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Prophecy of War Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
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September 3, 2021 5:10 pm

Prophecy of War Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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September 3, 2021 5:10 pm

An article by Seventy Matthew S. Holland in the August 2021 Liahona magazine (“Prophecy of War”) and how Joseph Smith correctly predicted the Civil War. Bill and Eric go through the article and critique some of the assertions made by Holland.


Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a biblical perspective. Viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry. Since 1979, Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's Viewpoint on Mormonism.

What was the Trent Affair and how did this almost get England involved in our American Civil War? Welcome to this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry, and with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. We continue looking at an article that was written by a 70 in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a man by the name of Matthew S. Holland. He is the son of Mormon apostle Jeffrey R. Holland.

This article is found in the August 2021 Liahona magazine and it's titled Prophecy of War, Prescription for Peace. What Mr. Holland is trying to do in this article is to go back to section 87 of the Doctrine and Covenants where we find Joseph Smith's prophecy on war, and he is going through the various points that Joseph Smith makes, obviously trying to give the impression that he says things that nobody else could have known, and therefore this shows that Joseph Smith was in fact a prophet who had insight into the future that no one else had. We were looking at some of the bullet points that Mr. Holland gives.

He gives three of them, and today we're looking at the third bullet point. But before we go into that, Eric, I think since he's going to once again talk about verse 3 and 4 of section 87, it would probably be good to just read the way these verses are in the Doctrine and Covenants today. Yeah, so this is Doctrine and Covenants section 87, verses 3 and 4. 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. And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war. Now we should mention, as we did in a previous show, that when it talks about war being poured out upon all nations, Mr. Holland is of the oppression, as are some other LDS leaders, that this is not just speaking of the American Civil War, but it's also a reference to even World War I and World War II. Well, if you want to believe that somehow World War I and World War II is connected to the rebellion in South Carolina, certainly you're free to do that, although I don't think many historians will ever draw that connection. However, Mr. Holland, as other Mormon leaders and perhaps even a lot of scholars have done, they do connect these incidences.

And as I read yesterday, again from a speech given by Joseph Wirthlin, who was a Mormon apostle, in 1958, he not only connected it to World War I and II, but he connected it to all sorts of conflicts throughout the world, many conflicts that nobody's ever really heard of. But let's look again at bullet point number three. Holland writes, the South would call on Great Britain for support in verse three, and after many days, slaves would rise up against their masters and be marshaled for war, verse four. Both of these things happened. Well, let's go back to the Great Britain comment.

They're going to call on Great Britain, and Great Britain is going to call on other nations to defend itself against other nations. I'm sorry, Mr. Holland, but that just did not happen, although it came close to happening in 1861 with what was known as the Trent Affair. What was the Trent Affair?

I'm going to be citing from, and this is what it has to say about this incident. In October 1861, the USS San Jacinto, commanded by Captain Charles Wilkes, was returning from a voyage off the west coast of Africa. The San Jacinto stopped at St. Thomas in the Caribbean to take on coal. While there, they learned that the Confederate Navy cruiser, the Sumter, had recently been in the area. Captain Wilkes learned that two Confederate commissioners to Europe, James M. Mason, the Confederate commissioner to Great Britain, and John Slidell, the Confederate commissioner to France, along with two secretaries and families, had left Charleston, South Carolina and arrived in Havana, Cuba on October 17th. They were to depart for London on November 7th on the English steamer, the Trent. The Trent was a mail ship that also carried passengers. It was not a warship that could defend itself. On November 8th, the San Jacinto was lying in wait for the Trent, and as the Trent approached the San Jacinto, Captain Wilkes fired a warning shot in an attempt to force it to stop.

Not responding to this shot, the Trent continued toward the San Jacinto. Captain Wilkes fired another shot directly in front of the Trent's bow. Captain Wilkes then ordered his executive officer, Donald McNeil Fairfax, to board the Trent, arrest the two commissioners and their two secretaries, and take the Trent as a prize. Eager to avoid an international incident which might cause England and France to declare war on the United States, Fairfax decided to do everything he could to disobey the order to capture the Trent. The two commissioners and their two secretaries were taken off the Trent and loaded with their luggage onto the San Jacinto.

The Trent was allowed to go free. England and France both protested these arrests and demanded the release of the men. On January 1st, 1862, the four prisoners were put aboard the English steamer Rinaldo, which was sent to Massachusetts to receive them. They sailed to England, arriving there on January 29th, 1862. Fairfax's decision not to capture the British ship potentially avoided a much larger incident."

You could say that Fairfax's level head prevented this particular point in Joseph Smith's prophecy from actually taking place. But when did Great Britain have to call on other nations? See, you have to stretch this prophecy into World War I and II in order to get that part of the prophecy to work. Of course, Great Britain did need assistance in World War I. Great Britain did need assistance in World War II.

But they didn't need it during the American Civil War. So you can see why it's important for someone like Matthew Holland to put this prophecy clear up into the 20th century, even though most people reading that at the time would never have seen that kind of a connection. And then Mr. Holland goes on to cite, and after many days, slaves would rise up against their masters. First of all, since the mention of slavery is specifically in this verse, let's talk first of all, what was the attitude of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in regards to slavery? Well, I can't really speak for every member, but we do have records from Joseph Smith and Brigham Young from around that time period. The Elder's Journal, the July 1838 edition, on page 43. Now, you have to understand, beginning at the bottom of page 42 and all through page 43, questions are being asked, and Joseph Smith is answering the questions.

Question number 13 asks this. Are the Mormons abolitionists? The answer, no, unless delivering the people from priestcraft and the priests from the power of Satan should be considered such. But we do not believe in setting the Negroes free. But Brigham Young had a comment very similar to this that I think is even more egregious. And what did he say in January of 1852? And this comes from the Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, Volume 1, 1832-1852, edited by Richard Van Wagner. And this is what the entry is for January 23rd, 1852, from Salt Lake City. I have this section in my hand headed, An Act in Relation to African Slavery.

I have read it over and made a few alterations. I will remark with regard to slavery, inasmuch as we believe in the Bible, inasmuch as we believe in the ordinances of God in the priesthood and order and decrees of God, we must believe in slavery. This colored race have been subjected to severe curses, which they have in their families and their classes and in their various capacities brought upon themselves. And until the curse is removed by him who placed it upon them, they must suffer under its consequences.

I am not authorized to remove it. I am a firm believer in slavery. So Brigham Young is a firm believer in slavery. And Joseph Smith said, we do not believe in setting the Negroes free.

That is the position, at least of Joseph Smith in 1838 and Brigham Young in 1852. But I want you to notice something in the wording of this statement that was made by Brigham Young, when he says, inasmuch as we believe in the Bible, when it comes to slavery. Does the Bible talk about slavery? It was certainly there, especially even in the New Testament, when the Apostle Paul talks about how slaves are to behave with their masters. Now, I know the southern states like to take those verses and give the impression that Paul was in favor of slavery.

When I look at it as Paul was merely reflecting what was going on at that time period, and how Christians should respond to what was going on in that time period. He's not condoning slavery. He's merely saying how a Christian should behave himself under those situations. Brigham Young is going with the southern view, you might say, that was being preached from pulpits in the southern United States at this time. But when he says, the colored race have been subjected to severe curses, which they have in their families and their classes, and in their various capacities, brought upon themselves. Could that be talking about the notion that there was something that was done in the pre-existent life during this war in heaven, when some of God's spirit children were not as valiant as they could have been for the cause of Christ and his struggle against his brother Lucifer?

And therefore, though they would be allowed to come to the earth with a body, they would not be allowed to get the priesthood. And that was a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints up until 1978. But that's the position that Brigham Young and Joseph Smith both had regarding slavery. Now, when it says that slaves would rise up against their masters, remember, this comes about in December 25th, Christmas Day 1832. Less than a year and a half before this happens, there was an incident in American history called the Nat Turner Rebellion. The Nat Turner Rebellion took place in 1831.

Could this be in the back of Joseph Smith's head when he writes that slaves would rise up against their master? What was the Nat Turner Rebellion really all about? It was a rebellion of enslaved Virginians that took place in Southampton County, Virginia in August 1831, led by Nat Turner.

And I'm reading from Wikipedia. It goes on and says, the rebels killed between 55 and 65 people, at least 51 of whom were white. The rebellion was put down within a few days. The rebellion was effectively suppressed at Belmont Plantation on the morning of August 23rd, 1831. There was widespread fear in the aftermath and malicious organized in retaliation to the rebels. The state executed 56 enslaved people accused of being part of the rebellion, and many non-participant enslaved individuals were punished in the frenzy. Approximately 120 enslaved people and free African Americans were killed by militias and mobs in the area. State legislatures passed new laws prohibiting education of enslaved people and free black people, restricting rights of assembly and other civil liberties for free black people, and requiring white ministers to be present at all worship services. Does it not make sense that he may have had this in the back of his mind? I tend to think that he probably did. In tomorrow's show we're going to continue looking at this article by Matthew S. Holland titled Prophecy of War, Prescription for Peace. We hope you will join us again as we look at another Viewpoint on Mormonism.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-08 13:25:53 / 2023-09-08 13:31:03 / 5

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