Friday, November 28, 2014

Taps Or Reveille?


Early in 1833, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote a letter to N. E. Seaton editor of a newspaper. He did so he said, “to contribute my mite at this very interesting and important period.” His missive quickly turned into a warning to the nation.  He was “carefully viewing the state of things” in the United States, “and ... looked at it with feelings of the most painful anxiety.” Two things were evident to the observant Prophet. The “manifest withdrawal of God’s Holy Spirit, and the veil of stupidity which seems to be drawn over the hearts of the people....”  The ancient covenants of God with Israel and the Gentiles were broken and the earth stood defiled. “The plain fact is this,” he wrote, “the power of God begins to fall upon the nations.” He went on to say that “the Gentiles are like the waves of the sea, casting up mire and dirt, or all in commotion, and they are hastily preparing to act the part allotted them, when the Lord rebukes the nations, when He shall rule them with a rod of iron, and break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Joseph is evidently speaking of the famous dream of King Nebuchadnezzar recorded in Daniel 2, wherein he saw a large statue representing the nations and the kingdoms of the world.  It was hit and destroyed by a large stone rolling down out of the mountains. The stone represented the kingdom of God which “shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”(1) 

Joseph went on to say that the Lord revealed to him 18 months previously
“...that He was then withdrawing His Spirit from the earth; and we can see that such is the fact, for not only the churches are dwindling away, but there are no conversions, or but very few: and this is not all, the governments of the earth are thrown into confusion and division; and Destruction, to the eye of the spiritual beholder, seems to be written by the finger of an invisible hand, in large capitals, upon almost every thing we behold.(2)
This statement is representative of a large number of similar predictions by the Prophet about the destruction of the nations and kingdoms of the world, including the United States, prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. These have been echoed by numerous other predictions and warnings by subsequent Apostles and Prophets.(3)

More recently Elder Neal A. Maxwell, made a comment similar to that of Joseph Smith, and like the Prophet he also looked toward the Kingdom of God. In 1975 he spoke to a group of genealogists at a symposium at BYU.  He told them:
As one who has spent a little time in public service, when I am around the secular institutions very long (however sincerely people may be trying to improve these important institutions and to make them work), if I listen closely, what I hear is the sound of taps–a kind of sense of sadness, in which they may not be able to arise to the occasion, though I hope they do. However, when I am around the Kingdom of God, if I listen closely, what I think I hear is the sound of reveille–a kind of giant awakening, in which we are deliberately being stirred to do the things that are ours to do.(4)
Wikipedia tells us that “Reveille” is a bugle, trumpet, or pipes call associated with the military “to wake military personnel at sunrise.” It comes from the French word for “wake up.” What are “the things that are ours to do”? Rather than succumbing at the death knell of Taps, Latter-day Saints are to awake and arise at Reveille and go to work building God’s kingdom–first. The JST version of Mt. 6:33, which in the JST is verse 38, is insightful.  It reads, “Wherefore, seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Lets think together again, soon.


1. Dan. 2:44.  The letter from Joseph Smith to N. E. Seaton, 4 January 1833, may be found in HC 1:312-16 and TPJS, 13-18.  I recommend reading the entire document.

2. Joseph Smith, TPJS, 16, emphasis added.  The revelation of which he spoke concerning the withdrawal of the Spirit may be found in D&C 63:32-33, given 30 August 1831.

3. A collection of many such statements may be found in, N. B. Lundwall, comp., Inspired Prophetic Warnings to all Inhabitants of the Earth: Being a Compilation of Ancient and Modern Prophecies, Sixth edition enlarged, (Salt Lake City: Publishers Press, n.d.).  See also the very interesting and specific predictions in, Orson Hyde, “A Timely Warning from an Apostle of Jesus Christ,” letter from Orson Hyde to the editor of the Missouri Republican, 1 January 1862, in Millennial Star 24 (May 3, 1862), p. 274-275.

4. Neal A. Maxwell, “Devotional Address.”  In Eleventh Annual Priesthood Genealogical Research Seminar, compiled by the Priesthood Genealogy Division of the Genealogical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1976, p. 275, emphasis added.

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