Monday, September 14, 2015

Of Blood Moons and the End of the World

I saw a couple of articles recently with lurid headlines: "'This is the month it will all happen': Some Mormons are cleaning out Utah stores in preparation for a September Doomsday" at the Daily Mail, and "Some Mormons stocking up amid fears that doomsday could come this month" at The Salt Lake Tribune (which, I would note, seems to appeal to that portion of the population in Utah that don't like Mormons, and so attempts to malign Mormons). Initially, I wasn't going to comment on these articles, but after quickly browsing the contents and some comments, I though a few words would be in order.

The "some Mormons" refers to Julie Rowe, who published a couple books--A Greater Tomorrow: My Journey Beyond the Veil and The Time Is Now--which apparently predict that this September (2015) will see a massive financial collapse and/or other disasters. The articles indicate that the author believes that "[a] perfect storm of Bible prophecies, the Hebrew calendar, the stock market jitters, [and] a blood moon" portend a coming Apocalypse this September.

Although I have never previously heard of Rowe, the articles suggest that she has garnished a strong following among some people, providing anecdotes from a few merchants indicating that sales of emergency supplies have greatly increased. (Since we don't have base figures to work from, it is not clear how much of an increase there has been). And the Church, according to the articles, apparently has even taken the somewhat unusual (but not unheard of) step of warning that her views do not reflect the official views of the Church.

I'm not particularly surprised that I have not heard of Rowe or her books. I've noted over the years that there are many "fads" that will sweep a particular ward or region of the Church that might catch the attention of Church leaders, but of which no one knows about elsewhere until some warning or advisory is issued; generally some further restriction on how meetings or activities can be conducted. (It reminds me of some of the rather bizarre warnings you see on product labels--such as "Do Not Dry Your Pet In The Microwave Oven," which immediately makes you realize that at sometime, somewhere, someone actually though they could stick "Fluffy" or "Snowball" in the microwave to dry her off. But I'm wandering off topic).

Getting to the point of my ramblings, though, I noticed certain comments to these articles where the person questions why anyone would want to live after "the Apocalypse" or "Doomsday" or "the End of the World." The Tribune article also quotes a professor of "Mormon studies" (whatever that is) as saying: "But if the end times come with the kinds of disasters and calamities scripture describes, food storage ain't gonna save you."

What is being missed here is that the Biblical disasters leading up the Second Coming do not portend the End of the World (as in, the literal destruction of the body of the planet). They do not even purport to be an extinction level event. There will be many people, all over the world, of many different faiths (and of no faith) that will survive the Tribulation and Second Coming. To the wicked, it will be the end of their physical existence; but not so for everyone else. Even if one-sixth of the world's population dies (a number suggested in Ezekiel), that means that billions of people will remain.

We know that there will be terrible disasters and wars prior to the Second Coming. History shows that such events are generally followed by famine. So, yes, food storage may very well save you (and may come in handy in the meantime with more mundane disasters, such as losing your job, or not being able to get to the store for a few days because of winter storms, a hurricane, or an earthquake). There may be some mopping up at or immediately after the Second Coming since we are told that the wicked will attempt to hide themselves away from the wrath of God. But the point, which seems to often be overlooked, is that there will be a regeneration of the Earth following the Second Coming. The Earth will be a much better place to live. It isn't the end of the world, but the beginning of a better one.

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