Friday, May 20, 2011

Judgment Day or Just Another Day of Judgment?



by Saint Mark (bio)

So, this Sunday, May 22, 2011 is my graduation day. After three arduous years, I'm finally graduating from law school. I was filled with relief and excitement until I saw the billboard on the left. Great! The Savior decides to come the day before I graduate? Why not during law school? Then, I would have been saved from three-hour exams and the loss of eyesight that comes from studying case law as thick as analog telephone books.

My response to the day of judgment that will allegedly happen tomorrow, May 21, (note: the sign doesn't give a year; as a lawyer, I appreciate the ambiguity) is tongue in cheek. Although we as latter-day saints believe that Christ will come again (that's why we're called "latter-day" saints and not just saints), we do not believe it is happening this weekend. "And they have done unto the Son of Man even as they listed; and he has taken his power on the right hand of his glory, and now reigneth in the heavens, and will reign till he descends on the earth to put all enemies under his feet, which time is nigh at hand--I, the Lord God, have spoken it; but the hour and the day no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor shall they know until he comes." (Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) 49:6-7; see also D&C 39:21; 61:38; Matthew Chapter 24).

While walking through Boston Commons yesterday, I ran into a parade of May 21st believers. I tried to make a deal with one of them: I'll read your brochure on why this Saturday is the day of judgment if you will take this pass along card and call the number on it on Sunday, if Sunday happens. He wouldn't accept the offer. He said he couldn't say "if". He was sure judgement day will be this Saturday. It intrigued me that he was so against my hypothetical because that's all my offer was: IF Sunday comes without a judgment day, then he would make the call. What does he have to lose?

But, then I thought of myself and my beliefs: am I so against open discussion with others who use hypotheticals or other types of logical arguments that I foreclose conversations that could lead to understanding? If someone was to offer me a pamphlet or literature for their religion, like The Watchtower or the Qu'ran, would I reject them so quickly as well? If someone debates me and pushes me on my beliefs, am I so quick to reject their theological explorations as ignorant or persecution? Maybe, like me, they are just curious and their paradigms do not include prophets in the modern days or days of judgment coming on the day before law school graduation.

Granted, it is difficult to discern someone's motives for challenging our beliefs through dialogue. But, if I give "doubters" (ie people who are questioning my beliefs) the benefit of the doubt and realize that understanding only comes through asking questions, then I may have more efficacy in my gospel conversations and bring a soul to Christ, whether Christ comes tomorrow or not.

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