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Beware of Volunteer Prophets

Within the next three to five years, the Chinese will invade and occupy the United States of America and set up prison camps wherein us regular Americans will be tortured because… well, because we’ll be tortured for some reason. Don’t interrupt.

One of these camps will be in a tiny Southern Utah town with less than one-hundred residents, but don’t let that fool you. For this is no ordinary town. No, sir, this is the town where we shall stand up and fight back and redeem the Constitution and pluck it from the hands of the godless conspirators who have defiled it with their foreign ways and their kung pao shrimp and cheaply-made Happy Meal toys and Mulan with the lucky cricket and the way they talk funny because our Founding Fathers would never talk like that because if the Bible was written in English then that’s good enough for me.

Phew.

While I have added some thinly veiled racist details that take some artistic license with the whole concept, the substance of this pinheaded prophecy did not originate with me. No, it came from a woman who believes she has more access to God’s purposes than a schmo like you. It seems she had a vision of herself in this Chinese prison camp in her small town, and, in the vision, she was pregnant, so all this rigamarole must therefore be fulfilled during her premenopausal years.

By my calculations, this woman is now pushing 50, so either we are going to have an Abraham and Sarah sort of situation, or else the Chinese had better hurry up.

I thought of this prophecy as I was driving my small children to school yesterday morning and unwisely left the radio station tuned to Glenn Beck, self-appointed soothsayer of the sound waves. The Mighty Beckster was holding court with a woman who was complaining about the harassment her daughter suffers at the hands of ragged, impolite protesters as she makes her way to her Wall Street office.


Our Mr. Beck, ever the voice of reason in these troubled times, calmly reassured her that things were going to get much, much worse and that a Civil War between regular Americans like her and all them dark-skinned folks living in the inner cities was just around the corner and would probably launch by summertime – Labor Day at the latest – and so don’t forget to log on and see Glenn Beck’s internet television channel on December 8 in order to receive further instructions on how to fend off the coming apocalypse. I’ll be sure to be there myself unless something else – anything else at all – is happening that day.

We Mormons bring it on ourselves, really. We have the audacity to claim that God continues to speak today as he did to prophets of old, so we shouldn’t be surprised when a few volunteer prophets step up and fill the void. And the message of the self-appointed volunteers is always far more exciting and compelling than the message of the boring-but-real ones. A generation tutored by Hollywood expects prophets to prophesy of Chinese death camps and race wars. They tune out when the real prophets emphasize loving your neighbor, performing acts of service, and the importance of faith over fear.

Regardless, that’s what real prophets do. The people that I sustain as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators haven’t said word one about invading Sinohordes in Southern Utah or brewing inner city secession. I don’t have to tune in on December 8, because I tuned into LDS General Conference on October 1, and the people I truly trust to pass along God’s message were singing a far different tune than the lunatic wails of the Beckian fringe.

Christ’s injunction to beware of false prophets is based on the assumption that there will be true prophets, too. But those who believe in true prophets should not consider themselves exempt from the warnings against false ones, and they, especially, should have zero tolerance for any such prophet who cloaks him or herself in the culture of the Restored Gospel to perpetuate their hooey.

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