"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
[This account refers to sermons Joseph Smith gave to packed churches in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia where he foretold pending states’ rights issues for America]
The war now raging in our nation is in the providence of God, and was told us years and years ago by the Prophet Joseph; and what we are now coming to was foreseen by him, and no power can hinder . . . It is distressing to see the condition our nation is in, but I cannot help it. Who can? The people en masse, by turning to God, and ceasing to do wickedly, ceasing to persecute the honest and the truth-lover. If they had done that thirty years ago, it would have been better for them to-day. When we appealed to the government of our nation for justice, the answer was:—"Your cause is just, but we have no power." Did not Joseph Smith tell them in Washington and Philadelphia, that the time would come when their State rights would be trampled upon? 2
These things [prophecies on Civil War] ought to be a warning to us. We comfort our souls sometimes on the fulfillment of the prophecies of God. We say “Mormonism” must be true because Joseph Smith prophesied thus and so concerning a division of this nation, and that the calamities which are now causing it to mourn should commence in South Carolina. That is true, he did prophecy that, and did foretell the events that have since transpired, and did tell where the commencement of those difficulties should originate. Well, if this is true, are not other things true? If it is true that the Lord has revealed a certain amount of truth in relation to these matters, is it not as true that He has revealed other truths in which we are as individuals interested; and if it is true that God has commenced to deal with other nations as He is doing with this until war and desolation shall spread through the earth, it is just as true that we ought to be very careful what we are doing to secure the favor of God and to fulfill our destiny upon the earth in a manner which will meet his designs. 3
The day is not far distant when nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and State against State, and there will be sorrow such as never was among men. Watch the signs of the times, for we are living in an important age. The prophecies relating to our time are rolling in upon us. Are we prepared to meet them? It is important for men and angels to note the events of this age . . . The nation does not know what they are doing, not comprehend the fearful results of the course they are pursuing. They are turning the last key to rend the nation asunder . . . 4
Many of you may have read, years before it was fulfilled, the revelation and prophecy of the Prophet Joseph in regard to the trouble, anarchy, and war that should befall this nation. Wise men said its fulfillment was a matter of impossibility—that the government was too sound and too well established for such a calamity to occur, but the fulfillment came. When the Lord undertakes to perform a work, he is certain to carry it out. It would not take the Lord twenty-four hours to cause war, anarchy, confusion, and judgments to come upon the nation. He is withholding these calamities until his purposes are accomplished. 5
Joseph Fielding Smith
It is not the will of the Lord that there should come upon the people disaster, trouble, calamity, and depression, … but because man himself will violate the commandments of God and will not walk in righteousness, the Lord permits all of these evils to come upon him. …
The Lord has made the declaration in our own day that it was his good pleasure to give to men the fulness of the earth, and the Lord is pleased to have them use it, and he would pour out upon them his blessings in abundance if they would only hearken and be obedient to the laws which he has given them for their guidance. But, men are rebellious; they are not willing to live in that law and profit thereby; they are not willing to receive the good things of the earth as the Lord would give to them in abundance; but in their narrow-mindedness, shortsightedness, and in their greed and selfishness, they think they know better than the Lord does. And so, they pursue another course, and the result is that the blessings of the Lord are withdrawn, and in the place thereof come calamity, destruction, plagues, and violence. Men have themselves to blame. …
… the Lord decreed that he would withhold his spirit from the inhabitants of the earth. … This spirit he was withdrawing from them because of their wickedness, and the withdrawal of his spirit would bring upon them these calamities. 6
But since the Prophets have been slain, the Saints persecuted, despoiled of their goods, banished from their homes, and no earthly arm to interpose for their rescue, what will be the future destiny of this highly-favored country? …So sure and certain as the great water courses wend their way to the ocean, and there find their level,… just so sure and certain will the guardian angel of these United States fly to a remote distance from their borders, and the anger of the Almighty wax hot against them in causing them to drink from the cup of bitterness and division, and the very dregs, stirred up by the hands of foreign powers, in a manner more cruel and fierce than the enemies of the Saints in the day of their greatest distress and anguish; and all this because they laid not to heart the martyrdom of the Saints and Prophets, avenged not their blood by punishing the murderers, neither succored nor aided the Saints after they were despoiled of their goods and homes.
Would to God that we could forget this part of our experience in the land of our fathers! But we cannot forget it. It is incorporated in our being. We shall carry it to our graves, and in the resurrection it will rise with us. Had the United States been as faithful a guardian to the Latter-day Saints as the angel of God has been to them, she would never know dissolution, nor be humbled in dishonor by the decrees of any foreign powers… When Justice is satisfied, and the blood of martyrs atoned for, the guardian angel of America will return to his station, resume his charge, and restore the Constitution of our country to the respect and veneration of the people; for it was given by the inspiration of our God. 7
"Would to God we had statesmen with eyes clear enough to see!…. the day is not far distant, unless the Democratic and Republican parties open their eyes to the situation, when desolation and war will be in this government.
I will say when this nation, having sown to the wind, reaps the whirlwind; when brother takes up sword against brother; when father contends against son, and son against father; when he who will not take up his sword against his neighbor must needs flee to Zion for safety—then I would say to my friends come to Utah; for the judgments of God, commencing at the house of the Lord, will have passed away, and Utah, undisturbed, will be the most delightful place in all the Union. When war and desolation and bloodshed, and the ripping up of society come upon the nation, I have said to such, “Come to Utah and we will divide our morsel of food with you, we will divide our clothing with you, and we will offer you protection.” I will tell you, my brethren and sisters, the day will come, and it is not far distant, when he who will not take up his sword against his neighbor, will have to flee to Zion for safety; and it is presupposed in this prediction that Zion will have power to give them protection. We are not going to do it outside of the government, either; we are going to do it inside the government. There is no power in this land to turn this people against the government of the United States. They will maintain the Constitution of this country inviolate, and although it may have been torn to shreds they will tie it together again, and maintain every principle of it, holding it up to the downtrodden of every nation, kindred, tongue and people, and they will do it, too, under the Stars and Stripes. They will stand with their feet firmly upon the backbone of the American continent and maintain the principles which cost their fathers so much, and those principles cannot be taken away by men who violate their oath of office, and betray their trust.
I tell you that there are boys growing up in these mountains who have the principles of human liberty grounded deep in their hearts, and they will maintain them, not only for themselves, but for others. God speed the day I say—if the nation pursues its downward course and tears up these fundamental principles of government which have made them strong—when the Constitution may be rescued and all men and women shall be free again." 8
- History of the Church 1:312-16.
- Brigham Young, May 15, 1864. Journal of Discourses 10:294, 295
- John Taylor, (October 25, 1863) Journal of Discourses 10:278
- Wilford Woodruff, December 6, 1857. Journal of Discourses 6:120
- Wilford Woodruff, October 13, 1877. Journal of Discourses 19:135
- Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3:27–29
- Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses 6:367-371
- Elder Moses Thatcher JOD 26:36