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The term latter-days refers to the final dispensation of earth's religious history, which means that it is the time just previous to the Second Coming of Christ. Elder Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated,
- We live in those latter days, and they are really remarkable. The Lord’s Spirit is being poured out upon all inhabitants of the earth, precisely as the Prophet Joel foretold (Russell M. Nelson, “Special Witness: The Name of the Church,” Friend, Feb. 2003, 7).
The earth, according to prophecy found in Revelation (see Revelation 5:1, and Doctrine and Covenants 77:6-7) has a seven thousand year religious history marked by different dispensations. According to the Guide to the Scriptures printed by the Latter-day Saints, "a gospel dispensation is a period of time in which the Lord has at least one authorized servant on the earth who bears the keys of the holy priesthood."
These dispensations have been guided by different prophets. Among them have been Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, and finally the last dispensation by Joseph Smith.
During this last dispensation, Christ’s true church and the fullness of the gospel have been restored in preparation for Christ's return. Elder Sterling W. Sill, another Church leader, stated, “on the divine calendar we are now living in the late Saturday evening of time. This glorious second coming of Christ is scheduled to usher in the earth's Sabbath of a thousand years, known to the prophets as the millennium” (Elder Sterling W. Sill, Conference Report, April 1966, p.20).
Not only is this time period regarded as the last dispensation, it is also known as the dispensation of the "fullness of times." This refers to the Mormon belief that all of the Priesthood keys, rights, and powers, ever given by the Lord to His prophets have been restored. This is also the dispensation that will not end in apostasy. In the book of Daniel 2:44-45 it says,
- And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
Because LDS doctrine teaches that we are living in the Latter-days, members of the Church are encouraged to watch for the signs of Christ’s coming and prepare themselves both temporally and spiritually. However they are reminded not to fear the things that will come but to have faith and hope in Christ.