1 Thes. 5:2 the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night
M. Russell Ballard
"I am called as one of the Apostles to be a special witness of Christ in these exciting, trying times, and I do not know when He is going to come again. As far as I know, none of my brethren in the Council of the Twelve or even in the First Presidency knows. And I would humbly suggest to you, my young brothers and sisters, that if we do not know, then nobody knows, no matter how compelling their arguments or how reasonable their calculations. . . . I believe when the Lord says 'no man' knows, it really means that no man knows. You should be extremely wary of anyone who claims to be an exception to divine decree." (Leon R. Hartshorn, Dennis A. Wright, and Craig J. Ostler, eds., The Doctrine and Covenants, a Book of Answers: The 25th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 207-208.)
Harold B. Lee
"I was supposed to have said in setting apart a missionary that when he returned from his mission, Salt Lake City would be evacuated and be living out on the salt flats in tents. I have had a patriarchal blessing, so someone reports, that I would be President of the Church when the Savior would come. I was alleged to have said that some would be living when the Savior comes. Maybe we will, but I have not had the temerity to say it because the Lord said not even the angels would know of the time of His coming. He would come in a time which would be as a thief in the night. (See D&C 49:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:2)" (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 402.)
1 Thes. 5:3 when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them
Joseph Fielding Smith
"We do not need to be worrying about the times and the seasons when Christ shall come, but we do need to watch and pray and be ready. Paul, by prophecy, declares that in the day when these calamities shall come, the people would be saying, 'peace and safety,' in other words, would be seeking for safety, and seeking for peace, and during these very times would come destruction upon them.
"What is the matter with the nations today? They are frightened, aren't they? Each nation is contending and contesting with other nations-trying to enter into agreements in regard to armaments, trying to curtail other nations, and trying to build up themselves-and at the same time asking for peace conferences and conventions, and world courts and leagues of nations, and everything else, in order that they might establish peace in the earth, which they cannot do because they will not get down to the fundamental principles upon which peace is based.
"As long as they have in their hearts selfishness and greed, and the desire for power and for wealth, and for all of the other things that belong to this world, and forget the things of the kingdom of God, there will be no peace, and there will be no contentment. There will be quarreling and contention, strife and war, and in the midst of all their labor, trouble will come which they could avoid, and that very easily, by repentance, getting contrite spirits and broken hearts, and loving their neighbors; but this they will not do." (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 3: 49.)
1 Thes. 5:4 ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief
"While those who disbelieve or disobey will be overtaken by the Lord's coming, those who are in tune with the signs of the times will be ready and will not be taken by surprise." (Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson, eds., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 1: The Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 190 - 191.)
"The scriptures speak of the Master returning as 'a thief in the night.' (1 Thes. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10.) It is true that no mortal has known, does now know, or will yet know the precise day of the Lord's Second Advent. This is true for prophets and apostles as well as the rank and file of society and the Church. On the other hand, the people of God are promised that if they are in tune with the Spirit, they can discern the season. The Apostle Paul chose the descriptive analogy of a pregnant woman about to deliver. She may not know the exact hour or day when the birth is to take place, but one thing she knows for sure: it will be soon. It must be soon! The impressions and feelings and signs within her own body so testify. In that day, surely the members of the body of Christ will be pleading for the Lord to deliver the travailing earth, to bring an end to corruption and degradation, to introduce an era of peace and righteousness. And those who give heed to the words of scripture, and especially to the living oracles, will stand as the 'children of light, and the children of the day,' those who 'are not of the night, nor of darkness.' (1 Thes. 5:2-5.) In the Doctrine and Covenants is found this admonition: 'The coming of the Lord draweth nigh, and it overtaketh the world as a thief in the night-therefore, gird up your loins, that you may be the children of light, and that day shall not overtake you as a thief.' (D&C 106:4-5; emphasis added.)" (Robert L. Millet, The Mormon Faith: Understanding Restored Christianity [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 155)
Neal A. Maxwell
"True, when He comes, Jesus will come 'as a thief in the night' (1 Thessalonians 5:2). Those unaware will be as if sleeping, only to be interrupted suddenly by the unexpected. The 'intruder,' however, will be the Lord of the Manor come home!
"A secular society is the most likely cultural candidate to be especially surprised by a Jesus who comes 'as a thief in the night.' A society indifferent, even hostile, to things spiritual will be truly astonished.
"The boredom of self-serving secularism and the masking of materialism will cause their devotees to be unaware of events which foretell Christ's coming. One who is wise, however, will take time both to smell the flowers and to check the leaves on the fig tree (see "matt. 24:32Matthew 24:32)." (That Ye May Believe [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992], 171.)
1 Thes. 5:5 Ye are all the children of light and the children of the day
Those who are truly born again become the children of Christ as King Benjamin declared, 'ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you' (Mosiah 5:7). Furthermore, the term "children of Christ" is synonymous with the term "children of light," for the Savior said, 'While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light' (John 12:36). To be the children of the Light of the World requires that we also 'let [our] light so shine' (Matt 5:16)-the natural consequence of having received his illuminated 'image in our countenances' (Alma 5:14). Such illuminated faces, then, will have no reason to hide when 'the face of the Lord shall be unveiled' (DC 88:95), for the children of light are promised that 'that day shall not overtake [them] as a thief' (DC 106:5).
1 Thes. 5:5 we are not of the night, nor of darkness
The scriptures have so many modern applications. When once faced with a teenager who had an ardent desire to stay out with her friends well past midnight, I could not think of a single good reason for such behavior. The usual advice came to mind-such sayings as, "you know, the Holy Ghost goes to bed at midnight," and "nothing good ever happens after midnight." But such logic was met with the usual desire for friends and "freedom." Paul, thankfully, gives us more ammunition in such a discussion, for he knew that the children of light have no reason to behave as creatures of the night. In such a setting, they are like fish out of water-they just don't belong. Both our behaviors and our curfews should reflect that 'we are not of the night, nor of darkness.'
1 Thes. 5:14 be patient toward all men
Neal A. Maxwell
"Paul said to the Saints at Thessalonica, 'Be patient toward all men' (1 Thes. 5:14), clearly a part of keeping the second commandment.
"The patient person assumes that what others have to say is worth listening to. A patient person is not so chronically eager to put forth his own ideas. In true humility, we do some waiting upon others. We value them for what they say and what they have to contribute. Patience and humility are special friends." ("Patience," Ensign, Oct. 1980, 29)
1 Thes. 5:15 see that none render evil for evil unto any man
Marion D. Hanks
"Envy, arrogance, unrighteous dominion-these canker the soul of one who is guilty of them. It is true also if we fail to forgive. Even if it appears that another may be deserving of our resentment or hatred, none of us can afford to pay the price of resenting or hating, because of what it does to us. If we have felt the gnawing, mordant inroads of these emotions, we know the harm we suffer.
"So Paul taught the Corinthians that they must 'see that none render evil for evil unto any man. ...' (1 Thes. 5:15.)
"It is reported that President Brigham Young once said that he who takes offense when no offense was intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense was intended is usually a fool. It was then explained that there are two courses of action to follow when one is bitten by a rattlesnake. One may, in anger, fear, or vengefulness, pursue the creature and kill it. Or he may make full haste to get the venom out of his system. If we pursue the latter course we will likely survive, but if we attempt to follow the former, we may not be around long enough to finish it." ("Forgiveness: The Ultimate Form of Love," Ensign, Jan. 1974, 21)
1 Thes. 5:17 Pray without ceasing
"...it becomes apparent that when the apostle Paul instructed the Thessalonians to 'pray without ceasing' (1 Thes. 5:17), and when Alma instructed the church members of his day to 'pray without ceasing and to give thanks in all things' (Mosiah 26:39), they were not only advising them to pray formally, but also to feel and react to the presence of God in their lives.
"Praying without ceasing could be a condition rather than an act. We must be aware of the Lord's constant blessings to us. Both Paul and Alma closely linked the idea of praying unceasingly with expression of gratitude to the Lord. 'Pray without ceasing,' Paul said; 'in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit.' (1 Thes. 5:17-19.) When in our daily lives we are sensitive to our great gifts from our Father in heaven, we are likely to be far closer to the Spirit, and therefore better able to stay in communication with the Lord. Ingratitude to the Lord does quench the Spirit and close us off; to pray unceasingly we must be unendingly aware of our debt to the Lord and his powerful role in our lives." (H. Dean Garrett, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Feb. 1978, 23)
1 Thes. 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God
Gordon B. Hinckley
"Gratitude is a divine principle. The Lord has declared through revelation: 'Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things ... And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things...' (D&C 59:7, 21.)
"Our society is afflicted by a spirit of thoughtless arrogance unbecoming those who have been so magnificently blessed. How grateful we ought to be for the bounties we enjoy. Absence of gratitude is the mark of the narrow, uneducated mind. It bespeaks a lack of knowledge and the ignorance of self-sufficiency. It expresses itself in ugly egotism and frequently in wanton mischief...
"Where there is appreciation, there is courtesy, there is concern for the rights and property of others. Without it there is arrogance and evil. Where there is gratitude, there is humility, as opposed to pride. How magnificently we are blessed. How thankful we ought to be." (Conference Report, October 1964, Third Day-Morning Meeting 117.)
1 Thes. 5:20-21 Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things
Dallin H. Oaks
"Those who rely exclusively on study and reason reject or remain doubtful of all absolutes that cannot be established through the five senses, including good and evil and the existence and omniscience of God. They also reject all other methods of acquiring knowledge, including revelation. They tend to be self-sufficient, self-important, and enamored of their own opinions. Reason is their god and intellectualism is their creed. They dwell in that 'large and spacious building' seen in a prophet's vision of the 'wisdom' and 'pride of the world.' (1 Ne. 11:35-36.)
"...The warning against trusting in the ways of man to learn the things of God was repeated in modern times: 'Deny not the spirit of revelation, nor the spirit of prophecy, for wo unto him that denieth these things.' (D&C 11:25; also see 1 Thes. 5:19-20.) Elder Bruce R. McConkie voiced the principle and gave illustrations: 'A special standard of judgment is needed to prove anything in the spiritual realm. No scientific research, no intellectual inquiry, no investigative processes known to mortal man can prove that God is a personal being, that all men will be raised in immortality, and that repentant souls are born of the Spirit. . . . Spiritual verities can be proven only by spiritual means.'
"The things of God cannot be learned solely by study and reason. Despite their essential and beneficial uses, the methods of study and reason are insufficient as ways of approaching God and understanding the doctrines of his gospel. We cannot come to know the things of God while rejecting or failing to use the indispensable method God has prescribed to learn these things. The things of God must be learned in his own way, through faith in God and revelation from the Holy Ghost." (The Lord's Way [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 56.)
1 Thes. 5:21 hold fast that which is good
Bruce R. McConkie
"...it seems evident to me that the Apostle Paul was directing the members of the Church to hold fast to the faith. He was saying: 'Cleave unto that which is good. Hold fast to the iron rod. Be valiant in testimony. Work out your salvation.' That is, 'Now that you are members of the Church, that you have come in at the gate of repentance and baptism, press forward to the end and do the things that will enable you to be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Father.'" (Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998], 347.)
M. Russell Ballard
"The Apostle Paul encouraged the Thessalonian saints: 'Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.' (1 Thessalonians 5:21.) It is my simple, sincere belief that anyone who will take the time to prove the Book of Mormon-that is, study it, ponder about it, and ask God to tell you if it is true-will want to 'hold fast' to it because it is, indeed, the word of God. As the second great Book of Mormon prophet, Nephi, said: 'And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.' (2 Nephi 33:10.)
"Nephi's message is the central focus of the Book of Mormon: bringing people to Christ and teaching them 'that they should do good.' And according to the prophet Mormon, that's an excellent indication that the book is worthy of your time and consideration. He wrote:
'For every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.' (Moroni 7:16-17, 19.)" (Our Search for Happiness: An Invitation to Understand The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 52.)
1 Thes. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil
Spencer J. Condie
"Among the poisonous mushrooms is the Omphalotus illudens or 'jack-o'-lantern' mushroom. The body reacts to its poison very quickly with violent nausea and vomiting. Because of this immediate reaction, the 'jack-o'-lantern' is not fatal.
"A much more dangerous mushroom is the Amanita phalloides, or 'destroying angel.' Just one or two in a batch of two dozen can poison an entire family. Because it tastes like an edible mushroom and has no immediate effect, the victim keeps on eating. Then, six to fifteen hours later, when it is digested and its poisons have entered the bloodstream, the victim experiences severe nausea and cramps and unquenchable thirst. Eventually it destroys the liver. There is no known antidote, and the fatality rate is about 90 percent.
"...Music, movies, and magazines have a lot in common with mushrooms. For example, they come in countless varieties. Just as some mushrooms are edible and desirable and nutritious, certain kinds of music, movies, and magazines provide nutrition for the soul as they edify, entertain, and uplift.
"And just as there are different kinds of poisonous mushrooms, so are there different kinds of music, movies, and magazines that poison the spirits of men and women. Some of these poisons are very much like jack-o'-lantern mushrooms because their impact is so repulsive and objectionable that we immediately reject them.
"But there are other kinds of music, movies, and magazines that work very much like the 'destroying angel'; that is, at first we have no idea that what we are listening to or watching or reading is slowly and surely poisoning our very souls.
"Often we hear people comment on different entertainments, and we will hear something like, 'This tape by the Dirty Gym Sox has ten good songs and only two bad ones.' Or, 'It was a great movie (or video), with only two or three bad scenes.' Or, 'Most of the articles in this magazine are very interesting and insightful.' But in 1988, only a few toxic mushrooms in a whole dishful put five Oregon people in the hospital on the verge of death
"...The Apostle Paul gave the Thessalonians some great counsel that would protect them, and us, from the poisons of the world. 'Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil' (1 Thes. 5:21-22; emphasis added).
"Remember, the same principles that keep mushroom hunters alive will help you stay alive spiritually. Beware of dangerous look-alikes; if it's doubtful, avoid it. (It has been said that there are old mushroom hunters and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.) Remember, too, that sometimes the slowest poisons are the most deadly. Above all, continue to develop your own growing, personalized checklist. Together with the guidance of the Holy Ghost, it will always help you to judge between the poisonous and the wholesome." ("Mushrooms, Music, Movies, and Magazines," New Era, Feb. 1990, 4-6)
James E. Faust
"I cannot help wondering about parents who adopt the attitude with their children, 'do as I say, not as I do' with respect to using harmful substances, going to inappropriate movies, and other questionable activities. Children often take license from their parents' behavior and go beyond the values the parents wish to establish. There is one safe parental rule: do not just avoid evil, avoid the very appearance of evil (see 1 Thes. 5:22)." ("Unwanted Messages," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 10.)
Howard W. Hunter
"The prophets have taught that we should not partake of tea, coffee, tobacco, alcohol, or any substance that contains illegal drugs or harmful or habit-forming ingredients. In a world where so much of this is both acceptable and accessible, we encourage you to walk squarely on the Lord's side of the line. Do not tamper with any of these substances, nor similar products which give the 'appearance of evil' (1 Thessalonians 5:22)." (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 104.)