An Announcement


Announcing Internet Classes

on …

Prophecy, Ancient History
and the
Restored Gospel

Class Offerings

#1 – An Introduction
Discover how perception can distort or make invisible parts of the gospel. Visit the ideological struggle between Catastrophism vs. Gradualism. Learn why we know almost nothing about the true cosmological and geological history of our planet.

#2 – A New Paradigm
Find that there are really two gospels, one spiritual, one temporal. Learn the difference between gospel “mysteries” and “unknowns.” Discover the sweeping scope of this new paradigm and how it impacts our comprehension of the gospel.

#3 – From The Prophet’s Mouth
Learn what Joseph Smith and his contemporaries had to say about the ancient heavens and the Earth, an entirely different take than you were taught in school.

#4 – Ancient History: The Key
See, for the first time, the real cosmological history of our solar system and how that gave rise to the symbols, metaphors, myths and traditions of all cultures, both ancient and modern.

#5 – Archetypes & Motifs
Analyze the characters and the stories that ancient cultures assigned to the planets and plasma displays they saw overhead. See how they gave rise to the sacred and cultural traditions of the past.

#6 – The Crescent & the Pillar
Discover the many symbols that arose from the lighted limb of Saturn anciently and how those symbols were employed in ancient texts as well as scripture.

#7 – The One Story
All the prophets saw the same cosmological elements in vision. So each tells the same story, but from a perspective unique to their culture and era.

#8 – Mars & the Mountain
See how the career of one planet and a plasma discharge gave rise to similar myths and traditions in the past.

#9 – Visions of the Prophets
Examine the visions of Ezekiel, Daniel and John’s Revelation using the planetary/plasma archetypes and motifs. Learn how to read prophecy for yourself.

#10 – Kolob & the Papyri
Learn the correct meaning of Kolob and all the explanations of the Egyptian papyri written by Joseph.

#11 – Temple Symbolism
Learn the application of cosmological history to our modern temple tradition, imagery, ritual and symbolism.

#12 – Adam to Armageddon
Review the timeline of Earth’s cosmological history, from beginning to end. See which events coincided with which prophets. Learn about the event the ancients called the “creation” and how that fits into cosmological history.

#13 – The Grand Sign
See for yourself each of the elements involved in a close planetary encounter. Find out what are the first “signs” of such an event as we might see it firsthand.

#14 – The Electric Universe
Discover the power that lights and organizes the universe, the power of God. See how the electromotive force that governs all things operates in the heavens.

#15 – Thunderbolts of the Gods
See how the ancients pictures the “thunderbolts of the gods.” Learn how they can be reproduced in modern laboratory experiments with plasma.

#16 – Plasmas & Petroglyphs
Find the origin and meaning of ancient rock art using modern plasma physics. See the remarkable one-to-one likeness of images from the laboratory and ancient petroglyphs.

#17 – Images from an Ancient Sky
Discover the prototypes of many ancient archeological sites in modern plasma experiments that duplicate things seen in our ancient skies. See what the ancients saw that inspired sacred sites such as Stonehenge.

#18 – Electricity: Creating Worlds
Discover how electric discharge sculpted the face of all planets, including our own. Learn the mechanism behind the stories of cities and people destroyed by “fire from heaven.”

The Online Classes Have Begun,
And You Are Invited!

I am pleased to announce that the online classes have begun … and you are invited to participate! You will be instructed personally in ancient cosmological history and its application to the restored gospel. I will answer all your questions as they arise.

The course begins with a free, introductory class that covers some basic, fundamental ideas before we get into the heart of the subject matter. This lecture/slide/video presentation, along with all those to follow, will be offered as often as it is requested. You must request a class to attend.

It is strongly recommended that you have an adequate Internet connection. DSL or cable is best. Dial-up is not recommended, as it will certainly cause audio and video losses and a less-than-satisfying classroom experience. The better your connection speed, the happier you will be with the outcome.

Here’s how to sign up for that first, free, class: Send an email (anthonyelarson@gmail.com) stating your interest in participating. Include the day and time you would prefer. Based on your response, I will schedule
a meeting and send you an invitation with instructions for registering. The introductory meeting is free of charge.

After the free startup session, the remainder of the classes will require a $10 fee, paid through Pay Pal with a credit or debit card. Fill out your information there. When you’ve finished, be sure to click on the “finish registration” button at the bottom to continue.

The curriculum for these classes will feature a lengthy course of study on ancient cosmological history and its bearing upon the restored gospel, the visions of the prophets, the imagery found in the scriptures and in our temples. These subjects will be explored in 18, one-hour sessions, just as you would in a college-level course. Each hour of instruction will be immediately followed by a question-and-answer session, just as in a classroom setting.

You are welcome to take the classes in any order you wish, though it is strongly recommended that you follow the suggested order as each builds upon information provided in the prior classes. Also, following the order will avoid the inevitable, perplexing questions that arise in your mind if the proper groundwork is not covered first.

So, there it is. Send me that email today (anthonyelarson@gmail.com) expressing your desire to participate in the first lecture, free of charge. Together, we will experience an adventure in learning and enlightenment.

Internet Classes on Prophecy, Ancient History and the Restored Gospel

This is a university-level course of study into prophecy and ancient cosmological history as they apply to the restored gospel. Learn these things in the comfort and convenience of your own home, sitting at your own computer. (Be sure it has sound so you can hear the lecture.) In a series of 18, one-hour classes, you will be personally instructed by the author and researcher, Anthony E. Larson. Using slides and video clips to demonstrate these amazing and revealing ideas, he will lead you step by step through an adventure of discovery and insight. For a listing of class titles, visit the web page. For more information, send an email.

To see a listing of upcoming classes, visit the hub here. If you don’t see the class you want or the day and time isn’t convenient, simply drop me a note requesting the class you want. Be sure to include the class number, the day and time (Pacific/West Coast US time zone) you prefer. I’ll take care of the scheduling.

Send me an email now! (anthonyelarson@gmail.com)

Visit the HUB now. (www.instantpresenter.com/anthonyelarson)

I hope to see you in class soon!

Anthony E. Larson

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Prophecy for Dummies


In my quest to popularize the advancing science of comparative mythology and plasma physics as they relate to the Restored Gospel, it occurred to me that an analogy derived from the popular “… for Dummies,” series, relating to everything from auto repair to brain surgery, begged for such a nuts-and-bolts approach to prophetic interpretation. The following is the result. – A.E.L.

While we’re definitely not dummies, we all previously thought that one needed a prophetic calling or a PhD in order to interpret prophecy.

But I have found that not to be the case. Anyone who has learned to read—dummies like me and you—can also learn to understand prophecy.

This is done by simply following the clues throughout history, like Hansel and Gretel followed the breadcrumb trail through the forest, tracing the images or metaphors of prophecy to their source in Earth’s ancient heavens. Then, moving forward in time from antiquity to the present, one can map out their use as the prophets consistently employed them in various epochs and in a variety of cultures.

So, reading prophecy is not all that difficult. It’s learning how to understand it that’s a bit hard. That’s because we’ve never been properly schooled in prophetic imagery, a skill once known to all the prophets that has been lost to us over the eons.

And even though Joseph Smith clearly learned that skill, properly employed it and sought to reinstate its imagery in the minds of Latter-day Saints as part of the Restoration, the membership failed to grasp his meaning. (See “The Keys To Prophecy” parts 1 through 12 and “What Joseph Knew.”)

Yes, reading the imagery of prophecy is an acquired skill, just like riding a bike or reading. In fact, the best analogy for learning to read prophecy comes from your own experience as you first began to read.

Think back to when you couldn’t read, before you learned your ABCs. Do you recall what the printed letters on a page looked like? I can. It looked like so much meaningless gobbledygook. There was no way you or I could make sense of it no matter how long we stared at it. Flipping the pages was futile. Trying to find meaning in it was pointless.

Well, that pretty much describes the situation where prophecy is concerned. You can understand the words, but the message is strange gibberish. Try as you might to find meaning in it or make sense of it, you cannot. Instead, your head begins to hurt. Reading various prophecies only further complicates the matter. It all seems to deal in that same bizarre imagery. Even reading books on the subject by supposed ‘authorities’ on prophecy leaves you no closer to reading the stuff. And there are whole chunks of prophecy that they all seem to avoid. Soon you despair, thinking that making sense of prophecy is going to be nearly impossible.

To teach you how to read, the teacher first started with the alphabet and letter recognition. Each letter had a name—A was “aee,” B was “bee,” and so on. And you learned to recognize them and identify them by name. Once you mastered the alphabet, you took your first step toward reading. But you still could not read.

The same is true of prophecy. To understand it, your teacher must take you back to the basics—stars, planets and plasmas. Why stars, planets and plasmas? Well, that’s where the language of prophecy came from. Earth’s ancient heavens were once alive with planets (the ancients called them stars, not planets) and electrified, glowing, lifelike plasma phenomenon. These impressive elements riveted the attention of ancient peoples the world over and sparked an explosion of imagination and imagery in all cultures.

Just like the letters of the alphabet, what the ancients saw in those long ago skies became the building blocks of all religious tradition and culture.

As analyzed elsewhere (See “The Revised Saturn Myth,” “The Saturn Epic: In The Beginning,” “The Saturn Epic: Mythmaking,” “Prophets and Plasmas” and “The Electric Universe”), with a little effort you’ll discover the reasons for believing that Earth’s ancient skies were vastly different than our own today. You’ll learn the objects and images our ancestors saw in the astronomical theater, and we’ll give names to those planets and plasmas. This will be the prophetic equivalent of learning your ABCs.

The next thing our reading teacher did was to show us that each letter had one or more sounds. That further complicated things, but we were told that it would all become clear if we just persevered. So, we went down the now familiar alphabet assigning sounds to each of them. We learned, for example, that the letter C could have an “sss” sound as in “see,” or a “kay” sound as in “cat.” This was further complication and confusion for our struggling young minds.

Those planets and plasmas were overwhelmingly imposing because they were close to the Earth. Unlike today, where planets are little more than bright, distant stars in the sky, these planets and plasmas were very close. They actually appeared larger than the moon does today. Brilliantly lit, dynamic and magnificent in ancient skies, these planets and plasmas were reverenced as gods or primeval powers.

And ancient onlookers assigned distinctive characteristics or personalities to these nearby planets and plasmas, based on their appearance, movements and changes. They were considered gods, supernatural powers that ruled the heavens, their sole habitat. The “theater of the gods,” then, was the ancient firmament overhead. In the cultures of antiquity, these planets and plasmas became human-like or animal-like gods who acted out their epoch stories on that grandiose stage.

Their identities included names, though those names varied from culture to culture. Even within a single culture, the same astral object acquired numerous names as it moved and changed over time. To modern eyes, this riotous nomenclature of ancient gods offers only confusion. To the ancients it made perfect sense since each name identified a unique aspect of their planet or plasma gods.

But the identities and attributes of those gods were strikingly similar in every cultural tradition because the look and behavior of those planets and plasmas was consistently interpreted the same way from culture to culture. This was due to the fact that the appearance and actions of these gods or powers suggested the same characteristics, natures or personalities in the minds of the ancients the world over.

For this reason, the ancients wrote and spoke of them as if they were living beings or creatures, and they so illustrated them in their sacred art. For example, Saturn (the largest of the planets seen in earthly skies) was the “father god” or “creator,” Venus came to be seen as the original “queen of heaven” or “mother goddess” and Mars became her “son,” the “hero” and the “warrior,” among many other designations. And the plasmas that were seen stretching between the planets took on a large number of identities: a connecting sky pillar, celestial tree, world mountain, astral river and ladder, stairway or path to heaven. Such commonalities allow us to identify each of the primary actors by their role in Earth’s ancient heavens and the traditions of mankind, no matter what name they went by in the various ancient cultures.

Returning once again to our reading analogy, we recall that our teacher introduced the notion that stringing several letters together produced a readable word. To read it, we used the sounds we had learned for each letter, and we were encouraged to “sound out” the more difficult words phonetically. And so we began to haltingly read our first words. “Look, Jane. See Dick run. Run, Dick, run.”

This was a bit of a tricky process. Sounding out each letter and then stringing those sounds together didn’t always produce a recognizable word. We soon learned that there were more complex rules that governed the way some groups of letters sounded. The u-g-h in “laugh” or “tough” made an “fff” sound, even though when those three stood alone they said “Ugh!” Still more complexity to master.

The corollary in learning to read prophecy is the realization that prophetic interpretation assigned a number of roles or characteristics to each of the congregate powers in the sky. For example, Venus was not only the mother goddess, she later became Mars’ crown of light, the “hand” of god, the wife of Saturn and ultimately a raging, angry goddess. One plasma conduit, stretching between Mars and Venus, was described as a dragon, beast or monster because it writhed, undulated and twisted like a snake.

And the complexity of these cosmic forms only grows and multiplies as we survey the literature and traditions of ancient cultures. These original forms, prototypes or archetypes became the basis for nearly innumerable traditional and religious narratives, and their perceived behaviors became the stuff of sacred rituals in all ancient cultures.

Mastering the use of these archetypes by understanding their astral origins allows any reader to interpret them wherever they are found: in religious ritual, in narratives such as scripture, in hieroglyphics, monumental architecture, petroglyphs or sacred symbols.

In our reading analogy, we eventually discovered that words could be grouped into sentences to complete a thought. And several sentences comprised a paragraph, a tidy group of thoughts that, when grouped together, made a summary or conveyed a concept.

In prophecy, we learn that a few simple symbols can convey whole narratives. In some cases, only one ideogram or hieroglyph invokes whole paragraphs of text.

Conversely, we learn that scriptural or religious metaphors have symbolic equivalents. This was a two-headed coin. On one side we have the symbol, and on the other we have its metaphoric equivalent. This allowed the ancients, most of whom could neither read nor write, to depict, read or relate a whole story with just a few symbols or a single ritual.

In reading, with practice came proficiency. After years of work, we mastered reading sufficient to extract meaning from any text. We were finally readers.

So, too, with deciphering prophecy. With some dedicated time and effort, we can train ourselves to read prophecy as easily as we read the morning paper.

But that was not all there was to reading. We soon learned that there were other languages. Some even used ideograms instead of an alphabet. That is, just when we think we’ve mastered it all, we discover that there are new horizons to explore.

So it is with prophetic language. Once we master the basics—the archetypes—once we learn the imagery those basics gave rise to, we can “read” any prophetic metaphor or arcane symbol as easily as we read the letters on a written page.

Of course when we reach that level, we discover to our amazement that what we have learned is only the tip of the iceberg. We quickly find that the imagery or language of prophecy is also the key to the vision of all the prophets, not just prophecy per se. And that includes the teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith. We realize, too, that it is the key to temple symbolism and ritual, both in ancient cultures and in the modern church.

We should have guessed that learning to interpret prophecy, like learning to read, would ultimately reveal sweeping vistas of knowledge and understanding beyond anything we could have imagined at the outset of our quest.

I guess we’re not dummies after all.

Living the Nephite Nightmare


An Open Letter to all Latter-day Saints

The Book of Mormon is a prophecy for our time.

This has been my thesis since the mid-1980s, when I wrote Parallel Histories: The Nephites and The Americans. It was written over 20 years ago in response to then church president Ezra Taft Benson’s call to carefully and diligently re-examine the Book of Mormon. It was my effort to comply with his earnest request.

Following Pres. Benson’s cue when he observed that we are the modern counterparts of the ancient Nephites, I explored the thesis that our two cultures were more than superficially similar. They are remarkably alike, in profound and meaningful ways. Because it was apparent that my fellow saints weren’t seeing the things that seemed obvious to me, I felt a book was needed which outlined and elaborated that thesis.

Several articles followed over the years, updating, authenticating and validating that book and its thesis. (See the four part series A Harbinger For Our Time, on my blog.) This monograph will further that approach by demonstrating that America has now crossed the final threshold in our headlong rush to unknowingly duplicate Nephite history in our time.

When comparing the two cultures, as we will do herein, one caveat must be kept foremost in mind: While the two histories are similar, displaying similar conditions and events, the two cultures, Nephite and American, are fundamentally different from one another. The resemblance or similarities may be profoundly significant, but the way events played out in Nephite times is unlikely to be identical to the way events play out in our time.

These differences are important to keep in mind. Don’t expect an exact fit. Theirs was a simpler, agrarian-based society; ours is far more complex, based in a largely industrialized and technology oriented society. Their theater was restricted to a regional one; ours is national and international in scope, with many factors that were nonexistent in Nephite times. Thus, events in the two histories must be compared carefully—allowing that each will unfold in different ways, yet they will display remarkable and significant similarities.

In this monograph, we move beyond the astonishing similarities identified in the original book’s presentation. We move beyond the resemblance of the last Lamanite/Nephite War to our Second World War. We move beyond the postwar economic boom that enriched both nations in their respective eras. We move beyond the identical moral and political corruption that ensued. We look beyond the ideological battles that characterized the campaign of the corrupt judges against Nephi, the son of Helaman and their similarities to the Clinton presidency. We look beyond the Gadianton wars and equivalencies that allowed the accurate prediction that today’s terrorists would become our counterpart to the Nephite’s Gadianton robbers during the Clinton and Bush presidencies.

Now we come to the crux of this monograph, the next major parallel between our two cultures. It is the failed internal struggle the Nephites fought to retain their representative form of government, complete with its freedoms and justice.

The Nephite culture had been governed for generations by a representative form remarkably similar to our own. Mosiah said it best: “Therefore, choose you by the voice of this people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord.

“Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.” (Mosiah 29: 25, 26.)

Mosiah’s observation later proved prophetic in the days of Third Nephi: it is nearly always a minority that wants to venture away from correct principles of governance. The time came, as it always does, when wealth led to pride and a division of Nephite society into classes, “… and some were lifted up unto pride and boastings because of their exceedingly great riches, yea, even unto great persecutions.” (3 Nephi 6:10.)

Social equality dissolved. “And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches … for there were many merchants in the land, and also many lawyers, and many officers. … thus there became a great inequality in all the land.” (Ibid. 6: 12, 11, 14.)

Immediately, the wealthy, ruling class within the Nephite nation decided that they wanted to set aside government by the voice of the people and replace it with a monarchy, which would be indebted, naturally, to those of their elite status: “And they did set at defiance the law and the rights of their country … and to establish a king over the land, that the land should no more be at liberty but should be subject unto kings.” (Ibid. 6:30.)

Something strikingly similar seems to be happening before our very eyes today, though no one is trying to set up a monarchy. They don’t need to. The governing class has seen to it that our presidents will be “elected” from their ranks simply because a man of the people has no chance in the corrupt system set up by our politicians in the last half-century. A ruling class of elites, who have no desire to relinquish power, has infiltrated our two party system. They have set rules that make it nearly impossible to unseat them.
The will of the people is no longer of any concern to them. Progressivism (the newspeak term coined to replace the pejorative moniker, “Liberal”) has come to dominate Washington, with its doctrine that the “experts” from the elite social strata—such as corporate heads (“merchants” in Nephite times), politicians (“lawyers” and “priests” in Nephite times) and government officials (“officers” in Nephite times)—should make decisions for us.

When recent protests, populated by ordinary, mainstream Americans, erupted around this country in order to make their voices heard, those who govern and their media minions angrily derided, denounced and dismissed them as dangerously misguided malcontents. So it was in Nephite times when “those who were angered were chiefly the chief judges, and they who had been high priests and lawyers; yea, all those who were lawyers were angry with those who testified of these things.” (Ibid. 6: 21.)

Third Nephi records how it transpired in his day. “And they [the angry chief judges, high priests and lawyers] did enter into a covenant one with another … to combine against all righteousness.” (Ibid. 6: 28.)

Many in our day have made the same decision. They espouse the philosophy that God should have nothing to do with government, in spite of the fact that the founding fathers made just the opposite affirmation. Today’s ideologues obviously seek to constrain religion in any way possible, insisting that the people not allow it to have any part in the operation of their government, that there should be an impregnable firewall between government and religion so that governance cannot be informed by any religious creed or hegemony. Religion has become the enemy of the Progressives in our day. They make every effort to marginalize and demean people of faith. In effect, those with this secular bent seek to divorce this nation from its religious or sectarian roots, “… to combine against all righteousness.”

The net effect of this initiative among the Nephite cultural elite was clearly manifest. “And they did set at defiance the law and the rights of their country … that the land should no more be at liberty …” (Ibid. 6: 30.)

Something appallingly similar seems to be afoot in our nation today. While politicians give flowery lip service to individual rights, public service and moral rectitude, their personal behavior is often just the opposite. Presidential associates and appointees, for example, are found to hold opinions that are blatantly contrary to constitutional principals and morality, some even openly condemn America and its traditional values. Hypocrisy seems rampant in both political parties. None seem trustworthy any longer.

The good news for us, perhaps, is that the chief judges, high priests and lawyers in Nephite times failed in their endeavor. No Nephite king was enthroned. This bodes well for the outcome of our similar state of affairs. But the net effect of the struggle utterly demolished their government, and it threatens to do so to ours as well.

Will this be our fate? “And the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land.” (3 Nephi 7: 2.)

Yet, there was no warfare: “… there were no wars as yet among them.” (Ibid. 7: 5.) However, what we have certainly feels like a war, a contest of wills for power and supremacy, where the ammunition is words and the casualties are truth and justice.
But “the regulations of the government were destroyed, … and they did cause great contention in the land.” (3 Nephi 7: 7.)

Contention is the order of the day in Washington. Our government seems to be descending into chaos amid an extraordinary level of acrimony and controversy. There is an unprecedented rush to pass questionable legislation, without due deliberation and consideration. No one, including the legislators themselves in some cases, seems to know what provisions legislation contains or what it will cost. Our economy is staggering. Unemployment is rising. Our leaders are sending conflicting messages to us, to our allies and to our enemies.

Our condition bears ominous similarities to that of the Nephites.
“And thus six years had not passed away since the more part of the people had turned from their righteousness, like the dog to his vomit, or like the sow to her wallowing in the mire.” (3 Nephi 7: 8.)

Numerous pundits have commented on how quickly we have turned from our constitutional roots in recent years. We’ve done an about-face almost as quickly as did our Nephite cousins. They united to defeat terrorism, in the form of the Gadianton robbers, in their time. Then, in a handful of years, they tore their nation apart from within.

While the terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers immediately brought us together as a nation, speaking with one voice, subsequent events have moved rapidly to undermine our culture and our government. Like the Nephites, we have gone from united to divided in a few, short years. It seems apparent that if we continue on our present course, our nation will suffer a fate equally grievous to that of the Nephites.

Surely the inclusion of this tragic saga in the Nephite narrative was meant to warn us that we would suffer a similar outcome in our day. Surely, Mormon meant us to clearly see our time in this highly polished Nephite mirror.

Will we, too, live the Nephite nightmare?

This viewpoint, provided by an analysis of Nephite history, allows us to sort out the truth, to see through the subterfuge, confusion and contradiction that dominate our present political discourse. The media, the politicians and the pundits cannot misguide those of us who take the Book of Mormon as our guide. It provides a certain compass we can use to steer a course through the present and coming chaos. It is the “more sure word of prophecy,’ as Peter put it.

Given this perspective, no LDS politician who truly believes the Book of Mormon to be the word of God can, in good conscience, support the present movement away from constitutional principles where “the voice of the people” governs. He or she would have to first dismiss the Book of Mormon as irrelevant to our time. He or she would have to deny the God given rights that Nephite prophets declared were vested in the people. In effect, they would have to ignore the Book of Mormon, the very cornerstone of our religion.

I am well aware that my position will infuriate some Latter-day Saints. So be it. It was so with those who sought to undermine freedom and agency in Nephite times; it will be so now. Those who are so angered thereby betray their perfidy.
At the same time, this discourse will strike a chord of recognition in those who truly embrace the Book of Mormon and the Restored Gospel. They will see the remarkable similarities that mark the two histories, and they will want to do something about it.

So, you may ask, “What can I do?” The answer is both easy and hard.
First, as a believing Mormon, your concept of the sanctity of agency requires that you get involved—“anxiously engaged” is the Lord’s terminology. Of that I am certain.
But what I cannot tell you is ‘what’ you should do. You must make that determination for yourself. All I can add is to suggest you follow the counsel of Pres. Spencer W. Kimball: “Do it … now!”

We Latter-day Saints have not heeded the lessons chiseled in the Nephite record. We failed to take note of a vital part of that sacred witness, meant to warn us of our national folly. The diligence of those ancient prophets, who patiently carved their crucial message on precious plates of gold, the determination of a modern prophet to publish their revelation to the world at all odds and the repeated efforts of recent church leaders counseling us to re-read the Book of Mormon, saying that the church is under condemnation for failure to do so, has been set at naught by our indolence. We have the ignominious misfortune of watching the government of our nation self-destruct before our very eyes, just as did the Nephites, while we scarcely lift a finger to oppose it, let alone rush to save our Constitution. That sacred document has too long hung by a thread while we dally. As a result, the forces of evil and darkness are rapidly moving to grind it under the unforgiving foot of oppression and tyranny.

The time for mincing words is far past. It is time to declare our allegiance—either to God, agency and freedom or to watch our great nation follow those that have preceded us onto the scrapheap of failed nations down through history.

What happens next is too terrible to contemplate. If you care to know the details of what awaits us just around the corner, read 3 Nephi, chapter 8. And don’t think it couldn’t happen to us; every prophet since the beginning of time, including the Savior himself, has predicted our fate. Read it, O Zion, and weep, O Israel. Judgment is now at our doorstep.

Prop 8: A WARNING FROM OUR PAST


Recent political events have focused considerable negative attention on the LDS church, designating Mormons as the primary opponents to same-sex marriage initiatives across the country. Battle lines were drawn in California’s ballot initiative, Proposition 8, restricting the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman, effectively eliminating the right to same-sex marriage.

Due to the church’s stand for traditional marriage in that contest, it has since come under attack by the gay and lesbian community. Since the election, rancorous protests and demonstrations have singled out Mormons. Some of our temples and chapels have been defaced, individual Latter-day Saints have been accosted and the church has been demonized in the media by elements of the secular progressive movement.

Because we are in the forefront of the struggle to prohibit same-sex marriages, the gay community has used that as a rallying point against Mormons, declaring us bigoted and “unfair.” Political pressures are likely to escalate as the gay movement in the country continues to gather allies and strength in its push to achieve legitimacy and legal status.

Reflecting upon these recent events, Latter-day Saints would be well advised to recall another time, in the early days of the church, when such political opposition caused us great harm.

Look at our Nauvoo period. From the outset, the Saints had been well received by Illinois residents. Politicians, especially, were eager to court the Mormon vote, as they have been in our recent history.

The new city soon experienced exceptional growth as the highly successful missionary work in England sent converts by the boatload to the small Illinois settlement. The influx of converts overwhelmed the burgeoning frontier city. Joseph Smith and the Brethren were hard put to find room for all of them. Nauvoo eventually became more populous than Chicago.

Exceptional growth has also been a hallmark of the modern church since the early 1960s when Pres. David O McKay articulated the “every member a missionary” program. Since then, our numbers have grown dramatically from just over 1 million in 1961 to over 13 million or more today.

In 1992, a book entitled The American Religion by Harold Bloom, a literary and religion critic, examined Mormonism’s rapid growth. He wrote:

“The nation will not always be only two percent Mormon. The Saints outlive the rest of us, have more children than all but a few American groups, and convert on a grand scale, both here and abroad. I do not know what figures they project for their increase, in the next generation, but my own guess is that by the year 2020 (when I will not be here), they could well form at least ten percent of our population, and probably rather more than that. Their future is immense … Salt Lake City may yet become the religious capital of the United States.” (The American Religion, p.113.)

As Nauvoo, the beautiful city by the Mississippi, grew, so did tensions between the Saints and their neighbors. History repeated itself. Every time the Prophet and his people established roots—New York, Kirtland, Jackson County and now Nauvoo—they were ultimately despised and rejected by their neighbors.

Of course, every Mormon knows the tragedy at the heart of this story. The tide turned once again. The eventual outcome was the expulsion of the Saints from Illinois.

Could we experience a similar outcome today?

As with the Nauvoo Saints, today’s church has more political influence in the nation than its burgeoning membership would seem to indicate. Bloom recognized that reality. “Mormon financial and political power is exerted in Washington to a degree far beyond what one would expect from one voter in fifty.”

Our current political and financial power, brought to bear in the Prop 8 battle, is partly responsible for our present predicament. By affirming our belief in traditional marriage and putting our financial and political clout behind that doctrinal stance, we’ve once again made ourselves a target.

Like our predecessors in Nauvoo, remarkable growth coupled with our unique doctrinal views has thrust us into the political spotlight. Doctrinal issues certainly played a part in the Mormon expulsion from Nauvoo and would likely have a role in any future clash between Mormons and their neighbors. (An ironic correspondence: The doctrinal flashpoint in the Nauvoo period was polygamy; today, it is the sanctity of traditional marriage.)

Already other rival religious groups in America have labeled Mormonism a “cult,” thus downgrading our status in the eyes of their membership such that persecution of Mormons and our religion becomes more acceptable—even a sacred duty. Thus, Mormons are beneath contempt.

Thus far, sectarian abuse is only verbal and intellectual, but it could easily escalate. Add the in-your-face tactics of the gay community, which is infamous for its confrontational methods, and you have a volatile combination.

Today’s activist factions have taken lessons from the anti-war protestors and civil rights demonstrators of the 1960s and 70s. They’ve carefully observed the success the environmental extremists have had using the courts, beginning in the 1980s. Today’s gay rights activists employ all those lessons learned.

They will not go away, they will persist. The trend is already gaining momentum, in spite of noble opposition. In due time, Americans will be cowed and coerced by these tactics, if history is any indicator. Thus, the time will certainly come when same sex marriage will be given legal status in one state after another, until it becomes accepted nationwide.

What then? Those who oppose them will be branded as bigots and homophobes for wanting to deny civil rights to a segment of the populace. The tide will have turned. Once again, the Saints will see an emboldened movement rise up against us, empowered by law and the crushing authority of the state. It will then be forced upon us, and we will certainly be made to suffer, as did our forebears.

There will certainly be dissentions within the church. Out of fear of persecution, personal harm and reprisals for their beliefs, many will deny the faith. Those who stand firm will see themselves disenfranchised.

This eventuality has menacing implications and stunning echoes of the Nauvoo tragedy. Religious intolerance in that instance went hand-in-hand with political and social intolerance. Indeed, our stance today could consolidate otherwise disparate elements of American society to create an unholy alliance that would then present a united front against us.
Such a confrontation would take the shape and form it took in the Nauvoo period, pitting the church against other American institutions, the Mormons against their fellow Americans.

According to the statements in his book, Bloom believes “the twenty-first century will mark a full-scale return to the wars of religion.” Of course, that is what happened first in Jackson County and then in Nauvoo—a war of religion that cost Mormons dearly.

There are those who might say that such a thing could not happen in a time when such obvious prejudice and bigotry are nearly nonexistent, that the law cannot be perverted as it was over a century ago on the American frontier. But those who so believe ignore the lessons of history, and are thus doomed to repeat its mistakes.

This is the heart of the issue at hand. Today’s members could find themselves faced with a similar predicament to that of the early Saints in Nauvoo. The commonalities between the Nauvoo experience and the present are too significant to be ignored.

© Anthony E. Larson, 2008

Armageddon in the Atomic Age


1,538 words

© Anthony E. Larson, 2002

 Armageddon in the Atomic Age

Try to name all of the changes that the atom bomb and technology brought to our world in the middle of the last century. It certainly changed warfare; even populations far from any battle could be held hostage to annihilation. It changed politics and diplomacy; nuclear capable countries became overnight “superpowers.” It changed science; nothing since Newton’s laws of gravity or Copernicus’ heliocentrism has so profoundly effected our views of the universe.

In reality, it’s hard to find some aspect of our lives that hasn’t changed in one way or another, due to the advent of the atomic age.

In fact, as unlikely as it may seem to the average Latter-day Saint, the atom bomb even changed our view of the scriptures and prophecy. Today’s Mormons, and Christians in general, have a radically different view of scriptural prophecy than their ancestors, thanks largely to the advent of the atomic age.

Historically, from the days of the primitive church up until the restoration, prophesied destructions of the last days such as those uttered by Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Amos, the Apostle John in his Revelation and even the Savior himself were viewed as the acts of an all-powerful God. The pronounced tumult and cataclysm in the heavens and on the earth, predicted to occur prior to the Savior’s second coming, were seen by Christians as the forces of nature responding to the commands of their creator.

The founder of this dispensation, Joseph Smith, also foresaw the calamities of the last days as a series of natural disasters. So, that’s how Mormons saw it, up until the middle of the 20th century.

All that changed the day the first A-bomb was detonated in July 1945. “A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent,” recalled J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the A-bomb, who witnessed the first explosion of an atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert. The awe-inspiring power of that blast reminded Oppenheimer of a line from the Hindu sacred book, the Bhagavad-Gita: “I am become death: the destroyer of worlds.”

Oppenheimer wasn’t the only one to see mankind in a new, world-destroying light. From that point on, Christians began to see the atom bomb as the embodiment of God’s prophesied wrath. From Herbert W. Armstrong’s “World Tomorrow” radio ministry of the 1950s to Hal Lindsay’s book and movie, “The Late, Great Planet Earth” in the late 1960s, Christian ministers began to interpret the fantastic imagery seen in prophecy as immensely powerful super-weapons, nuclear weapons being the cornerstone of their exegesis–Armageddon.

It’s easy to see why. The bomb’s mushroom cloud looked like the pillars of “fire and smoke” envisioned in prophecy, its shockwave became the “blast from heaven,” the soot and ash from its fallout darkened the sky, as in prophecy, and the long, deafening roar and rumble it produced became the “sound of many waters.” Given its remarkable similarity to biblical “fire and brimstone,” and the effects of nuclear radiation exposure from fallout to the “sores, boils, blains, blights and murrains” of prophetic scripture, the A-bomb was seen as the tailor-made fulfillment of prophecy.

What’s more, the 20th century brought with it the development of extremely sophisticated machinery that completely replaced the crude weapons of yesteryear. Thanks to the development of airplanes, missiles and rockets, modern warfare expanded into an entirely new realm: the skies above us. Technology brought us jet airplanes and missiles that “roar upon the tops of the mountains,” tanks and attack helicopters with a “sting like scorpions tails,” and a multitude of other high-tech weapons such as missiles and lasers whose effects seem similar to the extravagant imagery of prophecy.

Then, the space age took man and his technologically advanced weapons into the very heavens themselves. Once the sole venue of God’s prophesied vengeance, the heavens were now mankind’s domain as well. Man could now wield god-like power both on earth and in the heavens.

All this technological development brought about a revolutionary revision in biblical interpretation in Christianity and among Mormons as well. These astounding technical advances and these super-weapons had a profound effect on the thinking of the Christian clergy as they read and interpreted prophecy. A whole new breed of millennialists appeared who saw the fulfillment of latter-day prophecies in the technological advancements of mankind. Religionists now proclaim that man with his super-weapons, not God, will be Apollyon (Abaddon), the destroyer, as noted by the apostle John in his Revelation. Mankind now had the power to single-handedly fulfill all prophecy of the last days and bring about Armageddon all on his own.

In fine, God was no longer necessary to the fulfillment of prophecy. Mankind would now provide all the elements of prophecy: pillars of fire devastating vast expanses and destroying whole populations, a quaking earth ruptured by super-powerful atomic bombs and the roaring of incredibly powerful and lethal flying machines, ashen skies that turned the moon red and darkened the sun, death from virile plagues and toxic poisons unleashed on a hapless world populace in chemical and biological weapons, a “scorched earth” warfare that would leave a vast wasteland in the wake of advancing armies with super weapons.

God could sit on the sidelines, a celestial spectator, while we would bring about the end of the world all on our own. Deus ex homonum!

Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Clearly, the egotism and myopia of modern man had overtaken the proper view of prophecy.

The problem is that this twisted view of prophecy has been allowed to stand. Nearly every Christian – Latter-day Saints included – see the fulfillment of prophecy in these same terms. But it is a badly flawed view that should be corrected. This kind of myopic, egoistic interpretation is easily demolished when we look to the scriptures as accurate, eyewitness accounts of God’s dealings with his children.

For example, no Latter-day Saint in his or her right mind would suggest that the fire and brimstone that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah was really an atomic bomb. Early man had neither the technology nor the knowledge to produce such a weapon. It was destruction from God, not man.

And what about the fire from heaven that consumed Elijah’s sacrifice on Mt. Carmel or the blast that destroyed the Assyrian army of Sennacherib as he lay siege to Jerusalem in the days of Isaiah? Ancient man could not have done that, but God could. Recall that “all the face of the land” was changed in the “tempest,” tumult and “darkness” that overtook the Nephites at the Savior’s crucifixion. Was that their doing? Or was it God’s doing?

Was the Exodus’ “pillar of fire and smoke,” bloody water, darkness, earthquakes or plagues due to some super weapon? Or were these the forces of nature obeying the command of their creator?

Why, then, do we allow descriptions of idential latter-day calamities to suggest the cause is other than God-sent?

There is no hint of a role for man in Joseph Smith’s statement about latter-day destructions, “It is not the design of the Almighty to come upon the earth and crush it and grind it to powder.” 

The crux of this argument is the strikingly similar language used in the scriptures to describe both ancient catastrophes and those prophesied for the future. This logic is a vital key, axiomatic to understanding the scriptures and the fulfillment of prophecy that every Latter-day Saint should internalize: The calamities of the last days, prior to the Second Coming, will see a return of all the catastrophic types of destruction from the past, enumerated in the scriptures. As an example, compare the “miracles” of Exodus and Revelation for yourself.

Otherwise, why would God use the irresistible forces of nature to do his bidding in the past and not in the future, leaving that to the hand of man instead? Isn’t it more logical to assume that the striking similarities between ancient destructions and those prophesied for our future are an indication that they will be of the same nature, kind and source?

While it is true that “there will be wars and rumors of wars,” fought by man, according to Joseph Smith, the true agents of destruction will be the forces of nature, “signs in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, the sun turned into darkness and the moon to blood, earthquakes in divers places, the seas heaving beyond their bounds.”

Mormons were not immune to the distorted view of scripture induced by advanced technology and the atom bomb, but they should have been. Isn’t this what the scriptures mean when they urge us to reject any reliance on the “arm of flesh?”

We Saints have fallen prey to the delusions of our Christian brethren where interpretation of prophecy is concerned because we failed to heed the teachings of the modern prophets, from Joseph Smith to the present, and because we have failed to study the scriptures.

Perhaps it is time we returned to the proper perspective, rather than the distorted view induced by our myopic, egocentric modern views. Perhaps it is time we took man, his puny and fragile devices out of the equation – puny when compared to the forces of nature at God’s command – by recognizing that God alone will fulfill the promises made by the mouths of his holy prophets. Perhaps this should also remind us of just how widespread, devastating and earthshaking the catastrophes of the latter-days will be – far greater by many orders of magnitude than any man-made calamity – when they do come upon us.

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The Golden Question


801 words

© Anthony E. Larson, 2006

 The Golden Question

To see a world in a grain of sand,

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

And eternity in an hour.

Auguries of Innocence, William Blake

 

True insight comes of pursuing a question or an idea beyond the first impression or answer. It requires earnest searching on one’s part, looking deeper than the surface, where most stop, and probing further to discover more than most will see.

Learning means asking questions. Too often in life, as in the classroom, we are satisfied with an immediate response to a question or the most evident outcome of an inquiry. Our curiosity almost never extends beyond what we see on the surface. We almost never pause to look beyond that first blush of information or results, yet it is in just such a probing inquiry that the most valuable wisdom is often found.

This is nowhere more true than in our gospel study. Joseph Smith noted that the most profound revelations of this dispensation, if not all of them, came as answers to questions he took to the Lord.

Perhaps the most explicit example of the profound value in inquiring beyond the superficial is found in the story of Enos from the Book of Mormon.

After praying at length for forgiveness, his petition was granted. “And there came a voice unto me saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.” (Enos 1:5.)

This would be a remarkable moment in anyone’s life. In Enos’ place, most of us would have been more than satisfied with that answer. After all, what more could we want than to have our slate wiped clean? We would leap to our feet, shout for joy and head for home, satisfied that our prayer had been answered.

But not so with Enos; he had an inquiring mind. “And I said: Lord, how is it done?”

This was someone whose curiosity was not easily satisfied. He asked the golden question: How? How is it that such a thing can be done? How does the Lord accomplish such a miracle? The result was that he gained further insight and a blessing that he might never have had otherwise.

This is a model for our own inquiries into the restored gospel.

For example, most of us are content to read how Moses led the Israelites out of bondage through miraculous means without looking further. After all, who could ask for more than to be saved from one’s enemies and certain death by safe passage through the Red Sea? Had we been there, we would have dropped to our knees, kissed the ground, thanked the Lord and went happily on our way.

But that should not be enough. Like the prophets, we ought to ask how it was done, how this or that is possible? Isn’t there more to be known by looking beyond the moment or the miracle, as Blake wrote in the poem quoted above?

Elder James E. Talmage, an early apostle and recognized doctrinal authority in the church wrote, “Miracles cannot be in contravention of natural law, but are wrought through the operation of laws not universally or commonly recognized.” (Jesus the Christ, p. 148.) This truth means that there is nothing mysterious in miracles or in the gospel. We can rightfully look beyond the miraculous as well as the mundane in order to understand the mechanisms or methodologies underlying it.

But which of us does so?

Who among us takes the time to understand why Joseph Smith wanted to obtain those Egyptian papyri so he could study them? Which of us has sought to understand the meaning of his explanations of them as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price? We regard them as mere curiosities, novelties that once captured the interest of a prophet. They seem to hold little of spiritual value, so we pass them by without inquiring further.

Do the symbols on the Nauvoo or Salt Lake temples hold your interest except to notice that they are oddities, seemingly not found elsewhere in the gospel? Do you inquire further as to their possible meaning? Or, do you suppose that the architects placed them there as mere decorative features? Do you ever stop long enough to ask how these relate to the restored gospel?

Even more fundamentally, do you take the scriptures at face value? Do you “search” them and scrutinize them as we have been counseled to do? When asked recently by the Brethren to re-read your Book of Mormon, did your reading raise questions in your mind? If you have Enos’ mindset, it did. If not, you may have missed a glorious opportunity to learn.

It would behoove each of us as believing Latter-day Saints to be more discriminating and inquisitive where the gospel is concerned, to ask questions and seek answers to much of what we take for granted.

If we were to do so, like Enos, we would certainly receive more than the simple blessings for which we typically ask.

The Signs of the Times


1,610 words

© Anthony E. Larson, 2002

 The Signs of the Times

Hoping to confound the Savior by asking him to perform an impossible miracle for a mere man, the Pharisees and the Sadducees of his day asked that “he would shew them a sign from heaven.” His answer was profound – for them and for us – especially when we consider that we live at a time in history that is equally pivotal to the days of Christ’s ministry. Hence, modern Christians, and especially Mormons, who have been given much more knowledge than the rest of the world, would do well to pay special heed to his reply to those early Jews.

“He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring.  O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matthew 16: 2, 3.)

In other words, in the Savior’s mind it should have been as easy to discern the signs of the times as it was to predict the weather. Since predicting the weather has been a popular pastime of the human race since Adam, and continues to preoccupy us even today, the Savior’s recrimination is particularly stinging.

Implied in the Savior’s response was the accusation that the very sign of the times they asked for had already been given; it stood before them in his own person, since he was the promised Messiah they awaited. In effect, he was saying that the answer was as plain as the nose on their face.

Meteorology has come a very long way since the Savior uttered those words approximately 2,000 years ago. We have dramatically improved our ability to prognosticate the weather, thanks to remarkable technological advances. Yet, sadly, the confusion and controversy that seems to abound among modern Christians, and Saints in particular, regarding the signs of our times, betrays a woeful ignorance that may equal that of the contemptible Pharisees and Sadducees.

The implication of the Savior’s reply for us is that we should be able to foresee his second coming as easily as one predicts the weather – that the answer is as plain as the nose on our face.

Yet, the Saints seem to struggle with this issue. More lamentable is the fact that most church members seem to have adopted popular views on the interpretation of prophecy held by most Christians – like those of Hal Lindsay, for example – which are most surely misguided because they lack the inspiration of latter-day prophets from Joseph Smith to the present.

When Latter-day Saints ponder the clues to the Savior’s second advent, they would do well to note that we should be more discerning of his coming than the Jews were, else we risk making a fatal error similar to theirs. We should look to the words of modern prophets for guidance in this matter, not to contemporary Christianity.

Joseph Smith gave us the clue needed to answer the question, but we have systematically ignored it because it seemed extravagant in that it flew in the face of accepted scientific dogma. During a sermon given by the Prophet in the General Conference “convened on the floor of the (Nauvoo) Temple” of April 6th, 1843, he read from Revelation and Hosea, prophecies of the last days. He then said, “The coming of the Son of Man never will be – never can be – till the judgments spoken of for this hour are poured out.” (History of the Church, Vol. 5, p. 336.) That makes clear the subject of this sermon: the second coming; it also sets forth the order of events: first the judgments or natural disasters, then the Savior appears – the same order noted in the Book of Mormon for his coming to the Nephites, which may turn out to be a prophetic model for events yet to occur in our time.

Joseph went on to quote Paul, “Ye are the children of the light, and not of the darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief in the night,” meaning that the Saints should be far more aware of and prepared for the Savior’s coming than the rest of the world. Put in the Savior’s terms, we Saints should be able to discern the signs of the times as readily as we can predict the weather.

The Prophet then went on to explain himself more precisely in an unequivocal statement as to what the signs of the second coming will be so there might be no room for confusion on our part.

“It is not the design of the Almighty to come upon the earth and crush it and grind it to powder, but he will reveal it to His servants the prophets. Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed. It will take some time to rebuild the walls of the city and the temple, &c.; and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance. There will be wars and rumors of wars, signs in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, the sun turned into darkness and the moon to blood, earthquakes in divers places, the seas heaving beyond their bounds; then will appear 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, &c.  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.” (History of the Church, Vol. 5, pp. 336-7; italics added.)

This statement is highly informative as to what we might expect to see occur prior to the second coming.  Most of it is self-explanatory. However, part of it deserves further commentary.

Joseph’s reference to the “grand sign” as a planet or comet is often misconstrued to mean that the sign is not a comet or a planet. However, a careful reading of the text says otherwise. Indeed, the Prophet meant that the world’s assessment would be a correct one, that the sign would, indeed, be “a comet, a planet,” but that the Saints should see it as a “grand sign” – perhaps the same sign referred to in a revelation from the Lord that says, “And immediately there shall appear a great sign in heaven, and all people shall see it together.” (Doctrine & Covenants 88:93.) Joseph’s addendum that the sign would come out of the east “as the light of the morning” reinforces the idea that it will be all three: a planet that looks and behaves as a comet, yet is also a sign from the Creator.

Connected to both the Savior’s statement and that of Joseph Smith is one made by Elder LeGrand Richards in a 1951 General Conference address on the subject of the last days. “The newspapers might announce some great phenomenon in the heavens, misplacement of planets, that have caused consternation, and scientists will have their explanation to make of it, and unless they have faith in the living God, unless as Jesus said, they can read the signs of the time, they may not know anything about what is (actually) going on in the world.” (Conference Report, April, 1951, pp. 40-1; italics added.)

This statement puts a lock on it. Elder Richards specifically refers to the Savior’s statement and alludes to that made by Joseph Smith on the subject of the grand sign, then brings them together in a modern context. Though such pronouncements are admittedly rare, the latter-day prophets are on the record with unmistakably lucid statements as to what the signs of the last days, prior to the second coming, will be. It appears, from the above statements, that a planet-sized body that will look and behave like a comet will threaten us – that is, it will be brilliant, have a great tail and move on an elliptical path that will bring it dangerously close.

These declarations are particularly noteworthy given the recent scientific revelations that cometary impacts, such as that which destroyed the dinosaurs, can cause all the natural disasters listed by Joseph Smith – who directly connects them, and accurately so, to the appearance of the comet/planet/sign – earthquakes all over the world at once (“earthquakes in divers places”), a dust or soot filled atmosphere causing darkness nearly worldwide (“the sun turned into darkness”), tsunamis of epic proportions that will inundate and destroy thousands of miles of coastlines where there are large population concentrations (“the seas heaving beyond their bounds”), a spectacularly illuminated moon (“the moon to blood”) and numerous other catastrophic manifestations in the heavens and here on the earth (“signs in the heavens above and on the earth beneath”). We can surmise that the effects exerted by a planet passing close by the Earth would be even more pronounced than those of a mere comet. Of course, the distance and size of the body would be the determining factors.

Once again, the inspiration and vision of latter-day prophets of God have anticipated scientific discoveries while revealing remarkable truth. Latter-day Saints should no longer be in doubt about this subject nor should they fall victim to the misleading interpretations of prophecy offered by our Christian cousins. We have our own, inspired view, given by revelation, which should allow us to predict the events of the second coming with considerable accuracy – as easily as we predict the weather.

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