Chapter 45: The Last Days

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 330–35


When Brigham Young was ordained an Apostle, he was given the charge to “go forth and gather the elect, preparatory to the great day of the coming of the Lord” (HC, 2:188). He served a mission to England, where he and his fellow Apostles launched a full program of proselyting, publishing, and preparing converts for emigration to the headquarters of the young Church in America. In a report to the Prophet Joseph Smith detailing their efforts, Elder Young stated: “The Gospel is spreading, the devils are roaring; as nigh as I can learn, … the tares they are binding up, the wheat is gathering, nations are trembling, and kingdoms are tottering: ‘men’s hearts are failing them for fear, and for looking for those things that are coming on the earth’” (HC, 4:114). As a Church leader for almost another 40 years, President Young taught the Saints to continue in the Lord’s redemptive work and to be unafraid of the turmoil prophesied for the last days.

Teachings of Brigham Young

The last days will be a period of great turmoil.

All we have yet heard and we have experienced is scarcely a preface to the sermon that is going to be preached. When the testimony of the Elders ceases to be given, and the Lord says to them, “Come home; I will now preach my own sermons to the nations of the earth,” all you now know can scarcely be called a preface to the sermon that will be preached with fire and sword, tempests, earthquakes, hail, rain, thunders and lightnings, and fearful destruction. What matters the destruction of a few railway cars? You will hear of magnificent cities, now idolized by the people, sinking in the earth, entombing the inhabitants. The sea will heave itself beyond its bounds, engulfing mighty cities. Famine will spread over the nations and nation will rise up against nation, kingdom against kingdom and states against states, in our own country and in foreign lands; and they will destroy each other, caring not for the blood and lives of their neighbors, of their families, or for their own lives (DBY, 111–12).

There never has been a day for ages and ages, not since the true church was destroyed after the days of the Apostles, that required the faith and the energy of godly men and godly women, and the skill, wisdom and power of the Almighty to be with them, so much as this people require it at the present time. There never was that necessity; there never has been a time on the face of the earth, from the time that the church went to destruction, and the Priesthood was taken from the earth, that the powers of darkness and the powers of earth and hell were so embittered, and enraged, and incensed against God and Godliness on the earth, as they are at the present (DBY, 112).

The Devil is just as much opposed to Jesus now as he was when the revolt took place in heaven. And as the Devil increases his numbers by getting the people to be wicked, so Jesus Christ increases his numbers and strength by getting the people to be humble and righteous. The human family are going to the polls by and by, and they wish to know which party is going to carry the day (DBY, 112).

Christ returning to earth

Jesus Christ will come in clouds of glory to usher in the millennial era.

Righteousness will triumph at the end of the world.

The time will come when every knee will bow, and every tongue confess to and acknowledge him, and when they who have lived upon the earth and have spurned the idea of a Supreme Being and of revelations from him, will fall with shamefacedness and humble themselves before him, exclaiming, “There is a God! O God, we once rejected thee and disbelieved thy word and set at naught thy counsels, but now we bow down in shame and we do acknowledge that there is a God, and that Jesus is the Christ.” This time will come, most assuredly. We have the faith of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus (DBY, 112–13).

What will they do? They will hear of the wisdom of Zion and the kings and potentates of the nations will come up to Zion to inquire after the ways of the Lord, and to seek out the great knowledge, wisdom and understanding manifested through the Saints of the Most High (DBY, 113).

They will have to bow the knee and confess that he is God, and that Jesus Christ, who suffered for the sins of the world, is actually its Redeemer; that by the shedding of his blood he has redeemed men, women, children, beasts, birds, fish, the earth itself and everything that John saw and heard praising in heaven [see Revelation 5:13] (DBY, 113).

By and by the world will be overturned according to the words of the prophet, and we will see the reign of righteousness enter in, and sin and iniquity will have to walk off. But the power and principles of evil, if they can be called principles, will never yield one particle to the righteous march of the Savior, only as they are beaten back inch by inch, and we have got to take the ground by force. Yes, by the mental force of faith, and by good works, the march forth of the Gospel will increase, spread, grow and prosper, until the nations of the earth will feel that Jesus has the right to rule King of nations as he does King of Saints (DBY, 113).

Do you know that it is the eleventh hour of the reign of Satan on the earth? Jesus is coming to reign, and all you who fear and tremble because of your enemies, cease to fear them, and learn to fear to offend God, fear to transgress his laws, fear to do any evil to your brother, or to any being upon the earth, and do not fear Satan and his power, nor those who have only power to slay the body, for God will preserve his people (DBY, 114).

In the progress of the age in which we live, we discern the fulfilment of prophecy, and the preparation for the second coming of our Lord and Savior to dwell upon the earth. We expect that the refuge of lies will be swept away, and that city, nation, government, or kingdom which serves not God, and gives no heed to the principles of truth and religion, will be utterly wasted away and destroyed (DBY, 114).

The Millennium will be a time of unity, peace, and temple service.

The Millennium consists in this—every heart in the Church and Kingdom of God being united in one; the Kingdom increasing to the overcoming of everything opposed to the economy of heaven, and Satan being bound, and having a seal set upon him. All things else will be as they are now, we shall eat, drink, and wear clothing (DBY, 115).

Let the people be holy, and the earth under their feet will be holy. Let the people be holy, and filled with the Spirit of God, and every animal and creeping thing will be filled with peace; the soil of the earth will bring forth in its strength, and the fruits thereof will be meat for man. The more purity that exists, the less is the strife; the more kind we are to our animals, the more will peace increase, and the savage nature of the brute creation vanish away. If the people will not serve the Devil another moment whilst they live, if this congregation is possessed of that spirit and resolution, here in this house is the Millennium. Let the inhabitants of this city be possessed of that spirit, let the people of the territory be possessed of that spirit, and here is the Millennium. Let the whole people … be possessed of that spirit and here is the Millennium, and so will it spread over all the world (DBY, 115–16).

In the Millennium, when the Kingdom of God is established on the earth in power, glory and perfection, and the reign of wickedness that has so long prevailed is subdued, the Saints of God will have the privilege of building their temples, and of entering into them, becoming, as it were, pillars in the temples of God [see Revelation 3:12], and they will officiate for their dead. Then we will see our friends come up, and perhaps some that we have been acquainted with here. … And we will have revelations to know our forefathers clear back to Father Adam and Mother Eve, and we will enter into the temples of God and officiate for them. Then [children] will be sealed to [parents] until the chain is made perfect back to Adam, so that there will be a perfect chain of Priesthood from Adam to the winding-up scene.

This will be the work of the Latter-day Saints in the Millennium (DBY, 116).

We should sanctify ourselves in preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Do not be too anxious for the Lord to hasten his work. Let our anxiety be centered upon one thing, the sanctification of our own hearts, the purifying of our own affections, the preparing of ourselves for the approach of the events that are hastening upon us. This should be our concern, this should be our study, this should be our daily prayer, and not to be in a hurry to see the overthrow of the wicked (DBY, 117).

Whether the world is going to be burned up within a year, or within a thousand years, does not matter a groat [a kernel of grain] to you and me. We have the words of eternal life, we have the privilege of obtaining glory, immortality, and eternal lives, now will you obtain these blessings? (DBY, 117).

We have the Kingdom of God to build up, Zion to redeem; we have to sanctify ourselves so that we may be prepared to be caught up with the Church of the Firstborn, and if we improve every day and hour, then if we die we shall be found justified. But if we continue to live, we must become Saints in very deed, or come short of the fulness of the glory of God that is to be revealed (DBY, 444).

The Lord’s time is not for me to know; but he is kind, long-suffering, and patient, and his wrath endureth silently, and will until mercy is completely exhausted, and then judgment will take the reins. I do not know how, neither do I at present wish to know. It is enough for us to know how to serve our God and live our religion, and thus we will increase in the favor of God (DBY, 117–18).

Suggestions for Study

The last days will be a period of great turmoil.

  • According to President Young, what trials will come in the last days? Why will these judgments fall on the earth?

  • What did President Young say would be the only reason for persecution against the Church to stop?

  • How is the war in heaven still being waged on the earth today? What is required of “godly men and godly women” in the last days?

Righteousness will triumph at the end of the world.

  • How will the wicked people of the earth react when they “hear of the wisdom of Zion”?

  • What should we learn to fear during this “eleventh hour of the reign of Satan on the earth”? How can we remain unafraid of the enemies of righteousness?

  • President Young said that the wicked will be “beaten back” and the “march forth of the Gospel will increase” by the “mental force of faith, and by good works.” How can faith be a “mental force”? How do good works overcome wickedness? How can we help the march of the gospel “increase, spread, grow and prosper”?

The Millennium will be a time of unity, peace, and temple service.

  • According to President Young, what is the Millennium? (See also D&C 43:30–31; 88:110.)

  • How will the earth and its inhabitants be made peaceful and holy?

  • What will be the work of the Latter-day Saints during the Millennium?

We should sanctify ourselves in preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

  • President Young said that we should sanctify ourselves in preparation for Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. How do we become sanctified? (See also Helaman 3:35; D&C 20:31.)

  • Why should we not be concerned with the exact timing of the Second Coming?