Sunday night’s blood moon has generated at least one end-of-the-world prediction that’s proving irksome for the Mormon Church.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently issued a statement distancing itself from the prediction by one Mormon author linking the rare astrological event to an apocalypse.
"For it to filter up to that level and for them to decide to send out a policy letter means that they felt there was something they needed to tamp down," Patrick Mason, the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University in California told the Associated Press.
A blood moon occurs when there’s a full moon in close proximity to the Earth — a so-called super moon — in combination with an eclipse of the moon, which happens when the Earth passes between the sun and moon.
The two events will produce a reddish glow around the somewhat darkened moon for about an hour Sunday night. The last blood moon occurred in 1982 and the next one won’t occur until 2033.
Mormon author Julie Rowe is getting heat for her prediction linking the blood moon and recent calamities to the end times. Rowe issued a statement on her website Sept. 10 acknowledging that her story “is not intended to be authoritative nor to create any church doctrine.’
“It is simply part of my personal journey that I have chosen to share in hopes that it can help people to prepare for the times we live in by increasing their faith in Christ and by looking to our Prophet and Church leaders for guidance,’’ she wrote.
Rowe writes about and speaks to audiences about a near-death experience in 2004 when she says she crossed over into the spirit world and was shown tragic upcoming world calamities and told she would be expected to tell others in the future, the Associated Press reported.
"That time has come," her website says.
Mormon Church spokesman Eric Hawkins emailed USA TODAY a statement sent earlier this month to teachers in the church's religious education system for high school and colleges.
“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,’’ the statement said.
The Mormon Church statement noted members are encouraged “to be spiritually and physically prepared for life's ups and downs’’ and leaders “have counseled members that, where possible, they should gradually build a supply of food, water and financial resources to ensure they are self-reliant during disasters and the normal hardships that are part of life, including illness, injury or unemployment."
However, the statement adds, "This teaching to be self-reliant has been accompanied by the counsel of Church leaders to avoid being caught up in extreme efforts to anticipate catastrophic events."
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