A Remarkable Prophecy By President John Taylor As Told by Edward Lunt, An Ordinance Worker in the Mesa Temple
The following statement is published for research purposes. Note that the First Presidency (consisting of Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee and N. Eldon Tanner) published a letter to stake presidents, bishops, and mission presidents in the United States and Canada on March 30, 1970 expressing concerns with the authenticity of the statement as follows:
This purported statement, if ever given under such unheard of circumstances, was never presented to any of his associates or in any council of the Church and no record whatsoever is to be found in the historian’s office. We have the following memorandum from the Church Historian’s Office in Salt Lake City under the date of February 11, 1970 which reads as follows: “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
The so-called `Horse Shoe Prophecy’ of President John Taylor has a questionable background and history.
1. The `prophecy’ was first written down in 1951 by Edward Lunt which is between 64 and 74 years after it was supposed to have been given.
2. His mother ran the hotel from 1877 to 1888 during which time the `prophecy’ was supposed to have been given. President Taylor died July 25, 1887.
3. George A. Smith was supposed to have been there with President Taylor but he died in 1875, which was two years prior to the time Brother Lunt’s mother was in the hotel.
4. He states that his mother did not tell him until 1903 or 1904, which was about 25 years after it was supposed to have been given.
5. We have five different copies and no two of them are identical in wording.
6. One contains a statement about the Negro that purportedly is not in any of the others and particularly the one `version’ which was signed by Edward Lunt.
7. In checking the Deseret News we can find no record of President Taylor being in Cedar City after 1883. Nor is anything in the Parowan Stake Conference minutes.
8. There is no record by any of the General Authorities about it nor is there anything in the diaries of which we have copies.”“First Presidency Explains So-Called Prophecy,” Church News, April 4, 1970, 3.
The following incident occurred at my father’s home in Cedar City, at the time a stake conference was being held in that city, at which President John Taylor and George A. Smith were present.
Apostle Smith was asked to conduct the conference, as President Taylor wished to rest after his having held meetings in the different wards and stakes between Salt Lake City and Cedar City. President Taylor asked Elder George A. Smith to start the conference, as he wished to rest until the afternoon meeting. President Taylor, with some of the authorities, was staying at the home of my parents during this conference.
President Taylor wished to go to his room and lie down. He asked my mother to awaken him in time for the afternoon conference, as he feared he might oversleep and thus fail to arrive at the conference in time. My mother was busy preparing dinner for the visitors but was surprised to see President Taylor come into the kitchen so soon after retiring for his much needed rest. He immediately started telling mother of a most remarkable vision that he had just had while in his room.
He stated that he saw that Salt Lake City would become a great city with many beautiful paved roads and streets of cement construction, and that the people had become wealthy. He saw that the city extended almost to the point of the mountain south of the new 1951 State prison.
The people, he saw, had become quite indifferent to the counsel and advice of the authorities of the church, and were more interested in the accumulation of wealth than they were in living their religion. He told mother that he saw that war had been started, and that so great was the destruction of life within the city that blood ran down the gutters as though it were streams of water, and the violence was such that it would cause the destruction of the beautiful city. The people were fighting among themselves until it became necessary to remove the church records across the Colorado river.
President Taylor said to mother, “If you are alive at that time, be sure that you are not behind the Church records, because after the Church records leave and are made secure, the very powers of hell would be turned loose, and there will be such destruction that there will be but little life remain, —not only in Salt Lake City, but in adjoining cities also. And in Jackson County, Missouri civilization will become entirely extinct, and all means of transportation such as rail roads and highways will be destroyed, and the only means of travel will be on foot.
All means of manufacturing will also be entirely destroyed. Be sure when you see these things come that you have buttons, needles, cloth and things to work with as much as possible, to make yourselves clothing, because all tools and every kind of machinery will be destroyed. It will be such a destructive war that in comparison to the sufferings and the drivings of the people of Nauvoo, it would be only a drop in the bucket.
“One half of the Mormon people will entirely forsake their leaders, and half of the other half, because of their suffering, will leave the church. Many Mormons will die in the struggle, but the Lord will bless those who stick faithfully to the church and will bless them to the extent that they will not be destroyed.”
He said that faithful Latter-day Saints would go to the south and would form a circle something like a horseshoe, before they return to Jackson County, Missouri. Said he, “Those only will be privileged to help build Jackson County who will be found willing and glad to obey the counsel and advice of the authorities who will be placed over them, and who will seek counsel that they may be guided and protected from dire want and distress.
President Taylor also said that we will assist the Lamanites in building the New Jerusalem in Jackson county. He said that the vision to him appeared so terrible that he besought the Lord to close it up, but he saw that those who would keep the commandments and adhere to the authorities of the church would be the ones who would survive and not be destroyed. And that the lord would protect them as he did the children of Israel.
The above experience my mother told to me many, many times; and she held this great experience very sacred.
Subscribed and sworn to this 28th day of June, 1951.