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RAY - What Will Cause The Earth To Reel To An Fro?

My Insight:
The reply to such dismissive notions is the evidence that Joseph Smith diligently studied and taught these things. It was Joseph who first wrote and spoke of planets and stars in connection with both ancient and prophetic events. It was Joseph who placed the Egyptian documents alongside modern revelation and then included explanations. It was Joseph who gave the pattern for those icons collocated on modern temple walls — not as mere décor, but as teaching tools.

Isn't that incentive enough to look into these keys? Indeed, the fact that Joseph taught these things makes it incumbent upon every Latter-day Saint to learn all they can about them. If he deemed them important enough to reveal, we ignore them at our own peril.

These keys bear directly upon otherwise arcane aspects of the restored gospel, successfully explaining what has heretofore remained a mystery to most Saints — things such as temple symbols, the Pearl of Great Price facsimiles and a uniform system for interpreting prophecy.

Who would have thought that a systematic approach to the symbolism of prophecy would also explain such divergent elements as temple icons and Egyptian facsimiles?

A few examples that amplify one theme should suffice to convince us.

We have already seen Joseph’s "planet, comet" description of the "grand sign" of the last days and the second coming, recorded in his own journal, History of the Church. That puts cosmic phenomena squarely under the prophecy heading.

In keeping with Joseph’s statement, in a 1951 General Conference talk, Elder LeGrand Richards reinforced the concept, saying that the latter-day signs will be caused by "some great phenomenon in the heavens, (a) misplacement of planets …."

An interview with Homer M. Brown, a past Patriarch of the Granite, Utah, Stake, father of Elder Hugh B. Brown and grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Brown, who gave Joseph Smith sanctuary from a mob in Nauvoo one evening, more fully explains the role of this misplaced planet and its effect on our Earth.

According to Patriarch Brown, these are Joseph’s words to his grandparents regarding a future encounter between a rogue planet and our Earth. "Now, let me ask you what would cause the everlasting hills to tremble with more violence than the coming together of the two planets?

JOEL - There is revelation that is vital to our eternal life and revelation that is simply information to enhance our knowledge and intelligence.

"Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. (D&C 130: 18-19)

In regards to the teachings about planets, stars, and comets you say "we ignore them at our own peril." What kind of peril do you mean? Loss of our eternal life? I certainly hope not, otherwise even the current general authorities would be in a lot of trouble. There are different kinds of revelation and Joseph Smith gave us all kinds. He was constantly learning all he could about God's plan and the involvement of the universe. Much of what he learned was important to our eternal life, but some things he revealed were simply as a result of his own curiosity and for enlightenment of our minds.
As Joseph Smith spoke of the coming of Christ in glory, he referred to the preliminary events that must occur and said:

. . . then will appear one grand sign of the Son of Man in heaven. But what will the world do? They will say it is a planet, a comet, etc. But the Son of Man will come as the sign of the coming of the Son of Man, which will be as the light of the morning cometh out of the east." (HC 5:336-37)

To me he is not saying that an actual planet or comet is going to come to cause these worldly disasters, but that when Jesus with his angels returns and the people of the world sees this, they will try to explain it away by saying that it is just a planet or comet. A third hand account from Patriarch Brown claiming that Joseph Smith guessed that it could be planets coming together that will cause the comotion is not very convincing to me.

Here is what LeGrande Richards actually said:
"While I was president of the Southern States Mission, one of our missionaries wrote in from Florida and said, "President Richards, I have been reading about the signs of the coming of the Lord." He said, "When the sun darkens and the moon ceases to give its light and the stars fall from heaven, everybody will know that he is coming.
And I wrote back and said, "Probably they will know. The newspapers might announce some great phenomenon in the heavens, misplacement of planets, that have caused this consternation, and scientists will have their explanation to make of it, and unless they have faith in the Living God, unless as Jesus said, they can read the signs of the times, they may not know anything about what is going on in the world." (Conf Report 1951)

Again, like Joseph Smith, he is not saying that it will be misplacement of planets causing the phenomena, but that the scientists will say that is what is happening.
When Jesus makes His second appearance He will not need planets or comets; He will be able to cause the earthquakes and other physical signs to happen simply by His own power.
The prophesies regarding the end of the world are all something we should be aware of and prepare for, but knowing exactly what will make the world reel to and fro (D&C 45:48; 49:23; 88:87, Isa. 24:20) is not going to make any difference. The results will be the same.

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