EARTHQUAKES: Will there be major earthquakes in the last days?

Prophetic Statements

Joseph Smith

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. 1

Brigham Young

Do you think there is calamity abroad now among the people?…All we have yet heard and all we have experienced is scarcely a preface to the sermon that is going to be preached. When the testimony of the Elders ceases to be given, and the Lord says to them, ‘come home; I will now preach My own sermons to the nations of the earth,’ all you now know can scarcely be called a preface to the sermon that will be preached with fire and sword, tempests, earthquakes, hail, rain, thunders, and lightnings and fearful destruction. What matters the destruction of a few railway cars? You will hear of magnificent cities, now idolized by the people, sinking in the earth, entombing the inhabitants. The sea will heave itself beyond its bounds, engulfing mighty cities. Famine will spread over the nations, and nation will rise up against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and states against states, in our own country and in foreign lands; and they will destroy each other, caring not for the blood and lives of their neighbors, of their families, or for their own lives. They will be like the Jaredites who preceded the Nephites upon this continent, and will destroy each other to the last man, through the anger that the devil will place in their hearts, because they have rejected the words of life and are given over to Satan to do whatever he listeth to do with them. You may think that the little you hear of now is grievous; yet the faithful of God’s people will see days that will cause them to close their eyes because of the sorrow that will come upon the wicked nations. The hearts of the faithful will be filled with pain and anguish for them. 2

John Taylor

We had a great war upon this continent some years ago; but there will yet be wars pass through these United States, and through other nations, until it will be mournful to hear the report of the bloodshed, the sorrow and trouble that will be caused thereby, as also by pestilence, famine and earthquake, and the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds, and storms and tempests, etc., etc. We have been gathered together from among the nations of the earth in order that God might have a people who would obey His law; 3

Wilford Woodruff

You will then call to mind this visitation of President Young and his company. You will say: That was in the days when Presidents Benson and Maughan presided over us; that was before New York was destroyed by an earthquake. It was before Boston was swept into the sea, by the sea heaving itself beyond its bounds; it was before Albany was destroyed by fire; yea at that time you will remember the scenes of this day. Treasure them up and forget them not. President Young followed and said: ‘What Brother Woodruff has said is revelation and will be fulfilled’. 4

The Lord is not going to disappoint either Babylon or Zion, with regard to famine, pestilence, earthquakes or storms…lay up your wheat and other provision against a day of need, for the day will come when they will be wanted, and no mistake about it…. We shall want bread, and the Gentiles will want bread, and if we are wise we shall have something to feed them and ourselves when famine comes. 5

Harold B. Lee

Men may fail in this country, earthquakes may come, seas may heave beyond their bounds, there may be great drought, disaster, and hardship, but this nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail. This is the cradle of humanity, where life on this earth began in the Garden of Eden. This is the place of the new Jerusalem. This is the place that the Lord said is favored above all other nations in all the world. This is the place where the Savior will come to His temple. This is the favored land in all the world. Yes, I repeat, men may fail, but this nation won’t fail. I have faith in America; you and I must have faith in America, if we understand the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are living in a day when we must pay heed to these challenges.

I plead with you not to preach pessimism. Preach that this is the greatest country in all the world. This is the favored land. This is the land of our forefathers. It is the nation that will stand despite whatever trials or crises it may yet have to pass through. 6

Joseph Fielding Smith

The distress and perplexity, bloodshed and terror, selfish ambition of despotic rulers, such as the world has never before seen, all indicate that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is very near, even at our doors. We have been warned by the prophets from the beginning of time. They have declared, by revelation from the Lord, that in this present day, confusion, bloodshed, misery, plague, famine, earthquake, and other calamities, would cover the face of the earth. The Lord told his disciples of these dreadful scenes and said men’s hearts would fail them because of these things coming upon the earth. . . . 7

Ezra Taft Benson

Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they will somehow be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion. 8

In Matthew, chapter 24, we learn of ‘famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes,…’ (Matt 24:7) The Lord declared that these and other calamities shall occur. These particular prophecies seem not to be conditional. The Lord, with his foreknowledge, knows that they will happen. Some will come about through man’s manipulations; others through the forces of nature and nature’s God, but that they will come seems certain. Prophecy is but history in reverse – a divine disclosure of future events. 9

Gordon B. Hinckley

We can heed warnings. We have been told that many warnings had been given concerning the vulnerability of New Orleans. We are told by seismologists that the Salt Lake Valley is a potential earthquake zone. This is the primary reason that we are extensively renovating the Tabernacle on Temple Square. This historic and remarkable building must be made to withstand the shaking of the earth.

We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the best storehouse is the family storeroom. 10

Manti Dedicatory Prayer

How can we declare the multitude of all Thy mercies which Thou hast shown to Thy dependent, covenant children who have put their trust in Thee . . . the earthquakes which have engulfed islands, provinces and cities, with the multitudes of their inhabitants, while Thy people have dwelt safely in this volcanic region, unharmed and undisturbed thereby; neither is the din of war heard in all our borders. (Read entire prayer)


D&C 1:12

Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh;

Matt 24:7

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

Revelation 6:12

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

Revelation 16:18

And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

D&C 88:89–91

For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.

Luke 21:11

And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

Supporting Statements

Bruce R. McConkie

Before the Lord comes, the whole earth will be in turmoil. Wars and rumors of wars will spread death and destruction and disease that will dwarf anything ever known among men. Plagues and pestilence and pain will punish the people to a degree never before known. Men will be cursed physically and spiritually; the flesh of many will fall from their bones and their eyes from their sockets. Earthquakes will destroy many cities and bring death to their municipals; fire and hail will destroy the crops of the earth; rivers and seas and deserts and mountains will be contaminated; the waters of the world will be polluted; famines and poisons and dead bodies will be commonplace. No tongue can tell the desolations and sorrows that are yet to be, all of which will be climaxed by the burning of the vineyard, at which time every corruptible thing will be consumed
(Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 633.)

Dallin H. Oaks

Signs of the Second Coming are all around us and seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity. For example, the list of major earthquakes in The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004 shows twice as many earthquakes in the decades of the 1980s and 1990s as in the two preceding decades (pp. 189–90). It also shows further sharp increases in the first several years of this century. The list of notable floods and tidal waves and the list of hurricanes, typhoons, and blizzards worldwide show similar increases in recent years (pp. 188–89). Increases by comparison with 50 years ago can be dismissed as changes in reporting criteria, but the accelerating pattern of natural disasters in the last few decades is ominous…. While we are powerless to alter the fact of the Second Coming and unable to know its exact time, we can accelerate our own preparation and try to influence the preparation of those around us. 11

Neal A. Maxwell

The “whole earth shall be in commotion” [D&C 45:26], contributing undoubtedly to a condition in which “men’s hearts shall fail them” and in which fear “shall come upon all people” [D&C 88:91]. Some of that fear will exist because of “those things which are coming” [Luke 21:26]. Much of this “commotion” may be geophysical, with earthquakes, seas heaving themselves beyond their bounds, and other cataclysmic events.… But the basic unsettlement of “all things” may reflect the seismology of a sensual, secular society. The sense of being unanchored will be pervasive. 12

  1. History of The Church, 1:315-316
  2. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, pg. 123.
  3. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 24, pg. 200.
  4. Deseret News, 33:678; Journal of Discourses, 21:299
  5. Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 18:121
  6. Harold B. Lee, Ye Are the Light of the World 350-51
  7. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, p. 19
  8. Ezra Taft Benson – October Conference, 1980 Ensign, November 1980, p. 32-33
  9. Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare Ye,” Ensign, Jan 1974, 68
  10. Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, October 2005, If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear
  11. Dallin H. Oaks, Conference Report, October 2004, “Preparation for the Second Coming”
  12. Sermons Not Spoken, pp. 28-29.
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