A fundamental aspect of the good news of the gospel is the message of liberty. As President Joseph F. Smith said, “The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of freedom; the gospel of the Son of God is the gospel of liberty.” Men of God, both ancient and modern, have spoken on this issue repeatedly. This book analyzes what liberty is and how it applies to government.
In response to Dan’s comment in which he requested “prophecies of certainty”, the following quotes (certainly not a comprehensive treatment on the subject) are compiled for the interested reader. Anybody desiring to learn more is encouraged to read Duane Crowther’s Prophecy: Key to the Future.
The whole government is gone; it is as weak as water. I heard Joseph Smith say nearly thirty years ago, “They shall have mobbings to their hearts’ content, if they do not redress the wrongs of the Latter-day Saints.” Mobs will not decrease but will increase until the whole government becomes a mob, and eventually it will be State against State, city against city, neighborhood against neighborhood… (Brigham Young, Deseret News, Vol. 9, p. 2, May 1, 1861. (Gerald N. Lund, The Coming of the Lord [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1971], 68.))
It is hard to believe that a nation as large and as prosperous and as powerful as the United States is today could lose the power to govern. Even though there are serious problems in this country today, it still has a great governing power and is a world leader in its influence. What conditions could bring such a nation to the brink of destruction? What kinds of crises could strike with such power as to destroy the United States? Although there is much that is not known concerning the specific events that will bring the Lord’s prophecies to fulfillment, he has given several indications of what is to come. In a scripture quoted in the previous chapter, the Lord said that when the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled, there would be men standing in that generation which would not pass away until they saw an “overflowing scourge cover the land.” The Lord often spoke of this scourge coming upon the people, and the devastating results of what would follow. In March of 1829, even before the Church was organized, he said: For a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitants of the earth, and shall continue to be poured out from time to time, if they repent not, until the earth is empty, and the inhabitants thereof are consumed away and utterly destroyed by the brightness of my coming. Webster defines a scourge as “an instrument of punishment or criticism; a cause of widespread or great affliction.” This scourge seems to involve many forms of terrible calamities, including great hailstorms, tempests, plagues, pestilence, and war. Such terrible disasters will be such that they will lay to waste those who fight against God and will actually leave mighty cities desolate of their populations. The Lord warned some specific cities, particularly Boston, New York and Albany, of the desolation awaiting them if they did not repent. (Gerald N. Lund, The Coming of the Lord [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1971], 47.)
I will here say that God has inspired me to keep a journal and write the history of this Church, and I warn the future historians to give credence to my history; for my testimony is true, and the truth of its record will be manifest in the world to come.
All the words of the Lord will be fulfilled upon the nations, which are written in this book. The American nation will be broken in pieces like a potter’s vessel, and will be cast down to hell, if it does not repent, and this, because of murders, whoredoms, wickedness, and all manner of abominations, for the Lord has spoken it. (Matthias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff, p.500)
. . .Do not weep for us…but rather weep for yourselves and your children, for as sure as the Lord lives the evils that men seek to bring upon us, will return in due time upon their own heads, heaped up, pressed down and running over. For it is an eternal law, and a law by which we are governed, that what measure we mete, shall be measured back to us again. Our nation knows not what awaits it; the Christian world knows not what awaits. . . .
The Lord never did bring judgment upon any people of any generation until he raised up prophets to warn them of the impending danger. . . . And so it will be with our nation and all others, when they shall reject the message that is sent to them. The heavens are full of judgment, and as the prophets have said, they will commence at the House of the Lord and then go to the nations of the earth. (John Taylor, JD 23:82, 1882)
While discussing the petition to Congress, I prophesied, by virtue of the holy Priesthood vested in me, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that, if Congress will not hear our petition and grant us protection, they shall be broken up as a government. (Joseph Smith, DHC 6:116)
And when the nation with which we are associated is shaken to its centre and crumbles to pieces…it will continue to fall and to crumble, until it is no more, and by and bye there will be an end of it. Not so with the kingdom of God; it will stand, and continue to exist and spread and go forth. . . . (John Taylor, JD 11:26, 1864)
When I contemplate the condition of our nation, and see that wickedness and abominations are increasing, so much so that the whole heavens groan and weep over the abominations of this nation and the nations of the earth, I ask myself the question, can the American nation escape? The answer comes, No; its destruction, as well as the destruction of the world, is sure; just as sure as the Lord cut off and destroyed the two great and prosperous nations that once inhabited this continent of North and South America, because of their wickedness, so will he them destroy, and sooner or later they will reap the fruits of their own wicked acts, and be numbered among the past. . . . We have no time to throw away, or spend in the foolish things of the flesh; what time is at our disposal should be used in building up the Zion of God, and in preparing ourselves and our families for the things that await us. (Wilford Woodruff, JD 21:301-02, 1880)
God has sent forth His warning message in the midst of this nation, but they have rejected it and treated His servants with contempt; the Lord has gathered out His people from their midst, and has planted them here in these mountains; and He will speedily fulfill the prophecy in relation to the overthrow of this nation, and their destruction. We shall be obliged to have a government to preserve ourselves in unity and peace; for they, through being wasted away, will not have the power to govern; for state will be divided against state, city against city, town against town, and the whole country will be in terror and confusion; mobocracy will prevail and there will be no security, through this great Republic, for the lives or property of the people. (Orson Pratt, Deseret Evening News, Oct. 2, 1875)
The nation that kills the prophets of God in any age must expect to reap cursings instead of blessings, unless it speedily repent. Judgment must begin at the house of God first, and we are perfectly willing it should….I told General Kane that the Government of the United States would be shivered to pieces. (Brigham Young, JD 12:119, 1867)
As with a person, as with a people, so is it with a nation. A drunken nation cannot expect that God will withhold His judgments, nor ward off the ravages of the Destroyer. A drunken nation is a seedbed for disaster,–political, physical, moral, and spiritual. A drunken nation may not, even in its hours of direct distress, pray to God for help, with that simple assurance and unpolluted faith which bring aid and comfort to those who abide the law of sobriety and keep His commandments. (Message of the First Presidency, Oct. 3, 1942)
The great American Republic is now one of the most powerful governments in the world . . . . But that great–that powerful nation–is destined to an utter overthrow. If it be asked, why is America to suffer? The answer is, because they have rejected the kingdom of God, and one of the greatest divine messages ever sent to man; because they have sanctioned the killing of the Saints, and the martyrdom of the Lord’s Prophets, and have suffered his people to be driven from their midst, and have robbed them of their houses, and homes, and land, and millions of property, and have refused to redress their wrongs.
For these great evils, they must suffer; the decrees of Jehovah have gone forth against them; the sword of the Lord has been unsheathed, and will fall with pain upon their devoted heads. Their great and magnificent cities are to be cut off. New York, Boston, Albany, and numerous other cities will be left desolate. Party will be arrayed in deadly strife against party; State against State; and the whole nation will be broken up; the sanguinary weapons of the dreadful revolution will devour the land. Then shall there be a fleeing from one city to another, from one State to another, from one part of the continent to another, seeking refuge, from the devastations of bandits and armies; then shall their dead be left unburied, and the fowls of heaven shall summer upon them, and the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them.
Moreover, the Lord will visit them with the deadly pestilence which shall sweep away many millions by its ravages; for their eyes shall fall from their sockets, and their flesh from their bones, and their tongues shall be staid in their mouths, that they shall not be able to blaspheme against their Maker. And it will come to pass, that the heavens will withhold their rains and their fruitful fields be turned into barrenness, and the waters of their rivers will be dried up, and left in standing pools, and the fish therein will die; and the Lord will send forth a grievous plague to destroy the horses and cattle from the land. Thus by the sword and by pestilence, and by famine, and by the strong arm of the Almighty, shall the inhabitants of that wicked nation be destroyed. In that day a remnant shall repent, and be numbered with the people of Zion, and shall know that the Lord hath spoken, and hath fulfilled his decrees upon the land, and executed his fierce justice upon the oppressors of his people. (Orson Pratt, Mill Star, 28:633-34, 1866; Masterful Discourses of Orson Pratt, pp. 156-157)
The internal fires of revolution are already smouldering in this nation, and they need but a spark to set them in a flame. Already are agencies at work in the land calculated to subvert and overthrow every principle of rule and government; already is corruption of every kind prevailing in high places and permeating all society; already are we, as a nation, departing from our God and corrupting ourselves with malfeasance, dishonor and a lack of public integrity and good faith; already are licentiousness and debauchery corrupting, undermining and destroying society; already are we interfering with the laws of nature and stopping the functions of life, and have become the slayers of our own offspring, and employ human butchers in the shape of physicians to assist in this diabolical and murderous work. The sins of this nation, the licentiousness, the debauchery, the murders are entering into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and I tell you now, from the tops of these mountains, as a humble servant of the living God, that unless these cries and infamies are stopped, this nation will be overthrown and its glory, power, dominion and wealth will fade away like the dews of a summer morning. I also say to other nations of the earth, that unless they repent of their crimes, their iniquities and abominations, their thrones will be overturned, their kingdoms and governments overthrown, and their lands made desolate. This is not only my saying, but it is the saying of those ancient prophets which they themselves profess to believe; for God will speedily have a controversy with the nations of the earth, and, as I stated before, the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way to overthrow governments, to destroy dynasties, to lay waste thrones, kingdoms and empires, to spread abroad anarchy and desolation, and to cause war, famine and bloodshed to overspread the earth. (John Taylor, JD 23:62-63, 1882)