I'm going to begin this post with an old missionary experience that happened to me nearly four decades ago.
Since my memory is failing me, I reserve the right to embellish any part of this story at my own discretion.
One day while serving as a missionary in the Bible Belt I knocked on the door of an elderly gentleman by the name of U.L. Allen who anxiously invited us to come in and have a chat with him. He seemed a bit strange in that he was always squinting and looking up at the ceiling. We could never achieve direct eye contact with him.
I was full of piss and vinegar, having memorized the 160 scriptures required for the approved missionary discussions. I was anxious to confound the false teachers of apostate Christendom with my vast knowledge of the Gospel.
Despite the admonition from my Mission President to refrain from Bible Bashing with the local ministers… I had recently debated several Baptist and Pentecostal ministers and had done pretty good with the shallow, predictable objections they typically brought up which you can find in the typical anti-Mormon literature that was prevalent back in those days. I guess you might say I was somewhat of a Bible Bashing legend in my own mind.
He began challenging some of the presuppositions I was presenting and seemed interested in getting into a scriptural discussion with us. My companion was a “greeny” so he just sat quietly and observe from me how things were done.
It did not take long before I began quoting scriptures to him about the prophesied restoration of the Church of Christ in the latter days. However this gentleman was much sharper than the other people I had encountered thus far in my missionary experience.
Each time I would quote a scripture, he would quote the three or four scriptures that preceded it and the three or four that followed it to provide context and then he would provide a historical and doctrinal commentary of what my scripture was really talking about.
About 30 minutes into this fascinating exchange I glanced over at his book shelf and noticed a huge volume of the Old and New Testament in Braille. It finally occurred to me that Mr. Allen was blind. He had been blind from birth.
It turns out that he had been a Church of Christ radio preacher for several many years and he had memorized the Old and New Testaments. He virtually had a photographic memory and a rather formidable knowledge of Greek and Hebrew and religious history.
In the midst of this humbling experience I pulled out several of my favorite scriptures to show him that the Church that Christ set up had gone into apostasy and thus the need for God to restore it in the Latter days.
I informed him that the Church that Christ set up in the New Testament had gone into apostasy resulting in the “dark ages”, setting up the need for Christ to restore his Church through Joseph Smith in 1830.
I quoted three or four of the approved “apostasy scriptures” from the discussions-
“Now the spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth…” 1 Timothy 4
“This know also, that in the last days perilous time shall come For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucesbreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of god; Having a form of godliness; but denying the power of thereof…” (2 Timothy 5)
“Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or h is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God shewing himself that he is God…… and for this God shall send them strong delusion , that they should believe a lie….”
After I reeled off several of the above apostasy scriptures he smiled and gave me another lesson… among other things he pointed out that each of these scriptures was not speaking about the dark ages that closely followed Christs ministry 2000 years ago but rather they were all speaking about the “latter times” and the “last days” just before Christ returns.
He provided many other scriptures showing that the entire world would be in apostasy just prior to the return of Christ... and for that matter, the whole world had been deceived by Satan (Rev 12:9 "...Satan which decieveth the whole world...) Then he made reference to 2nd Thessalonians and asked me if I thought the prophecy about the “man of sin”... “son of perdition” who sits in the temple of God had been fulfilled yet.
I sheepishly shook my head and said no. Well then, he said, I guess the apostasy involving the “Man of Sin” that you just quoted is also speaking of a future event then right?
He then asked if I thought the man of sin would be a Jew sitting in a Jewish Temple or if it would be a Christian, sitting in an apostate Christian Temple leading a group of apostate Christians astray… I told him I suspected it would obviously be a Christian false prophet since Paul was speaking to and warning Christians.
He then asked me how many Christian religions I knew of that built temples and did temple worship in the latter days just as the Jews did anciently.
Wanting to avoid any further brain damage I suddenly remembered a very important meeting that my companion and I need to get to and we brought the discussion to an end.
I thanked him for handing me my head and we departed.
At that time I was to wise to be taught, I cataloged that conversation, shelved it, and never really thought much about it. However many, many years later when I had a life altering experience that forced me to revisit my beliefs and the scriptures much more seriously than I had previously done, I began studying the apostasy scriptures I remembered the encounter I had with Preacher Allen.
I believe that 2nd Thes and other scriptures are clearly referring to an apostasy of Christs Church that takes place in the last days, after the dark ages, after the restoration of the church, before the 2nd coming. Since the Marvelous Work ushers in the Second Coming, this demonstrates that the Marvelous Work must take place in the third watch... one that follows the second watch in which the New Testament Church was restored to the earth.
This post concludes the 30 posts that I promised to provide that demonstrate that the Marvelous Work and a Wonder was to be a future event and that in fact, Joseph Smith was laying the foundation for the Marvelous Work back in the 1830's.
I think I can easily find another 30 evidences showing that the Marvelous Work was to be a future event… and I probably will show them in future posts, although I think I will take a break and deviate from the numbered evidences and provide one or two posts relating to other topics for a while.