Importance of the Work

From this project  I hope to install in  every member of the church (even members of other Christian religions) a revived desire to earnestly study the second coming of Christ.  I have come to understand why individuals outside of the church have limited the importance of this topic, based on a false understanding of what they call the "Rapture", but I hope to remove some of the misunderstandings within members of the church concerning the need to more fully study this important event.  Most of the lack of interest however I believe comes from a misunderstanding of statements from modern prophets in the last two decades.
Many of the prophets in the last couple of decades have warned the membership about going off the edge in this effort.  We are not, for example, to go into debt to obtain a years supply of food, or to sale our house and migrate to Independence, Missouri.  There have also been numerous splinter groups that have been created around this topic that have also raised concern with the Brethren.  It has been these types of cautions, from the church, that provide the misunderstanding within the church concerning their responsibility around this topic.  Many have taken the stance that "the Prophet will warn us concerning the second coming and until He does I won't worry about it".  I feel that this type of attitude is not what was intended. We must all take to heart the warning in D&C section 45 and ensure that we will not be counted with those that will be cut off.   My hope is that we may be counted as the wise as in Daniel 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

D&C 45:..And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man........................... and he that watches not for me shall be cut off. (D&C 45:39-44)

The following few quotes are just a short preface to show the importance of the work and what our role should be in it:

"...There is not a more important course to pursue, for any of us who now live on earth, than to prepare for the Second Coming.."   (Bruce R. McConkie. The Millennial Messiah. p.xxiii)

Brother McConkie goes on to say that the gospel has been restored and the kingdom established to prepare for the work, however this work is not understood . He also stated that the work is totally misunderstood by Christians in general and within the Church we need more enlightenment.  I think this sets the tone for what needs to be done.  In my estimation this leaves no room for "Wait to see what the Prophet tells us".  We have been told, we need to get on with the work.  Brother McConkie goes on to point out what our fate will be if we fail to do our duty and better understand the signs of His coming.

"The very fact that men refuse to believe the many signs of the times is itself one of the signs promised to precede the advent of our Lord. ….. And how many there are, like the Jews of old, who fail to discern the signs of the times!… it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be also at the coming of the Son of Man "  (Bruce R. McConkie. The Millennial Messiah. Pg. 449 - Pg. 450)

I believe that it is our task to become prepared so that we are not found wanting like in the days of Noah.  This is a task that we all should take seriously. Many of the members have a true desire to understand the signs but have become discouraged due to the size and complexity of the job.  Indeed I know of many that have dove into the work only to find themselves floundering, under the weight of sorting through all the work,  years later giving up in defeat.  Some of these individuals have given the work a rest returning after a few years hiatus to continue the work, others abandon the work adopting the hope that the Prophet will spell it out for them when the appropriate time comes.  I believe the latter will lead us to the ark long after the doors have closed.

So what should we do?  I believe Elder Maxwell has provided a great guide for this journey:

"Our task is to react and to notice without overreacting, to let life go forward without slipping into the heedlessness of those in the days of Noah. ….. To ponder signs without becoming paranoid, to be aware without frantically matching current events with expectations, using energy that should be spent in other ways--these are our tasks."   (Neal A. Maxwell. For the Power is in Them. p.20)

With the task at hand, and I think D&C section 45 makes it pretty clear what our role should be; look for the signs or be cut off, I think Elder Maxwell's advice is a sound approach to the work.  How then can we be aware without frantically matching current events with expectations?

I propose the work be treated as a large mosaic, not a standard mosaic of colored glass or of marble, but a mosaic of latter-day prophecies, brought together to form a complete picture of the last-days. The successful completion of this work will be as important to us as understanding Christ's first advent was to the House of Israel in the meridian of time. Many have taken snapshots of the mosaic and have made trees, snakes, walls and ropes out of the elephant they have been asked to identify.

Like a group of blind men having been asked to identify an elephant brought before them, many of us focus to closely on the individual pieces and miss the whole.  They can't see the forest for the trees. We, like them, are being tasked to identify the true animal. Each piece of the mosaic has a reason for being, the full picture will not be complete until all the pieces fit into a complete whole.  Once we understand the full picture, with all the pieces in place, then we will have reached the point of being aware.

The purpose of the mosaic, or previously called the template view, is to look at all Last-Days prophecies holistically.  We don’t want to be found like most of Christianity misplacing individual Prophecies (to include verified dreams.  And I mean verified through the confirmation of the Holy Ghost.  And verified dreams are prophecies for those to whom they apply and to the receiver’s stewardship).  One good example is the rapture.  The rapture is a true event it is the placement of it that is wrong.  Most Christian groups will find themselves unprepared for many tests due to their misplacement of this key event.  Had they looked at all prophetic events they wouldn’t have excluded themselves from many of the events that we all need to go through (the refiner’s fire).

I do believe that many LDS will create their own “Rapture” stumbling blocks by not following this key step.  All personal revelations must be balanced within the mosaic

 Again I challenge the group to help refine the mosaic/template on the web site and then let’s try to see where in the complete picture these types of individual prophecies apply.  Many individual prophecies won’t find a home and will only be understood by the individuals to whom they where intended.  Others that have regional implications should find a home.

In order for us to view the complete whole I have adopted a method of study that has raised concern with some in my group. Some have wanted to run off on every slight tangent and investigate minute possibilities while others leave the group at the first sign of questioning what someone has said. In my studies I have come across statements that appear to contradict statements made by others. Indeed I have found some statements, made by prominent authors,  that even appear to contradict statements made by themselves in other works.  Talking about these apparent contradictions and trying to analyze what is presented is, in my estimation, a large part of what this work is about.  We may find, like Brigham Young’s statement of Adam being God, that some items will need to be flagged as anomalies and leave it at that.  My approach has been to identify these items and try and understand them without fueling an apostate movement or even more important causing one to abandon the work entirely.

To fully understand this topic we must investigate all that has been said concerning the topic and try to understand what has been written. Let me try to define the approach. I have asked that items on the list be limited to canonized scriptures,  to include church hymns and church magazine articles. Statements made by the latter day prophets that are not included as canonized scripture will be allowed but need to be understood as such and may need to be dealt with in a different light. In the event that these type of items are included they need to be identified with the source so that all might know of there authenticity. Other lesser know items like the white horse prophecies need to be linked to a canonized event and not be allowed to stand alone and drive the study into unwarranted lines of speculation.