In the last days, our days, darkness will prevail on the earth and all flesh will become corrupt, in spite of technological advances and an explosion of information. Just when knowledge and information flourish, so does self-deception and unbelief through the universal sin of pride. Doesn’t this contrast seem strange? It’s like we’re starving to death while standing in the middle of a fully stocked grocery store.
To me, the best way to explain this contradiction was given by Jesus Himself when, one night in or near Jerusalem, He had a conversation with a Jewish leader named Nicodemus:
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (John 3:19, 20; emphasis added.)
Jesus lays out the issue straightforwardly: men prefer darkness over light and they don’t want to come to the light for fear that they’ll be found out. Hence, darkness prevails.
According to the scriptures, it’s going to get worse before it gets better, though individual results may vary.
This darkness will be put to flight by the remarkable appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ when, like a whirlwind, vengeance, wrath, and desolation will descend upon all the face of the earth.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people [see Isaiah 60:2], and all flesh has become corrupt before my face. Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord. And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; first among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord. (D&C 112:23–26; emphasis added.)
The interesting point is, this wrath and desolation will begin at the house of God, meaning, I believe, the household of God or His Church. Peter strengthens this assertion by offering this prophesy in his first epistle:
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17; emphasis added.)
Sadly, it appears that the long-prophesied judgment and destruction will “first begin at us,” most likely among the hypocrites “in the midst of [His] house” (D&C 112:26). And who can claim to not be a hypocrite? Aren’t we all, at least to some degree? Gulp.
Takeaways? I don’t really know what all this means or how it will happen, but I believe from the context that something will happen before or perhaps at Christ’s coming to those in His church who are not living the gospel as they should live it, who may perhaps be socially attached but without being spiritually attached to their faith, who are covering their sins, lest they be reproved (see John 3:20).
We’ve got some work to do. I certainly do.
To me, several signs that herald this are (1) when members of Christ’s church persist in serious and secret transgression and don’t rely on the Atonement of Christ daily, (2) when they persecute other members of His Church for living the gospel more circumspectly than they do themselves—internal persecution—and (3) when members of the Church rise up against the prophets because of what I call “social righteousness.”
That’s my view. It’s a limited view to be sure. But I see these things happening before my eyes. I’m sure you do too. We’re going to see more and more of this. On the other hand, we’ll also see faithful saints endure these trials and become closer to the Lord because of them.