Saturday, November 14, 2015

Why you should want to survive the tribulation to come

It seems there is a sizable number of people who, when taught of the degree of suffering the coming tribulation will bring, say "I would rather die than go through that." The most important factor of survival is attitude. Your mental state can kill you faster than anything else, or can enable you to survive things that others would die just imagining. If you have already decided that life would not be worth living under certain conditions, you definitely will not make it. Here is why you might want to make it after all.

First, most of those with whom I speak have children. While the suffering will be great for the parents, it will be far worse for the children. Children are not able to fend for themselves. They are not able to understand why bad things happen. They are more easily scared than adults and less able to cope with hunger, cold, fatigue, etc. What loving parent would adopt an attitude that assures their children will suffer more than they would otherwise? If you have children, you have no right to throw in the towel before the fight has even begun. Fatalism will paralyze you in fear, robbing you of the precious time God has given you to prepare. Noah and his wife did not throw up their arms in despair upon learning of the coming flood. They got to work for the sake of their children.

Realize that, if they survive, your children will live in Zion for the balance of their lives. The tribulation that is coming is the only conduit from the fallen world in which we live to a higher state of glory, where they will be free from much of the pain and sorrow that you have endured in your life. Most parents would do all in their power to send their kids to a good school--how much more for Zion? Jesus said,  "...for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." (John 7:19) He has provided us the perfect example of becoming better than we currently are in order to bless others.

Second, we ought to keep in mind that Zion is also our destination, if we are faithful. Though the road to survival might include extreme discomfort, starvation, threat of death, disease, and captivity, that is not the end state. It is simply a means to the end, which is Zion. If you survive, and you are worthy, you will encounter the Lord and live in his presence. That is an outcome worth any price for those who have the faith to believe that God is who and how he says he is.

Finally, we need to realize that, in eternal progression, there are no shortcuts. Joseph taught:
7 Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things; it was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things, that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice, because he seeks to do his will, he does know most assuredly that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.
8 It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtained faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they in like manner offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him.
(Lecture Six, Lectures on Faith)
You cannot enjoy the blessings of those who have sacrificed all things without having sacrificed all things yourself. Now, the process of sacrificing all things is and always has been available to the faithful through all time. End-time tribulation is not necessary for one to be asked by God to sacrifice all things. However, most of us are incapable of doing so without the scaffold of the end times. In fact, the reason many of us were born at this age of the earth was to have the blessing of going through end-time tribulation, because we would not accept or endure that degree of tribulation in a normal environment. Others of us have volunteered to be born at this time despite not needing to be that we, like Noah and Moses, might intercede on behalf of those who would not otherwise make it through. In both cases, should we shrug off the tribulation and resign to die as soon as it unwinds, we will be throwing away an opportunity to advance to a higher state of glory. It is of utmost importance to realize that if you are ordained to go through this experience, and you do not, you will not be able to advance until you do, worlds without end. The movie "Edge of Tomorrow" is a wonderful analogy for this idea: you have things to learn and do while you are here, and until you do, you are damned to repeat your suffering without fruits.

32 But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.
33 And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places, and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another.
34 And now, when I the Lord had spoken these words unto my disciples, they were troubled.
35 And I said unto them: 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 45:32-35)