Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Book Review: The Cleansing of America

Even as a young child, I had a spiritual longing in my heart to witness the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I learned about the signs of His coming, and I watched for them. I remember learning that the moon would be blood-red, and sometimes, in my innocence and eager youth, I would see the orange-red moons of autumn and hopefully think, "Is it red enough? Is this the time?"

As I have grown and studied scripture, I have learned much more, but I still know with a certainty that Jesus Christ will indeed come to earth again, that He will rule and reign, and there will be peace. I no longer watch for blood-red moons, except with nostalgia for my youthful anticipation, but I do watch the world for the fulfillment of prophecy that will lead up to the Savior's return.

I believe in prophecy.

I have studied scripture carefully enough to recognize that when a prophet speaks in the name of God, that prophecy is always fulfilled. Always. I am grateful for that testimony and record in the Bible, and I am grateful for the additional clarification and prophecy contained in the Book of Mormon.

And because I know God loves His children, I believe that He has once again put prophets on the earth to guide us in these wrapping-up days of the history of this world. I listen to a prophet.

As such, it makes sense to me that God continues to speak to His children not only through His prophet, but also through revelation to worthy individuals who seek Him. I have experienced that revelation in my life, in issues pertaining to my life. I believe in visions and dreams and visitations of heavenly beings. You should know all of this about me, before you read on.

I was given the privilege and opportunity to read a copy of the first of W. Cleon Skousen's about-to-be posthumously published books, The Cleansing of America. Dr. Skousen spent most of his life researching and writing about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Constitution of America, specifically the divine Founding of this country and the prophecies that have been written about its future. He was a devoted defender of this country and its Constitution. He passed away in 2006, but left several unpublished books in the care of his sons with the direction that they would know when the time was right that they be published. His heirs have decided that time is now, and Valor Publishing will be honored with the release of The Cleansing of America on April 1, 2010.

Scripture records that in the earth's last days, there will be a great erosion of moral values. Society will abandon God's laws in favor of pop culture. Also, calamities and catastrophes will sweep the earth, and we will be afflicted with famine, disease, earthquake, fire, and flood. There will be a cleansing of America in preparation for a Zion society to be built up before Jesus once again returns to the earth.

Skousen's Cleansing gathers the prophecies from scripture and puts them in order, easy to understand and recognize for the reader. He explains the meaning of difficult-to-understand passages and includes modern-day prophets' visions to shed further light on ancient prophecies regarding our day.

Admittedly, some of what will surely come is hard to process. That the world can become, rather is becoming, so wicked, is easy enough to see. The loss of morality and the increase of corruption in our governments and societies are having an erosive effect that will only continue to escalate. It does incite at least a small amount of fear to recognize that the impending (and occurring) natural disasters and sweeping judgments of the wrath of a displeasured God are not just stories and fairy tales, but that, just as every other prophecy recorded, they will surely come to pass.

When I began reading Cleansing, I had gotten about 30 pages in, which had set up the scene for the beginning stages of this great purging of the wickedness and corruption that will inevitably happen in America. Detailed were the list of evidences that such a cleansing is indeed necessary. That night, I went to see the Oscar-nominated film Avatar, and was impressed with the correlation of the movie's message to this book I'd begun reading. In Avatar, as in our country, people and especially people in power, have desecrated that which is sacred. And when people think that they can redefine sacred, great calamity is sure to follow.

But while God is just, and while He will not be mocked, He is also loving and protective of those who love Him and serve Him. Those who follow Jesus Christ need not fear. Those who are followers of Jesus Christ will instead be prepared. They will fortify themselves and their families. They will know the signs. They will know the recorded scripture and they will be heeding His living prophet on the earth today. (And lest you think I am implying otherwise, they will not all be Latter-day Saints.) Skousen's ultimate message is one of peace and encouragement. His detailed research on the coming Kingdom of God or Zion societies makes me excited. To live under God's law, with a once-again pure Constitution, with no poor among us, no war among us, having an economic system under God's law that was once clearly seen and proscribed by our Founding Fathers sounds almost heavenly to me. To read and begin to understand what is possible, surely what the future of this country holds, even after hovering near the brink of ruin, only strengthens my faith in God and in His plan.

In the meantime, I consider every prompting to gather my children and read to them from the scriptures, and every yearning in my soul to store up supplies for my family against a time of need, and even every longing to get out in the dirt and tend my garden crop to be my own personal revelation, guiding me to that which is most important, that which will ready me and make me a wise steward. A heavenly nudge, if you will. I believe in heavenly nudges.

Skousen's The Cleansing of America will be available for purchase on April 1, and there is a discount offered for pre-ordering a copy from Valor Publishing. I think it is appropriate reading for those who A) love God and want to serve Him; B) those who love this great country and care about her future, or C) those who are students of the scriptures and want the tutelage of a great scholar to help them understand prophecies concerning our day.

I am better for having read it.


Braden Bell said...

Jenna, you are a very good writer and you have awakened my own yearning for no war, no poor, and peace! I tend to stay away from Last Days books just because they freak me out a bit (I know, ostrich with a head in the sand and all that), but you gave a very positive feeling about that.

We'll keep working on our food storage. And I was already going to increase the size of the garden. Maybe I'll bump it up a little more!

Abby said...

Well..this is awkward.

Jennifer @ Fruit of My Hands said...

Thanks for sharing your testimony!

I like that you pointed out the archetypes you are seeing in popular movies along these same lines. I noticed the same thing reading this book!

Belladonna said...

I have memories from early childhood of hearing in some people's prayers to "hasten the day when Christ may return to this earth" and I would always think silently to myself NOOOO I'm not ready yet!!! In all honesty the idea of living through the intense challenges of the very last days scares the boogers out of me. Still, I VERY MUCH liked how you personalized this review, giving us context of your own testimony and thought about the second coming as a preface to your reactions to this book. It made all the difference in reading it. GREAT review!