Last Days

Great Day of the Lord

In 1967 at BYU, President Joseph Fielding Smith said this day had arrived:

"...the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion. And also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgement upon...the world." (D&C 1:35-36)

We hear so much about the "dreadful day of the Lord" on these lists, and so little about the "great day of the Lord." Are you motivated to repentance by those who attempt to strike fear in our hearts or are your motivated by the great promised blessings and by a desire to be part of the great promised events that will unfold in these last days?

"We need not look for peace in the immediate future because peace will not come. Nevertheless, we may look forward with rejoicing; we need not be downcast, but in the spirit of faith and hope, and in the fear of the Lord, we should look to the future with feelings of joy, of humility, and of worship, with the desire in our hearts, stronger if possible than ever, of serving the Lord and keeping his commandments, for the day of his coming draws near." (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 3:51-52)

Let's pause a few minutes and leave the dreadful events and discuss the great events that will unfold before our eyes prior to the second coming. Can you add to this list?

  1. Saints will become more faithful

    "While the faithful saints get better and better, and cleave more firmly to heaven-sent standards, the world will get worse and worse..." (Bruce R. McConkie, MM p.404)

    "The Majority of Saints to Remain True. I have that assurance in my heart through the teachings I have received from the Spirit of the Lord, and from the inspiration that has come to me from the revelations of the Lord through his servants, that the majority of this people will always remain true....But so far as the Latter-day Saints are concerned, the majority of them will not turn from the faith of their fathers. It is not destined that such should be the case, for when this gospel was restored, the Lord declared...that the gospel was restored for the last time, and that it must grow and increase and the knowledge grow and spread until it shall fill the whole earth." (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 1:240, 244)

  2. Holy places provided for the Saints

    "But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved..." (D&C 45:32)

    "The Lord has power over his Saints and will always prepare places of peace, defense, and safety for his people. When we have faith in God we can hope for a better world -- for us personally and for all mankind." (Howard W. Hunter, BYU, 1993)

  3. Not a time to fear

    "My message to you today is to "fear not, little flock." It is to encourage you to rejoice in the great blessings of life. It is to invite you to feel the great thrill of gospel living and our Father in Heaven's love. Life is wonderful, even in the hard times, and there is happiness, joy, and peace at stops all along the way, and endless portions of them at the end of the road. Sure, there are plenty of things to worry about-some of them very serious things but that is why we speak in gospel terms of faith, and hope, and charity. As Latter-day Saints, ours is "the abundant life," and we try to emphasize our blessings and opportunities while we minimize our disappointments and worries." (Howard W. Hunter, BYU, 1989)

    "...our task is to live fully and faithfully and not worry ourselves sick about the woes of the world or when it will end. Our task is to have the gospel in our lives and to be a bright light, a city set upon a hill that reflects the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the joy and happiness that will always come to every people in every age who keep the commandments." (Howard W. Hunter, BYU, 1993)

    "We need not look for peace in the immediate future because peace will not come. Nevertheless, we may look forward with rejoicing; we need not be downcast, but in the spirit of faith and hope, and in the fear of the Lord, we should look to the future with feelings of joy, of humility, and of worship, with the desire in our hearts, stronger if possible than ever, of serving the Lord and keeping his commandments, for the day of his coming draws near." (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 3:51-52)

  4. Will always have a prophet

    "...the time shall never come when the Lord will not find some one that he can trust, in whom he has confidence, and who will be qualified to stand to represent him among the people...The time will never come when we will not be able to put confidence and exercise faith in the teachings and in the instruction of those who lead us." (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 1:242)

  5. Many opportunities for service

    "We must press forward with the pure love of Christ to spread the good news of the gospel. As we do so and fight the war of good against evil, light against darkness, and truth against falsehood, we must not neglect our responsibility of dressing the wounds of those who have fallen in battle. There is no room in the kingdom for fatalism...We must reach out to those who are suffering from these events. We must not become fatalistic or judgmental, even if we warn the people in the world about something a thousand times and they heed us not" (Glenn L. Pace, "Spiritual Revival," p. 24-5, 30)

    "Where these is stark hunger, regardless of the cause, I will not let political considerations dull my sense of mercy or thwart my responsibility to the sons and daughters of God, wherever they may be or whatever their circumstances." (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign May 1985)

    "I do not mean to say that we ought not to associate at any time with those not of our faith, for there are many good people who have not embraced the gospel. We are not required to avoid them, for our mission in the world is with them, to convert them to the truth if we can." (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 1:245)

  6. Knowledge Increased

    "Have you ever tried to associate the outpouring of knowledge, the great discoveries and inventions during the past one hundred years, with the restoration of the Gospel? Do you not think there is some connection? It is not because we are more intelligent than our fathers that we have received this knowledge, but because God has willed it so in our generation." (Joseph Fielding Smith, "The Way to Perfection" p.182

    "Knowledge will be poured down upon this people, and the Lord will make known unto us from time to time, through revelation, and the Spirit of inspiration, many things that are for our good, when we are prepared and ready to receive them." (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 1:244)

  7. Outpouring of the Spirit

    "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions." (Joel 2:28)

  8. Wonders in the heavens

    "And I will shew wonders in the heavens..." (Joel 2:30)

    "And they shall see signs and wonders, for they shall be shown forth in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath." (D&C 45:40)

  9. Gospel Preached to all the World

    "And this gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." (D&C 133:37)

    "This requisite has yet to be fulfilled; indeed, we have done little more than scratch the surface where our worldwide preaching commission is concerned. This labor cannot be accomplished in full until the Church is much bigger and stronger than it now is." (Bruce R. McConkie, NWAOF p.630)

    At a Regional leadership session in Tucson 1994, President Hunter referred to the day when "millions" would come into the church.

    "But what is not as well understood among us as it should be is that the harvest is to go forward under increasingly difficult circumstances. War and pestilence and desolation shall cover the earth...and the preaching of his holy word must and shall go forward in the midst of these....'and I will be their shield and their buckler... (D&C 35:13-25)" (Bruce R. McConkie, MM p.137-8)

    "We have been privileged to be born in these last days, as opposed to some earlier dispensation, to help take the gospel to all the earth. There is no greater calling in this life. If we are content to hide behind self-made walls, we willingly forgo the blessings that are otherwise ours." (Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, Sept 1990)

  10. Great advancements in missionary work

    "I fully believe that in the near future we will see some of the greatest advancements in spreading the gospel to all nations that have ever taken place in this dispensation or any previous dispensation." {Howard W. Hunter BYU, 1979)
  11. The Church will be established in the nations of the earth.

    "They keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth." (D&C 65:2)

    "Where have you ever read that the kingdom of God would be overthrown in the last days? You cannot find it anywhere on the pages of the records of divine truth. No; the revelations of God will be fulfilled." (Wilford Woodruff, JD 25:10)

    "Though the Latter-day Saints will be few in number compared to the masses of men, yet the Lord's people will be found in every nation, speaking every tongue. (see 1 Ne 14:12)" (Bruce R. McConkie, NWAOF p.630)

    "Let there be no mistake on these matters. The gospel shall be preached everywhere; success will attend the labors of those who proclaim the truth; converts by the thousands and the millions will be made in all nations." (Bruce R. McConkie, MM p.143)

  12. Lamanites to become a great people.

    "But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose." (D&C 49:24)

  13. Gathering of Israel

    "...the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God; when they shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise." (2 Ne 9:2)

    "...Israel shall gather by the tens of millions into the true church before the Lord comes; she shall assemble to the stakes of Zion in all nations" (Bruce R. McConkie, NWAOF p. 631)

  14. The times of the Gentiles will be fulfilled.

    "And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (D&C 45:30)

    "Incident to the Second Coming, in a gradual way and over a period of time, the preferential treatment now offered to the Gentiles (the non-Jews) will come to an end and the gospel will go preferentially to the Jews, as it did in the day of our Lord's personal ministry among them." (Bruce R. McConkie, NWAOF p.633)

    "Tens of thousands among the Gentile nations will receive the gospel, but the majority of them will reject it, and then the Jews will receive it; and it will go to them with all the gifts, blessings, and powers it possessed when it was taken from them." (Wilford Woodruff, JD 2:200)

    "Not many of the Jews, I take it from my reading of the scriptures, will believe in Christ before he comes." (Joseph Fielding Smith, DS 3:9)

  15. Temples to dot the Earth

    "We expect to see the day when temples will dot the earth, each one a house of the Lord...Perhaps they will number in the hundreds, or even in the thousands, before the Lord returns." (Bruce R. McConkie, MM p.277)

    "To accomplish this work there will have to be not only one temple but thousands of them, and thousands and tens of thousands of men and women will go into those temples and officiate for people who have lived as far back as the Lord shall reveal." (Brigham Young, JD 3:372)

  16. Massive amount of temple work

    "The time will come when there will be temples established over every portion of the land, and we will go into these temples and work for our kindred dead night and day." (Lorenzo Snow, MS 62:546)

  17. Ancient records revealed

    "...there are records which contain much of my gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people." (D&C 6:26)

    "And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me...then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations." (Ether 4:7)

    "The Lord has placed us on probation...when we...are willing to keep the commandments...then the Lord is ready to bring forth the other record." (Joseph Fielding Smith, 1961)

    "There are those now living...some her present--who shall live to read the records of the Lost Tribes of Israel." (Talmage)

  18. Building of Temples in New Jerusalem and Old Jerusalem

    "Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed. It will take some time to rebuild the walls of the city and the temple, etc.; and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance." (Joseph Smith, Teachings, p. 286)

    Regarding the temple in New Jerusalem: "For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house." (D&C 84:5)

  19. Zion to be redeemed

    "Zion shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains..." (D&C 49:25)

    "As we are aware, the building of the New Jerusalem lies in the future, at a time yet to be designated by revelation. There is no present call for the saints to purchase land or to live in Jackson County or in any place connected therewith...when it does come...that call will not be for the saints in general to assemble there. The return to Jackson County will be by delegates...Those assigned will build up the city." (Bruce R. McConkie, MM p.294)

  20. Those in Zion to live United Order

    "Jesus will never receive the Zion of God unless its people are united according to celestial law, for all who go into the presence of God have to go there by this law. Enoch had to practice this law, and we shall have to do the same if we are ever accepted of God as he was. It has been promised that the New Jerusalem will be built up in our day and generation, and it will have to be done by the United Order of Zion and according to celestial law." (Wilford Woodruff, JD 17:250)

  21. Meeting at Adam-Ondi-Ahman

    "...Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet." (D&C 116:1) See Daniel 7:13-14.

    "When this gathering is held, the world will not know of it; the members of the Church at large will not know of it, yet it shall be preparatory to the coming in clouds of glory of our Savior Jesus Christ as the Prophet Joseph Smith has said. The world cannot know of it. The Saints cannot know of it--except those who officially shall be called into this council..." (Joseph Fielding Smith, "The Way to Perfection" p. 291)

  22. Zion will shine

    "Arise, shine; for they light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." (Is 60:1)

    "There is no one thing more fully revealed in the scriptures of eternal truth, than the rise of Zion of our God in the latter days, clothed upon with the glory of God from the heavens--a Zion that will attract the attention of all the nations and kindreds of the whole earth. It will not be something that takes place in a corner on some distant island of the sea, or away among some obscure people; but it will be something that will call forth the attention of all people and nations upon the face of the whole earth." (Orson Pratt, JD 16:78)

  23. Kings to soften their hearts

    "...Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship." (Is 49:7)

    "And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of they feet..." (Is 49:23)

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Tribulation

Regarding the righteous being spared:

"We do not say that all the Saints will be spared and saved from the coming day of desolation. But we do say there is no promise of safety, except for those who love the Lord and who are seeking to do all that he commands." (Bruce R. McConkie, 1979)

"It is a false idea that the Saints will escape all the judgements, whilst the wicked suffer; for all flesh is subject to suffer." (JS HC 4:11)

"We must all become players in the winding up scene, not spectators. We must do all we can to prevent calamities and to assist and comfort the victims of tragedies that do occur." (Glen L. Pace, SR p.23)

"Although he will pour out his tribulations upon the wicked, he nevertheless will carry forward his work, and his people under divine protection will roll forth that stone until eventually it fills the whole earth...Your destiny is to do that very thing and this is the kind of protection you will have. You do not need to fear about world conditions. You do not need to fear about anybody. Just serve the Lord and keep his commandments and build the Kingdom and as you do so you will be protected in these last days." (Mark E. Peterson, 1960)

"Nevertheless, Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her." (D&C 97:25)

> Of course there are many who deny that moral conditions are any
> worse than before. "It's just reported more these days." they tell
> you.

You have no argument here on this point.

"Worldly people will suppose that the wars and desolations of the last days are simply the normal and continuing course of history" (Bruce R. McConkie)

"People in our day within and out of the church rationalize the seriousness of the situation by claiming the problem isn't increased disasters or sin, but merely increased reporting of them." (Glen L. Pace, SR p.23)

One thing that doesn't change too much, is those people who don't believe in the signs and the hand of God. Take the Nephites after Christ's birth, they

"...began to disbelieve all which they had heard and seen -- Imagining up some vain thing in their hears, that it was wrought by men...and they did not believe that there should be any more signs or wonders given." (3 Ne 1:2-3)

I live in the growing, new suburbs of Tucson, neighborhoods that are only three or four years old and the gang problem is getting worse and worse. This week, within two miles of my home, a youth was gunned down by gang members. We don't live in the inner city. Yes, wickedness is increasing.

"as we test the moral environment, we find the pollution index is spiraling upward." (Boyd K. Packer, CR 1992)

What are we to do. Brigham Young solved the problem this way:

"We do not intend to have any trade or commerce with the gentile world, for so long as we buy of them we are in a degree dependent upon them...I am determined to cut every thread of this kind and live free and independent, untrammeled by any of their detestable customs and practices."
In the 1850's persecution again increased and the missionaries all over the world were called home. Missionary work went forth very slowly for many many years while the Saints were in relative isolation.

However, we are at a point in this dispensation when the gospel is going forth to all nations with great force and "the work is not done." Our gathering places are in stakes of Zion and we have not been called to physically withdraw from the world. Our greatest work as a church right now is to proclaim the gospel to the world.

What to do? Elder Joe J. Christensen gave a good talk in the Oct 1993 Conference. He discussed ways to combat this moral pollution.

  1. Do not be afraid to set clear moral standards and guidelines. In our recent regional conference during the leadership session, over an hour was spent discussing the importance of "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet. They practically read us the whole thing. I conclude these principles are very important.

  2. Teach your children to work and take responsibility.

  3. Create an environment in your family in which spiritual experiences can occur.

  4. Follow the counsel of the prophets...'Your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow the ones whom the Lord has placed to preside over his church.' (quoted Harold B. Lee, 1970)

Finally, we can never read these words from President Hunter enough:

"I promise you tonight in the name of the Lord whose servant I am that
God will always protect and care for his people. We will have our difficulties the way every generation and people have had difficulties... The Lord has power over his Saints and will always prepare places of peace, defense, and safety for his people. When we have faith in God we can hope for a better world -- for us personally and for all mankind." (Howard W. Hunter, BYU 1993)

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