I used to have a long commute to work years ago. I got up at 4:30 a.m., drove for about 90 minutes, then clocked in at 6:00 a.m. I worked 12 hours with few breaks, drove home 90 minutes, and got home about 8:00 p.m. I did this for years, often in very bad Alaska weather. The longest commute I had was one day when there was zero visibility and many cars off the road. It took me five hours to get home around midnight.
At first I listened to music on the drive, which got boring real quick. Then I listened to talk radio, which got depressing. I listened to recorded scriptures, which seemed hard to focus on for that length of time. After a few months of struggling to hang onto sanity on these long commutes, I started to pray.
Soon, I looked forward to the commute because I would being praying as soon as the car began to move, and end when I was pulling into the parking garage. Sometimes I would get so caught up with the Spirit, that I didn’t notice the actual driving or passage of time. This was where I learned to pray for long periods of time, and to truly pierce the heavens. There were very few times when I actually asked for something. Mostly I was seeking knowledge, delighting in truth, and worshiping with all of my joy, and listening very carefully.
One day I was driving home and the thought occurred to me to listen to the news. I hadn’t heard the news for weeks, so I turned on the radio and immediately began listening to the account of Rwanda and the slaughtering that was occurring there at that very moment. The commentator quoted an American journalist as saying “There are no devils in Hell anymore. They are all in Rwanda.”
I turned off the radio feeling sick at heart – actually vexed and burdened by this news. I hated the fact that I had turned on the radio and heard it. I hated even more that it was occurring. I began to beg the Lord to just cleanse the world by fire and stop this wickedness.
The Spirit came upon me and spoke to me for most of the drive home. I don’t remember the actual words, but the message was this: The Lord is in control of everything that happens in this world. He is allowing these people to suffer to condemn the world, and to bring about a just punishment upon the wicked, and to establish a just cause to cleanse the world by fire. This had to be done before he could judge the world in righteousness.
The Spirit also said that when these people died to fulfill His plan, that He healed their wounds of heart and soul at death, and that they did not look upon their sacrifice as painful or horrible, but are grateful for their part in Christ’s plan, a part which they agreed to before they were born.
The Spirit commanded me “Let not your heart be troubled.” Immediately the heaviness of my soul departed and a feeling of peace and purpose replaced it. It was in that moment that I quit worrying about wars, politics, crime or the spread of evil. I still hate it, but I’m not vexed and overwhelmed by it.
It was quite a few years later that I learned the principles regarding the building of the latter-day Zion. When I realized that Christ could not return until we build Zion, and that Zion would be built only after people sought it, and sacrificed for it, and reordered their lives to Zion worthiness, that I realized that I could personally do something about the horror and darkness of our world. I realized that by reordering my life to be worthy of the blessings of Zion, and actually building it in my heart, that I was doing everything I could do to end all this horror and suffering by preparing the world for Christ’s return.
According to the D&C 84 the whole church is under condemnation for taking lightly the things that we have received. I used to sorrow deeply about this, and wonder how we as a people could ever lift this dark burden. Then, in a moment of inspired understanding, I realized that the condemnation rests upon individuals, and that this individual could lift the pointing finger of censure personally by taking everything I have received with utmost seriousness. I have since done everything I know how to, believing and seek with total sincerity, everything the Lord has given me, but also to share that urgency and understanding in every way I could conceive.
I believe that the censure of condemnation lifts upon each individual as they identify the voice of the Lord in their hearts and minds, and choose to obey with flawless determination. Then, the heavens open, the blessings of prior covenants and ordinances are poured out, and the condemnation evaporates like a serpentine morning mist before the cleansing warmth of the rising Son.
© June 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.