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Dear Gramps,

Your recent answer to “What will happen to the temples during the Second Coming?” deeply alarmed me as I’ve never considered it possible in our day. Will the persecution of the early days of the Church truly return (openly accepted violence against saints, burning homes, similar to the nightmare of middle eastern sectarian violence)? Is there revelation about it? How should individual saints prepare to respond?  By force for our freedoms or submission like the Anti-Nephi-Lehies?

Concerned

 

Answer

 

Hello Concerned,

Thank you for your sincere thoughts, and hopefully my thoughts will comfort your heart and mind, increasing your faith and hope as we look forward to the return of our Lord. In the New Testament we are given this knowledge, John 8:32,”And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Truth is liberating, if we whole heartedly accept it. The more we accept truth the better prepared we will be for difficult circumstances we may possibly experience. In some of our experiences, we may offer a sincere prayer (similar to our Lord’s in Gethsemane) inquiring, “Father, may this cup pass from me.” And in similitude of our Savior, we move forward with faith, hope, and charity and drink (at times) a bitter cup. The more we recognize, understand, and accept truth (all truth) as it is taught the more we will receive the grace of God in strengthening our resolve to endure.

Let’s take a moment to review truths from our scriptures and from modern day prophets regarding the second coming:

 
1) “And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” (Joel 2:11)

2) “The rejection of the testimony of the servants of God by the nations of the world will bring the consequence of greater calamities, for the Lord himself declared:” Below are some of the circumstances prophesied (President Ezra Taft Benson), (Doctrine and Covenants 88:89-91) (Doctrine and Covenants 45:31-33)

* Great Earthquakes
* Thunders, lightning, tempests, and seas heaving beyond their bounds
* All things in commotion and men’s hearts fail them
* A desolating scourge, sickness shall cover the land
* “But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved”
* Wicked will curse God and die
* Earthquakes in divers places
* Men’s heart will harden and they will take up sword to kill one another

3) “But to an otherwise gloomy picture there is a bright side—the coming of our Lord in all His glory. His coming will be both glorious and terrible, depending on the spiritual condition of those who remain. One appearance will be to the righteous Saints who have gathered to the New Jerusalem here in America. In this place of refuge they will be safe from the wrath of the Lord which will be poured out without measure on all nations.” (President Benson) — Here are scripture passages he highlights pertaining to the Saints and New Jerusalem (Zion):

* The glory and terror of the Lord shall be there (terror, as I have come to understand is for anyone attacking Zion)
* If people are unwilling to take sword to protect themselves, they must flee to Zion (only good and righteous people will flee to Zion, and it will not only be members of the Church who flee to Zion)
* The only people that shall not be at war are those in Zion, which means there will be some form of protection (either from a militia within Zion, or by the power of the priesthood — I am inclined to believe the power of the priesthood)

4) In our New Testament, Matt. 24:6–8, 19, 21–22, we are able to read more truths regarding the last days:

* Nations rise against nations
* Famines, pestilences, earthquakes in divers places
* A warning to those with child and those nursing
* If these days are not shortened no flesh would be saved
* Mercy toward the Lord’s elect and “The elect are those who love God with all their hearts and live lives that are pleasing to him. Those who live such lives of discipleship will one day be selected by the Lord to be among his chosen children.” (Elect)

5) “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30)

6) “We can so live that we can call upon the Lord for His protection and guidance. This is a first priority. We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments….I have faith, my dear brethren, that the Lord will bless us, and watch over us, and assist us if we walk in obedience to His light, His gospel, and His commandments. He is our Father and our God, and we are His children, and we must be in every way deserving of His love and concern. That we may do so is my humble prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” (President Gordon B. Hinckley)

These are straight forward, undiluted, truths for our profit and learning. I remember a story my beloved once shared with me regarding one of her friends. Her friend was watching a dinosaur movie. In this movie the T-Rex (in accordance with its nature) attacked and killed a smaller dinosaur. As the T-Rex bit into its prey (food) her friend said to her son/daughter, “Oh don’t worry, he is just kissing the other dinosaur.” My jaw dropped a little, and I wondered why we often try to dilute truths in order to protect ourselves, and the opposite is really what occurs — we hurt ourselves. Let us not place too much worry on circumstances outside of our control, and let us act more in accordance with the knowledge we do have so that as prophecy is fulfilled we are living such that the protection of the Lord can be upon us.

 

Gramps

 

 

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