Sunday, January 1, 2012

Signs of the Times, Mormon Style

Happy New Year! It is now the year 2012, the year that many people believe will see the end of the world. Naturally, of course, I don't buy into any of that silly superstition. But I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the Mormon version of the signs of the last days and share my two cents.

At my request, a good Mormon friend of mine gave me a pamphlet that she got at church. It outlines 65 prophesies and signs of the times. I read through the list and it really isn't that impressive, but I'll let my readers decide for themselves.

But first, a little bit about prophesies. There are different kinds. There are those that are prophesied about after they have happened, such as the Book of Mormon predicting the discovery of America.

There are self fulfilling prophesies where someone reads the prophesy and then sets out to make it happen, such as the building of lots of temples.

And there are also prophesies that would come true anyway, such as the prediction that the sun will rise in the morning.

There are so-called signs of the times that have been happening throughout history so they can hardly be signs.

And finally, there are predictions that haven't happened yet that don't fall into any of the above categories, such as the mount of olives being split in half when Jesus descends out of the sky.

I will present the list as it appears in the pamphlet (spelling errors corrected, which there are a lot) and then follow it with my thoughts in italics. Unfortunately, the list does not include any references, so I question some of them. It is long so I will try to keep my comments short.

1. The discovery of America and the establishment of the United States of America.

In the Book of Mormon, Nephi sees this event. However, a prophesy that is given AFTER the event is not very impressive. The USA was established in 1776 and the Book of Mormon was published in 1830. This is a "prophesy" that was given after the fact.

2. The coming forth of the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon predicts its own coming forth, but that's not very impressive either. How can a book predict itself?

3. The restoration of the priesthood and the priesthood keys.

This isn't a "sign". First of all this event never happened and secondly, even if it did, no one was there to witness it. Anyone could claim that they got the priesthood from god. A sign of the times is something that everyone can see.

4. The restoration of the true church.

How many churches claim to be the true church? More than I can count.

5. The church will grow to fill the whole earth.

We're still waiting for that to happen. I have taken a close look at the annual numbers reported by the church during general conference and it appears that the church is growing slower now than ever before. Catholicism has filled the whole earth. Mormonism never will. Retention is a HUGE problem for the church.

6. Slaves will rise up against their masters.

When has this ever NOT happened? In order for it to be a sign of the times, it has to be something that wasn't happening before.

7. Scattered Israel will be gathered.

I'm not quite sure what this means. But I would guess that it has something to do with the growth of the church. See #5 above.

8. The lost ten tribes will return.

Are you telling me that ten different groups of people will suddenly show up out of nowhere? With the technology we have today, we would know if there were any people living on a deserted island somewhere.

9. The times of the gentiles will be fulfilled.

Not sure what the hell that even means.

10. There will be much despair, depression, doom and gloom, and emotional instability.

Again, when has this NOT been happening?

11. There will be extraordinarily widespread selfishness and lack of caring for others.

There always has been and always will be people like this. There also always has been and always will be kind and generous people. I seriously doubt this will ever happen.

12. The Jews will return to Jerusalem.

This is a self fulfilling prophesy. The Jews know they're supposed to return, so they will try.

13. The Jews will accept the true gospel.

This has not happened and I seriously doubt that it ever will. Mormonism has been around for over 180 years and the Jews are showing no signs of any interest in the "true gospel" at all.

14. The prophet Elijah will come to the temple to restore the keys of sealing.

Same response as #3. Joseph Smith claimed it happened, but how do we know for 100% sure that it really did? No one witnessed it. It's not a sign.

15. Christ will come to his temple.

See #14.

16. Genealogical research and interest in family history will spread as never before.

This actually is happening. But it wouldn't be happening except for the wide amount of information available online. This could also be called a self-fulfilling prophesy because the LDS church stresses that its members do family history.

17. Dangers upon the waters.

When has traveling by water ever not been dangerous? This is not a sign because it has always been true.

18. Much ecological damage will occur in the last days.

This has been true in the past, but Jesus isn't here yet and we, as a global community, are actually starting to turn things around to be more "clean and green". So the opposite is actually starting to happen.

19. The sun will be darkened and the moon will become as blood.

Hasn't happened yet although the moon sometimes appears to be red. Even if air pollution blocks out the sun and makes the moon appear to be red, it is only an appearance. They are not actually changed. If you go into outer space, the sun and moon will look perfectly normal. The sun won't actually be "darkened" for about another 5 billion years.

20. Diseases, plagues, and pestilences will sweep the earth in spite of medical advances and technology.

Disease, plagues, and pestilences have always been around. Medical science and technology have actually been able to completely eradicate some diseases that were once very deadly. The recent swine flu scare threatened to be very bad, but science put a quick stop to it by developing a vaccine.

21. Knowledge, science, and technology will increase dramatically.

Well, of course they will. Back in Joseph Smiths time the word "technology" probably didn't even exist. That means that this prediction must have been made recently, after knowledge, science, and technology are already taking off. A prediction of something after it has already happened is not that impressive.

22. Wars and rumors of wars will become normal life.

When has there not been war?

23. Famines, earthquakes, tornadoes, and natural disasters will abound.

They have always abound.

24. Strikes, overthrowing of governments, gang warfare, violence, and disrespect for authority will increase.

Governments have always been overthrown. Just think of the ancient Roman empire. There has always been violence. This isn't anything new.

25. Sexual immorality, homosexuality, lesbianism, and pornography will abound.

Humans have been having sex forever. Homosexual activity has been around forever. Porn has only existed recently because of the ability to take pictures and video which again, means it's a recent prediction, and therefore doesn't count because it has been predicted AFTER it happened.

26. The spirit will stop working with the wicked.

There is no "spirit" but even if there was, are you saying that it used to work with the wicked? I doubt it.

27. Peace will be taken from the earth.

In order for peace to be taken, it first has to be there. Didn't #22 just predict that there will always be war? So how can peace be taken if it will never be there?

28. Jerusalem will be a "cup of trembling" to those who attempt to fight against it.

Everyone who has ever fought against Jerusalem has burned it to the ground!

29. People will refuse to believe obvious truth and will instead adhere to fables and falsehoods.

Are you kidding me! What exactly is this "obvious truth"? That Jesus is lord? I doubt that, because "obvious" means "obvious". If Jesus were obviously lord, then everyone on earth would be able to see him and would believe in him and he would go around doing tons of miracles. I can't believe they actually included this one because it describes religious people to a fucking tee!

30. False prophets, false churches, and false miracles abound.

When have they not?

31. People will refuse to believe the signs of the times.

Yea, because they're nonsense! I predict that some people who read this blog will comment and will refuse to believe me when I tell them that their precious church is a cult and that their precious Jesus is a myth. There, since I just predicted something that WILL come true, does that make ME a prophet?

32. There will be signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth.

Like what? An eclipse was once considered a sign from god but now, thanks to science, we understand what they are and can even predict them years before they happen.

33. The Lamanites will blosom as the rose.

This hasn't happened. In fact, the opposite appears to be true. The Native Americans have a higher rate of suicide than any other ethnic group in the world.

34. New Jerusalem will be built.

Self-fulfilling prophesy.

35. Many temples will be built.

Self-fulfilling prophesy.

36. A new temple will be built in Jerusalem.

Self-fulfilling prophesy.

37. The rainbow is withdrawn.

According to Mormonism, if a rainbow fails to appear anywhere on earth for one year, then Jesus is very near to his return. You can postpone Jesus' return forever by simply putting a prizm in your window!

38. The Constitution will hang by a thread.

We will see. Like I said before, governments are always being overthrown. Even if this one does come true, it means nothing, because all governments are eventually overthrown. If you don't believe me, then just read a history book.

39. Destroying angles will be allowed to go forth upon the earth.

So we will actually see angels destroying stuff? If that ever happens, I'll believe in god.

40. The "abomination of desolation" will happen again.

Never even heard of it, let alone understand what the hell it means.

41. Wickedness will be rampant.

When hasn't it been?

42. Babylon will fall.

Babylon, according to Mormons, is anyone who isn't Mormon. The only way Babylon will fall is if Mormonism completely covers the earth, which I already talked about in #5. Have you started to notice by now that several of these "signs" contradict each other?

43. A great hailstorm will destroy the crops of the earth.

One giant hailstorm all around the earth... Highly unlikely. What about places where it is so hot that hail melts before it hits the ground? This is a really stupid prophesy.

44. There will be a great earthquake as never before.

Over it's 4.5 billion year life, the earth has undergone massive, massive earthquakes. It has always been happening.

45. The battle of Armageddon.

We will see.

46. The meeting at Adam-ondi-ahman.

According to Joseph Smith "Adam-ondi-ahman" is a phrase in gods language which means "the place where Adam spoke to god", i.e. the Garden of Eden. According to Smith, the Garden of Eden was located in Missouri, which is why he originally tried to make the church flourish there. The RLDS church now owns most of the church history sites there. I don't know much about this supposed meeting or who is supposed to be there. In any case, it will supposedly happen in Missouri. We will see.

47. Two prophets will be killed in Jerusalem.

Mormon lore not only tells of these two prophets but that their bodies will lie in the street for several days. I wonder how many of the top church leaders are willing to volunteer to go there.

48. The mount of olives will split in two.

We will see. Besides, this is supposed to happen WHEN Christ returns. A sign of the time is supposed to happen BEFORE he returns.

49. The righteous will be taken up to meet the coming lord and the wicked will be burned.

This is also an event associate with the return of Christ. A sign of the times must happen beforehand.

50. Everyone will see Christ when he comes.

See #49

51. The church will be established in the tops of the mountains.

It is Mormon legend that this prophesy was issued by Joseph Smith; however, there is evidence that it was actually penned after the Mormons had come to Utah. A prophesy after the fact doesn't count.

52. A full end of all nations.

I think this is saying that there will be one world government under Christ. This event happens AFTER the return of Christ so is therefore not a sign of his coming.

53. All will hear the gospel in their own tongue.

A self-fulfilling prophesy. The church trains missionaries in the language of whatever country they are going to.

54. The church will be brought out of obscurity.

This has actually mostly happened. Everyone has heard of the Mormons... and are laughing at them!

55. The name of Joseph Smith will be spoken of for good and evil in all nations.

All nations? China will not allow Mormons to proslyte there. Most Chinese people have never even heard of Joseph Smith. Smith made this prediction long after the church had been established and after he already had lots of enemies. He claims it was told to him by the angel Moroni on the night where he was shown the golden plates in vision. However, he didn't actually write it down for many years.

56. The mark of the beast in their foreheads.

What the hell is that supposed to mean? If Mormon prophets can predict the future, then why have they never predicted what the "mark of the beast" will be? The only people I can think of who even remotely have things on their foreheads are Indian women who put the red dot between their eyes.

57. The saints will be few in number but the power of god will be with them.

Doesn't this contradict #5 that claims the church will fill the whole earth?

58. The disintegration of the family will bring prophesied calamities in the last days.

I took a sociology 101 class. All the Mormons in the class were convinced that the family unit is under attack but the instructor made it clear that families are just as strong as they have ever been. Besides, how will a lack of families make the world go to hell? Makes no sense.

59. The righteous will be alerted by the signs of the times.

I'm not quite sure what this even means. It's a sign that people will see the signs. That's just dumb.

60. Some will fear that Christ's coming is being delayed too long.

I wonder what their excuses will be when he still hasn't come in 300 years from now!

61. The gospel will flourish in Egypt and a temple will be built there.

Currently, there are no LDS missionaries in Egypt. The gospel is not flourishing in Egypt (or anywhere for that matter) and if a temple is ever built there, it doesn't matter because it is a self-fulfilling prophesy.

62. The righteous will be alerted by the signs of the times.

This is a repeat of #59. Probably a mistake on the part of whoever put this pamphlet together.

63. Waters will flow from the temple in Jerusalem and heal the Dead Sea.

The Dead Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of water on earth (8.6 times saltier than the ocean) and, at it's furthest points, is 42 miles across and 11 miles wide. That's a shitload of water! Jerusalem is basically a desert so where is enough water going to come from to "heal" the dead sea? What does "heal" even mean in this case? Make it fresh? Make stuff grow? The odds of this ever happening are very slim. Jerusalem is 15 miles from the Dead Sea, so that makes it even more unlikely.

64. The sign of the coming of the son of man.

Probably another typo.

65. The wicked will be burned.

Wasn't this one already listed too? Besides, this is an event that supposedly happens after Christ's return, so how can it be a sign?

What a list! And I've debunked every single one of them! To learn more about the Mormon signs of the times, check out this book, which was written by a Mormon. I would not recommend buying it... it is probably available at any library in Utah.

Happy New Year! 2012

7 comments:

Natasha Gow said...

As I have really only read the very occasional Watchtower out of idle curiosity, it is really interesting to get some more insight into a faith that I really don't know anything about (I was liberated from Catholicism) And funnily enough, my advanced studies of religion class didn't cover LDS as a denomination.

Smorg said...

It has always irritates me how science can get predictions right 90 out of a 100 times and religious people would focus on the 10 misses and declare that the scientists don't know anything or can't be trusted, and then they would cite their religion/prophet's 1 out of 100 predictions that happens to not be wrong (because it is self-fulfilled or made after the fact or stating the obvious or so unspecifically stated as to not be disprovable) as compelling evidence that their dogma/church is true.... without ever addressing the 99 obviously false prophesies. :oP

O well, it sort of makes one appreciate sensible people better, I guess. :o) Happy 2012!

EriK said...

I swallowed the 2012 mumbo-jumbo back in 2008-9 when I wasn't rooted in anything trustworthy. When I studied and confirmed the reliability of the Bible (that is, the same Bible the Mormons reject), I realized that the 2012 "prophecies" couldn't be true, because I had a greater revelation that flatly contradicted it.

The Bible says two things that speak against both 2012 prophecies and global warming fanaticism:

"As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, [the passing of distinct seasons] will not perish from the earth."

and "Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life on earth."

Both promises are found in Genesis 9. No cosmic catastrophe need be feared in the physical realm.

What each individual ought to be concerned with is what side of the spiritual war they wish to be on: the side of redemption or the side of wrath. Please choose carefully.

Mormon411 said...

Natasha, you'll learn everything you need to know right here! Although, (this might sound crazy) if you really want to understand them, you should meet with them and hear their side of the story. The missionaries will gladly come and give you their lessons. Be careful, however, they will immediately want you to start making commitments to them.

Well said, Smorg. It's called cherry picking and letting your beliefs determine the evidence rather than let the evidence determine your beliefs.

EriK, the Book of Genesis was written by people who believed the world was flat. Why should I take anything it says seriously? In what way did you confirm the reliability of the Bible? Please actually answer the question instead of quote more ancient nonsense. Quotes from the Bible do not prove it to be true and you will never convince me that way.

I did choose carefully... I chose reason and common sense over fairy tales and ancient books.

Tyson Devereux said...

You've debunked every single one of them? Really? Writing, "We will see" is now considered a legitimate and educated rebuttle? Really?

There are nine where you state you didn't understand what it meant or just wrote - "We will see". There are four in which you said it was impossible. I'm unaware of this list of 65 prophesies . . however, I am familiar with a majority of these prophesies. I don't know if this list gave references or not, but there were several listed in which it would have helped to have a reference. #51 referring to the House of the Lord on the top of the mountains. You stated this was a mormon legend given by Joseph Smith, however, this is straight from the scriptures in the Book of Mormon and also the Bible in Isaiah Chapter 2.

It is also important to understand that all these prophesies won't happen in a day or any short amount of time. Like what #62 states that the righteous will be alerted to the signs means that some signs will happen before others. You can believe them or not - that's fine . .. but to me it would have saved all of us a whole bunch of time if you just posted after each one . . . "I don't understand what this means" . . . because it's apparent that you don't know and keep everyone else ignorant about information you know nothing about.

If you would like more clarification on any prophesy, I would be happy to provide helpful information

Mormon411 said...

We will see coz I'd bet everything I have that they will never happen.

Lesa Fuchs-Carter said...

I had heard of this list before - but went out looking for the Revelations section in the bible and the signs of the second coming. But since I found your article instead figured I'd start here.

I like how you say you've "Debunked" all of them, despite anything factual in your article. Its very interesting how your opinion "debunks" other's opinions. And your statements that you've "never heard of it" don't really count as a debunking.

That said, I do agree with your "self-fulfilling prophecy" statements, obviously any church is going to say they're the true church, or make goals to fulfill their own prophecies. I also believe that anyone can take an obscure statement and meld it to fit their desires, one reason that while I believe in the principles of the Bible I don't think every verse should or can be nit-picked.

But since there was no facts behind your statements, and I am interested in the idea of the end of the world (fascinated really I want to write a story about it), I decided to choose one of your "signs debunked" at random and see if I could find out any sort of possibilities that may indicate it is coming.

I chose the Dead Sea one - because frankly that does seem to be a big accomplishment, very specific, and unlikely to happen. And yet within about 2 minutes of research I "eerily" (haha!)found the following article (http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-6151167-7.html) about how China and Israel are working on technologies to desalinate sea-water and within the next 5 years. Sure they're not talking about experimenting on the Dead Sea - but sure seems "Possible" that in a few years in the future it could be purified.

I would encourage you to spend a bit more time learning about things you'll be "teaching" about, especially if you have a strong opinion about them so that you can have strong arguments backed by the science we all love.