Today's Favorite Verse: Deuteronomy 18:10, 14, 21-22
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.
And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?
When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."
The phrase "observer of times" really struck me. What was that exactly? I searched the scriptures and these two verses are the only reference to that phrase. My gut told me it was astrology or stargazing, articles on LDS.org confirmed that was so. This was something that stood out to me in yesterday's chapter when it talked about worshipping the sun, moon or heavens. I have to say one of the worst experiences I ever had was attending a LDS themed but not LDS Church sanctioned conference. I attended a standing room only class by a man that taught about the times and seasons, and signs of the last days. The class description didn't tell me he would be connecting them into astrology. It was the first time I ever heard an LDS member talk about the signs of the Zodiac, and try to make it fit into the gospel.
I was never so agitated in my life, my whole body was trembling. I knew I was hearing a man teaching priestcrafts. I wanted out, but I was stuck in the middle of a very crowded long row, and I couldn't get out. It was just the worst feeling having to witness what I witnessed in that room. I saw the very elect being deceived, and I didn't want to be one of them. Afterwards there were huge lines of people waiting to buy his book. The scene made me physically ill. In relating this story to others I have chosen to never mention the presenter's name. That is because I had never heard anything about him until that class. All I knew was my impressions and what if I was wrong about this man.
I happened to relate this experience to a dear friend of mine and she said "Renee, who was this person?" Just hearing her ask me that left me with the impression I needed to answer her. I said you have probably never heard of him but this is his name. She said "Renee, he's in my ward!" Yes, there is something very wrong with this man. We have to watch him, and never let him alone with the youth for fear he will start to teach these things. He also has firesides in his home which we have to stop him from advertising. It was an amazing experience to me that the one person I confide in could give confirmation on a man I knew nothing about. I only had to hear him speak. Yet, I witnessed hundreds in that room devouring every word he spoke. The spirit was watching out for me that day.
I often think of those obsessed with the signs of the last days and how they soon follow into strange paths. That is because they miss the mark and the point of what the signs lead to, and the spiritual preparation that needs to come. Even Laman and Lemuel are a prime example. In hearing their father Lehi's vision of the tree of life what they chose to focus on was the signs of the last days. They missed the mark of what the whole point of the vision was, and the warning it had for them. The preparation I need is to be like Nephi, and taught by the spirit. Nothing will leave me unaware if I have the spirit as my constant guide.
It's been several years now since I had this experience. I found it very interesting when I pondered the last two verses of this chapter. How would I know the words that the Lord had not spoken? Simply if what they say doesn't come to pass. I sat and thought about all the signs, blood moons and alignments of stars I had heard mentioned, and the time frames they were to happen. Implying some great events would take place. You know what, nothing happened. I am always hearing of new theories on this subject. I will no longer listen to any of them. It simply is not the way the Lord works.
Yes, Jewish holidays have actually been important days for LDS events, but no one going into those events thought of something special happening that day. They were not looking to the calendar or stars to tell them these things. They were just going about the Father's business. Just like the apostles didn't understand how all that the Savior did during his life fulfilled prophecy until after his death and resurrection. The important thing is always to look towards Christ and not the signs. Treasure up the scriptures and the hour or moment they are fulfilled I will know by the spirit it has happened. The living prophet will guide me, and not lead me astray.