I saw this picture early this morning on a website as the sun was peeking out behind the clouds over the mountains in Pine Valley. It inspired a thought.
We are living in a dark world in the darkest part of the night right now. The wickedness of the world about us is so obvious it needs little more publicity. There is no need to broadcast the depravity and the lengths to which our Father's children have gone in these last days. He certainly is weeping now as He did in the days of Noah.
The population inside the great and spacious building continues to grow to a point where one wonders if it is surely not overcrowded.
It reminded me of the C.S. Lewis-like snippet from one of Elder Neal A. Maxwell's books, Deposition of a Disciple (see page 63):
"Individually we need to be more different. Collectively, the wheat and tares are to grow side by side until the end comes. Wheat and tares in their early stages are not as distinguishable from each other as at a later stage in maturity. When the wheat becomes more like wheat and the tares become more like tares, the rate of distinctiveness thus doubles. Likewise, as there is a deterioration of standards in the world, the light of the Church shines ever more brightly because other things are growing darker.
"The Church is pulling away from the world at a rate that would be noticeable even if the world were standing still in its standards. But the world is pulling away even from standards it once held. Thus the Church and the world are parting company like two speeding cars going in opposite directions. The Church is also increasing in its institutional efficiency as well as in its globalness and multi-culturalness. It is making its mark in many lands and in many more lives than ever before."
While we live now at the darkest moment in the history of mankind, it is clear the lighthouse of the restored gospel beams its light more radiantly out into the troubled storm-tossed seas of worldliness seeking to guide the weary and the weak into the safe harbor.
We have nothing to fear, despite all the mounting bad news. We know how this all ends.
Knowing it, we will prevail somehow as we row those last few yards toward the lighthouse aided by the rising of the sun in the eastern skies. Zion will increase in power, influence and beauty.
The Lord said on the very day the Church was organized: "For thus saith the Lord God: Him [Joseph Smith] have I inspired to move the cause of Zion. . . Yea, his weeping for Zion I have seen, and I will cause that he shall mourn for her no longer; for his days of rejoicing are come." (D&C 21:7-8). The command and the desire to establish Zion were present at the very beginning of this final great dispensation.
Whatever happens between now and the safe harbor is only detail that hasn't been revealed yet. But the safe harbor we seek is the establishment of Zion, a home for the faithful generations yet unborn who will inhabit it. Whether from this side of the veil or the other, the quest for Zion will continue unabated by the choking growth of tares.
I'm witnessing the rising third generation of pure wheat, symbolized by Eli David Goates, and I'm encouraged by what I see. From my vantage point the rising of the sun in the east has never shone more brightly than it is right now.
The gathering storm clouds and the darkening night ahead cause me no fear whatsoever. I know how this all ends.
P.S. We win.