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RAY - In October 2001, just after the destruction of the world trade centers and the tragedy of the loss of all the lives of those who perished there, President Hinckley said this in his opening address of General Conference:

"The era in which we live is the fulness of times spoken of in the scriptures, when God has brought together all of the elements of previous dispensations. From the day that He and His Beloved Son manifested themselves to the boy Joseph, there has been a tremendous cascade of enlightenment poured out upon the world. The hearts of men have turned to their fathers in fulfillment of the words of Malachi. The vision of Joel has been fulfilled wherein he declared:

"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call" (Joel 2:28-32).

"Living in the Fulness of Times", President Gordon B. Hinckley

Has the prophecy in Joel 2:31 been fulfilled about the moon turning to blood and the sun turning to darkness?

JOEL - The prophet Joel no doubt may have experienced things like solar and lunar eclipses which would have darkened the sun and turned the moon a red color and was probably impressed by their significance. He may have had no idea what would cause such things to happen but might have thought they could be signs of some important catastrophic event that was to happen in the future. We can't really know what the signs looked like without having seen the same vision ourselves. I have heard many explanations for the phenomenon of the moon appearing as blood to the earth, including the following:

1. The result of the great earthquake spoken of in Rev. 6:12, which would send a great amount of dust and debris into the atmosphere. Such airborne particles could darken the sun and make the moon appear red "as blood."

2. Amid the fires and burnings that shall ravage the earth or because of volcanic ash or nuclear dust from a war, the moon, viewed through the smoke and polluted atmospheric conditions, might appear as red as blood.

3. A darkened sun as described in Joel 2:31 will cause the moon to be greatly darkened as well perhaps giving it a red color.

4. When the earth is "rolled back" into its paradisiacal planetary orbit where its light is received from the presence of God rather than the direct solar rays of the sun or reflected rays of the moon (TPJS, 181; JD 17:143).

5. It could refer to man walking on the surface of the moon which of course already happened in 1969.

6. A lunar eclipse which makes the moon look red in the shadow of the earth (doubtful this is the sign since it is a common occurance throughout the history of the earth.

7. Some have proposed that it could be the effects of a planet or comet or other heavenly body coming in close proximity to the earth as mentioned by Joseph Smith.(HC 5:337)
(See this link)

It's possible that it could be a combination of some of the things mentioned above (especially #s 1 and 2) that we have already been seeing and will continue to see more frequently as time goes on.
We could probably rule out local events since it is something that the entire world should be able to see; although some have argued that the sign could be localized to the same area of the world that the ancient prophets lived in, which at the time the prophecy was writtten, was their world.
John's revelation also mentions the moon being "as blood":

12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Rev. 6:12-17)

The scriptures above seem to place the occurance of these heavenly events at the moment the second coming happens rather than some unknown space of time before it happens.

I think that generally speaking the prophecy of Joel is in the process of being fulfilled and will continue to be fulfilled as the time for the second coming draws nearer. As I have said before I think if one considers President Hinckley's pronouncement in the context of his entire GC talk, I believe he was more specifically refering to things like young men receiveing visions (restoration of the gospel), pouring out of the spirit (leading to scientific discoveries); existance of people who are dispisers of good, etc.. He did not comment at all in his talk on the moon turning to blood.

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