Prepare yourselves; for a greater responsibility will come upon you than you have ever dreamed of.1
In addition to our spiritual, physical and financial preparation, we will want to prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally for the events of the last days. As we ponder and study the words of God through His prophets and we meditate upon His purposes in the latter days, we will be enlightened by the Holy Spirit and we will learn the objectives of the Lord in the latter days. This will bring us inner peace. When traumatic events begin to unfold in the last days, we will understand why these things are happening.
In order to commune with God and understand His will, we must tune our hearts and thoughts to be in harmony with Him. When the Prophet Joseph was imprisoned in the depths of the cold, dark dungeon known as Liberty Jail, he counseled the Saints:
“Thy mind, O man, if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity---thou must commune with God. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God, than the vain imaginations of the human heart! None but fools will trifle with the souls of men.
“How vain and trifling have been our spirits, our conferences, our councils, our meetings, our private as well as public conversations---too low, too mean, too vulgar, too condescending for the dignified characters of the called and chosen of God, according to the purposes of His will, from before the foundation of the world!
“We are called to hold the keys of the mysteries of those things that have been kept hid from the foundation of the world until now. . . . Therefore we beseech of you, brethren, that you bear with those who do not feel themselves more worthy than yourselves, while we exhort one another to a reformation with one and all, both old and young, teachers and taught, both high and low, rich and poor, bond and free, male and female; let honesty, and sobriety, and candor, and solemnity, and virtue, and pureness, and meekness, and simplicity crown our heads in every place; and in fine, become as little children, without malice, guile or hypocrisy.”2
If we fill our minds with the things of eternity, our hearts with humility, and our souls with charity, “the doctrine of the priesthood shall distill upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.”3
Crafts and Skills Will Bless the Saints
Our mental and physical preparation should also include learning those skills and crafts that will provide the Saints with clothing, shoes, shelter and food. When the Saints are cut off from the Gentile world, these skills will be a great blessing. The Saints will be able to teach each other how to produce the necessities of life.
LDS farmers and home gardeners will be able to share their skills and help the people to grow the food they need. LDS craftsmen and handymen will teach others how to repair and maintain their homes and churches. LDS doctors and dentists will help the people to nurse the sick and afflicted, and these patients will be nourished by those who have taught the people to grow and process medicinal herbs. LDS teachers and professors will help the people to teach the children. Many other valuable skills will be shared among the Saints.
President Wilford Woodruff prophesied:
“So far as our temporal matters are concerned, we have got to go to work and provide for ourselves. The day will come when, as we have been told, we shall all see the necessity of making our own shoes and clothing and raising our own food, and uniting together to carry out the purposes of the Lord. We will be preserved in the mountains of Israel in the day of God’s judgment. I therefore say to you, my brethren and sisters, prepare for that which is to come. You have a great future before you.”4
Heber C. Kimball also testified that we need to learn how to manufacture the necessities that we will need when we are cut off from Babylon:
“I would like to see the people take a course to make their own clothing, make their own machinery, their own knives and their own forks, and everything else we need, for the day will come when we will be under the necessity of doing it, for trouble and perplexity, war and famine, bloodshed and fire, and thunder and lightning will roll upon the nations of the earth, insomuch that we cannot get to them, nor they to us.”5
We are blessed to have received the teachings of the prophets so that we know what last-day events are coming, and the signs that foretell their arrival. Because we have been given these prophecies, we can emotionally prepare ourselves. As Wilford Woodruff told us:
“The Latter-day Saint, in the vision of his mind, sees displayed on the great panorama of the world all the scenes that are to transpire in the present day, while the wicked are ignorant of what is about to transpire; they do not know what is the matter; while there are cholera, whirlwinds, storms, thunder and lightning, and earthquakes in divers places, and kingdom is rising against kingdom in battle array, they are ignorant of what will be the end of these matters, and the cause of their existence, because the things of God are not before their eyes.”6
The prophets have warned us that the destruction of the wicked will be catastrophic and deeply troubling. The Saints will need to rely upon their faith in their Savior, Jesus Christ, during these times of turmoil. President Brigham Young said:
“You may think that the little you hear of now is grievous; yet the faithful of God’s people will see days that will cause them to close their eyes because of the sorrow that will come upon the wicked nations. The hearts of the faithful will be filled with pain and anguish for them.”7
President John Taylor also stated:
“There will yet be wars pass through these United States, and through other nations, until it will be mournful to hear the report of the bloodshed, the sorrow and trouble that will be caused thereby, as also by pestilence, famine and earthquake, and the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds, and storms and tempests, etc., etc.”8
“We need not be too anxious for the destruction of the wicked, for it will be indeed terrible when it comes, it will make every feeling man weep for sorrow over the trouble and affliction that will come.”9
While it is true that we may wish that the Lord would hasten the destruction of the wicked---especially when we are receiving persecution from them---President Young warned the Saints in his day to be careful in their wishes, since they may not be prepared yet for the destruction of the wicked. He advised the Saints to focus instead upon purifying themselves:
“Are you prepared for the day of vengeance to come, when the Lord will consume the wicked by the brightness of His coming? No. Then do not be too anxious for the Lord to hasten His work. Let our anxiety be centered upon this 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. . . . Seek not to hasten it, but be satisfied to let the Lord have His own time and way, and be patient. Seek to have the Spirit of Christ, that we may wait patiently the time of the Lord, and prepare ourselves for the times that are coming. This is our duty.”10
The wicked must fill their cup of iniquity to the brim before the Lord will destroy them.11 This could happen today, or many years in the future. In the meantime, it is our privilege to wait patiently upon the Lord, to draw closer to Him, and to purify and sanctify our lives with righteous living.
Preparing for the Law of Consecration and Stewardship
Since the Lord has told us that the law of consecration and stewardship will be restored in the last days to bless the lives of the Saints, we have the opportunity to prepare ourselves to live and obey this law. The biggest difficulty to surmount in living the law of consecration is the belief that our earthly possessions are “mine, mine and mine.” This emotion comes to us from the natural man.12
When we overcome this feeling of selfishness, we will be ready to live the law of consecration. We will then avoid any feelings of jealousy and greed that might arise under the law of consecration. It was the vices of “envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires”13 that caused the law of consecration to quickly disintegrate when it was first introduced in the early days of the Church.14 But as the Saints of the latter days overcome these feelings, the Lord will bless them, and the law of consecration will be a success. As the Lord told the Saints, “I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.”15
The law of consecration is truly a blessing to all of those who participate in it. Under its principles the whole community functions in a spirit of brotherly love, and the standard of living increases for everyone, which soon results in a society with “no poor among them.”16 Competition and jealousy disappear, and each person works for the common good of others. The land is then filled with righteousness, prosperity, love and peace.
Preparing to Administer the Kingdom of God
The Lord has also revealed that the Saints will help to establish the political Kingdom of God in the last days and teach its principles throughout the world. In preparation for this, we should learn the correct principles of the government of God, and understand exactly how that government functions. The time will someday arrive when the nations will turn to the Saints for leadership, and the important task of leading those nations correctly will fall upon the shoulders of the Saints. President Brigham Young prophesied:
“You men, prepare yourselves; for a greater responsibility will come upon you than you have ever dreamed of. Millions will seek to you for salvation. Are you prepared for this?. . . You will see the time when thousands will seek salvation at the hands of this people, and say, ‘Guide us in the way of life; the earth is emptied of wickedness, and it has come to an end.’ The Lord knows whether or not the elders of this Church will be ready to step forward and take upon themselves these great responsibilities.”17
By educating ourselves in principles of good government and in principles of righteous priesthood leadership, we will be prepared for the awesome responsibility of organizing and leading the people when the nations disintegrate into chaos as the wicked are destroyed.
President Brigham Young also said that we can prepare ourselves individually to live under the rule of the Kingdom of God by learning the principle of obedience in our lives:
“When all nations are so subdued to Jesus that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess, there will still be millions on the earth who will not believe in Him; but they will be obliged to acknowledge His kingly government. You may call that government ecclesiastical, or by whatever term you please; yet there is no true government on earth but the government of God, or the holy priesthood.
“Shall I tell you what that is? In short, it is a perfect system of government---a kingdom of Gods and angels and all beings who will submit themselves to that government. There is no other true government in heaven or upon the earth. Do not blame me for believing in a pure and holy government.
“Is man prepared to receive that government? He is not. I can say to these Latter-day Saints, ‘You are not prepared to receive that government.’ You hear men and women talk about living and abiding a celestial law, when they do not so much as know what it is, and are not prepared to receive it. We have a little here and a little there given to us, to prove whether we will abide that portion of law that will enable us to enjoy a resurrection with the just.”18
Unity is required of the people in order for the government of God to function correctly. President John Taylor challenged the Saints in his day to prepare themselves to live under the laws of the Kingdom of God by becoming more unified:
“We are told that the day will come when he that will not take up his sword against his neighbor must needs flee to Zion for safety. And is that true? Yes, it is. If that should take place today, are we prepared for it? I think not. If we should go on for years as we are now going on shall we be prepared for it? We are not, today, all of us, preparing for these things. . . .
“Instead of being clothed upon with the Spirit of God and being filled with the Holy Ghost, the light of revelation and the power of God . . . we are divided up in our interest, one man pulling against another, so much so, that we have today all kinds of Gentilism among us.
“Even our newspapers give circulation to certain classes of advertisements which are a living lie, and it is a shame and disgrace that such things should be seen in Zion. Some call it Gentile trickery, the tricks of trade, etc., but I call it chicanery and falsehood, and it is so in regard to many other things.”19
President Taylor challenged the Saints to rise above the things of this world, to root out all unselfishness in their souls, and to live in harmony and peace with each other. Continuing his remarks, he said:
“Does this comport with the position we occupy as men holding the holy priesthood? I do not think it does. I think we ought to occupy a more elevated and honorable position; I think we ought to be governed by other influences, and be actuated by other motives.
“I think that our lives, our desires, our feelings and our acts ought to be to try to build up Zion and establish the kingdom of God upon the earth; that we should be united in our temporal as well as in our spiritual affairs, for God says: ‘If you are not one you are not mine.’
“Do you believe it? You elders of Israel, do you believe that saying? And if we are not the Lord’s then whose are we? We have our own plans, our own notions and our own theories; and as one of old expressed it, we are seeking for gain, every one from his own quarter.
“And we are governed to a very great extent by selfishness, and too much by our own personal feelings, and allow these things to influence us instead of being governed by those high, noble, dignified and glorious principles that dwell in the bosom of God, which emanated from Him, and which dwell also in the bosoms of those who in sincerity fear God and keep His commandments.”20
Preparing for the Return of the Savior
The ultimate preparation that we can undertake in the latter days is to prepare to meet the Son of God when He returns in glory. The thought of seeing the Savior face to face strikes the wicked with fear and dread. When our lives have been purified, we will eagerly anticipate the privilege of being in His presence. We will pray for Him to hasten the day of His Return. President Brigham Young warned us that only a few of the Saints will be completely prepared for this sacred experience:
“Jesus has been upon the earth a great many more times than you are aware of. When Jesus makes His next appearance upon the earth, but few of this Church and kingdom will be prepared to receive Him and see Him face to face and converse with Him; but He will come to His temple.
“Will He remain and dwell upon the earth a thousand years, without returning? He will come here, and return to His mansion where He dwells with His Father, and come again to the earth, and again return to His Father, according to my understanding.
Then angels will come and begin to resurrect the dead, and the Savior will also raise the dead, and they will receive the keys of the resurrection, and will begin to assist in that work. Will the wicked know of it? They will know just as much about that as they now know about ‘Mormonism,’ and no more.”21
As the events of the latter days begin to unfold, the righteous will be rewarded for their preparation. They will have peace when others are experiencing fear and terror. They will be ready for the changes that are coming upon the world, when both the Kingdom of God and the law of consecration will bless the lives of millions and millions of God’s children.
1 . Brigham Young, July 28, 1861, Journal of Discourses 9:144.
2 . History of the Church 3:295-296.
3 . D&C 121:45.
4 . Wilford Woodruff, discourse given at the Weber Stake Conference on July 15, 1894, reported in Millennial Star (October 8, 1894) 56:644.
5 . Heber C. Kimball, November 26, 1854, Journal of Discourses 2:156.
6 . Wilford Woodruff, February 25, 1855, Journal of Discourses 2:199.
7 . Brigham Young, July 15, 1860, Journal of Discourses 8:123.
8 . John Taylor, June 18, 1883, Journal of Discourses 24:200; emphasis added.
9 . John Taylor, December 31, 1876, Journal of Discourses 18:332.
10 . Brigham Young, April 6, 1861, Journal of Discourses 9:3.
11 . D&C 101:11.
12 . Mosiah 3:19.
13 . D&C 101:6.
14 . D&C 101:6.
15 . D&C 38:27.
16 . Moses 7:18.
17 . Brigham Young, July 28, 1861, Journal of Discourses 9:144.
18 . Brigham Young, May 22, 1859, Journal of Discourses 7:142.
19 . John Taylor, September 21, 1878, Journal of Discourses 21:56-57.
20 . John Taylor, September 21, 1878, Journal of Discourses 21:57.
21 . Brigham Young, May 22, 1859, Journal of Discourses 7:142; emphasis added.