Sunday, November 14, 2010

Is the future optimistic...or pessimistic...the answer is...YES!!!

Perhaps you have noticed that I haven't been super active with the blog in a while.  My lack of posts is due largely to my being called back to teach a daily early morning religion class called "seminary".  With how demanding such a task order to do a good job I have had to change much of my course of thought and think less about how to stay alive eating bugs...and more about how to help a group of youth stay spiritually alive!

Despite my lack of posting...I am pleased to see that the readership continues to grow!  I hope that people will continue to read some of the past articles and find information that will help them to prepare.  I have started an additional 30 or so topics all in varying stages of completion.  As I find time to put the finishing touches on them...they will be posted!  Thank you for reading.

Now the article...

As the wicked Macbeth knocks on the witches door.  A witch...sensing his evil presence proclaims..."By the pricking of my thumbs...something wicked this way comes".

While our thumbs may not prick...and we don't expect Shakespeare's Macbeth to arrive at our door...a great many people of discernment...sense that evil times...times of great hardship are around the corner.

One needn't consult a necromancer to see "that there is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed"...when the news of the day is filled with ample signs of the degeneration of our society and how the life that we now live will more than likely change overnight.  Economies do crops...wars start...shipping is interrupted...natural disasters...plagues...infrastructure failures...etc...etc...all these things can happen overnight.  While it may pain us to dwell on the precariousness of our situation...the honest realize that we do truly walk on thin ice every day of our lives.

In addition to the news...people of Christian faith also have the words of Christ and prophets that paint a picture of some dire circumstances prior to the Saviors return.  Christians do not have to wonder if "if" these things will happen...they know they "will" happen.  While many of the signs that were foretold are around us...we know that we now only see the tip of the iceberg with regards to the troubles that are to come to mankind.  Troubles that will serve to turn man to God...or deny Him.

Those that are awake are being given time to prepare...and are grateful for each successive day that allows for them to hone another skill...amass more desired supplies...and of course get themselves spiritually sound.  And of course we aren't left in the dark as to what we are preparing a merciful God has also given us much information about how to be prepared and what to be prepared for.

A person...awakened to an understanding of impending peril could get pretty gloomy.  Stressed out.  Full of anxiety.  Full of grief for lost hope for a bright and cheerful life in the future.  Some who get in this funk will fall out of public life.  Some stop talking to their kids about "When you grow up you could be a..." believing that their child will in reality not have such opportunities but will instead be scavenging for food in a post apocalyptic world!  Some will say that it is just better to not even have kids with the world the way it is going.  Like Eeyore they walk around spreading 'sunshine' saying things like..."No use planting flowers...they're just going to be destroying in the nuclear blast..."  Real life Debbie Downers.

While I don't want to spend a lot of time getting into all of the doctrinal points...I do want to remind people that the trials that are to come are spoken of as "great and dreadful".  So often the dreadful overpowers our memory that it will be great too!  So if asked if the future is optimistic or pessimistic...I'd say that the answer is YES!!  It will be hard.  It will try us more than we have been tried.  It may even dispatch us and those we love to meet our God earlier than we anticipate.  Or we may find that we are offered deliverance from many of the trials.  Whatever may be our lot...we should live our lives happy and grateful for whatever situation we may be in.  And if it seems that there is no end to the darkness...we must remember that after the storm comes the rainbow...and the righteous win in the end!

I often think about how wonderful the earth will be in the millennium (The period after the destructions and return of Christ).  The shackles of oppressive government gone...the earth cleaned of unrighteousness.  I think I'd like to become a better surfer...learn some musical instruments...and work on the arts...and of course delve into trying to understand the many mysteries that will be revealed in those days!

Here are some quotes I recommend reading slowly and pondering...that can shape how we feel about impending drama...

“We must have faith in the future regardless of the ultimate eventualities. There could be no greater calamity in this world than the calamity of sitting down and waiting for calamity. We must not let the things which we can't do keep us from doing the things we can do . . . The future will always be better for those who are best prepared.”  Elder Richard L. Evans(Church News, June 25, 1988, p. 2).

“I recall a reported statement, attributed, as I remember it, to President Wilford Woodruff. Some of the brethren of his time are said to have approached him … and to have inquired of him as to when he felt the end would be—when would be the coming of the Master? These, I think, are not his exact words, but they convey the spirit of his reported reply: ‘I would live as if it were to be tomorrow—but I am still planting cherry trees!’ ” (Richard L. Evans Conference Report, April 1950, 105.)

From a talk by Patricia Holland (wife of the Apostle Jeffrey Holland)...

Not long ago we experienced the worst windstorm Bountiful has seen in several decades. The wind on the freeway was gauged at 113 miles an hour. Coming out of our canyon, it seemed even more than that. Just as I was hearing news reports of semi trucks—twenty of them—being blown over on the roadside, I looked out my lovely back window down toward our creek, and I saw one of our large trees go down with a crash. Another smaller one followed almost immediately.

For a moment, I confess I was truly fearful. For an instant, I thought of Kosovo and Littleton, Colorado, of our own Family History Library, and even the great bug-a-boo of the year Y2K. The wind became even more furious, and it was very loud. I am a little embarrassed to say it, but I was scared.

It was very early in the morning as the worst of this was happening, and Jeff was just leaving for the office. I said to him, "Do you think this is the end? Is it all over—or about to be?" I whispered. My husband, who has deep faith and endless optimism, took me in his arms and said, "No, but wouldn't it be wonderful if it were? Wouldn't it be wonderful if Christ really did come and his children really were ready for him? Wouldn't it be terrific if evil was finally conquered, once and for all, and the Savior of the world came down in the midst of the New Jerusalem to wipe away every tear from every eye? Yes," my husband said, "in lots of ways I wish it were the end, but it's not. It is just a stiff windstorm in Bountiful. We have got more work to do." So, he kissed me and drove off to work, with trees falling and rafters rattling.

Now, I was probably imagining it, but I thought I could hear him whistling a few bars of "Master, the Tempest Is Raging," especially that lovely closing refrain: "Peace, be still; peace, be still" (Hymns [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985], no. 105).

"Being settled in his soul, he has a serenity even in the midst of war and tumult. If he lives, he lives unto the Lord, if he dies, he dies unto the Lord, just as President Brigham Young said:

I say to the brethren who are leaving home . . . when you pray for your families . . . you must feel--if they live, all right; if they die, all right; if I die, all right; if I live, all right; for we are the Lords' and we shall soon meet again. [Journal of Discourses6:273]

The true believer can read the depressing signs of the times without being depressed because he has a particularized and "perfect brightness of hope" (2 Ne. 31:20). He knows that "Christ will lift [us] up" (Mor. 9:25). He does not naively depend on mortal rulers, assemblies, congresses, or parliaments to lift him up, though he is genuinely grateful for any true success by these. Rather, he has the precious perspective of Joseph Smith who observed:

The laws of men may guarantee to a people protection in the honorable pursuits of this life, and the temporal happiness arising from a protection against unjust insults and injuries; and when this is said, all is said, that can be in truth, of the power, extent, and influence of the laws of men, exclusive of the laws of God. [Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972) p. 50]

Besides, the true believer knows that in the awful winding-up scenes human deterioration will be finally and decisively and mercifully met by divine intervention. He understands, therefore, that in such conditions the sooner he renounces the world, the sooner he can help to save some souls in it."

The future is bright and dark.  Lets be ready for both!