Who took the LD out of LDS?

June 28, 2006 | 97 comments
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-or- What ever happened to the good ol’ last days? -or- Where have all the millennialists gone?

Is it just me, or has the Church become markedly less millennialist in the past years, or at least markedly less strident in its millennialism?

You can hardly read a nineteenth-century Mormon source, including much of the Doctrine & Covenants, without being reminded that the world is coming to an end, and that we must urgently repent, gather ourselves and the elect to Zion, and prepare the world for the imminent return of Christ. The twentieth-century Church was pretty heavy on millennial themes too, particularly during the Cold War. Of course, we never got quite so specific as the Millerites (and many others) who predicted the actual day of Jesus’ return, nor have we typically charted it out in quite so much detail as the Protestant dispensational premillennialists (i.e. the “Left Behind� crowd, with roots back to a late nineteenth-century chap named Darby). But we’ve always been pretty active on the “the end is near� front, if not quite so weird about it as the street preacher and placard-carrying types.

My sense is that in the last, oh, 15 or 20 years, there has been a steep decline in millenarian rhetoric in the Church, in virtually all forums – General Conference, Sunday School lessons, seminary classes, private conversations.

If I’m right—and I’m willing to admit that’s a big “if�—I wonder why this is. A few random ideas:

– There are certainly still plenty of “signs and wondersâ€? which suggest “the end is near.â€? Catastrophes, natural and man-made, are never in short supply, and people are always willing to say “it’s getting worse.â€? The Cold War is over, but we can still find the Antichrist in various places, whether in the U.N. or Osama bin Laden or whatever. I’m suggesting that there is no decrease of external factors for our millennialism.

– You can only say “the end is nearâ€? for so long before it starts to look a little ridiculous. Let’s face it, we’ve been doing it for 170-odd years. The early Christians did a lot of doomsaying, but after a few centuries the church sort of settled in. (Although millennialism obviously never disappeared completely, it has had almost no role in mainstream Catholic theology for centuries.) Maybe we’re suffering from “last days fatigue.â€?

– Perhaps we are now victims of our own success. Millennialism works great for persecuted minorities. When they start to acquire a little more traction in society—politically, economically, socially—they look around and say, “Well, maybe this world isn’t so bad.â€? At that point they go from “world-renouncersâ€? to “world-transformers,â€? in which they simply want to refashion the world, not destroy it. When you live in a nice suburb, drive two nice cars, earn a nice paycheck, and have four nice children with nice teeth who go to nice schools, maybe this world doesn’t seem so terrible after all. Giving it all up and walking to Missouri sounds better when you live in a crappy desert than in a gated community.

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97 Responses to Who took the LD out of LDS?

  1. queuno on June 28, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    Would people be less likely to attempt to improve themselves, work to improve the Church, etc., if they thought that the Millenium was just around the corner?

    I think the rhetorical shift is probably due to a subtle (re)emphasis on “the hour and the day no man knoweth”, so forget about it and get to work.

  2. MDS on June 28, 2006 at 3:51 pm

    What about Elder Oaks’ recent talk on the increase in natural disasters?

  3. Kevin Barney on June 28, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    I’m inclined to think that reason no. 2 in the original post is a big part of it. (I like “last days fatigue,” and that probably characterizes my own attitude.) We had two prominent end-time scenarios that didn’t pan out: 1890 and 2000. The Church never predicted that it would happen at these times (so we didn’t have the massive loss of faith experienced by Millerites and JWs), but they were popular speculations at the grass roots level. I remember when I was a boy in the late 60s, early 70s, a lot of people assumed 2000 was it (putting Adam at an Usherian 4000 B.C., the millennium marking the beginning of the seventh thousand years, bringing us to A.D. 2000, natch).

    Early Mormon newspapers had regular columns pointing to the signs of the times. But when you continue to point to them for 175 years, and you slip past two widely anticipated dates without incident, you tend to put the whole idea on the back burner. I know I do. Quite honestly, I am not a big signs of the times guy, and I prefer to plow forward building the kingdom. If the end comes, it comes.

  4. Frank McIntyre on June 28, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    I’d say that having the whole Cold War thing go pop just as we were building towards some year-2000 fervor probably made a lot of people less excited about the whole thing. In the 50s, 60s, 70s– obliteration (and the population explosion!) was just around the corner. It does not feel that way any more.

  5. Connor Boyack on June 28, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    Patrick,

    An interesting article, with good points. I am glad that MDS pointed out Elder Oaks’ recent talk. We certainly see warnings and calls to prepare in our day. Perhaps we have grown used to ignoring them or not paying heed as we should?

    I think for the earnest seeker, there are plenty of things in our society and world at large that demonstrate that we are still “LD” Saints, preparing for Christ’s second coming and millenial reign. But I think (as happened insanely often in the Book of Mormon) that people tend to forget, and pay less and less attention to miracles and/or disasters. We become less surprised by each tsunami and earthquake, by each volcano erupting and meteor falling, and by anything else that can be classified as a “sign of the times”.

    Additionally, the cause is not helped when you have scientists and the media claiming that these “natural” disasters are inevitable, coincidental, and “just happen”. And those who look into them as anything more are considered hysterial and nutty.

  6. Doc on June 28, 2006 at 4:29 pm

    I agree with the stigmatization theory maybe with a touch of millennial fatigue. I think the longer it takes the more poeple start to realize maybe no one really does know the hour. I don’t see how scientists have much to do with this as global warming doomsdayers abound within scientific ranks. In the end, I think it really comes down to an if you are prepared you shall not fear, and since it is really beyond your control, maybe we should simply do what we can to improve the world and not worry about that we cant. In the end, little is gained from panic and worry.

  7. Silus Grok on June 28, 2006 at 4:39 pm

    It’s funny that you should ask, as just this Sunday, I nearly derailed our EQ lesson with a question in this area.

    The teacher had just brought-up Elder Oaks’ talk, and began to talk about the signs of the times… and, well, I don’t much like SOT discussions because the Faithful have been seeing the signs of the times in their own lives for 2000 years… and today is no different. So I asked a question…

    “For me, the Second Coming happens the second I get hit by that bus… So what value is there in discussing the Signs of the Times?”

    The poor teacher was all flumoxed… and no discussion ensued.

  8. Starfoxy on June 28, 2006 at 4:48 pm

    My parents are big millenialists. In fact, one of my dad\’s favorite subjects is the ancient Mayan calendar system, which has cycles that complete roughly few thousand years, on such auspicious dates as Christ\’s birth, The great flood, etc. Interestingly (to him) the next cycle is due for completion in 2014, or 2023 I can\’t remember which.

    I think that it is most likely end-of-days burnout. These past few generations have been told since we were children that there was going to be nuclear holocaust, acid rain, deadly asteroid impacts, and world-wide epidemics from AIDS to E-Coli and Ebola. I was *convinced* when I was 10 years old that I wouldn\’t live to have kids. I just knew the world was going to end in 98 (due to a halloween Nostradamus special on A&E). It\’s \’the boy who cried wolf\’ all over again.

  9. larryco_ on June 28, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    I think you still see millennial warning at the local level. This past Sunday, the second counselor in our stake presidency told the young men at stake priesthood meeting that they could play an important role in the Second Coming. I think the passing of 2000, the reevaluation by some people, and the decidedly freightening behavior of some like the Hale-Bopp group has tempered expectations. But not completely, judging from the fact that \”Prophecy – Key To The Future\” is in about it\’s 34th printing. Besides, ask anyone in Tennessee and they will tell you that Mormons will have a 7-year advanced warning prior to the Savior\’s coming as all the born againers will be lifted up in the \”rapture\” and the pagans, infidels, and Mormons will be left behind.

  10. It's Not Me on June 28, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    #7 – I’ve had that same thought. Preparing for the second coming really didn’t mean much to all those who died sans that event. I’ve thought more along the lines that I ought to be preparing for the end of my probation.

  11. Connor Boyack on June 28, 2006 at 5:13 pm

    Silus,

    Agreed, the Second Coming may happen for some of us sooner than we’d like.

    But that only entails more preparation. Get out of debt. Get a will. Save your money. Buy life insurance.

    For those that won’t get hit by a bus, there is the preparation for the calamities associated with the Second Coming. Food Storage. 72 Hour Kits. Emergency evacuation plans.

    “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” holds weight for everybody, whether or not you get hit by a bus before the actual Second Coming.

  12. Patrick Mason on June 28, 2006 at 5:16 pm

    Why even care about the Second Coming and the Millennium? I mean, based on #7, most people will die before it happens, so it’s kind of a moot point for them, and it’s more important for them to focus on being Saints now, not on what might happen at some vague point in the cosmological future. And even for those who do eventually see the Second Coming, is there anything really distinctive about preparing for it? I’ve often heard that the best way to prepare is just to be righteous, but I’m already supposed to do that, so why does thinking about the Second Coming even matter?

    What’s the payoff for being millenarian in the first place?

  13. costanza on June 28, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    Silus,
    You must have a pretty skittish teacher if that rather obvious point “flumoxed” him.

  14. DKL on June 28, 2006 at 5:42 pm

    One thing that you’re clearly failing to account for is the difference between time as measured by the Gregorian Calendar and time as measured by God’s calendar.

    Each God day is equal to 365,251 man days on the Gregorian Calendar. Thus, each God hour equals roughly 1 man year, 6 man hours, 1 man minute, and 26 man seconds. Thus, God could still be on time if he were something like 15 years and two weeks late (reckoned according to Mormon time).

    If God were running late (I’ve always said, “procrastination is next to Godliness,” and that’s how I know that Mormonism is true), then he could be (say) couple hours late. That would delay his appearance by 60 man years. If he had a family medical emergency, he could even be delayed by a few days, which would make him a few hundred years late.

    And why couldn’t God just be running late. Since he’s got a prophet on the ground here in mortality-land, things down here can take care of themselves while he attends to whatever business he needs to. He could just pick up the phone and say, “cool it on the millennialism front for a while, if you don’t mind.”

    But really, the majority of the western world has been waiting for Jesus to return for close to 2,000 years. I don’t see any reason to become especially anxious about it now. For all we know, people will be blogging about this in 2,000 more years.

  15. Frank McIntyre on June 28, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    Patrick,

    We are actually commanded to watch for his coming:

    D&C 45: 44
    44 And then they shall look for me, and, behold, I will come; and they shall see me in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels; and he that watches not for me shall be cut off.

    Matt 24:

    39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
    40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
    41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
    42 ¶ Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

    Which, combined with Elder Oaks talk, gives some indication that one should be aware of the signs of the times, even if one shouldn’t make a gospel hobby out of it (to steal from another of Elder Oaks’ talks).

  16. greenfrog on June 28, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    I think much of the appeal to being a millenarian is the same as being an “insider” — it makes the possessor of such information feel special, luckier or better than those around them, preferred. You don’t find lots of people who believe that they have special access to information about the end who also think that when the end comes, they’re doomed.

    As I understand it (thinly, at best) a principal appeal of the Left Behind books is the quasi-voyeurism of imagining the bad that is going to happen to other people.

    Us v. Them-ism.

    As a reminder, it isn’t only Elder Oaks’ recent address that drilled this vein of thought — a year or two ago, Elder Packer spoke to the BYU law school society asserting something akin to “it’s bad now, but will only get worse til the end.” Although his subsequent General Conference discourse seemed intended to disavow some of the more pessimistic and Left-Behind-ish overtones of the talk, I suspect that there remains a fair amount of belief that the End Is Near, even if it’s no longer particularly palatable for the Church to broadcast such views.

    We clearly have more than a little to learn from the New Testament. As I read that text, all of the authors seemed to have the belief that the End was imminent. We simply ignore the statements that don’t make any sense from a 2000-years-later-and-all’s-still-here perspective.

    For myself, I’m glad to leave the End Is Near perspective behind, as I think it engenders and rationalizes much more self-preservation instinct than Good-Samaritanism.

  17. larryco_ on June 28, 2006 at 5:55 pm

    Actually, the recipe for when the Savior will return is quite clear: You take 2 cups of the Book of Daniel, 1 cup of Isaiah, 2 tablespoons of Ezekiel, a dash of Matthew 24. Mix in a large bowl. Blend with the Book of Revelations and the D & C. Cook on fervent heat and wa la: you get the answer: He\’ll return whenever he dang well pleases.

  18. Talon on June 28, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    For all we know, people will be blogging about this in 2,000 more years.

    No, by then all communication will be done by mental mind transfer. It will be freaky, but on the plus side it will eliminate the 3 hour block.

  19. DKL on June 28, 2006 at 6:03 pm

    Come now, Talon. There’s less evidence or mental mind transfer than there is for global warming. I think the 3 hour block is here to stay.

  20. Talon on June 28, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    Good point. But maybe if we could get Al Gore make a documentary about MMT (citing the most respected scientific research or course) it would “prove” the viability of MMT, and we would be one step closer to the eliminating the block.

    I’m sending Mr. Gore a message about this issue as I write this…we’ll see if he responds.

  21. gomez on June 28, 2006 at 6:29 pm

    Kevin (#3), why was there an expectation that 1890 might be the end?

  22. Elisabeth on June 28, 2006 at 6:45 pm

    Oh, for a minute, I thought this post was going to be about my favorite debating style named after my favorite public debaters – Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. Politicians just don’t do debates like that anymore. Sigh.

    Great post, Patrick! I’ve very much enjoyed reading your posts here (if not commenting).

  23. DKL on June 28, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    Talon, if Al Gore could get rid of the three hour block, he may be able to break the strangle hold that the Republican party seems to have on the Mormon block vote.

  24. JKS on June 28, 2006 at 6:58 pm

    The only significant thing I know about 1890 is that Wyoming became a state, and therefore became the first state to allow women to vote. That can’t have been something people feared as a world ending event, can it? lol.

  25. J. Stapley on June 28, 2006 at 7:03 pm

    I think that there has alsways been seasons of hightened millenarianism and subsequent relative revision. Kirtland, the 1850’s, the 1890’s, the late cold war. All shared similar rhetoric then times of reconcilliation. For this reason my patriarchal blessing mirrors some of the things in patriarchal blessing written in the 1840’s and once I realized that my personal millenarianism was tempered.

  26. DKL on June 28, 2006 at 7:04 pm

    gomez: why was there an expectation that 1890 might be the end?

    Joseph Smith reported that God told him that if he lived to be 85, he would see Jesus return to Earth. Many Mormons were hoping this meant that Jesus had booked his trip for 1890 (since Joseph was born in 1805). Of course, Joseph didn’t live to be 85, so it wasn’t like Jesus was letting anyone down by (continuing to) stay away.

  27. Geoff J on June 28, 2006 at 7:09 pm

    When you live in a nice suburb, drive two nice cars, earn a nice paycheck, and have four nice children with nice teeth who go to nice schools, maybe this world doesn’t seem so terrible after all.

    Lol! I resemble that remark…

  28. DKL on June 28, 2006 at 7:11 pm

    One thing, however, does remain perfectly clear: Whether or not Jesus has any plans to return, he sure does seem to want people to think that he will.

  29. gst on June 28, 2006 at 7:13 pm

    “One thing, however, does remain perfectly clear: Whether or not Jesus has any plans to return, he sure does seem to want people to think that he will.”

    Yeah, that’s why I never tell my paralegal my schedule. I’m fishing in the remotest Sierras but for all she knows I could steal back into the office like a thief in the night.

  30. Mark N. on June 28, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    #4: In the 50s, 60s, 70s– obliteration (and the population explosion!) was just around the corner. It does not feel that way any more.

    Evidently, your government needs to work harder in convincing you that Iran is on the verge of blowing all of us to Kingdom Come with their nuclear program. The Bush Administration probably finds your lack of faith to be disturbing (to borrow from Darth Vader).

  31. Robert C. on June 28, 2006 at 7:46 pm

    I’m surprised noone’s mentioned what I think is the most obvious explanation: Fundamentalism and Church PR. That is, millenialism has become associated with many fundamentalist movements (in and out of the Church) which I’m sure the Church PR department would rather disassociate ourselves from, so they’ve toned down the rhetoric (while still delivering the message; besides Elder Oaks’ talk, I seedm to recall Pres. Hinckely retelling Pharoah’s dream of the 7 fat and lean years in Priesthood session recently, with a savy “now don’t go out saying I’ve said the end of the world is just around the corner” preemptive remark…).

    I’d also be interested in hearing why it’s relevant to study. I’m surprised at how much space in the scriptures is devoted to millenial prophecy (we’re just starting into these sections in OT SS lessons…). Perhaps this is b/c I’ve become so used to the “what’s the application to my life” emphasis the Church has been pushing for some time now (and I think this push is related to the deemphasis of the LD emphasis…).

  32. grego on June 28, 2006 at 8:47 pm

    What about Elder Ballard’s talk in GC a few years ago–something like “if current growth continues, in the year 2080 church membership…” What! 2080?!?! They’re thinking THAT far ahead?? :) But I guess “be prepared” can take on more than one meaning…

  33. Mark Butler on June 28, 2006 at 8:50 pm

    I think the Church authorities think that sensationalism is properly beneath the true Church of Jesus Christ.

  34. Mark Butler on June 28, 2006 at 8:53 pm

    “And then shall a cry go forth: Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch not that which is unclean; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.
    For ye shall not go out with haste nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel shall be your rearward.”
    Behold, my servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.”
    (3 Ne 20:42-44)

  35. Frank McIntyre on June 28, 2006 at 8:54 pm

    Mark N,

    No doubt I will pay for my lack of vision!

  36. Doc on June 28, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    Robert,
    When we mentioned stigmatism at the beginning that was essentially the same as what you are saying about PR, minus the cynicism. One man’s PR is another man’s standing up for their good name and letting others know they don’t have to be afraid of every one with a different set of beliefs than they have.
    As for a guess as to why it matters, Maybe the signs of the times are a sign to them that believe that Christ lives, that he does speak to prophets, and basically that God is real. Once you are there, I don’t see any point in harping upon it, just working on personal preparation. It also may add a little sense of direction in the purpose of spreading the gospel, bringing souls to christ, perfecting the saints etc. in order to prepare the earth for his coming. However, apocalyptic wars and such aren’t as strong a motivator to someone living the American dream in suburbia as has been pointed out elsewhere.

  37. Melinda on June 28, 2006 at 11:21 pm

    My millennial fervor hit the skids when I was a teenager. I got home from a fireside and with excitement told my mom that the speaker had said we would be the generation that would usher in the Second Coming! Mom said that she had been told that too, as a teenager.

    Well obviously, if my old-fogey mother (only in my silly teenage mind was she an old fogey, in reality she’s awesome) had been told the same thing, then it must be some sort of propaganda to get us to live righteously. Huh, like I was going to fall for that!

    Like Starfoxy said, it’s the boy who cried wolf. You can’t tell *every* generation that they’re going to usher in the Second Coming!

    Oh, and I don’t believe in global warming either, because I distinctly giving a class report about the coming ice age in sixth grade. By eighth grade it had changed to global warming. So I don’t believe in either one of those doomsday prophecies either. :)

  38. Tatiana on June 29, 2006 at 3:07 am

    Stephen Jay Gould wrote a great book about millennielism for the year 2000, and he showed that millennialists are always splinter groups and outsiders. Mainstream, solidly prosperous groups are never millennialists, for very good reasons. We are far less interested in the overturn of the existing order. You got it right in your last reason. =)

    Doctrinally, we definitely need to keep our lamps filled always, but I’ve always connected most strongly with the rhetoric about building Zion before Christ’s return. It’s up to us to turn the world into a joyful and well-ordered garden once more. I see it as our task to make sure no child grows up without love, access to the gospel, adequate nutrition, clothing and shelter, medical care, and education. I see it as our solemn duty to give of our substance and our hard work to bring this about. Rather than throw up our hands and leave it for Christ to sort out during his millennial reign, I think we must roll up our sleeves and fix the problems in our own home. Like the Scouring of the Shire at the end of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it is what we hobbits have been trained for. =)

  39. Patrick Mason on June 29, 2006 at 9:27 am

    #26 – The 1890 prophecy (Joseph living to 85) is in D&C 130:15. I think it’s one of the great “stop pestering me, Joseph” passages.

    #28 – Excellent point. I agree 100% that Jesus obviously wants us to think He’s coming back, and soon, and that’s pretty much good enough for me.

    There’s always the question of how much revelation comes straight from heaven, and how much is a result of (or at least informed by) Joseph’s cultural environment — so I wonder if the church was restored in 1930, not 1830, if there would be the same amount of millennialism. I suspect so.

    One interesting note is that lots of visionaries throughout the centuries have come back with millennialist themes, for instance at Lourdes, Fatima, etc. It seems that whenever heaven reveals itself, it does so with a millennialist twist.

  40. KLC on June 29, 2006 at 11:43 am

    There is also a unique Mormon millennialism, meaning references to Missouri, that has fallen from favor.

    Growing up in the 60’s and early 70’s in the church I had many members of my ward that spoke frequently and seriously about going back to Missouri. I haven’t heard comments about that in years.

  41. Mark Butler on June 29, 2006 at 11:52 am

    This scripture speaks for itself:

    “Gird up your loins and be watchful and be sober, looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man, for he cometh in an hour you think not.
    Pray always that you enter not into temptation, that you may abide the day of his coming, whether in life or in death. Even so. Amen.
    (D&C 61:38-39)

  42. Mark Butler on June 29, 2006 at 12:00 pm

    KLC, Among other things Bruce R. McConkie did not believe that the commandments / prophecies referring to Missouri were still valid – and campaigned against those who thought they were.

    You will also be hard pressed to find any literal interpretation of scriptures refrerring to “land of their inheritance” in any of the Sunday School manuals, prophetic or otherwise. I understand the expedience of doing so, but it bothers me nonetheless.

  43. Matt Huph on June 29, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    re #5

    “But I think (as happened insanely often in the Book of Mormon) that people tend to forget, and pay less and less attention to miracles and/or disasters. We become less surprised by each tsunami and earthquake, by each volcano erupting and meteor falling, and by anything else that can be classified as a “sign of the timesâ€?.”

    Certainly Connor. And those people in the BoM who failed to see the disasters as signs of the times suffered when Christ ushered in his millenial reign. Oh, wait…

  44. Russell Arben Fox on June 29, 2006 at 12:18 pm

    “Among other things Bruce R. McConkie did not believe that the commandments / prophecies referring to Missouri were still valid – and campaigned against those who thought they were.”

    Really, Mark? Interesting. I wonder if one could do any kind of study that would separate out “Missouri millennialism” from “general millennialism” in Mormon rhetoric. A couple of people above make reference to the 1890 hopes of an early generation of Mormons, hopes that were no doubt broadly in inchoately associated with the struggle with the U.S. government over polygamy, the fate of the State of Deseret, etc. At that time, plenty of church leaders had direct memories of Missouri, in some cases of Zion’s Camp itself. But of course, we got Utah instead of Deseret, polygamy was abandoned and its practioners persecuted and excommunicated, and so forth. So, perhaps, a uniquely Mormon millennial perspective existed for the first fifty years of the church’s history, which was then transformed into a more generally (Protestant) Christian millennialism for the next century or so?

  45. Russell Arben Fox on June 29, 2006 at 12:23 pm

    Regarding Patrick’s original question about the causes of the decline of millennial belief and speaking, I like Robert’s point in #31 about the leadership’s wish to be firmly disassociate the church from fundamentalists. Also, another factor is the post-WWII internationalization of the church. Modern millennialism, in so many ways, is a deeply Anglo-American phenomenon. Moving out of America, and especially out of the English language sphere, making room for different cultures and histories in the gospel story, must have made things very hard for the Biblical literalists, quasi-pentecostalists, and other advocates of the impending nuclear holocaust among us. Besides, there are just all sorts of conceptual and linguistic complications involved: a strict translation of the Korean name for the church into English is “The Last Day’s Saint’s Christian Church.” Not “latter,” but last. Not exactly the message the church is trying to send.

  46. KLC on June 29, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    Marc, do you have any BRM references at hand? I can’t recall him actively campaigning against it.

  47. Seth R. on June 29, 2006 at 12:40 pm

    I’m still a “millenialist.”

    Soceity has been accelerating at far too rapid a pace within the last 300 years for our world society to be sustainable. The trains are all heading for the same intersection at top speed, and no one is manning the switches.

    As things are, I’d be astonished if our society survives another century, let alone another millenia.

    The seeds of human wickedness have been sown, and humanity itself demands that it be purged by fire (even if it is still unaware of that impulse). Prevent one nation, one dictator, one movement from destroying everything, and society will naturally produce another mechanism.

    It astonishes me that we seem to think that a human political arrangement that has lasted no more than a piddly 200 years signifies anything permanent, stable, or lasting.

    What evidence do we have?

    I think we are poised on the brink. Our society is spinning out of control and its ruin will be more complete than anything humanity has yet witnessed.

  48. Patrick Mason on June 29, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    Seth (#46) – You bring up the interesting question of who will be the agent of millennial destruction. Will the wicked be destroyed by Christ and His legions of angels who are circling the earth waiting for the command to reap (D&C 38:12; 86), or will it be destroyed through human action (i.e. nuclear holocaust, irreversible environmental damage and climate change, etc.)? Does it matter?

    I must admit that I’m a confused millennialist. My father is convinced that his children will live to see the return of Christ (although I haven’t heard him say that for a while). I am inclined to take the scriptures seriously, especially on something they talk about so much as the impending return of Christ. But I’ve also got a pretty strong post-millennialist strain in me (like Tatiana in #38), and think the scriptures are equally strong in commanding us to create a more righteous society (Zion) which will greet Christ when He comes. I’m committed to us being “latter-day” Saints, but I have absolutely no idea when that means, at least in historical vs. cosmological terms.

  49. Seth R. on June 29, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    I usually take the scriptures literally and always take them seriously (except the ones that my own predjudices blind me towards, of course).

    So yes, I take that impending doom stuff seriously.

    But it also means I roll my eyes whenever someone tries to claim “it will happen in your lifetime!” The scriptures are plain that nobody knows exactly when, so I wish that Wasatch Front seminary teachers would just put a sock in it.

  50. Kimball L. Hunt on June 29, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    “The Brethren” — who’d, starting with Brigham, had begun Zion westward of Missouri ANYWAY — finally got around to simply relegating the members’ “Zion in Missouri” End Times scenarios to the “folk doctrine” category?

    But what about the reality of folks’ receiving subtle discernements of their being buffeted by the hosts of Satan? (As, for example, mentioned by reportage re a Utah congressional candidate, as somebody linked to over on Nate’s thread.) These days, such EVIL spiritual experiences are rarely mentioned from the stand or in Ensign articles, even with denouements of their having been overcome. Is Mormonism also leaving certain aspects of their expression of (the, I suppose, Great Awakening -like) gifts of the discernment of the Spirit AND of the evilspirits behind? Although I’m not saying it’d a bad thing if it is. I’m just saying that such “leftward” movement, anti- “Scripturally literalist” trends seem to me on a happy course or slippery slope, depending how you look at it, towards beliefs more aligned with Unitarianism than Pentacostalism.

    Hmm! Although, probably, according to Mormons’ spiritual discernments, MY motivations are motivated by Satan! As: Why do I come to the blogo-‘nacle? Because it’s the home of folks trying to accomodate a “modern” mindset with their “primitive” belief system — albeit one I’ve have lots of the residue from in my own thinking, since I instictively perceive things according to the default Mormon setting taught me from the cradle. Thus I’m intrigued by those who deal with their own Mormon default settings as they make sense of things about them in the real world. Y’know? But, alas, I’d be more than happy to “assist Satan along(?)” . . . and see the belief in literal spiritualism among the saints become more and more something referenced to merely support allegorical claims than as something commonly experienced and referred to as their being day-to-day REAL!: (Something the multi-generationally devout bricklayer from Utah’s mentioning in the foyer whilst the Yuppie highcouncilman’s nodding and forcing his expression to be slightly more ((mock-)) attentive than is his true, inward smiling at such a mindset’s incongruity with that of those who tend to be called to preside).

  51. Mark Butler on June 29, 2006 at 1:18 pm

    Russell, The name of the Church in Korea was recently changed – it is no longer “Mal-il song-do Jesu kurisudo kyo hwe” it is now “Jesu kurisudo Hu gi song do kyo hwe”. I could be wrong but I think the semantics of the “Mal” character are sufficiently flexible to translate as “latter” or “end times”, and not “the end of times”. No doubt the leaders in Korea thought it was misleading though. “Hu gi” means “latter age”.

    I understand the name of the Church in Chinese is similar, although I don’t know if there was a change there or not. If you can read a little Chinese: http://www.lds.org.hk/chinese/index.htm
    The second line down would be pronounced in Korean as “hu gi song do kyo hwe” or character by character, “latter age sacred path inculcation meeting” (very roughly). The first line is no doubt the Chinese form of the name of Jesus Christ, but the Church in Korea doesn’t use that – hardly any Chinese characters at all, except in Gospel doctrine classes, where it seems someone is always writing them on the board to make a point.

  52. J.A.T. on June 29, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    Russell,
    I just got wind that the church just changed their Korean name from ‘last days’ to something slightly different. Not being a Korean speaker, I couldn’t tell you what it is.

  53. Mark Butler on June 29, 2006 at 1:23 pm

    The name of the Church in Japan is still the same as the old Korean name. e.g. equivalent to “mal il song do jesu kurisudo kyo hwe” – I don’t know the proper pronunciation, although the last part is “kyo kai”

    One can see the “last day sacred path” characters on the top left, first line:
    http://www.ldschurch.jp/

  54. Mark Butler on June 29, 2006 at 1:39 pm

    The character I rendered as “path” is better rendered as “follower”. Path “do” is a different character.

    Now I do not have a direct reference, but I read a direct quote from a letter Elder McConkie apparently wrote to someone who was promoting Missouri gathering prophecies. He said that those prophecies in the D&C referred to another time, another people that they were now supplanted by later revelation, and interpreted D&C 103:11-20 to refer to Brigham Young’s leading the Saints to a Utah Zion in particular, which I think is rather strained.

    Brigham Young seems more like a modern day Jacob or Joseph than a modern day Moses – leading the people out of the goodly land to a remote exile where the children of Israel eventually come into secular bondage, not back to it in manifest power and glory.

  55. Kimball L. Hunt on June 29, 2006 at 2:42 pm

    Joseph receives revelatoins about gathering to the preparatory zion in Missouri; which, when the saints were driven from there, believers put off the fulfillment of, indefinately. Then McConkie recently interpreted this directive as having been replaced by the inspirations given the Brethren after Joseph’s martyrdom to gather to the stronghold in the mountains.

    Judy Woodruff asks presidential candidate Romney about said doctrine.|*|
    |[*(I assume since he’ a Republican? As senator Lieberman wasn’t asked about reincarnation; or the clay man sorta “anti-idol” that was brought to “life,” in the Middle Ages, known as the Golem; or various features having to do with End Times scenarios held to within Lieberman’s Jewish Orthodox faith)!]|

    And Romney said (as I lamely paraphrase), “Ask the Church about that stuff! — people believe all kinds of things others can make fun of; but in any case, I believe Jesus is my savior.”

    And, indeed, if one were to ask the Church about it, their answer would be, “How can these sections of the book of Doctrine and Covenants apply to moral decisions in your life?”

  56. Mark Butler on June 29, 2006 at 3:05 pm

    That should be “another place”, not “another people”. My apologies.

  57. KLC on June 29, 2006 at 4:23 pm

    Mark,

    I think I understand a little better. Could it be that McConkie was discouraging those who were trying to jump start the Missouri exodus by preaching a grass roots movement to return? I think that would definitely taste of fundamentalism that would be officially discouraged

    But my childhood memories almost always were prefaced with the phrase, “When/If the prophet tells us to go back to Missouri…” This was no fundamentalism but rather an official call to follow the prophet’s inevitable command that we return someday. And like I said, I never hear those sentiments in church anymore.

  58. John Jenkins on June 29, 2006 at 4:38 pm

    The name of the Church in Chinese was, indeed, changed a few years ago. (It was recent enough that a lot of the Chinese materials you can get from the Church still has the old name.) The old name meant “The Church of Jesus Christ of End-of-the-world Saints.” It now means “The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-period-of-time Saints.” I’ve run across one site which suggested the old name was “too Buddhist,” although I have trouble seeing why.

  59. Wilfried on June 29, 2006 at 4:48 pm

    Same problem in other languages. “Latter” is a concept difficult to render in some languages. In Dutch, French, German, the translation is clearly “last days”. It does create an impression of “end of times” and is a source of miscomprehension, reinforcing the cult-image of the Church. There are other problems associated with the long name – much longer in other languages than in English. And with it’s abreviation “LDS”, which turns into dozen strange acronyms in other languages.

  60. Russell Arben Fox on June 29, 2006 at 4:55 pm

    Wilfried, John Jenkins, J.A.T., Mark–interesting linguistic information; thanks very much! (And Mark, are you a Korea RM? Three permabloggers here are–Nate Oman, Jim Faulconer, and myself.) Is there information about any of these name changes in East Asian languages available on the church website? Seems a huge undertaking, though I’ve no doubt the church has managed to carry it off (seeing as how the number of members, even in South Korea, is still pretty small in those countries).

  61. bbell on June 29, 2006 at 5:02 pm

    Wilfried:

    Afrikaans:

    Die Kerk van Jesus Christus van die Helige van die Laaste dag.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of the saints of the last days.

    What is the direct Dutch phrase?

  62. bbell on June 29, 2006 at 5:14 pm

    Wilfried:

    Helige can also be translated as holinesses or holy people plural but usually in a LDS context it would be translated as saints. The e at the end makes it plural.

  63. Mark Butler on June 29, 2006 at 5:31 pm

    Russell, Yes I am a Korea RM – Korea Taejon Mission to be exact, although I also spent much of my mission in California Ventura, Korean speaking, for health related reasons. What part of Korea did you serve in?

    Pragmatically, KLC I think you are right – there were a number of statements trying to discourge Saints from immigrating during the 1970s.

    Checking Martin-Lee-Chang, it appears ‘kkut’ “mal”, normally means “last”, but it also sometimes means “end”, “lowest”, and even “degenerate”. For example “mal se” is translated as a degenerate (corrupt) age, the end of the world. “mal jol” is the last part, non essentials, trivialities. “mal jja” is shoddy goods.

    So perhaps some Asians read the “mal il” name as the church of the corrupt days.

  64. Ben H on June 29, 2006 at 5:47 pm

    (#12) What’s the payoff for being millenarian in the first place?

    (#48) I’ve also got a pretty strong post-millennialist strain in me (like Tatiana in #38), and think the scriptures are equally strong in commanding us to create a more righteous society (Zion) which will greet Christ when He comes.

    How’s this: Christ’s return to Earth, and the return of a godly society, are really exciting prospects, and rightly so. We don’t know how much of these events will be due to our preparation, and how much will be despite our lack thereof. But this is what we hope for, and our actions should be focused on this hope.

    For my part, I think preparing on a post-millennial model makes the most sense, because there isn’t really much better preparation for the coming of Christ than serving our fellowman, keeping ourselves pure, and trying to influence as many as possible to do the same. Between the floods and the wars and pestilences and all that go with a pre-millennial scenario, I think the best bet is just to bank on being spared (raised above it?) because of a pure heart. So post-millennial preparation does most of the work on either scenario.

  65. Mark Butler on June 29, 2006 at 5:57 pm

    I rather suspect that pre-milliennial preparations won’t just be business as usual, but no doubt whatever they are they will be of the same kind of thing the Church has been doing for generations – missionary work, welfare, education, temple ordinances, building construction, and so on. I am more excited for the hastening of the work prior to the Millennium than I am for the follow up.

    “Behold, I will hasten my work in its time.�
    (D&C 88:73)

    � For thus saith the Lord, I will cut my work short in righteousness, for the days come that I will send forth judgment unto victory.�
    (D&C 52:11)

    “What I have said unto you must needs be, that all men may be left without excuse; That wise men and rulers may hear and know that which they have never considered;
    That I may proceed to bring to pass my act, my strange act, and perform my work, my strange work, that men may discern between the righteous and the wicked, saith your God.�
    (D&C 101:93-95)

  66. Sarah on June 29, 2006 at 11:31 pm

    For what it’s worth, I’ve heard two “when they tell us we’ve all got to move to Missouri” comments in the last three days, from two different people who both a) don’t read bloggernacle posts and b) don’t socialize with each other. I think that the millenialism/last daysishness (there’s a word) is still with us, but no longer emphasized. Also I wanted to comment on something on T&S that has nothing to do with bioethics and this post seems ideal.

  67. Wilfried on June 30, 2006 at 12:29 am

    Bbell (61): What is the direct Dutch phrase?

    It’s: De Kerk van Jezus Christus van de Heiligen der Laatste Dagen. Which, retranslated in English the way it is conceptually understood in most cases, would render: “… of THE Holy Beings of the Last Days” (and days meaning periods of 24 hours, without sense of “period”). Notice I capitalized the article: is missing is English, has been added in Dutch, like in many foreign languages. Would it make a difference in English if we said. ” … of THE Latter-day Saints”? Maybe, maybe not, but in some languages adding the definite article closes the community to outsiders. So, again, long live Mormons!

  68. Russell Arben Fox on June 30, 2006 at 7:39 am

    Mark (#63), I was in the Seoul West mission (about half of my time being spent in the city of Suwon) from August 1988 to June 1990. Got into the country just in time for the Olympics.

    Nate served in Pusan, I think. Jim was there before the country was divided into different missions.

  69. heironymus potter on June 30, 2006 at 9:31 am

    Gotta agree with #3

  70. John Taber on June 30, 2006 at 10:12 am

    “Same problem in other languages. “Latterâ€? is a concept difficult to render in some languages. In Dutch, French, German, the translation is clearly “last daysâ€?. It does create an impression of “end of timesâ€? and is a source of miscomprehension, reinforcing the cult-image of the Church. There are other problems associated with the long name – much longer in other languages than in English. And with it’s abreviation “LDSâ€?, which turns into dozen strange acronyms in other languages.”

    In Italian it’s “la Chiesa di Gesu Cristo dei Santi degli Ultimi Giorni”, meaning literally “The Church of Jesus Christ of the Saints of the Last Days”. The initial “la” is not included in the Church logo – and the new logo (based on the 1995 one in English) has four lines instead of three. “LDS” is generically translated as “SUG” but I also saw the schematic once:

    La Chiesa
    Di Gesu Cristo dei
    Santi degli Ultimi Giorini

  71. Mark Butler on June 30, 2006 at 11:30 am

    Russell (#68), Perhaps you know my friend Jay Sims, then. I was fortunate enough to live in Seoul for a few years as a child as well (my father was a mission president over there).

  72. Nathan on June 30, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    The first chinese character in the “Book of Mormon” looks like (but is not) the same character used for Devil. The second character looks like (but, again, is not) the character for door. We had many people in the mission tell us we were of the Devils Door to the End of the World church. I blame in part the Book of Mormon’s translation, but more on the sly craftiness of the church’s enemies that spread that word around.

    Seth #49 – Don’t take it out on just Utah. I grew up in Colorado and heard the same thing.

    Melinda #37 – Although I don’t assume to know, but if your mom is still alive (or rather her generation) it could still be true. How far back? I don’t know, but my grandma said, if I remember right, was that she wasn’t ever told that. But then again, she didn’t go through the seminary program.

  73. Dr. William D. Bruni on June 30, 2006 at 11:02 pm

    I very rarely bother to look on to a blog but while researching for one of my students I stumbled on this site. First I thought “Great Mormon bashing, AGAIN!\” but I began to read and was absolutely enthralled. The conversations are most scholarly and written with insight.

    In a cold and dreary world, peopled with many folks who look for scape goats and shrink back from looking beyond learned prejudices, this site is glorious!

    Many Thanks

    Bill

  74. Kimball L. Hunt on July 1, 2006 at 1:52 am

    Well, doc, everybody likes Times & Seasons for different reasons.

    For example: Strangely, I’m not here ‘caus I like Mormons — I’m here because I don’t like Mormons. Since I’m self-hating Mormon. Or, rather, usedtabeMormon. YOU know, like ex-smokers hate smokers? Laughing. But I guess T&S isn’t quote Mormon endquote to me, but Mormons trying to figure stuff out. And what’s not to absolutely love about that, even for a Mormon hater. Sorry, people.

    A friend of mine took me to her church today. Her pastor has a full beard. People were dressed in casual attire. The music was contemporary, backed by an electified ensemble. The last time I accompanied her was before I’d come to blogo-‘nacle and my bratty, Mormon inner-child (you know, the one I self-hate?) spent most of my time there trying NOT to gawk at these loser fundies who somehow are too clueless to know how they gotta, lol, dress for church! But this time, perhaps since I’ve now spent so much time here in the ‘Nacle?, I was able not to “misjudge” them and listen to the pastor’s truly well-thought-out message.

    Why, I wondered to myself. And I answered: ‘Caus my experiences here have enabled me to forgive myself for just never having been cookie-cutter, Republican, polyester-wearing enough nor good-ol’-boy, party-but-repent-by-Sunday, Wasatch-front-ish enough for the Mo-moNazis of my youth. So, forgiving myself, I could forgive these regular folks Christians for their not being Mormons, too.

    No point. I’m just sharing.

  75. Mark Butler on July 1, 2006 at 2:02 am

    Kimball, I am afraid, however, that in this venue at least, you are definitely the odd man out. (smile)

  76. Wilfried on July 1, 2006 at 2:55 pm

    Welcome, Bill! Indeed, all bloggers on this site are devoted Mormons. Commenters are of a more varied kind, but we love them all.

  77. grego on July 1, 2006 at 8:25 pm

    “Growing up in the 60’s and early 70’s in the church I had many members of my ward that spoke frequently and seriously about going back to Missouri. I haven’t heard comments about that in years.”

    Probably because of all the visits to the relatives living there, revealed more of something other than a paradise :). No doubt part of the wonder of the latter days will be a cure for ticks and chiggers, which will make it at least plausible to live there. :P

    #72–“The first chinese character in the “Book of Mormonâ€? looks like (but is not) the same character used for Devil. The second character looks like (but, again, is not) the character for door. We had many people in the mission tell us we were of the Devils Door to the End of the World church. I blame in part the Book of Mormon’s translation, but more on the sly craftiness of the church’s enemies that spread that word around.”

    The first character is also the first in “motorcycle” but I’ve never seen that interpretation (even though motorcycles are literally responsible for sending more people to hell than anything else in Taiwan–at least it seems). However, the second character is “door”. I agree–I think the title was a lousy translation.

    The name seems to have been changed due to mainland China’s frowning upon last-day cults; for many, the name doesn’t mean much a whole lot, but the authorities were much more satisfied with it.

    Spanish, Italian–“last days”.

    I think missionaries might be taught to say “as to distinguish it from the Church in Jesus’ time”, not to mean “the last days” (however incorrect it might be).

    I think part of the change is because of the positiveness of things, and the sleepiness of the Saints–we think all is well in Zion and in the USA. Yet, the USA is so close…

  78. S Taylor on July 2, 2006 at 6:28 pm

    It makes sense to me, for 2 reasons, that the return of the Savior will be about the year 2034. Reason one is: that\’s about 2000 years after \”the world\” crucified him. Wild things happened at that moment and it makes sense that there\’ll be wild things happening when He comes again. Second reason: 2034 is the year my mortgage will be paid off.

    Figgers, don\’t it….

  79. Nowhere on July 7, 2006 at 1:29 pm

    The end will come when most people do not expect it. Most people expect it somewhat soon, though that number is dwindling.

  80. Ron Hartmann on July 28, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    When it comes to the Millemium, we might ask ourselves – How do we get from here, half way to there? (I will concern myself with the first half, and let somebody else worry about the second half.) Where would a half way point locate – not in terms of time but in terms of events? Let\’s no be too precise for purposes of illustration. For example, how would we get to the position where, \”this people will step forth to save it (the Constitution) from the threatened destruction.\” I don\’t know how half way that is, but it is a significant event (or process) to consider.

    Of course, whether it will actually happen or what form it will take are the other big questions. After all, this revelation runs outside of the standard works. It was explained in Crowther\’s Prophecy as emphasized by early Church leaders. The fact that Crowther\’s book still sells so well, I suspect, is because it fills in the gaps better than anything thus far. His insights may not be conclusive, yet they can act as a springboard for LatterDaySaints (Yes, I make it one word) to develop various possibilities. As I see it, some Saints not only long to know but to also participate.

  81. Debbie on August 5, 2006 at 5:35 pm

    I found myself wondering the same thing. I remember that about 20 years ago or less I was always being reminded in a church service that “we are living in the last days” and frankly I found this kind of rhetoric very un-uplifting. Perhaps thats the reason for the decline in millennialist speak. True, we’ve been talking about the approaching Second Coming like it is just around the corner and just when you wonder what the end times are going to really be like and how bad it will get…it seems to get worse. Sorry but I think our great-grandkids are in for one heck of ride. I think things can get worse and probably will.

  82. Kruiser on August 11, 2006 at 6:37 pm

    The good ole last days may not have to be so bad, will they? If we approach it positively, we can make it, maybe? To see it in terms of future historical events may give us comfort. Look at it creatively and figure what can be done to take the bumps out of life. We need to work on a future vision, a kind of Mormon Zionism that we can apply to upcoming problems.I am not talking about a holier than thou attitude but a practical approach in the public sector, and a useful dialogue among ourselves.

  83. Sheri Lynn on August 12, 2006 at 1:48 am

    In my thirteen years of being LDS I’ve heard almost no millennialist talk except in the context of vague threats to motivate food storage…and a few queries about whether my PB mentioned whether I’d see the Lord in the flesh or not.

    I still don’t see what difference it should make in the day-to-day life of a Saint. I do feel motivated to move to Missouri ahead of the call, so I can be on the porch with a pitcher of lemonade, instead of pulling a handcart up the hot weary interstate.

    (It’s pretty there, and they stopped shooting my kind on sight.)

  84. Mark Butler on August 12, 2006 at 11:15 am

    I think it is very important that the judgments that shall come upon the wicked shall be of a very peculiar kind. Essentially the Lord’s strange act is a transition period as he pours out his Spirit upon all flesh. The thing is, the Spirit naturally quickens and preserves the righteous, and it naturally accelerates the consequences of sin. So those who are unwilling to repent suffer the sin->decay->death process much faster than at present.

    For example:

    For a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitants of the earth, and shall continue to be poured out from time to time, if they repent not, until the earth is empty, and the inhabitants thereof are consumed away and utterly destroyed by the brightness of my coming.
    (D&C 5:22)

    Now where is there any precedent for things being able or unable to abide the spiritual brightness, or glory of the Lord? There is in the Old Testament:

    And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
    And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
    (Ex 3:2-3)

    And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house.
    (2 Chr 7:1-3)

    Also, why is God spoken of as a consuming fire? It is simply a matter of divine arson? Or perhaps, is not the nature of the Spirit to consume corruption and preserve incorruption?

    So though the day of the Lord shall be a day of darkness, and not of light, in a very important sense, the travail of the earth shall end in victory, the pouring out of the Lord’s spirit upon all flesh, raising the earth from a temporal telestial to a temporal terrestrial state of glory. That is a wonderful thing – an event that every prophet has looked forward to from the beginning. All we, or anyone needs to do to abide the day is to be righteous. It is the evil doers that need fear and tremble.

  85. Jack on August 12, 2006 at 1:49 pm

    Taking 3Nephi chapter 9 as an analogue for the separation that is to occure, one may conjecture that it is only the very worst types that will be cut off. Most, IMO, will be in a condition to be healed.

  86. Mark Butler on August 12, 2006 at 2:51 pm

    I agree, however *a lot* of repentance will be necessary in order for most to abide the day. It won’t happen overnight – we are probably talking about a period of years. The mission of the Saints is to lay the foundation for terrestial society, and that will not happen except to the degree we come out of the world, that we be not partakers of her sins. The judgments are actually going to start at in the Lord’s house, and go out from there, i.e. the House of Israel will be purified first, and then the Gentiles. To whom much is given, much is required, and all that:

    Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
    (Rom 9:27-28)

    Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
    And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.
    (Rom 9:24-27)

    For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
    (Romans 11:25-27)

    So the question is, has the fulness of the Gentiles come in? Apparently not. If it had we would see big changes. Another question is who is Israel? If Israel is just the righteous, per se, then “all Israel shall be saved” is tautological. It can’t be just anybody who is a descendant of Jacob either. Most of the people on the planet are probably descendants of Jacob, the way most Native Americans are likely descendants of Lehi. It probably means those who were righteous enough in the pre-mortal life that the Lord knew they would repent and be saved, no matter into which family they were born.

  87. Jack on August 12, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    I think the radical changes (speeding up) that we’ve seen over the last 150 years or so are indicative of the Lord cutting his work short.

  88. Kruiser on August 12, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    Is there such a thing as Zionism in our way of thinking? Or perhaps call it New Zionism to distinguish it from the old Zionism that created the State of Israel. When we use the word Zion we have our various definitions, but I will not repeat them here, we all know what they are. I am trying to find a common denominator in the various expressions of Zionism. From the Jewish state to the Ward meetinghouse, it seems like an attitude of getting away from the world to be left alone to conceive of better things. Is there something that we can learn from past Zionist efforts to incorporate in our own lives?

    If we are faced with the negatives of the last days, how will we handle it? Modern life, as we know it, may disappear, but civilized life does not have to. Somewhere, perhaps half way from here to there (#80), this people may step forth to preserve the Constitution. What purpose would that serve? Could it be to help maintain civilized life in many places throughout the world? I do not yet have a clue on how to preserve a constitution, but this might be one of many subjects New Zionism might concern itself with. Think of the future.

  89. Mark Butler on August 13, 2006 at 12:12 am

    I imagine he has plans for a further 10-100x speedup, based on spiritual considerations, sort of like the days of Enoch. It is what Joseph Smith was trying to accomplish, same with Birgham Young, and John Taylor, … For whatever reason our return / reunification with general society seems to have been a good thing, but now a new point of departure (culturally and spiritually) seems to be upon us.

    There are dozens of prophecies that Joseph Smith wanted to fulfil while he was here on the earth, that now he will direct from heaven (unless somehow he is resurrected before everyone else, like Parley Pratt seemed to think) – e.g. D&C 103:16-20, 3 Ne 20:42-26, 3 Ne 21:23-29, D&C 77:14, D&C 113:8, Rom 11:26, Joel 2:28-32, and so many more.

  90. Kruiser on August 13, 2006 at 2:38 pm

    Is it possible that Zionism has a place in LDS vocabulary? Perhaps it should be called New Zionism to distinguish it from the Zionism that created the State of Israel. When we use the word Zion, we have various definitions of it which I will not repeat – we know what they are. I am looking for a common denominator to describe the many expressions of Zion that have come to us. It might be to get away from the world, to be left alone to pursue new approaches to life. From the Jewish state to the Ward meetinghouse this sentiment arises. Can we learn something from our Zionist past to apply in the last days (the future)?

    If the last days are going to be tough, modern life as we know it, may collapse, but civilized life does not have to. Sometime, about halfway between here and there (see #80), this people may be called upon to preserve the Constitution. What purpose would that serve? It could be to help maintain civilized life in many places throughout the world. What role do we play in it? New Zionism attempts to address this question and many others like it. Look to the future.

  91. Keszaya on August 13, 2006 at 11:03 pm

    I, for one, am glad to see the millenialism go. I’ve always cringed a bit at the LD part. The latter day rhetoric has always seemed a trifle presumptuous, negative, and frankly cultist to me. Perhaps it has seemed so since people started using it almost 2000 years ago.

    I date of the world’s end is of little interest to me, but I am bothered by assertions that it’s to be expected soon. I hear it stated as a patent truism that calamity and violence are *increasing* but I’m not convinced. The history of the world is the history of warfare, and yet, every report of unrest on the nightly news in the 1990s was taken as a sign of the times prompting one or all of the Three Nephites to hitch a ride on I-15 and tell the drivers to get their year’s supply laid by.

    Despite what my sunday school teachers say, I’ve yet to see good hard numbers showing an increase in calamities and violence. Are there more earthquakes nowadays or are there more and better seismic activity measurers reporting? I really would be interested to know if anyone’s done any rigorous investigation into the premise that the world is becoming more wicked. How does present day humanity compare to the 11th and 12th centuries, for instance? Is reality television really a better candidate for one of the four horseman of the apocalypse than the extraordinarily violent and widespread practice of human sacrifice among the Mayans and Aztecs?

    Ed Johnson had better weigh in on this.

  92. Mark Butler on August 14, 2006 at 12:54 am

    It doesn’t matter whether it starts tommorrow or a century from now, the Lord’s strange act in bringing about the redemption of Zion is a prominent theme in all scripture. There is no presumption about it. God has spoken his will, and he is powerful unto the fulfilling of all his words. The only question is time. To divorce the Latter-Day Saints from the Latter Days would destroy our very purpose – we are here to bring about the redemption of Israel, first spiritually, and then temporally, and to invite all others to come in to the terms and the blessings of the covenant.

    Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

    But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.
    (Jer 16:14-15)

  93. Keszaya on August 14, 2006 at 9:57 am

    The presumption, dear #92, is in assuming an event whose scheduled arrival is known only to God himself, not even to his Son, is “probably going to happen in my lifetime, for sure my kids will see it at least.” The members of the early Christian church believed themselves to be latter-day saints as much as the members of the church of the restoration who appended the Latter-Day Saints business to the Church’s name during the Kirkland years.

  94. Seth R. on August 14, 2006 at 11:37 am

    Keszaya

    I’m sorry to hear that the D&C has been making you look bad in front of your friends.

    Heaven forbid that religion should have the presumption to “cramp my style.”

  95. Keszaya on August 14, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    Wow. A couple of friends advised me that this was a website I should check out where people shared candid opinions in an open and respectful way. I’m here for 2 days and already being personally attacked. Fantastic. Don’t bother responding Seth R.. I’ll certainly never be back to this site again to read it. Peace be with you.

  96. Seth R. on August 14, 2006 at 2:12 pm

    Well, I suppose that was being a bit harsh of me.

    Sorry for driving off the readership Kaimi. I’d apologize to Keszaya too, but apparently they’re no longer with us.

  97. Harold B. Curtis on August 14, 2006 at 11:30 pm

    A few millenial musings by HBC

    Savior returns in Glory……
    Saviour comes as a thief in the night……
    Saviour comes suddenly to his temple…..
    Saviour comes to Isles of the sea……
    Saviour stands on Mount of Olives….

    Saviour reigns over his saints……
    Saviour is in our midst and we see Him not……
    I am with you be not afraid…..
    Saviour teaches lessons with thunders and lightning, seas over heaving bounds etc…..
    Saviour speaks with still small voice of perfect mildness……

    As ye see him go into heaven so shall ye see Him come in like manner…..
    The lamb only is worthy to open the seals…….
    …and now He has come again… Pres. Hinckley on the first vision
    ….the time has come……..to prepare… for the millenial destiny of the Church…. Pres Hinckley
    …take the temples to the people….the Lord reigns among his people..

    The House of The Lord, is it an empty house or is Christ really there? If Christ is there, then is He here? If He is here then can I accept His presence. If I can accept His presence can I accept that the millenium can begin for me when I want it to. Yes I know that there is a period of time of a thousand years (most likely Jewish calendar years not Gregorian), when peace will reign on earth, but really the only real peace on earth flows from the Prince of Peace, and we have everything necessary to enjoy that peace, and hence the millenium.

    Is the millenium a state of personal worthiness, that some people live in, while others wait for it to happen?

    Millenial musings indeed.

    HBC