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Civil War Prophecy & Joseph’s Apocalyptic Death

One of the most famous prophecies of Joseph Smith is the Civil War prophecy, in which Joseph predicted the Civil War would start in South Carolina.  When that happened two decades later, how did that affect LDS apocalyptic thought?  Dr. Christopher Blythe will let us know the answer.

Christopher:  When the Saints first get to Nauvoo, Joseph’s in Liberty Jail, and the Apostles write to the saints and say, “We know we’re going to be persecuted, guys. This is part of the plan, and eventually, your murderers will be brought to justice.” So, there’s this expectation that the saints have to be martyred, that there should be widespread persecution, and it’s part of bringing to pass the Second Coming. Joseph’s death, one of the key things here that changes all that, allegedly, one story is that Joseph as right before he goes to Liberty Jail, sends out a message for the saints to read that specific chapter about these martyrs, as he’s on his way there, that he wants them to be very aware of this idea of a last martyr. Now, after his death–this is something that Sam Brown points out, Joseph is recognized in this role as last martyr. Now, all these events can happen.

Brigham Young will give a discourse to say, “You don’t understand what’s happened here with Joseph’s death. But because Joseph has died, there’ll be much less blood demanded of us.”  This sort of message to say, “We once expected vast martyrdom, but Joseph’s actually been sort of a Savior to us physically, because the nation is sort of, can be sated by taking his life, they’re not going to come after us in the same way. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to leave town. But it’s not demanded in the same way to fulfill these events.” So, when I discovered that I thought, “This is incredible. What a sort of interesting idea of how martyrology plays here.”

GT:  When we look at the LDS Church’s view that martyrdom is to be expected, trials are to be expected, but it’s also interesting in that same time period, you have the Community of Christ, well, I guess I should call it The RLDS Church, because they weren’t the Community of Christ back then. The RLDS Church is saying, “Well, look. The reason why they’re suffering so bad is because God’s putting his punishments on them.”  William Bickerton is basically [saying] the same thing.  It’s funny, inside the church, we look at it as, “Oh, we’re martyrs.” Outside the church they’re looking at it, “No, God’s punishing you.”

Christopher:  Oh, isn’t that fascinating? Yeah. The one thing I do mention with that is Strang’s curse. Strang writes this curse on the Saints in Nauvoo, predicting, that they’re going to get these same diseases and things that the Saints believe are being put on Joseph’s persecutors and others, the idea of a curse.  So, Strang, in 1845, is the first one to kind of turn that on his fellow Latter-day Saints of how this is going to happen, “You guys are, are in trouble.” So, absolutely.

GT:  It’s interesting to see how people interpret the same event.

Christopher:  I think, one thing I didn’t read about here is, for several these small groups, Brigham Young becomes the Antichrist figure. He’s the one that’s taken over the temple and done these evil things to lead astray the church. So, forget the United States government, they’re not even part of it. They’re looking at the tyrant of Brigham.

We also talk about how Joseph’s death affected LDS apocalypticism.  Check out our conversation….

By the way, here is a link to Dr. Blythe’s book, Terrible Revolution.  It’s currently over 40% off, here’s your chance to get a good deal!  https://amzn.to/35hud6K

The Civil War Prophecy is probably Joseph’s most famous revelation.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Dr. Christopher Blythe.

461: Mormon History of Apocalypse

460: Maxwell Institute: A Religious Thinktank

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Why Joseph Destroyed Expositor (Part 7 of 8)

The Nauvoo Expositor exposed Joseph Smith’s polygamy and was the lightning rod that led to Joseph Smith’s death.  As Mayor of Nauvoo, Smith directed the city council to destroy the Expositor press.  While polygamy was an explosive issue, it wasn’t the only reason Joseph wanted the press destroyed.  In his book, “Origins of Power,” Dr. Michael Quinn makes the case that polygamy was a relatively minor reason for the destruction of the press.  I asked Dr. Derek Sainsbury if he agreed with Quinn, and he did.  What else was published in the Expositor that Joseph wanted suppressed?

GT:  Well, let me ask you a question about that. I remember reading Michael Quinn. It was a long time ago that I read this, but one of the things that he said–going back to the Nauvoo Expositor, polygamy kind of always grabs the headlines. The Expositor published Joseph Smith’s polygamy. But the bigger issue, according to Quinn, was that Joseph was seeking alliances with England, France, Texas, which would have been considered treasonous. Can you talk about that? I’m assuming that that didn’t really happen in the Council of Fifty minutes or was speculation.  Can you talk to that issue?

Derek:  So, they sent a delegate to Texas to negotiate.  Woodworth is his name.  That’s an independent nation. So, the Council of Fifty considered themselves to be the kingdom of God on Earth, the political Kingdom of God that represents it on earth. There’s a reason why when Joseph Smith is headed to Carthage, he tells William Clayton to either burn or bury the minutes because they could be construed as treason. They didn’t consider it to be treason. But it could be construed that way. So yes, they did send a representative to Texas. They did formally call someone to go to Russia and to England.  Those ambassadors, if you want to call them that, never left. But it gives you the mindset that they were acting like a government. They were pushing for the United States. They were pushing this idea of Joseph Smith for president. But then if that doesn’t work out, where can we go? So, then you have to start looking at where you go, who are you going to have to work with? If you go to Texas, you got to work with Texas. If you go to Oregon, which is contested property between the United States, Great Britain and Russia, then, of course, you need to be talking with those three countries as well. Does that make sense? The minutes show that these assignments were made.  The only one that was made and actually reported back was the Texas one.

Derek:  But yeah, the minutes also reveal that on the April 11th meeting, in the new Masonic hall had been built in 1844, they nominate Joseph as a prophet, priest and king over Israel, different from maybe the promises that might be found in an LDS endowment. So, this idea of making him a king over Israel, that ends up being leaked.  It’s in the Nauvoo Expositor that he’s made himself [king.] They’re twisting it that he’s made himself King. They’re twisting it and so that’s…

GT:  Well, I would think that would be an easy thing to twist because we hate kings, and even the Book of Mormon says it’s better that you do not have a king.

Were you aware of these reasons?  What are your thoughts?

Check out our conversation….

Dr Derek Sainsbury says polygamy was a minor irritation of the Nauvoo Expositor. There were other reasons Joseph wanted the paper destroyed.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Dr. Sainsbury.

423:  Theo-democracy in Deseret (Sainsbury)

422:  Anti-Slavery Missionaries in the South (Sainsbury)

421: Bobby Kennedy-Joseph Smith (Sainsbury)

420:  Electioneer Missionaries (Sainsbury)

419:  Mormons: The Original Swing Voters! (Sainsbury)

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Bobby Kennedy & Joseph Smith (Part 4 of 8)

Joseph Smith and Bobby Kennedy were both killed while running for president of the United States.  Dr. Derek Sainsbury tells us more about these two men, and I was surprised to hear about their surprising similarity.

GT:  I mean, I think the closest modern day equivalent is probably Bobby Kennedy.

Derek:  Absolutely.

GT:  Yeah.

Derek:  Yeah. In fact, that’s the next book I’m already writing is a comparison between those two.

GT:  Oh really? Oh, wow. That’ll be interesting.

Derek:  Because he’s the only other candidate in the history of the United States–

GT:  [George] Wallace got shot I guess.

Derek:  Shot but not killed. Yeah.

GT:  Oh, really? So those are the only two people that have been killed is Joseph Smith and Bobby Kennedy?

Derek:  Yeah.

GT:  Wow.

Check out our conversation….

Bobby Kennedy & Joseph Smith are the only presidential candidates to be killed while running for POTUS.

Don’t miss our previous discussions with Dr. Derek Sainsbury!

420:  Electioneer Missionaries

419:  Mormons: The Original Swing Voters!

418:  Views of General Joseph Smith