Is Joseph Smith’s Civil War Prophesy Accurate

Did it Come to Pass as Joseph Smith Prophesied? Is It a True Prophesy?

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One of Joseph Smith’s most famous prophesies of the future was his Civil War Prophesy. This is one of his prophesies that made it into LDS scripture. It is currently found in D&C 87. If we just read what it says and pay attention to what happened in recorded history, we will be able to tell if this is a true and correct prophesy, or if it is wrong and therefore a false prophesy. The following numbered paragraphs are what the eight verses say in the modern edition.

Date: December 25, 1832

D&C 87:1-8

1 “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.”

The first thing we should notice is that this prophesy starts with a “thus saith the Lord” and therefore must come directly from God. It therefore cannot contain Joseph’s opinions and cannot contain any untrue history or false history. It must tell us what really happened. Next, this prophesy only concerns the wars that are shortly to come to pass. This means that the wars will be in the near future; they are fairly eminent. These wars begin with South Carolina.

2 “And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.”

This means that the American Civil War is foretold to escalate into a war of the world. You might call it World War I.

3 “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.”

This prophesy clearly states that the Southern states will call upon other nations, including Great Britain, who will call upon other nations to defend itself against other nations. After this happens, then war shall be poured out upon all nations. Again, this looks like a world war. Did Great Britain get involved in our Civil War? No. The Southern states asked Great Britain for help but were refused. Did Great Britain call upon other nations in order to defend itself against other nations? No. Great Britain chose not to get involved in our civil war. Did the Civil War involve all nations? No.

4 “And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.

5 “And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.”

Verse four and five are vague enough to have happened during the American Civil War.

6 “And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations.”

Did China or Australia mourn with the sword and by bloodshed because of our Civil War? Was there famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven all over all the world because of our Civil War? When was there a consumption decree that made a full end of all nations? It doesn’t appear that China, Japan, or Australia were effected by our Civil War, let alone destroyed and made a full end of. Our Civil War lasted for only four years from 1861 to 1865, and ended when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia April 9th, 1865. No other nation was involved in this surrender because no other nation was involved in any of the battles of the American Civil War.

7 “That the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.”

Did all the saints die in the Civil War so that their cry to the Lord shall cease?

8 “Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.”

This prophesy begins and ends from the Lord. A prophesy must be true and 100% accurate to have come from the true God. This is flawed to the degree that it makes the whole prophesy false. The words “Civil War” were never used. Joseph taught that other nations would get involved, making this a world war. Joseph just guessed wrong. This false prophesy is touted by Mormons as proof that Joseph Smith is a true prophet.


What does the Bible say?

Deuteronomy 13:1-5

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn [you] away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.”

Deuteronomy 18:20-22

“But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that [is] the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, [but] the prophet hath spoken it presump-tuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”

Jeremiah 23:11-13

“For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD. Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery [ways] in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, [even] the year of their visitation, saith the LORD. And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.”

Jeremiah 23:28

“The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. … saith the LORD.”

Joseph Smith prophesied of a world war that would soon start in South Carolina and would escalate to involve all nations. The war that started 20 years later is called a Civil War and not an international war nor a world war, because the battles were only in the United States. Joseph clearly stated that the prophesy was from the Lord, yet, there were no famines, plagues and earthquake or thunder of heaven. Either Joseph lied or the Lord didn’t know the future. Obviously, the Lord doesn’t make mistakes. It only takes one false prophesy in the name of the Lord to make a false prophet. It is time that Mormons stop feeling Joseph is a prophet and start analyzing his teachings to see why he qualifies as a false prophet.

Joseph told many more false prophesies:

Compare D&C 114, and History of the Church, Vol. 3 p. 23 (David W. Patten).

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