Throughout the ages prophets of God have accurately predicted the conditions of the world in the last days. While some of these conditions—social, political, and environmental—seem perplexing to many, the earnest disciple of Christ has read about them and is prepared for tumultuous and confusing times.
In the eighth chapter of Mormon, the ancient prophet Moroni foretold that the record of his people would come forth in a day of wickedness and apostasy. He prophesied that the Book of Mormon would come forth in a day when:
“It shall be said that miracles are done away” (v. 26).
“The blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness” (v. 27).
“The power of God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in the pride of their hearts” (v. 28).
“There shall be heard of fires, and tempests, and vapors of smoke in foreign lands” (v. 29).
“There shall also be heard of wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places” (v. 30).
“There shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth; there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and whoredoms, and all manner of abominations” (v. 31).
Sixteen hundred years ago, Moroni accurately prophesied the conditions to be found in the latter days—our days—in which the Book of Mormon would come forth. Without access to the prophecies of the Lord’s chosen leaders, we would have difficulty imagining the dramatic changes that are rapidly taking place within the social fabric of the world’s nations.
Certainly the rapid changes in technology, medical advances, and global economic opportunities, as well as a spreading desire for basic freedoms, have the potential to do great good and provide many blessings. At the same time, worldwide political upheaval, economic exploitation, and fanaticism can greatly restrict the potential for good and the wise use of moral agency.
One thing is certain: it isn’t simple or easy to raise a family in the new millennium. The so-called ease of modern living can actually become an impediment to gospel living. We all realize that in today’s society, the family is under assault throughout the entire world, and young people are particularly vulnerable.
In light of modern-day wickedness and social conditions so accurately predicted by Moroni, how can we rear faithful children and establish Zion in our homes? We start by realizing that it will require great effort and diligence to follow the admonition of the Lord and His prophets.
We have been taught the importance of daily personal and family prayer.
We have been taught the importance of daily personal and family scripture study.
We have been taught the importance of weekly family home evening.
Church leaders continually bring these basic gospel principles to our attention. Why? Because the Lord understands that the basic gospel principles that we strive to live each day will ultimately save our children and help establish Zion in our homes.
When our children were growing up, Sister Maynes and I tried to regularly hold family prayer and scripture study every morning before school. We also held family home evening on Monday nights.
We hoped that our children, during a moment of temptation or difficulty later in the day, would remember that we had prayed, even though they might not remember the words of our family prayer. We hoped that they would remember that we had read the scriptures, even though they might not remember the words of the scriptures. We hoped that they would remember the spirit they had felt during family home evening, even though they might not remember the lesson during that sacred family time. We firmly believed that when temptation presented itself to our children, they would be protected by the gospel traditions of our home.
Three hours of meetings on Sunday clearly isn’t sufficient time to prepare our families to withstand the difficulties Moroni saw. We need to connect our celestial goals with everyday life in our homes. Remember that gospel basics—those seemingly “small and simple things” (Alma 37:6) we strive to practice in following the Lord—will ultimately confound Satan and protect our families.
The Lord has stated, “For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you” (D&C 78:7).
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we need not be surprised or discouraged by the rapid decline of moral values in our day. Rather, we can take hope by remembering that ancient prophets accurately predicted today’s social conditions and that modern prophets continue to warn us about those conditions. The only true plan of safety, security, and happiness in these latter days is to follow the counsel of the Lord and His prophets.
President Thomas S. Monson counsels us regarding life in these, the last days: “We cannot afford to be complacent. We live in perilous times; the signs are all around us. We are acutely aware of the negative influences in our society that stalk traditional families. …
“We, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, must stand up to the dangers which surround us and our families.”1
I hope and pray that we might do those things required by the gospel of Jesus Christ, though they may seem “small and simple,” to protect and bless our families and ourselves in this world as we prepare for the next.