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Bill "Papa" Lee

Joseph’S Civil War Prophecy, Can Some Of The Pundit’S Help…

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On Christmas day in 1832 (according to D&C) Joseph prophesied concerning the “War of Northern Aggression”, that is what we call it, you may know of it as the “Civil War” :rolleyes: . In the very first verse of D&C 87, he mentions the State in which it would begin. He then goes on to speak of other wars.

When was this first published?

Has anything changed in the original text?

I am involved in a discussion and do not want to give out incorrect facts.

Any help would be appreciated.

I include the first 3 verses…

D&C 87: 1-3

1Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;

2And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.

3For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, 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 then war shall be poured out upon all nations.

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Here's the record from Revelation Book 2, from the Joseph Smith Papers:

A Prophecy given Decm. 25th 1832

Verily thus saith the Lord, concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass begining at the rebellion of South Carolina which will eventually terminate in the death and missery of many souls, and the days will come that war will be poured out upon all Nations begining at this place for behold the southern states shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other [Nations] even the Nation of Great Britian 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 Slaves shall rise up against there Masters who shall be Martialed and disaplined for war and it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will martial themselves also and shall become exceding angry and shall vex the Gentiles with a soar vexation 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 the fierce and vivid light ning also shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath and indignation and chastning hand of an Almighty God untill the consumption decribed decreed hath made a full end of all Nations that the cry of the saints and of blood of the saints shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Saboath from the earth to be avenged of their enimies, wherefore stand ye in holy places and be not moved untill the day of the Lord come, for be hold it cometh quickly saith the Lord. Amen

Given by Joseph the Seer writtn by

F[rederick] G Williams

Here are the explanatory Historical Introduction notes, as listed on the JSPP page for that document:

The ongoing conflict over tariffs between the Andrew Jackson administration and the state of South Carolina provided the background for this revelation. In particular, the dispute centered on the tariff of 1828 that South Carolina had declared “null and void,” threatening to secede from the union if forced to comply. This revelation characterized the rebellion of South Carolina as the beginning of global warfare that would preced Jesus’ Second Coming. The text later came to be viewed primarily as a prophecy of the American Civil War.

Frederick G. Williams recorded this text in Revelation Book 2 between December 1832 and January 1833 and identified it as “A Prophecy given Decm. 25th 1832.” A notation at the close of the text further elaborates, “Given by Joseph the Seer written by F G Williams.” Edward Partridge made a copy of the revelation possibly as early as spring 1833. Sidney Gilbertincluded a copy of the text in his revelation notebook, also in spring 1833. John Whitmer later recorded it in Revelation Book 1, where it is designated “Prophecy or Commandment given Decem. 25. 1832.” Aothough this revelation was never published in JS’s lifetime, other manuscript versions are extant.

Hope some of this is helpful.

Edited by nackhadlow

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Well, I don't have the details that you are requesting, but just a comment on verse 2.

Some consider he Civil War as the precursor for the Great War, using the methods and technology for modern warfare, including:

  • logistics -- using trains to move men and material
    submarine
    the use of balloons to observe the enemy, which evolved into air war
    metal hulled warships
    trench warfare

Edited by cdowis

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Section 87 was not included in the Doctrine & Covenants until the 1876 edition.

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Section 87 was not included in the Doctrine & Covenants until the 1876 edition.

But it was recorded in 1832; right? I am not concerned when it became "canon". I just want to know the time line.

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But it was recorded in 1832; right? I am not concerned when it became "canon". I just want to know the time line.

This from Jeff Lindsay My link:

"Beginning in the 1830s, LDS missionaries carried manuscript copies of the above revelation with them in their missionary journeys, and "frequently read it to their congregations in various parts of the United States" (Roberts, p. 315). The entire revelation was printed in 1851 in Liverpool, England, in a pamphlet entitled, "The Pearl of Great Price." This was a decade before the first shot of the Civil War on April 12, 1861. Thus, the prediction was made 28 years before its fulfillment, and was printed and circulated in England and in the United States at least ten years before. Further, while speaking in Ramus, Illinois, on April 2, 1843, Joseph 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, December 25th, 1832." (See Doctrine and Covenants 130:12-13.)"

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The Civil War Prophecy:

Tariff Merely the Pretext

Andrew Jackson

Reverend A. J. Crawford

Washington, May 1, 1833.

I have had a laborious task here, but Nullification is dead; and its actors and courtiers will only be remembered by the People to be execrated for their wicked designs to sever and destroy the only good Government on the globe, and that prosperity and happiness we enjoy over every other portion of the World. Haman's gallows ought to be the fate of all such ambitious men who would involve their Country in Civil War, and all the evils in its train, that they might reign and ride on its whirlwinds and direct the storm. The Free People of these United States have spoken, and consigned these wicked demagogues to their proper doom. Take care of your Nullifiers; you have them among you; let them meet with the indignant frowns of every man who loves his Country. The Tariff, it is now known, was a mere pretext - its burden was on your coarse woolens. By the law of July, 1832, coarse woolen was reduced to five per cent., for the benefit of the South. Mr. Clay's Bill takes it up and classes it with woolens at fifty per cent., reduces it gradually down to twenty per cent., and there it is to remain, and Mr. Calhoun and all the Nullifiers agree to the principle. The cash duties and home valuation will be equal to fifteen per cent. more, and after the year 1842, you pay on coarse woolens thirty-five per cent. If this is not Protection, I cannot understand; therefore the Tariff was only the pretext, and Disunion and a Southern Confederacy the real object. The next pretext will be the Negro or Slavery question.

My health is not good, but is improving a little. Present me kindly to your lady and family, and believe me to be your friend. I will always be happy to hear from you.

ANDREW JACKSON

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I am not concerned when it became "canon". I just want to know the time line.

When it became canon (published) seems relevant to me.

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Having just taken a civil war era class last semester, i had always been under the impression that most people believed civil war to be a foregone conclusion. I was very surprised to find out that even into the 1850's no one really expected the trouble to go that far, even though the south had been using it as a leveraging tool for decades.

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When it became canon (published) seems relevant to me.

We consider (or I do) everything in the Standard Works, a “canon”. The point that others have made and the facts seem to support is that he received this revelation 29 years before the start of the Civil War at Fort Sumter, “South Carolina”. I think this is something that cannot be ignored or called a lucky guess.

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Having just taken a civil war era class last semester, i had always been under the impression that most people believed civil war to be a foregone conclusion. I was very surprised to find out that even into the 1850's no one really expected the trouble to go that far, even though the south had been using it as a leveraging tool for decades.

Excellent point.

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Having just taken a civil war era class last semester, i had always been under the impression that most people believed civil war to be a foregone conclusion. I was very surprised to find out that even into the 1850's no one really expected the trouble to go that far, even though the south had been using it as a leveraging tool for decades.

Which text did you use, and (or) who was your intructor? I'd really like to have a resource for this, because it comes up more than "frequently" in this kind of forum.

We know there were many "compromises" that kept delaying the eventual outcome. We know there were always highhopes for continued union. (I am not convinced that the Union was worth saving in that way. Sometimes I wish the Confederacy had won. because it would have been definitive taht a state had the right to withdraw from the federation, and that would be a counterweight to the power of the central government.)

I am personally convinced that the War Between the States was the Lord's punishment for the murder of Joseph and Hyrum, much like the Roman destruction of Jerusalem was for the murder of Jesus. But that's grist for another mill.

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers

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Which text did you use, and (or) who was your intructor? I'd really like to have a resource for this, because it comes up more than "frequently" in this kind of forum.

We know there were many "compromises" that kept delaying the eventual outcome. We know there were always highhopes for continued union. (I am not convinced that the Union was worth saving in that way. Sometimes I wish the Confederacy had won. because it would have been definitive taht a state had the right to withdraw from the federation, and that would be a counterweight to the power of the central government.)

I am personally connivnced that the War Between the States was the Lord's punishment for the murder of Joseph and Hyrum, much like the Roman destruction of Jerusalem was for the murder of Jesus. But that's grist for another mill.

Lehi

We used three texts for the class: "life of a slave girl" by Harriet Jacobs, "a short history of reconstruction" by Eric Foner, and "Battle Cry of Freedom" by James McPherson.

The last one, by McPherson, is an excellent resource and VERY indepth (it's over 800 pages long and we read most of it).

My professor's name was Dr. Keith Edgerton.

As to whether or not it would have been good had the south won the war, I'm thoroughly convinced that it would have been a disaster if they had won. If that precedent had been set, every state would have used it against the union to get their way and would then leave to form their own country if they didn't. The U.S. would become another europe made up of dozens of tiny countries all vying for power, resources, and control of key areas. Wars would inevitably have broken out over water rights, shipping lanes, taxes over imports and exports from country to country, etc.

In my opinion, the only reason North America escaped the constant state of war that Europe suffered through for hundreds of years was the fact that we were not in close proximitey to very many other countries. Had the South won and states started to break away from the union to form their own countries, i believe we would have become another europe and would have suffered as they have.

I very much believe that God's hand was in the saving of the union.

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We used three texts for the class: "life of a slave girl" by Harriet Jacobs, "a short history of reconstruction" by Eric Foner, and "Battle Cry of Freedom" by James McPherson.

The last one, by McPherson, is an excellent resource and VERY indepth (it's over 800 pages long and we read most of it).

My professor's name was Dr. Keith Edgerton.

As to whether or not it would have been good had the south won the war, I'm thoroughly convinced that it would have been a disaster if they had won. If that precedent had been set, every state would have used it against the union to get their way and would then leave to form their own country if they didn't. The U.S. would become another europe made up of dozens of tiny countries all vying for power, resources, and control of key areas. Wars would inevitably have broken out over water rights, shipping lanes, taxes over imports and exports from country to country, etc.

In my opinion, the only reason North America escaped the constant state of war that Europe suffered through for hundreds of years was the fact that we were not in close proximitey to very many other countries. Had the South won and states started to break away from the union to form their own countries, i believe we would have become another europe and would have suffered as they have.

I very much believe that God's hand was in the saving of the union.

As a Southerner I agree. This Union and Nation is the last great hope for the world as far a countries go.

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The Civil War Prophecy:

No commentary about the statement, from Andrew Jackson? Do you think it was prophecy or a guess based on the times Joseph lived in?

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Here's something:

Many Latter-day Saints might believe that although the Bible's pattern of knowledge of the future is at best ambiguous, we have clear examples of certain prophetic foreknowledge in the Restoration. But careful examination yields the same results, probably in more definitive form, since most source documents have not been lost in the course of textual transmission. In fact, the classic example used in LDS and RLDS apologetics to demonstrate Joseph Smith's prophetic foresight, the 1832 Prophecy on War (D&C 87), thought to have predicted the American Civil War, tends to invalidate the model.

When the revelation was given on 25 December 1832 at or near Kirtland, Ohio, it clearly referred to the immediate political uncertainties provoked by the 1832 American Nullification Crisis. The 1832 Tariff Act, which favored northern industrial interests at the expense of southern agricultural concerns, because of the harm it wrought on foreign, primarily British, trade, had been declared null and void by the South Carolina legislature. President Andrew Jackson had responded by calling on federal troops to suppress rebellion in the state. In the midst of the crisis, Joseph Smith received the Prophecy on War. In the preface to the revelation in the History of the Church (1:301), he explicitly established the Nullification Crisis as the background for the revelation. In the revelation, he describes "wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning with the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls; And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place" (vv. 1-2, emphasis added). Thus he seems to state that the Nullification Crisis will result in world war.

This becomes explicit in the next verse, which originally read: "For behold, the Southern States will call upon other nations, 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" (v. 3, emphasis added). Clearly a causal relationship, demonstrated by the word "thus," is seen between the rebellion of South Carolina, the [p.35] southern states' appeal to Britain, and a war among all nations which would engulf the whole world, destroying the fabric of society (slaves raise up in war against their masters in v. 4; American Indians vex the gentiles in v. 5) and culminating in the apocalyptic "consumption decreed" which makes "a full end of all nations" (v. 6) before the Second Coming. Note that there is no hint in the text that slavery itself would be at issue in the rebellion of South Carolina. For Joseph Smith in 1832, the prophecy predicted the immediate onset of a series of cataclysmic events preceding the parousia.

Shortly after the revelation was recorded, the Nullification Crisis was peacefully resolved and ceased to threaten the "death and misery of many souls" or any such string of events. Although the revelation apparently circulated among the prophet's intimates, it was shelved, never to be published in his lifetime. Outside of the circle of his intimates, he only referred to the general idea of impending general war contained in the revelation, rather than to its failed timetable and scenario of coming events.5 Joseph's further reflection on the revelation, coupled with subsequent events, produced a change in his interpretation of the revelation near the end of his life. Since he believed that the prophecy came to him from heaven and that every word of the Lord would eventually be fulfilled, he was able, even encouraged, to reinterpret the words that he himself had earlier penned.

On 2 April 1843, while giving some private items of instruction to close followers in Illinois, the prophet recounted a dream he had had on the evening of 9 March, in which an old man fleeing from mobs begged Smith for assistance, received a somewhat guarded reply from Smith, and added, running from Smith's sight, that he himself could place any number of men at Smith's disposal should the latter decide that his case was just. The interpretation, given by Orson Pratt apparently with Smith's endorsement, followed: the government of the United States which had turned a deaf ear to the Saints' pleas for protection, attacked by Great Britain, would beg for Smith's aid in securing the western territories. After Pratt's interpretation, Smith stated the following, "I prophesy, in the Name of the Lord God that the commencement of bloodshed as preparatory to the coming of the son of man. will commence in South Carolina,(it probably may come through the slave trade.)this the voice declared to me. while I was praying earnestly on the [p.36] subject 25 December 1832."6 Of interest here is the fact that the original 1832 text has undergone serious reinterpretation: it is now linked with the hopes of Smith to aid the United States, and the cause of the wars has been changed from the 1832 Nullification crisis to perhaps the slave question.

In 1851, seven years after Smith's death and a year after the compromise of 1850 had brought the slave/free question to the front pages of American newspapers, the reinterpreted but textually intact 1832 revelation was first published by Franklin Richards in Liverpool in the Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star and in the first edition of the Pearl of Great Price. It received great play just before and during the Civil War, which in fact began with the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor on 2 April 1861. But even granting the insight that war would begin in South Carolina, the suite of events predicted in the revelation did not occur. Although the South made overtures to Great Britain, the English never entered directly into the war, all the nations of the earth were not dragged into an American domestic conflict, and, of course, Jesus did not return in glory at the end of this unfulfilled string of events.

But the fact that the revelation when carelessly read seemed to predict at least the Civil War insured that it would not be shelved again. It was included in the Utah edition of the Doctrine and Covenants in 1876, as was an edited version of its 1843 reinterpretation, now found as D&C 130:12-13. Although dire predictions were given from the pulpit during the Civil War predicting the overthrow of the American government and citing the 1832 revelation, none survived in LDS tradition after Appomattox.7

In the wake of World War I, seen by many of the Saints as part of the "consumption decreed" and wars involving all nations to precede the end, it seemed that perhaps the revelation was right on the mark in predicting future history. After all, world war had come after the Civil War and the Indian wars. But this again was an after-the-fact reinterpretation of the revelation. For such an interpretation, one had to filter one's reading of the text much like Christian filtering of Old Testament prophecies. One had to ignore the causal relationship in the revelation between South Carolina's revolt and world war, so clearly indicated in the revelation's use of the word "thus" in verse 3. But this minor problem was resolved in 1921, when James Talmage and other members of a revision committee edited [p.37] the text so that it fit more comfortably with this post-World War I interpretation. "Thus" was changed to "then." This change weakened the causal tone of verse 3 and reduced it to a temporal sequence, allowing for the interpretive interposition of longer periods of time between Carolina's rebellion, the call of the southern states to Great Britain, and subsequent world war. Although every manuscript copy and published form of the revelation until 1921 reads "thus," the revision committee should probably not be accused of outright falsification. In the Kirtland Revelation Book, a collection of manuscripts to the published revelations, the word appears cramped at a margin, and with enough wishful thinking one might be able to wring a "then" out of it, but only if one really wanted to read "then" instead of "thus." And this, apparently, is what the revision committee wanted to do in order to reinforce Smith's gift of foreseeing the future. Here is a case where the predictive element of the text was maintained only through textual reinterpretation and emendation.

Prophetic Foreknowledge:

Hope and Fulfillment in an Inspired Community

Anthony A. Hutchinson

The Word of God, p.29

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Here's something:

Thanks...that was good. Although who is (or what) is the "Hope and Fulfillment in an Inspired Community"?

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Well, I don't have the details that you are requesting, but just a comment on verse 2.

Some consider he Civil War as the precursor for the Great War, using the methods and technology for modern warfare, including:

  • logistics -- using trains to move men and material
    submarine
    the use of balloons to observe the enemy, which evolved into air war
    metal hulled warships
    trench warfare

The greatest of all innovations used in the American Civil War that has been essential in all wars since that time is the use of rifling within gun barrels. And though some polemicists disagree with the notion that the Southern states called upon Great Britain and other nations for aid, I suggest they do a little more research. The Confederacy desperately wanted aid from Britain, and Britain sent "unofficial" diplomats to determine whether getting into the war was feasible, the most notable being Arthur Freemantle, who actually predicted that the South would win the war (even after witnessing Lee's dramatic defeat at Gettysburg).

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No commentary about the statement, from Andrew Jackson? Do you think it was prophecy or a guess based on the times Joseph lived in?

The Civil War Prophecy:

"The Crisis," The Painesville Telegraph, December 8, 1832. (Published 11 miles from Smith's home, four days before his prophecy, in a newspaper often quoted by the Evening and Morning Star.)

And what is this but nullification? What casuists can distinguish between it and the doctrines of South Carolina? The latter proposes to nullify an act of the legislative branch of the Federal government – the former to resists by force a decision of the Judiciary branch. The Judiciary is as much a branch of the general government as the legislature and resistance to either is practical nullification. It is true that in South Carolina the parties are respectively designated as Nullifiers and Unionists while in Georgia, the prostrators of the Judiciary have christened their nullification, by the name of Resistance, and contemptuously branded their opponents as Submission-men. But names cannot alter things; -- and if Governor LUMPKIN proposes to avail himself of an objection to the phrase, the subterfuge is puerile. The only difference between them is in their application; and of the two sorts of substantial nullification, that of Georgia is the least defensible in principle and the most dangerous in its tendency. It is a direct appeal to the law of the strongest. The "engendering strifes" and "dissolving the most endearing relations in life" is not the climax of its mischief – for it aims at once at armed resistance and CIVIL WAR. It does not propose the peaceable reference of a great constitutional question for the Supreme Judiciary but recklessly nullifies the judiciary itself, at a blow. It does not consent to call a Convention of the States as an advisory body, and promise an ultimate acquiescence in its decision, but claims to be its own arbiter and avenger –"throws itself upon (such) rights as it asserts, ipso arbitrio, to be reserved – and gathering up into the attitude of defiance, bids the Union to come on if it durst! That much is the real meaning of Governor. LUMPKIN, and that he intends to resort to arms in repealing the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court cannot reasonably be questioned for he presses upon the Legislature the policy of organizing a more efficient militia, and recommends the incorporation of volunteer companies throughout the State – for what purpose? – to afford (we quote his words) – "a rallying point, in case of sudden alarm from ANY quarter, foreign or DOMESTIC."

What then is really the present position of our country? Two states out of twenty-four, have put at defiance two out of the three branches of the General Government! Georgia has set the example of nullification of the Judiciary, which South Carolina is following in relation to Congress. The latter threatens, what the former has practiced. A few months more will test the permanency of our institutions, and decide the problem whether man is capable of self-government; -- for in a few months more, unless some signal interposition shall arrest the course of events in both these States, our national existence is at an end, and ???? may be inscribed over the halls of the Capitol.

Edited by Chris Smith

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The Civil War Prophecy:

Chris, what are your personal views on the events?

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The greatest of all innovations used in the American Civil War that has been essential in all wars since that time is the use of rifling within gun barrels. And though some polemicists disagree with the notion that the Southern states called upon Great Britain and other nations for aid, I suggest they do a little more research. The Confederacy desperately wanted aid from Britain, and Britain sent "unofficial" diplomats to determine whether getting into the war was feasible, the most notable being Arthur Freemantle, who actually predicted that the South would win the war (even after witnessing Lee's dramatic defeat at Gettysburg).

Good info...thanks.

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Chris, what are your personal views on the events?

Since I'm not a Mormon, I'm sure it won't surprise you to learn that I don't think Smith's prophecy was divinely inspired. I think it's very probable that Joseph Smith read the Painesville Telegraph article I quoted above, and based his prophecy on it. But even if he didn't, it seems clear that fear of civil war in connection with the S.C. nullification crisis was "in the air," so to speak.

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it seems clear that fear of civil war in connection with the S.C. nullification crisis was "in the air," so to speak.

But nullification was not about slavery ("probably arise over the slave question"). It was about tariffs

Lehi

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