THE GOSPEL DOCTRINE CLASS
Special Lesson - December 26 1999
"The Saturday Night of Time"
As many of you are aware, I have a tradition of using the last class
period of each year for what I have come to title, the Annual Quiz.
As I have contemplated the last Sunday of 1999, I have felt impressed to
do something more. Not only is it the end of a year, but it is also
the end of a century and the end of a millennium. A millennium that
began in the dark ages, now comes to a conclusion with a world that has
made tremendous progress in science, technology, and knowledge. The
space age has opened. Communication throughout the world can now
be conducted in seconds. The glorious light of the gospel now shines
throughout many nations of the world. And yet, we end a century that
has been among the most horrible in history. Wars of unprecedented
magnitude have been waged. Weapons capable of destroying life on
the planet have been deployed. As we look to the future, one cannot
help but wonder what is next.
Fortunately, we have not been left in the dark. The voice of the
Lord has been heard through his prophets. In this final lesson of
the current millennium, I would like to examine the word of the Lord as
revealed through his servants and review some of the prophesied events
leading up to the Second Coming of the Savior. I would like to consider
the following words a theme for this lesson. They come from that
beloved apostle and scriptorian, Bruce R. McConkie:
"We are now living in the Saturday
night of time; the millennial morning will soon dawn. This is the end of
the sixth seal, and the seventh seal will soon be opened. Our modern revelation
tells us plainly that Christ will come sometime after the opening of seventh
seal; it will be during the seventh thousand years and after the events
listed in the eighth chapter of John's writings. The plagues and woes there
recited shall all take place during the seventh seal, and they are 'the
preparing of the way before the time of his coming.' (D&C 77:12.) Will
he come ten or fifty or a hundred years after the opening of the seventh
seal? Or will his various appearances be interspersed with the signs of
the times that are reserved for that future day? Answers to these and like
questions have been withheld from us and will be known only as the various
events transpire." (The Millennial Messiah, pp381-382)
In presenting this lesson, I do not necessarily wish to set any time frames
or portray any particular sequence of events. Except for the quotations,
the words and thoughts are mine. I pray that what I write or speak
is doctrinally correct, but you must be guided by the Holy Spirit as you
study this lesson.
My hope in presenting this lesson, is that you will be inspired to better
prepare yourself for that which is about to unfold. When the Lord
spoke to his ancient apostles about our day he said, "For
in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets,
and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they
shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant"
(Joseph Smith Matthew 1:22). We must be prepare ourselves.
Our testimonies must shine bright. As Heber C. Kimball stated, "The
time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed
light. Each will have to be guided by the light within himself. If you
do not have it, how can you stand?" (Orson F. Whitney, Life
of Heber C. Kimball, p450).
Be Ye Ready
It is natural for us to be curious about the events leading up to the Second
Coming. When I was growing up, I found a book in our bookcase entitled
The Last Days. It contained prophecies about our time and events
yet to transpire before the coming of the Lord. I was fascinated
with the book and what it foretold about the future. I wondered if
I would live to see some of the events prophesied by the Lord's servants
including Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other latter-day apostles and
During the last week of his life, Jesus discussed
future events with his apostles. "And
as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately,
saying: Tell us when shall these things be which thou hast said concerning
the destruction of the temple, and the Jews; and what is the sign of thy
coming, and of the end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked,
which is the end of the world?" (Joseph Smith Matthew 1:4).
The Lord then went on to teach his curious disciples about the events leading
up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the latter-day events leading up
to his Millennial reign.
WHY DID THE LORD TAKE TIME TO INSTRUCT HIS APOSTLES ABOUT THE GREAT EVENTS
OF THE FUTURE?
Joseph Smith Matthew 1:46-48: "And what I say
unto one, I say unto all men; watch, therefore, for you know not at what
hour your Lord doth come.
"But know this, if the
good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he
would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to have been
broken up, but would have been ready.
"Therefore be ye also ready,
for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh."
The Lord was a master teacher. He instructed
in ways that were clear to those seeking the truth. Last year, we
invited a family over for Thanksgiving dinner. After spending the
afternoon, they returned home to discover that their apartment had been
broken into and several precious items robbed. What if they had known
in advance that their home would be robbed that day. Though they
might not know the hour the thief would show up, either they would have
remained to protect their possessions or they would have enlisted a guard.
Though we do not know the
precise time of the Lord's Second Coming, he has provided sufficient information,
so that we may know his coming is near. At an earlier time, Jesus
chided some of the Pharisees for being able to predict weather from a look
at the sky, but unable to discern truth, "It
will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It
will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites,
ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of
the times?" (Matthew 16:2-3). As we look to the Second
Coming, the Lord has given signs to verify to his faithful that this glorious
event is coming.
I am fascinated with weather. Sometimes I
think I should have been a meteorologist. I find it interesting to
observe changes in the weather. Modern technology gives me an incredible
edge through Internet access to satellite photos and doppler radar.
Even without these high technology tools, I can go for a walk or work in
the yard and still know there is a change coming through observation of
the sky, the temperature, the wind, or humidity. When we detect changes,
we often make additional preparations. Here in western Washington
we often have strong windstorms in the fall. These windstorms frequently
topple trees across power lines, thus plunging many areas of the region
into darkness. If one listens to the weather, one prepares by locating
candles, filling oil lamps, picking up fresh batteries, etc. In like
manner, if we learn and observe the prophesies the Lord has provided about
his Second Coming, we should be inspired to continue our spiritual preparation.
Joseph Fielding Smith: "President Wilford
Woodruff and the Prophet Joseph Smith declare that it was their duty and
should be the duty of every righteous man to raise the warning voice and
proclaim the fact that these calamities are at our doors, and I have been
condemned because I have done that. I heard one good man say, 'There are
too many good things to think about without talking about these troubles,
these plagues, or worrying about the coming of the Lord.' Here is
what the Lord says in Section 45 of the Doctrine and Covenants, verses
39 to 43.
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.
"'And they shall see signs
and wonders, for they shall be shown forth in the heavens above, and in
the earth beneath.
"'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 be turned
into blood, and the stars fall from heaven.
"'And the remnant shall
be gathered unto this place.' That is, the Jews to Jerusalem.
"Now, when the Lord says that, don't you think
I am justified in raising my voice and do you think I am doing wrong when
I am looking forward to the coming of Christ, and watching the signs of
the times and these calamities and troubles that are coming?"
Signs of the Times, pp127-128)
The Saturday Evening Of Time
When I began this lesson, I was not sure what course it would take.
The prophecies that seemed to grab my attention were those that spoke of
turbulent times ahead. There are many wonderful things that have
occurred and will occur in the latter days. But it seems there is
an unparalleled deterioration in society that will lead to the difficulties
described by many latter day prophets and apostles. Jedediah M. Grant
relates the following incident, graphically illustrating the grimness of
some of the prophecies:
Difficulties to Be Faced By the Saints:
"Three days before the Prophet Joseph started
for Carthage, I well remember his telling us we should see the fulfillment
of the words of Jesus upon the earth, where He says the father shall be
against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the
daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against
the daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law;
and when a man's enemies shall be those of his own household.
"The prophet stood in his
own house when he told several of us the night the visions of heaven were
opened to him, in which he saw the American continent drenched in blood,
and he saw nation rising against nation. He also saw the father shed the
blood of the son, and the son the blood of the father; the mother put to
death the daughter, and the daughter the mother; and natural affection
forsook the hearts of the wicked; for he saw that the Spirit of God should
be withdrawn from the inhabitants of the earth, in consequence of which
there should be blood upon the face of the whole earth, except among the
people of the Most High. The Prophet gazed upon the scene his vision presented,
until his heart sickened and he besought the Lord to close it up again."
(Journal of Discourses, 2:146-147)
When I read this account, particularly how the heart of the Prophet "sickened"
at what he saw, I was moved by the Prophet's reaction. Our beloved
leaders, past and present, do not revel in grimness, but as messengers
of the Lord, they are called upon from time to time to deliver messages
that are unpleasant.
Elder Russell M. Ballard: "My message to you today…is
simply this: the Lord is in control. He knows the end from the beginning.
He has given us adequate instruction that, if followed, will see us safely
through any crisis. His purposes will be fulfilled and someday we will
understand the eternal reasons for all of these events. Therefore, today
we must be careful to not over react, nor should we be caught up in extreme
preparations, but what we must do is keep the commandments of God and never
"Our one hope for spiritual
safety during these turbulent times is to turn our minds and our hearts
to Jesus Christ. Faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, is absolutely
essential for us to maintain a balanced perspective through times of trial
"The principles of faith
and hope working together must be accompanied by charity, which is the
greatest of all….Working together, these three eternal principles will
help give us the broad eternal perspective we need to face life's toughest
challenges, including the prophesied ordeals of the last days."
(Church News, October 10, 1992, p9)
As we review a few prophesied events, it would be well for us to keep Elder
Ballard's counsel in mind.
Events in America:
D&C 112:24-26: "Behold, vengeance cometh speedily
upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a
day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as
a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.
"And upon my house shall
it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;
"First among those among
you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known
me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the
D&C 97:25-26: "Nevertheless,
Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded
"But if she observe not
to do whatsoever I have commanded her, I will visit her according to all
her works, with sore affliction, with pestilence, with plague, with sword,
with vengeance, with devouring fire."
Brigham Young: "If we live, we shall see the nations
of the earth arrayed against this people; for that time must come, in fulfilment
of prophecy." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p111)
Heber C. Kimball: "After a while the Gentiles
will gather to this place by the thousands, and Salt Lake will be classified
among the wicked cities of the world. A spirit of speculation and
extravagance will take possession of the Saints, and the results will be
financial bondage. Persecution comes next, and all true Latter-day
Saints will be tested to the limit. Many will apostatize, and others
will stand still, not knowing what to do....
"...the Saints will be
put to a test that will try the integrity of the best of them. the
pressure will become so great that the more righteous among them will cry
unto the Lord day and night until deliverance comes." (related
to Amanda H. Wilcox in 1868 and reported in the Deseret News, May 23, 1931)
Heber C. Kimball: "...we think we are secure
here in the chambers of the everlasting hills, where we can close those
few doors of the canyons against mobs and persecutors, the wicked and the
vile, who have always beset us with violence and robbery, but I want to
say to you, my brethren, the time is coming when we will be mixed up in
these now peaceful valleys to that extent that it will be difficult to
tell the face of a Saint from the face of an enemy to the people of God.
Then, brethren, look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great
sifting time, and many will fall; for I say unto you there is a test, a
TEST, a TEST coming, and who will be able to stand?" (quoted
by Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, p446)
Bruce R. McConkie: "I stand before the Church
this day and raise the warning voice. It is a prophetic voice, for
I shall say only what the apostles and prophets have spoken concerning
our day.... It is a voice calling upon the Lord's people to prepare
for the troubles and desolations which are about to be poured out upon
the world without measure. For the moment we live in a day of peace
and prosperity but it shall not ever be thus. Great trials lie ahead.
All of the sorrows and perils of the past are but a foretaste of what is
yet to be. And we must prepare ourselves temporally and spiritually."
(Ensign, May 1980)
Difficulties Throughout The Earth:
Wilford Woodruff: "The American nation will be
broken in pieces like a potter's vessel, and will be cast down to hell
if it does not repent,—and this, because of murders, whoredoms, wickedness,
and all manner of abominations, for the Lord has spoken it. Awake, therefore,
O Zion, to the coming of the Son of Man." (Wilford Woodruff—His
Life and Labors, p500)
Orson Pratt: "But what about the American
nation. That war (the Civil War) that destroyed the lives of some fifteen
or sixteen hundred thousand people was nothing, compared to that which
will eventually devastate that country.... What then will be the
condition of that people, when this great and terrible war shall come?
It will be very different from the war between the North and the South.
Do you wish me to describe it? I will do so. It will be a war of neighborhood
against neighborhood, city against city, town against town, county against
county, state against state, and they will go forth destroying and being
destroyed and manufacturing will, in a great measure, cease, for a time,
among the American nation. Why? Because in these terrible wars, they will
not be privileged to manufacture, there will be too much bloodshed--too
much mobocracy--too much going forth in bands and destroying and pillaging
the land to suffer people to pursue any local vocation with any degree
of safety. What will become of millions of the farmers upon that land?
They will leave their farms and they will remain uncultivated, and they
will flee before the ravaging armies from place to place; and thus will
they go forth burning and pillaging the whole country; and that great and
powerful nation...will be wasted away, unless they repent."
(Journal of Discourses, 20:151)
Destiny of the Saints:
D&C 87:6: "And thus, with the sword
and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine,
and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and
vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel
the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until
the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations."
D&C 88:88-91: "And after your testimony cometh
wrath and indignation upon the people.
"For after your testimony
cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the
midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able
"And also cometh the testimony
of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice
of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond
"And all things shall be
in commotion; and surely, men's hearts shall fail them; for fear shall
come upon all people."
Jedediah M. Grant stated in 1854: "We see
it in the revolutions of our own continent; we see it in the scattering
and scourging of the house of Israel; in the fading away of nations on
the right and on the left.... We see it in the preparations of war, and
the framing of treaties of peace among strong nations. The world is in
commotion and the hearts of men fail them for fear of the impending storm
that threatens to enshroud all nations in its black mantle. Treaties of
peace may be made, and war will stop for a season, but there are certain
decrees of God, and certain bounds fixed, and laws and edicts passed by
the high courts of heaven beyond which the nations cannot pass; and when
the Almighty decrees the wicked shall slay the wicked, strong nations may
interfere, peace conventions may become rife in the world and exert their
influence to sheathe the sword of war, and make treaties of peace to calm
the troubled surface of all Europe, to no effect; the war cloud is still
booming o'er the heavens, darkening the earth, and threatening the world
with desolation." (Journal of Discourses, 2:146)
Brigham Young: "All we have yet heard and we have
experienced is scarcely a preface to the sermon that is going to be preached.
When the testimony of the Elders ceases to be given, and the Lord says
to them, 'Come home; I will now preach my own sermons to the nations of
the earth,' all you now know can scarcely be called a preface to the sermon
that will be preached with fire and sword, tempests, earthquakes, hail,
rain, thunders and lightnings, and fearful destruction. What matters the
destruction of a few railway cars? You will hear of magnificent cities,
now idolized by the people, sinking in the earth, entombing the inhabitants.
The sea will heave itself beyond its bounds, engulfing mighty cities. Famine
will spread over the nations and nation will rise up against nation, kingdom
against kingdom and states against states, in our own country and in foreign
lands; and they will destroy each other, caring not for the blood and lives
of their neighbors, of their families, or for their own lives."
(Discourses of Brigham Young, pp111-112)
George Albert Smith: "I fear the time is
coming . . . unless we can call the people of this world to repent of their
sins and turn from the error of their ways, that the great war [World War
II] that has just passed will be an insignificant thing, as far as calamity
is concerned, compared to that which is before us." (CR,
Bruce R. McConkie: "Ours is the dispensation of
desolation and war that will be climaxed by a worldwide Armageddon of butchery
and blood at the very hour of the coming of the Son of Man. Jesus speaks
thus for the elect's sake; none others can read the signs of the times.
Carnal men will consider war as a way of life and a norm of society, not
as a scourge sent of God to cleanse the earth preparatory to the return
of his Son.
"Nor is war all we
face; as the crusades of carnage increase, so will the plagues and pestilence.
Famine and disease will stalk the earth. And for some reason, as yet undiscovered
by modern geologists, earthquakes will increase in number and intensity.
These are the last days, and the judgments of God are at hand.
"All this will be because
iniquity abounds. Sin is the father of all the ills poured out upon mankind."
Bruce R. McConkie: "All the desolation and waste
which attended the former destruction of Jerusalem is but prelude to the
coming siege. Titus and his legions slaughtered 1,100,000 Jews, destroyed
the temple, and ploughed the city. In the coming reenactment of this 'abomination
of desolation,' the whole world will be at war, Jerusalem will be the center
of the conflict, every modern weapon will be used, and in the midst of
the siege the Son of Man shall come, setting his foot upon the mount of
Olives and fighting the battle of his saints. (Zech. 12:1-9.)"
(Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:659)
During the course of Zion's Camp, the Prophet Joseph Smith held a testimony
meeting. After many of the brethren had born their testimonies the
Prophet stated: "Brethren, I have been very much
edified and instructed in your testimonies here tonight, but I want to
say to you before the Lord, that you know no more concerning the destinies
of this church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother's lap. You don't
comprehend it." (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p38)
Brigham Young: "Will the Constitution be
destroyed? No; it will be held inviolate by this people; and, as Joseph
Smith said, 'The time will come when the destiny of the nation will hang
upon a single thread. At this critical juncture, this people will step
forth and save it from the threatened destruction.' It will be so."
(Discourses of Brigham Young, p469)
Joseph F. Smith: "When God leads the people back
to Jackson County, how will he do it? Let me picture to you how some of
us may be gathered and led to Jackson County. I think I see two or three
hundred thousand people wending their way across the great plain enduring
the nameless hardships of the journey, herding and guarding their cattle
by day and by night, and defending themselves and little ones from foes
on the right hand and on the left, as when they came here. They will find
the journey back to Jackson County will be as real as when they came out
here. Now, mark it. And though you may be led by the power of God 'with
a stretched out arm,' it will not be more manifest than the leading the
people out here to those that participate in it. They will think there
are a great many hardships to endure in this manifestation of the power
of God, and it will be left, perhaps to their children to see the glory
of their deliverance, just as it is left for us to see the glory of our
former deliverance from the hands of those that sought to destroy us. This
is one way to look at it. It is certainly a practical view. Some might
ask, what will become of the railroads? I fear that the sifting process
would be insufficient were we to travel by railroads." (JD,
If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear
D&C 38:28-30: "And again, I say unto you that
the enemy in the secret chambers seeketh your lives.
"Ye hear of wars
in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far
countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land.
"I tell you these things
because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms,
lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness,
in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that
which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear."
How can we prepare?
In both Old Testament Lesson 48 and New Testament Lesson 21, I made reference
to a book by Brothers Brenton and Blaine Yorgason entitled Spiritual Survival
in The Last Days. After rehearsing some of the prophecies, they listed
some of the things we can do to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.
These include (the Yorgasons' suggestions are in bold print, my comments
in regular print):
Gain a personal testimony.
As previously noted, Heber C. Kimball said that "The
time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed
Years ago, when I was a teenager,
I went on a nighttime hike in the mountains with several friends.
The night was dark and we had one flashlight among us. We let the
lead hiker take the flashlight and guide us up the mountain. I discovered
that night that I could not make it on borrowed light. We looked
to the one with the light rather than pay attention to trail immediately
ahead. Part way up the mountain I tripped on a rock I never saw and
fell hard on my knee. Fortunately, I did not break anything, but
it did hamper the remainder of the hike. There have been times in
the years since that I have felt the injury, particularly when hiking and
putting stress on my knees. I would have been much better off with
my own flashlight enabling me to observe the trail immediately ahead.
In a like manner, if we are
dependent on the testimony of another, we may spiritually trip. We
must develop and strengthen a testimony born of the spirit to guide us
through the difficult times. We all know how to do it. We must
make it a priority.
Sincere and humble repentance.
To requote Elder McConkie, the tribulations of the last days occur "because
iniquity abounds. Sin is the father of all the ills poured out upon mankind."
As Saints of the Most High, we do not want
to contribute to this grim scene. "Nevertheless,
Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded
her. But if she observe not to do whatsoever I have commanded her,
I will visit her according to all her works, with sore affliction, with
pestilence, with plague, with sword, with vengeance, with devouring fire"
From a personal standpoint, our eternal salvation
is in jeopardy if we fail to repent.
Years ago I heard the following
humorous story. One day a golfer hit his ball into a sand trap where
numerous ants were actively going about ant life. The golfer stepped
up to the ball and swung. Sand flew. Ants flew. When
the dust settled the ball was still sitting in the sand, unmoved.
After two more attempts where everything flew, except the ball, the lead
ant shouted to the ants in the area, "Fellow ants, if we are to survive,
we must get on the ball."
We are now living in an a
turbulent era. The dust and sand is flying. If we are to spiritually
survive, we must get on the ball. No longer can we procrastinate
the day of our repentance. We need to humble ourselves before the
Lord, counsel with Him in prayer, and determine those areas where need
to repent and improve.
Following the Lord's living prophets, which includes:
This is one of those areas in which most of us need to do some repentance.
How long have we been counseled to store food and other necessities?
President Wilford Woodruff: "Lay up your wheat
and other provisions against a day of need, for the day will come when
they will be wanted and no mistake about it. We shall want bread, and the
Gentiles will want bread, and if we are wise we shall have something to
feed them and ourselves when famine comes." (JD, 18:121)
On June 24, 1988, the First Presidency sent out a letter to be read to
the membership of the Church. It stated in part, "We
continue to encourage members to store sufficient food, clothing, and,
where possible, fuel for at least one year. We have not laid down
and exact formula for what should be stored. However, we suggest
that members concentrate on essential foods that sustain life, such as
grains, legumes, cooking oil, powdered milk, salt, sugar or honey, and
water. Most families can achieve and maintain this basic level of
preparedness. The decision to do more than this rests with the individual.
"We encourage you to follow
this counsel with the assurance that a people prepared through obedience
to the commandments of God need not fear."
Again, this is an area that we have been counseled about for generations.
Once again, the prophet has spoken. President Gordon B. Hinckley:
am suggesting that the time has come to get out houses in order....
"I urge you, brethren,
to look to the condition of your finances. I urge you to be modest in your
expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to
the extent possible. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves
from bondage." (Ensign, Nov. 1998, pp53-54)
Living the Word of Wisdom.
Joseph F. Smith: "If purity of life is neglected
all other dangers set in upon us like the rivers of water when the flood
gates are opened." (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:92)
Spencer W. Kimball: "We need to constantly
guard against immorality, pornography, and sexual permissiveness that would
destroy the purity of the family members, young and old ... What must we
do? We must be constantly alert to their evil presence in our homes and
destroy them as we would the germs and filth of disease. We must hunt them
from the closets of our minds, freeing ourselves of such worldliness quenching
the embers of wickedness before they become destructive flames."
(The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p284)
As has been stated so many time, we cannot serve two masters. When
we fall prey to this uncleanliness, we cannot focus on the spiritual.
If we have crossed the line, we must repent. If we have not swept
our houses clean, when trials come we will not have the spiritual strength
to stand. We may be swept away in the flood.
D&C 87:8: "Wherefore, stand ye in holy
places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it
cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen."
Ezra Taft Benson: "Holy men and holy women stand in holy places, and
these holy places include our temples, our chapels, our homes, and the
stakes of Zion, which are, as the Lord declares, 'for a defense, and for
a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without
mixture upon the whole earth'."
Receive personal revelation.
We need to put our lives in order so that we may be worthy to receive guidance
for ourselves and our family. Through his Spirit, the Lord will guide
us and warn us as we navigate through challenging times.
Strive to rear spiritually unified families.
We have received recent counsel from the Brethren about our families.
In the Proclamation on the Family, the First Presidency warned, "that
the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities,
and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."
In a letter from the First Presidency, dated February 11, 1999, we were
counseled to devote our "best efforts to the teaching and rearing of [our]
children in gospel principles which will keep them close to the Church.
The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality
can take its place or fulfill its essential functions in carrying forward
this God-given responsibility." We were further counseled to give
attention to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study, and wholesome
In another letter, dated October 4, 1999, the First Presidency gave added
emphasis to family home evenings.
Are we listening? Is the message unclear? If we are to survive,
we must get on the ball. We must repent and give greater attention
to our families.
Summary & Testimony
We stand on the edge of time as we approach the Year 2000.
I don't know that the date of January 1, 2000 is overly significant (except
for potential computer problems), but it is a reminder that the seventh
seal is about to be opened. It is a reminder that we are on the eve,
the Saturday night of time, when great prophesied events leading up to
the Second Coming will be manifest. These events will occur.
Are we preparing? Are we standing in holy places? In the remaining
days of this year, we ought to take the time to review our personal and
family spiritual preparation. In what areas do we need to repent?
Let us begin the Year 2000 with a firm resolve to commit ourselves to spiritual
preparation. Let us move from the tide of popular thought and remind
ourselves that the Lord's prophets have spoken, that His will shall be
manifest, and now is the time to prepare.
My Brothers and Sisters, let me conclude this lesson with my personal
testimony. It has been my privilege for many years to teach the Gospel
Doctrine class. Over the past three years, I have had the opportunity
to meet hundreds of Saints throughout the United States, Canada, and across
the world through my webpage. What a unique and blessed privilege
this has been. I love to discuss and share the gospel and this has
been a wonderful forum and the response has been incredible. Thank
you for your love and support.
This past week, my son entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo.
I am moved and touched by his willingness to give up two years of his life
to serve the Lord. What is it that motivates young men and women
to sacrifice two years of their life in service to the Lord? We are
blessed to have the Restored Gospel. This is the work of eternity.
The things of this world pale in comparison. How blessed we are to
have found the truth and to be associated with this Church. I bear
solemn witness that this is, indeed, the work of the Lord. Joseph
Smith was the Lord's instrument in restoring the gospel. We have
the unique opportunity, beginning next week, to spend twelve months studying
the Book of Mormon. My testimony of Joseph Smith is based on my testimony
of the Book of Mormon. I love that book, for it brought me out of
a time of spiritual darkness. May we all go forward in this great
cause. Though many of the prophecies of the future are grim, their
fulfillment paves the way for the Second Coming and Millennial reign of
our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Let us look forward to that day
and prepare ourselves accordingly. In the name of Jesus Christ.
Brother Bill Beardall
December 18, 1999
Book of Mormon Lesson 1: Introduction - No reading assignment.
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