Posts Tagged ‘Catastrophy’
“We’re going to crash,” the woman in the seat next to Manny said again. Her voice sounded like brakes squealing on asphalt. She wore a green flowered dress that reminded him of the American housewives of the 1950’s, her hair steel-wool gray. She held both arms straight out, elbows locked, a vice-grip on the sides of the seat in front of her. She’d been like that for the last five minutes, eyes closed, head down, weeping.
“Stop saying that, madam,” Manny said. He fought the urge to spew at the woman in his native Russian. “You’re getting on my nerves. The captain’s doing everything he can.” The flight from Salt Lake had been uneventful until they approached Denver. At 10,000 feet a cloud of red dust choked the engines into silence. An eerie blue glow surrounded the plane. The smell of burning ozone permeated the cabin.
The woman didn’t look up. Her lower lip quivered. She sobbed, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death.” Even the flight attendants, who took their crash seats long ago, looked annoyed at her repeated prayer and irritating crying.
The plane jolted again. The passengers lurched forward. The woman screamed. So did several others. Manny gripped the leather case tighter to his chest. His life’s research. He looked once more through the window to the stricken engine. It sputtered, and then flamed out again.
With each sputter another lurch, then another, first one side, then the other. A coughing backfire of red dust mixed with blue flame. Some of the passengers had their phones out. The man across the aisle shouted into his phone. “I love you. Tell the kids I love them.”
A boy dressed all in black with a nose ring used his phone to shoot video, first out the window, then back to the terrified passengers. “This is so cool,” he said. The girl next to him, also dressed in black, slapped at him each time he said it.
The fields outside the Denver airport turned into runway much too fast. The woman next to Manny repeated her mantra—faster now. The strange blue glow that had surrounded the wings, which shimmered when they first hit the red dust, had now disappeared.
Another lurch. This time a whoosh and a roar. Manny turned to see the left engine catch. The woman’s chants stopped. She opened her eyes for the first time, popped her head up in the direction of the now firing engine. Her mouth opened, her breath caught on a whimper.
The engine on the other side of the plane sputtered then roared back to life. Some passengers cheered. Manny felt the plane level out. The tarmac rushed by not more than a dozen feet below. He saw the big white stripes which indicated the end of the runway. Too fast. There’s no way the captain would try to land now. Surely he’ll go around and try again.
“Brace, brace,” the captain said over the intercom. This is the first they heard from the cockpit since the power went out with the engine failure. The fine red dust still rushed by the windows of the plane. Manny put his head down, grabbed his legs with his hands. His arthritic fingers screamed in pain. “Please, please, let me live to get my research to the conference,” he said in a whispered voice to no one in particular.
The voice of a pastor in the seat behind them increased in volume. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” Stupid fool. Too much talk about death.
Manny felt the jet slam down hard on the asphalt. It bounced. Screams erupted. The plane came back down—hard. The emergency lights flickered then failed. The sound of grinding steel drowned out the screams. “Oh shit,” the boy dressed in black said. “Not cool.”
Manny clung to his legs. His knuckles screamed while the plane continued to bounce. It slid for what seemed like an eternity; then came to an abrupt stop. The grinding noise ceased. The dim lights flickered back on. The smell of jet fuel surrounded them. Passengers popped upright, heads turned first one way then the other. He saw shock on some faces, happy surprise on others. Sounds of “thank god” floated in the stuffy air of the cabin.
The flight attendants jumped up, began to open the doors. They shouted to the passengers in the emergency isle to get the wing doors open. The woman next to Manny cried again, this time happy tears. He helped her to the wing exit and through. She clung to his arm the whole way through. The flight attendant told them to jump on the yellow chute and slide to the ground. Manny jumped, moved away from the chute and looked around.
Their jet landed in a ravine, a few yards below a service road. A red and yellow fireball rocked the landscape a short distance away. A private jet had also caught some of the red dust. It was not so lucky and crashed hard. Flames shot into the red-dust-filled sky. Manny’s heart filled with grief for the unfortunate passengers.
An old pickup screeched to a halt along the top of the ravine. A young man in blue jeans and sport coat climbed out. Manny clutched the worn leather briefcase to his chest, raced up the embankment toward him. The red dust that floated everywhere filled his lungs, choked him. He wheezed his way up the steep incline, age showing in his ancient joints.
“Can you take me to the terminal right now?” The young man stopped at the sound of Manny’s voice. He stared at him as though he’d sprouted horns.
He looked to be in his early thirties, and not all that successful, if he judged by the thread-bare sports coat, worn sneakers and much abused jeans. A CU logo adorned the back window of his truck. An educator he surmised. Yet he looked vaguely familiar.
“I’ve got to catch the flight to Washington D.C. right away,” Manny said. “I’ve got important information about this red dust.”
The young man didn’t move, just continued to stare at Manny. Finally he spoke. “Are you crazy? People are hurt down there. They need help.” His voice sounded familiar. Now Manny felt certain he’d seen him somewhere before.
Manny looked behind him then back at the man. “There’s no fire. Nobody’s seriously hurt. I must catch my connecting flight.”
The young man ignored him, turned then ran down the ravine toward the plane.
Manny walked to the man’s truck, opened the door. Damn. No keys. He looked up the road toward the terminal. He’d have to walk. He slid on his way back down the ravine.
He approached the captain who looked overwhelmed. Manny grabbed his arm. “Look,” he said, “my name’s Manny Volynski. Here’s my card. I just got off that plane. Fine bit of landing, if I do say, but I don’t have time to wait for the rescue crew. Gotta go.”
The captain stared at him the same way the young man had. Had everyone lost their minds? Manny turned and hurried up to the road, determined to get to the airport.
Why wouldn’t that young man give him a ride? There wasn’t anything he could do for the passengers of the plane. Emergency services were almost there. It bothered Manny that he couldn’t place where he’d seen the man from CU before. He racked his brain as he walked.
This red dust’s not a good thing. It came sooner than he calculated. He had to get to that science conference back East. Wait a minute. David. That’s right. That’s his name. He’s that university professor from Colorado who got him thrown out of last year’s conference. Arrogant educated fool. Thinks he knows everything.
The truck roared up behind him, screeched to a halt in front of him. David jumped out, grabbed Manny by the arm. “Where do you think you’re going?”
Manny tried to shake his hand off. “I just got off a plane that damn near crashed because of your stupid comet, which, my dear professor is not a comet at all. But we don’t have time to discuss that right now, do we?”
David dropped Manny’s arm like it burned him, took a step back.
“You told people on TV yesterday we’d have some beautiful sunsets for the next few weeks.” He waved his arm in the direction of the plane. “Is this your idea of a beautiful sunset? You didn’t seriously consider what the tail would do this close to earth, did you David?”
Manny recognized the momentary look of panic in David’s eyes. He nodded his head. “Maybe you believe me now? I tried to tell you about this last year.”
The young man’s mouth dropped open. He seemed to fight for control. “Get in the truck, old man. I promised the captain I would get you back. Although why he should be worried about one crazy old goat is beyond me.”
For a prize winning scientist, this guy seemed to have fallen off the honesty cart. “This red dust is from your comet. You know it is. Why didn’t you tell people the truth yesterday?”
David’s expression morphed from annoyance to shock then concern. He started back for the truck. “Do whatever the hell you want, old man. I need to get to my lab at the observatory.”
Manny jumped in front of the truck, pounded the hood with his fist. “Didn’t you hear me? It’s too late for that. We need to get to that conference–NOW. They’ll listen to you.”
David ignored him, opened the door.
Manny ran to the door, grabbed him by the lapels. “If you don’t come clean with what you know about that comet, a lot of people will die. They have a right to know.”
David’s eyes narrowed. He pushed Manny away. “It’s too late. There’s nothing we can do. Millions of people will die anyway. Now go away.”
Manny didn’t go away. He leaned closer. David backed against the doorframe of the truck. “What was your price, David?” Manny said. “A new observatory? A seat on the NSF board?” He patted the worn leather briefcase clutched under his arm. “I have the evidence right here. I’m taking it to that news reporter you were talking to yesterday. She’ll be interested.”
For a moment neither spoke. David scowled at Manny. “Are you threatening me, old man?” He didn’t get in the truck. He didn’t push Manny away. Their eyes remained locked, neither moved. A fresh dusting of the red powder fell around them.
Manny held out his hand and caught some of the powder, then waved it at David. “Robert Blackstone isn’t paying you enough to lie about what this stuff can do.” David’s eyes grew large at the mention of the name.
“You can help save lives. People will listen to you. But communications will be cut off in a few days. You know this. We’ve got to share this at the conference before it’s too late.”
David eyed Manny’s briefcase. He licked his lips. “We’d better get you to a safe place. Get in. I’ll take you to the terminal. We can talk.” Manny smiled as the truck began to move.
Copyright 2012 Tim Malone
“It’s obvious he still doesn’t understand celestial mechanics,” said her companion, who didn’t even bother to whisper. My daughter Cynthia turned around and glared at them. I ignored the whisperers and continued with my presentation.
“It’s time for scientists of the world, starting in this conference, to acknowledge there are other forces at work in the heavens besides gravity. Electromagnetism as a source of energy is billions of times more powerful than gravity. The planets are charged bodies.”
“So now you’re an expert on unified field theory. Get off the podium, Volynsky. Just because you knew Einstein doesn’t make you a scientist.” I recognized the other Harvard delegate as Harrison Stafford, who had been criticizing my work for years.
“As I was saying before I was interrupted, the historical record is clear. Earth has suffered natural catastrophes on a global scale both before and early in recorded history. The evidence for these catastrophes can be found in the recent geological record.”
“And you’ve been proven wrong over and over again. Give it up Manny. You’re a deluded crackpot. When are you going to accept the obvious?” I had known Harrison to be combative in his writing, but never rude like this in a public forum.
I turned to the moderator of the panel. “Mr. Goldstone, will you please ask members of the audience to be respectful? I was invited to present my research to an intelligent company of distinguished scientists. Is this a demonstration of the scientific method in action?”
Although it appeared Mr. Goldstone was amused by the outburst, he turned to the audience and obliged my request. “If there is time, we will have a question and answer session at the conclusion of the scheduled presentations. Please refrain from making comments until you are recognized.”
After a short pause he turned back to me and said, “You may continue Mr. Volynsky.”
I glared at Harrison. “I know only a few of you have read my works. Yet some of you have made public rebuttals. I understand some of my claims may seem a little, uh, unusual…”
“You mean crazy,” said Harrison.
“Doctor Stafford,” Goldstone started but Harrison waved him off.
“Time will bear out my claims. New evidence will come forth proving that the planets have not always been stable in the orbits we see today. The day will come when it will be common knowledge that Venus was once a comet on a collision course with earth.”
I tried to cut my lecture short but there was so much I wanted the people to hear. If only they would listen with an open mind. The fidgeting and coughs were becoming more frequent so I concluded with what I wanted them to remember more than anything else.
“Theories – that’s all we have. We weren’t there so we don’t know. We draw our conclusions from the same record – the geology of this earth and the records of the ancient people of this world. Don’t reject the ancient records because they don’t coincide with what we see around us now. The heavens once looked different than they do today.”
I sat down to a smattering of applause, anticipating the question and answer session to begin right away. I was disappointed to hear Dr. Goldstone announce that in the interest of time, the questions would have to be held until all presentations had been made.
Leaning over, I whispered to Cynthia, “Well, how did I do?”
“You were wonderful Daddy. You always are.”
“I can’t believe Harrison was so rude.”
“I don’t think he has read any of your books.”
We waited through three more presentations that afternoon. With each successive speaker it became clearer that this conference was not at all what I had been told. What I thought was going to be a vindication of my work was turning into a forum for attacking my theories.
The last speaker sat down and Mr Goldstone announced that there would be an hour break for dinner. This was preposterous. Half the audience would leave. How was I ever going to convince the scientific community what my years of research had revealed?
We found an open table at the hotel restaurant nearby. It was crowded and noisy. I almost had to shout so Cynthia could hear. It was so nice to have her here with me. I wish her mother were still alive to enjoy this trip to the West Coast. How I missed her.
“Cynthia, I think you’re right.”
“The biggest problem we have is that the most influential people in the field won’t read my books. If they did then we could at least have an intelligent conversation.”
Cynthia nodded in agreement. “From what I can tell, they have only read what Harrison has written. It’s obvious that he didn’t read more than a few pages, if any before writing that nasty review in his Science News Letter.”
How I appreciated that Cynthia had kept up with the controversy. I could always count on her. She didn’t dismiss me like so many others. She worked hard for her PhD, but never stopped believing in my work no matter what some of her colleagues said.
“Why won’t they take the time to read the sources? It’s all there in the books.”
“Turf wars, daddy. If you’re right then they’re all crazy. They can’t handle that.”
“I know I can never convince Harrison. His mind is made up. But no scientist should rely solely on what others have said without considering the evidence firsthand. That’s irresponsible.”
“No, it’s called keeping your job. Harrison is very powerful. If he tells them to ignore your books then they better not admit to anyone that they have looked at them.”
“So I’m a heretic. OK, I can accept that. But at least give me a fair hearing.”
Cynthia sighed. “You know I love you daddy, but I still can’t believe how naïve you are after all these years. People aren’t interested in the truth. They want things to remain the same.”
“But that’s the problem. Things change. Things have changed in the past and I’ve tried to give people the evidence. Things are going to change again. History repeats itself.”
“You know that and I know that, but you’re going to have to consider the possibility that your ideas are too radical for the scientists of our day. They will never accept your theories.”
“I can never believe that. I’ve got to keep trying. I know I’m right.”
Cynthia smiled at me. “That’s what I love about you. You never give up.”
“Let’s get back to the conference center. It’s time for the Q and A to begin.”
Copyright (c) Tim Malone, 2011
I’m an avid reader of SpaceWeather.com. While it’s not as popular as Space.com, it focuses on stuff that fascinates me – asteroids, planets, comets, sunspots, auroras, geomagnetic storms and meteors. It is hosted by Dr. Tony Phillips of NASA, who is a long time participant in communicating the science of astronomy to the world.
If you go visit SpaceWeather.com, you’ll notice that Dr. Phillips is happy to post photos and videos of space phenomenon submitted by amateur observers from all over the world. They are always enjoyable and educational. He also has a table of known near earth asteroids that he keeps updated for those who follow this stuff.
Tracking space objects
There are people whose job it is to watch for these Potentially Hazardous Asteroids and notify important people if one gets too close. Of course, the media is usually all over the story when we know one is coming close and write it up in a way that generates interest. They usually throw in some element of fear of total destruction.
And just to show that we really don’t know everything that’s out there, an asteroid came within 8,700 miles the other day. That’s just slightly more than the diameter of the earth. Asteroid 2009 VA was discovered only fifteen hours before its closest approach by astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey. Luckily, it was very small.
Small objects burn up
An object the size of asteroid 2009 VA, which is a little less than twenty feet, will just burn up in the atmosphere and create a spectacular fireball as it disintegrates. The fact that it was discovered only hours before it came by should give us some cause to think. We just don’t always see the things that are coming at us in space.
I suppose if an object were bigger, say more on the scale of a small moon or planet, it would be much easier to spot in advance. I imagine the people who watch the skies for us would be able to give us months, perhaps even years of warning. Or would they? You see, it all depends on the direction from which it is arriving.
Nobody saw it coming
Just last month, an asteroid that was about thirty feet across came undetected into our atmosphere and exploded only about ten miles above the surface of the earth in Indonesia. It created quite a panic in the local area and some quick thinking individual even got it on video, or at least the trailing smoke that it left behind.
Nobody saw this one coming. It was just too small. That’s not surprising since there are so few resources dedicated to watching the skies. We have been more interested in the bigger ones, usually over 35 feet that are easier to spot. But even if we catalog all that we can find, the sun still hides a lot of them from our view.
Hard to see objects near the sun
Objects between earth and the sun are hard to spot because of the glare of the sun. Asteroids do not emit light, but reflect it from the sun. About the only way to see one between us and the sun is if we see it as a miniscule dark spot in photos taken of the sun. That’s one reason why so many amateur astronomers watch the sun.
But what about objects that are coming toward the sun from the opposite side of the solar system in such a way that makes it impossible to see until they come around or past the sun? Such objects could be quite large and we would not be able to see them until a few weeks or possibly even just days before they arrive.
Orbital telescopes watch the Sun
If you are familiar with STEREO, then you know that we have two satellites in orbit around the sun both ahead of and behind the earth. They give us a different viewing angle of the sun that is tremendously helpful in making observations. But they are designed for sun observations and are always pointed directly at it.
Canada announced that they would launch a satellite that will be the first to search for objects that are between us and the sun. It hasn’t launched yet (maybe 2010), but it is hoped that it will help us find another fifty of the little buggers that we need to be watching but can’t see from earth. These are called the Aten asteroids.
Objects hidden behind the sun
I’m sure you are familiar with the Hubble telescope, one of the greatest boons to astronomy that is used and appreciated by scientists all over the world. The images captured by the Hubble have done more to advance our knowledge of the cosmos than just about any other scientific instrument that man has imagined and created.
But what we don’t have, and probably won’t have for many years to come, is a space based telescope that allows us to look around the sun. Placed in the same orbit around the sun with the earth, but ahead or behind the earth, this would give us the ability to look beyond the sun for objects coming towards it and the earth.
The Ten Tribes are on a planet
That is of tremendous interest to me and to many who have thought about some of the teachings of the early brethren of the church in regards to the Ten Tribes and the City of Enoch. Yes, I am one of those who believe that they are off on some planet somewhere and that they will each return in time, the Ten Tribes being first.
I am not alone in this belief and have spent many years accumulating statements from early leaders of the church to support this position. However, this belief is not commonly taught or accepted today. In fact, Elder Bruce R. McConkie said it is a wholly false view of what is to be when it is paraphrased from the scriptures.
Ice shall flow down at their presence
He also said that the Ten Tribes will NOT return with ice flowing down at their presence, even though that precise phrase is used in D&C 133:26. I suspect that Elder McConkie was not familiar with the work of Talbott or Velikovsky who have explained how ice can flow between two planets in a synchronous orbit.
So the idea that the Ten Tribes are on a planet somewhere makes total sense to me. We have the word of many early members of the church who declared that Joseph Smith taught this very doctrine. The testimony of Wandle Mace is one that helps me to understand this better. He was a contemporary associate of Joseph Smith.
A portion of the earth was taken
Brother Mace said that Joseph was preaching on the subject of the restoration of all things. In the course of his remarks he spoke of the earth being divided at various times. He said, “When Enoch and his city was taken away, a portion of earth was taken and would again be restored.” He then said the same about the Ten Tribes.
Recorded Brother Mace, “These remarks satisfied me, it was no longer necessary to hunt the place on this earth where the Ten Tribes were so long hidden, for the earth was divided and taken away, and will be the first to return, as it was the last taken away. He shall command the great deep, and it shall be driven back into the north countries, and the islands shall become one land.” That makes sense to me.
The Ten Tribes will return
From the 10th article of faith we read, “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon this the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.”
The literal gathering of Israel and the restoration of the Ten Tribes are two separate events. As we read in Section 110, the prophet holds these keys: “Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.”
Summary and conclusion
Orson Pratt taught that “…a portion of the Earth was by a miracle broken off…the Ten Tribes were taken away with it…in the latter days it would be restored to the Earth or be let down in the Polar regions.” Great changes will take place upon this earth. It will be restored and will be like it was in the days before it was divided.
Somewhere out there is a planet or a piece of this earth that is prophesied to return and be restored or reunited to this earth. The joining doesn’t have to make it one spherical unit. Think of a binary star or two planets joined together by a flow of electromagnetic energy between them. Ice will flow down when they are joined.
For as long as I can remember, I have been taught that the battle of Armageddon is a great war that is going to take place somewhere in Israel in the very last days. In fact, it is one of the very last events that is to take place before the Lord returns. If the battle of Armageddon has commenced, then you know that time is about up.
Well, not really. Time will continue, but for any wicked who are living on the earth at that time, their time is up and they are about to be destroyed. In fact, we know that time exists even where God is although it is after a different order than our time, but that’s a discussion for another day and another essay.
I think you will agree with me though that the battle of Armageddon is surely one of the great signs that we need to be aware of as being a harbinger of the coming of the Lord to the earth in power and great glory. We call this the Second Coming or the Second Advent. To many people it is a day of rapture, rising to meet the Lord.
More than an earthly battle
I’ve thought long and hard about this great battle that is to take place and have just about decided that some of the tings I assumed or was taught growing up regarding this great battle were simply wrong. I think my teachers missed some fundamental points about what is prophesied to take place during this great and terrible battle.
Some of my gospel tutors had more of an understanding of what was to take place and made it clear that in addition to the earthly armies to be gathered that there would be many cataclysmic events transpiring in the heavens about the same time. They whetted my appetite to understand the heavenly wonders, but had no details.
The Battle of Armageddon is said by many, even by scholars within the church to be comprised of an army of 200 million. This is one of the interpretations of the scriptures that I find to be less than clear. I now wonder if Revelation 9:16 was referring to something other than the warriors comprising any earthly army.
The armies of the Lord
I have no doubt that there will indeed be millions upon millions of men and their terrible weapons of war amassed upon the Plain of Esdraelon. Those gathered will be from all nations and will come up to besiege Israel, but I just can’t see the need for 200 million warriors all gathered in that one place. It just doesn’t make sense.
I have written previously about my views of Revelation chapter 9, in conjunction with Joel chapter 2 in which I discussed one interpretation of the armies of the Lord. I am now more convinced than ever that John was not describing an earthly army in Rev 9:16. So I dismiss the idea that there will be 200 million gathered.
I know that I am going against what many LDS scholars and curriculum writers have surmised about this verse, but I just don’t feel that it is correct to interpret that number as referring to earthly armies. I invite you to provide me with a quote from a general authority that identifies the size of the army in the battle of Armageddon.
The battle in the heavens
Because we tend to be so focused on the political battle that so many have said will be happening in the plains below, we often overlook the great battle that the Lord has told us will be going on in the heavens above at that same time. Scholars have made passing reference to it but in terms that make it seem almost inconsequential.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The cataclysmic and catastrophic events in the heavens just before the return of the Lord will be among the most destructive and powerful forces to ever come upon this planet. In the words of the scriptures, the earth shall reel to and fro, the heavens shall shake and all will be in commotion.
It will be a day of great destruction with earthquakes the magnitude of which we have not experienced in our lifetime. These earthquakes are not caused by normal tectonic activity but by the approach of one of the creations of God as an agent of destruction. In other words, it will be a great planet that at first looks like a comet.
Sign of the Son of Man
I can hear you now. “Yeah, right, whoever heard of such a thing? If a planet or comet was going to come near to the earth in the last days, God would have told us about it.” Well, he has. The prophet Joseph Smith made it clear that there will appear one grand sign of the Son of Man in heaven. But what will the world do?
They will say it is a planet, a comet or some other celestial object. Maybe they will identify it as such because that is indeed what it will be. Can you imagine what will happen when a huge planet approaches this earth, not on a collision course, but in a manner that it will come alongside us or actually above us?
Stars shall fall from heaven
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what is going to happen. When the Lord says that he will come in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory, I can’t think of anything more powerful and glorious than to see a huge planet come upon us and take up residence over the Northern magnetic pole of planet earth.
As the planet approaches, it will bring with it much celestial debris that will reign down destruction upon us in the form of meteorites and burning hail from the sky. No, you and I have never seen this before in our lifetimes, but prophets of the past have seen it and have foretold it in vivid and descriptive language as a warning.
I have written about this previously in an essay quoting what some of the early leaders of our church commonly taught in their day. For some reason, we are not as familiar with these quotes as we should be. Perhaps it is because we do not believe them or we think that such statements were just conjecture on their part.
Summary and conclusion
Yes, Armageddon will be a great and terrible day, but not necessarily for the reason that most of us have come to believe. There is no doubt that there will be armies encompassing Jerusalem in the last days just before the return of the Lord. But as terrible that that battle will be, it will be eclipsed by events in the heavens.
I do not believe that the army that is gathered against Israel at that day will be numbered in the hundreds of millions as some scholars have led us to believe. I am convinced that they have misinterpreted Rev 9:16. It does not refer to armies of men but to falling debris from the sky, accompanying the approaching planet.
You can read more about that in Joel chapter 2 where he described swarms of meteorites flying in bands and taking various shapes, like horses racing in the sky or hosts of warriors leaping. Study it for yourself. I think we’ve been mislead. Armageddon is much more than a battle of men. It is also a battle in the skies.
Mormons are different, really different. I know President Hinckley was emphatic in pointing out that we’re not different, or at least we’re not weird. But there are some things about us that are unique, both doctrinally and culturally and that set us apart from every other religion, Christian or not, and whether we like it or not.
It’s that Mormon worldview thing. I’m sure you’ve encountered the point of view in some LDS people that has been mistaken for arrogance. It can be summarized like this: “We’ve got all the answers and we know what’s going to happen.” That really ticks some people off. I know because I’ve experienced it many times.
A visit from the Jehovah’s Witnesses
I love it when the Jehovah’s Witnesses come to my door. I’m impressed with their courage and tenacity. When I was younger, I did for two years what they do now. They are much more active in the door to door thing because it is an ongoing part of their religion. For me, it was mostly over after two years in Central America.
When they came to my door earlier this week, I looked them in the eye and waited for the first opportunity to tell them I’m LDS. Usually, that quickly brings the visit on the doorstep to a close, even though I invite them in. These two went right on with their pitch to get me to buy or to accept their magazine. That surprised me.
Things are only going to get worse
As part of their pitch, they asked if I was concerned about the current economic worries facing the world. “Of course,” I said. They asked, “What do you think we should do about it?” I replied immediately, “Repent.” “Do you think things are going to get worse?” No thinking required. “Yes. It’s prophesied to get worse.”
She could tell she was getting nowhere. She cut right to the reason for her visit. “Will you read this magazine if we leave it with you?” Her question deserved a direct answer. “No. I already have all the answers to life’s problems.” Oops. There it was again. It just kind of slipped out – that Mormon arrogance thing.
It’s really not arrogance
Unless you have experienced the feeling of certainty that comes from years of studying and teaching the doctrines of the restored gospel, you may be on the side of the fence saying, “Yeah that really is arrogant to think you know it all.” It’s not that we know it all, it’s just that we really do know what’s going to happen.
That knowledge is powerful. It’s based on scripture that the rest of the world doesn’t have – the Book of Mormon. It’s also based on revelations to Joseph Smith that clarify the Bible and give a clearer picture of events of the last days. That’s why Mormons are different. We have scriptures other than the Bible.
It’s not bad to be different
Sometimes we Latter-day Saints try real hard to demonstrate to the rest of the world that we really are like them. Well, we’re not because we have some things that are very unique. It’s OK to be different. “You’re exclusionary,” some claim. No, all are welcome. You just have to qualify for certain things like the Temple.
The differences between LDS believers and the rest of the world are becoming more pronounced, especially in California where I live. The recent attacks on our people for supporting and promoting Proposition 8 have brought us a world of attention – literally. We’re different because we stood up so strongly for this.
Benefits of the Mormon worldview
Because we enjoy a knowledge of prophesied future events, many of which we are now seeing fulfilled, we can rest assured that things are not out of control. They may be out of man’s control, but they are not out of God’s control. He uses natural events to fulfill his work. We can even ascribe our current economic crisis to God.
No, God didn’t cause the subprime mortgage crisis, or the automaker crisis or any of the other half a dozen crisis situations we’re going to encounter over the next few years. But we knew something like this was coming and have been warned for many years, most recently seven years ago in our October 2001 Conference.
Dealing with adversity
Even when unemployment or financial setback strikes home, we are able to look at the situation as simply part of the events of the last days. I suspect it is going to get worse and that some people will be angry – at God, at themselves, at society – because they are caught in the middle of an economic catastrophe rolling forth.
Some Latter-day Saints get it, even when it affects them personally. They just get to work, look for another job, tighten the finances and do all within their power, trusting that the Lord will somehow provide. This can be a real test of faith. I know. I’ve gone through it three times. The uncertainty is always at the door.
Signs of the times
We have yet to see so many of the things prophesied in Matthew 24 or D&C 45 come to pass. Will they happen in our lifetime? I am convinced that the famines, pestilences, earthquakes and wars have not yet come to the level that the Savior prophesied in Matthew 24 and that he revealed to Joseph Smith in section 45.
It is the natural disasters that we really need to be looking for. I’m talking the kind of catastrophic calamities that wipe out millions of people as we read in the book of Revelation. These economic catastrophes we are beginning to experience are just the beginning signs, intended to prepare men’s hearts for what is to come.
Summary and conclusion
Are we concerned about what is happening? You bet, but not for the reasons that the headlines scream. They get attention through fear. We are concerned because more and more people are ignoring the hand of God in all that is happening. It is our faith and confidence that helps us avoid fear as so much unravels around us.
No matter what happens, we can look to the prophets for reassurance that this has all been foretold. It brings an amazing sense of peace. It is a unique worldview, but it is really a gift from God – to be at peace in spite of a troubled world. It is a powerful feeling to realize that the return of the Lord is coming closer each day.
One of the things that has often intrigued me as I have grown up as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is how relatively few in number we are. I am not referring to the thirteen million on the rolls of the church but to those who regularly attend the temple and Saturday sessions of Stake Conference.
When I sit on the stand of Stake Conference and look out at the congregation, I think of the many members of the stake who could and should be there but are not. The scripture that comes to mind is found in 1 Nephi 14:12. It invokes a feeling that I imagine Nephi must have experienced as he recorded his vision of our day.
Nephi sees our day
“I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of wickedness and abominations…the saints of God, were upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions were small, because of wickedness.” I wonder if Nephi felt sadness as he recorded this. But then I am encouraged with the next verse:
“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.”
We all can know for ourselves
I sit on the stand in Stake Conference not because I am in a priesthood leadership position but because Carol and I like to sing in the choir. They are the best seats. It allows me to see the reactions of the people as the spirit moves upon them during the songs and the addresses by those who speak under the influence of the spirit.
I keep thinking to myself that anybody can know for themselves that the LDS Church is the kingdom of God on the earth. We all have an equal opportunity to gain a personal witness of the spirit that what is taught in this church is the most important knowledge we can gain in this life. And yet, so few understand this.
The unconverted resign
Several web sites that oppose the work of the Lord have made a big deal out of the facts that so many are resigning from the church over Proposition 8. Even if you stretch the number to include all that wrote letters on Andrew Callahan’s Signing for Something, 500 people is a very small number, who had mostly already left.
Of course every soul is precious and it is concerning that they feel the need to resign in a public way, but in most cases, these were people who stopped coming to church a long time ago. They are just formalizing something that they had effectively already done in their minds – gave up their commitment to the church.
Opposition in all things
This last week has been tough as I have watched and read the accounts of those who have lost their jobs or have been otherwise attacked for having supported the proposition to preserve the definition of marriage here in California. We were also the recipient of one of those attacks. Gratefully, it did not turn into a loss of a job.
So many in our stake have been targeted and are on the published blacklists of those who now seek in hate to punish us. Our Stake President spoke about the opposition we have been witnessing, especially in connection with the temple. Fellow blogger S. Faux wrote an especially insightful essay on why this is so.
Proposition 8 exit polls
The Proposition 8 exit polls revealed some very interesting things that I already suspected. 82 percent of those who voted yes attend church at least once a week. 82% considered themselves Republicans. In addition, it was mostly those who were older – at least over 30 – who voted yes. Older Republican conservatives…
So the exit polls on this proposition revealed that religion or faith had a large part in the way people voted on this issue. I don’t think there’s any surprise there. That explains why there was such a dramatic polarization in the dialog leading up to this vote. It was basically the religious against the irreligious with little in common.
The dialog going forward
In connection with this point about dealing with opposition our Stake President quoted the Prophet Joseph Smith in section 123, verse 16: “You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves.” Hmmm…
He then taught us that workways means not to go directly against the wind and not to run the opposite with the wind, but to keep the ship at about a 90 degree angle from the point of the wind. So it does no good to go head to head with those who do not have the background of faith or a belief that it is God who defined marriage.
Prophets forewarned us
As only a Stake President could do, we were reminded of the importance of being prepared for what we see happening all about us in the economic chaos that is now becoming more evident. It was seven years ago last month that President Hinckley mentioned in General Conference about the seven years of plenty. Hmmm…
Connor Boyack has an intriguing essay over on Connor’s Conundrums about why the coming depression will be worse than what was experienced in the 1930’s. I wrote that his outlook painted a bleak and glum picture of what he sees happening. It is worth the read, including the many links to articles that support his viewpoint.
Catastrophes yet to come
While some of the points I have made may seem unconnected or unrelated, they are all receiving wide attention on the Internet blogs and forums lately. Several of the speakers in our Stake Conference mentioned that these are the signs of the times of the last days. It is becoming more and more obvious to the converted.
While the faithful and believing are small in numbers compared to the rest of the world, I remain convinced that coming catastrophic events will soften the hearts of the people and turn them to the Lord. Economic chaos is not the only kind of catastrophe that we will experience. We need to be familiar with the prophecies.
Summary and conclusion
For some reason, Saturday night always brings more hits on my essays about the signs of the times of the last days, especially Joel 2:31. It is encouraging that people are beginning to wake up and take seriously the idea that there may be something to all this talk about catastrophes and other coming events before the coming of the Lord.
In spite of the obvious increase of concern over the economic threats that face us, we can have peace as we look to the Lord, to the scriptures and to our priesthood leaders to help us understand the significance of these events. We will continue to invite the world to join with us in preparing for the approaching return of the Lord.
I love reading and hearing Boyd K. Packer. I always have. The man is a conduit for those who love and those who hate the established, traditional ways of the church. I love tradition and am not fond of change. President Monson reminded us several times in this last General Conference that change is one of the most certain things we will deal with in this life. He also implied that change is coming.
By now you have probably received a copy of President Packer’s talk given the week following General Conference in his home ward in Salt Lake City. It is highly unusual for such a complete transcription of a talk not intended for public consumption to be so well documented. Ordinarily I would not write about a private talk like this. It goes against my judgment to just leave it alone.
Someone called church headquarters and asked it was real. They confirmed that he did speak, that they were aware that it has been circulating, but that it was not intended for anyone other than his own ward. In fact, they pointed out that it was not accurate, that he did not authorize the transcription and asked that we not pass it on. Such personal notes are for individual use only.
A great catastrophe is coming
Because this has been making the rounds and has been all over the world in the past week, I wanted to comment on one paragraph of his talk that seems to have received the most attention. Note that this is not a direct quote, but is from someone’s notes. It may or may not be accurate. However, it is timely and leads me to a subject I have wanted to address for some time now.
Here is the quote: “It’s about time the Lord taught us a lesson. A great catastrophe is coming. Now I probably shouldn’t say that because then it will happen. But it is going to happen. That’s what it will take to turn our hearts to the Lord. And we will learn from it.” Many in the emails and discussion boards have speculated on what that catastrophe will be and when it will happen.
As I watched President Packer speak in General Conference the week before, I noted a sense of urgency in his voice and his message. The title of his address was “The Test.” His message was that in troubled times, the Lord has always prepared a safe way ahead. He said that we are living in those “perilous times” of which the Apostle Paul prophesied would come in the last days.
Same sex marriage is a test
I swore I would not write any more about the involvement of church members in Proposition 8, but perhaps a few notes will help to illustrate one possibility of the test that is coming. I wrote previously about how one family in our ward has been targeted by the opposition for their contributions to the Yes on 8 campaign. Their methods of harassment display vicious hatred.
Others have been physically attacked for distributing Yes on 8 signs, with signs being ripped up during the night. While we stood on a street corner waiving signs the other night, someone got out of their car and verbally abused us with a profanity-laden tirade. Temple-goers in Oakland reported that protesters threw themselves in front of their cars, blocking the temple entrance.
We have been counseled by church leaders to be kind, patient and tolerant in stating our case to the world. Apparently the opposition does not play by the same rules. It seems that anything goes in an effort to shock, offend and intimidate supporters of proposition 8 into giving up the fight. They are behind in the polls 61-36% and not happy with the idea that proposition 8 might pass.
Economic meltdown in progress
I watch the news of the stock market, the bank failures and the credit crunch with somewhat of a distant detachment. I know it affects some right away who work in the financial area, but for most of us, there has been little effect other than a decrease in the value of our 401K portfolio. Some days the stock market is down by hundreds of points and other days it rises by hundreds.
The area where most of us will eventually feel the results of this financial meltdown that we are witnessing will be down the road as businesses fail and unemployment rises. It took a few years after the stock market crash of 1929 for unemployment to reach the highest level of 25%. We cannot say if this same pattern will hold true in our day. Perhaps it won’t take so long this time.
In his October 12th talk, President Packer said nothing new that prophets and apostles haven’t been saying for all of our lives and that of our parents and grandparents. Get out of debt, save for a rainy day, keep the food storage current, and learn to make do with what you have. We live in a day of extravagance where every want is met. That may all change in the very near future.
Catastrophes can be cataclysmic
Two of the definitions of the word catastrophe are a: a violent and sudden change in a feature of the earth and b: a violent, usually destructive natural event (as a supernova). We know that such changes are prophesied for the last days. We should not be surprised when they occur. The Lord has warned us of imminent destruction that will come upon us suddenly, as a thief in the night.
I have written dozens of essays on the subject of upcoming catastrophes. Prophets of old saw our day and told us about the cataclysmic changes that would be occurring. They left us many clues in language that described events both life-threatening and destructive. One of my fellow bloggers has been sharing his essays on these changes in an effort to help us understand them.
Violence begets violence. When these violent events do arrive, they will impact society in a way that none of us can imagine. Students of the early history of the church are familiar with several statements by the early brethren where they attempted to describe the scenes of the breakdown of common decency in our society that were a result of the natural disasters that will come upon us.
Summary and conclusion
I hope I have not painted a bleak picture of what is to come. The apostates love to characterize President Packer as a man of doom and gloom. Isn’t that one of the functions of a prophet – to warn us of coming events and to help us prepare for what must surely transpire in the last days? I am convinced that President Packer is right – I think the Lord is trying to get our attention now.
I like the way President Hinckley taught us to be hopeful and faithful in spite of the signs of the times being fulfilled right before our eyes. He said he was planting trees and making plans for long-term events. We should do the same. Getting an education is still a great idea. Investing in our education and careers will continue to be profitable for us and our families in the long run.
There is still much to do before the coming of the Lord. The gospel must still go to all the world before the great and dreadful day. It hasn’t done that yet. President Monson is the man the Lord has prepared to lead us in these troubled times. I love his sense of peace and confidence. I trust in his direction and know that he will always show us the path of safety through changes coming.
1. Boyd K. Packer talk goes viral
2. Boyd K Packer talk not accurate
3. Times and Seasons: confirm or deny
4. Recorded on cell phone or shorthand?
5. Words of warning from Pres. Packer
6. Mormon Wiki: Hoax or urban legend
7. From the horse’s mouth (MMW)
8. SL Trib – Packer talk circles the globe
When considering the signs of the last days, most people are aware that they are all around us. One of the most obvious today is the sign of wars and rumors of wars. I’m sure it comes up every time a lesson on the last days is taught in a Sunday school class. We will probably not be without wars in the world until the time of the Savior’s return.
So also are Paul’s warnings in chapter three of second Timothy about the general state of human behavior. Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good…the list goes on and on.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences; and earthquakes in divers places. The Lord tells us to not be troubled as these things come to pass. He has told us in advance that these things must all happen. Can anyone doubt that so many prophesied signs of the last days are here?
Dramatic signs are yet to come
And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. All the inhabitants of the earth shall see this great sign. It will be talked about by everyone.
I have written previously about Joel 2:31 where the moon shall be turned to blood. Joel also mentions wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire, and pillars of smoke. Earlier in the chapter he describes the coming of a great and strong people that come in the day of the Lord and bring with them destruction unlike any other army.
A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army. This is no mortal army. The Lord fights his battles with his own armies. What shall they be?
The armies of the Lord
Let’s look to the Book of Revelation for a great description of the armies of the Lord. John calls them locusts in chapter 9. These locusts will not hurt the green things of the earth so they are not insects. They swarmed like locusts, or appeared in droves, many hundreds or thousands at a time. When they arrived, the sound would be deafening.
If they are not actual locusts, what could John be describing? They had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. We know that prophets spoke in terms that are both symbolic and metaphoric. They had the appearance of horses prepared for battle and their faces are as the faces of men. And yet, they are not men. What are they?
When the Lord revealed the events of the last days to the ancient prophets, they described what they saw in terms of what they had experienced and seen in their own lifetimes. Perhaps what Joel and John were describing were swarms of meteorites flying in bands and taking various shapes, like horses racing in the sky or hosts of warriors leaping.
Catastrophic events of the last days
We who live in these last days have not yet seen what the prophets of old saw in vision so it seems unimaginable. But in a few short years we will be very familiar with what they were trying to describe. The Lord said that “immediately after those days,” meaning the days in which we now live, shall the prophesied signs of catastrophic proportion begin.
That is why the prophets of old warned us to look to the skies for these signs. We should not doubt or dismiss that the signs will appear. I am convinced that it will not be long before it becomes obvious to all the world that something unusual is about to happen. Then we will see the false prophets come out while the whole world pays attention.
However, the prophets of old and the Savior foretold all these things many, many years ago. The signs of the last days include more than the problems among the people of the earth. The heavens themselves will be in commotion. We will see amazing things that we have never seen before. They will be frightening and yes, some will be catastrophic.
Look to the past to understand the future
Some have interpreted locusts of Joel and John to be descriptions of modern warfare. Perhaps the hair of women they were seeing is really contrails of high altitude jets or ballistic missiles. The sound they described fits perfectly with modern jets and rockets. And yet the Lord says that the coming destructions will be sent by God and not by man.
The Lord said in D&C 29:9 that “the hour is nigh and the day soon at hand when the earth is ripe; and all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that wickedness shall not be upon the earth.” It is clear that the coming burning of the world will not be caused by man but by God.
The Lord will use what appears to man to be natural events. Oh sure, “A few comets and a few meteorites,” they will say. “It’s no big deal. These things happen all the time.” They also explained away the great fires of Peshtigo in 1871 as being nothing other than just really hot and dry conditions. Falling, burning sand is common? I don’t think so.
Summary and conclusion
I just want to go on record in advance before the heavens start to heat up and then drop burning things on us that the Lord foretold all these catastrophic events in advance. Let’s not act surprised and wonder why the prophets didn’t warn us. They have warned us over and over. Most people are ignorant or have dismissed it as nonsense from fools.
When the Lord speaks of the burning of the earth he is not kidding. The kind of burning we’re talking about is not your Al Gore, politically correct, give me money so we can do something about this man-made global warming. This burning will not be man made and it will not be a slow or gradual thing. It will come upon us suddenly, as if in an instant.
Call me a crackpot but I’m convinced that we are going to see events on a cataclysmic scale in just a few short years. All the signs point to it. The Lord is patient and there is much work to do in taking the gospel to all the world. But the time is not far distant that we will see the hand of the Lord fulfilled as signs in the heavens become frequent again.
Image of ancient comet swarm by permission of Don Dixon
Some of my past essays on Signs of the Times in the Last Days:
1. The Last Days are upon us
2. Signs of the Times and the Second Coming
3. There shall be greater signs in heaven
4. Just where exactly are the lost ten tribes?
5. And the stars shall fall from heaven
6. Has the prophecy in Joel 2:31 been fulfilled?
7. What kind of warnings do we prefer?
8. Eschatology – The study of what?
9. Miracles and natural laws
10. The desolation of abomination
11. Mormon Doctrine – Prophecy and the Last Days
One of the most popular stories on Yahoo News this morning was “Real Death Star Could Strike Earth.” Somehow, we remember in the back of our minds that something like this is prophesied to happen in the last days just before the Savior returns to the earth. I suppose that is why stories like these are so popular.
Space.com has been running these regular Monday morning reports that seem to play on the worries and fears of the Last Days. Aren’t there supposed to be signs in the heavens that we should be able to look for as a warning that time is almost up – something about stars falling from the sky? Ah yes, here it is:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. (Matt 24:29). There it is, just as clear as can be. The stars will fall from the sky.
Or, if you prefer a version from modern revelation: “But, behold, I say unto you that before this great day shall come the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall be turned into blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and there shall be greater signs in heaven above and in the earth beneath. (D&C 29:14)
Greater signs in heaven than stars falling? What could those possibly be? How about a huge meteorite hit? “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth.” (Rev 9:1) John actually mentioned three stars in Revelation which cause three woes or three plagues. These “falling stars” appear to be the direct cause of three major catastrophes.
How about the approach of a large comet that gets just a little too close? Couldn’t that possibly cause a huge amount of destruction as the Earth passes through the tail or the gravitational pull causes global earthquakes the likes of which we have never seen in our lifetime? How about a bunch of little meteorites, each one causing terrible destruction? Could that be a sign in heaven?
“Earthquakes rent the earth in vast chasms, which engulfed multitudes; terrible groanings and wailings filled the air; the shrieks of the suffering were indescribably awful. Water wildly rushed in from the tumultuous ocean whose very roaring under the mad rage of the fierce cyclone was unendurable to the ear. Cities were swept away in an instant…”
NOTE: I’m looking for a better source for this quote. I have one in printed form in an old book and one online in this slide presentation. I looked in the BYU online digital library but could not find it. The source is The Contributor Magazine, Vol 15, No 20, pp 638-647. It is entitled, “A Dream”. The author is Charles D. Evans, a patriarch in Springville, UT and is dated August 1894. Junius Wells was the editor of The Contributor Magazine during those years.
How about fire from heaven – could that be a sign? I am not convinced that the Peshtigo fires of 8 October 1871 were caused by anything other than natural events. But many have read into the accounts the very description of earth passing through the tail of a comet: “It came in great sheeted flames from heaven. There was a pitiless rain of fire and sand. The atmosphere was all afire.”
I know, the idea of the fires of 1871, including the great Chicago fire being caused by an asteroid, comet or meteor have all been debunked over the years. Phil Plait, author of Bad Astronomy, whose upcoming book is entitled, “Death from the Skies,” is adamant that there is nothing to the idea. But still, from the descriptions I’ve read, one could make a case for meteorites mixed with burning petroleum. I don’t know – just wondering aloud.
I suspect we will be reading more and more stories about these kinds of catastrophic events. Some of the most ridiculed are the ideas of some sort of gamma ray burst or an ultramassive body passing through our solar system. Some theorize that a comet or meteor could affect the orbit of one of the outer planets, causing it to careen into the path of another planet and so on.
Who knows? Most scientists are not known for their ability or desire to correlate their understanding of the heavens with the prophecies found in the scriptures. We are told that there will be “new heavens and a new earth,” (D&C 29:23-34) but that it shall be like the old one. (Ether 13:9)
So the heavens will look different in the future – perhaps a change in the very stars that we see. Does anybody know when this will happen? I don’t, but the Lord has told us that he will “do nothing save he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets”. (Amos 3:7)
“Wherefore, be not deceived, but continue in steadfastness, looking forth for the heavens to be shaken, and the earth to tremble and to reel to and fro as a drunken man, and for the valleys to be exalted, and for the mountains to be made low, and for the rough places to become smooth–and all this when the angel shall sound his trumpet.” (D&C 49:23)