Last Days Prophecy

When I teach about prophecy of the last days, I have learned to take a very optimistic perspective. I believe in the "Jonah Principle," the idea that some prophecy is very conditional and its purpose is to cause us to change our behavior so that the prophecy actually doesn’t come true.  It’s a pretty interesting thing to contemplate, that a certain prophecy only exists to motivate us to do the things that will change our trajectory so the prophecy doesn’t need to happen. Click here to read more about the Jonah Principle.

I teach that the Constitution is inspired, that God gave us our form of government and that when we finally learn how to practice it the way He intended, other nations will become convinced of the grandeur of our form of government "and be constrained to adopt similar governmental systems, thus to fulfill the ancient prophecy of Isaiah that ‘out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem'" (Idaho Falls Temple Dedicatory Prayer).

Members of the Church often protest and say that our government is doomed and that the Constitution will not spread around the globe because the Doctrine & Covenants prophesies of "a full end of all nations."

D&C 87:6

And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations;

This scripture seems to conflict with statements and prophecies I have read elsewhere, so I decided to look up the scripture in the Citation Index. Here is an incredible talk I found discussing this very scripture:

Marion G. Romney

God Has Revealed the Remedy

And so, pursuant to this charge, we do declare that more than a century ago God our Eternal Father, knowing where the course of men was leading, opened the heavens and gave warning. He not only confirmed the drift; he pointed out the reason for it. He revealed also the remedy for it. He further predicted the awful consequences of a failure to follow that remedy.

And finally, he gave assurance that righteousness, peace, and happiness will ultimately prevail among the inhabitants of the earth.
… (D&C 87:1-2,6)…

That the Lord’s purpose in revealing these unhappy impending calamities was not to condemn but to save mankind is evidenced by the fact that with the warning he identified the cause and revealed the means by which the calamities may be turned aside.

… To me the foregoing statements clearly reveal the fact that if men do not humble themselves and cease relying solely upon their own wisdom, if they do not turn and seek the Lord to establish his righteousness, they will implement the "decreed . . . end of all nations.”

Backwardness Can Be Reversed

If enough people will accept and live it, the troubles of the world will fade away as the hoarfrost before the burning rays of the rising sun. Our going forward backwards will be reversed, and the anxieties of our "affluent society" will diminish and cease.

Otherwise, a Desolating Scourge

And what if enough people do not accept the remedy? Well, in such event the inhabitants of the earth will suffer the consequences of their disobedience

…Our choice, then, is clear. Men, in the exercise of their God-given free agency, will make—in fact, they are now making day by day—the decision.

Such, in brief and inadequate outline, is the message which we, the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are under divine charge to declare to the world. For as the Lord told his prophets in dispensations past, so he told his modern Prophet, Joseph Smith, that the revelations which had been given to him were not for the sake of himself and his associates only, but were for the sake of the whole world.

…In conclusion, let me say that the message we declare includes the glorious assurance that in the end righteousness, peace, and happiness will come to the inhabitants of the earth. Whether after the destruction foreshadowed or as a result of repentance, men return to his ordinances, abide by his everlasting covenant, and "seek the Lord to establish his righteousness" D&C 1:16 remains to be seen.

(The Way to Peace Revealed, General Conference, April 1965)

In other words, this is in fact a conditional prophecy subject to the Jonah Principle. It doesn’t have to happen the way the scripture describes. We get to make that choice. Now, we could argue about which way it is more likely to go based on current trends, but that is largely speculative and subjective and based purely on individual conjecture.

I propose we don’t lose by default by assuming we will travel the absolute worst possible road and therefore giving up on our own potential. Let’s beat the odds and reverse the tide. Let’s use our agency to make the decision to not need apocalyptic destruction to motivate us to finally repent.

Keep an eye out for my coming posts called "Conditional vs Absolute Prophecy" and "This Nation Shall Endure."