Viewpoint: Heed the Spiritual Storm Warnings
Contributed By the Church News
- Heeding warnings of spiritual danger can help us weather the storms when they come.
“Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments. There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us.” —President Thomas S. Monson
A man balanced himself as he walked around what was left of the cement foundation of his home in Kobuchihama, a village located on the Oshika Peninsula in northern Japan. He pointed to the empty spaces and described the tsunami.
Nine months earlier, when the alarms sounded on March 11, 2011, the man and his neighbors looked to the harbor and their boats. The ocean was quiet. Then the wave, which hit dry land through another inlet, struck them from behind.
The 9.0-magnitude earthquake and powerful tsunami left more than 15,000 people dead, displaced thousands, and destroyed more than 551,000 homes in northern Japan.
Not far from the demolished homes, the man changed his focus to a large rock pillar.
The pillar—standing on the side of the mountain—was carved with a reminder that a similar tsunami, which struck Japan in 1933, “came up this far.”
The rock was left by survivors of the 1933 disaster as a warning to those who would come after them. We too have warnings that are intended to protect our families—and the generations that come after us—from storms.
The Lord said, “How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and 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, and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of mercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not!” (D&C 43:25).
During a January 14, 1998, devotional address at LDS Business College, Elder Neil L. Andersen said that although we live in a time filled with wonderful blessings, “ours is also a time of spiritual tornadoes.”
“These tornadoes come out of the modern-day sky with increasing frequency and test our spiritual foundations,” said Elder Andersen, then of the Seventy. “With more opportunities, more time, more freedom, and more privilege come more temptation and more chance of spiritual destruction from the cares, riches, and pleasures of this life.
“To weather these storms in this environment, we have been instructed by the prophets to become grounded, rooted, established, and settled in spiritual things” (see Ephesians 3:17; 1 Peter 5:10; Colossians 1:23; 2:7).
Warning signals of impending danger are evident in many aspects of our lives, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in his April 2010 general conference address.
“Spiritual warnings should lead to increasingly vigilant watching,” he said. “You and I live in a ‘day of warning’ (D&C 63:58). And because we have been and will be warned, we need to be, as the Apostle Paul admonished, ‘watching … with all perseverance’ (Ephesians 6:18).”
For example, President Gordon B. Hinckley warned Latter-day Saints during his October 1998 priesthood session address in general conference of “a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed.”
He pleaded with Latter-day Saints to get their homes in order and prepare financially for the future. Those who heeded his warning were spared heartache a decade later when the U.S. financial crisis and recession of 2008 and 2009 caused serious blows to the world economy.
Earlier this month during the Church’s 185th Annual General Conference, Church leaders warned us of other pending storms. Among other things, they asked us to protect the family and religious freedom, to hold family councils, and to be faithful in keeping the commandments.
If we heed the warnings around us we can be of good cheer and not fear, promised President Thomas S. Monson during his April 2009 general conference address.
“Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments,” President Monson said. “There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us.”
Looking across the demolished homes in Kobuchihama, the villager who survived the storm set his sight on the large rock pillar engraved by his ancestors. He and the other survivors in his village—like their parents before them—were determined to never forget the storm or the warning.
We too can look to a rock to protect us from the storms of the world—the rock of the Redeemer.
“Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).