Church leaders and contemporaries of Joseph Smith gave us many insights about what might lie ahead for our country. Following are some of their declarations.
“To all who have discerning eyes, it is apparent that the republican form of government established by our noble forefathers cannot long endure once fundamental principles are abandoned. Momentum is gathering for another conflict — a repetition of the crisis of two hundred years ago. This collision of ideas is worldwide. Another monumental moment is soon to be born. The issue is the same that precipitated the great pre-mortal conflict — will men be free to determine their own course of action or must they be coerced?”
“We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith when he said: ‘Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction’.” (July 19, 1840, Joseph Smith Collection, LDS Church Historical Department). (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson 623-24)
“I have faith that the Constitution will be saved as prophesied by Joseph Smith. But it will not be saved in Washington. It will be saved by the citizens of this nation who love and cherish freedom. It will be saved by enlightened members of this Church — men and women who will subscribe to and abide the principles of the Constitution.” (Ezra Taft Benson: The Constitution, a Heavenly Banner, 31)
“Will the Constitution be destroyed? No: it will be held inviolate by this people; and, as Joseph Smith said, ‘The time will come when the destiny of the nation will hang upon a single thread. At that critical juncture, this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction.’ It will be so.” (JD 7:15; quoted by Brigham Young)
Orson Hyde records that Brigham Young declared, “It is said that Brother Joseph in his lifetime declared that the Elders of this Church should step forth at a particular time when the Constitution should be in danger, and rescue it, and save it. This may be so; but I do not recollect that he said exactly so. I believe he [Joseph] said something like this — that the time would come when the Constitution and the country would be in danger of an overthrow; and, said he, If the Constitution be saved at all, it will be by the Elders of this Church. I believe this is about the language, as nearly as I can recollect it.” (JD 6:152; quoted by Orson Hyde)
Eliza R. Snow recalled, “My sisters, my remarks, in conclusion, will be brief. I heard the prophet Joseph Smith say if the people rose up and mobbed us and the authorities countenanced it, they would have mobs to their hearts’ content. I heard him say that the time would come when this nation would so far depart from its original purity, its glory, and its love for freedom and its protection of civil rights and religious rights, that the Constitution of our country would hang as it were by a thread. He said, also, that this people, the sons of Zion, would rise up and save the Constitution and bear it off triumphantly.” (Snow, Eliza R., 556)
Mosiah Hancock, who was a boy of about ten at the time, quotes Joseph Smith as saying just a few days before his death: “The United States will spend her strength and means warring in foreign lands until other nations will say, “Let’s divide up the lands of the United States”, then the people of the U. S. will unite and swear by the blood of their fore-fathers, that the land shall not be divided.
“Then the country will go to war, and they will fight until one half of the U. S. army will give up, and the rest will continue to struggle. They will keep on until they are very ragged and discouraged, and almost ready to give up–when the boys from the mountains will rush forth in time to save the American Army from defeat and ruin. And they will say, ‘Brethren, we are glad you have come; give us men, henceforth, who can talk with God’. Then you will have friends, but you will save the country when its liberty hangs by a hair, as it were”. (Mosiah Hancock Autobiography, pg. 28, BYU Special Collections)
When I read these prophecies, I sometimes tend to fear what we may have to endure in the last days. But then, when I also read how the Lord has protected His Saints in all dispensations, I find great comfort and peace. For instance, Levi Hancock, the father of the Mosiah Hancock quoted above, was a close friend and body guard of Joseph Smith. They observed many miracles of protection in Nauvoo: “Father had a great deal of opposition in Nauvoo. One day as father and I were walking down Water Street, and we came within twenty feet of the Mansion, an east window raised up, and Francis M. Higbee took deliberate aim with a rifle, and shot father in the left breast.
“I was walking on father’s right side, and I saw the shot fired, and heard the thud as the bullet struck, but father stopped and picked up the bullet from the ground, and reaching it toward heaven with his right hand, said, “I thank thee, O God the Eternal Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, that thou didst destroy the power of this bullet”. As soon as the shot was fired, the window was shut down. I suppose Higbee thought father was gone this time for sure, but father had been shot at many times by the mobbers and apostates. Father had had the temple in his care for sometime, and some were jealous of the honors conferred upon him.” (Ibid. pg. 31)
That’s not to say that all the righteous will escape persecution in the last days, for certainly Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ were not spared, but the Lord’s eyes will be upon His chosen people, and to a large degree, He will deliver His people with a mighty hand.
We must rejoice that for the very first time in the history of the world, the Priesthood and the Kingdom of God will finally prove victorious, and we may live to see it fulfilled! But even if we are not permitted to tarry, imagine our joy when we are caught up to meet Him in the clouds:
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (First Thessalonians 4:16 – 18)
These are comforting words, indeed.