These Signs Shall Follow those that Have Faith


I was talking to someone and they were troubled over someone who was very sick….after sometime I messaged them more or less what I am copying and pasting here. This person thought it was good and inspiring so I will leave here for all the readers of this blog. Do with it what you will.

I will explain what I know on miracles and I will try and be brief.

Miracles come about via faith in Christ. Faith in Christ is as you have heard I am sure is a hope in things unseen. That is a bit vague…..but another way of putting this is one must be literally willing to make themselves a blind and stupid fool for the sake of their faith in Christ trusting that God will not abandon them and they actually won’t be made a blind and stupid fool….essentially all vanity and pride and self-consciousness and doubts and fear must quite literally be ripped apart. You must have none of it. Faith can to a point exist with those things, but the less of those things you have the more faith you can have. Think of it as a scale that must be balanced to 100. X + Y = 100. X is faith, Y is that other stuff. The formula you are seeking is essentially X (100) + Y (0) = 100. But this can be any combination of numbers….but you are trying to get it to X (100) + Y (0) = 100

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To this end….there are two types of blessings really. There is the kind the church is quite familiar with which I like to call a blessing with training wheels. And there is the kind that can move mountains; this is a kind without training wheels.

 

The kind with training wheels….you give a blessing and you just sort of say whatever you feel prompted to say, and in some cases some folks don’t feel prompted so they just say whatever and hope for the best. One might say I bless you to be well and to recover and to feel better…this is very vague and perhaps the person will feel better. Many will then say see blessings work this person recovered but never mind the fact it took a long time. Sometimes these blessings might even say I bless the doctor to know what to look for. though to be sure sometimes these blessings are quite powerful and quite effective and will actually work quite well….but the point is it is a random crapshoot like playing at Vegas….one never knows what will happen. I once read this quote:

 

“Years ago as a missionary…I believe it was Paul H. Dunn came through our mission….and we chatted about doctrine. He said “You want to know why Elders don’t heal more people…because their chicken!! They are afraid to pronounce healing to a sick person and to have that person not immediately recover”. He also said that “Too many Elders don’t even attempt to know what the will of the Lord is in a blessing….they just start talking…they don’t pause to consider what the Lord’s will is.” Whether you consider that a valid source or not…it is still intriguing….and it has stuck in my brain. ”

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The Will of the Lord is plainly stated in several places concerning healing.

 

Doctrine and Covenants 63:9

9 But, behold, faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe.

 

Mark 16:20

20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

 

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

 

18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

 

20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

 

65 And these signs shall follow them that believe—

 

66 In my name they shall do many wonderful works;

 

67 In my name they shall cast out devils;

 

68 In my name they shall heal the sick;

 

69 In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf;

 

70 And the tongue of the dumb shall speak;

 

71 And if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them;

 

72 And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them.

 

Mormon 9:24

24 And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;

 

98 And these signs shall follow him—he shall heal the sick, he shall cast out devils, and shall be delivered from those who would administer unto him deadly poison;

 

100 And what if I will that he should raise the dead, let him not withhold his voice.

 

Doctrine and Covenants 24:13

13 Require not miracles, except I shall command you, except casting out devils, healing the sick, and against poisonous serpents, and against deadly poisons;

General Conf2015oct-Priesthood

 

As you can plainly see The WIll of The Lord is THAT WE HEAL THE SICK MIRACULOUSLY!!!! None of these blessings and 2 years later you are better if at all nonsense. Make a lame man jump from his chair, restore a missing limb, open the eyes of the blind, and even raise the dead. THIS IS WHAT WE ARE TOLD TO DO!!!! I could quote even more scriptures on the topic…it is literally all over the place in scripture

 

So this blessing without training wheels. Interestingly enough I had just written this follow story down somewhere yesterday.

 

 

A couple of years ago….my old man, asked me to give him a blessing the next day. Giving me a night to think about it. Now my old man was going to see the doctor as he was having heart problems as he had already had had two heart attacks and a bypass surgery and I think a stint put into his heart….so heart problems.

 

Now I had already discovered this unholy thing known as circumcision and had already begun to study this topic of miracles in some detail…..and upon pondering and praying…..God made this clear to me. I was to direct this blessing myself. I was to place my hand on his heart which I would rub with consecrated oil and to say it clearly “In the name of Jesus Christ I command your heart to be healed from this day forth”

 

You’ll notice here….there was no relying on The Spirit to direct the blessing. This is a blessing without training wheels. yes God informed of how to do this….but I think only as a teaching exercise, with the point being “you can go into blessings and direct them yourself and provided you have faith and priesthood and are a righteous man aka you don’t violate the verses that say “amen to the priesthood if you do these certain things” then I God will honor it”….I asked about this Amen to the priesthood…..God in prayer took me through that chapter line by line and it was explained I don’t do anything that breaks the priesthood….though a sinner yes, though you’d fail a temple interview yes, but you don’t abuse priesthood, you don’t use it unjustly, you don’t exercise authority and abuse others with it, so it’s okay….use it. Be not afraid. Have faith.

 

I think what I ended up actually saying was “In the name of Jesus Christ I command your heart to be healed and from this day forth it shall trouble you know more if you have faith”

 

Before I gave the blessing I explained to my Dad what I would do be doing. And at the moment I felt prompted to open with The Lord’s Prayer. Then gave him the blessing and then closed by all of us standing in a circle and saying a prayer of thanks to God.

 

The point here is….this blessing was direct and to the point and I do not discount The Spirit….but I was the one left in charge of directing things. How can we become Joint Heirs with Christ, Gods even, if we cannot direct and master what little we are in charge of here? Be not commanded in all things. Reason with God. We are given a brain that can Reason with God Himself. The parable of the talents….multiple your talents and return and report to God.

 

I learned many things from that….but one thing was I was too specific which reminds me of the young man who prayed endlessly to serve his mission in Charleston, but not be specific enough he got sent to West Virginia rather than South Carolina like he wanted….so only his heart was better but not the veins around it. His heart however was extremely well….doctors were quite amazed a heart that had had two heart attacks, a bypass surgery, and a stint was so well off.

 

I have taught you what I know….if this person you are worried over has faith, and asks for a blessing….then be not afraid to speak to this disease boldly without any fear “In the name of the Living God and His Son Jesus Christ I rebuke your cancer and command it to flee from you and for you to recover in this very instance” It may also be necessary to cast out a demon or many demons as sickness and demons go hand and hand.

 

Give it a shot….see what happens yeah?

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EDIT:

After posting this I just realized I didnt touch on the topic of demons all that much. I’m not going to write a big thing here just a brief word of caution. Demons can very often if not 100% of the time be related to illness of all kinds. As a result unless you specifically address them the illness isn’t likely to go away….however be advised not all demons are created equal. Douglas Mendenhall two books go into some detail on demons but I will just leave this here:

 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?

 16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

 28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?

 29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

I leave that there to state….if the illness is related to a demon and the demon happens to be noticeably more powerful than your average demon odds are you will have to do some spiritual preparation before hand of some kind and won’t be able to just waltz in there and cast them out along with the illness at least not until they claim to know you like Paul I’d imagine. But the point being….in attempting to heal which I believe is always God’s will you may encounter Satan and his demons and as such you will need to know how to handle them. Not all demons are created equal.  However some demons may very well easily depart without much of a fight. These demons if nothing else will test your resolve.

This warning will be especially true for beginners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Signs of the Second Coming


Samuel the Lamanite visited the Nephite people just a few years before the birth and death of the Savior. Because they rejected him, he stood with courage upon the wall of their capital city and declared things the Lord put into his heart and mind. I recently had the opportunity to teach the gospel doctrine class as we considered Samuel’s prophecies.

The signs of the Savior’s birth, which focused on light, saved a people who professed to believe in Jesus Christ. I have always wondered how a society could have deteriorated to the point where a government would allow people to be put to death for their beliefs. Will we see a day where our government sanctions murder for a belief in Jesus Christ?

Samuel’s prophecies of destruction at the death of the Savior halfway around the world were fulfilled as powerful cataclysmic forces ripped through the Western Hemisphere. A modern prophet has declared that conditions and events similar to Samuel’s time will be fulfilled again in our day. We would do well to be familiar with Samuel’s teachings.

Preparing for the Second Coming

Consider these words of President Ezra Taft Benson delivered in General Conference of October 1986 as he offered us his landmark address on the keystone of our religion. “In the Book of Mormon we find a pattern for preparing for the Second Coming. A major portion of the book centers on the few decades just prior to Christ’s coming to America.

“By careful study of that time period, we can determine why some were destroyed in the terrible judgments that preceded His coming and what brought others to stand at the temple in the land of Bountiful and thrust their hands into the wounds of His hands and feet.” By studying the Book of Mormon we learn how to be prepared to meet the Lord.

“Can anyone doubt that this book was meant for us and that in it we find great power, great comfort, and great protection?” And in April of 1987: “The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming” Let’s consider just a few of those parallels.

1. Strong Righteous Minority 1 Nephi 14:12 & Jacob 5:70

There were but few who were righteous, few who professed to believe in the Savior and few who endeavored to serve the master by declaring his teachings to the world. We find ourselves in a similar situation today. As the second advent of the Lord approaches, the number of those baptized into the Lord’s church is few compared to the world.

Critics have asked why the Mormon Church has just a few million members while there are so many billions of people in the world. They offer this as evidence that we cannot be the Lord’s servants, authorized to offer the ordinances of salvation to the world, as we claim. The scriptures offer evidence to the contrary. “Their dominions were small.”

We proclaim to the world that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church authorized to perform ordinances required by the Lord to enter his kingdom. It is in the Mormon Church that you will find the Priesthood of God, men sanctioned by the Lord to act in his behalf administering baptism and other necessary, sacred ordinances.

2. Spiritual Outpourings and Miracles  Helaman 16:13-14, Joel 2:28-30 and D&C 45:39-42

Just prior to the Lord’s birth, “angels did appear unto men, wise men, and did declare unto them glad tidings of great joy.” Angels have appeared unto man again in our day as announced by the prophet Joseph Smith and many others. Angels declare unto men “glad tidings of great joy.” We proclaim that angels continue to visit wise men today.

A modern prophet has declared that the prophecy in Joel has been fulfilled. The Lord is pouring out his spirit upon all flesh. Young men see visions. Old men dream dreams of the Lord. Sons and daughters of the saints prophesy. Wonders in the heavens and in the earth are being shown forth. The meanings are being revealed to those who ask of God.

Many signs and wonders shall yet come to pass. Not all of that verse in Joel has been fulfilled. Perhaps we have seen some “blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke.” But “before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven.” That has obviously yet to be fulfilled.

3. Great Wickedness  2 Tim 3:1-5 and D&C 45:26-27

Who can doubt that ours is a day of wickedness or that we live in perilous times? These are indeed the last days. In Samuel’s day, the Nephites claimed to be a righteous people, favored of God and protected from evil. Like those self-deceived Nephites then, we live among a world that says black is white and white is black. They deny the power of God.

Wars and rumors of wars are non-stop. The whole earth is in commotion. Men’s hearts are failing them, meaning they are no longer standing for courageous ideals. Many say that Christ delays his coming. Perhaps he will wait until the end of the world. We live in a cold society, where iniquity abounds and the wicked are rewarded for their deceptions.

Even among the saints of the Lord, those who have been baptized into his church, we find many who find nothing wrong with the ways of the world. “Why do we judge and reject them? God would not do so,” they say. “Why do we condemn their teachings or practices as unnatural or ungodly?” Yet God continues to condemn wickedness today.

4. Rejection of the Lord’s Prophets and their Call to Repentance  D&C 1:14-16

There is no truer sign of a prophet than a call to repentance. If any of us think we have no need to repent then we deceive ourselves. There is always something we can do to improve ourselves and always something we can do better to please the Lord. The need to repent and turn to the Lord has never been greater than it is in the world today.

Do we seek to establish the Lord and his righteousness or are we more interested in “doing our own thing” until the end of our life? How diligent are we in giving heed to the words of the servants of the Lord, His apostles and prophets? Have we received all the ordinances that the Lord requires of us, including those in the house of the Lord?

For the most part, the world has ignored the invitation of the Lord’s prophets today to come unto Christ through baptism by his authorized servants. The day is coming that the arm of the Lord shall be revealed. Those who have taken the voices of the world for their guide will be cut off from the people of the Lord who shall be saved at his coming.

5. Conversion of Many Lamanites  Hel 15:12-13, D&C 49:24

One of the miraculous events that transpired before the Lord visited the people of the ancient American continent was the conversion of the Lamanites. These descendants of Father Lehi had lived as a dark and loathsome people for many generations. Once they accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ they became a fair and delightsome people.

In the last days, before the great day of the Lord shall come, the children of Father Lehi will blossom as the rose, be brought to the true knowledge of their Redeemer, and be numbered among his sheep. They shall flourish in the wilderness, meaning they shall be blessed in their many countries and build up families unto the Lord in righteousness.

In spite of great wickedness in many of their countries, including the United States, the children of Father Lehi have joined the church in great numbers throughout America. They have a great work to do in the very last days as they will assist in the building of the great temple complex in the center stake of Zion. It is their heritage and promise.

6. Prophecy of a Night with no Darkness  Hel 14:3-4 and Zech 14:1-7

Until I prepared this lesson, I’m not sure I fully realized that the prophecy of a night with no darkness would be fulfilled once again at the second coming of the Savior. We all know the story of the night without darkness as told in the Book of Mormon. It came to pass on a most traumatic day in the lives of the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I know I had read the scripture in Zachariah before but I had not understood that it was referring to a time other than when the Savior was born. If you read it carefully, you will discover that it makes reference to the day when the Savior’s feet will stand upon the Mount of Olives. Of course we all know this refers to the second coming of the Lord.

The Gospel Doctrine lesson manual makes reference to page 287 in the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. My library is currently in storage while we replace our flooring. In that quote, apparently Joseph teaches that the night without darkness will occur once again as one of the signs of the Savior’s return. Of course by then it will be too late.

Update: My library is out of storage. Page 287 of TPJS contains the quote about the “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, etc. But the Son of Man will come as the sign of the coming of the Son of Man, which will be as the light of the morning cometh out of the east.” (DHC 5:336-337)

7. Prophecies of Signs and Wonders in the Heavens  Hel 14:5-6, Joel 2:30-31 and D&C 45:39-42

Besides the new star, the scriptures speak of many signs and wonders in the heavens and in the earth. We have already mentioned blood, fire, and pillars of smoke, the sun turned into darkness, the moon into blood and the stars falling from heaven. These are given for signs of the coming of the Son of Man and we should be carefully looking for them.

In modern terminology, perhaps we should be looking for such things as unpredicted meteorite showers, unusually large or numerous sunspots or flares on the sun, changes in the orbits of the planets, the appearance of numerous comets and asteroids, or even a repeat of the Peshtigo fires which some declared to be fire from the sky or burning sand.

Those who fear the Lord will be looking for the great and dreadful day to arrive. Fear means to respect or to give careful heed. He will not come unannounced. We should not be surprised when that day comes. The signs are known and foretold in advance. They are prophesied because he loves us and wants us to be prepared for that terrible day.

8. Denials of Signs, Wonders and Christ’s Coming  Hel 16:15-17, 2 Pet 3:3-4 and D&C 45:25-27

When these signs start to appear in the heavens, it is reasonable for men to look to the science of astronomy to understand and explain them. And there will, of course, be some very reasonable explanations that they are natural phenomenon even if they were not predicted. But should we not look to prophets for our explanations and reasons?

You can use your intellect exclusively to explain away these things when they begin or you can accept the words of the prophets that they are signs of the closeness of the return of the Savior. There will be scoffers in the last days who say that all things remain as they were from the beginning of creation; in other words, this is all normal.

Even when the whole earth is in commotion, with more and more powerful earthquakes, the sea heaving itself beyond its bounds, volcanos in unusual places, numerous and unusual comets, meteors and asteroids, men will say that there is some other reasonable explanation, but that it has absolutely nothing to do with the prophesy of Christ’s return.

9. Prophecies of Great Storms and other Natural Destruction Rev 16:18-21 and D&C 88:87-90

By the time this sign rolls around, it will be too late. The day of the Lord will be upon us. But we will not be able to say that we weren’t warned. There will be many signs leading up to the great storms and natural destruction that will occur when the Savior comes. Read the Book of Revelation carefully to understand some of those signs.

There will be voices, loud sounds from within our planet as it communicates with the approaching heavens. The Lord has said that he comes with the City of Enoch. We are taught and believe that it will be a physical return of a large portion of our planet that was broken off. Can you imagine what that will be like when they come close together?

Thunders, lightnings, great earthquakes, mountains being cast down, valleys raised, a great hail from heaven and stars falling into the sea. This hail will not be water or ice. It will be large pieces of rock and earth. In other words, they are meteorites and asteroids. The earth will tremble to and fro at the approach of the Lord and the City of Enoch.

10. Prophecy of the Destruction of the Wicked  Isa 26:20-21, Mal 4:1, D&C 1:9-14 and D&C 133:40-44

The Lord warns the righteous to be prepared for that great and dreadful day. He tells us to seek safety indoors, to hide ourselves for a little moment until the destruction passes. It will be a hot day. It will burn as an oven. All those who are out of doors will burn like stubble in the field. Only those who are besieging Israel will be out of doors that day.

The wicked will be destroyed by the brightness of his coming. The Lord has warned them and has told us to warn them, but they heed not the warnings and prophecies. We are to prepare for the day when the anger of the Lord is kindled, when the sword bathed in heaven shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth. It will be a great and terrible day.

Because of their disobedience and their determination to fight against Israel, the wrath of God will be poured out without measure. They have sealed up their destruction. They have willfully rebelled and chosen to seek the destruction of the people of the Lord. The presence of the Lord shall be as melting fire, but the righteous shall be caught up.

Summary and Conclusion

This is one of the longer essays I have written. I have worked on it for over a week as I have pondered the signs prophesied by Samuel that will be fulfilled again in the very last days. We are fast approaching those days which the righteous need not fear. We have been warned and we know what to expect. We will be prepared when it comes.

There are so many more signs of the second coming that we could add to this list but these are the ones specifically mentioned by Samuel we have been taught will come to pass again before the Lord returns. I have written much about the natural explanations of how some of these events will come about, but they are not acceptable to science.

I am grateful for the assignment to teach this lesson that helped me focus my mind on these conditions and events that are obviously coming to pass again just as they were in the days before the Lord visited the Nephites. The Book of Mormon is indeed a guide for our day to be prepared for these terrible events that must come when Christ returns.

Miracles and Angels


A car lurched from the Oklahoma country road into the highway. The driver didn’t stop at the stop sign. Instead, he stalled on the road a hundred yards in front of us.

“Why doesn’t he get out of the way?” I asked from the middle of the front seat.

Dad didn’t respond. He locked up the brakes and laid on the horn. Our late 1960’s American Rambler slid down the hill on screeching tires.

Mother stopped talking mid-sentence in the back seat. She had just changed places with my sister and me a few miles back to talk with grandmother.

I was in the middle of the front seat. My sister was to my right. Seatbelts? I can’t remember. Shoulder belts became law in 1968. I can tell you I wasn’t wearing one.

Our California car probably crested the hill before the intersection doing 65 mph. Best guess from the photos looks like we hit the other car going 35 or 40. The impact pushed him into the ditch twenty to thirty feet past the crossing. Our car ended up on top of the stop sign.

I remember dad throwing his right arm out in an effort to protect me. I don’t remember the impact. Gingerly, I pulled my broken left arm out of the circular air conditioning vent. My sister was already out the right door. She held her left wrist. I followed quick as I could.

Dad came over to see if we were alright. The look in his and my sister’s face told me I wasn’t. I glanced down to see what they were looking at. The blood dripped profusely from the cut over my eye. It was hard to see.

“I’m OK, I’m OK,” I tried to assure them. I hopped about in an effort to deny the pain. The hopping didn’t help. The abnormal angle of my left arm frightened me.

“Son, didn’t you see that stop sign?” my dad asked the driver of the other car. Dad’s calmness amazed me. He then knelt next to the car in an effort to comfort my mother.

A low moan came from the back seat. Mother didn’t get out. She couldn’t. X-rays later revealed a broken pelvis and ruptured spleen. She had been sitting sideways when we hit.

Two ambulances took us to the hospital. Grandmother went with mother in the first. My sister and I went in the second. In spite of broken ribs, dad stayed behind to talk to the trooper.

I wasn’t prepared for surgery. I broke my finger in a skateboarding accident years earlier. The doctor reset the bone then and put a splint on it. My arm was in much worse shape.

“You sure swore a blue streak when you came out of the anesthesia,” the orderly said as he wheeled me to my room. Embarrassed, I made a mental note to clean up my language.

“Are you sure?” the nurse asked again on the third day. She asked the same thing every day. I had no idea what a bowel movement was. Why did she keep asking me that? My sister finally explained what she meant. I was glad we didn’t stay more than a week in the hospital.

The trip home to California was my first airline flight. I don’t remember if mother came with us then or travelled later. I know she had a difficult recovery. She lay on the couch at home for several weeks. As far as I know she started teaching school on time again in September.

It’s funny how everyone’s injuries were on the left side. Dad’s broken left ribs; my sister’s broken left wrist and my broken left arm. To this day I have the scars from the pins in my elbow. Occasionally my arm locks up, a reminder of that painful day.

In a quiet reflective moment with my dad years later, I asked him about the accident. He expressed the concern he felt for us at the time and then shared something sacred.

“You know your mother was hurt pretty bad,” he said.

“We were all messed up. She had surgery like me, didn’t she?”

“She did. I sat by her side all that night and every night for a week.” He struggled to go on. I could tell it was difficult for him to talk about this.

“I didn’t think she was going to make it. I can tell you I never prayed so hard in my life.” He was crying. Dad never cried. “It was a miracle we weren’t hurt worse.”

“I know. I still can’t remember the impact. It’s like I blanked out,” I said.

“We were protected by an angel, especially you.” Dad never talked about angels. I didn’t even know he believed in them. “It was a miracle.”

“What do you mean?”

“That night your mother lay close to death, I pled with the Lord to preserve her life. I didn’t think I could go on without her.” This was my invincible, invulnerable dad.

“I must have dozed off. When I woke, someone was sitting on the other side of the bed, looking at your mother.” Dad was serious in a way I had never seen before.

“Was it a doctor?”

“No. He had on a white robe that sort of glowed. His face shone. He looked up, smiled at me and then disappeared. I knew everything was going to be alright.”

“Who do you think it was?”

He looked at me long and hard before responding.

“I think it was the same person that kept you from going through the windshield of that car. Maybe it was your brother who died just after he was born.”

A Church Employment System miracle


Several years ago, my family and I faced a Christmas season accompanied with an ongoing period of unemployment. Through no fault of my own, I had been laid off six months earlier from a high-paying job that ended as a normal course of business. The manufacturing computing project I had been hired to support had been completed and my services were no longer needed.

I had been laid off before in my career and figured this job search would last about the same amount of time – three months. As a computing professional, I keep my resume up to date and am very familiar with the agencies that help people in my profession. I began right away to work the system and was having some success but no job offers. Then November arrived.

“Check back with us after the holidays,” is a common response about this time of year. Even advertised jobs seem to be put on hold until January or February. I can’t imagine what it must be like today when so many are being laid off due to the state of the economy. I hope people aren’t hearing, “Check back with us after the recession is over.” That would be most disheartening.

The daily job search

So six months later, I was still in my job search. Every day I would get up, study the scriptures, pray and ask Heavenly Father for help in knowing where to search to find employment so I could provide for my family. At first, I was not concerned. After all, I had a nice severance package and Carol was still working. But now things had slowed down and I was beginning to worry.

I had made it a habit to fast and attend the temple once a week as part of my efforts to be in tune with the inspiration that I was praying for in my job search. Just before I had been laid off, I had been released from the Bishopric and set apart as the High Priest group leader in the ward. The Stake President had promised in the blessing that I would be able to provide for my family.

Coincidentally, the last time I had been laid off was when I was first called into a Bishopric. Is there something about becoming unemployed that makes a man humble and ready to take on new priesthood responsibilities? I later served on the High Council and was assigned to be the coordinator to work with the Church Employment Services in our area of Southern California.

Professional Placement Program

I planned my weekly trip to the temple to coincide with the regular meeting of the Professional Placement Program at the Welfare Employment Resource Center for my area. This program is designed for people like me who usually have extended job searches because of the level we are at in our careers. In other words, it takes time to find a job that pays as much as we are used to.

I will be forever grateful to Rich Vunder, who ran the Sylmar center back when I was conducting my job search. He has since moved back to Utah and works in the Ogden center but at the time, he led our weekly meetings and provided both instruction and encouragement in our efforts. It was a real help to discuss the job search and network with professional individuals like myself.

One of the best things that Rich did for us, and something that I think helped me the most, was to video record mock interviews which he would conduct and then play back for group critique. A good resume can get you interviews but unless you can convince the prospective employer in the interview that you are the right person for the job, then you are just wasting each other’s time.

Christmas without a job

I specifically credit this interviewing practice with getting me the job that finally came my way. One of the first people I contacted after I was laid off was the head of an agency that had helped me in my previous job search. He asked for an updated resume and said he would keep me in mind. I didn’t hear from him for the next six months and had been working with other agencies.

Christmas was upon us and looking very bleak. We did not anticipate even getting a tree or buying presents for each other. Our bishop was very discreet in keeping tabs on my progress and our financial situation. One night, a knock came at the door. When we responded, there was nobody there, but there was a basket with several hundred dollars worth of gift certificates.

We knew it was someone from the ward and expressed thanks on behalf of our family in fast and testimony meeting the following month. I did not yet have good news to report but we felt loved and supported by our ward family. Truly, we are blessed when we magnify our callings. I know we were discussed in the welfare committee and am grateful to somebody for their generosity.

The interview opportunity

My severance pay had long since run out. The Lord had blessed Carol with additional sales so she earned extra commissions that helped us, but still, we were hurting financially. I confess that against our better judgment, we were using credit cards for basic living expenses. We did not get food from the Bishop’s storehouse because Carol was working, but that might have been helpful.

One day in early February I received a call from the president of the agency that I had contacted when I had been first laid off. He said he had the perfect opportunity for me and wanted to know if I was still looking for employment. He did not know that we were down to our last few dollars in the bank and were seriously talking about moving out to go live with family to save money.

The resume was forwarded, the phone interview was conducted and then came the request for the onsite interview. The prospective employer wanted to meet on a Sunday to avoid suspicion with the existing IT Manager who was about to lose his job. Ordinarily to me that would be breaking the Sabbath, but I felt very strongly impressed that this was an answer to prayer and fasting.

The interview and job offer

We attended our morning meetings and then I left immediately from church for the interview at the airport, about an hour’s drive. I got there early, drove around a bit and then arrived just a few minutes before the appointed time. I felt an unusual sense of calmness and peace as I met with the Operations Manager and the Chief Financial Officer who both supervised the IT Manager.

Now here’s where the miracle takes place that provided for me a sure knowledge that the Lord hears and answers our prayers. While I was interviewing with my two prospective supervisors, I became aware that they were asking the exact same questions that Rich Vunder had asked me in the mock interviews a few months earlier. I knew just what to say in response to each question.

I could sense that the interview was going well. In fact, it was going so well that I knew I would get an offer. As my friend had said, the job was perfect for me and was an exact match for my experience and qualifications. They asked if I could come back the next day and have the final interview with the CEO. I did and the job was offered the same day – on Carol’s birthday!

Summary and conclusion

You may say that this was all a coincidence or just the natural result of my preparations and hard work in being diligent in my job search. I feel otherwise. What prompted the search agency to call me just at the time when we were about to give up hope of being able to stay in this area? He had met the CEO of my company at a soccer game the previous week and got to talking.

When the CEO learned that my friend ran a search agency, he asked if he knew of anyone who could run his IT department – someone with multi-location network experience. My friend Chris later said he felt inspired to think of me and say, “Yes, I have just the right person for you – let me see if he is available.” He and I had not talked in six months. That was no coincidence.

God knows what we need. He is aware of what will work in our lives when we aren’t even aware of it ourselves. I received three offers the same day I got the offer from my present employer. I knew which one the Lord wanted me to have and have been blessed because of it. To me, it was a miracle that I had been so well prepared for the job. But God knew all along.

Miracles and natural laws


Elder Talmage wrote, “Miracles cannot be in contravention of natural law, but are wroght through the operation of laws not universally or commonly recognized.” (Jesus the Christ, p. 148) In other words, what we commonly describe as a miracle such as the healing of the sick, the restoring the sight of the blind or even raising the dead, is done according to natural laws, which may only be known to God.

I accept Elder Talmage’s statement at face value. I believe there is always an explanation for miracles, even if it has not yet been revealed to us what is the real source of the miracle. For most people, it is sufficient to say, “It is a miracle. God understands how it works. That’s enough for me.” I live my life that way too, but I also make an effort to find out if there is some sort of explanation for the miracle. That’s not wrong, is it?

Can we apply this same logic to signs and wonders in the heavens from the Old Testament record and the signs that are foretold to transpire in the last days? For example, what about the miracle of the ‘pillar of fire and smoke’ that led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt in the time of Moses? Is there some explanation for this amazing sight recorded in Exodus 13:21? Isn’t it possible that God worked through some natural means to cause the pillar of fire and smoke?

What would happen if two planetary bodies came unusually close to each other? What if a large comet passed within several thousand miles of the earth? Could a pillar of fire and smoke be a description of the head and tail of the comet as seen through a darkened or cloud-filled sky? If you are like most people, you have not thought about this as it is not something that has happened in our lifetime. Comets we have seen have never come that close to the earth.

The closest measured comet since 1700 is comet Lexell at 1.4 million miles (1,403,632). By comparison, the moon is 238,900 miles and the sun is 92 million miles (92,955,810) away. There is nothing within our known written history that has recorded a celestial body coming close enough to the earth to cause disturbances or events like those that may have happened during the time of the Exodus. Or is there?

Have you ever heard the theory that the planet Venus used to be a part of the planet Jupiter? No? I’m not surprised. This is not something that is taught by our scientists today. In fact, it is an idea that was first proposed by Immanuel Velikovsky in the 1950’s and 1960’s. His work was denounced by scientists of his day, including Carl Sagan, but has gained more attention recently with the work of Dave Talbott, author of the Saturn Myth.

Why is this important? The Lord has said that he would return to the accompaniment of many catastrophic and cataclysmic changes in the heavens and the earth. I believe we are fast approaching that time, perhaps in my lifetime. I am very interested in understanding what the signs of his coming are that I should be looking for so that I may be prepared. I know, just live righteously and don’t worry about the signs of the times, right?

What do you think? Should we try to understand the signs of the times and the Last Days?

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