Signs of the Times- 2nd Coming

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Steve-o
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Signs of the Times- 2nd Coming

Post by Steve-o » 06 Aug 2014, 07:53

Recently many oldsters in our HP Group were lamenting that the younger generation doesn't feel the same sense of urgency they do in preparing for the 2nd coming. The consensus of the discussion was that the signs of the times all indicate that the 2nd coming is imminent.

My position, which was unpopular, was that we do not know when the 2nd coming will occur and we should all prepare to be ready at a moments notice because when we die, today, tomorrow, 10 years, whatever, we will have our own experience with the Savior. Somehow that wasn't good enough.

My other position was that although many of the signs (which are quite vague) have appeared, there really haven't been any new signs in the past 60 years. I also pointed out that in the early restoration the Saints believed the 2nd coming would happen soon. It's now been 200 years. Since Christ's death Christians have been awaiting his return and expecting it to be soon. That's been 2000 years. Every generation feels like they are living in the last days. They are only correct if "last days"

My question is this. Why is it necessary to believe that we are living in the last of the last days? The signs are inconclusive and its not as if there is any timeline associated with the signs. Why does this matter? The HP were getting quite upset by my lack of concern about the timing of the 2nd coming which timing they admit they don't really know.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Signs of the Times- 2nd Coming

Post by DarkJedi » 06 Aug 2014, 08:17

Yeah, another of those teachings the church has backed off from over the past couple decades - we are in the last days, the chosen generations, etc. Although some of these teachings tend to persist among members (as in the old guys in your HP group), we don't hear the GAs talking about them in the same way anymore. I even know a guy whose father was told in his patriarchal blessing that he would see Christ at his second coming. Dad's been dead 20 years (the apologetic explanation is of course that it didn't say he would do so in this life). It did throw the guy a bit, but he has recovered.

To your question, I think a part of it is entrenched teachings of many years, as noted above, but part of it is the need to instill a sense of the need to obey - good old fashioned guilt and fear that the church seems so good at instilling(the ten virgins and all that). I'm not sure what the whole second coming scenario will be, and don't worry about it, either - I don't think there are any more storms, earthquakes, etc. than there were 200 or 2000 years ago. And I'm even open to the idea that the second coming already occurred. Even Christ said he doesn't know when it will be, so why should we waste our time trying to figure it out when there's plenty to do in the here and now?
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Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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SunbeltRed
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Re: Signs of the Times- 2nd Coming

Post by SunbeltRed » 06 Aug 2014, 08:30

I think there are a lot of things the younger generation aren't as concerned with (which is why I think the next 20 years of the church is going to be very interesting).

I know it has been talked about at our Stake level, this concern with how the younger generation views issues. I can understand their concerns as they approach things from a more Orthodox viewpoint, but their response is to hunker down (thus some of the talks I have been assigned lately).

Roy
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Re: Signs of the Times- 2nd Coming

Post by Roy » 06 Aug 2014, 08:32

It was about a year ago that Elder Packer said that the youth of today should plan their lives, they should go to school, get married, have families, etc. and not expect the second comming to prevent them from achieving their goals.

I find the belief in a literal return to missouri, and the reinstitution of polygamy, and the LDS church rescuing the country and other end times speculation to be particular annoying.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Signs of the Times- 2nd Coming

Post by Curt Sunshine » 06 Aug 2014, 08:33

It's human nature and has existed in most religions (and even among the irreligious) for thousands of years. It's how people, generally, are wired - framing things in battle and destruction terms. Life is calamitous, and humans deal with it, in part, by preparing for worst case scenarios - and religion is no exception. In this case, religion wasn't the catalyst; rather, religion posited a particular answer / coping mechanism for the disasters of normal life.

NOT to turn this into a scientific debate of any kind (seriously, I do NOT want comments about right or wrong to ensue about this), but just look at the global warming / climate change rhetoric: It is every bit as apocalyptic as Second Coming warnings, and those who frame it the most extremely generally aren't doing so from a religious foundation.

I am glad the Church is backing away from openly teaching that the end is near and our generations absolutely will live to see the Second Coming (with Pres. Packer telling the youth, for example, to live their lives as if they will NOT live to see the Second Coming) - but, just like most things, the membership (including leaders at all levels) who grew up with that idea have a hard time letting go of it.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Roy
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Re: Signs of the Times- 2nd Coming

Post by Roy » 06 Aug 2014, 08:43

Ray DeGraw wrote:It's human nature and has existed in most religions (and even among the irreligious) for thousands of years. It's how people, generally, are wired - framing things in battle and destruction terms. Life is calamitous, and humans deal with it, in part, by preparing for worst case scenarios - and religion is no exception. In this case, religion wasn't the catalyst; rather, religion posited a particular answer / coping mechanism for the disasters of normal life.
True Ray! The second coming and being vindicated over our enemies becomes also become so much more important when we are oppressed. The early CDhristians and LDS both faced significant hardship for their religion and that made an immenent apocalypse and millenium more important. It is a natural evolution that as our religion moves from the fringes, the apocalypse becomes less central.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Orson
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Re: Signs of the Times- 2nd Coming

Post by Orson » 06 Aug 2014, 08:56

Yes, this type of talk was something that weighed on my mind pre- faith crisis. I know of patriarchal blessing that clearly talked about living to see specific preparations for the second coming that did not happen (unless you put a severe twist on definitions) and living to see benefits of millennial life. I am happy to see it lose prominence but we all know how old habits die hard.
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nibbler
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Re: Signs of the Times- 2nd Coming

Post by nibbler » 06 Aug 2014, 10:19

I'm not a big fan of lessons centered around the second coming.

1) People tend to look past the good to find the negative in relating events in our day (or in an imagined near future) to the signs of the second coming. To those intent on seeking certain signs the world is a terrible place full of wickedness. Sometimes I wish the signs of the second coming were flowers in people's hair, a decrease in violent crime, an increase in charity, etc. so people would comb the news looking for positive things to validate their faith.

2) Sometimes I feel like discussions on the second coming have a tinge of revenge fantasy mixed in. There's a risk for people to get caught up in what I'll call the "fools mock but they shall mourn" mindset. We've suffered persecution at the hands of the world, but they'll get theirs. Sometimes these types of sentiments are overt other times they are lurking under the surface. I think it's a mistake to look at the second coming as a day when a person's personal idea of justice will finally be doled out.
Steve-o wrote:My question is this. Why is it necessary to believe that we are living in the last of the last days? The signs are inconclusive and its not as if there is any timeline associated with the signs. Why does this matter? The HP were getting quite upset by my lack of concern about the timing of the 2nd coming which timing they admit they don't really know.
It can motivate. Unfortunately talk about the second coming more often than not relies on fear and guilt to motivate.
It’s strange. When I couldn’t find the drop and the plague came, you seemed so far away I would not ever be able to find you again. But I know now that you were here all along, and that nothing, not the Black Death nor seven hundred years, nor death nor things to come nor any other creature could ever separate me from your caring and concern. It was with me every minute.
― Connie Willis , Doomsday Book

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Signs of the Times- 2nd Coming

Post by Curt Sunshine » 06 Aug 2014, 10:40

Sometimes I wish the signs of the second coming were flowers in people's hair, a decrease in violent crime, an increase in charity, etc. so people would comb the news looking for positive things to validate their faith.


:thumbup:
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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cwald
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Re: Signs of the Times- 2nd Coming

Post by cwald » 06 Aug 2014, 11:42

“Our Earth is degenerate in these later days; there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book and the end of the world is evidently approaching.”

~An Assyrian clay tablet dating to 2800 B.C.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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