Twinkling: What should I have said?

Here is a fairly accurate transcript of a recent conversation I had:

Friend A:  I think I’m going to visit Jerusalem this year.

Me:  That sounds fun.  I’ve always wanted to go.  I asked my Dad if he wanted to go with me and he said he thought the Second Coming was too near so it wouldn’t be safe.

Friend A:  Your dad doesn’t think he’s righteous enough to be taken up into heaven?

Me:  Mormons don’t believe in twinkling.

Friend A:  You mean you don’t believe in Revelations?

Me:  Uh….

Friend B (studying to be a Priest):  Maybe they just believe that it’s more metaphorical.

Me:  Uh….

Friend B:  Or maybe they think John the Revelator was crazy.

Everyone laughs and smiles–thinking to themselves: “yeah I’ve thought that before…”

End Scene

So honestly, I don’t pay a lot of attention to the four horses of the apocalypse (or horsemen? or horsewomen?)  And frankly, I don’t really find end times prophecy to be so relevant to my daily life, so I usually just don’t pay attention.  But I kind of felt like I let Mormonism down.  I felt like I should be able to explain WHY we don’t believe that all the righteous will be taken up into heaven and spared the horrors of armageddon.  I should be able to defend my non-twinkling stance, but I can’t.  What should I have said?


  1. Latter-day Guy says:

    …that if you’re reading Revelation as some kind of eschatological playbill, you’re probably going to be disappointed. It was written for 1st century Christians––any relevant interpretation for us today would have to acknowledge that fact.

  2. We don’t believe in twinkling? Shoot!

  3. I like to twinkle.

  4. You should have changed your name to ‘little star’ for that one Tracy.

  5. Sounds like Friend B covered you pretty well. One need not be a hyper-literalist about scriptures to be a good Christian.

    They know you believe in a literal second coming from the set up though…

  6. Mark D. says:

    “Mormons don’t believe in twinkling.”

    Really? I suspect, based on the scriptural canon, that Mormons (on average) believe more in twinkling than any denomination on the planet. D&C 107 says that Enoch was “translated”. D&C 45 says that Enoch and his entire city where “separated from the earth”. Helaman 10 says that Nephi was “taken by the Spirit” and “conveyed” from place to place. D&C 88 says that “the saints that are upon the earth” shall be quickened and be “caught up” to meet him.

    The Bible uses the term “twinkling” once, the Book of Mormon uses it once, and the D&C uses it three times, mostly in reference to a transformation from bodily mortality to immortality without death in between.

  7. I might be wrong here, haven’t looked at it for a while. But if I’m not mistaken, I think Christians in general have three views regarding the (literal) reading of Revelations: a pre-millenial rapture, a post-millenial rapture, or a rapture that happens sometime in the middle.

    I don’t know that Mormons don’t believe that when Christ comes and the wicked are burned as stubble that the righteous are raised up to meet him as he descends in the clouds, we just believe that once we do we will continue to come down with him and return to business as usual in our busy little deseret. – this could gel pretty well with a normal Christian belief in a post-millenial rapture, if I’m not mistaken.

    So, thats one way you could respond if you wanted to believe in a literal reading of Revelations and converse with mainstream Christians.

  8. This destroys my entire testimony of the Left Behind series… :(

  9. This happened to me a couple days ago. A young, independent Strangite believer who is having a spiritual retreat on Beaver Island called to discuss some points of Mormon history and theology — and at a certain point he asked if I believed that such-and-such was a sign of the end times and if I personally believed that this-or-that would happen in advance of Armageddon. I didn’t want to discourage him, but I did tell him that my personal belief is that the ideas expressed in Revelation are symbolic and allegorical and don’t refer to a literal future history.

  10. You know, when I’m working in the field and the guy next to me disappears and I’m still left, I’m not going to feel guilty. I’ll just figure it’s an administrative error by one of the angelic volunteers collecting people. I’ll get fried, end up standing in some long line with all the other spirits convinced there was some mistake, and when I finally get to talk to somebody in the regional angelic presidency, he’ll just tell me not to worry about it, it’ll all get worked out in the resurrection.

    I predict this based on the whisperings in my ear in the temple by a frustrated spirit whose name card got dropped in the wrong envelope by a temple worker and has been trying to get confirmed for months.

  11. Karen H. says:

    Martin, I suspect you may be right. You also might be standing in line next to my aunt who got sealed to a guy who died 200 years ago after she passed away a couple years ago by some kind hearted soul with poor researching skills. The temple department assured my mom it would get worked out. I just hope that it gets worked out before the honeymoon.

  12. This happened to me a couple days ago.

    Wow! For a moment there, I thought John was telling us he had been twinkled.

  13. Larry the Cable Guy says:

    It isn’t Twinkling so much as Twilight-ing that occupies Mormon attention about being changed into an eternal state.

  14. philomytha says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard the term “twinkling” in the context of the Second Coming before. Where does it come from, I wonder?

    13 – The Twilight vampires sparkle, but with the right lighting conditions they could twinkle too. So maybe it is doctrinal.

  15. Kevin Barney says:

    Here’s an article that gives some background on the rapture from an LDS perspective:

    I’m like you, Karen, in that I’m really not a big signs of the times/second coming guy.

  16. Kevin Barney says:
  17. Aaron brown says:

    Nothing cures insomnia like a fevered burst of eschatological analysis.

  18. I agree with others that Mormons believe that the righteous will be taken and translated/twinkled at the time of the second coming. But I thought this was supposed to apply everywhere, not just in Jerusalem. My guess is that according to prophecy (Mormon or otherwise) Jerusalem is supposed to be destroyed before the second coming (possibly by man-made war). So perhaps your dad doesn’t want to go get killed before the second coming (hence miss being around to see it live).

    You should ask your dad what he meant, and then tell us the verdict.

  19. Cynthia L. says:

    Wait we don’t believe in the Rapture? Huh. I guess I can cancel my subscription to this site then.

  20. Yes___Mormonism twinkles.

  21. Wow, Cynthia. That link left me speechless – and everyone here knows how hard that is to do.

  22. This is the page from when i searched the scriptures for “twinkling”

    All forms of the word TWINKLING in the Text of the Scriptures, sorted by relevance.

    1 Cor. 15: 52
    52 In a moment, in the atwinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the btrumpet shall sound, and the cdead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be dchanged.
    3 Ne. 28: 8
    8 And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from amortality to bimmortality; and then shall ye be blessed in the kingdom of my Father.
    D&C 43: 32
    32 And he that liveth in arighteousness shall be bchanged in the twinkling of an eye, and the earth shall pass away so as by cfire.
    D&C 63: 51
    51 Wherefore, achildren shall bgrow up until they become old; old men shall die; but they shall not sleep in the dust, but they shall be cchanged in the twinkling of an eye.
    D&C 101: 31
    31 And when he dies he shall not sleep, that is to say in the earth, but shall be achanged in the twinkling of an eye, and shall be bcaught up, and his rest shall be glorious.

    the link:

  23. If you turn off the footnotes you can avoid copying stray letters…

  24. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 14
    I’ve never heard “twinkling” used like this either. Wouldn’t Evangelicals typically use the term “the Rapture,” e.g., “I believe in the Rapture, do you?”

    Is Bridget around?

  25. Latter-day Guy says:

    I think the term “twinkling” (with this definition) is just a Mormon thing… at least, I’ve never heard it used by non-LDS folk in the same context.

  26. The standard for twinkling should be the laser eye safety standard. It is assumed that you blink when a visible wavelength laser beam hits your retina, and that blink response takes 0.25 seconds and after that you have shut your eye and your retina does not get any more exposure. So “twinking of an eye” refers to a period of time of approximately 0.25 seconds, and also to the emission of visible light emitted during this intense physical process, which causes the twinkle response in the observer. Assuming that the dissolution of a mortal body and the organization of an immortal body can take place in less than 0.25 seconds, you are pro-twinkling. Assuming it takes more than 0.25 seconds puts you in the anti-twinkle camp. People who don’t believe in a physical resurrection can simply be thought of as those who think that the time for dissolution of the body and resurrection of the body goes to infinity. Since you can apparently “apparate” and/or go through solid walls with your resurrected body and do lots of other things, it is hard for us to define what it means to be resurrected since we don’t know how this could possibly work according to what we now know about physics.

  27. Karen, you didn’t tell them about hei-ing to Kolob in the twinkling of an eye?

  28. Latter-day Guy says:

    …you can apparently “apparate” and/or go through solid walls with your resurrected body…

    Wow. Now all that early LDS focus on various special stones makes so much more sense: Hiram Page is Nicolas Flamel!

  29. #26: So Paul, can she really bake a cherry pie in the twinking of an eye?

  30. Jettboy says:

    I don’t have time to look up references, but I believe Mormons believe in two (or more if you count the First Vision and related Temple visits) Second Comings. The first would be post-millennial with preparatory priesthood gatherings after most of the worst calamities. The second “part” of the Second Coming is the Big Return(tm) that is more Rapture traditional when the righteous will be brought up with Christ. Then, the remaining wicked will be destroyed to cleanse the Earth. Finally, the righteous and the organized Priesthood will return and take over the Earth for the millennium.

    You don’t need to read the book of Revelations to understand possible Mormon theology interpretations. The best sources are 1st and 2nd Nephi and 3rd Nephi. Funny how these books end up relating to each other on the subject. As with so many things, Mormons believe in the process of the Second Coming and not just a once and for all Return.

  31. ah, 2000 years to project on the scriptures that which we think will happen. Personally I don’t give a damn when Jesus comes. If I’m alive, then that’s cool. If not, then I’ll supposedly be coming down with Him or something… I’m certainly not going to let that interfere with my travel plans in this world.

  32. “Mormons don’t believe in twinkling.”

    So that’s what the kids are calling it these days. I guess we should expect to see it added to the For The Strength of Youth pamphlet soon.

  33. #31: Sorry Daniel____ Twinkling is all about interfere with your travel plans.

  34. #33,

    Sheesh, a good person cannot finish his vacation because some Second Coming… what’s wrong with this world man…

  35. I had somebody say “So you don’t believe in Revelation” too. I’m thinking that might be a phrase in circulation in some circles. I explained that I do believe in Revelation, but I don’t take all parts of it literally. Fer-instance, I don’t believe Jesus had a sword coming out of his mouth. I think it’s a highly symbolic experience that needs to be approached as one, and any literalism that needs to be understood will happen along the way.

    But I believe in twinkling, and know quite a few Mormons who do as well.

  36. we don’t believe that all the righteous will be taken up into heaven and spared the horrors of armageddon

    One less reason to be Mormon. :(

  37. lurker123 says:

    I’m sorry…but what on Earth is “twinkling”? I’ve never heard that word in a religious context (except for “If You Could Hie To Kolob”) in my entire life. Is that a synonymous verb for “to be raptured” or something?

  38. Sorry all for the confusion on the term twinkling. It was in reference to the phenomenon commonly called “the rapture.”

  39. Hmm..well I certainly believe in at least a version of what is called the rapture. D&C 88:96 Saints that are alive are caught up to meet him in the midst pillar of heaven.

    Joseph Smith Matthew Two shall be in a field and one shall be taken two grinding one taken other left (44-45)

    John Taylor had an interesting take:

    We will build up our Zion after the pattern that God will show us, and we will be governed by his law and submit to his authority and be governed by the holy priesthood and by the word and will of God. And then when the time comes that these calamities we read of, shall overtake the earth, those that are prepared will have the power of translation, as they had in former times, and the city will be translated. And Zion that is on the earth will rise, and the Zion above will descend, as we are told, and we will meet and fall on each other’s necks and embrace and kiss each other. And thus the purposes of God to a certain extent will then be fulfilled. (John Taylor, JD 21:253.)

    When Zion descends from above, Zion will also ascend from beneath, and be prepared to associate with those from above. The people will be so perfected and purified, ennobled, exalted, and dignified in their feelings and so truly humble and most worthy, virtuous and intelligent that they will be fit, when caught up, to associate with that Zion that shall come down from God out of heaven. (John Taylor, JD 10:147.)

    Now unlike the left behind books we don’t believe that the righteous get to leave before all of the destruction happens but we do believe that we leave before the fire…

    BTW – You won’t find the rapture in the book of Revelations because its not there.

  40. Never heard of twinkling?

    “in a twinkling (or the twinkling of an eye) in an instant; very quickly.”

    Topical guide: pg. 543. And even in the context of Mormonism, listed there: 3 Nephi, and three chapters in D&C.

    Heard it spoken innumerable times, S.S. cutesy comments when transfigured beings or the 2nd coming are discussed; as in “That’s how I want/wish to go,” i.e., ‘twinkled.’


  41. Frankly I would cheer wild cheers if a Rapture actually occurred and the right-wing Christians were magically disappeared from this world. Truly, a better world we would see.

  42. Better than if you’d said tinkling.

  43. Latter-day Guy says:

    You won’t find the rapture in the book of Revelations because its not there.

    You won’t find any book called “Revelations” in the Bible, for the same reason. ;)

  44. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 41 Can’t deny it: I’ve had that same uncharitable thought. At least we would be subjected to more movies like this.

  45. 42 — Mormons do tinkle.

    As to twinkling, I’ve never heard in the context of the Rapture — I just heard it of being changed from mortal to immortal in the twinkling of an eye, without having to experience a death/resurrection experience. I guess YMMV.

  46. Kathleen says:

    MarkD #23 – De-lurking to say that you have just made my life so much easier! I had no idea you could turn the footnotes off, and I hate having to delete all those extra letters!


  47. we’ve been living the ‘end times’ since the beginning of time… i expect to have future generations debating this very topic. why? there is something confirming about being the final, the last, the ‘chosen’, and that fiber of testimony helps some faith believing people improve here or there as preparation for that glorious day. so, while we all wait and debate, I’d be sure to enjoy that trip to the holy land – sure beats staying home fretting about the end of the world.

  48. me @47, I definitely agree with you. I am also trying to convince my dad.

    I think this discussion has been really interesting. As some have pointed out, there is scriptural language on this topic, and with some research, some ideas begin to form, but it’s pretty clear that the group here is not at all in agreement as to what Mormon end times theology consists of.

    I actually like the result of this discussion. This tells me that end times prophecy is not taking up a major portion of correllated church curricula, and I like that. It shouldn’t. I don’t think that obsession over end times prophecy is a healthy theological hobby. My personal theological beliefs are that we all have a responsibility for moral progression, for developing our own selves, and also loving and helping our neighbors. If God is who we think he is, then he’s all powerful, and what will happen will happen–twinkling or no.

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