I just returned from a family vacation to the Oregon Coast (heaven-on-earth).
By the third lighthouse, my 7 year old said, "Daddy, no more lighthouses!"
I am fascinated by lighthouses and their symbolism. I didn't know that in the United States lighthouses still operate under the Coast Guard's jurisdiction.
Back in the 1800s and early 1900s before things were automated, there were always 3 keepers per lighthouse: two on shift and one off (sound familiar?).
It is hard to describe the beauty of a Fresnel lens (made in France in the 1800s by a guy named Fresnel). Back then they couldn't get enough candle power to make a beam of light bright enough to be seen very far offshore; so Fresnel was commissioned to engineer a solution, which he did by directing all the rays of light through a single focal point.
Here's a picture of one of the massive Fresnel lenses used in lighthouses:
Let's Talk Perspective
We are the candles of the Lord: and Jesus is the lens that joins our light into a focused beam as a city set upon a hill (Zion).
Notice that when the rays of light are combined you cannot distinguish one ray from another: they become one light. The Lord's light.
There are two things that provide us with eternal perspective (like the light from a lighthouse), assisting us in our journey home:
1. Prophecy (seeing forward); and
2. History (seeing backwards).
I want to suggest that we are uniquely situated in the history of the world because we possess a greater abundance of prophecy and history than ever before.
1. We possess a compendium of prophecy that exceeds any had by previous generations, including the Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, Lectures on Faith, Book of Mormon, and Pearl of Great Price.
When you think about it, we are awash in prophecy.
2. Here in the end times we can look back and learn from the cumulative lessons of our past. We have more stories, histories, examples, success and failures, than any previous generation.
When you think about it, we are gifted with these two powerful tools to help us create something better: Zion.
Of all peoples, we should have the broadest views.
Because this is "the dispensation of the fulness of times."
Last Days: Prophets Needed
Joseph Smith taught:
The dispensation of the fullness of times will bring to light the things that have been revealed in all former dispensations; also other things that have not been before revealed.
(Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:426; Oct. 3, 1841)
Who is going to reveal all these new things?
Moses made a very interesting prophecy at the end of his life pertaining to the latter days. As you read this prophecy, ask yourself what role you have to play in this, the last dispensation:
But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
(For the Lord thy God is a merciful God) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
I think it is important to note that the Lord remembers the "covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them" ― as opposed to our individual covenants.
(Of course, we can enter into the covenant of Abraham Isaac and Jacob as well, but let's not make everything about us, okay?)
Plenty of Prophecy to Go Around
Years ago I was speaking in Sacrament meeting and unexpectedly blurted out a prophecy.
I didn't plan on it!
It just happened. One minute I was talking, telling jokes, expounding on a verse from the Book of Mormon, and then the next thing I knew my mouth was saying something new to me.
I don't think I would have gotten in trouble except that, like an idiot, I prefaced it by saying, "I prophecy that . . . ."
My father was in the congregation listening, and took me aside afterwards. "Be careful, son," he said, "I wouldn't prophecy too freely because most members aren't prepared for it."
Well, that advice seemed odd to me.
Why aren't members prepared to receive prophecies?
Didn't Paul tell us:
He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
(1 Cor. 14:3, 39)
I guess I may be a little more reckless than most, and I know the Lord doesn't want us to cast pearls before swine (loose lips sink ships).
But the Lord doesn't want us to be tight-mouthed, either, with closed lips, as if clenching our teeth could prevent his words from rushing (spewing?) out of our mouths by the power of the Holy Ghost.
But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man. Wo unto such.
I think the principle is when the Spirit fills our mouths, we speak and prophesy. As the Lord said in the D&C:
Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit; and in this there is no condemnation.
So let's go ahead and fill this dispensation with prophecies not a few.
Well, you don't need my permission. The Lord's word is all the permission you need.
He said to the Church:
And as ye shall lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak AND prophesy as seemeth me good.
I guess I've never been embarrassed to prophesy because I'm not the one who has to cash those checks. If the Lord utters his voice, then it's up to Him to make good on his words. We're just messengers.
I believe we will see in a coming day Joel's prophecy fulfilled more fully (or to a greater extent than we've ever seen in the past):
I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.
I don't think we've seen the plenitude of prophecy from God's daughters yet.
I don't think we have listened to our young women's visions enough.
Isn't there room in the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times for all of us? For young and old, male and female . . . for God voice to ring from the rooftops, from the isles of the sea, and from the nethermost parts of his vineyard?