False Prophecies: American Civil War

13 Nov

This is a series of prophecies given by Joseph Smith. Each is listed on various websites as false prophecies. My purpose is to show how those claims are wrong, and that each of these prophecies is, in fact, true and from God.

 See also False Prophecies, Temple, Tremble

Doctrine and Covenants 87: 1-3

 

This is another common prophecy on lists that circulate throughout the internet. The claim is that it prophecies that all nations would be involved in the American Civil War. It is also listed at CARM.

 

So, let us look at it. (emphasis taken CARM)

 

“Verily, 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; And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning 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 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,” (verses 1-3)

 

So, using the underlined passages critics claim that all nations would be involved in the civil war. But, if we look at the words with just a little care we see something completely different.

 

Let us look at the first passage that has been underlined; “thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass”

Note the plurality of the word wars. Critics want to apply this prophecy to a single war, that of the American Civil War. But we have in the very first statement a declaration that what is to follow concerns multiple wars, not just one. So, the narrow focus of the critics is already proven to be a false interpretation.

 

When we continue with the first passage we read that these wars (meaning many wars) will begin “at the rebellion of South Carolina.” So, the Civil war is here mentioned as the beginning of the great conflicts and wars that would mark the last days and “eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls.”

 

Then we read the next underlined passage; “the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.” This is a restating of the broad meaning of this prophecy. Starting with the American Civil War the entire Earth would find itself engulfed in conflict after conflict on a scale never before seen.

 

 

Now, in none of this does it say that all nations would be involved in the American Civil War. Only that all nations would be involved in war. So, let us continue reading the passage.

 

Verse three tells us that “the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern Sates.” This obviously did happen.

 

It then says that “the Southern States will call on other nations, even…Great Britain.” While England had no official part in the Civil War, its unofficial involvement is well documented. They even agreed to meet with ambassadors from the Confederacy and transported them on a British Ship.

 

The next part does seem to confuse many people. It tells us that “they shall also call upon other nations, I order to defend themselves against other nations.” Now, many want to the Southern States, but that doesn’t really fit. It has already been stated that the South would call on other nations, and they never needed to defend themselves against other nations.

This statement here is a reference to England, and the other nations that the South had already called on. It is speaking of a kind of domino effect. The South calls on England, who later must call on others, and so on until, as it says “war shall be poured out upon all nations.”

 

This domino effect can be seen in the history of military alliances that sprang up as a kind of response to the American Civil War. Never had a war been so costly or so devastating. The shock of the Civil War rippled throughout the world, and the world has still not fully recovered. In reaction to this new warfare that could bring such devastation the nations of the world began a series of treaties, sometimes in secret, in an attempt to defend them from similar destruction. This fragile web of alliances finally broke in 1914 when war erupted in Europe and the alliances were called to actions. By the end of the war practically every nations had joined the fighting on one side or the other.

Thus we see that, beginning with catalyst event of the American Civil War, nations began to call on others for their defense which eventual resulted in a war of global conflict and destruction, just as Joseph Smith had prophecied.

 

For more detail I would suggest reading this chapter from the Institute Doctrine and Covenant student guide.

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