round of ammunition. Because for millions of people in Syria and the Middle East, the world has ended. Or didn’t you notice?
**Below is a link to some of the top-rated charities that are currently helping with the Syrian refugee crisis**
Laurel, I appreciate the global perspective of your post.
This scripture came to my mind.
And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people. (D&C 88:91)
Thanks for your post. This is very timely and spot on.
Thanks Tom. There is certainly enough in the world that we can get fearful about without needing to “hope for more” as it were. And I think that may be why prophets didn’t encourage weapon-storage but spiritual preparedness. Hope and humanity may be more valuable in such a situation than weapons or even food.
First, thumbs up for this post.
However, I don’t think the “Preppers” (if I have this right), are going to miss a stride if they read it. Their reaction most likely will be along the lines of, “Yep, everything Laurel says is right on the money – and now all of the above is going to crash down on the U.S. of A.”
I’m rather late coming to a knowledge of this bunch. How many are we talking about? Are they mostly Utah based? (I’m outside Seattle). How specific are their predictions in what we are to expect and when to expect it? Usually, groups like this aren’t deterred when their “prophecies” fail; they can always be reinterpreted, spruced up.
In any event, as you say, the latter days started some time ago. More bad things – and good things – are coming. Why anyone has a rooting interest in the bad things I just don’t get.
As for me, I expect to watch Conference on Oct 3 – or do I need to make other plans?
Excellent post, Laurel.
Perhaps looking to the return of the Savior is a welcomed hope because of the turbulence of our current conditions. It’s beautiful that until the Second Coming those who help comfort and relieve those who are suffering will find their peace in Him now and forever.
I LOVE this comment and concept.
Laurel, I really liked this post, and appreciate your perspective, very thought provoking.
I particularly appreciate the thought to look outside of ourselves at the world. And I agree, that for many in Syria, Iraq, other parts of the middle east, their world has ended, while we sit here, fat dumb and happy, moaning about our first world problems.
I try to keep up on all this stuff, so I’ll take a stab at it.
The numbers of LDS are small, but not insignificant, perhaps 10 – 50,000. It’s a pretty small segment of the Church, perhaps 1-5% of the Church has one years food storage and certainly not all of them are preppers or expect to live in a tent city.
There is a similar percentage of non-LDS who are also prepping, but they tend to distrust others and Mormons in particular, so numbers are elusive, but it’s probably in the hundreds of thousands to low millions.
As pointed out, many in the LDS crowd have read one or both of Julie Rowe’s books. But there are several other authors who say essentially the same things. In fact, that is one of the interesting points, that many individuals have come to similar conclusions without any apparent collusion. Of course, some of these individuals have heard these ideas expressed elsewhere and then have recorded their dreams about it, so as Laurel suggests, these could easily be the result of the discussion rather than an actual spiritual experience, but there is no way to know.
Looking around at the world, I think there is plenty to worry about. I think those who say that tomorrow is going to be essentially the same as today are the ones suffering from normalcy bias. A rational man could easily come to the conclusion that we’re in for big, unpleasant changes in the not-too-distant future. This is not a tiny worldview, but is quite apparent in popular culture. How many movies and TV shows deal with the idea of an apocalyptic future of late? I’m not sure of the answer, but if popular culture reflects the psyche of the masses, it’s in the back of a lot of minds.
Strauss and Howe’s “The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy” says that it’s the juxtaposition of the generations that causes a cycle which ultimately ends in a no-holds-barred struggle, such as WWII. In 1995 they predicted that we would be entering just such a period of crisis beginning in 2005 and lasting about twenty years.
Of course, the real question is not whether the future could be apocalyptic, but whether it’s THE APOCALYPSE. Isaiah wrote about such things 2700 years ago, and almost every generation since has figured that that time had come. But even a broken clock is right twice a day. Eventually those people who consistently predict the apocalypse will get it right, if not necessarily for the right reasons.
But what is the right approach? This essay was written in a seemingly condescending manner, so that others can ridicule the kooks and tin-foil-hat preppers who are being influenced by some crazy visionary. Yuk, yuk. But others are actively trying to sift through the expanse of information to make a prayerful decision about what to do in the face of an uncertain future and finding that, if one is willing to dig deeper than the correlated curriculum there are some interesting things to ponder. I suppose it’s that struggle to find a rational faith.
What a great post Laurel! Spot on.
Thanks, Dale. The scriptures about the tribulations of these times, and the signs of the times, I take seriously. NDE accounts and the specifying/dating of catastrophe based on ancient numerologies, I don’t.
Look up Roger K Young's work and get info on other than just dreams and visions. What has already transpired and what is to happen as related to Russia and China's agenda, etc.
Amos 3:7 7 “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets”.
There is no way a lady or a man is going to know when the start of the second coming, or the second coming itself is going to happen before the Prophet! Cool story and yes these are signs of the times but come on for real though why do people believe this. A prophet has never said anything like this. All he had said is make sure you have food storage and emergency preparedness stuff ready.
Follow the prophet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
These are my thoughts exactly. I don’t want the bad things to keep happening. I so hope for the respite of the reign of Christ. I dread all the bad that is happening. This article is spot on. …just waiting for the other things to happen so i can move past them.