Author’s Note: My readers will note that compared with my writings today I had kind of a more black and white Old Testament approach in this treatise. There are two reasons for this difference. The first is that I started this treatise when I was still engulfed in the LDS thoughtform and concentrating on studying the scriptures and historical church writings. Secondly, 1979 was a terrible economic period and many people, religious and non religious, believed an economic collapse was coming. It appeared that the stressful times predicted by the prophets was approaching so the time of a stark warning seemed appropriate.
Great destructions and turbulence come to the earth in cycles and we do not know for sure when the next one will be but a place of refuge, as taught here, makes a lot of sense, especially one that is self sufficient enough to survive a calamity.
A Refuge From The Storm
On April 26, 1838 the Lord commanded the saints: “Verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations; And that the gathering together upon the land of Zion, and UPON HER STAKES, MAY BE FOR A DEFENSE, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth.” 11 D&C 115:5-6
It is the misconception of the age that the saints read this scripture and obtain a sense of security merely because they call their local diocese a stake. The stakes today are not in the least prepared to be a place of refuge since they are all in the middle of Babylon which shall fall, they shall fall also, and in no sense of the imagination can one say that the stakes are prepared to be “for a defense.” The stakes of today are no more prepared than are the diocese of the sectarians. In a last ditch attempt in an emergency they will also make every effort according to the wisdom of man to save themselves. But we are clearly told over and over and over that physical salvation as well as spiritual can only be assured through the gathering.
There is a saying that a rose called by any other name is still a rose. Today we call a diocese a stake, but it is still a diocese, for a diocese consists of congregations of Christians mixed with Babylon, and that is exactly what we have in our stakes today, but it has not always been so. As we have mentioned earlier a Stake was originally designed to be an actual gathering spot which was to be developed into a city of Zion with a maximum population of 20,000 saints. In fact all those gathering places which were designed to be permanent stakes were cities for the first fifty years of church organization. Many of the early stakes in the days of Joseph Smith were established when there was barely a branch there. The following six stakes were all set off in a period covering about two weeks. They were: Lima, Quincy, Mount Hope, Freedom, Geneva, and Springfield. All of these were designed to be cities surrounding Nauvoo and some of them were mere whistle stops at the time. The one thing they had in common was not that they each had several thousand saints as required today, but that each was appointed as a gathering place for the saints to be a future place of refuge.
The scriptures give many indications that the stakes are cities: “A commandment I give unto you that ye shall commence a work of laying out and preparing a beginning and foundation of THE CITY OF THE STAKE OF ZION, here in the land of Kirtland.” D&C 94:1
Also the Lord said: “If they will do my will and keep my commandments concerning them, let them gather themselves together unto the places which I shall appoint unto them by my servant Joseph, and BUILD CITIES UNTO MY NAME, that they may be prepared for that which is in store for a time to come. LET THEM BUILD UP A CITY UNTO MY NAME upon the land opposite the city of Nauvoo, and let the name of Zarahemla be named upon it.” D&C 125:2-3 Zarahemla is officially listed in the history of the church as the forth stake of Zion officially organized nearly two years before-this revelation on Oct 5, 1839, but since a successful gathering was not yet effected there and a city was not built as the Lord directed he reminded the Saints of their responsibility to build a city there.
In church history we read that the saints were commanded to “go forth and lay off other stakes of Zion, OR PLACES OF GATHERING, so that the poor may have a place of refuge, or places of refuge, in the day of tribulation which is coming swiftly on the earth.” DHC 2:516
Is it not sad that there is not a stake of Zion on the earth today? Yet they have to be built. The physical salvation of the saints depends on it. Listen further to the words of the early brethren:
”How then is the Lord to dwell in Zion if Zion be not built up? This question we leave the saints to answer. The salvation of the saints one and all depends on the building up of Zion, for without this there is no salvation, for deliverance in the last days is found in Zion and in Jerusalem, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call or in other words, IN THE STAKES which he shall appoint (Joel 2:32). It is Zion where the Lord is to create upon every dwelling place and upon her assemblies a cloud of smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. It is upon the glory of Zion that there will be a defense. It is in Zion that there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from heat, and for a place of refuge and for a covert from storm and from rain (Isaiah 4:5-6). It is upon the walls of Zion where the watchmen shall see eye to eye (Isaiah 52:8).
“Whatever is glorious, whatever is desirable, whatever pertains to salvation, either temporal or spiritual, our hopes, our expectations, our glory, and our reward, ALL DEPEND ON OUR BUILDING UP ZION according to the testimony of the prophets, for unless Zion is built our hopes perish, our expectations fail, our prospects are blasted, our salvation withers, and GOD WILL COME AND SMITE THE WHOLE EARTH WITH A CURSE. Hear, then, O ye Saints of the last days! And let this our appeal have a favorable reception among you. Let every Saint consider well the nature of his calling in the last days, and the great responsibility which rests upon him or her, as one to whom God has revealed His will; and make haste not only to the relief of Kirtland, but also to the building up of Zion. Let every man and every woman give heed the very instant they embrace the gospel and exert themselves with energy to send the means to build up Zion, for our God bids us to hasten the building of the city, saying the time has come when the city must be pushed forward with unceasing exertions, for behold the day of calamity draweth neigh, and unless the saints hasten the building of the city they will not escape.
“Be admonished, then, O ye Saints! And let not covetousness, which is idolatry, nor worldly ambition hinder you; but gather up your gold and your silver and all the means you have and send on to the saints who are engaged in this great work of building the Zion of God, that there may be a place of refuge for you and your children in the day of God’s vengeance, when he shall come down on Idumea, or the world, in his fury and stamp them down in His wrath, AND NONE SHALL ESCAPE BUT THE INHABITANTS OF ZION. What we say unto one we say unto all, haste, haste, haste, and delay not! for the hour of desolation does not linger, and with all the power that the saints have, and with all the diligence they can use THEY WILL SCARCELY ESCAPE.
“The time is not far distant when some of those who now deride and mock the saints for devoting their all to build up the Zion of God, WILL BLESS THEIR NAME FOR HAVING PROVIDED A CITY OF REFUGE FOR THEM AND THEIR CHILDREN, regardless of the ravings of ungodly priests, and the mockings of a stupid and ignorant people.” Letter from the Stake Bishopric in Kirtland. DHC 2:516-517
If they were to hasten and build up the cities of Zion in 1837 so that they “will scarcely escape” then how much more – pressed should We feel in this day? Today we have no escape should there be a collapse of the government, or even the dollar. We have no refuge from the mobs of angry men that would be running rampant and worst of all the saints today “are walking in darkness at noon- day.” D&C 95:6 for Joseph warned that if we do not keep the commandments: “I prophesy – I speak the truth, I lie not – God shall take away their talent (The church), and give it to those who have no talent, AND SHALL PREVENT THEM FROM EVER OBTAINING A PLACE OF REFUGE, or an inheritance upon the land of Zion.” DHC 2:48
As usual Joseph’s prophesy has come to pass. Today we have no place of refuge and the finger of blame points at the shepherds of Israel.
“But,” says one, “God would not allow such a thing to happen. If the gathering is this important then God would speak to the leaders and straighten them out. Surely he wouldn’t allow millions of Latter-Day Saints be deceived?”
What makes you think so? After all, if it was that easy why didn’t the Lord just speak to the Pope instead of coming to an insignificant boy like Joseph Smith? Why does he let millions of Baptists go astray? Do not the Latter-Day Saints believe that millions, perhaps billions of people will be destroyed in the latter days because they heed not the word of the prophets? If God governs other people this way then why do we believe that we are an exception?
The Jews in the days of Lehi believed that they were an exception because they were God’s chosen people living in God’s chosen city and they believed that God would not allow them to be destroyed, but many cursed God and died when the destruction came. They were no better than anyone else who did not obey the principles of salvation.
Why does the LDS people today claim to have immunity? Why do they somehow believe it is “different” today?
Behold the commandments and the words of the prophets are already before us and we heed them not, and when the word of God is not heeded they receive not the blessing, and if they are not entitled to the blessing, then why do you suppose it would be wisdom in God to force a revelation upon his people, even a revelation that they have already received? God forces no revelation upon anyone, but each revelation has to be sought for. We must “ask” to receive.
Numerous times from the conference stand we have heard the scripture quoted: “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” D&C 38:30. We might mention here that there is a second group of people who do not fear, at least for the present, to them the Lord might have said: “If ye are thoroughly blind and ignorant of the scriptures you will not fear, until it is too late.”
In order to prepare so we will not fear the authorities have admonished members to (1) Get at least a year’s supply of food. (2) Get out of debt. (3) Stay healthy mentally and physically, (4) follow your leaders, (5) Get spiritually prepared by attending meetings, praying and having home evening and (6) Do good in the community.
All of these objectives sound good to the natural man and they even receive the praise of the world, but the saints are like the son whose father commanded him to change a flat tire and instead he polished the car. What kind of praise do you think the son would receive if the father had to take the baby to the hospital in an emergency in the middle of the night with a flat tire? Only a fool would think that the father might beam with joy over the good polish job.
The authorities today have done a good polish job, but they still have not done as commanded, and an emergency is at hand and the Father of lights is greatly displeased.
Let us read the rest of the scripture and see what is really necessary so we will not fear: “I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lost the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear. AND THAT YE MAY ESCAPE THE POWER OF THE ENEMY, AND BE GATHERED unto me a righteous people, without spot and blameless… And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness. AND GO YE OUT FROM AMONG THE WICKED. SAVE YOURSELVES.” D&C 38:30-31,41-42
What then are we clearly commanded to do to prepare ourselves so that we will not fear? The Lord said “Be gathered unto me a righteous people,” for without this the earth will be wasted at his coming.
As it is the LDS people are not prepared and all but the most blinded do fear or are at least concerned about it. Many saints realize that if a famine did come they would have to share their food with others and they would not have enough for themselves. Many realize they could be left without fuel and electricity and their children may freeze to death if they do not have enough money to store up a large supply of wood for themselves or borrow from the neighbor. (Good luck!) Many realize that our economy is in grave danger and believe there is nothing they can do about it.
If Latter-Day Saints will be honest with themselves they will admit that they do fear and are greatly concerned, even if they are doing all they can to follow the brethren But if we would have followed the Lord’s commandment we would have today many self sufficient cities built to the name of the Lord. The workers in these cities would not be subject to strike, or electrical shutdowns, or mob violence and they would even continue to operate if there was a complete collapse of the dollar, for the inhabitants would be working for the glory of God and not self. If the Saints had been faithful and continued the gathering then the inhabitants of such cities would not fear. God would even protect them in their righteousness from natural calamities as he has promised.
Behold! The day is late and the night draweth near, but it is not too late. The Lord has promised that if we go forward with all of our might that he will hold back the storm sufficiently so a righteous gathering can still take place and cities of refuge will yet be built and the inhabitants will not fear, whereas all the preparations of the orthodox Mormons will fail. Their year’s supply will be stolen or confiscated. They are told to get out of debt, but almost all of them are in debt and when the dollar takes a sharp drop in value even those with a regular mortgage will lose their homes. They are told to stay healthy, but I just talked to an individual who was trying to do that and was excommunicated for being a vegetarian. We are told that “a desolating sickness shall cover the land” (D&C 45:31) and those Latter-Day Saints who do not obey the commandments given plainly in the scriptures, the iron rod, will be trodden down by it.
The picture is not pretty. The Lord said: “My blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not. Wherefore, I the Lord God will send forth flies upon the face of the earth, which shall take hold of the inhabitants thereof, and shall eat their flesh, and shall cause maggots to come upon them; And their tongues shall be stayed that they shall not utter against me; and their flesh shall fall from off their bones, and their eyes from their sockets; And it shall come to pass that the beasts of the forest and the fowls of the air shall devour them up.” D&C 29:17-20
That’s a good enough reason there for me to gather my family and friends into a place of refuge that the Lord has appointed. The Lord has clearly said “I will not spare ANY that remain in Babylon,” D&C 64:24. Yet in spite of this the Mormon people expect to remain in the world where wickedness reigns and by some miraculous self righteous means stay healthy and well while their next door neighbor who is a non Mormon is covered with flies and maggots and his flesh is falling off his bones. How foolish and blind are the thoughts of man without revelation from God! When Isaiah speaks to “Ephriam” of our day he says “When the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then YE SHALL BE TRODDEN DOWN BY IT. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you; for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night; and IT SHALL BE A VEXATION ONLY TO UNDERSTAND THE REPORT.” Isa 28- 18-19 What report is that? This is part of the report right here, the literal gathering of Israel. The vexation will also give the righteous power to set in order the church.
If we obey all the commandments which includes the gathering of Israel we are told: “He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence… Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee… There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” Psalms 91:3, 5-7, 10.
For the wicked the desolation also includes famine. Isaiah says:
“Protect your gardens on the day that you plant them and the next day make your seed sprout. But the crop will be scorched when the wasting disease comes, in the day of incurable pain.” Isaiah 17:11 New English Then to further complicate matters “there shall be a great hailstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth.” D&C 29:16 With all of these troubles in sight does not common sense tell us that the Lord’s commandment to build cities of refuge is wise and must be obeyed or we will be wasted along with the wicked?
Orson Pratt verified the desolation which will come, He said that God will visit America “with judgments that are terribly severe that will cause them to lie by the hundreds and thousands unburied FROM ONE END OF THE LAND TO THE OTHER, to be meat for the fowls of the air and the beasts of the earth. Why? Because the judgments will be swift, giving no time for burial. Inquires one: ‘Do you really believe that such judgments are coming upon our nation?’ I do not merely believe, but I KNOW IT.” JD 17:319
We see here that the judgments of God will be terrible, but there is much more. Many more terrible desolations are portrayed in the Book of Revelation, but to relate them here would be to belabor the point for with the evidence presented all can see that places of refuge will be necessary, and all SHOULD see that as of the moment there is no where to flee to as commanded in the scriptures.
Numerous times in the scriptures there is mentioned a remnant of Israel that will “escape.” It is obvious why the prophets used this word for we see that there will be much to escape from: “For then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should NO FLESH BE SAVED.” Matt 24:21-22. Although this scripture seems to apply to the past tribulations of the Jews, it also seems applicable to these latter days.
The Lord said that “the saints also shall hardly escape, nevertheless, I, the Lord, am with them.” D&C 63:34,
“And it shall come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob shall no more again stay (depend) upon him that smote them; but stay (depend) upon the Lord, the Holy one of Israel, in truth.” Isa 10:20
“And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy.” Isa 4:2-3
Ezekiel also talks about this escape: “The sword is without, and the pestilence and the famine within: he that is in the field shall die with the sword; and he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him. But they THAT ESCAPE OF THEM shall escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys.” Eze. 7:15-16 The Lord tells us how Zion can escape: “For behold, and lo, vengeance cometh speedily upon the ungodly as the whirlwind; and WHO SHALL ESCAPE IT? The Lord’s scourge shall pass over by night and by day, and the report thereof shall vex all people; yea it shall not be stayed until the Lord come; For the indignation of the Lord is kindled against their abominations and all their wicked works. Nevertheless, Zion shall ESCAPE IF she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her (Including the gathering). BUT if she observe not to do whatsoever I have commanded her, I will visit her according to all her works, with SORE AFFLICTION, WITH PESTILENCE. WITH PLAGUE. WITH SWORD. WITH VENGEANCE. WITH DEVOURING FIRE.” D&C 97:22-26
We know that the children of Zion have not done all the things they have been commanded, which includes the gathering, so for those who refuse to obey the commandments we “HAVE” (past tense) been given there awaits a harsh visitation. Nevertheless, the Lord still outlined here the way of escape and that way is still opened to anyone who will open the door and do what God has commanded. What has God commanded? “Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, SHOULD GATHER TOGETHER, and stand in holy places.” D&C 101:22 “Gather my saints together unto me; those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” Psalms 50:5 Joseph Smith commanded the Elders “to teach the gathering as set forth in the Holy Scriptures.” DHC 4:109. Are the LDS doing these things? “No,” says one, “The prophet has not commanded us to.” This person is sadly mistaken because the Lord has already given us the way of escape and the reason he doesn’t repeat it over and over is because he said: “Nevertheless, let it be read THIS ONCE to her (Zion’s) ears.” D&C 97:27 He gave a strong warning of the way to escape ONCE and he is not under obligation to repeat it again and again, for we all have it written before us.
Copyright 1979 by J J Dewey
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