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The Last Days

Posted by imawheatwatcher on September 28, 2008

I will post excerpts as pertaining to this blog. I heartily encourage you to read the entire article or watch the video stream from lds.org.

Elder Jeffery R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
CES fireside September 12, 2004

The Last Days

Many have asked, “Is this the hour of the Second Coming of the Savior and all that is prophesied surrounding that event?” Indeed, sometime not long after 9-11, I had a missionary ask me in all honesty and full of faith, “Elder Holland, are these the last days?” I saw the earnestness in his face and some of the fear in his eyes, and I wanted to be reassuring. I thought perhaps an arm around him and some humor could relieve his anxiety a little. Giving him a hug, I said, “Elder, I may not be the brightest person alive, but even I know the name of the Church.” We then talked about being Latter-day Saints. I said, “Yes, Elder, we are in the last days, but there is really nothing new about that. The promised Second Coming of the Savior began with the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1820. So we already have about 184 years of experience seeing the Second Coming and the last days unfold. We can be certain that we are in the last days—years and years of them,” I said, and gave him a friendly shake of the hand and sent him on his way. . .

As far as the actual timing of the final, publicly witnessed Second Coming itself and its earthshaking events, I do not know when that will happen. Furthermore, President Gordon B. Hinckley has said that he doesn’t know when it will happen, and that is because no one knows when it will happen. The Savior said that even the angels in heaven would not know (see Matthew 24:36).

We should watch for the signs and read the meaning of the seasons, we should live as faithfully as we possibly can, and we should share the gospel with everyone so that blessings and protections will be available to all. But we cannot and must not be paralyzed just because that event and the events surrounding it are out there ahead of us somewhere. We cannot stop living life. Indeed, we should live life more fully than we have ever lived it before. After all, this is the dispensation of the fulness of times. . .

I have just two things to say to any of you who are troubled about the future. I say it lovingly and from my heart.

First, we must never, in any age or circumstance, let fear and the father of fear (Satan himself) divert us from our faith and faithful living. There have always been questions about the future. Every young person or every young couple in every era has had to walk by faith into what has always been some uncertainty—starting with Adam and Eve in those first tremulous steps out of the Garden of Eden. But that is all right. This is the plan. It will be okay. Just be faithful. God is in charge. He knows your name and He knows your need.

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—that is the first principle of the gospel. We must go forward, as it says in K. Newell Dayley’s hymn commemorating our pioneers of the past, “with faith in ev’ry footstep.”1 But like those pioneers, you do have to keep taking them—one step and then another and then the next. That is how tasks are accomplished, that is how goals are achieved, and that is how frontiers are conquered. In more divine language, that is how worlds are created and it is how your world will be created.

God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future—to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities.

God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe.

Drawing upon my vast background of children’s bedtime stories, I say you can pick your poultry. You can either be like Chicken Little and run about shouting “The sky is falling; the sky is falling” or you can be like the Little Red Hen and forge ahead with the productive tasks of living, regardless of who does or doesn’t help you or who does or doesn’t believe just the way you believe.

So much for farmyard stories! How about two scriptures, both directed at those who live in perilous times?

The first is from section 101 of the Doctrine and Covenants. If you recall, this revelation came as the Saints who were gathered in Missouri were suffering great persecution—were at the very height of their persecution. Mobs had driven them from their homes. Hostility, even hatred, followed them from county to county as they sought refuge. These frightened Saints lost land, livestock, clothing, furniture, crops, and a host of personal possessions. Threats of death were heard every day. I suppose, at its worst, this was the most difficult and dangerous time—may I say “terror-filled”—that the Church had ever known. Later on names like Haun’s Mill and Liberty Jail would take their place in our vocabulary forever.

Yet in that frightening time the Lord said to His people:

“Let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.

“Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered.

“They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return, and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion—

“And all these things that the prophets might be fulfilled” (D&C 101:16–19).

So, my young friends, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion. And remember the most fundamental definition of Zion we have ever been given: those who are “pure in heart” (D&C 97:21). If you will keep your hearts pure, you and your children and your grandchildren shall sing songs of everlasting joy as you build up Zion—and you shall not be moved out of your place.

The other verse I refer to is from the Savior, spoken to His disciples as He faced His Crucifixion and as they faced fear, disarray, and persecution. Talk about troubled times! In His last collective counsel to them in mortality, and knowing full well what lay ahead for Him and for them, He said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

So, in a world of tribulation—and there will always be plenty of it—let’s remember our faith. Let’s recall the other promises and prophecies that have been given, all the reassuring ones, and let’s live life more fully, with more boldness and courage than at any other time in our history.

Christ has overcome the world and made straight a path for us in the wilderness. He has said to us in our day: “Gird up your loins and be prepared. Behold, the kingdom is yours, and the enemy shall not overcome” (D&C 38:9). So let’s gird up. Let’s get some gusto into singing those songs of everlasting joy.

Click HERE to view video.
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