5 things the prophets saw coming

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The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are sustained every six months as "prophets, seers and revelators." (Photo courtesy Mormon Newsroom.)

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are sustained every six months as “prophets, seers and revelators.” (Photo courtesy Mormon Newsroom)

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sustain their leaders as “prophets, seers and revelators.” Does that mean these men in the First Presidency and Quorum of 12 Apostles foretell future events?

In recent years these modern-day prophets have clearly been “forthtelling,” which involves teaching doctrine, witnessing of the Savior and warning against sin. In some instances, this forthtelling happens just ahead of a major world event or paradigm shift.

Here are five examples of modern-day prophets having the gift of foresight.

As President Hinckley knew, millennials with a college education are at a distinct advantage in the workplace. (Image from Pew Research Institute.)

Recent research supports what President Hinckley knew — Millennials with a college education are at a distinct advantage in the workplace. (Image from Pew Research Center)

1. Difficult job market

When then-Church president Gordon B. Hinckley gave counsel to youth in 2000, he was speaking to the generation that would come to be known as “Millennials.” In that address, he taught the youth to, among other things, be smart.

“You are moving into the most competitive age the world has ever known,” he said. “All around you is competition. You need all the education you can get. Sacrifice a car; sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of the world. That world will in large measure pay you what it thinks you are worth, and your worth will increase as you gain education and proficiency in your chosen field.”

At the time, it seemed like good advice. But research from the Pew Research Center shows just how prophetic that advice was. In its study “The Rising Cost of Not Going to College,” the institute reported that Millennials with a college education have a distinct advantage in the workplace, both in probability of finding a job and in earning potential.

2. Need for better-prepared missionaries

In October 2012, President Thomas S. Monson announced that the minimum age requirement for missionary service was to be lowered. It came as a surprise to Church members everywhere, but General Conference addresses had been pleading for more and better-prepared missionaries for some time. In some cases, Church authorities outright stated that prospective elders couldn’t wait until they were nearly 19 to prepare for full-time service.

“Please understand this: the bar that is the standard for missionary service is being raised,” Elder M. Russell Ballard said in a 2002 general conference address. “The day of the ‘repent and go’ missionary is over. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you, my young brothers? Some young men have the mistaken idea that they can be involved in sinful behavior and then repent when they’re 18 1/2 so they can go on their mission at 19. While it is true that you can repent of sins, you may or you may not qualify to serve. It is far better to keep yourselves clean and pure and valiant.”

3. Redefinition of marriage

President Gordon B. Hinckley, then president of the Church, read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” at the General Relief Society Meeting Sept. 23, 1995. The document outlined the importance and purpose of the family and enumerated specific duties of fathers and mothers. The document also states in its opening line that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.”

It wasn’t until 2008 that that definition of marriage came into question, when the battle of California’s Proposition 8 brought the Church’s stance into the headlines. The proposed state constitutional amendment maintained that marriage remain between a man and a woman. The Church took an active role in lobbying for the amendment, which passed, but was overturned in 2010 by United States District Court Judge Vaughn Walker. More court rulings, and finally rulings from the Supreme Court, redefined marriage to include homosexual couples in the years that followed.

4. Economic difficulty

President Gordon B. Hinckley’s 1998 counsel to Church members to “avoid debt to the extent possible” came just ahead of the global financial crisis of 2008.

“I urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to the extent possible,” he taught. “Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from bondage.

“This is a part of the temporal gospel in which we believe. May the Lord bless you, my beloved brethren, to set your houses in order. If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts. That’s all I have to say about it, but I wish to say it with all the emphasis of which I am capable.”

5. Weakening of the family unit

When President Joseph F. Smith counseled Church members to strengthen their families in 1915, it was a logical sentiment. But since the traditional family unit was strong worldwide, the idea of strengthening families wasn’t seen as a revolutionary idea.

Nearly 100 years later, the world has seen a dramatic shift away from the traditional family unit. Church members who hold weekly Family Home Evening as President Smith suggested and strengthen their families in other ways enjoy the benefits of a stronger family in a world where that bonding experience is no longer to be taken for granted.

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Breanna Olaveson worked in the magazine industry before taking her writing from full-time to nap time with the birth of her first daughter. Her work has appeared in the Ensign, Liahona and New Era magazines, as well as Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Valley BusinessQ, Utah Valley Bride and the Provo Daily Herald. She lives in Utah county with her husband and three children. She blogs at www.breannaolaveson.com.

22 Comments

  1. AvatarDaniel Reply

    Oh, c’mon. These are all real stretches. Vague, ambiguous statements combined with repeating social phenomena results in illusory correlations.

    1. AvatarJohn Paul Reply

      The prophet Heber J. Grant called WWII correctly when it caught most of the world off guard. It is dated reference but may answer your desire for more specificity better.

      My grandfather was a missionary in Berlin at the time and got to see Hitler in a parade. He took a picture and his camera was taken away by an SS guard. He and his companion also got arrested one time at the French border and interrogated all night by the gestapo. They accidentally missed their stop before the border and had quite a time convincing the police they weren’t spies… just Mormon missionaries.They used to have a “secret police” car tail them to their appointments, so many people (including members) were scared to actually meet with them.

      Heber J. Grant received revelation to pull all the LDS missionaries out of Europe, 10 days before Hitler invaded Poland. My grandpa was part of that mass exodus and was still on the boat back to the states when Hitler invaded. He had to finish his mission in North Dakota. he spent the 5 war years working for the FBI cracking German codes, due to his fluency form the mission.

      He’s still around (in his nineties) and could tell you all about it. Interestingly a few years ago he sent a letter out to the extended family saying that may of the same things he saw and experienced in Germany at that time (economic/social upheaval and specifically the use of heavy media propaganda) are present in the US right now. Even as an LDS missionary who knew Hitler was an evil man he said it is hard to resist the influence of propaganda from the National Socialist party. He knew the speeches were lies of course, but the cumulative effect of all those around you following and spouting the same lies is influential. Essentially the mass peer/social pressure to believe/follow/spout the propaganda has an effect on you even if you know it is wrong.

      1. AvatarBree Reply

        Thank you for sharing that. Such an informative story and part of history. I would love to talk to your grandfather about so many things! Being a missionary at that time showed such dedication and devotion.

        1. AvatarLinda Reply

          Thank you, Bree. I wish more people would see your post and particularly the part about how propaganda has an effect on people, even when you know it is wrong. That is so true! I have read accounts in the past about the missionary experience in Germany prior to the war, and this account is parallel with other stories.

      2. AvatarMyrna Trauntvein Reply

        Thank you for sharing your grandfather’s faith promoting story. I note that you post was written a year ago and I hope he is still with you and that you will share my gratitude for his service with him.

    2. AvatarMaren Reply

      The prophet Joseph Smith foretold the coming Civil War or the War Between the states, Daniel. Prophets do not specifically warn of the exact event as that would take away the faith of the people. We would be more like sheep being led rather than making up our own minds to decide what to do and IF we will follow the advice of the prophet. It was not raining when Noah built the ark. He was simply laughed at. His warnings were against wickedness and destruction–seemingly rather vague, yet the floods came. We who believe there are prophets on the earth choose of our own free will if we will heed their counsel. We were told to store food for times of difficulty–a year’s supply if possible. My husband and I did this. Almost 20 years later, with a full larder, my husband and I were both laid off. We were thankful that we listened to a prophet. I hope your intelligence does not cause your heart to further harden.

      1. AvatarLinda Quaranta Reply

        Wholeheartedly agree Maren, our Prophet is not a fortune teller, nor has he ever professed to be. He has faith and obeys the Lord just as we do, but he has proved himself humble and trustworthy thru a long life of service to others. Never will they even try to take away our free will. We have been given many, many scriptures, counsel, commandments from God and our leaders urge us to follow this divine direction. They are loving and patient knowing we all have a different struggle in life. I for one can look back on my life knowing in all my difficulties, many brought on by my own poor choices, the Lord was there waiting for me to turn to Him. When life starts getting overwhelming I remember to listen and watch what the prophet says. It gives me much peace, something the world cannot give.

  2. AvatarBill Reply

    How come they didn’t see the first of 4 blood moons coming nor mention their biblical last days significance?

    1. AvatarJames Reply

      Because it doesn’t matter? Eclipses causing a red moon have happened for centuries, just because it is A sign, doesn’t mean it is THE sign of the end of the world. The leadership of the church is there to guide us in the right direction, not get on a soap box just to point at the sky and say “look, pretty red moon.”

      1. AvatarNate Reply

        Here I am, after the 4th of the four blood moons. It isn’t prophets that foretell the eclipses, it’s astronomers. And ^^^^^to what he said

  3. AvatarDavey Reply

    Number three is particularly problematic, with the Proclamation coming two years after the1993 Hawaii Supreme Court decision finding same-sex marriage prohibitions discriminatory. While that doesn’t discount its revelatory nature, saying “it wasn’t until 2008 that that definition of marriage came into question” is factually inaccurate.

  4. AvatarKM Reply

    “But since the traditional family unit was strong worldwide, the idea of strengthening families wasn’t seen as a revolutionary idea.”

    It was pretty revolutionary in Mormonism in 1915, given that the Manifesto was only 20 years old and it was only in 1910 that the last of the post-Manifesto polygamist marriages finally stopped. At the time, Mormonism was hard known as a bastion of “traditional family units.”

    1. AvatarG DAVIS Reply

      Pres. Wilford Woodruff received the revelation from the Lord known as the Manifesto in 1890 making it 25 years past in 1915.

  5. AvatarLeonard Quick Sr. Reply

    Do not attempt to make the mistake of saying that the Prophets of today will inform you of the end of the World. This will not be. No one knows of that Day or time; no, not even the Angles of Heave. The only one that knows is Heavenly Father.

    1. AvatarRustin Reply

      It’s amusing to me when Mormons and Christians in general quote “no man knoweth the day or hour….” Often this comes from a confusion about th he topic or events being discussed. Usually its the tribulations of the last days themselves and not the second coming… to which Christ says when about the fig tree “when his branch is yet tender, and putting forth leaves, know that summer is nigh.”
      “so likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.”
      As far as I have heard/read no one is saying a day or hour… but warning of the sign, the pitfalls, the snares to avoid. And yes, the Prophets can see the signs and dangers therefore, therefore they are able to give us warning, council, and insight.

  6. AvatarRachel Reply

    Listen to and follow the Prophets and the Lord’s true church on the earth. Repent now, do not procrastinate the day of your repentance. Have a desire / hope for faith. Earnestly study the scriptures every day. Read with an open heart the Book of Mormon. Ask Heavenly Father if it is true. Also, ask Heavenly Father if Joseph Smith is a true Prophet of God.

    Have faith, repentance and babtism into the Lord’s true church,The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. , Meet with the Missionaries, they will teach you about God’s Plan of Happiness. Keep all of the 10 commandments. Do good works. Have love and charity for all. Endure to the end.

    Never forget that the Lord knows all of your thoughts, intentions, wants and needs. He is the most beautiful, merciful personage. Get to know him, he is incredible beyond words. Give up all your sins to know him and do not return to them ever. If you do, repent right away. List to obey the voice of goodness (the Spirit) all of your days and you will be blessed with eternal life, the greatest gift of all.

    I pray this for you and all mankind.

    Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door will be opened. Ask and ye shall
    receive. Keep seeking the Lord always, I promise you that you will find him.
    I promise you that it’s the most beautiful journey you can ever go on. Turn
    away from the things of this world to the things of a better.

  7. AvatarJoan Reply

    Another crucial and prophetic issue that nobody else foresaw is the issue of gender. In 1995, the only issue around gender was whether is was a good replacement for the word “sex” on government forms!

    But the Proclamation on the Family clearly outlines the major issues surrounding gender confusion today — that our gender is an attribute brought from our pre mortal life and has a destiny in our next life, and that there are two genders — male and female.

    Amazing and humbling.

  8. AvatarCameron Frye Reply

    The bar for what qualifies as a prophecy sure has been lowered in these latter days!

    Here’s my prophecies:

    The economy, and the stock market, will go up and then go down. Be prepared!

    The job market will change. Be ready for it!!!

    Things old white men hold dear will cease to be important. This includes racism, sexism, miscegenation, etc. The LDS church will also change opinion about these things, but only decades later.

    Drugs will become more prevalent as science and free will gradually overcomes the biases of old white men. The church will continue the abstention policies put in place when the WoW was butchered during the Prohibition years.

    We will never get a man into space. This earth is man’s sphere and it was never intended that he should get away from it. The moon is a superior planet to the earth and it was never intended that man should go there. You can write it down in your books that this will never happen. – Joseph Fielding Smith, 1961

  9. AvatarParley Byington Reply

    All you individuals who don’t believe in the prophets of the Lord and are making excuses as to why you don’t, I would like to say that you are not the first ones to do so.

    Throughout the bible there are examples of what happened to the children of Israel who did not follow the council of Moses, Abraham, and Joseph, to name a few. Read what happened to them.

    The conflicts we see in the world today are a direct result of people everywhere, not following the advice and council of the prophets of the Lord who have given this council throughout ancient and modern times.

    Lies, dishonesty, greed, sexual perversion, jeolosy, envy, and coveting that which is thy neighbors, is what is tearing the world apart now as did it in the past. ALL God’s prophets have taught against doing these things. No one can say that the prophets were not and are not guided by the hand of the Lord.

    Sexual promiscuity, greed, coveting, and secret combinations to get gain are all tools of the advisary, and are touted as only being natural, well our prophets have warned us that a “natural man is an enemy of God” now you know what that statement means.

    As human beings, we are all children of the same God in Heaven, he created this and all worlds along with everything there in. He knows what is needed to sustain us here on this earth and others. He knows, for example; when the earth need rain, how much ice to let melt so as not to flood the entire continents, how much C02 is in the atmospher, how to control the temperature, the ozone layer, the earth’s rotation and everything else that, man in his LIMITED understanding thinks is going wrong. God created this world, He knows how it works, He knows how to control everything in it all the time, can any MAN know more than the Creator? NO.

    Cameron Frye, people with your attitude portray to the world that you think you are smarter than God, that is fine if you think that way, God gave you your agency and sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die for your sins, if you repent, to give you a second chance to humble yourself and be converted to the truth of all things. I hope someday, that you take advantage of what God has offered and made available to ALL His children.

    Remember one thing, God will not be mocked, those who do will one day soon suffer the judgement of God, for mercy can not rob justice.

    Live long and prosper and God be with you until we meet again and hopefully that meeting will be a joyous, happy meeting at the feet of our Lord, Jesus Christ where we will give a full accounting of our life here on earth and be judged accordingly.

    Amen
    Parley Byington
    Viet Nam Vet

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