Dr. Chauncey C. Riddle
Brothers and sisters, as I approach this subject of the second coming of the Savior, I fully recognize the import. I further recognize that I am not an authority on this subject. I would wish that we could compare a few notes, a few ideas. I wish that you might accept from me a few hypotheses, that you not be constrained to believe the things that I say that are false, but that you would, of course, accept the things that I say that are true. But I hope that we can have a meeting of the minds. And to that end I ask an interest in your faith and prayers that what is said might be edifying this evening.
First of all, I would like to explicate the meaning of the term, “Second Coming.” I think it very important to realize that the terms “First Coming” (though this isn’t used frequently) and the term “Second Coming” have a very special relationship to the concept of “world.” The “world” in scriptural terms means “the wicked people who are on the face of the earth.” Another way to say this is that these are the people who essentially receive their instructions from Satan. They are children of the devil. Not all of them are willing servants to the devil, but they nevertheless are under his power and therefore subject to him.
We know that the Savior has been on the earth from time to time from the beginning of time. He was a personal acquaintance of our father Adam. Every truly righteous man who has ever lived on the face of the earth has enjoyed the presence and the companionship of Jesus Christ. Now I say this simply because of the promises made in the scriptures; that every person who will live the gospel of Jesus Christ fully will have this opportunity of the companionship. Let me refer you simply to the words recorded by John in the 14th chapter as explained by the prophet Joseph Smith:
14. If ye love me, keep my commandments.
15. And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.
16. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14: 15-18)
The Prophet Joseph Smith has explained that the Second Comforter is no more nor less than the personal presence of Jesus Christ to bless the life of a person who has shown that he loves the Lord; who has shown this by keeping the commandments.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)
He goes on to explain that He and His Father will come and take up their abode with righteous people. We know that individuals have received this from time to time. Whole cities have received this blessing and opportunity. The city and people of Enoch walked and talked with Jesus Christ and knew Him as a personal acquaintance. And therefore when we talk about the “first coming” and the “second coming,” we are not talking about the Savior coming simply to men, we are talking about the relationship the Savior has to the world. Notice that he said, “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive..” The world does not receive the Savior as the Spirit of truth. It did receive him as an impostor first of all.
The first coming, then, was the coming of the Lord to the world. The Savior came into the world that he might be subject to the world. Or, in other words, subject to evil men. Or, in other words, subject to Satan to a degree. Not that he would submit to the temptations Satan would put upon him; but that he would suffer and eventually would give his life. He came into the world to be judged of the world. And the world passed judgment upon him and condemned him to death. He who was perfect, who committed no sin, whose life was one perfect record of shedding blessing and hope and help to mankind was condemned by the world to death.
The second coming of the Savior is the second coming to the world. But as the first time, the Savior was judged of the world, now he comes to judge the world. As he was put to death of the world, so this time he puts the world to death. In other words, the second coming of the Savior is the end of the world. Every person who is yet a servant of Satan when the Savior comes will be burned with consuming fire. They will not be privileged to remain upon the earth. Now this seems a little harsh in a way. But it really isn’t when we stop to consider the fact that every person who is burned by this fire will have had the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ taught to him, will have had an opportunity to partake of the New and Everlasting Covenant of the Gospel; or, if he didn’t wish that, at least to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is good, that he is the God of this earth. All persons who steadfastly reject this leadership in any degree, who persist in murdering and killing and robbing, lying, and whoremongering; who persist in bringing evil into the world under the influence of Satan; who will not change their ways even in the face of the testimony of the Holy Spirit–these are the people who will be swept off the earth. And this, in a sense, is not an evil thing. It is the kindness of the Lord, for they are given a chance to go to a place where they may pay for their sins, that they may come forth at a future time and receive glory at his hand.
All things that the Lord does, as I understand it, are for the benefit of man. And if we can look upon it this way: he thrust no one down to hell except somehow they shall benefit from it, you might say. We might think of exceptions to that. But I think the general rule would certainly stand.
So the second coming of the Savior, then, is the second coming of the Savior to the world. Now, of course, this definition does away with certain problems. Some people wonder if the coming to Adam-ondi-Ahman is the second coming. Or the coming in the temple is the second coming. As I would understand it clearly these are not the second coming. These are simply part of the many manifestations of the Lord to his children. He comes to those who are his children and blesses them. But they are not the world. The second coming will be a coming in power and glory with all the holy angels with the Lord Jesus Christ. Every eye shall see, every person on the earth shall know. There will be no denying that Jesus Christ has come when he comes in his second coming. He will not come in the desert or in the secret places. He will come very publicly. As the Savior explained to his disciples, as the morning comes out of the east when the sun comes up, its very difficult to suppose that anybody could not perceive this happening, a person who has eyes. So will this coming of the Son of Man be. It will be as the sun coming up in the morning. It will be that plain to everyone upon the earth. So the Savior will come to finish his work; to put the world to an end, that he might then institute a peaceful millennial reign–a time of happiness, a time of rejoicing, a time of rest when those of the earth who will receive Jesus Christ will begin to receive the fruits of their labors in fullness, to enjoy happiness and peace which they have so longed for.
Now let’s talk about the conditions which will precede the second coming of the Savior. There are a number of approaches that could be made to this subject. In casting about for the proper approach to make, or at least the approach I thought I would make, I decided not to pursue a specific prophecy of the events that precede the second coming. I think you will find this fairly well taken care of in many places. I don’t think you want to believe everything you read. But on the other hand, there is fairly ready access to much of this information. To my mind the thing that is more important to me even than the chronology of the events is to understand rather clearly the type of problems that we’re going to be faced with between now and then. It is my own personal expectation that the second coming of the Savior will occur sometime in the near future. I would say sometime in the next 50 years. Of course that is a pure guess. I don’t know.
As I’ve said to many of you before, I don’t think anybody knows the hour and the day. The scriptures say that clearly. But I would believe that as the time draws nigh, every true latter day saint will know the week and the month if not the hour and the day. Because the signs will be there. But the signs and the events aren’t the important thing, I think. The important thing is what do you and I have to do to be able to survive. I take it that the essence of surviving this time and arriving at the point of the second coming in such a condition that we shall be pleased to have it happen consists principally in doing one thing: disassociating ourselves from the world. Because remember it’s the world that is going to come to an end. And the further we can get away from the world, the more unlike the world we can become in the direction of becoming like the Savior, the better our preparation for his coming will be. Remember Paul said there are a lot of things we don’t know about the second coming, but we do know this: that when he comes we shall be like him. Those who have endured in the gospel of Jesus Christ will be like him. And the Savior will draw all those unto him who have honored him enough to desire to become like him. And they will be blessed with a fullness of his blessings. To be made equal in power, might, and dominion with their Savior, their Lord, their leader.
But let’s review some of these conditions that will obtain now before the second coming of the Savior. First I would like to talk about political conditions. As a basis for this, I would like to refer you to Ether chapter 8. Remember the book of Ether was written at what date? Somewhere around 420 A.D. The book of Ether is Moroni’s abridgment of the plates that were found during the time of King Mosiah. They were translated by King Mosiah for his people. And in the last, as he was very near the time of his own death, Moroni felt it expedient to abridge this record and give us this record. Clearly he was not writing to the Nephites. Why did he write this? For us. And so with almost all of the Book of Mormon. It wasn’t written for people of that time. Because Mormon and Moroni who wrote the bulk of it were the last of their people. They wrote for us today. Let’s see what they have to say about certain political conditions that will exist in our own time.
And it came to pass that they formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God.
For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath he forbidden it, from the beginning of man.
This secret combination is the combination to murder and get gain; to support one another in wickedness and not tell about it. This is the basis of this secret combination.
And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people, and they are had among the Lamanites.
And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi.
And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combination to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not.
Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins…
What is he suspecting us of? Secrecy combinations in our midst. Why do ye suppose he would suspect us of these things? Because he was shown in vision us. He saw our day, our activities, our problems, and most of the things that he and his father put into the Book of Mormon were specifically designed to help you and me prepare for our own times.
…and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain–and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if you shall suffer these things to be.
Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation…
How can you know about it if it is a secrecy combination? How can you see these things come among you? How do you do it? They don’t go around broadcasting. How can you tell when secrecy combinations come among you? There is only one way to know and that is to discern it spiritually. If you look back in the Book of Mormon record. Remember Nephi when he was talking with the people? This is the Nephi just before the coming of the Savior. Roughly about the time of Samuel the Lamanite. How did he know that the judge had been murdered by his brother who sought the judgment seat? By the spirit. And he was able to tell the people how they could find out that this was true. And this is how we must know these things. In other words, if we depend on the evidence we get in our newspapers, do you think we’ll ever know the truth about these things? Obviously not. We have to be smarter than that.
…because this secrecy combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.
For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries…
Have you ever heard of a program to overthrow the freedom of all nations and lands and countries? Do you think you out to be wary of this program? Is it anything to be worry about? Well if you believe Moroni and Mormon it is. You’ll be told by many people of your own society its nothing to be concerned about. But who do you want to believe? I think that’s a fair question. Do you want to believe them or do you want to believe the Lord?
…and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets and stoned and cast them out from the beginning. (Ether 8:19-23)
If a righteous man were to come among the people and start talking about these secret combinations, what do you suppose would happen to him? Well, he’d get stoned, so to speak, wouldn’t he? Well, isn’t it interesting the things that we see going on? As you read the newspapers, you do discover a few things. I’ll just leave it to you. Was it just chance that President Kennedy was assassinated? Can you believe that it was chance? Was this just some crackpot? Do you see any significance in the fact that this man had lived in Russia, been trained by the Russians in exactly the sort of thing he did. Does that mean anything? Well, it can mean something only if you’re spiritually perceptive.
The point I’m trying to make is this: I think it’s obvious that this system is operative among us. The enemy has been clearly defined by latter-day prophecy. What is the anti-Christ? Communism. Who is the personification of Satan on the earth? Kruschev. How do you know? If you can’t do anything else, believe one who said it. Who said it? A man named David O’ McKay. Now that ought to be important, don’t you think, to every latter-day saint? And yet the thing that bothers me is I see so many people who are latter-day saints saying, “after all, these people are just a little bit misguided. There’s nothing to worry about. Let’s fellowship them and embrace them and all will be well.” Haven’t you heard people say that?
If there is a program going on to subvert the freedoms of people; if you see that millions and millions of people have been swallowed up by tyranny, by this same program; I think it would behoove us to become spiritually alive and not be duped by the propaganda that tells us this is just agrarian reform. This is one of the realities of our day. I personally think one of the most urgent practical necessities for every latter-day saint to work on is politics. Because the church cannot survive without political freedom. And if we as latter-day saints don’t do something about it, we’re going to find ourselves in pretty bad circumstances. Well, let’s pass on. We don’t want to spend all night on that. I hope you realize, I’m just taking a pot shot of each of these. But that’s about all we can do considering the circumstances.
Ecclesiastical conditions. What’s going to happen in the last days regarding ecclesiastical conditions? Well, the answer’s been given to us very plainly. For this I will refer you to 1 Nephi 14. In the beginning of chapter 14, Nephi says:
And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks.
What time is this talking about? Now. The time of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ among the Gentiles.
And harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father (they shall be with the House of Israel)…
And that great pit, which hath been digged for them by that great and abominable church…
This should be a warning of what? There’s an ecclesiastical danger to look out for too. There’s going to be a pit digged for all righteous persons by the church of Satan in the last days.
…which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell–yea, that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it.
Well, this is somewhat comforting. At least we don’t have to worry too much because it will not succeed. But we need to recognize the danger anyway. Because many are going to be associated with the fall of this organization and will fill the pit.
…this is according to the captivity of the devil, and also according to the justice of God…
The angel said, “thou hast beheld that if the Gentiles repent it shall be well with them; and thou also knowest concerning the covenants of the Lord unto the house of Israel…wo be unto the Gentiles if it so be that they harden their hearts against the Lamb of God.
For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other–either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds unto their being brought down into captivity, and also into destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil, of which I have spoken.
And it came to pass that he said unto me: rememberest thou the covenants of the Father unto the house of Israel? I said unto him, Yea. And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil.
And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.
And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.
And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were all the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.
We know that there is going to be some very drastic church activity. What is the program of the Lord in these last days? What’s he going to restore? What’s he going to restore in these last days? All things. And what’s he going to gather them into? Into one. Right? What do you suppose the adversary is going to do? He’s going to do about the same thing. He’s going to restore all the wickedness that ever was upon the face of the earth. He’s going to gather it together. Why? To get more strength. Because he cannot combat the work of the Lord without that strength. And as the work of the Lord becomes unified and strong, he’s got to unify his forces. It’s my understanding that before the end comes, which is obviously not yet, there will be only two church organizations upon the face of this earth. I mean by that, two specific churches. And if you read the newspapers, you’ll see this coming to pass daily. Well, that’s going to be interesting. And this is intimately connected with the political situation. I don’t think you can disengage the two. And therefore we need to be wise in assessing what churches are doing. Because this will have profound political impact wherever these things take place. We need to be wary of this because the dominions of the church will always be small and the people of the church will be greatly persecuted by the church of Satan. So, if we’re wary and ready for this, we’ll be able to at least know what is coming, what’s happening. The enemy won’t be able to sneak up on us.
What about social conditions? Again, I think that we can look to a certain thing that happened in the Book of Mormon to get our key to the social conditions of our time. It’s my understanding that the events which immediately preceded the coming of the Savior to the Nephites are in a sense a paradigm or a type of the events which will precede the Savior’s second coming. So let’s read a few words from the 6th chapter of 3 Nephi wherein these events are chronicled.
And now it came to pass in the twenty and ninth year (this is after the birth of the Savior, immediately before the coming of the Savior to the Nephites) there began to be some disputings among the people; and some were lifted up unto pride and boastings because of their exceeding great riches, yea, even unto great persecutions.
For there were many merchants in the land, and also many lawyers, and many officers.
And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches.
Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God.
And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up, yea, insomuch that in the thirtieth year the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few of the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it, for they were firm, and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord. (3 Nephi 6: 10-14)
Jumping over to chapter seven. We are told how these people, through the conspiracies that took place which we’ve already talked about, overthrew the government of their land.
Now behold, I will show unto you that they did not establish a king over the land; but in this same year, yea, the thirtieth year, they did destroy upon the judgment-seat, yea, did murder the chief judge of the land.
And the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land.
And every tribe did appoint a chief or a leader over them; and thus they became tribes and leaders of tribes.
And the regulations of the government were destroyed, because of the secret combinations of the friends and kindreds of those who murdered the prophets.
And they did cause a great contention in the land, insomuch that the more righteous part of the people had nearly all become wicked; yea, there were but few righteous men among them. (3 Nephi 7: 1-3; 6-7)
Now we know these socials conditions will exist. We know that the government of the United States is going to fall, as all civil governments will before the second coming. If you’re dependent on the government now, that would be a good thing to know, wouldn’t it?
We know that the order of society is going to break down. There will be much wickedness. There will be few righteous people, in the sense of being completely righteous, when the end comes. We get a little different approach to this in 3 Nephi chapter 29. The Lord tells in the first part of the chapter, through Mormon:
And when ye shall see these sayings coming forth among you, then ye need not any longer spurn at the doings of the Lord, for the sword of his justice is in his right hand; and behold, at that day, if ye shall spurn at his doings he will cause that it shall soon overtake you.
Wo unto him that spurneth at the doings of the Lord; yea, wo, unto him that shall deny the Christ and his works!
Yea, wo unto him that shall deny the revelations of the Lord, and that shall say the Lord no longer worketh by revelation, or by prophecy, or by gifts, or by tongues, or by healings, or by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Yea, and wo unto him that shall say at that day, to get gain, that there can be no miracle wrought by Jesus Christ; for he that doeth this shall become like unto the son of perdition, for whom there was no mercy, according to the word of Christ! (3 Nephi 29: 4-7)
Now down to chapter 30:
Hearken, O ye Gentiles, and hear the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, which he hath commanded me that I should speak concerning you, for, behold he commandeth me that I should write, saying:
Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel (3 Nephi 30: 1-2).
A good many of us in the church have come unto the Savior and been baptized. But the question is: Have we relinquished these things of the world? Are we materialistic in our society? Do we set ourselves above one another in pride? Do we share with one another? Have we love in our hearts for all men? Do we enjoy the gifts of the spirit so that we are mighty in doing the works of God? I think we’ll have to say that as a people we’re making only a beginning. We’re not doing too well in this regard.
There is a great deal of evil in the church. As a church, we’re not doing a very good job of living the 10 commandments, let alone living the celestial requirements of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So this is another of the factors that we’ve got to face. The pressure isn’t going to get any easier. The pressure is going to get worse. If you are aware of what’s going on, I think you will agree with me, I hope you will, at least I hope so because if I’m wrong, somebody’s crazy. I see a rising tide of sensuality in our nation. Do you not? A rising tide of materialism. A rising tide of irresponsibility. A hate of work; work being the source of all good things for human beings. As these things come upon us, we live in a devolving society. A society which is successful because of its technological advantages, but which is becoming so rotten morally, it’s going to topple one of these days.
If you have read the prophecies concerning the United States, you know that this country is going to be racked from one end to the other by bloodshed, by pestilence, by famine, by war, by fire, by scourges; it isn’t going to be a very pretty sight. And this because of the fact that we are not very righteous as a people, as a nation. The Lord will not suffer wicked people to dwell forever in the promised land. And the time of judgment is coming.
Briefly, let’s say a word about economic conditions. For all of his faults, you have to give Marx credit for one thing: Economics is about the dearest thing to most people’s hearts. And therefore it is a very important controlling factor in history. There’s no question about it. You cannot say that all men are controlled by economic factors. If men were simply materialistic machines, as Marx thought they were, then he would be right. But they are not. Men do have spirits and intelligences. There is a power of godliness which transforms men’s lives and lifts them above the materialistic level. But most men are governed by material circumstances and considerations. They make their decisions in terms of how much money it’s going to afford them, or cost them, so forth. So, the way to control people is to control their economics. Government has become the business of taking over the economics of a people because this is the way to effectively handle the situation. You don’t have to pass anti-trust laws when you can control the steel companies just by cutting off their contracts. Very simple. So we see that all governments on the earth are moving more and more into complete control of the economics of their people. Because this is the way to control society. Because most men are economic creatures. This has been seen by the prophets. Let’s read a few words from the book of Revelations where John predicts what’s going to happen in the last days.
Chapter 13. Speaking of the great and abominable church, John points out that the great and abominable church is going to be taken over by another organization. And this organization is going to have the force to cause that as many as would not worship the great and abominable church would be killed. Which is a pretty good explanation as to how there are only going to be only two churches in the end. It couldn’t come about by any means except force. But then this organization that also causes everybody to join this church is also going to cause all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads. And no man might buy or sell save he had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. What does that tell you? Well, I think you can read in that, can’t you, that the economic situation is going to be completely controlled by this force, by this organization. That eventually we will see the time when the economics of the world will be completely sewed up by this power, and no man can oppose it if he wish to engage in commerce, if he wishes to make a profit. So if our considerations are material, the only one thing to do is to give in and get the mark and you can do business. So the time is coming when every person is going to have to choose, I think, between certain material prosperities and his independence. In other words, between material rewards and righteousness. That’s what it boils down to. Enough of that.
Let’s go on to the signs of the times. Section 45 of the Doctrine and Covenants gives us enough of a communication of this. Beginning with verse 30:
And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
When the Gentiles have had their chance, then their time is fulfilled, and we’re going to see these signs.
And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.
But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.
And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places, and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another.
And when the light shall begin to break forth, it shall be with them like unto a parable which I will show you.
Ye look and behold the fig trees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer in now nigh at hand;
Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh.
When you see earthquakes, and wars and rumors of wars, pestilence, famine. When you see flies coming upon the face of the earth, to lay their eggs that maggots devour the flesh of man. Hail stones come forth to destroy the crops of the earth. Desolating sickness come to cause thousands and thousands to die. These are all very specific things prophesied by the scriptures as signs of the times.
And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.
This is one of the measures of our faithfulness.
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.
Which of course refers to the gathering of the righteous to the New Jerusalem or to Jerusalem in the last days. Apparently the remnant of the Jews will be gathered to Jerusalem and the remnant of everybody else will be gathered to the New Jerusalem. Well, so much for the signs of the times.
I suppose you’ve gathered by this time that what I’m trying to do is paint for you a picture that is fairly pessimistic. Now, why am I doing this? Simply because I’m firmly convinced that the future is something to be pessimistic about. It’s going to get an awful lot worse before it gets better. And that you and I happen to live, I think, very near the end of the times of peace and prosperity and happiness and usual circumstances. I think that we are going to see the time in the very near future when much of this is destroyed because of these political, ecclesiastical, and social, and economic problems that I’ve been talking about. Well let’s go on and talk about the second coming now.
The bright ray of hope in the whole business is the second coming. It doesn’t matter how bad it’s going to get, all this evil is going to come to an end. There will be a time when it shall be done away. And that’s the wonderful thing we can look forward to with hope. The saints will be vindicated. Those who have suffered for righteousness sake will receive a reward and will know that things are well.
Now one of the great blessings the Lord has given us is a chronology of the day of the second coming. We get an hour by hour sequence of the events of that day. I would like to go through that sequence now because I think it’s very helpful. There’s no point in any latter-day saint being surprised at anything that happens on the day of the second coming because it’s all here pretty much in black and white. Let’s begin with section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 87:
87. For not many days hence and the earth will tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree.
88. And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people.
This will be after the time that the missionaries have swept the earth to gather out the righteous for the last time. Then those that remain having rejected the word of God will begin to reap the consequences.
89. 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 to stand.
90. 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 their bounds.
91. And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.
Except whom? Except those that know what’s going on. They won’t be afraid because they know what’s coming next and there’s nothing really to be afraid of.
92. And angels shall fly through the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice, sounding the trump of God, saying: Prepare ye, prepare ye, O inhabitants of the earth; for the judgment of our God has come; (this is the first day of judgment which comes upon all men) Behold, and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Now when he says, “go ye out to meet him,” there will be two specific actions that will take place. Those that have repented will go out and wish to see this great spectacle. What about those who haven’t repented? The scripture says that they will go to the rocks and the caves and will try and get the mountains to hide them. Of course it won’t work.
94. And another angel shall should his trump, saying: That great church, the mother of abominations, that made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, (that fornication is not a pretty word, but it’s an important key to the history of this organization. It has sold itself, so watch out) that persecuteth the saints of God, that shed their blood–she who sitteth upon many waters, and upon the islands of the sea–behold, she is the tares of the earth…
You see the world will have been separated into two groups by this time. The great and abominable church will have been the world. I didn’t say that very clearly. And the saints will be the rest of the people. And the world will be destroyed. But the world is the same thing as those who have finally associated themselves with the great and abominable church in the end. And so she will be burned. She is the tares of the earth.
..she is bound in bundles; her bands are made strong, no man can loose them; therefore, she is ready to be burned. And he shall sound his trump both long and loud, and all nations shall hear it.
95. And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour (I guess this is no point in speculating, but I presume we’ll all be doing a lot of meditating in this half hour); and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded after it is rolled up…
If you had a scroll here and you suddenly unfolded it, this will be what it will look like to look up into the heavens because the veil will be parted, just like it were the unrolling of a scroll. And we will look up and see the spirit world surrounding the earth, which has been hidden from the eyes of men for these six thousand years since the fall.
…and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled.
96. And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him.
97. And they who have slept in their graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened; and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven.
Now while the Saints are being caught up. Every righteous person will be caught up. Every dead righteous person will be resurrected and caught up. While this is going on, we’re given the transcript of what the rest of the people will be saying as they stand and look up into heaven. For this, let’s go to section 133. Beginning with verse 46. This is what the people who stay on the earth who are watching this will say:
46. And it shall be said: Who is this that cometh down from God in heaven with dyed garments; yea, from the regions which are not known, (what are these regions that are not known? The spirit world that suddenly becomes visible.) clothed in his glorious apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength?
47. And he shall say: I am he who spake in righteousness, mighty to save.
48. And the Lord shall be red in his apparel, and his garments like him that treadeth in the wine-vat.
50. And his voice shall be heard: I have trodden the winepress alone, and have brought judgment upon all people; and none were with me.
What was the winepress? The fierceness of the wrath of almighty God. Which was what? His atonement which he performed by himself. No one was with him.
51. And I have trampled them in my fury and I did tread upon them in mine anger, and their blood have I sprinkled upon my garments, and stained all my raiment; for this was the day of vengeance which was in my heart.
Again that sounds a little harsh. But remember, these are people who have deliberately fostered evil. Who have deliberately rejected the Savior and righteousness and kindness, who have sought to bring upon their fellowmen all kinds of misery, torment, tyranny. And so the Lord takes vengeance upon them after they’ve had a chance to repent. But there’s a happy note too.
52. And now the year of my redeemed is come; and they shall mention the loving kindness of their Lord, and all that He has bestowed upon them according to his goodness, and according to his loving kindness, forever and ever.
This is the day of the blessing of the Saints and they receive their eternal inheritances. Now let’s go now to section 45 of the Doctrine & Covenants where we get a record of what’s going to be said as he actually comes down and touches the earth. Where will he touch? The Mount of Olives at Jerusalem. Immediately prior to the coming, there will be a tremendous earthquake and the Mount of Olives will split in twain and there will be a valley created into which a remnant of the Jews who are alive shall run to save their lives from the enemies that will be pressing upon them. And at that point, they will meet the Savior. So we read beginning with verse 47 of section 45.
47. Then shall the arm of the Lord fall upon the nations.
48. And then shall the Lord set his foot upon this mount, and it shall cleave in twain, and the earth shall tremble, and reel to and fro, and the heavens also shall shake.
49. And the Lord shall utter his voice, and all the ends of the earth shall hear it; and the nations of the earth shall mourn, and they that have laughed shall see their folly.
50. And calamity shall cover the mocker, and the scorner shall be consumed; and they that have watched for iniquity shall be hewn down and cast into the fire.
What’s a person that watches for iniquity? These are the people who read the newspaper and get a secret delight out of seeing stories about evil. A person who loves righteousness detests newspaper accounts of other people’s evil deeds. Don’t they? But people who delight to read of evil deeds in a sense are evil. And when they get the chance and think they won’t be caught, they will be evil too. And these are they who will be destroyed.
51. And then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?
52. Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus who was crucified. I am the Son of God.
53. And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their king.
And I presume that this weeping and lamentation of the Jews will in a sense be a vicarious weeping and lamentation for the steadfast rejection of the Savior which the Jews have made, lo these thousands of years.
Let’s go back now to section 88 where the story goes on.
At the time of the second coming, we have the occasion known as the morning of the first resurrection. This is not the beginning of the first resurrection. The first resurrection began at the resurrection of the Savior, he being the first fruits. And all of the righteous who died before the resurrection of the Savior were resurrected with him. So millions of people probably have been resurrected even before the second coming. But nevertheless every person worthy of the celestial kingdom apparently who has not been resurrected will be resurrected at the time of the second coming.
98. They are Christ’s, the first fruits, they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him; and all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel of God.
When the resurrection of the celestial persons is complete, then we have the resurrection of the terrestrial persons as recorded in the next verse.
99. And after this another angel shall sound, which is the second trump; and then cometh the redemption of those who are Christ’s at his coming; who have received their part in that prison which is prepared for them, that they might receive the gospel, and be judged according to men in the flesh.
These people have accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ in the spirit world and are now resurrected to a terrestrial glory, being forgiven of their sins through the atonement of Christ and being privileged to come forth at this time to receive their inheritances.
100. And another trump shall sound, which is the third trump; and then come the spirits of men who are to be judged, and are found under condemnation.
These are the telestial spirits. They cannot yet be resurrected because they are filthy. And if they were resurrected now they would have to be cast off with the devil and his angels for eternity. So in his mercy the Lord judges them and gives them a chance to go pay for their sins. And this is what the scriptures mean when they say “being thrust down to hell.”
These people are judged at this time, are thrust down to hell, and suffer for their sins because they would not accept the atonement of Christ through repentance and baptism. Well, through repentance. We don’t know what the requirements are for the terrestrial kingdom. But these get the chance to go to hell and make their payment. And at the end of the millennium, having made their payment, they will be privileged to come forth in the second resurrection and receive the glory of the telestial kingdom. The telestial kingdom is not hell. But they must go through hell to get to the telestial kingdom. These are the rest of the dead and they live not again until the thousand years are ended. Neither till the end of the earth. They come back again to the presence of the Savior at the end of the millennium to be judged in the final judgment. This judgment on the first judgment of the millennium is only a temporary judgment or an assignment for them to pay their penalties so that they can receive a better final judgment.
102. And another trump shall sound, which is the fourth trump, saying: There are found among those who are to remain until that great and last day, even the end, who shall remain filthy still.
Some of these, even though they go away to suffer, are not profited by their suffering. These are the sons of perdition. And they shall remain filthy still and at the end of the millennium they shall be cast into outer darkness which is the second death. Then we go on with the rest of the events of the day.
103. And another trump shall sound, which is the fifth trump, which is the fifth angel (this is the same angel who had the everlasting gospel to preach to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, and he will say at this time) who committeth the everlasting gospel–flying through the midst of heaven, unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.
104. And this shall be the sound of his trump, saying to all people, both in heaven and in earth, and that are under the earth–for every ear shall hear it, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, while they hear the sound of the trump, saying: Fear God, and give glory to him who sitteth upon the throne forever and ever; for the hour of his judgment is come.
Now it said back there they were to be judged. Now the time of judgment comes. Every person who is resurrected, of course, receives his judgment on that day. Because we are resurrected to the specific glory that is ours for the rest of eternity. If we go to the celestial kingdom, we get a celestial body. If we go to the terrestrial kingdom, we get a terrestrial body. And so forth.
105. And again, another angel shall sound his trump, which is the sixth angel, saying: She is fallen who made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; she is fallen, is fallen!
Who’s this? The great and abominable church. If you’ll notice, the affairs of the great and abominable church are intimately connected with the gathering of Israel, the events of the last days, with the day of the second coming. It’s something that we ought to pay very particular attention to because it’s important.
106. And again, another angel shall sound his trump, which is the seventh angel, saying: It is finished; it is finished! The Lamb of God hath overcome and trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.
107. And then shall the angels be crowned with the glory of his might, and the saints shall be filled with his glory, and receive their inheritance and be made equal with him.
The blessings of eternity shall be bestowed upon those who have endured to the end in righteousness. They shall be made equal with Jesus Christ.
108. And then shall the first angel again sound his trump in the ears of all living, and reveal the secret acts of men, and the mighty works of God in the first thousand years.
After the righteous receive their blessings then everybody else receives their judgment. And how does it take place? Well, two things are told to everybody. This is made a public thing. All the secret acts of men are made public and also the works of God in striving to bring these people to repentance. So that everyone will know that the judgments of God are just. And the judgments of God will be passed upon these people.
109. And then shall the second angel sound his trump, and reveal the secret acts of men, and the thoughts and intents of their hearts, and the mighty works of God in the second thousand years. 110. And so on, until the seventh angel shall sound his trump; and he shall stand forth upon the land and upon the sea, and swear in the name of him who sitteth upon the throne that there shall be time no longer;
No more watches. No more clocks. Is that what it means? No more time? No. The time of the world is over. Satan’s time is gone. Wickedness is past. The time for repentance is past. There will still be time after the manner of clocks, but not after the manner of the ability to do evil. Time shall be no longer …and Satan shall be bound, that old serpent, who is called the devil, and shall not be loosed for the space of a thousand years.
Then he shall be loosed and so forth. Well, this pretty well completes the chronicle of the events of the day of the second coming.
Well, why did I go through all this? I hoped to contrast that with the pessimistic picture of the intervening time. This is a wonderful thing to look forward to. So let’s contrast. If we are depressed because of the events intervening, let’s also be joyed because of the wonderful blessings of the day of the second coming. Well, now let’s turn to what we can do about these situations and prepare.
First of all, political. We have received instructions as to what to do politically. I would like to read them to you. Let me read you the words of President McKay in the October conference 1962. He has said these same sorts of things many times. He talks about international communism and its attempt to destroy us and our freedoms. He contrasts with this the gospel of Jesus Christ and its program. And the two have nothing in common. If you find something that has something in common with communism–and I hope I’m not speaking in too veiled a manner–you find something that is opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because the two are antithetical. Jesus always sought the welfare of the individual. And individuals grouped and laboring for the mutual welfare of the whole in conformity with the principles of the gospel, constitute the kingdom of God. It isn’t the welfare of the individual that is sought by communism or its allies. It’s the welfare theoretically of the state actually of the group who rule the state. Is this not so? Does Castro live like his people? No, no he doesn’t live like the proletariat. He proclaims to champion the proletariat, but isn’t it interesting how these great champions of the proletariat never live like them? They’re always content to live in luxury while their people are the ones that suffer. He goes on to say: “Force and compulsion will never establish the ideal society.” Should this affect your politics? This can come only by a transformation within the individual. By no external force or power.
Only through a life redeemed from sin and brought in harmony with the divine will. Instead of selfishness, men must be willing to dedicate their ability, their possessions, their lives if necessary, their fortunes and their sacred honor to the alleviation of the ills of mankind. Hate must be supplanted by sympathy and forbearance. Peace and true prosperity can come only by conforming our lives to the law of love. The law of the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
A mere appreciation of the social ethics of Jesus is not sufficient. I hope you recognize what this means. There are many within the church who want to teach only the social ethics of Jesus. But the transformation of men’s hearts does not come by social ethics. It comes by the power of the priesthood and the gift of the holy ghost. That’s the only way it can come. As men are willing to accept that power within into their lives. Then they can be transformed. But not by any law, not by any idea, not by any social ethic.
In these days of uncertainty and unrest, liberty-loving people’s greatest responsibility and paramount duty is to preserve and proclaim the freedom of the individual, his relationship to deity, and the necessity of obedience to the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only thus will mankind find peace and happiness.
We find ourselves now immersed in a great political campaign in America for the purpose of selecting candidates for office in local, state, and national positions. We urge you as citizens to participate in this great democratic process in accordance with your honest political convictions. However, above all else, strive to support good and conscientious candidates of either party who are aware of the great dangers inherent in communism and who are truly dedicated to the constitution in the tradition of our founding fathers.
That’s pretty explicit isn’t it? If you know what the tradition of our founding fathers was, it isn’t what the constitution is being interpreted as today.
They should also pledge their sincere fealty to our way of liberty. A liberty which aims at the preservation both of personal and property rights. Study the issues, analyze the candidates on these grounds, and then exercise your franchise as free men and women. Never be found guilty of exchanging your birthright for a mess of pottage.
Well that’s pretty plain, isn’t it? Should we be in doubt as to what we ought to do politically? The people cry for leadership and guidance. But when the leader speaks, do the people follow? Not always. I’d be willing to wager with you (although I’m not a betting man). Go to any sizable group in the church and see if they know what President McKay has said about what people ought to do politically. I would wager that you can’t find 5% that know of these words. Try it. I’ve tried it many, many times. People don’t know what President McKay says. They don’t pay any attention to it. This is one of our biggest problems. We do not listen to our prophets. He said things very explicit. Why don’t people hear this? A lot of them don’t want to hear it in the first place. That binds you if you listen to what he says there. You can’t just vote any old way, you’ve got to vote a certain way. You’ve got to vote the way the Lord tells you to in accordance with certain guidelines. And that’s more particular than a lot of people want to be.
Well, what can we do in the church? It’s not our purpose to fight the great and abominable church. The thing we must do is to build up the Church of Jesus Christ. To establish Zion. What is Zion? Zion is a people who are pure in heart. A people who live together in love and in righteousness. And then ought to consume a good share of our effort. It doesn’t matter what program we’re engaged in in the church, the end result is supposed to be love and kindness, good feeling with one another, working together as redeemed servants of Jesus Christ for the upbuilding of his kingdom. If we’re accomplishing anything else, we’ve missed the point. The only way we can stand the onslaught of the great and abominable church is to have power because it has power. And the only power that’s sufficient is the power of the priesthood. And only when we get the power of the priesthood so that we can command the elements, so that we can command disease, can we withstand the pressure that is going to be put upon us in these last days. The Lord will not leave righteous people helpless. Sometimes it’s true, they have to suffer and die as witnesses. But not the body. This is only the few that have to suffer and die as witnesses.
The group of his people are going to be preserved and preserved in proportion to their righteousness. But we can have power only as we honor the power and the source of that power. We have great missionary work to do. We ought to be anxiously engaged in spreading the word of the gospel. Every member a missionary. How? By example. What did President McKay say to do last conference? He said: Every one of you go out and radiate the gospel of Jesus Christ. Make sure that everybody in your environment feels the power of the goodness of the gospel. And they see that this is something that does transform the lives of people. People don’t just join the church and go to a lot of meetings. They get changed. They become righteous. They become nice to be around. They get rid of their bad habits. That’s what we’re supposed to be doing, isn’t it?
And genealogy and temple work. This is a day of peace. There is no better time to do our genealogy work than right now. When the overflowing scourge comes, are we going to be able to go to Salt Lake City and work in the library? Of course not. If we know what’s going on, we’ll get busy right now. This is the most fruitful time we’re going to have. We don’t know how long it’s going to continue. But we must work on it.
What can we do socially? The Lord has set his people to be a light unto all men. To encourage all men everywhere to be righteous. We’re not just supposed to say, “Well, we’ll work with the members of the church. We have a responsibility to encourage all men of whatever religious belief to live up to the principles they believe in. And we can help them. We can stimulate it. Lots of people get into politics and become evil men because nobody will support them. The only way they can operate is to make deals with the opposition. Good men won’t come to their aid. And we crucify a lot of good men by this process. Well, do we have any political integrity ourselves? Enough to support good men in doing good things? Or do we insist that we get the pork barrel while they economize with everybody else? Well, we have to be very honest with ourselves. If we build the kingdom of God, we’re going to build principles of righteousness. We’re going to preserve the constitution of the United States. Let me read you just a few words from President J. Rueben Clark.
“I am an American because I believe in a government of laws and not of men. And in a national allegiance to high principle and lofty ideal instead of to a personal sovereign. (I hope you recognize that what he believes in is being done away with.) I am an American because I believe in a government with three distinct separate branches, each mutually independent of the other, with no power of delegation or appropriation of rights or powers by any one of them or from any other. I am an American because I believe that government must derive its just powers from the consent of the governed. And branches of government and officers shall have such powers such as shall be given them by the people.”
I didn’t mean to get back to politics. But are you aware that it doesn’t matter too much anymore what Congress passes as a law. What runs the country is executive order and not law.
Very specific laws were created governing what should be done in relation to Cuba. By executive order, the government ignored every one of those laws passed by the people of the United States. Who runs the country? The executive branch. Not the legislative branch. And it does what it wants to do and not what the people want it to do. In fact, it deliberately withholds from the people the opportunity of knowing what’s going on and deliberately falsifies the record to promote its ends. We better watch out.
I’m an American because I believe in the greatest possible measure of self-government. Some people say the less government the better. That’s an awful fallacy. You have to have government. If people will not govern themselves, they must be governed to avoid chaos. But I think he states it correctly here. I believe in the greatest possible measure of self-government because I believe in a federal system of government which keeps local affairs in the hands of governments. I am an American because I believe in a Bill of Rights which places wholly beyond the reach of lawful government certain matters affecting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Specifically the right of freedom of conscience and worship, the right of free speech and of free press. The right peaceably to assemble and petition government. The right to gain and hold property without molestation except by due process of law. And he goes on with a lot of other things. I commend to you as a good book, Stand Fast by the Constitution. If you haven’t read it, I think it ought to be a first order of business. Well, socially we’ve got to rise above the ways of the world by building the kingdom of God by establishing Zion.
Economically, the pattern is given by the Savior in section 78 of the Doctrine and Covenants. It’s his will that his church not go down when governments fall. That it not be trapped by the activities of the great and abominable church or the organization that takes over that church and restricts and restrains commerce. The goal of the Lord is to help us to enter into another order of righteousness called the order of Enoch or the law of consecration. Which is basically not a material, but a spiritual covenant. He says in verse 11:
11. Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, to prepare and organize yourselves by a bond or everlasting covenant that cannot be broken.
13. Behold, this is the preparation wherewith I prepare you, and the foundation, and the ensample which I give unto you, whereby you may accomplish the commandments which are given you.
14. That through my providence, notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, that the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world.
It’s impossible to become independent. But we do want to be independent of the world and dependent only upon the Lord. This is the economic program of the church. The beginnings of it are the welfare program, our tithing, our fast offering, our building fund. But we’ve got to be awfully astute because this again is mixed up with politics. The political powers that be aren’t going to be very happy when we start to get independent economically. Why? Because then they can’t control us. And they will want to control us. So they’re going to turn the screws economically and we’re going to have to watch out. Why do the Brethren say to get out of debt? Because the easiest way for someone to control you is to get you good and far in debt and then through some circumstance fix it so you can’t pay your debts which is possible, isn’t it? Do you know how they did it to the Mormons in Nevada in 1856? They didn’t like the Mormons. They were prospering down in the Moapa Valley so they turned the screws on them by demanding that they pay all their taxes in gold pieces. They didn’t have any gold so they had to leave. They came in and possessed theirs lands and took everything away from them. Well, that’s crafty isn’t it? It pays for us to be intelligent too. But intelligent sufficient that we do not cause ourselves and our posterity to suffer. It pays for us to become economically strong and independent so that our enemies do not have power over us. Are you aware the Brethren have counseled us there is only one good reason for going into personal debt? What is it? To buy a home. I think that if we keep that counsel we are going to be better off as a people. And they tell us to get out of debt as fast as we can. Financial bondage leads to spiritual bondage if we aren’t careful. So we need to watch out. There’s a very real area for us to work on.
What’s another aspect of this independence? Do you have a year’s supply? This has been the standing order of the church for how many years? At least 28 that I know about. You know what Brigham Young used to tell the people? What was the standing order in Brigham Young’s day? Four or five years supply. You see, we’ve backed up now. What do the Brethren plead with us to do today? 1 year. But how many of us have done it? Do you think you could find 10% of the people of this church who could sustain themselves for a year if everything were cut off? No. Do you think you can find 10% of the people of this church who are faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. No. This is one of the tokens, isn’t it? If a person really believes in Jesus Christ and the servant of Jesus Christ says, “get a year’s supply of food and clothing,” don’t you think that person would do it? Wouldn’t he not buy a new car this year and get that year’s supply in. Why sure he would. But nobody does it to speak of. Why? Because we don’t believe in Jesus Christ, frankly. Oh, yes, we believe that he exists, don’t mistake me. We believe that he is up in the heavens somewhere and he’s a very nice person. But we don’t believe that he is the sole source of our salvation. We don’t believe that we have to do everything he says. And this is what we come to in this last item.
The only salvation for men is to put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and to do as he says. Remember the parable of the tree of life in the Book of Mormon. The mists of darkness grow thick, and the thicker they get, the more imperative it is to recognize what is going on in the total picture. All these events that I’ve talked about are the mists of darkness. The only latter-day saints who are going to survive these mists and not fall off into that filthy water. What was that filthy water that was going alongside that straight and narrow path? It was a representation of the depths of hell. And in the mists of darkness, if you don’t hang on to the iron rod, where do you wander? You wander off and plop into the filthy water. The only hope we have to endure these last days and not become subject to Satan, I believe, is to become subject to Jesus Christ. To become independent of every creature beneath the celestial world. The church is a celestial organization. It is that organization designed and implemented by the Lord Jesus Christ to save every soul that wants to be saved from the world. But if we love the world, of course we don’t want to be saved from it.
But this is the test. Do we love the material advantages the world has to offer or do we love righteousness more? That’s essentially the choice that we’re making in these last days. The world chooses material advantage. Welfare. Those who are righteous chose suffering in a sense but righteousness. They chose to do good for the fellow man and they are willing to suffer materially. They’re willing to be poor if necessary to promote righteousness. They’re willing to sacrifice for their principles. They’re willing to go out and buy their year’s supply. Now, mind you, I’m not talking to students. It’s not necessary for a student, I would believe, to have a year supply. But I think every head of a household ought to have it. Everybody who is responsible for feeding other people ought to have it. Wouldn’t that be a good thing? How can we account ourselves as just and wise stewards before the Lord if we have not provided for those that are dependent upon us. If we leave them subject to the mercies of evil people in our society. That isn’t very good stewardship is it?
Well, this is where personal righteousness comes in. The Lord tells us, “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” Let’s make sure that we have clean hands and a pure heart. I would hope brothers and sisters that we can do as we are commanded to do in the Doctrine and Covenants. Let’s read a few verses here from section 88. The Lord gives us very specific instructions as to how to prepare for these last days:
123. See that ye love one another; cease to be covetous; learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires.
124. Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.
125. And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.
126. Pray always, that ye may not faint, until I come. Behold, and lo, I will come quickly, and receive you unto myself. Amen.
Brothers and sisters, it is my hope and prayer that we can rally together and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. We have a long way to go and the obstacles are formidable. Its my testimony that the Lord is equal to every obstacle that you and I face and that you and I, under the direction of the Lord, can meet and successfully overcome the challenges of these last days. We can separate ourselves from the world and from worldliness. We can be ready for the Savior in his second coming. I think one way to say how to be ready for the second coming is this:
The only way to prepare for the second coming is to accept the first coming. To accept the fact that Jesus Christ came and lived a perfect life. That he wrought an atonement for all men. He descended below all things and now has risen above all things and will come to judge all things. I pray that we will study the life of our Savior and his teachings and his commandments. That we might accept his first coming and that we will obey the voice of his servants that we might be prepared for his second coming. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.