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Prophetic Statements

David O. McKay

Nuclear War Hovering
Today, as we see hovering over the nations of the earth the ever-darkening clouds of nuclear war, we are prone to think that righteousness among man is waning. In our own beloved country, “a land choice above all other lands,” we are grieved and shocked when the Supreme Court renders a decision ruling that it is unconstitutional for the Federal Government or any state to require “a belief in the existence of God” as a qualification for public office; also, we experience apprehension when we know that enemies to our republican form of government are becoming more blatant; when we see political demagogues seemingly more successful, drunkenness and immorality flauntingly defiant—seeing these conditions we wonder whether mankind is growing better or worse. 1

Joseph Fielding Smith

The use of such dreadful instruments of destruction, as missiles and nuclear bombs, could create great havoc and bring untold destruction in the case of war. That war will eventually come is inevitable, but we should have faith in the Lord that he will protect those who humble themselves and keep his commandments.

There are predictions by the ancient prophets to the effect that great destruction will come and that the wicked will destroy the wicked. 2

Harold B. Lee

“We heard him [J. Reuben Clark Jr.] reply in answer to a question as to why he had put his life saving into his presently owned Grantsville ranch; ‘This is all I have to leave to my family when I die, and if hey are not too lazy to work it, they wont’ starve. I have told them that when the first atomic bomb is dropped here in America that they are to go out there on the ranch and stay until it is over.’ This last seemed not only to be wise counsel, but also a prophecy.” 3

Don’t you think it will be divine judgment rather than just a cosmic accident if the fabulous exploits of man suddenly become the instruments of total destruction? Now, you saw on the news just this last week an article predicting that the greatest calamity which would follow a nuclear attack would be the destruction of the birds, which prey on harmful insects and keep them from overrunning the earth. If we could only remember that the Lord has told us that preceding the Second Coming he will “send forth flies upon the face of the earth, which shall take hold of the inhabitants thereof, and shall eat their flesh, and shall cause maggots to come in upon them; and their flesh shall fall from off their bones, and their eyes [shall fall] from their sockets” (D&C 29:18-19). Well, shall we say that if those things come that it will just be an accident, or that it will be because of a divine judgment that God, because of our unfaithfulness and our unwillingness to live His law, will not spare us from these calamities? 4

Supporting Statements

J. Reuben Clark Jr.

Harold B. Lee stated, “We heard him [J. Reuben Clark Jr.] reply in answer to a question as to why he had put his life saving into his presently owned Grantsville ranch; ‘This is all I have to leave to my family when I die, and if hey are not too lazy to work it, they wont’ starve. I have told them that when the first atomic bomb is dropped here in America that they are to go out there on the ranch and stay until it is over.’ This last seemed not only to be wise counsel, but also a prophecy.” 5

Bruce R. McConkie

We do not say that all of the Saints will be spared and saved from the coming day of desolation. But we do say there is no promise of safety and no promise of security except for those who love the Lord and who are seeking to do all that he commands.

It may be, for instance, that nothing except the power of faith and the authority of the priesthood can save individuals and congregations from the atomic holocausts that surely shall be. And so we raise the warning voice and say: Take heed, prepare; watch and be ready. There is no security in any course except the course of obedience and conformity and righteousness.” 6

Most of the plagues and destructions, here announced for the early days of the seventh seal, are of such a nature that they (speculatively!) could be brought to pass in large part through atomic warfare. 7

Unbelievable upheavals of nature and the unloosing of near unlimited power shall bring to pass the destruction of a third part of all life in and on the oceans of the world! (Jer. 51:25; Amos 7:4.) Perhaps the turning of the waters of Egypt to blood was in similitude of this great latter-day plague. (Ex. 7:19-25.)

Revelation 8 11:10. Could this be atomic fallout which shall poison a third of the drinking water of the earth?

Revelation 8:12. As, perhaps, symbolized by the “thick darkness in all the land of Egypt” (Ex. 10:21-23), some forces of man or nature will blot out a third of the light of the luminaries of heaven.

Revelation 8:13. And these are but the beginning of that which is to be as wickedness is swept away to prepare the Lord’s footstool for his personal habitation. 8

During this particular period of the war and desolation the evil forces will be directed against all men, save those sealed up unto eternal life, for those in Zion shall be preserved. The plagues and torments of this era shall so afflict men that they shall desire to die rather than to suffer more. Perhaps John is seeing such things as the effects of poisonous gas, or bacteriological warfare, or atomic fallout, which disable but do not kill. 9

Neal A. Maxwell

The prospect or at least the possibility of nuclear war overhangs us and our time. It is a unique condition and a challenge which has men and women almost vying for attention as they describe the awesome threat. The threat is surely real enough. Wars may be actually fought with nuclear weapons in the future. The overriding concern, though exploited by some for their own ancillary purposes, is clearly justified as possibilities such as an ensuing “nuclear winter” press upon us. 10

When we pause to think of nuclear denouement, we find it almost instantly unthinkable. Yet we know that it is avoidable if mankind will keep God’s commandments. If we do not, then again, as God told us (long before man so worried about incinerating the world), the earth can be destroyed by fire. The outcome turns on whether mankind chooses to respond as in Nineveh or as in Sodom, for those are now the choices; Eden is long since behind us! 11

In seeking to analyze just what the scriptures tell those of us who live in a nuclear age regarding the destruction of the earth by fire and some of the related events in the last days, the author has found an interesting distribution of specific scriptural declarations. Of the nearly fifty scriptures used, five are from the Old Testament, three from the New Testament, twelve from the Book of Mormon, twenty from the Doctrine and Covenants, and two from the Pearl of Great Price. While not exhaustive, this is certainly indicative! 13

Today’s world trembles because of ancient grievances and hatreds, now nourished anew amid growing nuclear capacity. 14

It was Churchill with his eloquence who marked a time of limited possession of nuclear weapons, when there were only two such national powers, but these “two atomic colossi [were] malevolently eyeing each other over a trembling world.” “Malevolently eyeing” each other now are numerous nations possessing or soon to reach the capacity to make nuclear war. 15

It is clear to all thoughtful souls that life on this planet is precariously perched as never before-except for the days of Noah and the deluge. 16

  1. David O. McKay, Man May Know for Himself: Teachings of President David O. McKay, compiled by Clare Middlemiss [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1967], 382.
  2. Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 2: 189.
  3. Harold B. Lee, “President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.-An Appreciation on His 90th Birthday.” Improvement Era, Vol. 64, No. 9, September 1961, pp. 632-633
  4. Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 404.
  5. Harold B. Lee, “President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.-An Appreciation on His 90th Birthday.” Improvement Era, Vol. 64, No. 9, September 1961, pp. 632-633
  6. Bruce R. McConkie, Ensign May 1979, p. 93.
  7. Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 500.
  8. Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 500.
  9. Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: .
  10. Neal A. Maxwell, Sermons Not Spoken [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1985], 32.
  11. Neal A. Maxwell, Even As I Am [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 106.
  12. Neal A. Maxwell, Plain and Precious Things [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 78 – 79.[/ref

    In the search for peace, can we ask for God’s help in rallying the human family to avoid a nuclear holocaust, if we neglect the nuclear family wherein we can learn, first and best, about love, taking turns, negotiating, and restraining selfishness? 12Cory H. Maxwell, ed., The Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 121.

  13. Plain and Precious Things, p. 73.
  14. Neal A. Maxwell, Sermons Not Spoken [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1985], 32.
  15. Sermons Not Spoken, p. 27.

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