While I could agree that pornography is a "plague" and has been referred by the prophets as being such...and I can also agree that there will be passing sicknesses without substantial severity...it is a doctrinal fallacy to believe that there will not be physical plagues to come and in a severity not yet experienced by man. A casual study of the topic reveals that this is the truth.
An easy place to point to where this doctrine is made plain is in the Doctrine and Covenants 45:31 where the words of the Lord tell us speaking of last days events to come...
31 And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.
So there will be a sickness or sicknesses...that make desolate. We don't often use that word...desolate. In this context it means uninhabited...deserted. Some would point to AIDS as being fulfillment of the prophecy...but I would ask..."Has AIDs made geographic areas without inhabitants?!!" The answer is of course a resounding NO.
Bruce R. McConkie stated...
“We can rest assured that if we have done all in our power to prepare for whatever lies ahead, he will then help us with whatever else we need.”
We do not say that all of the Saints will be spared and saved from the coming day of desolation. But we do say there is no promise of safety and no promise of security except for those who love the Lord and who are seeking to do all that he commands.” (Bruce R. McConkie “Stand Independent above All Other Creatures,” Ensign, May 1979, 92)
So what has the Lord commanded that we need to be obedient to...so that we can be worthy of his safety with regards to the coming plagues?
While I do not know for certain all of the answers...here are a few to consider.
The Lord commands us to "prepare every needful thing" (D&C 109:8). A great place to start your education on what things you need to be prepared can be found by visiting the churches information on pandemic preparedness. There you can learn the basics on the "stuff" to have on hand...and the knowledge on what to do. We must prepare as if it all depends on us. We must not fall into the trap of expecting the Lord to save us from illness if we aren't doing all in our power to avoid it. For example...allowing someone with swine flu to sneeze into your face and saying "The Lord will protect me" is not a good idea. The Lord may dispatch you home early to give you a lesson on how we must make use of the means He has provided and that we "reap what we sow".
Stand in Holy Places
In the Doctrine and Covenants 45:31 the Lord first tells us of a sickness that makes desolate and then in verse 32 let's us know where his disciples will be while the wicked are dying...
32 But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.
Holy places may mean temple worship...it may mean your home...it could mean a place consecrated for safety...or something else.
James E. Faust said...
"In this day of increasing access to and preoccupation with materialism, there is a sure protection for ourselves and our children against the plagues of our day. The key to that sure protection surprisingly can be found in Sabbath observance: “And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day.” (D&C 59:9.)(James E. Faust, “The Lord’s Day,” Ensign, Nov 1991, 33)
While one could make the case that he was referring to only materialism as a plague...it is of interest that he used the word plague. This could have multiple meanings in this instance.
True sabbath observance could be a key...a commandment that if kept faithfully could serve as a protection from physical plague.
The Word of Wisdom
If you were to sit in a gospel doctrine class and discuss the word of wisdom. It is inevitably a can of worms...as the saints have all kinds of ideas with regards to what it's true observance means. Without getting into it...I will say that I believe that there is a big difference between how what I will call the "Mormon culture" practices the word of wisdom and how it is written and has been taught by the prophets.
In the final 4 verses of section 89 are some wonderful blessings for those that keep the law of health. I think many of us could rattle some of them off..."Run and not be weary...walk and not faint"..."wisdom and great treasures of knowledge"...etc. Then there is this final line...
21 "And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen."
I don't think that I have ever...in my life...had someone try to explain what that means! It is usually breezed over in our classes for a lack of knowledge.
Roger K. Young in a book called "Behold the Fig Tree" (pg. 116) states...
"The destroying angel is a reference to the angel that was sent by the Lord to kill the first born of the Egyptians and all of their beasts and even Israelites, who were not obedient to the counsel of the current living prophet, Moses."
That is merely a summary of Exodus of major points from chapters 11 and 12.
In Exodus 12:13 those that are obedient are promised that if they put the lambs blood over their doorway...that the destroying angel will pass them by...that the plague will not destroy them.
13 "And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt."
Brigham Young corroborated this doctrine that the observance of the law of health would serve as an antidote to last days plagues when he said...
"Every son and daughter in Israel should say, we will keep the "Word of Wisdom" independent of father, mother, or any elder of the church; we know what is right and we will do it. By so doing this people will increase in health in their systems, and the destroying angel, when he comes along, will pass them by. Will you take this course?" (JD, Vol.13, p. 2-3, April 7, 1869)
and this one...
"The Word of Wisdom...shadows to me that a time will come in the midst of this people when a desolating scourge will pass through through our ranks, and the destroying angel will be in our midst as he was in Egypt when he slew all the firstborn of the Egyptians. God says "The destroying angel shall pass by" and shall not harm you if you observe to do these things." (Brigham Young, Jr., JD Vol. 15, p. 193-195)
Cleansed from Iniquity Every Whit
3 Nephi 8:1 states...
1 "And now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record—for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity—"If one is to expect great miracles to happen...healings...deliverance...etc...we must be cleansed from iniquity every whit. Priesthood holders should ensure that their priesthood is in "good working order".
Lines of Communication Open
There has been a great stress these last few conferences on the importance of being able to receive revelation to get through the last days. Are you in tune enough with the spirit to be told "Don't go into that crowd of people without a face mask and eye shield"...and obey...even if people think you are a nut?! Will you listen if told to not let your child go to school? We need to turn off the noise of Babylon to listen to the Lord and receive His voice of safety. We need to study the words of the prophets to hear His words as well.
Now...while I do not know if this Swine flu will be one that will be one to turn out severe or not...I will say that it should serve as a wake up call to do all within our power to be prepared in the methods that the Lord has commanded. Do we really know how to protect ourselves from disease and are we ready to do so? Are we really standing in holy places?...Are we really observing the Sabbath? Are we really observing the Word of Wisdom as the Lord has commanded and not as our culture would persuade us to? Truthful answers to those questions will help you to know how prepared you are for the coming plagues.
Now...don't feel bad for too long if you aren't doing well in those areas...repent! Get to work to be prepared in these matters. Oh...and one more thing...I would really hesitate before I went out and got a flu shot of any kind. Make sure you know what is being injected into you and why!