The Second Coming is a topic of endless interest to us, especially in light of the worldwide pandemic we are still battling and the social unrest that is truly troubling. You probably feel as I do, that you have never seen a time like this in your life. The prophet has spoken often of preparing for the Second Coming of the Lord, so let’s turn to Section 45 to learn about this transcendent event and the harrowing events that precede it.

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The Second Coming is a topic of endless interest to us, especially in light of the worldwide pandemic we are still battling and the social unrest that is truly troubling. You probably feel as I do, that you have never seen a time like this in your life. The prophet has spoken often of preparing for the Second Coming of the Lord, so let’s turn to Section 45 to learn about this transcendent event and the harrowing events that precede it.


Hello, we’re Scot and Maurine Proctor. Welcome to Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me podcast where today we are studying the weighty Section 45 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Our good news is that Meridian Magazine is in the midst of launching a new app. You can sign up now, as a prelaunch and also receive as a bonus gift the e-book I wrote, 11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Book of Mormon. You want the app, because it brings you the good news, the inspiration, the gospel perspective on our times at just one click on your phone. I feel like the apps on my phone are my sites because I can check them so quickly. They are the news I want to receive. With the new Meridian app, you will be able to save the articles that matter to you. You will be able to set up alerts for the news you want from Meridian, so you get it when it happens. You will be able to get it at one tap on your phone.

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Now the Second Coming is a glorious topic, because we yearn for the Lord, but the events leading up to it may make you tremble, especially after the last year we’ve had. A meme that made the Internet rounds said, “If they had asked you in 2015 what you would have been doing in five years, you would have never guessed it.” And none of us would have guessed that things could change so quickly. 

President Russell M. Nelson said, “Admittedly, the Lord has spoken of our day in sobering terms. He warned that in our day ‘men’s hearts [would fail] them’ and that even the very elect would be at risk of being deceived. He told the Prophet Joseph Smith that ‘peace [would] be taken from the earth and calamities would befall mankind.

“Yet the Lord has also provided a vision of how remarkable this dispensation is. He inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to declare that “the work of … these last days, is one of vast magnitude. … Its glories are past description, and its grandeur unsurpassable.”


President Nelson said, “Now, grandeur may not be the word you would choose to describe these past few months! How are we to deal with both the somber prophecies and the glorious pronouncements about our day? The Lord told us how with simple, but stunning, reassurance: ‘If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.’

“What a promise! It is one that can literally change the way we see our future.” (end quote). (President Russell M. Nelson, “Embrace the Future with Faith,”

We have already learned this year what it is to be a bit somber and heavy-hearted about our conditions. We don’t want more of that. That is why preparation matters so much.


It is two kinds of preparation. It is both that we can be prepared so that we can stand in holy places and be not moved, and it is also that we can fulfill the mission each of us were given before this world was to prepare the world for the coming of Christ. What a remarkable calling. Who wouldn’t want to be called to such a work in the earth’s closing scenes when so much is at stake?

Though Section 45 contains some prophecies of perils to come, Joseph Smith said, “To the joy of the Saints, … I received the following.”I (Section 45 headnote).

So the Saints were joyful when they received this revelation, despite its description of some hardships to follow.


Certainly one of the reason the Saints were joyful is because they anticipated the Lord’s coming and were not fearful because of the promises of the Lord to them. They knew the One on whom they counted.

Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him

Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no csin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;

Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.. (Section 45).


This Savior who did no sin is our advocate. An advocate is one who pleads the case of another,  stands up publicly for another to assure that they that are fully seen because he knows their context. We see in the world who needs an advocate.  It is the weak, the vulnerable, the incomplete, the tired, the fatigued, the sinful, the ones who miss the mark. That’s all of us. You can hear why he is the perfect advocate. It is that phrase “behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin.” He is buying our salvation with his virtue.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland told that moving story about one who needed an advocate on a cliff.

“Without safety ropes, harnesses, or climbing gear of any kind, two brothers—Jimmy, age 14, and John, age 19 (though those aren’t their real names)—attempted to scale a sheer canyon wall in Snow Canyon State Park in my native southern Utah. Near the top of their laborious climb, they discovered that a protruding ledge denied them their final few feet of ascent. They could not get over it, but neither could they now retreat from it. They were stranded. After careful maneuvering, John found enough footing to boost his younger brother to safety on top of the ledge. But there was no way to lift himself. The more he strained to find finger or foot leverage, the more his muscles began to cramp. Panic started to sweep over him, and he began to fear for his life.


“Unable to hold on much longer, John decided his only option was to try to jump vertically in an effort to grab the top of the overhanging ledge. If successful, he might, by his considerable arm strength, pull himself to safety.

“In his own words, he said:

“’Prior to my jump I told Jimmy to go search for a tree branch strong enough to extend down to me, although I knew there was nothing of the kind on this rocky summit. It was only a desperate ruse. If my jump failed, the least I could do was make certain my little brother did not see me falling to my death.

“’Giving him enough time to be out of sight, I said my last prayer—that I wanted my family to know I loved them and that Jimmy could make it home safely on his own—then I leapt. There was enough adrenaline in my spring that the jump extended my arms above the ledge almost to my elbows. But as I slapped my hands down on the surface, I felt nothing but loose sand on flat stone. I can still remember the gritty sensation of hanging there with nothing to hold on to—no lip, no ridge, nothing to grab or grasp. I felt my fingers begin to recede slowly over the sandy surface. I knew my life was over.


“But then suddenly, like a lightning strike in a summer storm, two hands shot out from somewhere above the edge of the cliff, grabbing my wrists with a strength and determination that belied their size. My faithful little brother had not gone looking for any fictitious tree branch. Guessing exactly what I was planning to do, he had never moved an inch. He had simply waited—silently, almost breathlessly—knowing full well I would be foolish enough to try to make that jump. When I did, he grabbed me, held me, and refused to let me fall. Those strong brotherly arms saved my life that day as I dangled helplessly above what would surely have been certain death.” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Where Justice, Love and Mercy Meet”


Sometimes people get the wrong idea that Christ as our advocate represents mercy, while our Father represents uncaring justice that somehow must be appeased. This idea gives us an incomplete idea of both. Elder Holland also reminded us,

“’The Father … doeth the works..’ ‘The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever [the Father] doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.’ On another occasion He said: ‘I speak that which I have seen with my Father.’ ‘I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me.’ ‘I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.’”


Elder Holland said, “I make my own heartfelt declaration of God our Eternal Father… because some in the contemporary world suffer from a distressing misconception of Him. Among these there is a tendency to feel distant from the Father, even estranged from Him, if they believe in Him at all. And if they do believe, many moderns say they might feel comfortable in the arms of Jesus, but they are uneasy contemplating the stern encounter of God. Through a misreading (and surely, in some cases, a mistranslation) of the Bible, these see God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son as operating very differently, this in spite of the fact that in both the Old Testament and the New, the Son of God is one and the same, acting as He always does under the direction of the Father, who is Himself the same ‘yesterday, today, and forever.’

“Of course the centuries-long drift away from belief in such a perfect and caring Father hasn’t been helped any by the man-made creeds of erring generations which describe God variously as unknown and unknowable—formless, passionless, elusive, ethereal, simultaneously everywhere and nowhere at all. Certainly that does not describe the Being we behold through the eyes of these prophets. Nor does it match the living, breathing, embodied Jesus of Nazareth who was and is in “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his [Father].” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Grandeur of God”,

In the heavens we have a Father and a Son who forever stand by us. Of course, the Son is our advocate, because in the atonement he took upon Himself our weaknesses, so He took upon Himself all of our experience.

In the wonderful film series called The Chosen, the scene with Christ and the woman at the well in Samaria is depicted. Instead of saying to her, “You’ve had five husbands and the man you are living with now is not your husband,” the script writers fill in the details. Christ says to this stricken, marginalized, disdained woman something like this. “You came to your first marriage as an innocent young girl and were mistreated and abused, killing your sense of yourself and your joy. Your second husband was as good a man as you’ve found, but you felt unworthy of him and could not look him in the eye.” Christ is shown here as seeing and understanding her entire context, which He does.


The universe is grounded on this perfect blend of mercy and justice found in both the Father and the Son. I think, here, too, it is important to understand what justice  or judgment means. We think of it, too often, as a handing out of penalties, a punishment and weeping and wailing before the bar. Kerry Muhlestein made a good point about what judgment means as it is used in the Old Testament.

He said, “In the Old Testament, the word we translate as judgment does not mean exactly what we think of when we read that word. For us, judgment carries either connotations of a judicial nature or of how we evaluate someone else’s actions or character. The way the word is used in the Old Testament is more closely aligned with the concept of making things right. Bringing about judgment means that things are made the way they are supposed to be. It has connotations of correct leadership, connected with the idea that good leadrs take care of their people—especially those who cannot take care of themselves.” (Kerry Muhlestein, “God Will Prevail.”


A world without justice would be an impossible world to endure. Justice is fair. Justice asks us to live to a standard beyond our own slackness. Justice is blind and treats all under the same standard. Justice allows us to live without chaos or fear.

A world that was all mercy, all the time, would be like the one Korihor described in the Book of Mormon where there was no need for Christ. Instead, “every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime” (Alma 30:17). In such a world, anything goes. Appetite and the will to power leads because nothing is wrong. God has vacated His heaven and the kids will play in their games that often destroy each other. No worry. God is absent and won’t care.

How grateful that these twins, justice and mercy are truly at work in harmony together.


Now, in the last week of Christ’s life, which was Passover, His disciples commented on the magnificent buildings of the temple complex and Christ answered with words that must have stunned them. He told them that the time would come when not one temple stone would be left standing on another and these great buildings would be toppled.

Then He took His apostles to the Mount of Olives, directly across from the temple and they asked Him, “Tell us, when shall these things be?”(Mark 13:3,4).

He gave them what is known as the Olivet Discourse, which is recorded in most detail in Joseph Smith-Matthew, and also in Matthew 24. It was about the same time, while Joseph was working on the JST, that he received Section 45, which gives us similar ideas about the signs of the times preceding the Second Coming.


We are compelled by these signs because we want to have some idea when He will come and He has given us neither the day nor the hour. He has instead said:

37 Ye look and behold the fig trees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer is now nigh at hand;

38 Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh.

Isn’t it fascinating how slowly a leaf on a fig tree or any tree comes forth. It is a gradual process happening before you can see the wisp of a bud, and then the tree shows a small sign that buds, folded tightly, are coming. Then one day, the tree has leafed. So it is with the social conditions and natural phenomena. The earthquake starts with invisible fissure movement deep underground. The tornado with a weather pattern in the sky we hardly note. Then suddenly it is all upon us. It was set up infinitesimally and slowly, long before we saw or felt it.


We see events, watch social unrest , live through a pandemic or feel an earthquake, and ask, “Is this it? Is this the beginning?” We might also ask, “Did these signs already begin and we just didn’t realize it?” “Will these signs happen all at once or gradually?” ”Will these be scattered events all over the world, so that every one of them doesn’t personally impact every one of us?” “Will it just become so entirely clear that we are left without question that the Lord’s coming is near?”  So many things we just don’t entirely know because the Lord has chosen not to tell us.

Let’s just take an example. In Section 45 and many other scriptures we read:  

26 And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth.


Since Joseph recorded these words, wars and rumors of wars have only escalated. A New York Times article noted: “Of the past 3,400 years, humans have been entirely at peace for 268 of them, or just 8 percent of recorded history.” Yet the tragedy of war only intensified geometrically in the 20th century . The estimate is that of the 150 million to 1 billion people killed in war throughout human history, 108 million of them were killed in war in the twentieth century. (See

Some records put that number at 187 million, but as one wrote, “The twentieth century was the most murderous in recorded history.

Wars and rumors of wars can also refer to social unrest, riots in the street, divisions and hatred that break down the fabric of society, a center that cannot hold because of chaos.


Orson Pratt made a fascinating prophecy about the future and war. He said, ““What then will be the condition of that people, when this great and terrible war shall come? It will be very different from the war between the North and the South…It will be a war of neighborhood against neighborhood, city again city, county again county, state against state, and they will go forth destroying and being destroyed, and manufacturing will, in a great measure, cease for a time, among the American nation. Why? Because in these terrible wars, they will not be privileged to manufacture, there will be too much blood-shed—too much mobocracy—too much going forth in bands and destroying and pillaging the land to suffer people to pursue any local vocation with any degree of safety. What will become of millions of the farmer upon that land? They will leave their farms, and they will flee before the ravaging armies from place to place; and thus will they go forth burning and pillaging the whole country. (Pratt, in Journal of Discourses, 20:151).


We see that men’s hearts shall fail them. What does that mean? Does it refer to the anxiety, depression, and stress that rack so many? Is it that so people are losing their faith and drift from all that has anchored them? Is it that our bonds with each other become strained and broken until the trust that cements a society is lost? We don’t know.

President Gordon B. Hinckley noted, “Now, all of us know that war, contention, hatred, suffering of the worst kind are not new. The conflict we see today is but another expression of the conlict that began with the War in Heaven…That must have been a terrible conflict…From the day of Cain ot the present, the adversary has been the great mastermind of the terrible conflicts that have brought so much suffering. Treachery and terrorism began with him. And they will continue until the Son of God returns to rule and reign with peace and righteousness among the sons and daughters of God. Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Times in Which We Live,” Ensign November 2001.


What exactly fulfills the sign that there will be “an overflowing bscourge; for a desolating csickness shall cover the land”?(vs. 31). Is the pandemic we have endured a small sample of what could happen?

33 And there shall be aearthquakes also in divers places, and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the bsword, one against another, and they will kill one another.

NBC News reported that “between 2004 and 2014, 18 earthquakes with magnitudes of 8.0 or more rattled subduction zones around the globe. That’s an increase of 265 percent over the average rate of the previous century, which saw 71 great quakes, according to a report to the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America”.

Are these signs of the times?


President Joseph F. Smith wrote this, “Natural Disasters

The Latter-day Saints…believe that great judgments are coming upon the world because of iniquity;  they firmly believe in the statements of the Holy Scriptures, that calamities will befall the nations as signs of the coming of Christ to judgment. They believe that God rules in the fire, the earthquake, the tidal wave, the volcanic eruption, and the storm. Him they recognize as the Master and Ruler of nature and her laws, and freely acknowledge his hand in all things. We believe that his judgments are poured out to bring mankind to a sense of his power and his purposes, that they may repent of their sins and prepare themselves for the second coming of Christ to reign in righteousness upon the earth..We believe that these severe, natural calamites are visited upon men by the Lord for the good of his children, to quicken their devotion to others, and to bring out their better natures, that they may love and serve him. We believe, further, that they are the heralds and tokens of his final judgment, and the schoolmasters to teach the people to prepare themselves by righteous living for the coming of the Savior to reign upon the earth, when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, 55).


What President Smith is saying here is about how the Lord uses His voice to call people to repentance. We read in 1 Nephi 14:11) “God surely shall avisit all the house of Israel at that day, some with his bvoice, because of their righteousness, unto their great joy and salvation, and others with the cthunderings and the lightnings of his power, by tempest, by fire, and by dsmoke, and evapor of fdarkness, and by the opening of the gearth, and by hmountains which shall be carried up.”

It is also true that when the world becomes wicked, the Lord withdraws His ordering Spirit and chaos follows.

We feel an unease about so much that is happening in our world today, but does that mean the Second Coming is right around the corner? President Russell M. Nelson said, ‘People often ask the Apostles, “When is the Second Coming going to be?” ‘I’ve got the answer. “I don’t know.’

 It won’t be today or tomorrow because there is much work that needs to be done before that can come. All I know for sure is that we are a day closer today than we were yesterday.” (Russell M. Nelson Teachings 351)


Meanwhile, do we need to worry about hard times that may come? Again, President Nelson said, “Life without God is a life filled with fear. Life with God is a life filled with peace.” (Russell M. Nelson, “Embrace the Future with Faith”

The Lord advises, “Be not troubled.” He tells us says in Section 45, “My disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die” (vs. 32)

How do we prepare to stand in holy places, to stand through difficult times that naturally come into our lives as part of the mortal experience?


The prophets and apostles are urgently asking us to prepare ourselves to hear the Lord, to have the Spirit, to develop the faith to move mountains. We will not be able to stand on borrowed light and our very spiritual survival will depend on our ability to receive revelation. When the winds blow, we will only know safety in our soul if we have put forth the effort to know the Lord. This is not a casual task to put off for some time when we have more time or are less busy. As President Nelson says, “The Lord loves effort.” “Faith takes work. Receiving revelation takes work.”

President Nelson said, “The time is coming when those who do not obey the Lord will be separated from those who do (see Doctrine and Covenants 86:1–7)”

It is our spiritual work to hear Him and know Him that shores us up for the most difficult of times. Whether they come to us personally or are worldwide, the call is the same—put in the work and start now. Develop the faith to move mountains.


Richard O. Cowan relates this story about the building of the temple. “On July 24, 1857, as the Latter-day Saints were celebrating the tenth anniversary of their entrance into Salt Lake Valley, they received the latest disturbing news that a potentially hostile United States army was approaching Utah. Not knowing the army’s intentions, Brigham Young had the temple foundation covered with dirt as a precaution. When the army arrived the following year, Temple Square looked like a freshly plowed field, and there was no visible evidence of the temple’s construction. As it turned out, the army marched through Salt Lake City without harming any property…

“Even during the years when the army was in Utah, draftsmen in the architect’s office were busy planning the exact size and shape for each of the thousands of stones that would be needed for the temple. With the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, the army was needed elsewhere, and it departed from Utah by December of that year. The foundation was uncovered in preparation for work that would resume the following spring. 


“At this time, President Young examined the newly uncovered foundation and became aware that it was defective. He and his associates noticed large cracks and concluded that its small stones held together with mortar could not carry the massive weight of the temple. On January 1, 1862, he announced that the inadequate foundation would be removed and replaced by one made entirely of granite. The footings would be sixteen feet thick. ‘I want to see the Temple built in a manner that it will endure through the Millennium,’ he later declared. The work of rebuilding the foundation moved slowly, and the walls did not reach ground level until the end of the construction season in 1867, fourteen years after the original cornerstones had been laid…

“Elder Mark E. Petersen attested to the soundness of the temple’s construction. He was in the temple when a rather severe earthquake hit, damaging several buildings around the Salt Lake Valley. ‘As I sat there in that temple I could feel the sway of the quake and that the whole building groaned.’ Afterward, he recalled, the engineers ‘could not find one semblance of damage’ anywhere in the temple.” (Richard O. Cowan, “The Design, Construction and Role of the Salt Lake Temple).


Those defects in the foundation would have splintered and collapsed under the daily pressure of the weight of the temple. Imagine how poorly they would have survived an earthquake, a tornado, or the incessant and powerful force of a natural disaster? We are like that temple. The great storms of unusual proportion will come, especially as the world gets more wicked These may range from storms of religious persecution to civil unrest to natural disaster. We don’t know, but we can prepare spiritually so that a sturdy light of assurance and well-being shines in us no matter what because we know God and know that He is with us. As we work with consistent devotion to come to know the Lord, the light in us will “grow brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”

We will have to prepare our children to be courageous in their faith with the same kind of work. When they face challenges or need to make decisions, we have to point them to their bedrooms where they can pray and learn how to receive their own answers.

As we learn from the people of Alma:

“God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.”


“If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” Again as President Nelson said, “What a promise! It is one that can literally change the way we see our future.”

Meanwhile, living in these last days also means we have a stewardship that is profound—to prepare the world for His coming. We are to gather Israel on both sides of the veil. We are to be about the work that helps “the light to break forth to them that sit in darkness.” We are called not just to work that matters, but to a work that matters the most.


Will you get to see His coming in the clouds of glory, that second coming which has been so long anticipated. The answer is a resounding yes, whether it is on this or the other side of the veil, and you can know you were part of the preparation for this greatest event which has ever happened.

President Nelson describes that Second Coming: “The Lord will return to the land that He made holy by His mission there in mortality. In triumph, He will come again to Jerusalem. In royal robes of red to symbolize His blood, which oozed from every pore, He shall return to the Holy City (see Doctrine and Covenants 133:46–48). There and elsewhere, ‘the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together’ (Isaiah 40:5; see also Doctrine and Covenants 101:23). His ‘name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6).


President Nelson continues, “He will govern from two world capitals: one in old Jerusalem (see Zechariah 14) and the other in the New Jerusalem ‘built upon the American continent’ (Articles of Faith 1:10). From these centers He will direct the affairs of His Church and kingdom. Another temple will yet be built in Jerusalem. From that temple He shall reign forever as Lord of Lords. Water will issue from under the temple. Waters of the Dead Sea will be healed. (See Ezekiel 47:1–8.)


“In that day He will bear new titles and be surrounded by special Saints. He will be known as ‘Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that [will be] with him [will be those who] are called, and chosen, and faithful’ (Revelation 17:14) to their trust here in mortality. Then He “shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

“The earth will be returned to its paradisiacal state and be made new. There will be a new heaven and a new earth (see Revelation 21:1Ether 13:9Doctrine and Covenants 29:23–24).”


President Nelson said, “It is our charge—it is our privilege—to help prepare the world for that day.”

Can you think of a greater privilege?


That’s all for today. We’re Scot and Maurine Proctor and this has been Meridian Magazine’s “Come Follow Me” podcast. Would you do us a favor? Tell a friend about this podcast, and don’t forget to sign up for the new app as a prelaunch at Just give your email and you will get a free e-book Scot wrote called 11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Book of Mormon. Next week we’ll study Doctrine and Covenants Sections 46-48 called “Seek Ye Earnestly the Best Gifts.” Thanks to Paul Cardall for the music and to Michaela Proctor Hutchins who produces this show.