Happiness in the Last Days

In the last days, perilous times shall come…

When I was a teenager, I believed the world was almost over. I gave it fifteen, maybe twenty years max. It was just so wicked. Surely it was “wicked enough” for the Lord to return.

But that’s not what the Lord’s waiting for, is it?

Tonight’s lunar cycle is a “Blood Moon,” according to John Hagee, who looks to be the one solely responsible for associating the biblical phrase “and the moon [shall be] turned to blood” with the lunar tetrad – four successive lunar eclipses with no partial eclipses in between, with each separated by the other by six full moons.

But could this moon be the fulfillment of biblical prophecy?

Not if you’re LDS, it ain’t. Here’s what President Gordon B. Hinckley said in General Conference of October 2001:

The era in which we live is the fulness of times spoken of in the scriptures, when God has brought together all of the elements of previous dispensations. From the day that He and His Beloved Son manifested themselves to the boy Joseph, there has been a tremendous cascade of enlightenment poured out upon the world. The hearts of men have turned to their fathers in fulfillment of the words of Malachi. The vision of Joel has been fulfilled wherein he declared:

“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.” [emphasis added]

J’catch that? The moon-turned-to-blood prophecy was deemed fulfilled as far back as 2001, by a prophet of God, over the pulpit in General Conference, more than a decade before Hagee predicted the end times in his book.

But my original point of this post was not to talk about supermoons or lunar eclipses or “blood moons.” My point was to say that some things will get better during the last days.

We’re a bit of a doomsday cult sometimes, despite what the prophets tell us. Whereas in journalism the phrase is, “If it bleeds, it leads,” the prophets have been telling us things will get better for the saints for some time.

In President Boyd K. Packer’s October 2011 General Conference address, he told the youth:

Sometimes you might be tempted to think as I did from time to time in my youth: “The way things are going, the world’s going to be over with. The end of the world is going to come before I get to where I should be.” Not so! You can look forward to doing it right—getting married, having a family, seeing your children and grandchildren, maybe even great-grandchildren.

So The End isn’t around the corner.

Now consider Christ’s parable of the wheat and tares. His enemy sows tares among his wheat, and his servants want to go destroy the tares. But, Christ says,

Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

The harvest has to come first. The wheat is what He’s waiting for, not the tares.

Put more simply, the Lord isn’t waiting for the world to be wicked enough before he returns. He’s waiting for the saints to be righteous enough.

More examples come from the D&C. “Wherefore, may the kingdom of God go forth, that the kingdom of heaven may come.” The Church has to be established, Zion needs to be built, before Christ can return to Earth.

And Zion will be wonderful, remember. “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” (Moses 7:18)

Oh, the world will continue to descend into evil. Greater and greater wickedness will exist. But the saints should be focused on becoming more spiritually prepared, more kind, more generous, more happy. Waiting for the world to grow “wicked enough” ain’t gonna bring about paradise. Building it is.

Straw Men

Here’s a blog post that drove me nuts today. This is the text in its entirety, as of this writing:

Call to Action: Lose Your Temple Recommend For Feeding Baby?

By Megan Bishop

A dear friend of mine is being released from her YW calling tomorrow for breastfeeding at church. Furthermore, she has been told that if anyone complains in any other meeting, be that sacrament, Sunday School, or Relief Society, she is to leave the room or cover to nurse from that point on. She was also told that if she does not comply, she is not sustaining her leaders and her recommend could be at risk.

We are collecting letters of support for breastfeeding in church to send to the First Presidency and Scott Trotter, LDS spokesperson. We will send all of the letters we have received on March 29th, 2013. Please email letters to [email protected]
Suggestions for letters include: personal experiences of breastfeeding in church (good or bad), requests for a statement that breastfeeding in church is acceptable in the Church Handbook of Instructions, and why you think it is important for breastfeeding to be accepted in church. Please pass this along to anyone you feel might be interested in writing a letter.

Let me go through the first paragraph to show why I think this is a completely invalid way to try to tackle a serious issue.

A dear friend of mine is being released from her YW calling tomorrow for breastfeeding at church. Furthermore,

Wait, what? Furthermore? You can’t jump to “furthermore” yet! You just said the most outlandish, hard-to-believe thing, with no details whatsoever, and you’re jumping to “furthermore”??

All right, some of you are already saying it’s not hard to believe, that it’s totally like a flawed patriarchal organization to do something like that. Fine, okay, you believe it if you want. Maybe it’s even true! But the author will never get somebody on the fence to consider her side of the story by just throwing out blanket statements like that.

How about this: “A dear friend of mine is being released from her YW calling tomorrow. She believes it is for breastfeeding at church.” Or maybe “She was told by her bishop that it was for breastfeeding at church.

In any case, it contradicts the very next sentence, the one plagued by a premature “furthermore”.

Furthermore, she has been told that if anyone complains in any other meeting, be that sacrament, Sunday School, or Relief Society, she is to leave the room or cover to nurse from that point on.

Wait. So, she’s being released for breastfeeding, then being told if she breastfeeds again, and somebody complains, she needs to leave the room, or else cover herself to nurse– but that doesn’t make sense. If she’s being told to cover, she’s not being told to not breastfeed — she’s being told to cover her breast.

Ohhhhh, I get it. She wasn’t released for breastfeeding, was she? She was released, and doesn’t cover herself when she breastfeeds, and you were afraid to lose support for your argument by mentioning that. You wanted everybody to get up in arms, which is why you didn’t say “Lose Your Temple Recommend for Breastfeeding Your Baby Uncovered” in your title.

Am I right?

I’m not going to get into the argument about nursing uncovered versus nursing with a blanket over wiggly little baby’s hot head. That’s not the topic of discussion here. Here, I’m just saying, if you’re trying to get people to light torches and march on the castle, make sure you explain exactly what the monster is you plan to destroy.