Saturday, November 7, 2009

An Answer for Elder Lucas

As a missionary in Brazil, I enjoyed the acquaintance of one Lucas Izhar Seisdedos. Elder Lucas (It wasn't uncommon in my mission for elders to go by their first name if their last name was tricky in some way; we even had new nametags issued to us. I was Elder Zacarias for most of my mission.) was the zone leader in my first area, and I lived with him for two months. He was funloving (as the picture below shows; he's on the right) and had a great sense of humor.

I distinctly remember a conversation we had one night. I had mentioned to him some of the questions that I had not yet found answers for in the scriptures and that I would have liked to ask God about. He quickly responded with a joke, saying that when he died and had his interview with God, he would ask only two questions:

1. Did we really need the mosquitoes? (This seemed quite funny in Brazil, where going to sleep felt like making a donation to the blood bank.)

2. Where are the seven women?

This second question was a reference to a scripture in Isaiah 4 and 2 Nephi 14: "And in that day [the last days], seven women shall take hold of one man, saying: We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach." Elder Lucas made the reference jokingly, and it drew a laugh. But his question always stuck with me for some reason--and now I have an answer for him; he doesn't have to wait until the other side of the veil for this one (although the mosquitoes bit is still beyond me).

You see, I recently read the following report on the New York Times Freakonomics blog (which I would highly recommend):

"What can polygamy on the outskirts of Russia tell us about the effects of the financial crisis in less remote locales? A lot — or so says Cambridge anthropologist Caroline Humphrey: “In the 1990’s, Russia and central Asia experienced huge economic change: what a bank was, how your career was going, what you could expect from life, everything changed overnight. And of course it had a huge impact on people’s lives, from family life to politics, and polygamy is part of that whole scene. So far, we haven’t had such dramatic change in the west, but you never know.” Humphrey, who studies communities on the edges of the former Soviet Union, found that many men and women advocate polygamy for economic reasons. Men are in short supply and life on the rural farms many women live on is difficult. “Women say that the legalization of polygamy would be a godsend: it would give them rights to a man’s financial and physical support, legitimacy for their children, and rights to state benefits,” Humphrey told the Guardian."

The upshot of this report is that multiple Russian women are cohabiting with a single Russian man; they desire to be "called by [his] name to take away [their] reproach." This will allow them to have "rights to state benefits" so that they can "eat [their] own bread, and wear [their] own apparel." Sounds like a fulfillment of prophecy--and a sign of the times--to me. Remember, the Lord promises that for "he that believeth ... unto you it shall be given to know the signs of the times, and the signs of the coming of the Son of Man" (D&C 68:9-11).

Elder Lucas asked his question in jest, but finding an answer for it is no laughing matter; the women are one of many signs given in the scriptures that the Second Coming is drawing nigh. The seven women are in Russia, Elder Lucas--and that's no joke.

(Bonus points to any old mission buddies who can find the former Elder Lucas and forward my answer to him.)

3 comments: said...

Now, finally, I understand! The mystery is solved!

I had wondeered why relations between Russia and China have been improving in recent years with alliances, joint military exercises, trade agreements, etc. Now I understand.

There is a shortage of women in China because many couples under government restrictions on the number of children they can have are electing to have boys.

Not enough men in Russia. Not enough women in China. No wonder they are getting together.

Aaron H. said...

You didn't have to go to Russia for the answer, just the D&C. The same thing happened in early pioneer times with the death of so many men at the hands of mobocracy.

Jo Jo said...

Ditto to Aaron and you. Interesting commentary. You do find the most unusual things to think and write about. Tanner's last entry was because of you, so he wanted to find something to write about as well.