But on July 24, 2021 in the early morning (not sure if the date is significant) I awoke from a dream.
In my dream I was told the location of a future gathering place for the saints. The strange thing was I had never heard of this place before (and no, it wasn't in Utah or Missouri).
I said "a" gathering place and not "the" gathering place because the gathering will not be en masse, but will transpire over time as small groups coalesce into larger ones, and so on and so forth, until everyone is gathered by the providence of the God.
I cannot tell you where the Lord wants you to gather, for though He led Lehi's family out of Jerusalem, He instructed Jeremiah to stay behind and go into exile.
The Lord really does know what He is doing. He has a plan for each of us.
That is why it would be prudent for everyone to seek personal instruction from the Lord on the matter of gathering, even as He told us in D&C 45:57:
For they that are (1) wise and (2) have received the truth, and (3) have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and (4) have not been deceived―
Notice that our guide is to be "the Holy Spirit."
I suppose that means if we follow another spirit (or person or priesthood office) we risk being "deceived" (which ironically is the opposite of what we generally hear from those who warn it would be mass-apostasy-chaos-disorder if we all hearkened individually to God, urging us instead to just listen to priesthood leaders).
I am quoting this verse because it speaks directly the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, surprise!
The verse concludes:
verily I say unto you, they [those who are (1) thru (4)] shall NOT be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.
So we get an interesting explanation of "Tares" by reverse-engineering this verse. A "Tare" is someone who:
(1) Is foolish (2) Has rejected the truth (3) Has not taken the Holy Spirit for their guide; (4) Has been deceived
These Tares, the Lord promised, will be "cast into a furnace of fire" and "burned" at the end of the world (Matt. 13:40, 42).
Anyone think it's getting hot in here? Who's turning up the thermostat?!
A Gathering Primer
Soon after my dream in 2021, I traveled to the place I had been told would become a gathering place when the world falls apart, I guess.
My dad picked me up at 4:30 a.m. and we began a long drive in his Honda Accord (it was a father-son road trip). We listened to a book on CD about the Civil War, the two of us, stopping at all the Chinese Buffets we found along the way (and Costcos, because my dad loves getting gas there).
Interestingly, when we arrived at our destination we discovered many other wonderful, quirky people had been led there as well.
In fact, a small community had formed among those who felt "called" to the area in order to prepare for the coming storm.
Some of them had been living there for years, others were newcomers; some were members of the LDS Church, and some were not; denominational differences didn't matter because they were all waiting upon the Lord, building homes and farming and going to their jobs (when COVID hit, some of them got excited thinking things were about to get interesting; but then, life went on much as it had).
I tell you this because I realized something on that trip: revelation can be an anchor or a millstone, depending on how we treat it.
The funny thing about revelation is there's always more to come; since our understanding of the Lord's plan is limited, ask yourself: is it wise to cling to an inflexible, narrow view of what the Lord has told us, when we don't even see the bigger picture?
I mean, how often do we fixate on what has been revealed, forgetting we're swimming in a prophetic current of water that is flowing, rushing onward, dynamic and responsive to our agency and the agency of others, towards what yet will be revealed?
Sometimes revelation is cumulative; but not always, such as when the Lord seems to go in an entirely new direction. That's why I always remember something the Lord told the saints in Nauvoo (I think it is just as pertinent today):
[If you] do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord.
Yes, the D&C says the New Jerusalem is going to be in Missouri:
The land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints.
Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion.
Yes, the Lord said Zion would not be moved out of her place:
Surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there.
Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered.
But. But . . . .
Gathering for Winter
During our trip, I stopped at several Indian Reservations and visited with some of the tribal elders. I must have caught them at a bad time because each home I entered seemed to have a tale of tragedy they shared with me, of someone who had recently died, overdosed, or committed suicide.
As much as the Lord wants us to prepare in faith to gather, so too does the devil want to divide us and keep us stuck-in-the-mud; for every still-small-voice calling you to gather, there will be a dozen voices telling you to stay in the boat. So I encourage everyone to take another look at the scriptural teachings on "gathering." This plays a central role in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares, in which the angels gather the Wheat to the barn (i.e. Zion); as well as gathering the Tares to be bundled and burned.
In Isaiah 52, we're told:
For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rearward.
Think of squirrels: they gather nuts in preparation for the snow to fall (or in our case, Yellowstone's super volcano to erupt).
But have you considered the fact that we bring in the harvest AFTER the growing season is over? Does this mean, perhaps, the window in which to repent ("the field is ripe") is closing; and soon all that is left will be for the angels to lay in store for the wintertime?
The Lord gathers His children to preserve them like we gather summer strawberries to preserve them in our pantry, safely canned in Mason jars.
"Sure, we could build a bunker for ourselves and our family, shutting ourselves off from everybody. We could stockpile canned food and water while waiting out the storm, playing Monopoly and eating microwaved popcorn as the world burns.
"But has the Lord called us to isolate ourselves in some remote ranch in rural North Dakota? Does the Lord want us to retire to our private island in the Pacific and turn our backs on His suffering children? Are we more concerned with staying alive than we are with being alive in Christ?"
The apocalyptic Section 133 of the Doctrine and Covenants provides some guidance on gathering. If you haven't recently, I recommend pondering the whole Section and ask the Lord what steps you could take, now, to prepare for what is coming.
Yea, let the cry go forth among all people: Awake (!) and arise (!) and go forth to meet the Bridegroom; behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord.
But verily, thus saith the Lord, let not your flight be in haste, but let all things be prepared before you; and he that goeth, let him not look back lest sudden destruction shall come upon him.
Hearken and hear, O ye inhabitants of the earth. Listen, ye elders of my church together, and hear the voice of the Lord; for he calleth upon all men, and he commandeth all men everywhere to repent.
(D&C 133:10, 15-16)
The Lord's voice is calling to you, and to me, to all of us, to take His hand so He can guide us through the coming gathering.