Mormonism: Overview of Disasters

The scriptures prophesy that disasters will occur prior to the second coming of the Lord. During his earthly ministry, the Lord spoke of disasters.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. (Matthew 24:7)
The Lord explained this when He revealed to Joseph Smith
And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land. (D&C 45:31)
Further, the Lord revealed that before his coming, plagues will cover the earth.
And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness— (D&C 84:97)
In addition, the book of Revelation in chapter 16 speaks of angels bringing plagues to the earth. We do, though, have to be careful in using scriptures from Revelation. That book was makes heavy use of symbols, and the symbols aren't necessarily meant to be taken literally. I believe that God works through natural laws and that symbolically John referred to the use of natural laws by God as angels pouring the wrath of God upon the earth. In the verses quoted above, Jesus spoke of famines, pestilences, earthquakes, and sickness. Those disasters are obviously the result of natural laws.

The scriptural prophecies of sickness covering the land don't say there will be increases in sickness, although many people probably interpret the prophecies that way. We have better communication today than in past centuries, and we hear of epidemics and other disasters that might have gone unnoticed by people not affected if those disasters had occurred in the past.

I do believe, though, that additional world-wide infections will occur. Bacteria seem to mutate quickly and easily, and new strains will undoubtedly arise and cause new infections, and all strains will become more resistant to our drugs and other measures that are taken to counteract the infections. In addition scientists are learning how to manipulate the DNA and genes of organisms, and I am concerned that man-made bacteria and viruses may arise that will make past pandemics seem mild. Our bodies have had eons of time to adapt to natural causes of sicknesses, but man-made organisms may give new diseases to our bodies, diseases for which our bodies may have no defenses.

There is an interesting but horrible parallel between Mormonism, actually Christianity, and science concerning disasters that are preceding the second coming of Jesus Christ. This page lists some of the disasters. In addition, other pages give results from scientific research on other disasters (click on Disasters in the navigational bar given at the top of each page for links to these pages).
  • Diseases and death spread via donated organs
  • The defrosting of animal and human corpses via global warming
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Meat contamination
Not all of the disasters that I've listed are considered to be pandemics, but I believe they have the potential to become such, and I think it wise that we monitor their occurrences and the research into them. I think the thing that is most significant about these disasters is that infections are becoming world-wide instead of being confined to a local or regional area. Sickness is truly covering the land, as the Lord warned. Because of modern transportation, carriers of disease can be halfway around the world in a matter of hours. Even before the advent of modern transportation, diseases were spread through the relatively slow transportation of ships and caravans used by ancient people. Researchers thought that Syphilis was introduced into Europe by the voyages of Christopher Columbus, but recent archeological discoveries showed that Syphilis existed in Europe before Columbus returned from the Americas.

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