How dare you try to guess when the Second Coming will be!

February 9, 2005    By: Geoff J @ 4:53 am   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

A recent post related to the Second Coming over at T&S reminded me of an odd fact in the Church – Mormons do NOT appreciate it when other Mormons speculate in the timing of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I don’t know if other Christian churches have the same bias, but it is prevalent among Mormons and I’m not sure it need be.

To illustrate the anti-guessing bias I’ll quote a few things from that post and the comments:

After all, Christ said that NO MAN knows the day and the hour of his return. So what’s their source? The same source that had so many people SURE that blacks wouldn’t receive the priesthood till after the millennium? I always worry about Mormons who think they know what’s on God’s desk calendar!

Now that you guys have settled when the Millenium will be, let’s discuss how many angels can dance on the head of a pin!

Honestly, what does it matter when the millenium happens? If you aren’t prepared now, shouldn’t you be busy? And if you are… I really hope you have better things to do than surf the web debating what date it’ll happen on!

You get the gist: You can never know. Don’t waste your time. Get a life. Find something better to do.

Ah yes… find something better to do than study the scriptures and the words of modern prophets and then ponder on the things of eternity. While there may be a few better things to do in life, they aren’t many. What are they really saying? Get back to watching TV? Go make some more money? Go spend 4 hours at the golf course? What better things are they referring to?

What do the scriptures say on the subject? Well here is the topical guide list of all the scriptures referring to the second coming. None of them forbid or even discourage speculations on timing, as far as I can tell. The only things that could be interpreted as discouragement are the variations on this theme:

I, the Lord God, have spoken it; but the hour and the day no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor shall they know until he comes. (D&C 49:7)

But where is the discouragement or command not to try to triangulate the approximate timing through the ever-unfolding signs? This just sounds like a statement of fact to me. And all it says is the day and hour can’t be known. I’m not saying that leaves the week open to predicting, but does this necessarily mean the signs will be so vague that we can’t even narrow it down to a decade?

On the other hand, the Lord specifically tells us to watch for the day in several places as exemplified by this verse:

And what I say unto one, I say unto all men; watch, therefore, for you know not at what hour your Lord doth come. (JS-M 1:46)

So anyway: Why all the tongue-clicking at some harmless Second Coming triangulation attempts? Is it really so wrong? Or maybe the real question is if such an attitude really is prevalent in the church or not… Is it just my imagination?

(Coming Next: My predictions on the timing of the Second Coming!)


  1. Geoff, thanks for a level-headed entry in this conversation. The fact that no man knows it does not say that no man can guess it, nor does it command us not to know it. I agree that these people who are angered at some light-hearted speculation are a bit overwrought. 

    Posted by Ryan Bell

    Comment by Anonymous — February 10, 2005 @ 2:49 pm

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only one who senses this attitude, Ryan. I really will be writing up a post on my speculations on the subject soon so stay tuned and be prepared to throw some dates around! (Ladies and Gentleman — Start your tongues! — clicking, that is.) 

    Posted by Geoff Johnston

    Comment by Anonymous — February 10, 2005 @ 3:16 pm