29 Ye hear of wars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land.
30 I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear. (D&C 38:29-30)
Apparently the brethren were very much interested in the international situation at the time and speculating about the possibility of foreign wars a bit and praying about it. The Lord warned them that war was in the hearts of men nearby them as well. I think He wanted them to know so that it wouldn’t be so much of a shock when violence and mobbing broke out.
I think there is a principle here that still stands true today. We hear stories of wickedness in faraway places or other towns or other neighborhoods and we tsk-tsk over that, but we don’t know the hearts of people nearby. The same things can happen nearby. If we realize that, we won’t be so shocked when it does happen. A shooting can happen at our schools. Murders and thefts and all kinds of awful crime can happen on our streets. Our families can be affected. Our country can be attacked.
If we don’t realize this, when it happens it is as the Lord says, --it “shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth.” It’s worse than an earthquake because it destroys all mental-emotional sense of security and stability.
Realizing it could happen here or close by helps us not fear when it does. Not that we go around expecting awful things to happen, but retaining the sense that the awful can occur prepares us just enough to cope better if it does.