LDS Articles of Faith, Part LVI
Article 10, Zion in America & War Leading to Christ’s Return, Part 3
The 10th LDS Article of Faith says, “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the ten tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.” LDS often call Doctrine and Covenants (D. & C.) Sec. 87 the Civil War prophecy, but it is also about the end of the present world. Smith said he received it on December 25, 1832. Verse (1) says, “Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate with the death and misery of many souls: (2) And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place (South Carolina). (3) For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations. (4) And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshalled and disciplined for war. (5) And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with sore vexation. (6) And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath and indignation and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations. (7) That the cry of the saints, and the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies. (8) Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold it cometh quickly, saith the Lord.” That is the complete D. & C. 87.
We will discuss each verse separately: Verse (1) is the only part of this revelation that is mostly true! But it was the Civil “War,” not wars, that began in South Carolina. Many U S newspapers predicted a Civil War soon after congress passed a tariff act on July 14,1832 that harmed the southern states, so Smith’s prophecy wasn’t unique. On November 24, 1832 South Carolina’s state convention nullified that tariff act! So, President Andrew Jackson sent General Scott with a warship and part of the army to Charleston, South Carolina on December 10, 1832 to enforce the tariff act and war was expected! On December 21, 1832 (4 days before Smith’s revelation in D. & C. 87), the Painesville, Ohio Telegraph & Geauga Free Press reprinted an article from the New York Currier and Enquirer saying a Civil War would begin in South Carolina and it contained other things in Smith’s “revelation.” Many American History books also have that information. Painesville, Ohio is a town next to Kirtland, Ohio where Smith was, so he had access to that newspaper as well as other widespread information about war beginning in South Carolina as early as 1832. (2) War was not poured out upon all nations beginning in So. Carolina. (3) There was already some division between the Northern and Southern States in 1832, so that wasn’t new. When the Civil War began in 1860, the Southern States did call upon Great Britain for help, but no help came! And Great Britain did not call on other nations to get involved in the Civil War and war was not poured out upon all nations! (4) Some slaves were involved in the war, but there was no great uprising against their masters. Some slaves even fought in place of their masters! (5) Most LDS commentators say the “remnants” refer to a branch of Israelites like the American Indians. But the Indians weren’t involved in the Civil War. There were battles between some Indians and white men, but any “vexing” was done by the “Gentiles” who vexed the Indians! (6) Wars do have bloodshed, so that wasn’t uncommon. But twice this verse says, “the inhabitants of the earth,” not “the inhabitants of the United States,” so it was referring to world-wide wars that make a full end of all nations,” which did not happen! During the Civil War there were no more famines, plagues, earthquakes, and thunder and lightning than normal and those things did not make all nations feel the wrath of God! Verse (7) is about retribution for trials LDS had in MO and elsewhere (which didn’t happen). (8) LDS were told on Dec. 25, 1832 to stand in “holy places” and don’t move until the day of the Lord comes because it is coming quickly! That was about 190 years ago, so anyone who took this command literally didn’t see it happen and died long before the Lord came! But if LDS are asked how they know that Smith was a true prophet, D. & C. 87 is often their answer!
The date of Smith’s revelation above was 10 days before his prophecy on January 4, 1833 which is on pages 315-316 of vol. I in the History of the Church. That prophecy is part of an article on pp. 312-316 and the footnotes on p. 312 says, “The Prophet (Joseph Smith) states subsequently that he wrote this communication by commandment of the Lord.” Smith’s prophecy says, “And now I am prepared to say by the authority of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass away before the United States shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the history of our nation; pestilence, hail, famine, and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of the land, to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country. The people of the Lord (LDS), those who have complied with the requirements of the new covenant have already commenced gathering together to Zion, which is in the state of Missouri; therefore, I declare unto you the warning which the Lord has commanded to declare unto this generation, remembering that the eyes of my maker are upon me, and that I am accountable for every word I say, wishing nothing worse to my fellow men than their eternal salvation; therefore, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come.’ Repent ye, repent ye, and embrace the everlasting covenant, and flee to Zion, before the overflowing scourge overtake you, for there are those now living upon the earth whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things, which I have spoken fulfilled.”
The date of the above prophecy by Smith was January 4, 1833. But the wicked living in 1833 were not swept off of the face of the land by pestilence, hail, famine, and earthquakes! Nor did the hour of God’s judgement come then! The “lost tribes of Israel” didn’t return from the north country! LDS tried to gather to Zion in Jackson County Missouri in 1833 but residents of MO demanded all LDS to leave a few months later. So, telling more LDS to “flee to Zion” was not good advice! The generation living in 1833 did not see everything Smith predicted happen! Do Joseph Smith’s prophecies above indicate that he was a true or a false prophet?
We will continue our discussion of the 10th LDS Article of Faith next time.