Disclaimer: This is simply my online notebook of rough-draft writings. Read at your own risk.
So Noah is going around telling everyone that there’s going to be this big flood, a flood so big that no one will be safe. It’s kind of unfortunate for those who happened to live in a city or town far away from Noah and never even get a chance to hear his flood prophecy. Maybe the word spread a little, but do you think word of the pending flood spread to those on different continents?
But some did hear his wild claims. They heard him talking about this flood that was going to cover their city and the surrounding towns and the cities near their city and all the land around them. There were those who watched as his worked on building a boat, day after day, on dry ground, perhaps even far away from any lake or ocean. And the claims of the flood must have seemed preposterous. This flood would not just cover their land, but all their cities, villages, and towns near them. Well, actually the whole world was going to be flooded. There was no safe place to go, no land high enough to move to during this flood. It was a pretty big claim.
It’s possible that these people had experienced a flash flood, or seasonal swellings of their rivers. I don’t know where Noah lived, but maybe the people he was talking to had experienced hurricanes or tsunamis. Surely they had experiences, to some degree, of natural disasters involving an excessive amount of water. But this flood that Noah was talking about was way beyond anything that they had ever experienced. Could it even really happen?
And what kind of guy was Noah? Did the people who knew him respect and trust him? Was he the type of guy that people would stop and consider and listen to? Was he someone that because it was coming from him, it gave credibility to what he was saying? Or did people already think he was nuts? Even if he was someone that many of the people trusted and respected, this time he was making a claim that was so outlandish that it was hard for even those that knew and respected him to take seriously.
And yet, in the face of all the opposition he stood by his beliefs. He must have had close friends who doubted him. Were his parents still alive, and if so, what did they think of their son’s claims? What about his siblings, where were they and what did they think of this flood business and this ark that he was building? And even then, even though people challenged his beliefs, even though they mocked his beliefs, even though they doubted his beliefs, he stuck to them and pressed forward.
He finished the ark, the flood came, and he and his family survived. And today he is honored for his bravery to press forward and hold to his beliefs in the face of opposition and mockery.
But what if the flood never happened, would we still honor and respect Noah? What if his claim was false, would it still be honorable to stand beside a belief that is wrong or misled? Do we only respect his bravery because his claim was real?
There was a woman who made a claim that a flood was going to happen on December 21, 1954 from the Great Lake covering Lake City and eventually spreading to “form an inland sea stretching from the Artic Circle to the Gulf of Mexico. At the same time a cataclysm will submerge the West Coast from Seattle, Washington to Chile in South America (When Prophecy Fails, p.31).” The thing is, she received this revelation in a similar manner that the Prophet Joseph Smith received revelation. I personally believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the revelation he received was from God. From the best of my understanding, Joseph would pray and ask God and then He would receive a revelation and write it down, or maybe at times he would have a scribe write them as he dictated them. I have never had a problem accepting this. But as I read about Dorothy Martin sitting down and writing messages given to her after prayer and receiving the from individuals on another planet, I thought to myself, “She’s crazy.” But why he and not Noah? Why is she crazy and not Joseph Smith?
Spoiler alert, the flood that Dorothy Marin prophesied never happened. There were many people who believed her and made great sacrifices and changes in their lives because of their belief in her prophecy. And are they crazy for believing her? Are they nuts for making sacrifices and changes in their lives due to their belief? What if Noah’s flood never came? He would have been the laughing stock of the town. But it came and look whose laughing now. But would we only respect Dorothy Marin if her predicted flood came? I don’t know. Maybe there is something honorable in making dramatic changes in your life for something you believe to be true even if it turns out it’s not true. Maybe not. I’m still thinking about this one.