There will be a day of burning, but it will be a different experience, depending on where you stand.
A Day of Burning: For those being destroyed, it will be a destruction. But for those who are filled with light, it will be a reunion, a celebration, and a reuniting with Enoch’s Zion. Consider the difference between what is repeatedly quoted in Malachi, and what Moroni gave to Joseph Smith.
“1. For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”
“37. For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
What Moroni told Joseph Smith has deeper insight to the source of the burning. It is they that come (the return of the city of Enoch), when they come, that burns them. And the experience is very different, depending upon how much light you have in you (the oil in the vessel referred to in the parable of the ten virgins). For the proud and they that do wickedly, they are “as stubble,” leaving them neither root nor branch. They will loose their posterity (root and branch). But what about those who have sufficient light, what will their experience be like when the burning is upon the earth?
“63. And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other;
It will be a reunion, a celebration, a reuniting between Zion on earth and Enoch’s Zion in heaven. These things are real events. And it all points to the return of Zion to the earth!
Zion’s Return and Elijah’s Role: The return of Zion, to join those who are Zion on earth, is the prophecy that only Elijah will fulfill. When Elijah appears, it will only happen at the return of Zion.
5 ¶Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord [Zion’s Return]:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Joseph Smith states Elijah’s role even clearer, and gives insight to the role of the priesthood (which is differently than we think of it today):
“38. …Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord [Zion’s Return].”
But Moroni quotes it differently, explaining what Elijah is going to do. He said:
“39. …And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.”
Elijah ascended up the fiery corridor, when he left the earth, and has been prophesied to return in similar fashion, when Zion returns (the great and dreadful day of the Lord). His role is to prepare those on earth, so that the whole earth isn’t utterly wasted at the coming of the Lord. So that there will be a people who are able to receive the Lord at His coming, rather than be burned.
Conclusion: Identifying who “the fathers” are, that the children need to turn their hearts to, ought to matter. We need to get it right. If we turn our hearts to the wrong fathers, we will be utterly waisted at the coming of the Lord.
This life is a test on what is in our hearts. Agency is given to all to judge the matter for themselves. “My sheep hear my voice” is not a likelihood, a hope, or a question. It is a fact. You identify if you are His sheep by your ability to recognize His voice, when truth is presented to you in plainness, even as plain as word can be.
Christ is not here to gather everyone. He’s gathering only those who are His sheep. Those who aren’t able to self-select and hear His voice, He will cast them out:
“14. And again, doth a man take an ass which belongeth to his neighbor, and keep him? I say unto you, Nay; he will not even suffer that he shall feed among his flocks, but will drive him away, and cast him out. I say unto you, that even so shall it be among you if ye know not the name by which ye are called.
15. Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen.