A friend emailed this morning. She was concerned about the world, politics, and changes she sees occuring in America. She also asked me what I knew about the 7th seal spoken of in Revelations. I have read about it, but don't know a whole lot, so I opened to Revelations and read again. It does sound pretty scary, especially since there aren't too many specific dates listed so you know whether or not now is the time to begin worrying or to get yourself and family prepared. It was a thought provoking hour trying to come up with an answer for her. There are a couple of things I do know, though.
1) D&C 77 is a "question and answer" session with the Lord about some of the things in Revelations. That would be a good place to start if you have questions about it.
2) Matthew 24 and the Joseph Smith Translation are also about the signs of the last days. They, too would help.
3) We know that before the Lord comes again our nation and the constitution are going to hang by a thread. In my mind that means it's going to appear that the inevitable conclusion is that they are going to fall and that means that there's a very good chance that politically, socially, and economically things will be pretty bad. Like most things, there's a chance it will be a gradual decline over decades, with maybe a few spikes, that most people don't notice. Just look at the difference in TV over the last 50 years and that gives you a pretty good idea which way things have been heading for a long time already. Satan generally can't take a people from righteous living and drop a bombshell that will cause the constitution to hang by a thread over night. He can get us to a point over time where the bombshell will be effective, though, and we need to be careful about that. He's working just as hard to make his side win as we are.
4) In those days the ONLY safety and security is going to be found in the gospel. The scriptures say that the saints will be gathered together in Zion and that the wicked will fear and tremble at the sight of it.
5) The Lord promises all over the place in the scriptures that the righteous will be protected. Mosiah 2:41 talks about the happy state of those who keep the commandments. I think that means not only day to day, but also when times get tough, and even afer we die. Another great scripture with respect to both keeping the commandments to be happy every day and to receive protection in the trials of the last days is D&C 64.
See, we aren't just working to keep things at a status quo. We're working to prepare for the day when the Savior will come again and life on earth will be better than we could ever dream it could be. Yes, there are going to be some pretty dreadful things that happen between now and then. Yes, our government and the people in our country are going to have some very difficult times. Yes, it's hard to know it's going to come and wonder if "this is it". That's why it's so important for us to be aware of what's going on, do our part to see that good men and women are elected to serve in government, and that we make our voices heard on the issues. Satan and those following him are certainly going to do so.
The most important thing we can do, though, is take care of ourselves. I don't just mean food and money, though that is part of it and will be important. I mean that the time will come when we all will have to decide where we stand with respect to God and His commandments and the Church. The world is going to go to heck in a hand basket, but we don't have to. The Lord has promised protection and guidance here and exaltation in the world to come if we choose to be humble, obedient and follow Him. No, it's not easy, but it will so be worth it in the end. We also don't have to worry or face it alone. We're all here to help each other through and the Savior will be there to guide, direct, and comfort us as well.
Have you ever really thought about what it means when we say that the Savior stands at the head of the Church and guides and directs what goes on here on earth? It literally means that He is in charge- not some human trying to guess the next step. There isn't one thing that is going to happen that He isn't aware of and that He can't stop if He chooses to. Most of these trials will be to create a people worthy of the Savior and to separate the "wheat" and the "tares". The Lord is going to let us choose where we end up when all is said and done. It's not a popularity contest or random judgement. He's a loving God and will let us go where we will feel and be most comfortable- and that in large measure is chosen in earth life. Do we want to humble ourselves pay the price now to live righteously and have an eternity of happiness, or pay the price later and live with an eternity of regret and sorrow?
President Kimball once said that there is no sorrow in death, only in sin. I think the idea behind that applies to these last days, too. There is no need to worry or fear if we are right with our Father in Heaven. If we're in good standing, it won't matter if the government collapses, nations fight against nation, or disease ravages the earth. We will be ok. We will be safe- at least (and most imprtantly) in the spiritual sense. The physical is temporary by design, anyway. That being said, it's somewhat easy to write all this when we aren't actually living through most of it and I hope that someday my faith is strong enough to carry me through everything that will come. For now, though, I'm just trying to work on the basics and be a little stronger today than I was yesterday. I can say, without a doubt, that Christ is standing at the head, He is directing the affairs of the Chruch and the world in the last days. If we choose to plant ourselves squarely on His side, then let the rest rage around us. We will be where there is safety.