It is going to happen sometime in the future. The scriptures call it the Gathering, but many Latter-Day Saints have begun to call it the Callout, and many, many, many, many (did I say many?) Latter-Day Saints have never heard of it. And it has been my experience when they do hear about it they very quickly fall into one of three camps: “Ain’t going to happen.” Or, “Hmm? Interesting?” Or, “Cool! I’m in!”
Today, I would like to speak to all these camps and help you see pretty decisively that there is an eternal pattern that occurs over and over throughout history, even pre-earth history, which conclusively maps out that there will be a “Callout” in our future, maybe even our immediate future.
What Is the “Callout?”
Throughout history there have been many key moments when evil might have prevailed over the righteous, even in the preexistence. Had the Lord not intervened in each of these events evil would have won out. Such times have always shown the Lord’s tender mercies towards the righteous, and at the very same time have demonstrated His vengeance upon the wicked. Through His miraculous ability to protect and preserve He has always used very practical means of separating His chosen few from the more numerous wicked before exercising His judgements upon them. Such will be the case again in the future – the pattern has been well established. This tender mercy has become known as the “Callout.”
The “Callout” is rarely, if ever, discussed in the church, if it is talked about it usually is in relation to the Gathering. Even though much has been revealed about the “Callout” or the gathering, those who haven’t spent much time studying the subject don’t know much about it. Most Latter-Day Saints tend to think it’s going to be when all the saints walk or drive back to Independence Missouri to build the New Jerusalem before the Second Coming. They picture in their minds a time when the prophet sends out a worldwide announcement that all Latter-Day Saints are to pack up everything they have and move to Missouri.
That would be fine and all, but when in the history of the world has that ever been the pattern? When in the scriptures has there ever been a time when that is what the Lord did with His people? The only time I can think of that is even remotely close to this scenario would be the grand exodus of the Israelites fleeing Egypt. But there they were fleeing away from something, not fleeing towards something.
And perhaps that’s the key to this pattern I’m talking about – fleeing away from something, not fleeing towards something, even though in each of the examples we’re going to discuss the final destination was always the “Promised Land.”
Allow me to illustrate this pattern by teaching you something about the preexistence that you may have never heard before. When Latter-Day Saints consider how things were in the preexistence I get a general feeling that most think it was a peaceful, wonderful time as we were in the presence of our Heavenly Parents. But then there was a council in heaven that started a war (of words) and then things might have gotten a bit rocky, but mostly it was peaceful, blissful, innocent and free of anything ugly/evil. Right? Is that how you envision the preexistence to be?
But Joseph Smith paints a different picture regarding our preexistence experience, and why we came to earth. He teaches some interesting mysteries regarding our situation in the preexistence: “All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not.” (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 60.) This is an extremely important distinction to understand given that he also said, “It is natural…with those spirits that (have) the most power to bare down on those of lesser power.” (Joseph Smith; Words of Joseph Smith, p. 68.)
So putting these two quotes together are we to understand that it is natural for those with bodies to “bare down” on those without bodies? I think the next obvious question that might arise would be: Were there beings with bodies that were baring down on those without bodies in the preexistence? And Joseph Smith answers this question.
“God is good and all his acts (are) for the benefit of inferior intelligences – God saw that those intelligences had NOT power to defend themselves against those that had a tabernacle, therefore the Lord calls them together in counsel and agrees to form them tabernacles.” (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 68.)
“Before (the) foundation of the earth in the Grand counsel…the Spirits of all men were subject to oppression and the express purpose of God in giving it a tabernacle was to arm it against the power of darkness.” (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 62.)
So in the preexistence those without bodies were being oppressed by those who had bodies, so our Eternal Heavenly Parents called us together in a Grand Council and presented a plan whereby we (those without bodies) could receive bodies to defend ourselves against the oppressing beings with bodies.
I don’t know about you, but this sounds like we came to earth to flee oppression.
Ah, maybe now you are beginning to see the pattern unfold. You’ve always heard that you came to this earth to receive a body, to be tried and tested so you could return and live with your Heavenly Parents again, but have you ever heard that you were actually fleeing away from an oppressing situation?
Let’s look at this pattern more closely: Noah was commanded to build an Ark that would provide a safe refuge for his family and a whole lot of animals, for what purpose? To flee the wickedness and the coming destruction that the Lord had promised would come if the people didn’t repent.
Lehi was commanded to cry repentance unto the people of Jerusalem and tell them if they did not repent of their wicked ways they would be destroyed. To avoid the pending destruction he took his family (and Ishmael’s family) and fled Jerusalem.
Lot and his family fled too. The Israelite’s fled Egypt as well. Actually, I’ve found about 50 different examples of righteous people fleeing prior to the promised destructions.
Here is a list of at least 50 times that the righteous have had to flee (in no particular order):
- Brother of Jared
- Saints in Europe coming to Utah. Many ancestors answered the call of Joseph Smith to immigrate to America and join with the saints in Utah, and left their homelands and relatives.
- Alma fleeing wicked King Noah
- Alma’s fleeing from Lamanite bondage. (Mosiah 24)
- Puritans and Pilgrims
- Children of Israel fleeing Egypt
- Enoch. (Moses 7:27)
- Mary and Joseph to Egypt
- Saints fleeing from Jerusalem and Titus in 70 A.D.
- Limhi’s people fleeing (Mosiah 22:6-1) People of Limhi deliver themselves from bondage by departing into the wilderness with tents, flocks, families. They couldn’t do it by the sword – the were out-numbered, so they went out the back pass. (Mosiah 22:2)
- Nephi fleeing from Laman and Lemuel
- Ammon and his Anti-Nephi-Lehi’s fleeing the Lamanites (Alma 27)
- Mosiah flees (Omni 1:12)
- Joseph of Aramanthea in Jewish legend driven from Jerusalem in a boat with Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene and others. (Fascinating Story)
- The ten tribes fleeing from bondage to the north.
- Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees. (Hebrew 11:8)
- Another Jewish legend of Jeremiah fleeing to Egypt and then to England and Ireland before the destruction of Jerusalem.
- Lot from Sodom and Gommorah.
- The Nephites flee from their homes and gather together to fight the Lamanites and Gadiantons, pooling all their supplies for 7 years.
- Alma and Amulek flee Ammoniah. (Alma 15:16)
- Zoramites cast out and flee to Jershon. (Alma 35)
- The people of Ammon vacate Jerson so the Nephites can battle the Lamanites there. (Alma 35:13)
- Ishmael and his family join Lehi in fleeing Jerusalem. (1 Nephi)
- Noah flees the world on an ark.
- Jacob flees to Egypt to get food.
- The saints flee Kirtland to go to Missouri
- Then they flee Missouri to go to Nauvoo
- Then they flee Nauvoo to Salt Lake
- Adam and Even have to leave the Garden of Eden to start a new life in the wilderness, a journey that must have been quite an education in the school of hard knocks.
- Hyrum Smith received a revelation saying his life was in danger and to move his family from Palmyra to Colesville, N.Y. He packed that night and left the next morning. (Life of Joseph Smith by His Mother)
- Father Smith’s life was in jeapordy. He was warned to flee but didn’t leave soon enough and was thrown into prison where he spent a month. After his release he immediately moved his family to Waterloo, NY and most of the Smith family would never see Palmyra again. (Life of Joseph Smith by his Mother)
- Joseph and Emma flee Palmyra with the gold plates to live in Harmony, PA.
- Joseph flees from Harmony to Colesville or Fayette?
- No sooner had the early saints settled themselves with good herds and good homes in Salt Lake City, UT than they were called to leave it all and settle St. George, Arizona and other places in between. One group of great grandparents were called to St. George to settle there and then again were called to colonize Arizona making 3 “Callouts.”
- The saints fleeing U.S. Marshalls into Mexico to save their families.
- Moroni flees the rest of his life from the Lamanites.
- Zoramites find out which people believe Alma’s and Amulek’s words and cast them out of the land. They go to Jerson. (Alma 35:6-9), Verse 14 “Those who repented were driven out of the land.”
- Peter, James, and John, “And straight way they forsook their nets and followed him.” (Mark 1:16-18)
- Jesus fleeing Nazareth when they tried to kill him, never to return to his home town.
- Omar is warned to flee because Akish and his secret band are going to kill him so Akish can marry Jared’s daughter and give Jared the kingdom. (Ether 9:3)
- The people in the city Moroni fled to the city Nephihah. (Alma 51:24)
- Jacob fled when Simeon his son killed those who had abducted his daughter Dinah.
- Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, fled with “the residue of the people of God” and “came out from the land, which was called Shulon, and dwelt in a land of promise…” (Moses 6:17)
- 2000 strippling preschoolers left the Order of Nehor and Amulon to be taught by their mothers following the missionary Ammon.
- The saints at Haun’s Mill were told to leave by Joseph Smith.
- And the prophet did send out a letter to the nations calling for the Jews to return to Jerusalem. If they had listened they would have been spared the holocaust.
- The saints fled from Johnston’s Army back in Brigham Young’s day.
- The preexistence (list from The Wood Zone)
As you can see the pattern of fleeing has been pretty solidly established throughout history. But this blog post is not about fleeing, it’s about demonstrating the eternal pattern of the “Callout.” Fleeing is the first part of the pattern. And it’s readily understandable, but there is an even more important part to the eternal pattern of the “Callout.”
Let’s now explore the second, and more important part of the eternal pattern of the “Callout.” It has been pretty well established that the first part of the “Callout” is to flee away from wickedness before destruction happens. I think the second part of the eternal pattern of the “Callout” is to trek towards the Promised Land.
Again, let’s look at the preexistence. We left there to flee the oppression of evil bodied beings baring down on us to come to earth, receive a body, and in this mortal existence learn to become like our Heavenly Parents and trek towards the promised Celestial Kingdom.
This mortal existence was not going to be easy. It was going to have tribulations and tests all along the way that would refine us, and purify us, and eventually sanctify us through the Atonement of the Savior – every trek in each of these 50 examples promised the same.
The trek would be difficult, we’d walk twenty miles to travel two. The refiner’s fires would be hot, quenching, heart wrenching, but ultimately would deliver us pure and sanctified to our final destination – the Promised Land.
Is the “Callout” for everyone? Yes and no. Everyone is invited, many are called, but few there be that choose to make the arduous trek to the Promised Land.
Is there going to be a “Callout” in our future? You betcha!
“…for without Zion, and a place of deliverance, we must fall; because the time is near when the sun will be darkened, and the moon turn to blood, and the stars fall from the heaven, and the earth reel to and fro.
Then, if this is the case, and if we are not sanctified and gathered to the places God has appointed, with all our former professions and our great love for the Bible, we must fall; we cannot stand; we cannot be saved; for God will gather out his saints from the Gentiles, and then comes desolation and destruction, and none can escape except the pure in heart who are gathered.” (Joseph Smith The teaching of the prophet Joseph Smith, Section 2, P.71)
“We are blessed to live in a time when the priesthood keys are on the earth. We are blessed to know where to look and how to listen for the voice that will fulfill the promise of the Lord that He will gather us to safety. I pray that we will have humble hearts, that we will listen, that we will pray, and that we will wait for the deliverance of the Lord that is sure to come as we are faithful.” (Henry B, Eyring, “Finding Safety in Counsel” April 1997 General Conference)
Zion, the New Jerusalem must be built by only those who have been “Called-out” from the world and who have prepared themselves to live in the presence of the Lord.
Here are some wonderful references regarding the “Callout” and the New Jerusalem:
The Triumph of Zion-our Personal Quest for the New Jerusalem, by John Pontius
Shelly McDermott’s website No Fear Preps
Eric Smith’s Doctrinal Essays blog
Fulfilling the Covenant Document published by Eric Smith regarding Last Days
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- The Eternal Pattern of the Callout, Or, Preparing Your Heart In All Things Against the Day When Tribulation and Desolation Are Sent Forth (D&C 29:8) - June 13, 2017