In the end-time scenario that the scriptures depict, evil comes to a head when the great and abominable church of the devil "gather[s] together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God" (1 Nephi 14:13), when many of the Gentiles "unite themselves to that great and abominable church" and fight against Zion (2 Nephi 6:12), when the disbelieving Gentiles "contend against the word of the Lord" at the time he shows the repentant Gentiles the things the Brother of Jared saw (Ether 4:7-9), and so forth. When those with whom God covenants pass the test of remaining loyal through the opposition that inevitably rears its head, he empowers them over their enemies. Only at that point does "the power of the Lamb of God" descend upon the "saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord," they becoming "armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory" (1 Nephi 14:14).
Passing the test of overcoming opposition by enemies-be they within or without the church-sanctifies the proxy saviors of God's people so that thereafter they are no more called Gentiles but "saints"-that is, sanctified ones, or "holy ones" (cf. Isaiah 4:3; 13:3; 62:12; Doctrine & Covenants 1:36). Hence, Nephi's definition of those who constitute "saints": "The righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it" (2 Nephi 9:18). Further definitions of "saints" include persons who offer up prayers on behalf of others (3 Nephi 5:14; Mormon 9:36), who are "caught up unto the church of the Firstborn, and received into the cloud" (Doctrine & Covenants 76:102), who "stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem" (Doctrine & Covenants 84:2), but who were erstwhile persecuted by "the mother of abominations" (Doctrine & Covenants 88:94).
Here is the link to the whole talk (thanks to a reader for posting this in the comments of a previous post):
Now, to see if Scott can get permissions for the Spencer portion of this conference. We talked on the phone yesterday and it sounds as if it were quite the event - lots of good people. John Pontius' widow (not sure if she is re-married or single at this point) was there. Quite a few people I would love to meet were there - and me on the outside once again..... :(
One day, I will be able to get to more of this kind of thing......