The Mormon Church is reminding its 15 million members that just because a supermoon and lunar eclipse are happening simultaneously tomorrow night doesn't mean the world as we know it is ending, the AP reports. "The Church encourages our members to be spiritually and physically prepared for life's ups and downs," the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says in a statement. "This teaching to be self-reliant has been accompanied by the counsel of Church leaders to avoid being caught up in extreme efforts to anticipate catastrophic events." Regardless, emergency-preparedness stores in Utah have seen surging sales ahead of tomorrow's so-called "blood moon" and the apocalypse it may or may not herald.
Mormon author Julie Rowe is preaching the significance of events such as tomorrow's lunar eclipse and supermoon—which hasn't happened in 33 years and won't happen again for another 18, the AP notes. While it's unclear how many Mormons take her seriously, it was enough for the church to issue a public statement, itself a rare occurrence. "For it to filter up to that level and for them to decide to send out a policy letter means that they felt there was something they needed to tamp down on," says a professor of Mormon studies. According to CNN, members of many religions are predicting blood-moon calamity this weekend, though scientists say they're barking up the wrong tree. "People have been predicting the end of the world for thousands of years in recorded history, and not a single time has that come about," one astronomer says.