Striking prophecy of ancient times characterizes today

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:

And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.- Amos 8:11-12

At the October 1972 general conference, Elder Howard W. Hunter said that the above scripture is one of the "most striking prophecies of the Old Testament, which certainly characterizes our day."

Elder Hunter, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and later president of the Church, said: "Famine was one of the common scourges of Old Testament times, and people understood the devastating consequences of crop failure and starving people. Amos brought this understanding into sharp focus by his prediction of a spiritual famine. He said:

`. . . not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.'

"Present-day reports of confusion and frustration of individuals and religious institutions, as they attempt to resolve their religious doubts and conflicts, remind us of these words of Amos: ` . . . they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.'

"They seek to find the solution without building on the rock of revelation, as the Lord said must be done, if the gates of hell are not to prevail against it. (See Matt. 16:17-18.) This problem has engaged the minds of good and sincere men before and since the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in this dispensation. "

Elder Hunter said that Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered an address at Cambridge University's Divinity School in 1838 - just eight years after the organization of the Church. Elder Hunter said that Emerson - an American essayist, poet and philosopher - asked questions that were then unanswered and are unanswered for many individuals in the 20th century. Elder Hunter quoted Emerson:

" `And it is my duty to say to you that the need was never greater of new revelation than now. . . . In how many churches, by how many prophets, tell me, is man made sensible that he is an infinite Soul? . . . It is the office of a true teacher to show us that God is, not was; that He speaketh, not spake. . . . Men have come to speak of . . . revelation as somewhat long ago given and done, as if God were dead.' " (See The Complete Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, pp. 37-45.)

Elder Hunter noted that this statement "has the sound of an echo from some of today's modern pulpits."

He continued: "In the year 1820, just prior to the time Ralph Waldo Emerson made his statement to the Cambridge Divinity School that `the need was never greater for new revelation than now,' the Prophet Joseph Smith went into a grove of trees near his home and inquired of God which church he should join."

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