Saturday, August 1, 2009
Mayan Calendar Predicts World's End? WHAT?
In recent months (as recently as during a conversation with one cousin last week at the annual family bonfire in Pine Valley), I have been plied with e-mails and people who are predicting that December 22, 2012, will mark the end of civilization as we know it.
I know my concern about our sudden turn to socialism doesn't help quell the rumors, but let's be real -- the end is NOT near, and there is much ahead that demands our full attention.
This prediction, like so many others I have entertained during my lifetime, is based on a calendar -- in this case, the Mayan calendar that comes to an abrupt end on that day (or thereabouts). Reports I have read and studied give the date as ranging from December 21st - 23rd. Mormons seem to favor the 22nd, because it is the Prophet Joseph Smith's birthday.
Here's a useful link from National Public Radio to the debate:
Here's the Wikipedia explanation of the 2012 doomsday prediction:
Searching Google under "Mayan calendar" will also yield a plethora of useful links.
Here's a widely circulated e-mail:
“The Mayan long calendar predicts 2012 to be the date the gravity of the planet Venus negatively affects the moon's lunar trajectory and causes disruptions in the weather patterns on the planet Earth. Known only as, and exacerbated by, Global Warming. We need to re-engineer the moon's orbit back to a position agreeable with life on earth. This should be the sole focus of Global Warming talks and endeavors.”
Some predict a doomsday comet:
"The latest Nostradamus-driven hysteria is that a comet is going to hit Earth on December 21, 2012. This is somehow entangled in interpretations of the Mayan Calendar which predict a comet collision, grand astronomical alignment, or some other cosmic makeover will happen to Earth on Dec. 23, 2012."
Ray Villard writes on popular astronomy topics for magazines, radio shows and planetariums and is the news director for the Hubble Space Telescope. He concluded:
"The idea of a comet breaking up is not conjecture. The so-called sun-grazing comets do often disintegrate into football-field sized pieces. In the early 1990s astronomers followed the breakup of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 (SL9) by Jupiter’s gravitational pull. A total of 23 pieces of the comet slammed into Jupiter in July 1994. So-called crater chains are seen on the icy outer moons. These too must have been laid down by a string of comet pieces.
"But a veteran of the SL9 event, planetary astronomer Heidi Hammel, recently told me that the idea of comet pieces barreling into North America all at once is pretty implausible. Impacts would have been scattered across Earth as our planet rotated, as we saw in the the SL9 bombardment.
"So the bottom line is that no ancient calendar, scripture or soothsayer can predict what the cosmic roll of dice will deal us. And, evidence for past armageddons can be pretty dicey too. Like a good insurance actuary, we can only look at probabilities, and even these are not all inclusive."
That said, no combination of calendar events will dissuade me from the conclusion I reached years ago that the prophetic events of the last days will all be fulfilled before the end comes, and THEN, and ONLY THEN will the end come. The Lord admonished: "Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled." (D&C 1:37).
Even the most cursory study of scriptural sources will yield only one true result: We still have a very long way to go down the path of establishing Zion before anybody should seriously be entertaining thoughts of the "end." Look for fulfillment of prophecy, not calendars as your guide toward predicting the timing of the Second Coming and the advent of the Millennium.
Oh, and a sure guide on how to conduct your lives is to look to the living prophets for clues about the unpredictable nature of the future. About all I can detect of an urgent nature coming from the living prophets today is to live our religion the best we can. (See May 2009 Ensign for an up-to-the-minute report). Don't ever buy into the rumor that "they just aren't telling all they know."
Just say "phooey," and do your best, your very best, said President Hinckley, to remain true and faithful.
I like what someone said, "Don't ever bet on the end of the world -- it's only going to happen once, and how will you collect?"