Lunar eclipse causes brief fanfare among extremists

Written by: 
Hailey Rasmussen

The LDS Church released an official statement prior to the lunar eclipse, or blood moon, that occurred on the night of Sept. 27, after several church members claimed it to be a sign of the second coming, wrote Mormon Newsroom. In the statement, the church wrote, “The writings and speculations of individual Church members, some of which have gained currency recently, should be considered as personal accounts or positions that do not reflect Church doctrine.”

Keith Lane, associate professor of Religious Education, said, “What [the blood moon as described in the scriptures] means, I don’t know. If it is key for someone to know, the brethren in the church would publicly and repeatedly say it.”
Daniel Malinconico, a graduate from New Jersey who studied cultural anthropology and history, explained how this past lunar eclipse coincided with a Korean Moon festival, and the moon was the closest it has been to the Earth in the past 33 years. He expressed how this might be one of the reasons there was a little more tension for this lunar eclipse. “It seems that people read into these things,” he stated. Malinconico expressed that it’s important to not jump to conclusions, but to realize that the Second Coming is coming.
According to timeanddate.com, Pastors Blitz and Hagee gathered attention early in 2014 because the eclipse coincided with important Jewish festivals. Some people took this coincidence as a sign of the end of times.
The actual eclipse was not visible from Hawaii, according to timeanddate.com. The moon rose above the horizon about an hour after the eclipse finished. Annelise Eddy, a junior from California studying psychology, was in California the same weekend the eclipse occurred. “I saw the moon when it was half eclipsed. It was just as I expected it to be: red. It was cloudy though, so I didn’t get the best view,” she said. She also mentioned that she had heard about the church’s released statement, but was not sure if it was necessary.

The church’s statement, available on Mormon Newsroom, encouraged members to be spiritually and physically prepared and to follow the counsel of the prophets: be prepared for disasters. They counseled to avoid being caught up in extreme efforts to anticipate catastrophic events.

Lane referenced a statement given by the Church in May 2007, available on Mormon Newsroom, which explained how the statements of a few individuals do not make it “officially binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications.”

Malinconico suggested, “If you’re really worried about this, get prepared. Get food storage and prepare your families. The signs of the times are purposely cryptic so we will follow the prophet. They see things that we don’t see. We look to the prophet and we try to be self-sufficient.”
Flora Vaiaoga, a junior studying political science from Samoa, saw the eclipse last year and thought it was an annual thing. She wasn’t concerned about it at all. She said, “If a country sinks, maybe we should be concerned.”

Uploaded Oct. 8, 2015