Second Coming: 16 Questions about the Last Days and the Coming of Christ

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I’ve listed here a few yes-or-no questions about the last days and Christ’s Second Coming based on Matthew chapter 24 and other scriptures. How many questions would you say deserve a yes?

The yeses are a strong indication of how close we are getting to the actual winding up scene. I’ll let you be your own judge, but I think it’s safe to say were getting really close. What does that mean in terms of days, months, and years? I don’t know. But I do know this: Now is the time to get ready.

  1. Are you hearing of wars and rumors of wars? (Matthew 24:5–6.)
  2. Are there famines, earthquakes, pestilences, tempests, and waves themselves heaving beyond their bounds (tsunamis) in various places? (Matthew 24:7; Doctrine and Covenants 88:89.)
  3. Have false Christs and false prophets appeared, deceiving people, including the very elect? (Matthew 24:5, 11, 23, 24.)
  4. Are the saints hated in all nations for His name’s sake? (Matthew 24:9.)
  5. Are there many who are offended, betraying one another, and hating one another? (Matthew 24:10.)
  6. Does iniquity abound? (Matthew 24:12.)
  7. Has the love of many waxed cold? (Matthew 24:12.)
  8. Has the gospel been preached in all the world as a witness? (Matthew 24:14.)
  9. Has the “abomination of desolation” appeared—the pollution of the holy temple and likely the setting up of an idol therein? (Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11; Matthew 24:15.)
  10. Has a great tribulation appeared, “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time”? (Matthew 24:15.)
  11. Are there signs in the heavens? (Luke 21:11.)
  12. Has the sun been darkened, the moon refused to give her light, and the stars fallen from heaven? (Matthew 24:29).
  13. Has the earth reeled to and fro as a drunken man? (D&C 45:48; 88:87.)
  14. Has the antichrist, the Son of Perdition, been revealed? (2 Thessalonians 2:14.)
  15. Have the angels sounded their trumpets for all the world to hear? (Matthew 24:31.)
  16. Has the sign of the coming of the Son of Man appeared? (Matthew 24:27, 30.)

I give about half of these questions a yes, and believe in my heart that the other half could happen pretty quickly, as a “thief in the night” (2 Peter 3:10; Doctrine and Covenants 45:19).

But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. (Mark 13:32–37.)

Who’s Your Constant Companion?

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We often refer to the Holy Ghost as our  “constant companion” (see Doctrine and Covenants 121:46). But you might also have an unwitting constant companion: Your smartphone.

These two companions have some interesting similarities:

  • They may be constantly with you.
  • You consult them often.
  • You look to them for guidance and direction.
  • They provide answers to pressing questions.
  • You may pay more attention to them than the people around you.

After the priesthood ordinance of confirmation is performed, through devotion, obedience, and spiritual preparation, we can have the Holy Ghost near us day and night. If we pay our monthly bill, we can keep you cell service on.

We can listen for the Spirit’s still small voice by quieting our minds and being attentive to His promptings. Or we may be watching or listening to notifications on our phones, and checking for new posts or email, perhaps constantly

We can lean on the Holy Ghost for guidance and direction during times of spiritual trial, or rather we may be using Google Maps for driving directions when we’re lost, or looking to the Pinterest app for how-to solutions.

After prayer, we may listen for answers to come by the Spirit, or we might take our questions to friends on Facebook or post queries on Quora.

A smartphone might be so distracting that we pay closer attention to it that the people around us. Or we might regard the guidance of the Holy Ghost higher than the opinions of those around us.

One might be a constant companion while the other is only a companion. One is going to win out. But at times, the chatter of our phones and social media can drown out the quiet comfort and peace we seek from a higher source.

I’m not saying we don’t need our phones. I’m saying they may be distracting us from something better.

Ordinary

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for Cristi

Past winters, she was
a solitary stick,
heckled by wind
and a jumble of
unwelcome weather.

But she bewildered the
misguided opposition
(and even herself) with
a dazzling testament
to a hidden & beautifully
unapparent life.

Michael James Fitzgerald

One Pushup, One Sit-up, and One Jumping Jack

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I heard a story from colleague at work a few weeks ago about a 80-year-old man who was in great physical condition. Do those two go together?

When asked about his secret, he answered that when he was a young man, he set a goal to do only one pushup, sit-up, and jumping jack every day of his life.

Only one? Yes, one. Couldn’t he do more? Of course he could. But that wasn’t his goal. He was going for, shall we say, a lifetime of continuity. And a streak of success.

“. . . By small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” (Alma 37:6.)

His goal was one. He knew he could achieve it under almost any circumstance. What was to keep him from exceeding his goal after he reached it? Nothing.

Let’s estimate he was 20 years old when he first set his goal. By the time he turned 80, he would have done 21,900 pushups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks, at a minimum. I am sure he did far more.

Wow. Here’s to small and simple things!  🎉

Nothing in Nature Lives for Itself

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I heard this quote in sacrament meeting today. I’ve never heard it before and never thought of nature quite this way before. I love this quote.

Nothing in nature lives for itself. Rivers don’t drink their own water. Trees don’t eat their own fruit. Sun doesn’t give heat for itself. Flowers don’t spread fragrance for themselves. Living for others is the rule of nature. And therein lies the secret of life. —Amit Gupta

It reminds me of this verse from the New Testament:

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:18.)

Smartphone-less: Two Months Later

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I sold my smartphone in May and replaced it with a rather feature-less “feature” phone. (I wrote about why I did this recently.) It’s been a bit of an adventure to step away from technology and into the trackless quiet of the heart.

Yes, smartphones are very convenient devices, and I look forward to getting another one soon, but for right now, it’s all about the quiet. And being a better listener, being more attentive to others and my surroundings, being more in tune with nature and the Infinite. That’s the key for me.

I don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong with smartphones, unless it demands too much of your attention and you yield to its demands. That was my problem.

I have lost my “phone reflex” simply because I don’t have one. The phone reflex is that moment when you might have a thought to yourself and you look at your phone instead, looking for the answer to the  question,, “What’s new?” or “Why did my phone just vibrate?” and “Why hasn’t Sammy texted me back? WHY?”

I can’t really express what a relief it is to not be “on” red alert 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

According to BusinessInsider, we touch our phones 2,500 and 5,400 times per day. This can’t be good.

It sometimes seems as if our phones function like an extra limb on our bodies. Now, research demonstrates exactly how attached to the devices we really are. The typical cellphone user touches his or her phone 2,617 time every day, according to a study by research firm Dscout. But that’s just the average user: The study found that extreme cellphone users — meaning the top 10% — touch their phones more than 5,400 times daily. (Emphasis added.)

That’s really a lot, more than I thought. How much time does all that touching consume? About 1/4 of our waking hours or over 4 hours per day, according to Hackernoon.

I am not saying that all that time on our, ahem, your phones is bad. I don’t believe that, but if you have lost control, if your phone is dominating your life, to the alienation of loved ones or even strangers on the train who want to exchange a few words with you, it has gone too far.

I couldn’t manage it—my compulsivity, that is—so I had to quit cold turkey (and I am so glad I did). I plan to get a new smartphone in the next few months, but if I can’t abide my own rules, I have promised myself that I won’t keep it. That’s the deal.