Sunday, March 8, 2009

Impending Earth-Shattering Calamity?

I usually don’t peruse non-LDS blogs, but this one caught my attention – mainly because it was a featured article on the DrudgeReport. Apparently, David Wilkerson, a respected pastor and founder of a Christian ministry to New York City teens, has recently predicted an imminent "earth-shattering calamity" centered in New York City. He describes this in more detail on his personal blog.

Wilkerson warns that this calamity, which will be so frightening that "we are all going to tremble – even the godliest among us," will spread to major urban areas across the country and around the world – part of what he sees as a judgment from God.

"It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires – such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago. There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting – including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God’s wrath. In Psalm 11 it is written, 'If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?'"

While I feign to espouse Wilkerson’s thoughts completely, his words do remind me of a statement made by Wilford Woodruff who addressed a conference in Logan, Utah, on 22 August 1863. Speaking directly to the youth in attendance, he declared:

"Now, my young friends, I wish you to remember these scenes you are witnessing during the visit of President Young and his brethren. Yea, my young friends, treasure up the teachings and sayings of these prophets and apostles as precious treasure while they are living men, and do not wait until they are dead. A few days and President Young and his brethren, the prophets and apostles and Brothers Benson and Maughn, will be in the spirit world. You should never forget this visitation. You are to become men and women, fathers and mothers; yea, the day will come, after your fathers, and these prophets and apostles are dead, you will have the privilege of going into the towers of a glorious Temple built unto the name of the Most High (pointing in the direction of the bench), east of us upon the Logan bench; and while you stand in the towers of the Temple and your eyes survey this glorious valley filled with cities and villages, occupied by tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints, you will then call to mind this visitation of President Young and his company. You will say: That was in the days when Presidents Benson and Maughn presided over us; that was before New York was destroyed by an earthquake; it was before Boston was swept into the sea, by the sea heaving itself beyond its bounds; it was before Albany was destroyed by fire; yea, at that time you will remember the scenes of this day. Treasure them up and forget them not."

President Young followed and said: "What Brother Woodruff has said is revelation and will be fulfilled." (In Lundwall, Temples of the Most High, pp. 97-98.)

Elder Woodruff’s talk was based, at least in part, on D&C 84:114 which says: “Nevertheless, let the bishop go unto the city of New York, also to the city of Albany, and also to the city of Boston, and warn the people of those cities with the sound of the gospel, with a loud voice, of the desolation and utter abolishment which await them if they do reject these things.” Shortly after this revelation was received, the Prophet Joseph Smith accompanied Bishop Newel K. Whitney on a hurried journey to Albany, New York City, and Boston.

While in New York City the Prophet wrote Emma a few of his thoughts upon seeing the great city. Joseph noted the great buildings and material achievements of the city for which he said the Lord could not be displeased: "only aganst man is the anger of the Lord Kindled because they Give him not the Glory." He warned that "their iniquites shall visited upon their heads and their works shall be burned up with unquenchable fire." Joseph found repulsive the worldliness he saw beneath the surface: "nothing but the dress of the people makes them look fair and butiful all is deformity their is something in every countinance that is disagreable with few exceptions." Nevertheless, he refused to condemn these people prematurely, saying, "When I reflect upon this great city like Ninevah not desearning their right hand from their left yea more than two hundred souls my bowels is filled with compasion towards them and I am determined to lift up my voice in this City and leave the Event with God." (The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, pp. 252-253)

The Prophet wrote that in 1832. I wonder what he would say about New York City today. . .

I believe we have already reached the point of impending destruction as we learned from President Woodruff: “Wickedness and abominations of every kind have increased a hundredfold within the last few years, until the whole earth is filled with murders, whoredoms, blasphemies and every crime in the Black Catalogue that was manifest in the antediluvian world or Sodom and Gomorrah . . . the heavens weep and all eternity is pained and the angels are waiting the great command to go forth and reap down the earth. This testimony I bare to all nations under heaven and I know it is true by the inspirations of the Almighty God.” (Epistle of Wilford Woodruff, Millennial Star, April 21, 1879.)

The angels spoken of by President Woodruff are the same four destroying angels seen by John in his Revelation. See Rev. 7:1.

Fifteen years later, in reference to D&C 86:5, he spoke these somber words: “God has held the angels of destruction for many years, lest they should reap down the wheat with the tares. But I want to tell you now that those angels have left the portals of heaven and they stand over this people and this nation now . . . . And from this very day shall they be poured out.” (President Wilford Woodfruff, Temple Workers Excursion Salt Lake City Tabernacle Sunday, June 24 1894.)

I would like to hear your thoughts on whether you think something (i.e., a catastrophe, pandemic, etc.) will strike our nation. If so, when do you believe this will occur? Do you believe there are things that still need to come to pass before we have our “destruction made sure”? Do you think this economic crisis has anything to do with it?


Anthony E. Larson said...

Two thoughts:

One: Why give credence to sectarian ministers? Why give credence to anyone but a prophet of God? These people represent that group of churches that God told Joseph Smith to avoid. Why shouldn't we? We wouldn't listen to their doctrine on baptism or the godhead, so why pay any attention to their ramblings about the last days? This sort of thinking makes no sense to me.

Two: The destructions spoken of by latter-day prophets in no way resemble those this pastor predicts. Making such a comparison is disingenuous. In the 84th Section, specifically, the Lord says that the destructions you reference will come from "the starry heavens." Pres. Woodruff's references to natural calamaties to befall East Coast cities such as New York are referenced in that same revelation as a "desolation of abomination," and it has the same hallmarks as those caused by Joseph Smith's "grand sign" that the world will call a comet or a planet.

A thorough acquaintance with the causes and effects of planetary catastrophes, taught by Joseph Smith and his successors, is vital to understanding prophecy of the Last Days. I suggest you concentrate your efforts there rather than giving any credence to the ramblings of an imposter.

Russ said...

Anthony is right. We should pay attention to the words of the prophets and not worry to much about the sectarian world. I personally am more concerned about the lack of preparation in our church for famine and drought. Get your food storage in order and get out of debt!
Besides, we all know we will be destroyed by giant sea monkeys that will arise from the pacific ocean. ;)

Jeremy said...

Anthony & Russ, my post was not to "give credence to sectarian ministers," as that was clearly not my intent. As I stated in the post, I don't usually visit non-LDS blogs, but I frequently read the stories posted on The DrudgeReport. The teaser of Wilkerson's article posted on Drudge piqued my interest. Moreover, I clearly stated that "I feign to espouse Wilkerson's thoughts completely."

After reading Wilkerson's thoughts, however, a few early LDS prophecies came to mind. Whether these prophecies mirror what Wilkerson believes (or anyone for that matter), it matters not...for a general destruction has been prophesied by both parties.

The point of the post is centered not only in the words of the prophets, but in the questions of the last paragraph. If a destruction has been prophesied (regardless of who said it) when and how do you think this will come about? Does the current economic crisis have anything to do with it?

I invite your comments on this, Anthony, as I have read much on your blog and consider your views quite persuasive.

Nate said...

I hope the economic crisis doesn't have anything to do with it...because if it does, I imagine it will get a lot worse.

I haven't given this a lot of thought, but it would make sense that destruction happens over a period of time (i.e. not instantaneous).

Now clearly a flooding/burning city will be a quick event, but if this people in general were going to be swept off the would probably be more gradual. This would take a compilation of events. Disasters, sickness, economy, etc.

Your post makes me want to give the destruction of the Nephites and Jaredites a second look (with the present situation in mind) to see how long it took, whether you can determine if it was war alone, or whether it was a compilation of events.

Also, while I agree with a lot of what Anthony and Russ said regarding the primacy of prophets...I wouldn't ignore the sectarian world. While I'm not totally on the global warming bandwagon, you do have to admit that predictions of sea level rises, etc., are interesting in the context of prophetic warning. Wasn't it Brigham Young that said all truth (including science) is part of the gospel? (I think it was something like that...too lazy to look it up)

And yes I see the difference between science and this pastor...but a pastor could correctly interpret a sign of the times. I wouldn't throw his words away because he's a pastor (although there are lots of other reasons I might).

Anthony E. Larson said...


Point taken. But my remarks were meant to point to the true nature of prophecied events. I see them fall into two categories: run-of-the-mill calamaties such a floods, droughts, economic chaos, plagues, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. These all have in common their origins in earth-instigated forces or the perfidy of Man. They are 'internal' events, have always been with us and always will.I would say Wilkerson's predictions fall in this first category.

In the second category are the benchmark catastrophes of the Last Days, foreseen by all the prophets. They are very different from those such as Wilkerson listed.

The truly preparatory calamaties find their cause in one, exogenous or 'exteral' source: astral objects of planetary size. This is the great truth that all the prophets, including our Joseph Smith, knew. Hence his statement about the last, great sign being called "a comet, a planet" by scientists. If you don't believe that or haven't been introduced to this notion heretofore, I strongly suggest you read my monograph, "A Knowledge of the Stars" to learn just how many of the early Brethren attributed that opinion to the Prophet.

That is the HOW you asked about. WHEN is a subject I won't touch with a ten-foot pole. That way lies error and disillusionment, as Joseph's contemporary and another minister, William Miller, the founder of Adventism, learned by sad experience. Joseph categorically stated that any predictions that did not take into account the astral sign were doomed to failure. That is, the offending planet is the single cause of a multitude of natural catastrophes: anomalous lithic, hydrologic and atmospheric phenomenon, greatly magnified boreal, electrical manifestations and a plethora of other events on the earth and in the heavens above--things that haven't been seen by the eye of Mankind since before the time of Christ.

So I see any current crisis, economic or otherwise, as another of the common events that mark all history. When these calamities come upon us without the appearance of a planetary body in the heavens, we can be certain, as Joseph pointed out, that the Last Days are not yet upon us, no matter our dire the calamity we currently suffer.

Russ said...

To Nate.
I think that Global Warming is a distortion of facts and many emminant scientists have shown that the theory of man-made Global Warming is not true.
On your other point about gradual destruction here is a quote from Brigham Young:

Do you think there is calamity abroad now among the people? Not much. All we have yet heard and all we have experienced is scarcely a preface to the sermon that is going to be preached. When the testimony of the Elders ceases to be given, and the Lord says to them, "Come home; I will now preach my own sermons to the nations of the earth," all you now know can scarcely be called a preface to the sermon that will be preached with fire and sword, tempests, earthquakes, hail, rain, thunders and lightnings, and fearful destruction. What matters the destruction of a few railway cars?

You will hear of magnificent cities, now idolized by the people, sinking in the earth, entombing the inhabitants. The sea will heave itself beyond its bounds, engulfing mighty cities. Famine will spread over the nations, and nation will rise up against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and states against states, in our own country and in foreign lands. --Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, p. 123, July 15, 1860.

Jeremy said...

Great quote, Russ.

I would like to know a hypothetical timeline on these destructive forces. How close are we? I would like to hear comments on whether what we are experiencing now is but a precursor to these things. I believe they may be.

Unfortunately, I believe that the market may recover slightly for a short period of time (6 mo?) and then completely fail. Apart from the natural desctructions named by B.Young in that quote, a failing market may spark the "famine across many lands."

Evgenii said...

I am not sure whether I believe in man-made global warming. I find the irony in Russ' quote by BY that many of the disasters mentioned are supposedly attributed to global warming, namely, rising sea levels, famines, etc.

Nate said...

Thanks Russ, that does give some perspective.

wondering said...

As I consider the wicked state of the world, I can scarcely believe God has waited as long as he has to send his destroying angels.

On the other hand, what things must still be done before "the end of the world." Joseph Smith said in his "Standard of Truth" comment that the gospel must be taken to every nation and sound in every ear before the Great Jehovah shall say "the work is done." There are still many nations, even a majority of the earth's population as I understand it (e.g., China, much of Asia, Africa, the Middle East), where the restored gospel has yet to be preached. Can the end come before that work is accomplished?

But going back to the first hand, there is a section in the D&C where certain verses of the Book of Revelation are discussed and interpreted. In one verse, it is clearly stated that the things related to the millenium and the second coming are to occur "in the beginning of the seventh thousand years". If those words be true, when can we consider "the beginning" of the seventh thousand years? Could it be as late as 2020? 2030? 2050?

And my final comment, regarding the "credence" we should give to "sectarian ministers", I become less and less judgmental towards these types the longer I live. Most of the TV-type ministers, in my opinion, aren't worth two cents. But there are many of the regular ministers who are sincerely good people and doing sincerely good work within the light and knowledge they possess. I think many lay a foundation to bring people to a point where they can be ready to accept a higher truth, the restored gospel, when it comes to them. In regards to these ministers, if one were to claim some he had received some special insight or understanding, I don't know that I would automatically set it aside as mindless drivel.

Jeremy said...

Well said, Wondering. I have no doubt that the Spirit can touch and inspire those not of our faith. Although we may not agree on many points of doctrine, there is no question that one can and will feel the Spirit when truth is taught over their pulpits.

Thanks for stopping by.

friends said...

Interesting and intriguing line of discussion. As I read this blog I was struck by the words of Mr. Wilkerson. He describes with great accuracy what I believe the prophets have said about the end of the day of the Gentiles. We are on the very edge of seeing these events unfold. I have written much about these coming events in my book. You may with to visit where you can download ten free chapters and get the answers to some of the questions posed in this blog.

Anonymous said...

Hurricane Sandy, anyone...?