Tuesday, February 25, 2014

BOOK REVIEW TUESDAY:

Living in the Eleventh Hour: Preparing for the Glorious Return of the Savior

So today's book was written by Robert L. Millet, a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  
Front inside Flap : “Just as the scriptures teach us the Second coming of the Lord will be at midnight” (Matthew 25:6), so the signs of the times teach us that “midnight” is close at hand.
In Living in the Eleventh Hour, author Robert L. Millet points our minds and hearts toward the future—to the glorious day that lies ahead. This encouraging work not only assists us as Latter-day Saints to recognize and better understand the signs of the times but also reminds us of our individual responsibilities as we prepare ourselves and the world for the much anticipated return of Jesus Christ.” End quote

Some background on just what exactly is the “Eleventh Hour”, which is unrelated to the infamous “Doomsday clock”.
The phrase “the eleventh hour” seems to refer to the parable of the ten virgins (see Matthew 25:1–13). The bridegroom came at midnight, catching unaware half of those waiting. Thus, to say that it is the eleventh hour is to imply that the time of the coming of the Bridegroom is drawing near.
President Joseph Fielding Smith showed how the phrase is also related to another parable given by the Master: “The time in which we live is compared to the eleventh hour, and so it is in the Lord’s reckoning, for we are in the closing scenes of the present world. Elder Orson F. Whitney referred to our dispensation as the ‘Saturday night’ of time. And, according to the parable of the men employed in the vineyard [Matthew 20:1–16], we who labor in this hour will be rewarded if we are faithful, with equal compensation with those who labored in the previous hours, or dispensations, in the history of mankind.” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:153.) Section 33: Declare My Gospel”
On the other hand:
The iconic Doomsday Clock remains poised at five minutes until midnight, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announced today (Jan. 14).
The clock is no doomsday device — rather; it's a visual metaphor for the danger of a "civilization-threatening technological catastrophe." Every year, the board analyzes international threats, particularly nuclear arsenals and climate change, and decides where the minute hand on the Doomsday Clock should rest. The closer it is to midnight, the closer the world is to doom. Courtesy of “The Christian Science Monitor” Jan 14 2014 edition
I grew up in a “Southern Baptist” environment and the rhetoric surrounding the “last days” was usually extreme doom and gloom, apocalypse, nuclear war; Oh my. And there was no escape plan.  It didn't matter if you were a “good” Christian, because if you weren't a part of a pre-selected group, who were to be “caught up or raptured up” at an undisclosed time and location, you were doomed. And to this day, I am sure, I didn't have a reservation.

Brother Millet divides his book into 16 sections (which I will leave to you dear reader to explore at your leisure), but I want to point out 2 chapters that stood out to me. 

The first is Chapter 4: False Christ’s. As a blogger, I read quite a few “Mormon” blogs, and other blogs related to religion, Mormonism etc. The buzz is and has for some time now concerns “The Last Days and the rise of false prophets and false Christ’s”. I have always searched for a clear definition of this situation and I believe that Brother Millet has provided one here:
Chapter 4: False Christ’s pages 18-19
“As he sat on the Mount of Olives with his disciples, only days before his crucifixion, Jesus delivered many of the signs of the time, prophecies  of what would come to pass before his second coming in glory: “If any man shall say unto you, “Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe him not: for in those days there shall also arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant. (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:21-22: emphasis added). Yes I suppose there are a few deluded individuals who claim to be Jesus, or the reincarnated Jesus, or the feminine expression of Jesus (D&C 49).
There may be those who believe themselves to be messiahs, “anointed ones”, savior figures who, having “read by the lamp of their own conceit,” profess to be God’s chosen vessels, called and elected to save us all from our naive notions of reality. But in general, when the Lord warns of false Christ’s, he seems to be referring not so much to individuals as to tenets, teachings, and alternative pathways to happiness. “A false Christ is not a person,” Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained. “It is a false system of worship, a false church, a false cult that says: “Lo, here is salvation; here is the doctrine of Christ. Come and believe thus and so, and ye shall be saved.” It is any concept or philosophy that says that redemption, salvation, sanctification, justification, and all of the promised rewards can be gained in any way except that set forth by the apostles and prophets.”   
And the last chapter; Chapter 20, which outlines the duties of the Latter Day Saint now, it is comforting, and sobering and hopeful.
Chapter 20: Men and Women of Destiny pages 110-114
“As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we have, as it were, one eye riveted on the present and another focused on the future. While knowledge of what lies ahead can assist us immeasurably to see things today in perspective, we cannot live in the future; all we have is now.
Let us now turn our attention to the personal responsibilities you and I share as we do our part to prepare the   world for the second coming of the Son of God. President Thomas S. Monson has reminded us that “the world is in need of your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire and souls to save. The blessings of eternity await you. Yours is the privilege to be not spectators but participants. “

This is a well written book. I love how Brother Millet uses scripture and conference talks and all of the reference material’s the Church has at its disposal to simplify and thoroughly explain the importance of preparing for the “Glorious” return of our Savior Jesus Christ. There is no widespread panic, or fear in these precepts. If we prepare well, then there is no fear. There is no fear in love. The last pages of the books have all of the chapter notes. The Glossary is really detailed. It’s a small book only 114 pages of text; not an “easy” read, but one to ponder as you go.        


Robert L. Millet, an Abraham O. Smoot Professor and former dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University, is a professor of ancient scripture and a lifelong scholar of the last days. After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from BYU in psychology, he earned a PhD from Florida State University in religious studies. He has served in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a seminary teacher, bishop, stake president, and member of the Materials Evaluation Committee. He and his wife, Shauna, are the parents of six children.
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