The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons, has taught that humanity is living in the last days.
Latter-day Saints do not speculate as to the exact age of the world, except that it was created in 6 "creative periods". They believe Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden after the world's creation, and that the present day is nearing the 7000th year following their departure. They do not speculate as to the time, day or year of the second coming, but watch for Biblical indications, or "Signs of the Times" that the event is approaching.
Latter-day Saints believe that their church is led by prophets who receive inspiration and direction from God. A number of Mormon leaders have taught that the human family has been allotted seven thousand years, and that the earth is nearing the end of the sixth such millennium. Mormon leader Orson F. Whitney stated that humanity is now in the "late Saturday night" of the Earth's existence, and that the seventh thousandth year will be marked by Christ's second coming and the ushering in of the millennial kingdom, which will be Earth's Sabbath and day of rest. The seven seals and seven trumpets of the Book of Revelation relate to the seven millennia allotted to Earth by Latter-day Saint theology.
Latter-day Saints are frequently counseled to watch for the "signs of the times" but not to fear them. The statement "if ye are prepared ye shall not fear" (from Doctrine and Covenants 38:30) has brought comfort among the Latter-day Saints. Wars, pestilence, economic despair, natural disasters and more are all part of what Latter-day Saints see as signs of the times. In particular, a great earthquake is mentioned in all cases.
Other events that Latter-day Saints regard as important, and the dates some of them have purportedly occurred:
- Priesthood authority, which had been lost in the great apostasy, to be restored (this happened in May 1829).
- The pure gospel of Jesus Christ is to be restored, and taught in His church (this has happened, on April 6, 1830).
- Elijah would return and give priesthood keys (this has happened, on April 3, 1836).
- The return of the Jews to Jerusalem and Israel, as dedicated by Orson Hyde on October 24, 1841 (first wave of Jewish immigration to Israel, or Aliyah (עלייה) started in 1881).
- The building of a temple in Israel (this has not occurred).
- The building of a temple in Zion, Jackson County, Missouri (this has not occurred, although the location is marked).
- Temples will "dot the earth" (according to Mormon sources, 146 temples as of December 2008).
- A meeting of priesthood leaders with angelic beings and Christ in Adam-ondi-Ahman (this has not occurred).
- Christ will appear in the Temple in Saline County, Illinois(this has not occurred).
- Wars will be poured out upon all nations.
- The nations of the earth will be gathered to fight Israel.
- The Wicked will be consumed by fire (some traditions allude to a nuclear holocaust, and some hold that this will be at the coming of Christ.)
- The restored gospel will be preached in all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples (there are, according to Mormon sources, 53,000 missionaries in 165 countries as of 2008).
Many Latter-Day Saints' temples feature a statue of Moroni on the highest spire. Most of these statues face East, the direction from which Christ will come. The Salt Lake City temple has two large doors on the east side of the building, that are not used. Tradition holds that Christ will enter the temple through these doors, when He comes again.
After the coming of Christ to the mount of Olives, and the destruction of the wicked, the righteous will live on the earth in relative peace and prosperity during the millennium, under the leadership of Christ. Other churches still may exist during this time, and not all people living will be Latter-day Saints, but such people will represent the "more righteous" part of the peoples of the earth. Missionary work and temple work for the deceased (see Baptism for the dead) will continue during the millennium and missionary and genealogy work will be a main focus of Church members and other righteous individuals who live during the time leading up to the final judgement.
Joseph Smith produced an inspired rendition of Matthew 24, relating to the end times.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that, at the beginning of the Millennial Era, Jesus Christ the Lord will appear at his Second Coming and usher in a thousand-year era of peace, called the Millennium, whereby Satan will be bound (Doctrine and Covenants 88:110), the wicked will be removed from the Earth, and the righteous will be "caught up to meet him". A resurrection of the righteous who have died will occur--they will also "be caught up to meet him." (Doctrine and Covenants 88:96-97). During the Millennium, every man or woman to ever live on the Earth will be resurrected. Those individuals who were righteous will be resurrected at the beginning, and will be able to visit the Earth to restore the knowledge about family histories; the wicked will be resurrected at the end of the Millennium (D & C 76:85).
At the time of each person's resurrection, their Last Judgment will occur, during which all individuals will be placed into one of three heavenly kingdoms: the Celestial Kingdom, the Terrestrial Kingdom, and the Telestial Kingdom. In the Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph Smith Jr., who is believed to be the translator of the Book of Mormon and the first Mormon prophet, leader, and seer for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, reveals that the kingdoms will be separated into various levels of glory in symbolic comparison to the sun, the moon, and the stars. The sun, being the brightest of these heavenly bodies, is relative to the glory of the celestial kingdom, which is reserved for those who obey the commandments, live righteously, and become baptized. The moon, being the second brightest heavenly body, is relative to the terrestrial kingdom, which is for those who are righteous in a sense, but do not constantly obey the commandments and/or are not baptized. The stars, being the least brightest heavenly body, are relative to the telestial kingdom, which is for those individuals who are wicked and commit major sins without repenting, including murderers. A very small group of people who reject Jesus Christ after receiving full and indisputable knowledge of his divinity, will go to what is referred to as the Outer darkness, which is where Satan will eventually be consigned forever with his hosts of angels.(D & C 76:43-46)
While the exact time of Christ's return is not known in Latter-Day Saints' theology, there are certain signs that are accepted as pointing to his return:
- The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, Isa. 2: 2-3.
- The Lord shall lift an ensign and gather Israel, Isa. 5: 26 (2 Ne. 15: 26-30).
- The sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not cause her light to shine, Isa. 13: 10 (Joel 3: 15; D & C 29: 14).
- Men shall transgress the law and break the everlasting covenant, Isa. 24: 5.
- The Nephites (ancient fallen people of the Americas, descended from Joseph of Egypt) shall speak as a voice from the dust, Isa. 29: 4 (2 Ne. 27).
- Israel shall be gathered with power, Isa. 49: 22-23 (1 Ne. 21: 22-23; 3 Ne. 20-21).
- God shall set up a kingdom which shall not be destroyed, Dan. 2: 44 (D & C 65: 2).
- War, dreams, and visions shall precede the Second Coming, Joel 2.
- All nations will gather against Jerusalem to battle, Zech. 14: 2 (Ezek. 38-39).
- The day cometh that shall burn as an oven, Mal. 4: 1 (3 Ne. 25: 1; D & C 133: 64; JS-H 1: 37).
- Great calamities shall precede the Second Coming, Matt. 24 (JS-M 1).
- Paul described apostasy and perilous times of the last days, 2 Tim. 3-4.
- Two prophets will be slain and resurrected in Jerusalem, Rev. 11 (D & C 77: 15).
- The gospel shall be restored in the last days by angelic ministry, Rev. 14: 6-7 (D & C 13; 27; 110: 11-16; 128: 8-24).
- Babylon will be established and fall, Rev. 17-18.
- Israel shall be gathered with power, 1 Ne. 21: 13-26 (Isa. 49: 13-26; 3 Ne. 20-21).
- The Book of Mormon shall come forth by the power of God, Morm. 8.
- Lamanites (Indigenous peoples of the Americas) to blossom, D & C 49: 24-25.
- The Lord is to slay the wicked, D & C 63: 32-35 (Rev. 9).
- War will be poured out upon all nations, D & C 87: 2.
- Signs, upheavals of the elements, and angels prepare the way for the coming of the Lord, D & C 88: 86-94.
- Darkness to cover the earth, D & C 112: 23-24.