A lot of information was passed along by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to its members over the weekend. This includes those of us who only watched/listened to parts of confurnz.
It would be impossible to summarize all of it in the space allotted here, but let me give it a shot. Keep in mind that this is only a generalization of the conference theme. Every conference has one.
Just to mention a few, the themes of these two-day gatherings have over time been missionary work, temple work, love for enemies (except in times of war when we get enlisted to kill them), apostasy, ministering, service, tithing/money — and on and on.
The theme of the most recent conference seems to be preparing for the Second Coming, when any number of frightful things are supposed to happen. Oh, and the usual “Satan is a jerk” warnings.
The whole “end times” thing has been kicked around by Mormons since the church started nearly 200 years ago. The Second Coming has always been just around the corner.
Jesus’ original followers believed that he would come back before now. Just imagine their reaction if they’d been told it would be at least another 2,000 years.
“Are you kidding us? Gee whiz” — or whatever the Aramaic/Hebrew version of that would be.
News of the last days is always delivered as a warning at best and a threat at worst — as in a theocratic version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town. “He sees you when you're sinning. He knows if you are baked. He knows if you've been bad or good … ”
As a kid, I hoped only that it wouldn’t happen until I’d had a chance to reach a significant milestone. For example, the Old Man said I could have a BB gun when I turned 10. It seemed like forever until that day.
In the meantime, I’d get dragged to church and have to listen to someone say that we were in the very last of the absolutely last days, possibly even in the last few hours.
Not once did I ever think, “Oh, boy. The Lord is coming.” Instead, I’d sit there and fume, “Well, he better not show up until after I get my BB gun.”
The same thing happened with a shotgun, motorcycle, driver license, making out with my first girlfriend, etc. There couldn’t possibly be an opportune moment for him to show up.
After years of hearing the dire end times predictions, I’ve stopped listening to them. They’ve lost their ability to scare or annoy me. I figure it will happen when it does.
By the way, this isn’t just a Christian fret. Most faiths have an end time belief. Hell, even nonbelievers still have it. Leave Jesus out of it and consider the eventuality of an asteroid the size of Africa smacking us. Could happen. At any moment.
There is an end time for all of us. It’s called death. Makes sense then to live the life that makes you happy instead of worried. You’ll never know when it will happen. Hopefully, though, you’ll already have your BB gun.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.