Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, began a tradition within his religion of anticipating the end of the world. The first Mormon guess was that the world would end sometime around 1832, then again around 1890, all based on a voice he heard while praying. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism defines the end of the world in a different way than most, saying it is the “end of evil and the triumph of righteousness.” Although they do not necessarily know when the date will be, this historic time is supposed to be marked with signs to inform everyone that the end is coming, including a full organization of their church. Traditional Mormon doctrines describe a magical scene where the sun darkens and the moon becomes blood, then the heavens literally split open to reveal Jesus, and life as we know it on planet Earth is over. They believe that there will be a judgement and it is important to live a good Mormon life in order to make it on to the new phase of the world. Although their beliefs of a second coming are similar to the beliefs of other religions, their vivid descriptions of the skies splitting makes it all a little hard for me to believe. Similar to Joseph Smith, it is common for Mormons to believe that they live in the special time, and the end will come sometime in their lifetime (so the current Mormons often believe the 2012 theory, since it is in their lifetime!). However, they have been saying this for 200 something years, and have been wrong everytime.
A new group of end of the world believers emerged as people bonded in early 2011 over their fear of mass bird and fish deaths, believing that it had to be a sign of the end. Although there is science to explain the deaths in Arkansas and Kentucky, many scared people were quick to jump to the idea that the end of the world was upon us. These people are different than others because they may not have necessarily believed the 2012 date before the “Aflockalypse,” based on the words of others, but rather merely reacted to what they saw. I better understand and relate to people who react out of immediate fear, but since mass bird deaths are surprisingly common, I don’t think I would be so quick to accept this as an initial part of the 2012 theory, such as the members of the Aflockalypse group.
At this point in my research, I begin to ask the question, “If science is used to justify the end of the world, what do Scientologist say about it?” Unfortunately, Scientology has made no official comment on the 2012 theory (I guess that’s not really a surprise). I suppose I will find a different group to research! And what better thing to Google next than aliens! The group behind the “Official Countdown to 2012” believes that aliens and Mayans are closely tied together (their crops circles match, so it has to be true). They believe that the 2012 date is the day that the aliens invade. What makes their theory a little different than the others (besides the little green people flying around), is that they do not believe that humankind will become extinct (although they do fear that ET will want to wage war with the humans). Not sold? Their website provides further explanation as to why the Mayans are obviously linked to aliens. But no fear, their survival guide video describes safe places for when the attack happens…….
I think it was near impossible for me to be less concerned about 2012, and after this research I confidently remain on the far end of the disbelief spectrum. My personal beliefs aside, if I knew the end of the world was definitely happening in December, I would not worry about finishing school. I would probably go back to Austin and spend my days sailing with my family on the Lake. But more immediately, I would go into my kitchen right now and eat absolutely everything in the refrigerator, starting with the entire cookie cake that is hiding in there.