We hear this being taught all the time. Before the Lord returns to the Earth, the Gospel must go out to all nations first.
I have heard this teaching being used to justify the war in Iraq. In Elder’s Quorum a few months back, the instructor said, “I know many of you disapprove of the war, but just remember, the Lord works in mysterious ways, and I believe this war will lead to the spreading of the Gospel to these nations in order to fulfill God’s prophecy.”
First of all, where does this prophecy exist? I remember looking into it a little in-depth on my mission when a member of the MTC presidency commented that, in order to reach all of the people in Brazil, they would need an additional 75 missions. They had 23 at the time. I thought, that’s going to take awhile. Anyway, I couldn’t find any references to this prophecy, in the scriptures, or otherwise.
Second, do we realize how many countries have not heard the Gospel yet? China, much of Africa, the Middle East, etc. That constitutes a large percentage of the Earth’s population. While I don’t think the Second Coming is going to happen any time soon, I don’t think it’s going to wait until everybosy on Earth has heard the Gospel.
Third, what does “hearing the Gospel” constitute? Is it sitting down with the Missionaries for a discussion? Talking with a member perhaps. How about hearing or seeing an LDS commercial (family, isn’t it about…time).
I never understood this thinking and am not sure where it came from, and if it is even realistic.