Thoughts on the fullness of times

Photo: Rosemary Masters

Photo: Rosemary Masters

There was a discussion on an email sent around at a family dinner then other night that referenced a talk given by Gordon B. Hinckley[1. Gordon B. Hinkley], entitled “Living In The Fullness Of Time”[2. Ensign Nov, 2001 p.4].

The main reason I was interested is because in the email it was said that the “vision of Joel” had been fulfilled and since I get skeptical of emails that claim anything (especially LDS[3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints] related emails), I had to verify it. Luckily the email, which I hadn’t seen and the person telling me about it couldn’t remember, did include the reference to the above mentioned talk.

The important bit on Joel(Joel 2:28–32) is this;

28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will apour out my bspirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall cprophesy, your dold men shall edream dreams, your young men shall see fvisions:

29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

30 And I will shew awonders in the bheavens and in the earth, blood, and cfire, and pillars of smoke.

31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into ablood, before the great and the terrible bday of the Lord come.

32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall acall on the name of bthe Lord shall be cdelivered: for in dmount eZion and in fJerusalem shall be gdeliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the hremnant whom the Lord shall icall.

[emphasis added]

It was the sun and moon bit that I didn’t recall, and got skeptical about. I mean that’s a pretty scary one right. But luckily with most things from the Lord, it’s followed closely with a light at the end of the tunnel, “that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered“. Awesome.

If you recall, September 2001[4. 9/11] was a tragic time, and this talk followed it during conference. The pillars of smoke, blood and fire – could be witnessed from around the world. In the big scheme of things, it doesn’t matter what caused it, or by whom, what matters is that the events occurred. Sure we’ve been warned for decades we were at the end days, and some are hard of hearing. But lately, with the current climate in politics and ethics, and such you’d think more people (members) might be listening a little closer.

Further in the talk he quotes verse from Paul (2 Tim. 3:1–5)

1 This know also, that in the a last days perilous btimes shall come.

2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, acovetous, boasters, bproud, blasphemers, cdisobedient to parents, dunthankful, unholy,

3 Without anatural baffection, ctrucebreakers, dfalse accusers, eincontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

4 aTraitors, bheady, chighminded, lovers of dpleasures more than lovers of God;

5 Having a aform of godliness, but bdenying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Who can see where I’m going to go with this?

I’ll enumerate each verse here, with some opinions.

1. The last days will be perilous.

Look around us, while I don’t think it’s so bad you can’t step outside of your home, there are dangers out there more so then there use to be, even inside your home there are dangers, the TV, the internet, video games, etc. See, it doesn’t just have to be a physical danger, spiritual danger is everywhere. In that email, it also references a quote from Heber C. Kimball[5. Life of Heber C. Kimball by Orson F. Whitney p446 ];

Yes,’ said Brother Heber (by which name he was so familiarly known), ‘we think we are secure here in the chambers of the everlasting hills, where we can close those few doors of the canyons against mobs and persecutors, the wicked and the vile, who have always beset us with violence and robbery, but I want to say to you, my brethren, the time is coming when we will be mixed up in these now peaceful valleys to that extent that it will be difficult to tell the face of a Saint from the face of an enemy to the people of God. Then, brethren, look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great sifting time, and many will fall; for I say unto you there is a test, a TEST, a TEST coming, and who will be able to stand?’

[emphasis added]

While not all of you are from Utah, I think the gist here is that as a representation, if it fails in Utah, it all fails. No I’m not some Utah supremacist, I just think it’s a metaphor for the righteous people.

2. Lovers of themselves, etc.

Covetous: While this isn’t a new sin, and you know it’s a problem because it traces it’s roots all the way back to Cain, and maybe it’s just me, but I see a lot of ‘keeping up with the Jones’ going on. I myself have fallen prey, and I do struggle with it, I’m a tech junkie and I want new techno gadgets. Bless my wife who puts up with it and counsels me on the difference between need/want. But I pose the question, is a part of our economic woes due to this? Are their societal problems because of this?

Boasters/Proud: Have you ever heard of the pride cycle? Any reader of the Book of Mormon should be pretty familar with this concept. It would seem, like the bubbles of the past, our current pride bubble should be bursting sooner then later. Do you feel a lacking of humility in the world? How often are people responsible for their own actions these days? I think pride also leads one away from prayer, which leads one away from the Lord. Could boasting be applied to economic, and/or societal troubles today?

Blasphemers: While I would align blasphemers closer to Sons of Perdition because someone who doesn’t believe in the religion they blaspheme against, as a son of perdition would have to have absolute knowledge of God to sin against him. But I would hazard a guess they are the rank and file members of church. Those who have/had a testimony of Christ, yet choose to engage in actions that are quite contrary to him. Take proposition 8 and members who oppose it.

Disobedience to Parents:  Anyone of the reasons in these versus could cause this one. But it doesn’t just apply to Earthly parents. We have Heavenly parents that we can just as easily be disobedient to.

Unthankful: As some one who likes to reference as much information as I can, I also like to take the time to apply the correct information to those references. It’s the same way in life, I try to always thank those who have done something for me, but sometimes you can see how pride or covetousness could keep that from happening. In our home, for family prayer we try to make it a rule to come up with 10 things we are thankful for from God, but again because of other faults it sometimes may not be as easy to come up with even 10.

Unholy: It seems that as the days go by, this nation along with others move more and more towards a secular society. I watched a movie once where it was realized that the world would be a better place if their was no God at all, things would be better – because without God, their is no evil. How truly wrong they are. There’s more and more sacrilege happening, more and more removal of God from our lives. More and more replacing what is good with what is evil.

3. Against those who are good

I think as witnessed by the protests over proposition 8, the adjectives in this verse were very apparent, and still are. There is such a boiling hatred for those who stand up for God’s ways. I tell you, I was a little shocked at the fierceness they have.

4. Lovers of pleasure

I think we’ve all seen about enough of this going on lately. While I’m not against capitalism in it’s natural form, it’s disconcerting to see such blatant love of money over love of neighbor. I consider it a faux replacement for the light of Christ. I’ve been through it, where there is a feeling of missing something, and trying to use everything under the sun to fill it, when in reality only God’s love can fill it. I see a lot of empty people out there filling that whole the same way. Using worldly possessions and acquisitions to fill it up. Traitors, well to get all political, I think most of our politicians are traitors by definition. They sell out their own nation for wealth and power, they give away sovernty for supposed protection and influence. If we are to believe Washington, then it should be the office that picks the man, not the man who picks the office.

5. Denying the powers of God

It’s an old argument, God is almighty, but His powers are limited. The LDS know this isn’t true. We know his power is everywhere, and we know this because we are given the authority to work with that power. This entire universe speaks of that power, yet there are those that would have us believe He is no where to be found. He wasn’t part of it. I’ve always been a big believer in God and Science being reconcilable. It’s not God that doesn’t know this, or lacks knowledge, it’s us – we don’t know.

Now since I’ve really brought down the mood, let me use the words of Gordon B. Hinckley to pick it back up. I know, it’s frightening what’s going on in the world today. It’s scary stuff. But in his love of man, he closes he talk in his awesome fashion, there is light at the end of tunnel, there is a way…

We live in a season when fierce men do terrible and despicable things. We live in a season of war. We live in a season of arrogance. We live in a season of wickedness, pornography, immorality. All of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah haunt our society. Our young people have never faced a greater challenge. We have never seen more clearly the lecherous face of evil.

And so, my brothers and sisters, we are met together in this great conference to fortify and strengthen one another, to help and lift one another, to give encouragement and build faith, to reflect on the wonderful things the Lord has made available to us, and to strengthen our resolve to oppose evil in whatever form it may take.

We have become as a great army. We are now a people of consequence. Our voice is heard when we speak up. We have demonstrated our strength in meeting adversity. Our strength is our faith in the Almighty. No cause under the heavens can stop the work of God. Adversity may raise its ugly head. The world may be troubled with wars and rumors of wars, but this cause will go forward.

You are familiar with these great words written by the Prophet Joseph: “No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny

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