How much confusion from a discordant society, chaotic world, and political and ecclesiastical leadership do we need to wake us up? When Isaiah points out our wickedness and abominations, we say, “That can’t be us! We attend church.” Well, so did others, until the very hour of their destruction. “Let’s hit on the messenger!” Well, that would be Isaiah, and, ultimately, God.
Isaiah’s prophecy of “a path through the mighty waters” (Isaiah 43:16)—at Israel’s physical end-time exodus out of Babylon—applies also in a spiritual sense: “When you cross the waters, I will be with you; [when you traverse] the rivers, you shall not be overwhelmed. Though you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; its flame shall not consume you” (Isaiah 43:2).
Isaiah says only righteous individuals will respond to God’s call to exit Babylon: “Hear me, you followers of righteousness, seekers of Jehovah: Look to the rock from which you were cut, to the quarry out of which you were hewn; look to Abraham your father, to Sarah who bore you. He was but one when I called him, but I blessed him by making him many” (Isaiah 51:1–2).
The Lord showed Joseph Smith in a dream how such individuals may rise above troubled waters. Though not a part of LDS scriptures, his dream’s symbolism seems to reflect a perilous trend in the church. However, it doesn’t suggest a reason to leave the church. Rather, it shows how—as prophesied—God may empower end-time persons over the elements to a translated state.
“Riverboat Dream” by Joseph Smith—History of the Church 6:194–195
I was standing on a peninsula, in the midst of a vast body of water where there appeared to be a large harbor or pier built out for boats to come to. I was surrounded by my friends, and while looking at this harbor I saw a steamboat approaching the harbor. There were bridges on the pier for persons to cross, and there came up a wind and drove the steamboat under one of the bridges and upset it.
I ran up to the boat, expecting the persons would all drown; and wishing to do something to assist them, I put my hand against the side of the boat, and with one surge I shoved it under the bridge and righted it up, and then told them to take care of themselves. But it was not long before I saw them starting out into the channel or main body of the water again. The storms were raging and the waters rough. I said to my friends that if they did not understand the signs of the times and the spirit of prophecy, they would be apt to be lost.
It was but a few moments after when we saw the waves break over the boat, and she soon foundered and went down with all on board. The storm and waters were still very rough; yet I told my friends around me that I believed I could stem those waves and that storm, and swim in the waters better than the steamboat did; at any rate I was determined to try it. But my friends laughed at me, and told me I could not stand at all, but would be drowned. The waters looked clear and beautiful, though exceedingly rough; and I said I believed I could swim, and I would try it anyhow. They said I would drown. I said I would have a frolic in the water first, if I did; and I drove off in the raging waves.
I had swam but a short distance when a towering wave overwhelmed me for a time; but I soon found myself on the top of it, and soon I met the second wave in the same way; and for a while I struggled hard to live in the midst of the storm and waves, and soon found I gained upon every wave, and skimmed the torrent better; and I soon had power to swim with my head out of water: so the waves did not break over me at all, and I found that I had swam a great distance; and in looking about, I saw my brother Samuel by my side.
I asked him how he liked it. He said, “First rate,” and I thought so too. I was soon enabled to swim with my head and shoulders out of water, and I could swim as fast as any steamboat. In a little time it became calm, and I could rush through the water, and only go in to my loins, and soon I only went in to my knees, and finally could tread on the top of the water, and went almost with the speed of an arrow. I said to Samuel, See how swift I can go! I thought it was great sport and pleasure to travel with such speed, and I awoke.