Are we witnessing the gathering of Israel in unexpected ways? Co-directors of ‘I AM: The Journey’ think so

Photo credit: BYU

The commotion in the world is undeniable. It can be helpful to recognize that some of these events and problems may be the fulfillment of long foretold prophesy. If that is true, we can then place our trust in promises that have been made for just as long. That is the outlook what Kevin and Lita Giddins have chosen to adopt, and they believe that we are witnessing the gathering of Israel all around us as we welcome all of God’s children, past and present, into the fullness of the gospel story.

Later this month, Deseret Book will join with other sponsors including KSL and BYUtv as the Center for Latter-day Saint Arts presents I Am: The Journey in the Conference Center Little Theater on June 18th at 7:30 p.m. A pre-show will begin at 6:30 p.m. The Giddins are co-directors and co-producers of the event and on this week’s episode of All In, they spoke with host Morgan Jones Pearson about why they believe the adversary is working harder than ever to prevent the gathering from happening.

Listen to the full episode in the player below or by clicking here.

The following excerpt has been edited for clarity.

Lita Giddins: Isn’t the gathering wonderful? See, that’s why this is so exciting, because this is the Lord’s work. And I think it’s just such an amazing, beautiful message, that these things are coming together. Things are being brought out of obscurity. These truths are being made known. History is being clarified and reconfigured, maybe so everyone can understand that every single tribe that has been scattered is being gathered in so many amazing, beautiful ways and at such an important time. I know there’s all of this hard stuff happening—horrible things are happening. But on the other end is, Jesus is coming. Right? So let’s get ready.

Kevin Giddins: And that’s why the adversary is causing havoc. You know, it’s no surprise to those who study the scriptures [that] all these terrible things happening. It’s gross; it’s horrendous and bad. But if you understand the scriptures, the adversary is fighting his last fight. He’s doing as much havoc as he can, because he knows the Savior is coming. And the wonderful thing about artists is we get to be storytellers, and history tellers, so that we can tell the stories in history of what is happening when Christ is coming so that we can be ready for this.

Lita Giddins: Praise the Lord.

Kevin Giddins: And what I mean by that is, through the arts, we tell what has happened. Through the arts, we project what’s happening, and through the arts, we predict what’s going to happen, or foretell. True art is divine. And if art is divine, and we’re creating art, we’re almost like prophets: through an art foretelling [of] what could be. I think that’s a beautiful analogy that we look to the arts, as well as science, as well as religion, to testify of Jesus Christ coming, to testify of what has happened, what's happening now. And so I think that’s a wonderful commentary of what the arts can bring to our humanity.

Morgan Jones Pearson: For sure, and Kevin, when you were talking, it reminded me of a talk by Neal A Maxwell this past week. In it, he says, “These are your days in the history of the Church. Mark well what kind of days they will be, days when with special visibility the Lord will make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all nations. God will also hasten his work, he will also shorten the last days for the elect’s sake, hence, there will be a compression of events. Furthermore, all things shall be in commotion, only those in the process of becoming the men and women of Christ will be able to keep their spiritual balance.”

Kevin Giddins: He testified. He told us and if we heed the words of the prophet, yes!

Morgan Jones Pearson: I think that’s what we’re experiencing. That compression of events of feeling like things are coming at us all at once. And it’s like something really hard happens and it affects everybody. And we don’t even have time to get back up before we’re knocked down again but I think for me that statement brought a lot of comfort, because it means like you said, that Christ is coming. And I think that that is very hopeful.

Lita Giddins: I love what you said about that. We all are in need of comfort, right? Right now. And I think this is a timely event. I feel that the only purpose for the arts, and again, we’ve been involved for years to help people feel that comfort, and to help with the woundedness that people globally are feeling and trying to find a way to—I will say—breathe again. So that’s the power of the arts. That’s the gift we have for the arts is to help heal our heavenly parents’ children.

Kevin Giddins: And I love what you said also the word you use is balance. Having spiritual balance to me means yes, we have trials but let’s look at the blessings. Yes, we have pain. But let’s look at the joys. It’s understanding and viewing art. Because art will depict sad things and art will depict joys, art will depict a trial we experience, and it will experience the blessings. So I love that. Are we a balanced people? Those are great questions to ask ourselves. Every time we’re taking a sacrament, every time we go to church, every time we read. Do I have balance in my life to recognize that, yes, these bad things are happening, but joy comes in the morning.

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