Bringing On the Apocalypse

CoronalMassEjectionI was invited to join a panel of fellow authors who enjoy writing about the catastrophes of the last days. Randy Lindsay is the author of a recent work of LDS fiction entitled The Gathering. I must be candid and tell you up front I have not yet read it. I have a copy and have perused it. I intend to read it within the next month or two. The book was published by Cedar Fort in January and is available from Amazon or your favorite bookseller. Reviews on Goodreads are favorable.

Promoting Discussion of the Last Days

The idea behind the panel is obviously to promote discussion of the last days, the apocalypse, the end-times or whatever you want to call them. The bottom line of course is Randy and Cedar Fort want to sell copies of the book, as does any author and publishing house. Inasmuch as I also have been working on a novel on the subject, I agreed to participate on the panel. I’m honored but feel a little unqualified because my own book has not even been completed yet, let alone published.

Fiction Based on Prophecy

In any event, I took a few minutes to ponder and answer the first question presented to the panel. Randy proposes to present a new question each week. It’s a good idea. If you’re interested in this subject, you might want to pop over to Randy’s blog and add your two cents. Just remember, it’s a work of fiction, even though he’s asking us to comment on the premise or doctrine behind it.  In my response to Randy when invited to join, I wrote the following rather pessimistic stuff:
“I’ve got to tell you from years of gauging interest of the Saints in end-of-the-world type stuff, it’s woefully disheartening. To be frank, most LDS folks don’t want to think about it, don’t believe it will happen in their lifetime and are terribly uneducated on the signs of the times or especially what will happen when the Savior returns.

“To most, it is all very generic: ‘Oh, there’s going to be some destruction and the wicked will be killed, but then the Savior will come and all will be well.’ They either do not understand or believe what they read in our own scriptures, especially the books of Revelation, Joel, Daniel and other key sources.”

Recent Publications on The Last Days

I admit my assessment may have been a little harsh. There are those, like my High Priest Group Leader, who is extremely interested in the Last Days. He recently taught us on the subject using the book, 65 Signs of Times Leading Up to the Second Coming by David J. Ridges. The book is more than a checklist. I highly recommend it. Another LDS author I like who writes about this subject is Hoyt W. Brewster. His book is Behold, I Come Quickly: The Last Days and Beyond.

Earlier Publications on The Last Days

Of course we can’t forget some favorites from times past: Prophecy: Key to the Future by Duane S. Crowther and The Coming of the Lord by Gerald Lund. I would be remiss if I did not include the Prophecy Trilogy from my friend Anthony Larson: 1) And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood, 2) And the Earth Shall Reel To and Fro, 3) And There Shall Be a New Heaven and a New Earth. My novel, Red Sky is based on the opening scenario presented in Anthony’s first book.

The First Question to the Panel

Randy asked, “Which situation or event that is currently happening do you think most easily could result in the apocalypse?” And the response I posted over there:
My Definition of the Apocalypse

First, let’s agree on the definition of apocalypse. I’ll offer mine by expressing what it is not. The apocalypse is NOT the end of the world. Yes, it is a period of great destruction and catastrophe with billions of people killed by the natural events prophesied, but the world survives. And so do a lot of people. It is these natural events, including the close approach of another celestial body which Anthony has already described in his comments above that brings on the apocalypse.

We Cannot Bring On the Apocalypse

Second, the apocalypse is not something we can control or avoid. The Lord has warned us and warned us over and over again in so many different scriptures it is already on its way. The arm of the Lord is a phrase that has great significance. It refers to something happening in the heavens that the world will see. The Lord has told us he is returning with the armies of heaven, and with the City of Enoch, a piece of this earth that was physically removed and taken up into heaven.

We Can Observe Signs of the Times

We read terrible things in the news that are significant to LDS theology and say to ourselves, “Ah, hah. Another sign of the times,” and indeed we are usually correct. Wars and rumors of wars, economic turmoil, man’s loss of natural affection for his brethren demonstrated by deeds of atrocity, nations coming to an end, rampant wickedness, corruption, immorality and the list goes on and on. I have one thing to say about all these: “Man, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.”

You Ain’t Seen Nuthin’ Yet

Obviously, Anthony and I are in agreement as this reflects what he has already stated. Even when we talk about hundreds of thousands killed by earthquakes and tsunamis, the size of these catastrophes are nothing compared to what will happen when a “great mountain burning with fire [is] cast into the sea,” or “there [falls] a great star from heaven,” or the sun moon and stars are smitten so that the sun is darkened and the moon glows red as blood with heat. Catastrophic!

Watch For Signs in the Sun

In my mind, the event that is currently happening is the sun is not following the normal pattern scientists are used to seeing for many centuries of observation. The eleven-year cycle seems to be a little out of whack. Watch the signs in the sun. Coronal mass ejections from sunspots are the thing we really need to be watching. One massive CME can produce an EMP that could wipe out power grids and communication systems all across the globe. Stay tuned to SpaceWeather.com.

You can read more about my work of fiction based on the close approach of a large celestial body under the Red Sky tab here on my blog.

Comments

Jared said…
This is an excellent post! It's refreshing to read someone discuss the topic who actually is well studied on it and who knows what they're talking about.

My thought at the end of your post was from the Jungle Book movie: "Don't stop now Baggy, you're doing great. There's more, lots more!"

What do you think of Roger K. Young's books?
Ramona Gordy said…
Hi Tim
A very informative post, thank you. When ever I read the words apocalypse or end of the world, or any words like these, my mind immediately tends to shut down, my heat palpitates and these are reactions from my childhood and now adulthood. I sought to find the "flip side" of what may or may not be inevitable. I thought the world was going to end at the beginning of 2000, seriously, I didn't do anything special of drastic, but I figured at the time if there was a loving God, then he would throw out a life line. And he did a few years later when after resisting the "men in black" ( missionary's) I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know that every time I comment on your blog, I seem to bear this testimony. Maybe because I am new, and my heart is not bitter or jaded and I am not a "Mormon" per say. But I have been reading about the return of the Savior, and have overcome my fear and started to search the scripture more. I am comforted. I recently reviewed a book written by Robert Millet. I don't know much about him, or have any preconceived notions about him. But his book: "Living in the Eleventh Hour" preparing for the glorious return of the Savior", is a really good book. I would recommend it. Here is an excerpt:

Chapter 20: Men and Women of Destiny pages 110-114

“As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we have, as it were, one eye riveted on the present and another focused on the future. While knowledge of what lies ahead can assist us immeasurably to see things today in perspective, we cannot live in the future; all we have is now.
Let us now turn our attention to the personal responsibilities you and I share as we do our part to prepare the world for the second coming of the Son of God. President Thomas S. Monson has reminded us that “the world is in need of your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire and souls to save. The blessings of eternity await you. Yours is the privilege to be not spectators but participants. “

I have to ask myself, if all I can do is what Jesus has said, to have my lamp trimmed and filled with oil, to love my neighbor, to love Him; to serve, even when I feel like more selfish endeavors. Is the end of the world for the righteous? We will and do now endure trials, tribulations, wars, famine, pestilence, all of this is at our back doors,in our neighborhoods, in our families now. Will it be amped up for the apocalypse? What is the difference?
bruce reay said…
Tim,

Great post but I have to disagree with you on your definition of the apocalypse. I'm afraid it is the end of the world.

D&C 2 1-3

BEHOLD, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.

The scripture hasn't been fulfilled. Thus the earth will be utterly wasted.

Sorry.

On Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 12:29 AM, Latter-day Commentary - Last Days - Signs of the Times wrote:

> Tim Malone, MCSE posted: "I was invited to join a panel of fellow > authors who enjoy writing about the catastrophes of the last days. Randy > Lindsay is the author of a recent work of LDS fiction entitled The > Gathering. I must be candid and tell you up front I have not yet read it. > I"
Randy Lindsay said…
Consider me corrected about the apocalypse being the end of the world. Although, one could argue that it is the end of the world as we know it - to steal lyrics from a popular song. I have a series in mind that I plan to write that will involve the literal end of the world. What would be the correct term for that sort of story?

Great post by the way. I look forward to many more from you.
Hi Randy,

To me, the apocalypse is the destruction that occurs before and as the Savior comes to usher in the millennium. I'm not sure what specific name the scriptures use to identify the end of the world (end of time) when the earth is burned by fire and then celestialized.

The earth is currently in a telestial state. After the Savior comes and during the millennium, it will be in a terrestrial state. There are two great battles on both ends of the millennium - the battle of Armageddon first, then the battle of Gog and Magog. Michael fights the battle at the end of the world after the thousand years are up and Satan is loosed.

Joseph Fielding Smith clarifies the difference between the battle of Armageddon and the battle of Gog and Magog: “Before the coming of Christ, the great war, sometimes called Armageddon, will take place as spoken of by Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39. Another war of Gog and Magog will be after the millennium.” ( Doctrines of Salvation, 3:45.)
Daron Fraley said…
I agree with you: We ain't seen nothing yet. :) Good article to get us thinking!
McKay said…
Tim, 'apocalypse' literally means 'unveiling' and is the title of many ascent documents such as the The Apocalypse of Abraham, a description of his astral journey. The term was used anciently differently than we use it today. The term has come to mean end-times destructions because the Apocalypse of John (Revelation of John in English) unveils the end-times events including the destructions. A view or vision of the world from the foundation to the end times is part of that vision. We certainly use the term today in everyday speech as you do on your blog but next time you speak to an ancient Greek remember to him it'll mean 'unveiling'.
Mckay
Thank you McKay. I appreciate the individualized instruction. It's funny how the meanings of words have changed and lost their original intent, especially when translated into modern English. These scriptures now take on even more meaning for me:

...that day when thou shalt unveil the heavens, and cause the mountains to flow down at thy presence, and the valleys to be exalted, the rough places made smooth; that thy glory may fill the earth; (D&C 109:74)

"Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will." (D&C 88:68)

"And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour; and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled;" (D&C 88:95)

"And that I may visit them in the day of visitation, when I shall unveil the face of my covering, to appoint the portion of the oppressor among hypocrites, where there is gnashing of teeth, if they reject my servants and my testimony which I have revealed unto them." (D&C 124:8)
LDS Anarchist said…
Don't the latter-day saints believe that D&C 2 was fulfilled by D&C 110 (Elijah's visit to the temple)?
log said…
I do not believe "the" Latter-day Saints believe that. I believe "most" Latter-day Saints believe that. It may even be the "official" position of the Church. That position, however, cannot be supported directly from the scripture, but has rather been read into the scripture. D&C 110 does not record that Elijah revealed anything when he visited the Kirtland temple. That, in and of itself, is noteworthy. Such an important event - the revelation of the priesthood by the hand of Elijah - if it occurred, ought to have direct testimonial evidence by the mouths of two or three witnesses. Instead, we have none.

Joseph Smith, without known exception, always referred to Elijah's mission, spoken of in D&C 2, as yet future. This may be verified by perusing The Words of Joseph Smith.
log said…
The hearts of the children will have to be turned to the fathers, & the fathers to the children living or dead to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. If Elijah did not come the whole earth would be smitten.
Bold emphasis mine.That speaks of his coming in the past tense.

At best, one may claim that single reference is ambiguous - because it could be interpreted as past conditional or future conditional. And, given the rest of the references which are not ambiguous in speaking of Elijah's mission as yet future, you have no justification for asserting otherwise as you have here. Indeed, an assumption that Joseph was not given to contradicting himself mandates reading it as future conditional rather than past conditional, and that's assuming Joseph was, in this one instance, by this single witness, quoted correctly.

I would to God that this temple was now done that we might go into it & go to work & improve our time & make use of the seals while they are on earth
Bold emphasis mine.
So, although Elijah would make a still future appearance, the seals at the time of this statement were already on the earth, because Elijah had already come to Oliver and Joseph in the temple, per D&C 110.
1. Joseph did not say "the seals" were from Elijah. As Joseph had been "sealing" people well before Kirtland, it is manifestly unclear what kind of "seals" he had in mind.
2. D&C 110 does not say Elijah delivered anything, which is why this conversation can occur.

You say that D&C 110 does not fulfill the law of witnesses, but it does do that, since two people received the vision and ministrations.

What I actually said was: "Such an important event – the revelation of the priesthood by the hand of Elijah – if it occurred, ought to have direct testimonial evidence by the mouths of two or three witnesses. Instead, we have none."

Therefore, you seem to be mischaracterizing what I said, and your response on this point is therefore a non-sequitur.

You say that D&C 110 “does not record that Elijah revealed anything when he visited the Kirtland temple”, but it actually does reveal three things (shown in bold type):Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—
To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—
Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.

I am speaking of the absence of D&C 110 "record[ing] Elijah revealing [something]," and you are speaking of what "[D&C 110] reveals." Therefore, you are not speaking of what I am speaking of - and your response on this point is, again, a non-sequitur.

So, the time has fully come, meaning the time has been fulfilled already...

"The time has fully come" does not necessarily mean "the time has been fulfilled already." You are free to interpret it as you will, however - but atextual conclusions are only as sound as the assumptions they are founded upon.

... but there will come another time, in the future, in which it will fully come again, or be fulfilled yet again.

That is an inference which depends on other atextual assumptions.
log said…
Scriptural examples of future conditionals in the past tense.

Other, non scriptural examples of future conditionals in the past tense.

#1
#2

And so on.
LDS Anarchist said…
I really wish there was a way to fix bad tags after the Post Comment button was pressed...
log said…
This, however, deserves comment.

Ought not such an important event – the revelation of the Melchizedek priesthood by the hand of Peter, James and John – if it occurred, have direct testimonial evidence by the mouths of two or three witnesses? Instead, we have only one witness (Joseph’s word, as recorded in D&C 128:20). Yet Joseph “does not [write in D&C 128 that these three apostles] delivered anything.” In fact, (to again use your words), there is an “absence of D&C [128] recording [Peter, James and John] revealing something.”

I agree, such an important event ought to have direct testimonial evidence by the mouth of two or three witnesses - and I agree that D&C 128:20 does not record such an event.

Here's what it says.
The voice of Peter, James, and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times!

It doesn't say that Peter, James, and John revealed the Melchizedek priesthood, by their hand or otherwise. It simply says they declared themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times. There is indeed an absence of evidence in D&C 128:20 that Peter, James, and John delivered anything. Therefore D&C 128:20 is not evidence in support of the proposition that they did.

And I'm not altogether sure that one can date the bestowal of the Melchizedek priesthood as simply as dating Joseph and Oliver's calling as apostles.

The Melchizedek priesthood is quite a complicated subject, as one may gather from Quinn's The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power. I'm not sure D&C 128:20 is, or even can be, relevant to the discussion.

Since "all priesthood is Melchizedek," one might plausibly wonder if the Melchizedek priesthood is not "the fulness of the priesthood" which the Most High had taken away and was to restore at the Nauvoo temple.

After all, "the power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church [as opposed to mere outward ordinances] — to have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant."

The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are, of course, not outward ordinances, but inward manifestations of the Spirit of God (D&C 63:23). When was the last known time in this Church someone had the heavens open unto them, and was able to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and enjoyed the communion and presence of God and Jesus?

Have I? Have you? Does anything else matter?
lemuel said…
So where does the tradition come from that PJ&J restored the Melchizedek priesthood?
log said…
I do not know.

Compare Larry Porter's essay on the topic with The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, chapter 1.
Jared said…
Hi Tim,

I miss hearing your voice. Let's get with it!

What are your thoughts these days? I hope you and your family are well. I pray for you.

Jared
Tim Malone said…
Hi Jared. Funny you should leave an encouraging comment to add a new post. I've been enjoying Denver's blog and the dialog on LDSFF over the past few weeks. I met with my bishop yesterday to discuss a few topics. The subject of my blog came up. I have a few thoughts to share and hope to have a new entry posted by this evening after work.

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