In a blog post last week about Mormons and the Civil War–focusing on the relationship between Abraham Lincoln and Brigham Young–the New York Times mentioned this:
Fascinatingly, Joseph Smith had prophesied in 1832 that an immense civil war would someday transform America, and that it would start in South Carolina.
It is fascinating, isn’t it? A couple of commenters noted that there were good reasons in 1832 for predicting such a thing, but that hardly does the prophecy justice. I submitted the following as a comment, but it hasn’t been published yet:
Joseph Smith’s Civil War prophecy is impressive. As Jeff Lindsay notes, in 1832, Smith predicted that:
- The war would begin with the rebellion of South Carolina.
- It would cause the death and misery of many souls.
- The Southern States would be divided against the Northern States.
- The Southern States would call upon other nations for assistance, even upon the nation of Great Britain.
And that, later, Great Britain would enlist help from other nations in wars which would “be poured out upon all nations.”
For those who think this was a lucky guess based on 1832 politics, one would be hard pressed to explain why the opinion wasn’t common, and why Smith repeated the claim eleven years later, in 1843. The original prophecy is in a Mormon scripture called Doctrine and Covenants 87; the reiteration is found in D&C 130:12-13.
Not only did Smith predict the war, but he even foresaw details like the South calling on Great Britain, which it did (this fact is even mentioned in the second National Treasure movie).
There are plenty of other instances of recorded prophecies by Joseph Smith which came true: http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_prophecies.shtml