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Analysis of Joseph Smith’s ‘Civil War Prophecy’ (D&C 87)…


“Very thus saith the Lord, concerning the…”


Four weeks before this prophecy, on 24 November 1832, a tariff nullification ordinance was passed in South Carolina. This ordinance dismissed “certain acts of the Congress of the United States.” In October 1832, U.S. President Andrew Jackson warned forts in S.C. that a confrontation with the state was possible.


“[W]ars that will shortly come to pass…”


The idea that a war would break out, starting in South Carolina, was common knowledge at the time. On 21 December 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].


“[B]eginning at the rebellion of South Carolina which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls, and the days will come that…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…”


Joseph Smith’s prophecy fails here due to his prediction that the civil war would bring war to “all nations.” This did not happen.


“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…”


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.”


“…Slaves shall rise up against their Masters who shall be Marshaled and disciplined for war…”


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” during the war.


~See Williams, Washington Times, “Blacks Who Fought For the South.”~


“[A]nd it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will martial themselves also and shall become exceeding angry and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation and…”


“The remnants” which were defined by Joseph Smith as the Lamanites (Native Americans) never did “vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation” because of the war.


“[T]hus 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 behold it cometh quickly saith the Lord.”


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 (New York, NY: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002), 268-270.