Chapter Thirteen: Extensive Natural Calamities

I remember a show I once saw on tsunamis. Tsunamis are tidal waves that come out of nowhere and can destroy coastal villages and towns. They're caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. On the show I watched, a group of people somewhere in Asia had gathered together on the shore to watch an incoming tsunami. It turned out to be a lot bigger than they thought. They could see it coming from miles away.

The people thought they were protected by the high cement wall they were standing on. But when the big wave came crashing down on them, it swept some of the onlookers off the wall and into the ocean. One man was even swept away with his bicycle. There was nothing anyone could do but watch as about a dozen people were swept out to sea. It made me sick to watch, and I hoped those people were saved.

Tidal waves, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, and volcanoes are fun to watch on television, but when you're part of a disaster it can be a little more frightening. One of the prophecies of the last days is that the Lord will preach a sermon called "Natural Calamities" in hopes of persuading his children to repent.

The Lord tells us in the scriptures how he preaches to the world. In the last days, not only will he preach through prophets and apostles but also "by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind." The testimony of these natural calamities will come after the testimony of God's servants (D&C 43:25; 88:88-90).

How would you like to be a prophet teaching the importance of repentance while lightening strikes and thunder shakes the earth? It would be awesome. A friend of mine was speaking at church one day during stake seminary graduation. As he was bearing a powerful testimony, an earthquake hit--small but big enough to convince the congregation that the Lord approved of what my friend was saying. On a much larger scale, the Lord will back his prophets with a sermon to welcome the Second Coming. And the world will shake, literally. In fact, it has already begun.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, commenting on the quaking of the earth in the last days, said:

These signs of the Second Coming are all around us and seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity. For example, the list of major earthquakes in The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004 shows twice as many earthquakes in the decades of the 1980s and 1990s as in the two preceding decades (189-90). It also shows further sharp increases in the first several years of this century. The list of notable floods and tidal waves and the list of hurricanes, typhoons, and blizzards worldwide show similar increases in recent years (188-89). . . . The accelerating pattern of natural disasters in the last few decades is ominous. ("Preparation for the Second Coming," Ensign, May 2004, 7-8)
As we can see, the sermon is underway and the Lord is calling to his children. The time of his coming is near. Remember that the Lord causes calamity so that his rebellious children will repent. If they won't hear the words of a prophet, maybe they'll hear the voice of earthquakes and natural disasters.

Elder Melvin J. Ballard said, "The earthquakes, the sea heaving itself beyond its bounds, bringing such dire destruction as we have seen are the voice of God crying repentance to this generation, a generation that only in part has heeded the warning voice of the servants of the Lord" (in Conference Report, October 1923, 31).

When I was young the biggest calamity I ever experienced was when we ran out of Captain Crunch cereal. But the time has arrived that the Lord is trying to communicate to the world the importance of listening to his words through the prophets. It's time to listen. But if we will not listen to a living prophet who asks us not to get tattoos or unusual body piercings, who discourages immodesty, who warns against immoral and violent movies, and who counsels us not to steady date in high school, who will we listen to? Or maybe we'd better ask, what will we listen to? It may be that the only thing that will get some of us to repent will be the power of God that shakes the earth.

The Lord gives us some advice regarding his expectations. He said, "For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will" (D&C 58:26-27).

May we always seek the Lord's will so that when the earth shakes and the calamities come we can take comfort in knowing that we have already made the choice to follow him.

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