What Bruce McConkie wrote in the past is not necessarily Mormon Doctrine, but this excerpt from his book, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man ( p.30) is a good explanation of when Mormons expect to be the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
” Many scriptures attest that “the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.” (D&C 110:16.) In our revelations the Lord says, “The time is soon at hand that I shall come in a cloud with power and great glory” (D&C 34:7), and that “the great day of the Lord is nigh at hand. . . . For in mine own due time will I come upon the earth in judgment” (D&C 43:17, 29). Speaking of his coming, the Lord says in one revelation that it shall be “not many days hence” (D&C 88:87), and in another, that the wars to precede it are “not yet, but by and by” (D&C 63:35). These and like sayings fall into perspective when we hear him say: “These are the things that ye must look for; and, speaking after the manner of the Lord, they are now nigh at hand, and in a time to come, even in the day of the coming of the Son of Man.” (D&C 63:53.) We conclude that in the eternal perspective the coming of the Lord is nigh, but that from man’s viewpoint many years may yet pass away before that awesome and dreadful day. And we must remind ourselves that he will not come until all that is promised has come to pass.
Time, as measured “after the manner of the Lord,” is that which prevails on Kolob. One revolution of that planet is “a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning,” such “being one thousand years according to the time appointed” for our earth. (Abr. 3:4.) This earth was created and destined to pass through “seven thousand years of . . . continuance, or . . . temporal existence,” with the millennial era becoming its Sabbath of rest. “We are to understand,” as it is set forth in the revealed word, “that as God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he finished his work, and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth, even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, and shall redeem all things.” Certain named events are then specified to precede his coming. They are “the preparing and finishing of his work, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years-the preparing of the way before the time of his coming.” (D&C 77:6, 12.) That is to say, the Lord Jesus Christ is going to come “in the beginning of the seventh thousand years.” We, of course, cannot tell with certainty how many years passed from the fall of Adam to the birth of Jesus, nor whether the number of years counted by our present calendar has been tabulated without error. But no one will doubt that we are in the Saturday night of time and that on Sunday morning the Lord will come.
Peter had the Lord’s time in mind when he wrote that “there shall come in the last days scoffers,” mockers who do not believe the scriptural accounts stating that God created the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. They will say: “Where is the promise of his coming?” They will reject the Second Coming with its millennial era of peace, with its new heaven and new earth wherein death and sorrow cease, because, as they falsely reason: “Since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” They will say such things as: ‘How can there be a millennial era during which men will live to the age of a tree, when everyone knows we are the end product of evolution and that death has always existed on earth?’ But Peter says that they “willingly are ignorant” of God’s true dealings with reference to the creation, with reference to the flood of Noah, and with reference to the coming day of judgment, a day when “the elements shall melt with fervent heat” and all things shall become new.
To the saints, among whom are we, he says: “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise. . . . But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise.” (2 Pet. 3:3-13.)
Thus, also, we read in latter-day revelation: “Now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man. . . . For after today cometh the burning-this is speaking after the manner of the Lord.” (D&C 64:23-24.)
With reference to that day of which we write, Joseph Smith said: “I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter. I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face. I believe the coming of the Son of Man will not be any sooner than that time.” (D&C 130:14-17.) A few days after making this statement the Prophet referred to it in a sermon and said: “I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written-the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till I am eighty-five years old.”
It was in this same sermon that he said: “Were I going to prophesy, I would say the end [of the world] would not come in 1844, 5, or 6, or in forty years. There are those of the rising generation who shall not taste death till Christ comes.” The rising generation includes all those yet to be born to parents then living. Manifestly many of these are now among us and will be living after the year A.D. 2000 has come and gone.
In this sermon also the Prophet said: “The coming of the Son of Man never will be-never can be till the judgments spoken of for this hour are poured out: which judgments are commenced.” (Teachings, p. 286.) At this point he alluded to Paul’s statements that the saints are the children of light and not of darkness and that the coming day should not overtake them as a thief in the night. And it is on these points-that he will not come until the signs of the times are fulfilled and that the children of light will recognize the signs-that we shall take our stand as we go forward in our studies.
To all of this we must append this verity: When the day arrives, he will come quickly. The time for repentance and preparation will be passed; the day of judgment will be upon us. His presence “shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire. . . . And it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day.” (Isa. 10:16-17.)
Hear, then, this counsel, O ye saints: “Be patient in tribulation until I come; and, behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, and they who have sought me early shall find rest to their souls.” (D&C 54:10.) Also: “Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord.” (D&C 87:8.)