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JENNIFER - Many of my friends are Baptist and are constantly talking about the rapture - saying that they will be taken before the final war starts. what can I say to them as to what our beliefs are - I thought I understood the LDS position until I tried to explain it and got hopelessly bogged down. Please help me know how to share our views.

JOEL - According to many traditional Christian beliefs the word "Rapture" refers to a supernatural event where many born again Christians will suddenly disappear from the earth and be taken by Jesus to heaven.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian Saints that those living on the earth at the time of Christ's appearing would be "caught up" to meet him (1 Thess. 4:16-17, Mat. 24:40-41).
Our Doctrine and Covenants, using similar language, adds that these righteous saints will be "quickened" and will join those "who have slept in their graves," who will also "be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven" (D&C 88:96-97).
The term "Rapture" is translated from the Greek (harpazo) and Latin (Rapere) bible texts meaning "to snatch" or "take away".
Of course the word "Rapture" is nowhere to be found in the Bible, but this is what a large part of the Christian world calls this second comming event.

Elder James E. Talmage taught: "With Christ shall come those who have already been resurrected; and His approach shall be the means of inaugurating a general resurrection of the righteous dead, while the pure and just who are still in the flesh shall be instantaneously changed from the mortal to the immortal state(quickened) and shall be caught up with the newly resurrected to meet the Lord and His celestial company, and shall descend with Him." (Jesus the Christ, p. 787)

Being "quickened" can mean being changed to a resurrected(immortal) state or it can also mean a temporary spiritual change that happens to mortal bodies so they can withstand the presence of God.

So at the second coming:

1. Some older righteous living people who are at "the age of man"(D&C 63:50), will be quickened to an immortal state(resurrected state),

2. Some will be spiritually quickened(including righteous children). These will continue to live and grow on the new earth, until they are old and will then be changed to a resurrected immortal state.

3. The righteous dead people will be resurrected.

All three of these types of people will rise to meet Jesus at His coming.
One major difference between the LDS concept of the "Rapture" and other Christian religions, is that we belive that only those who are destined for the Celestial Kingdom will be caught up to meet the Savior.(D&C 76:50-70)
Those destined for the Terrestrial world(your Baptist friends) and Telestial world (wicked people) will remain on the earth, but only the Telestial souls will be consumed by the cleansing fire at Christ's coming.(D&C 101:24-25). The burning that will occur is simply the effects of a person of Celestial glory(Jesus) appearing to a mortal world.
The Terrestrial souls will somehow be spared this and will remain on earth to witness the coming of the Lord with His angels and those who were caught up to meet Him.
Another small differnece from what your Baptist friends said, is that we believe that everyone will still be on the earth during the final battle of Armagedon just prior to Christ's coming.


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