The days that will try the Saints and destroy the wicked are surely coming; therefore, our crucial concern is proper preparation.
Preparation is the means of protection for the Saints.
The world is ripe in iniquity, and terrible calamities await the wicked (see vs. 9).
The fast approaching second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ necessitates the sounding of a warning trump, for wickedness must be destroyed and the righteous preserved.
Signs serve as a warning to those who watch for them.
Universal destruction of the wicked will cleanse the earth of all evil, individual and collective, that seeks power and dominion.
Agency is an important principle of the gospel, with accountability as one of its fundamental tenants.
At the end of the world, as in the beginning, agency will be the key issue between those who follow the Savior and those who follow Satan.
To be prepared for the days that are to precede the coming of the Lord, we must use our agency and obey the laws of God.
Section 29; Enrichment H, “The Last Days”
Use material from Historical Background and Notes and Commentary to teach this revelation in its historical context
D&C 29. Keeping in mind the theme of this lesson, read and ponder this section.
D&C 29:9, 17-21. While the righteous are gathered to prepare themselves for the tribulation to come, what result will the days of tribulation have upon the wicked?
D&C 29:27-29, 36. What power enables the righteous to obtain eternal life in the presence of God?
D&C 29:41, 44-45. What is spiritual death, and who does it claim?
Alma 34:30-35. How urgent is it that Church members, children of the covenant, prepare now for the days ahead?
1 Nephi 22:15-17. What promise is extended to the righteous?
Teachings, pp. 84-85. What must precede the second coming of the Son of God in order for the righteous to receive their blessings?
Teachings, pp. 94-95. Is there a significance attached to the gathering that extends beyond righteous Israel?
Discourses, p. 121. What is the purpose of the gathering of Israel?
Gos. Doc, pp. 432-33. What are the implications of spiritual death to the unrepentant?
DS, 3:52. What is the purpose of the signs of the coming of the Lord?
DS, 3:53. What is the best way for a person to prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ?
W. Grant Bangerter, in CR, Oct. 1979, pp. 11-14. How can members of the Church, and nonmembers too, avoid deception in a world of deceit and wickedness?
Spencer W. Kimball, in CR, Apr. 1979, p. 114. What evidence is there that the Saints today are prepared as a people to move forward in a way not before possible? Does this suggest anything about the preparation of the Church as a whole in establishing the Zion of the Lord?
Some Suggestions for Presentation
Our Need for Preparation Today (Discussion)
The following account introduces the lesson objective:
Some years ago a tourist was traveling along the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy. When he reached the castle Villa Asconati, a friendly old gardener opened the gate and showed him the grounds, which the old man kept in perfect order. The tourist asked when the owner had last been there.
“Twelve years ago.”
“Does he ever write to you?”
“From whom do you get your instructions?”
“From his agent in Milan.”
“Does he come?”
“Who, then, comes here?”
“I am almost always alone; only once in a while a tourist comes.”
“But you keep this garden in such fine condition, just as though you expect your master to come tomorrow.”
The old gardener promptly corrected: “Today, sir, today!”
This kind of readiness attitude is admirable and is a worthy pattern for us as we anticipate the coming of our Master.
The following questions could be asked of your students:
How long have you been taught that the Savior would come again?
Has this theme been of interest to you?
Do you believe it to be actual truth?
Has the possession of this knowledge made any difference in the way you live?
If the Savior came this year or this month, or if you were called by death into his presence, would you feel that the gardens of your life (personal righteousness) are in order?
When to Prepare: The Purpose of Mortality (Scripture Chain)
The following scripture chain may be profitable in demonstrating the importance of preparation and the development of worthy habits.
D&C 95:1, 3, 5-6. Many of the Saints at Kirtland had already undergone trials and persecution, had been forced from their homes, and were determined to build the Church in this new area. Why then did they deserve chastisement from the Lord?
2 Nephi 28:20-25. Is it possible that a Latter-day Saint could mean well, but be the subject of Satan’s deception in thinking that his present performance is sufficient?
D&C 29:14-21. The signs of the coming of the Lord are multiplying in our day. Hardly a newspaper is printed but there is recorded another catastrophe or a destructive disturbance of nature. Should these things be telling us something? (see Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3:52-53). These are sure signals for the Saints that the approach of the Lord is near and imminent. Signs are increasing.
The Savior’s coming will be as a thief coming in the night to those who are unprepared. “The righteous need not fear” (1 Nephi 22:17) because they will understand the signs, and will be worthy of Christ’s protection and blessing on that day.
D&C 29:5-9. The Saints are being gathered for a purpose. As they are gathered into the gospel, they hear the voice of the Lord; if they do not harden their hearts, they have reason to rejoice at the coming of the Lord, though the wicked will be as stubble. (Compare 1 Nephi 22:15-17; see also D&C 29:27-29.)
Alma 34:30-35. No Latter-day Saint can afford to procrastinate his repentance—even from a “good” life to a “great” one.
We have the laws of God and are responsible for what we possess.
If we procrastinate repentance, even of small things, we are choosing the way of the adversary. If we die in such a state, Satan’s spirit dominates our nature.
If Satan “seals us his,” we are classed among the wicked. Indeed, Satan’s downward path is a careful one and requires vigilance to avoid.
There is no justification for procrastination and unfaithfulness. Only the true and faithful who endure to the end qualify for the blessings of salvation.
The instructor may wish to review Gospel Doctrine, pp. 432–33, on spiritual death and use it as commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 29:26-50.
What is our task? Prepare for the coming of the Lord by applying the principles of the gospel (see Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3:53). Teach and warn others (see D&C 88:81; Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3:53-54).
Do it, and do it now! (see Elder W. Grant Bangerter’s conference talk, listed under Basic Library). This message includes a statement on the existence of God, a statement to nonbelievers, a warning to members, and the real test.
Remember: Preparation for the things of the Spirit comes from within, and no amount of synthetic external pressure or motive will do the job. My relationship with the Lord is a very personal affair; therefore, if I lack that burning desire to change, within my soul, it won’t happen at all. Nothing works unless I do.