Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Warning Cry

For as long as I can remember I’ve always had pretty vivid dreams.  I’ve often thought to myself that I really need to start writing them, but usually I just don’t really see the point.  However, the other night I had a dream that I knew I needed to write down and share. 

So here it goes….

It was a typical winter day.  The mountainside was covered in glistening white snow that sparkled with the sunlight.  As I sat observing the view I noticed a popular hot spring full of swimmers down the slope from me, and across the way from the spring was a very affluent mountain neighborhood.  As I looked upon the hot spring I noticed people of all shapes, sizes, and age enjoying the warm water in the chill of winter. There were fathers and mothers with their children; friends; and young lovers.  It all seemed like a normal happy day.

Then, quietly, something spoke inside of me strongly urging me to get back to my important work.  I turned around to see a fellow employee with me.  We were volcanologists studying the activity of the dormant volcano upon which we stood.  My nameless partner had me look at some readings on one of our machines.  I felt my heart begin to race.  We realized that this volcano was going to erupt, soon.  I told her to report back to our chain of command, and the authorities, and to finish the research while I would go warn those in the area.  I walked back to the slope that stood over the hot spring and pulled out a whistle.  The shrill noise of the whistle echoed throughout the mountain side.  All the people in the hot spring looked at me as I began to motion for them to get out.  Everyone quickly scrambled to obey.  As new comers came to swim in the spring they listened to the voices of everyone else and avoided getting in. I noted how nobody wanted to go against the crowd and that they all recognized and adhered to the shrill of my whistle. 

When the hot spring had been emptied and a sign posted I went to the neighborhood to begin knocking on doors.  I wanted to get everyone to evacuate to safer grounds as quickly as possible.  They would not have time for other authorities to warn them of the danger ahead, it was just me.  I knocked on the first door and a boy of about 14 or 15 answered the door. 

“Hello are your parents home?”

“No they’re not I’m watching my sister” I noticed a small pink wheelchair in the corner and realized his sister had some handicap.

 “You need to call them and tell them you need to leave. The volcano is going to erupt and we all need to get off the mountain.”

The boy tried to call his parents. No answer.  I told him to start packing and I would come back and get them so we could leave and that we would leave a note for his parents in case they happened to come back. 

I then went to the next house.  A plump woman in her mid thirties answered the door.  I also informed her of the urgent need to leave.  She invited me into her Pinterest perfect house. She had been baking brownies with her young daughter who was sitting on the counter licking a chocolaty spatula.  I asked this woman if she knew her neighbors next door and if she had room to drive them somewhere safe.

 “Let’s see I think I have the mothers number.  I’ve only talked to them once or twice.” She tried calling but again no answer.

“I can take the kids let me just gather some things and we can go.”  I implored her to hurry as I quickly left to go warn more families.

I was swiftly walking from house to house when I noticed a young boy around 6 running down the road being pulled by his rather large dog.  I assumed the dog sensed that danger was coming because he appeared to be trying to run down the mountain. As I watched, the boy tripped on a rock and fell over as the dog ran away.  I quickly went to the boy and kneeled down beside him 

“What’s your name?” I asked

“Julio” he quietly moaned.

“Julio, where are your parents?” I brushed the dirt off him as I further explained, “We need to find them and tell them that we need to get off this mountain because the volcano is going to erupt.”

He told me that he was trying to find help because his parents were in the hot spring and weren’t moving. Fear gripped me as I picked him up and quickly ran to the hot spring.  So much for the sign warning people away. I assumed that with the approaching time of eruption the young boy’s parents were dead. However, the water in the spring had not yet started to boil. When I found them they weren’t dead but merely intoxicated or high on some drug which was causing them to act lethargically.   I told them they needed to get out. It wasn’t safe to be in the spring and it wasn’t safe to be on the mountain. They needed to take care of their son and take him to safety. Because of their condition they were not able to listen to me.  They told me to take the boy but they weren’t leaving.  Their deplorable state was going to kill them.  I had no choice but to move on.  Julio gave his parents one last look and followed me back to the street.

Time was running out.  I needed to leave too. I went back to the house with the teenage boy who was watching his sister.  I walked into his house and cried out to see if he was ready to go and that his neighbor would drive them.  As I turned the corner I saw the father standing at the kitchen island laughing on his cell phone and making business calls.  The boy explained to his father who I was and that they needed to leave.  The father scoffed at me and was very condescending. He was a lawyer and assumed he knew all there was to know in the world.  Although I was a volcanologist, and he was not, he still assumed he knew more than me.  I quickly rebuked him and told him his pride was going to kill them.  He would not allow me to take the kids.  The boy looked at me with despair in his eyes as he recognized his fate.  The mother finally arrived home and I exhorted her to reason with her husband, but this was not the type of woman to stand up to such a demeaning and domineering man.  I sadly had to leave them behind. 

As I walked into the Pinterest perfect woman’s house to make sure she was ready to leave and to inform her that she no longer had to take the neighbor kids I heard the vacuum cleaner going.  One of her kids was vacuuming as the mother was quickly packing anything and everything. She had showered, put on makeup, and was wearing a blue and white stripped dress with high heels, and her hair was perfectly curled.  She had wasted time!

“Oh you’re here! Does my house look okay? I can’t leave these couches; do you think we could somehow bring them? Oh! And this” she declared pointing to some object, “this is a family heirloom, I can’t leave it behind.” 

I stood shocked as I watched her try to take all her worldly goods with her in her mini van. 

“What are you doing? You need to leave! Forget this stuff, get your kids and go!”  Unbelievable.

“Oh alright but first I just need to get one more thing.” As she hurried back off into another room of her house.

I looked around at her perfect house, where everything had its prime and proper place.  She was more consumed with appearances than the life and safety of her family, though she said she wanted to save them I knew that her materialism was going to kill them.  I sadly shook my head as I grabbed Julio’s hand and left their house. 

The sun was starting to go down and the sky was turning a reddish hue.  A forewarning.  Glancing down the street one last time I noticed that children were still playing in the street and everyone was still going about their business as if nothing would ever happen to them.  They had been warned.  The signs were there.  But they did not listen. 

Julio and I climbed into my car and drove far from the volcano. In the distance there was a loud grumble and the sky erupted in a molten explosion.  I parked and watched from my rearview window. Deep sadness filled my heart for those that had not listened to my warning call. 

Silently I wondered to myself if I had been in their place would I have listened to the warning call? I would like to think so.

This weekend we have the opportunity to listen to a Prophet of God, Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, and other called and ordained ministers of the Lord’s true gospel upon the Earth.  They have the ability to receive revelation for us and to provide us a warning call of dangers that lie ahead. 

The question is will we be obedient enough to IMMEDIATELY heed that warning call when it comes?

Sadly, some of us won’t. Why? Because we may be like those people in my dream.
There were three distinct types of people:

1.         The addicts. Like Julio’s parents, there are some of us that are unable to feel the spirit and the sense of urgency it brings because of addictions. These addictions come in all sorts of forms: drugs, alcohol, pornography, social media, etc. When an individual is addicted to something they put that substance above their own safety and the happiness and safety of their loved ones. 

2.         The prideful.  Like the lawyer father some individuals aren’t willing to listen to others.  They have no faith. They have to see evidence to believe it. But what if they wouldn’t even understand the evidence if it was given to them.  As a volcanologist maybe I could have shown him the readings or taking him to the slope and shown him what convinced my partner and I that an eruption would occur. But the chance is he wouldn’t understand the readings and still wouldn’t believe, similar to the story of Korihor in the Book of Mormon. Korihor would not believe in the Christ without a sign.  After asking Alma for a sign, and being struck dumb, Korihor said he believed and begged for the sign to be taken away.  However, Alma stated “If this curse should be taken from thee thou wouldst again lead away the hearts of this people; therefore, it shall be unto thee even as the Lord will.” (Alma 30).  Just as Korihor, and many others in the scriptures, did easily deny the many signs and miracles they saw, so too do the prideful of the world.  No amount of evidence will prove the existence of God, or of danger.  Only the spirit can do that and the spirit cannot touch a proud and hardened heart.

3.         The materialistic. The common scripture Matt 6:24 comes to my mind for this type of person, it reads, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” The Pinterest perfect woman was so worried about her worldly possessions and outward appearances than she was put them over the safety of her family. She was able to recognize the need to leave but she couldn’t bare the thought of leaving her things, or of not appearing perfect.  Clearly her mammon was her God. If she had left and her possessions were lost the likelihood would be that she would despise and curse God.  Why? Because she did not serve Him.  Her heart was set to much upon the cares of the world.  Doesn’t this sound similar to Lots wife?

I still don’t know why the people listened to the whistle shrill when I needed them to get out of the hot spring, and yet failed to acknowledge the warning when I personally came to them. Maybe it was different people. I don’t know.  Is there a difference in the way we perceive and present warnings?

Some other significant things I noticed include,
  1. How easy it is to listen to and follow the crowd (for good and for bad).
  2. How believing and trusting children are.
  3. The solemn responsibility we as adults have to protect children, and the sadness the Savior and His disciples feel when individuals fail to protect those children. 

In conclusion, it is my hope that with this weekends General Conference we will attend it in faith.  That we will have faith in the warning cry of our inspired leaders.  Sometimes we may not know know the “whys” but we need to have the faith that they know and that the Holy Ghost will testify of that truth unto and into our hearts.  We need to be willing to not only listen to conference but also go out and apply the principles we learn! Furthermore, it is not enough to simply listen and act in our own lives but we must also go and teach others.  For “it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.” (DC 88: 81) “and let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness.” (DC 38:41)

Ponder this: will you be obedient enough to IMMEDIATELY heed the warning calls you will receive this weekend, and to also share those warning call with others? If so, how?