The end is near.... for reals

Have you ever commented that "The end is near," considering it a joke because you didn't think it was actually true?  Well, one of the hardest things I learned after my spiritual awakening was that the end really IS near.  I thought I had (God willing) many more decades to work toward making my calling and election sure.  Then I found out I don't.

I don't have any "proof" that the end-time tribulations are coming.  I have yet to see a vision or have a prophetic dream.  About the only "proof" I have is that some of the situations described in Isaiah match the state of the world today.  But there are plenty of others1 who have gotten a glimpse of what's coming.  And what they're saying isn't good news:
  • massive earthquake in Utah that causes major flooding and damage
  • famines that last many years
  • foreign occupation coming from both the east and the west coasts
  • plague
  • nukes
  • financial collapse 
  • living in tent cities
When I learned that multiple sources were saying the same thing - some of which I very much trust - I took the news pretty hard.  I felt like I had wasted the days of my probation.  I was despondent for a week.

The good news is, while we don't have another 40 years left, according to the scriptures we have at least 7.  And once those trials and tribulations start, they will work to sort everyone into two categories - the wheat (10% of the world's population according to Isaiah) and the tares (the other 90%).  The wheat will become refined by the trials to the point where they have their calling and election made sure.  The tares... well, we all know the scriptures about them.

Even so, now is not the time to continue in complacence.  What's coming is awful.  Probably the worst time in the history of the world.  You will only make it by having total trust in the Lord, and by receiving personal revelation - even words straight from the Lord Himself.

Are you ready?  I'm certainly not.   Start your spiritual preparations while you still can!  You may not be celestial material by the time all hell breaks loose, but you want to be spiritually far enough along that you can be refined as the wheat, and not burned as the tares.

1 I get no kickback from that Amazon link.

Resource: Phil McLemore - Meditation

Two of the many search terms I used in my research were "Christian meditation" and "Mormon meditation."  LDS Perfect Day's blog showed up in the search results several times.  I followed his instructions on several occasions but got frustrated because they didn't do anything for me.  I had done some mindfulness meditation in previous years but felt like I hadn't benefited much.  I wondered if there was some sort of Christian- or Mormon-specific way to meditate, but eventually dropped the subject.

Months later I came across a guy named Phil McLemore.  He wrote a number of very good articles in Sunstone1 and has been featured on many podcasts2. Some of the things he's taught really resonated with me.  He talks about how some members of the church feel spiritually stagnant, like they're not making any progress, and feel underfulfilled by their religious practice.  I could totally relate to that!  That was exactly how I felt!  He says we feel like we need to make the natural man a saint through willpower and checklists as opposed to "crucifying" the natural man by being spiritually reborn as a saint.  (I'm also quite guilty of the checklists and to do lists.)  He discovered years ago that practicing transcendental meditation helped him spiritually transcend the level he had been stuck on for years.  Meditation allowed him to commune with God and learn for himself what kind of Being God is, and he found himself becoming a more Christlike person without checklists and willpower.

Phil has an online meditation course that he charges for.3  I felt like his website was kind of scammy, so I dismissed the idea of taking it.  Then I came across someone who had bought the course and felt like it was helpful.  I was intrigued and bought it ($49).  I learned a LOT.  He provides some guided meditations to get you started till you're able to do unguided on your own.  I like using them once or twice a day and have liked his style of meditation better than mindfulness meditation.

I'm only two months in, so I can't say I've experienced anything profound.  Phil said it took him many months.  But I feel pretty certain that what he teaches is right and I will eventually have a breakthrough.  I wish I had started meditating with Phil right from the beginning.  If I had started last spring, I would have been much further along right now!

1 Hindering the Saints, Becoming the Beloved of the Lord, Mormon Mantras, The Yoga of Christ
2 Mormon Stories, Mormon Matters, there are also some MP3s of presentations he's given at Sunstone symposiums floating around the internet
3 I'm not shilling for him or getting any kind of kickback for the link.  He gives the basics on how to meditate in the Mormon Mantras article for free.

Resources: Avraham Gileadi's Isaiah translation

About two months into my journey I prayed to know what was the most important thing I could do to make spiritual progress.  As I read my scriptures, I got the very faintest of a hint, "Read Isaiah."  I wasn't sure it was a real prompting, so I halfheartedly did a little reading but just felt confused.

Two months after I got the prompting, I finally got serious about studying Isaiah.  I had been introduced to Avraham Gileadi's Isaiah translation by LDS Perfect Day.  His translation is written in contemporary English and formatted to reveal parallelisms, both of which help make it easier to understand.  First I tried reading it straight, but I didn't get more than three chapters in without still feeling totally lost.  Then I started listening to the analytical commentary while reading each chapter, and that helped a LOT.  Gileadi does a great job explaining what the verses are talking about.  I still think I'd have trouble reading Isaiah straight and understanding it, but I certainly understand a lot more than I did a year ago.  And I can testify that he DEFINITELY saw our day.  The scriptures mention multiple times that we need to study Isaiah - and for good reason.  It will help open your spiritual eyes.