I had an interesting discussion with my wife this morning. The conversation was spurred on by news about the challenges of our day. Many have heard about the disparaging obituary for President Thomas S. Monson written by the New York Times. I have not read it. I never will. I am disappointed that a news outlet as prestigious as the Times would get an obituary wrong for one of the greatest men to ever grace this planet. News reporting today can be both confusing and misleading.
Then as I grabbed my phone, I saw a message from my aunt. She shared an article about Pepsi removing the words “under God” on cans showing the Empire State Building and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Little, trivial things? Perhaps. But I think they foretell of greater complications. We all know about the wickedness that seems to blanket the earth with its demeaning and often addictive consequences. Daily we hear of serious problems, tragic circumstances and conflict, government dishonesty, and sorrow, pain, and suffering. Things have not always been like this. I realize that wickedness has been exhibited since the very beginning of time, but its impact, effect, and acceleration are unique to our day. Should that scare, worry, or depress you? Absolutely not! The scriptures have testified of the proliferation of the adversary’s efforts in the last days. As a result of this hastening, we know that the Second Coming of the Savior Jesus Christ is near—even at the doors.
38 Now learn a parable of the fig tree—When its branches are yet tender, and it begins to put forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh at hand;
39 So likewise, mine elect, when they shall see all these things, they shall know that he is near, even at the doors;
I remember when the internet made its debut. It was an exciting time, and though the web of the 1980s was not the same as that of today, it was nevertheless cutting-edge in those days. But there were also concerns. You may not remember, but no one would use his credit card online. It was not safe to do so, and the technologies to protect and safeguard us were not yet in place. Pornography, moral filth, and unsavory content were available then as well, and these things have only escalated to an even more astonishing level today. It can seem overwhelming.
But good, upright, and worthwhile things fill the internet as well. Just like in life, we can pretty much find whatever we look for. If it is our choice to seek the good and noble, we will obtain it. On the other hand, if our decision is to entertain evil, waste time, and pursue the unsightly, that is exactly what we will get. The internet is simply a tool and is neither good nor bad in and of itself. What we decide to do online makes the web either a resource for good or a vice for evil and slothful addictions.
My son served a mission. It was a great experience for the whole family. We missed him badly, though we knew it was the best thing for him to do. When time came for his return, our excitement and anticipation soared.
We all have vacations or promotions or good moves that we look forward to making. Some anticipate completing college, passing the bar, or finally being accepted into medical school. These are significant events which we anticipate with great fervor.
Similarly, the Second Coming is something to which we can look forward. Indeed, I believe that is the intended reaction.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks remarked,
“The scriptures are rich in references to the Second Coming, an event eagerly awaited by the righteous and dreaded or denied by the wicked. The faithful of all ages have pondered the sequence and meaning of the many events prophesied to precede and follow this hinge point of history” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Preparation for the Second Coming,” April 2004).
Elder Oaks teaches that four matters are indisputable to Latter-day Saints:
1. The Savior will return to the earth in power and great glory to reign personally during a millennium of righteousness and peace.
2. At the time of His coming there will be a destruction of the wicked and a resurrection of the righteous.
3. No one knows the time of His coming.
4. The faithful are taught to study the signs of the Second Coming and to be prepared for it.
Many await the Second Coming and eagerly anticipate the return of the Savior Jesus Christ to the earth. He will save us from the difficulty and hardship of this life and fulfill a millennia of prophesy. Particularly when the going gets rough, we can find hope in His Second Coming, though longing for that day may not be our natural response. I believe the Savior intended for us to look forward to His return. Similarly, the Nephites of years long past anxiously awaited the first coming of the Son of God.
What I have seen in my lifetime is astounding. The extent of the development and explosion of technology is unfathomable and surprising, if not entirely unexpected. When I was in high school, my interests included sports and many of the typical classes young people pursue. But I also focused on business, because I thought that strategy would prove valuable later on.
So what was technology like back then? The most amazing technology was electric typewriters and calculators. Other instruments were machinery: manual typewriters, 72-key adding machines, and many other business machines. And these were amazing and appreciated at the time.
It only got better with new developments. 8-track tapes were a marvelous invention because we could take our tunes on the road, but then they gave way to cassette tapes. You see, 8-track tapes could not be rewound—they were one continuous loop. To repeat a favorite tune, one had to listen to the entire tape. So cassettes were smaller, faster, and could be both rewound and fast-forwarded… Cool! But then came VHS tapes and VCRs. Amazing. Now we could watch, hear, and record movement, images, and audio. Life was really getting good. Little did we know that the sound was not that good, because we were used to cassette tapes.
Newer technologies kept coming. Now if you are a millennial, we are finally to your generation. The first time I actually heard a CD occurred when I was working at the Wilkinson Center, and we thought they were having a concert in the Cougar Eat. Only live bands sounded that good with incredible acoustics, base, and power, right? No. It was actually a CD played in a jukebox, and we were impressed. Then DVDs came along. And we haven’t even mentioned computers! They evolved all on their own. For example, a typical thumb drive today is thousands of times bigger than the first hard drive I put in my computer back in the 1980s.
The point is that I work in this field of technology every day, but even then, my attempt to stay current with the cutting-edge technologies of our day is challenging because they are prolific and always changing. Because of that, it is difficult—nigh impossible—to stay abreast of them all.
In a similar way, the growth and development of the Kingdom of God on earth is increasing like the explosion of technology. Does that sound unbelievable? It’s not. While the Church reports its growth and statistics, it remains relatively discreet and reserved about its amazing influence for good. Timid? No. Cowardly? Not at all. Humble and dedicated? Absolutely.
So what is the Church saying about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ? A brief summary follows. To read more, see the Second Coming of Jesus Christ on ChurchofJesusChrist.org from which the following excerpt was taken:
As Jesus Christ ascended into heaven at the completion of His mortal ministry, two angels declared to His Apostles, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Since that time, believers have looked forward to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
When the Savior comes again, He will come in power and glory to claim the earth as His kingdom. His Second Coming will mark the beginning of the Millennium.
The Second Coming will be a fearful, mournful time for the wicked, but it will be a day of peace for the righteous. The Lord declared:
“They that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.
“And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.
“For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver” (D&C 45:57–59).
The Lord has not revealed exactly when He will come again: “The hour and the day no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor shall they know until he comes” (D&C 49:7). But He has revealed to His prophets the events and signs that will precede His Second Coming.
The righteous need not fear the Second Coming or the signs that precede it. The Savior’s words to His disciples apply to all who prepare for His coming and who look forward to it with joy:
“Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled” (D&C 45:35).
This is an example of the detail that is available and prophetic in its content, but it’s just a small sampling. The scriptures have prophesied His coming for thousands of years. The faithful await His return.
So much more is available to the discerning pupil.
We need not fear His coming.
I can’t wait.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.