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A Voice of Warning

Latter-day Saints have a strong apocalyptic tradition. The Doctrine and Covenants teaches that God has raised up Joseph Smith and other prophetic voices in modern times in hope of averting the calamities that human beings are bringing upon themselves (D&C 1:17-18; 5:5, 19). Apocalyptic prophecies about war, famine, and natural disaster are frighteningly literal in an age of weapons of mass destruction and environmental devastation. Latter-day Saints are charged to raise a “voice of warning” (D&C 1:4), urging individuals and nations to change their ways and thus escape self-destruction. Spencer W. Kimball and Hugh Nibley have been among the boldest prophetic voices of this kind in recent LDS history.

With its affirmation of modern prophecy, Mormonism extends the biblical prophetic tradition into the 21st century. The scriptures of the Restoration echo prophets such as Isaiah, Micah, and John the Baptist in denouncing injustice and looking forward to a future when all people will live in peace with each other and in harmony with creation (2 Ne. 13:15; 15:7; 21:1-9). Part of the prophets' millennial vision is the promise that God's power will overthrow oppression. Such promises have been especially significant to Latter-day Saints because of their own history of persecution (3 Ne. 22:14; D&C 127:3).

Related Topics:
The Second Coming    

Charles W. Penrose: Now the Lord will be still nearer to us if we practice our religion and be Saints in very deed; and our own eyes will be open to discern the work of God among the nations. We have already begun to comprehend the purposes of the Almighty. God's hand is over all, and he will smite down the oppressor and break every yoke. He will destroy the tyranny that still exists in the world . . . and the work of God will roll forth . . .
Journal of Discourses 20:298-99

David O. McKay: We must face the fact that we are in a changing world, and that the destruction of present-day civilization is a possibility. . . . The paramount need in the world today is a clearer understanding by human beings of moral and spiritual values, and a desire and determination to attain them. Never before in the history of the world has there been such a need of spiritual awakening. Unless there is such an awakening, there is danger of catastrophe among the nations of the world.

Conference Report, October 1953, 8-9

Spencer W. Kimball: Modern prophets are warning frequently and constantly that people are being destroyed by their own acts. . . . The outlook is bleak, but the impending tragedy can be averted. Nations, like individuals, must "repent or suffer."

Miracle of Forgiveness (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969)

Spencer W. Kimball: We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan's counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior's teaching: Love your enemies. . . . Our assignment is affirmative: to forsake the things of the world as ends in themselves; to leave off idolatry and press forward in faith; to carry the gospel to our enemies, that they might no longer be our enemies.

"The False Gods We Worship," Ensign, June 1976, 6

Hugh Nibley: At the present time the political dialogue throughout the world has deteriorated catastrophically. In most countries it has degenerated into such mechanical and stereotyped forms that it is no longer profitable or meaningful—it is no longer a dialogue at all. If you are a private citizen you just do not "discuss" things with colonels, commissars, or corporations— you do what they tell you to do or at best manipulate you into doing. . . . Where do we go from here? We . . . have at last reached that point of no return which heralds the last of the last days.

Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless (Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1978), 293

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