The parallels between the Book of Mormon and our day are enormous. I find special meaning in Alma, Helaman, and Third Nephi, the three books dealing with the few decades before the coming of the Savior. They are ripe with stories of a free and noble nation falling into corruption, greed, numerous wars, and secret combinations in which a band of well-connected wealthy gangsters essentially took over a nation. The Nephites got through cycles of wickedness and pride followed by disaster, pain, humility, and a resurgence in the Gospel, only to prosper again and move back toward pride.
As we stare into the abyss of a painful recession and perhaps even sweeping economic chaos, I hope we are prepared for two things. First, may we be prepared to feed and care for our families and others in need when trouble strikes, whether it’s a hurricane, economic panic, or even famine in the land. How wise our prophets have been for decades now to warn us to calmly and steadily prepare for the times we are approaching. How wise some of you have been to heed their prophetic counsel. Second, may we be prepared to spiritually feed others as the trials ahead turn people from the Mammon of Wall Street to ponder deeper things, such as God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The times may be troubling, but to the prepared, these can be a joyou opportunity to love, to share, to heal, and to bless the lives of newly prepared people who may be willing now, after all their heartache, to open their hearts to God and receive Jesus Christ as their Savior, following Him into the waters of baptism, making sacred covenants to follow and serve Him.
It’s harvest time, brothers and sisters. Did you hear the counsel of the prophet a few days ago, urging us to find joy now, to share and love and bless one another more than ever, and to reach out more than ever to share the Gospel with others? There are great blessings to come from what is ahead. A few will grow wealthy and powerful beyond all imagination, while earning pain and punishment beyond compare, while the humble among their many victims may receive the greatest gift of all – the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.