Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Survival and Faith in the Last Days

I am certain that we all have different ideas of how the last days will play out before Jesus Christ returns to Earth as is prophesied in holy scripture, and as He promised. One thing that I believe we all can agree on is that times will be hard, and our faith will be tested.

I believe that our faith in Christ will be tested to its very limits. Throughout history as recorded in the scriptures, God has ‘sifted the wheat from the tares’, trying the faith of His followers to see who will fall by the wayside, their weak faith having buckled under adversity of varying degrees.

With the first election of Barack Obama as president of the United States, millions of people began to see their liberties eroding at a faster pace than ever before. We saw the beginning of the end of the greatest economic power in the history of the world. With over fifteen trillion dollars in debt, a level that is all but impossible to ever repay through traditional means, we witnessed what appears to be the permanent paralysis of America as a viable center for international commerce, and as an example to the rest of the world of a successful free enterprise marketplace. We witnessed the decay of constitutionally protected property rights with the introduction of forced national health care, and the commensurate tax increase to pay for it. Obama’s first election victory was largely a mandate against the perceived incompetence of George W Bush as portrayed in the mainstream media. Obama’s victory was also helped by the continuing ineptitude of the Republican party in getting across the value of their message and their platform – one of patriotism and love of country, one of religious foundation, one of work ethic and the original American dream. That message was crushed by the Democrat’s platform supporting selfish interests and unearned entitlements.

Obama’s re-election victory over Mitt Romney in 2012 was not a contest of who is more qualified to lead our nation out of its present economic crisis. I doubt there are more than a few hundred people around this entire country who honestly believe that Obama is better suited to turn our market economy, unemployment rates, and debt levels around. That is not what this election was about at all. It was a further mandate for selfish interests and socialism. More specifically, it was a mandate in favor of abortion rights, gay rights, welfare entitlements, illegal immigrant amnesty, and the lack of work ethic and desire to succeed that was once crucial to the survival and prosperity of this once-great nation.

I believe this most recent election was a mandate for what is evil in the sight of God in place of what is righteous. What is degenerate prevailed over what is uplifting. What many people do not seem to realize is that, while they had the freedom to make that choice, they do not have the ability to choose the consequences of that choice. As Christ taught several times about those who acted unwisely, “Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.” So it will be with all of us. Because of choices made by others, we must all suffer together.

How will we suffer? I have a few ideas. I am not even including the natural disasters and calamities that the Lord will send in order to 'preach His sermons' to a wicked world. 

Some of the natural consequences of Obama’s agenda are that Americans will eventually reach a limit where they have no more money for the government to tax from them. The Democrat’s tax-and-spend agenda depends on a continuous flow of tax dollars that will never be reversed or reduced. With the most recent significant tax increase to pay for ObamaCare, many people are left without enough to pay their basic bills.

I remember a conversation I had a few years ago with a retired man from Connecticut. He was 77 years old at the time, and had retired debt-free. He owned his nice, comfortable home free and clear. But according to his story, the governor of the state approved a series of property tax increases which eventually tripled the tax rate that people had planned and budgeted for. My friend was now paying around $10,000 per year in property tax for his rather modest home (probably about 2,000 square feet). And the governor wanted to raise the rate again. What my friend told me is that he, like many other seniors just like him, didn’t have the extra resources to pay for that tax increase, and his home was in foreclosure, only because of the tax increase on his property.

My point in sharing this true story is that the Democrats will not be able to stop their tax-and-spend juggernaut, and will eventually tax the public into financial ruin. Then their system will begin to collapse like the pyramid scheme that it is. This out-of-control taxation has already forced many corporations to outsource jobs to other countries… that and unfair, unethical collective bargaining practices by some unions. I find it amusing that the Democrats love to condemn corporations for outsourcing jobs, when the only reason they did it was to be able to survive the punitive tax rates that the Democrats themselves established. It is as if the Democrats are angry with the corporations for not just laying down and taking the intended beating, but are trying to protect themselves and their shareholders from it…. Like the Democrats are saying to the corporations, “You’re not playing fair. We want to vilify and demonize you in the public eye and plunder your money, but you are making it difficult for us.” The Democrats will run out of resources to feed their monster, and it will come crashing down, taking millions of us with it.

When that happens:

·         Unemployment rates could skyrocket, soaring up to and possibly beyond fifty percent. Businesses simply will not be able to survive, and jobs by the millions will be lost.
·         Senior citizens might lose their Social Security benefits altogether. There won’t be government money to give them.
·         The health care system, even that which is mandated by the government, could cease to exist as we know it. Most people will not be able to afford health insurance, or it might not be available at all. Seniors, those who typically need the health care system the most, might be without Medicare or any other coverage.
·         Prescription drugs and other medicine might not be available because the companies who manufacture them will be out of business.
·         Food distributors might not continue to fill the shelves of our grocery stores. The grocery stores might not be in business. People won’t be able to obtain food easily, the way we do it today.
·         Any debts owed to you will default, as will debts you owe to others. Default will become a national epidemic, and those who depended on ‘the check in the mail’ will be left waiting and waiting…

What would we do in circumstances such as this? No job, no more money coming, no way to buy more food at the grocery store, perhaps no more gas for your car, no health care, no prescription drugs… what would we do? It’s pretty much an impossible situation to survive. And many millions of people would not survive it. Perhaps most people would not.

The only answer I can see is that this would be a very large-scale sifting of the wheat from the tares. Those who put their trust in God and keep His commandments will be blessed. They will be protected. They will be provided for. A senior citizen who once desperately needed a prescription drug to maintain their health, or even possibly to survive, would be blessed and sustained by the Lord through their obedience to His teachings and commandments. Those who follow the Lord and demonstrate their firm faith in Him will have their needs provided. They will survive while many around them will perish, not knowing where else to turn, but being unwilling to acknowledge God as a source of relief. It reminds me of the Book of Mormon verse where Mormon describes the degenerate state of the Nephites just before their final destruction:

“And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword for their lives.” (Mormon 2:14)

We might lose our right to own firearms, thereby giving government and organized crime free reign. But by obedience and faith in God, we might not need the guns. We would be protected from evil.

We might not have health care coverage or medicine. But through obedience and faith, and the power of the priesthood of God, we might not need them. Our faith will be more powerful than the wisdom and technology of man.

We might not be able to buy food in stores. But with God’s help, and through the cooperative help of other faithful people, we can grow, hunt and fish, and survive with adequate amounts of food.

The bottom line is that Christ has promised blessings and protection to those who follow Him. He makes no such commitments to those who disobey him and pursue their own gods in the world. I believe in those promises.

I believe He expects us to do everything we can do for ourselves to be prepared, and to not be caught by surprise (see the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25 in the New Testament). But that which we cannot do for ourselves, if we are faithful, the Lord will make up the difference.

“…for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (BoM - 2nd Nephi 25:23)

My hope is that my friends and family will recognize the signs of hard times ahead that are plainly visible to those who ‘will see’, and will take them seriously and prepare themselves. I’m going to do everything I can to be ready for the rough times ahead.