LDS Articles of Faith, Part LVII
Article 10, Christ’s 2nd Coming & Judgment, Part 4
The tenth LDS Article of Faith says: “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.” Joseph Smith began to emphasize Christ’s second coming soon after he founded the “Church of Christ” in 1830. At an LDS Conference meeting on May3, 1834 “a motion was made by Sidney Rigdon and seconded by Newell K. Whitney, that this Church be known hereafter by the name of ‘The Church of the Latter-day Saints.’ Remarks were made by the members, after which the motion was passed by unanimous vote” (History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 63). In 1838
Smith said he had the “revelation” in Doctrine and Covenants (D. & C.) 115:3-4 which changed the name of the LDS Church to “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
On May 5, 1834 Smith and other LDS left Kirtland, OH for Zion, Jackson County, MO. They were in MO about a month and started back to Kirtland, OH on July 9, 1834 arriving there on Aug. 1, 1834 (History of the Church, vol. 2, pp.63, 134, 139). LDS who went to MO were known as “Zion’s Camp.” On Feb. 14, 1835 Smith got his church together “because God had commanded it and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit. He then gave a relation of some of the circumstances attending us while journeying to Zion—our trials, sufferings: and said God had not designed all this for nothing, but He had it in remembrance yet; and it was the will of God that those who went to Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh—even fifty-six years should wind up the scene” (History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 182). The 192 men, 11 women, and 7 children who went to Zion with Smith are named in History of the Church, vol. 2, pages 183-185. None of those 210 people who went to MO as “Zion’s Camp” pruned the vineyard for the last time and none of them saw the Lord come 56 years later. Fifty-six years after Feb. 14, 1835 would be 1891, so some of “Zion’s Camp” should have been alive in 1891!
On April 6, 1843 Joseph Smith 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. I was once praying earnestly upon this subject, and a voice said unto me, ‘My son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years of age, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man.’ I was left to draw my own conclusions concerning this; and I took the liberty to conclude that if I did live to that time, He would make His appearance. But I do not say whether He will make His appearance or I shall go to where He is. 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” (History of the Church, vol. 5, p.336). That same message is In the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.286. Doctrine and Covenants, (D. & C.) 130:12-15 dated April 2, 1843 is where Smith said, “I prophesy, in the name of the Lord God, that the commencement of the difficulties which will cause much bloodshed previous to the coming of the Son of Man will be in South Carolina. It may probably arise through the slave question. This a voice declared to me, while I was praying earnestly on the subject on December 25, 1832. I was 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 this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearance, 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.” His reference to much bloodshed in South Carolina prior to Christ’s coming is about his revelation in D. & C. 87 which he said he received on December 25, 1832. Our last blog discussed D. & C. 87 and pointed out that most of it is false prophecy. The only part that was true was in newspapers before Smith’s revelation! Our last blog also discussed the false prophecy by Smith on January 4, 1833, which is in the History of the Church, vol. 1, pp. 315-316. In it Joseph Smith prophesied that “bloodshed, pestilence, hail, famine and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation (living in 1833) from off the face of the land.” He urged LDS to quickly flee to Zion in Jackson County, MO for safety. Those who fled to Zion were forced to leave it a few months later, so it was not a place of safety for them! Smith also said, “There are those now living (in 1833) whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things which I have spoken fulfilled.” But those people living in 1833 all died more than a hundred years ago without seeing Smith’s predictions fulfilled!
On February 14, 1835Joseph Smith had the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon select the first 12 LDS apostles. They laid their hands upon each apostle’s head and prayed prophetic prayers over them. Then Smith and his First Presidency laid their hands on the new apostles and confirmed those prophetic prayers on each one. Most of the new LDS apostles were promised that they would live to see Christ’s second coming (History of the Church, vol.2, pp. 187-192). But they all died over a hundred years ago and did not see Christ’s second coming! The above examples show Smith’s emphasis on Christ’s second coming in his lifetime. Smith gave many more prophetic messages about preparing for Christ’s imminent return. And LDS leaders today continue to emphasize Christ’s soon return. The LDS Liahona magazine of August 2021 had an article on pp. 7-9 by Dallin H. Oaks, the First Counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS Church in which he quotes the current LDS Prophet, Russell M. Nelson who said, “We are just building up to the climax of this last dispensation—when the Savior’s Second Coming becomes reality.” Oaks said, “A positive sign of the times is the prophesied gathering of Israel which President Nelson has declared ‘is the most important thing taking place on earth today. As this gathering proceeds we are establishing stakes “for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth (Doctrine and Covenants 115:6). We are also accelerating the building of temples, where the faithful (LDS) can gather in their homelands to make covenants that allow them to be eligible for eternal life (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:19-22; 131:1-3).” The gathering of Israel that Oaks mentioned refers to the gathering of “LDS Israel.” On page 273 of Gospel Principles it says, “Converts to the (LDS) Church are Israelites either by blood or adoption.” That is not the gathering of Israel found in the Bible! Bible believing Christians believe in Christ’s Second coming and the gathering of Israel to their own land, not what LDS teach about it.
Next time we will continue our discussion of the tenth LDS Article of Faith.