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Civil War Prophecy

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"The South will secede from the North, and the North will secede from us, and God will make this people free as fast as we are able to bear it…. The day is not far distant when you will see us as free as the air we breathe, and we will be ruled by our Father in heaven, and the agents he sends and appoints for us, from this day henceforth and forever.”

- Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, v. 9, p. 7, April 6, 1861; online at Link is here.

“Although transcribed in 1832, this prophecy [Civil War] did not appear in any LDS publication until 1851 (in the Pearl of Great Price), and then again in 1854 (in The Seer). On both occasions, however, it was not considered holy scripture, as it is today. Only after the Civil War, when republished in the 1876 edition Doctrine and Covenants, did the prediction receive scriptural status.”

- Richard Abanes, One Nation Under Gods, p. 267

Analysis of Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr.'s Civil War Prophecy

“Very thus saith the Lord, concerning the [1] wars that will shortly come to pass [2] beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls, and the days will come that [3] war will be poured out upon all Nations beginning at this place for behold the southern states shall be divided against the Northern States, and [4] the Southern States will call on other Nation[s] even the Nation of Great Britain as it is called and they shall also call upon other Nations in order to defend themselves against other Nations and thus war shall be poured out upon all Nations and it shall come to pass after many days [5] Slaves shall rise up against their Masters who shall be Marshaled and disciplined for war [6] and it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will martial [marshal] themselves also and shall become exceeding angry and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation and [7] 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 the 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 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 wherefore stand ye in holy places and be not moved until the day of the Lord come, for be hold it cometh quickly saith the Lord.”

- Doctrine and Covenants 87; online at Link is here.

1. Four weeks before this prophecy, on November 24, 1832, a tariff nullification ordinance was passed in South Carolina. This ordinance dismissed “certain acts of the Congress of the United States” (see Ford, The Federalist…). In October 1832, U.S. President Andrew Jackson warned forts in S.C. that a confrontation with the state was possible.
2. The idea that a war would break out, starting in South Carolina, was common knowledge at this time. On December 21, 1832 the Painesville Telegraph (only 10 miles from Smith's home) ran an article entitled “The Crisis,” which discussed the potential civil war. Also, the Morning Courier and New York Enquirer ran articles expressing concern about a possible war (these sources are cited frequently in Church publications at the time (i.e. The Evening and Morning Star).
3. Smith's prophecy fails here due to his prediction that the civil war would bring war to “all nations.” This did not happen.
4. Although the southern states did ask Great Britain for help, Great Britain never got directly involved in the war, and Great Britain never called upon other countries “to defend themselves against other Nations.”
5. Although some slaves surely did rise up against their masters, this did not happen in large numbers. In fact “between 60,000 and 93,000 blacks served the Confederacy in some capacity” (see Williams, “Blacks Who Fought For the South,” Washington Times) during the war.
6. “The remnants” which were defined by Joseph smith as Native Americans (“Lamanites”) never did “vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation” because of the war.
7. Nations did not come to a “full end” due to the war, and there was no increase in famine, plague, earthquakes, or thunder and lightning.

- See Abanes, One Nation Under Gods