Monday, December 10, 2012

Call Out Expectation

A few years ago I was preparing a lesson on the Last Days out of the "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith" LDS Sunday School manual. I remember being astonished at the following quote. I realized that I may have subconsciously expected something that may or may not be so.

LDS believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and in the calamities that are foretold to precede His coming. LDS understand that the Bible does not teach a pre-Trib Rapture, but teaches a post-Trib, pre-Wrath Rapture (ye shall have tribulation; not appointed us to Wrath). That means believers like Noah and his family need to be prepared for the Tribulations that surely will come.

“[I] explained concerning the coming of the Son of Man; also that it is a false idea that the Saints will escape all the judgments, whilst the wicked suffer; for all flesh is subject to suffer, and ‘the righteous shall hardly escape’ [see D&C 63:34]; still many of the Saints will escape, for the just shall live by faith [see Habakkuk 2:4]; yet many of the righteous shall fall a prey to disease, to pestilence, etc., by reason of the weakness of the flesh, and yet be saved in the Kingdom of God. So that it is an unhallowed principle to say that such and such have transgressed because they have been preyed upon by disease or death, for all flesh is subject to death; and the Savior has said, ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged.’ [See Matthew 7:1.]”12

This was a surprise to me when I read this quote by Joseph Smith republished in a current LDS teaching manual. I realized that I subconsciously believed the Saints would always be warned and always be safe. I subconsciously have always believed that like Lehi in Jerusalem and Alma at the waters of Mormon that faithful LDS would be "called out" and forewarned of any and all danger.

However, this quote got me thinking and realizing; some things you can't warn the public about. Imagine getting up and announcing an Earthquake or a nuclear detonation. Something like this happened in Italy this year. You just can't do it. You can talk about preparedness, but I wonder how many people in the church have the expectation that the Brethren would warn them. Or, how many like me are subconsciously expecting some sort of "callout" before anything bad would happen affecting the Saints.

Elder Bednar commented on this a few conferences ago. Elder Bednar closes his remarks by testifying and inviting:

"I bear witness that parents who consistently read and talk about the Book of Mormon with their children, who share testimony spontaneously with their children, and who invite children as gospel learners to act and not merely be acted upon will be blessed with eyes that can see afar off (see Moses 6:27) and with ears that can hear the sound of the trumpet (see Ezekiel 33:2–16). The spiritual discernment and inspiration you will receive from the combination of these three holy habits will enable you to stand as watchmen on the tower for your families—“watching . . . with all perseverance” (Ephesians 6:18)—to the blessing of your immediate family and your future posterity. I so promise and testify in the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen."

Elder Bednar seems to be putting the responsibility of warning and watching on the members and not the Brethren. It seems to me that we have to be the "watchman" for our own families and not rely on the Brethren because there will be no "one size fits all" solution and any public announcement would trigger panic and mass hysteria.

I admit that many believe any throughts or study on this is prideful. They think members shouldn't take responsibility in this area beyond what the Church tells us. Some believe watching with perseverance and studying the scriptures to understand the signs of the time is going beyond the mark and feeding a dangerous gospel hobby leading to apostasy. Maybe it is, but the quotes above and the church teaching on self reliance and taking the Holy Ghost as a guild suggest otherwise.

I wonder if something were to happen catastrophic many church members may apostasize thinking the church should have warned its members. I wonder how many members have a subconscious expectation like I did that the LDS leadership who we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators would give the LDS a "call out" warning before Tribulation strikes?

Look, I am not saying no warning will be given. I don't know what will happen or when. What I'm saying is, when it comes to a "call out" or specific warning; if warning comes --wonderful. If it doesn't, that's okay too. I don't expect it.

My concern is that there are persons already in the Church feeding this expectation of a "call out" and even openly critical that the Breathren are not more vocal on speaking about revelations and visions many have already received about the Tribulation.

Remember that Alma and Amulek were expected to watch believers cast into the the fire. Only some believers got out of Ammoniah and escaped to Sidom. What made the difference between the righteous that escaped to Sidom and the righteous that were martyred in Ammonihah? I don't know.

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