Mormon Media Observer: The Latter-day Saints and the Civil War

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  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 23, 2011 12:20 p.m.

    donn: What you stated in your last contribution is not on topic as it has nothing to do with the Civil War or the events afterword. However, it is only your opinion as to whether it is false or not. You have no proof to the contrary except using items that are not clearly substantiated. I don't use the Bible you mention so as far as I'm concerned, it is a bad translation and not useful. Only in some of its meanings but it still is not a good translation into English. Secondly, they are still finding items and examining the Dead Sea Scrolls. From what I have seen for myself they do not refute Joseph's translation or revelation of the Bible. In many ways they actually come out and agree with it. However, like anything they are not always as authentic as many believe either. So for you to say they refute is a matter of opinion, not fact.

    What we have stated has been proven and continues to be proven. You base yours only based upon propaganda issued by those against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This doesn't mean it is factual.

  • donn layton, UT
    Nov. 23, 2011 8:20 a.m.

    Re: Zadruga Guy: I prayed for WISDOM see(James 1:5) studied the evidence the BoM and left the Church. i.e, the great Jehovah(YHWH )the eternal judge Moroni 10:34.
    From[false] LDS revelation, we learn that Jehovah is the English form of the actual name by which the Lord Jesus was known ANCIETLY (D&C 110:3 ,Jehovah appears to JS), Abra 2:8 ,My is name is Jehovah) 788 Mormon Doctrine. s/b YHWH, JS was unaware of the poor KJV and didnt know the Personal name of God(LORD)YHWH.
    Re: Bill in Nebraska: That seer his name shall be called Joseph(Smith), and it shall be after the name of his father. ( Genesis 50:33 JST)? JS prophecy about himself. Refuted by the Septuagint the Aposles Bible and Dead Sea Scrolls. Yet
    Joseph Smith Jr. Joseph son of Jacob, prophesied of the future mission of the Prophet JS twenty-four hundred years before the LDS prophet was born(50:33 JST ).(Religious truth defined by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.256-257)

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 22, 2011 7:55 p.m.

    To Donn: I think you really need to take a hard look at what has happened since 1860 till today. The United States has had very few periods of actual peace since 1860. This includes the wars with the Native Americans. All one has to see is read the Book of Mormon and see the prophesies held within its cover come to its fruits pertaining to the Native Americans. This goes for North, Central and South America. As someone else mentioned it could have been said to be genocide within the boundaries of our own country. It also states the Gentiles would be the ones that would do it. Prophesy in its fullest fulfilled.

    The other wars include the Spanish American War, there was a war in China that led to the great US Fleet in the Pacific and several others. Review the marine corps hymn and you will find many more places which put American servicemen at risk. So there have been wars and rumor of wars from 1860 to present day. Again fulfillment of prophesy in and of itself. Look carefully at the signs of the second coming and you will see it isn't that far off.

  • Zadruga Guy West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 6:48 p.m.

    I think the passage in the History of the Church that you referred to does nothing to weaken the argument of apologists -- to the contrary, it provides supporting evidence.

    God's pattern is not to provide a revelation on a subject until after a person asks of God (see James 1:5). Remember that the First Vision did not happen until AFTER Joseph went into the Sacred Grove to pray. Spencer W. Kimball did not receive the revelation on ordaining all men to the Priesthood until AFTER he and Harold B. Lee and David O. McKay had sought to know God's will on the topic.

    So the fact that Joseph Smith had the South Carolina crisis on his mind is exactly what one would expect -- it was the impetus for Joseph Smith seeking a revelation on the subject of war. And I think it is a revelation that has exactly fulfilled. As a previous poster noted, the war that began in South Carolina has indeed filled the Earth, with the attendant consequences.

  • Northwest Doug FEDERAL WAY, WA
    Nov. 22, 2011 6:05 p.m.

    Regarding Lincoln's hands-off attitude towards the Mormons -- his cautious policy was very consistent with how he treated slave-holding border states (Maryland, Kentucky) that stayed with the Union during the Civil War.

    The author's thesis that the violent expulsion of the Mormons in the 1840s from Illinois and elsewhere allowed them to escape the slaughter of the Civil War is interesting and something I had never considered. The isolation of the Saints in Utah territory was something of a mixed blessing. There were benefits, but one drawback is that Americans have been slow to accept Mormons as full partners in the Republic. Blacks have had an even tougher challenge gaining acceptance, of course. Military service and courageous sacrifice by black regiments near the end of the Civil War was instrumental in changing the attitudes of many whites in the north. The Mormon Battalion demonstrated loyalty to the union, but very few non-Mormons even know about it.

  • hermounts Pleasanton, CA
    Nov. 22, 2011 5:51 p.m.

    I believe Abraham Lincoln's comment that "If he will leave me alone, I will leave him alone," referred not to the war, but to the recently passed Morrill Act (named for Senator Morrill of Vermont), which was the first anti-polygamy legislation passed by Congress. Lincoln was saying that he would enforce the law leniently if the Mormons behaved themselves.

  • Uncle Gadianton Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 22, 2011 2:48 p.m.

    Just wanted to put my two cents in, regarding the War Prophecy. In the first place, Sec. 87 prophecies wars, not just the U.S. Civil War. War would be poured on all nations (implying a process). It is also erroneous to conclude that the only "wars" that have been fought are the Civil War, WWI, and WWII. Obviously, there have been several conflicts worldwide, not to mention internal warfare such as the US Government's military compaign against the Native American Tribes (which should probably be considered a genocide).

    I wish I had the source for this, but I remember reading that since at least 1914 (WWI), there has been at least one nation at war with at last one other nation (including internal conflicts) continuously. In short, there has been a constant state of war on the earth since 1914. War has certainly been poured out on all nations.

  • donn layton, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 2:27 p.m.

    Re: K.C. Mormon. In order to maintain the integrity of the Mormon prophet you insist that this prophecy stretches beyond the Civil War and actually includes both world wars. To suggest such an interpretation shows how futile and frantic Mormon apologists can become. The prophecy clearly states these "wars" will begin with the rebellion of South Carolina. To say these world wars had any connection whatsoever with the rebellion at South Carolina defies reasoning.

    Joseph Smith was aware of this discontent and mentioned it in the History of the Church (vol. 1,) He wrote, "The people of South Carolina, in convention assembled (in November), passed ordinances, declaring their state a free and independent nation...President Jackson issued his proclamation against this rebellion, called out a force sufficient to quell it, and implored the blessings of God to assist the nation to extricate itself from the horrors of the approaching and solemn crisis." On Christmas day, 1832, Smith claimed he received his "prophecy on the war of the rebellion."

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 2:27 p.m.

    D&C 134:12 (adopted by unanimous vote at a general assembly of the Church held at Kirtland, Ohio, 17 August 1835) clearly shows LDS were never abolitionists:

    "...we do not believe it right to interfere with bond-servants, neither preach the gospel to, nor baptize them contrary to the will and wish of their masters, nor to meddle with or influence them in the least to cause them to be dissatisfied with their situations in this life, thereby jeopardizing the lives of men; such interference we believe to be unlawful and unjust, and dangerous to the peace of every government allowing human beings to be held in servitude."

    Good thing Lincoln was not a Mormon (or that Joseph Smith was never elected President), or emancipation would never have been achieved!

  • Onandagus1834 MIDVALE, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 1:47 p.m.

    donn, You say that the Mormon people were men and women who deplored the institution of slavery, but many people above on this comment board have pointed out that slavery existed in the Utah Territory, which is accurate. Plus the Republican Party was created to fight the Twin Pillars of Barbarism: Slavery and Polygamy. That is why Brigham Young had to send the message to President Lincoln that Williams discussed in this article. Additionally, just because there was much talk of abolition does not mean that the entire nation actually accepted it. Up until the 1850s the abolitionists were viewed as strong extremists on the political spectrum.

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    Nov. 22, 2011 11:27 a.m.

    patriot vet
    You said "The Church does not encourage military service. Indeed, of the 15 highest GA's only 3 are veterans" Your facts are worng. Here are some facts by Quorum
    First Presidency
    Thomas S. Monson- U.S. Navy
    Henry B. Eyring- U.S. Air force
    Dieter F. Uchtdorf- West German Air Force
    Twelve Apestles
    Boyd K. Packer- United States Army Air Forces
    L. Tom Perry- United States Marines
    Russell M. Nelson- U.S. Army
    Dallin H. Oaks- Utah National Guard
    M. Russell Ballard -United States Army Reserve
    Richard G. Scott- Do not think he served (of age between WWII and Korea)
    Robert D. Hales- U.S. Air Force
    Jeffrey R. Holland- do not believe he served born on 1940
    David A. Bednar- do not believe he served born 1952
    Quentin L. Cook- do not believe he served born 1940
    D. Todd Christofferson- do not believe he served born 1945
    Neil L. Andersen- do not believe he served born 1951
    BY my numbers that is 5 out of 18 that are NOT vets. that makes 10 that ARE.

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    Nov. 22, 2011 9:06 a.m.

    You are ignoring (intentionally or not I do not know) the FIRST verse

    "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;"

    Notice that Joseph is very clear that he is speaking of WARS plural not one single war. Starting with the American Civil war war did in fact pour out on the nations of the earth. The Civil war saw the development of new weapons as well as tactics. At the start of the civil war armies used single shot muskets fighting in fairlanks (armies marching across fields firing at each other until one side stands down).
    In the Civil War repeating rifles were introduced as was trench warfare. The South called on England who along with other European nations sent people to study this new warfare but did not step in to any great degree to help the South out. This study then lead to WWI. WWI lead to WWII and England asking for help from the US and others. The key is to read verse ONE.

  • donn layton, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 8:05 a.m.

    @Onandagus1834. The revelation on the Civil War. .. it was spoken on Christmas Day, 1832. men and women who deplored the institution of slavery, and there was much talk of abolition. But who but a prophet of God would have dared to say, thirty-nine years before it was to happen, that war [would] be poured out upon all nations,' beginning 'at the rebellion of South Carolina,' and that 'the Southern States [would] be divided against the Northern States'?) This remarkable prediction saw its fulfillment with the firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor in 1861. How could J S have possibly foreseen with such accuracy the event that was to come thirty-nine ] years after he spoke of it? ("Praise to the Man," Ensign, Aug. 1983, p.6) Gordon B. Hinkley

    Smith's prophecy discloses many problems. For one, Smith predicted that "war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place." Twice this phrase is mentioned in verses two and three of section 87. This prophecy never occurred. He also predicted famine, plague, earthquake, and a "chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made full end of all nations" (vs.6).

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    Nov. 22, 2011 7:46 a.m.

    The first petition for statehood from Brigham Young was in 1849 just two years after settling in what was then called Deseret. They then continued to petition for statehood until 1891 when they were finally granted statehood. How can that be the same as Puerto Rico?

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 22, 2011 12:28 a.m.

    Re: Ernest T. Bass You are correct that there were african-americans with the first LDS settlers in the valley. However, these african americans were freed men and woman and at least one was ordained as an elder in the LDS church by President Smith. The Utah Territory was occupied by a small group of Union troops through out the Civil War to ensure that no intrique occurred. As commented upon by others a small command of LDS men, also, guarded the mail lines through out the war. The United States was no friend of the LDS before or after the war. They refused the state of Deseret admission to the Union both before and after the war. And, then parcelled out the lands to ensure that the eventual State of Utah was both the smallest in land area, but, also the one with the most land reserved for indian reservations. The US eventually wrote the state's constitution and forced its acceptance upon the majority population. It included requirments that the religion not have private education, and that its members not belong to one political party. This is one of the most imperial acts in which the country every participated.

  • Onandagus1834 MIDVALE, UT
    Nov. 21, 2011 5:12 p.m.

    donn, I am trying to figure out what it is that you are saying? You have documented (assuming your research is accurate) that it is not only possible, but it is likely that Joseph Smith received the revelation now known as D&C 87 with knowledge of the conflict in South Carolina known as the Nullification Crisis. You really didn't need to do that because anyone who lived in the United States and was of a sane mind during the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828 and the few years thereafter would have known about this conflict. But thank you for your work! The problem that now faces us is the fact that the people living in the United States in 1828 and 1832 had no idea that a civil war would be the end result in the early 1860s. Everyone, including President Jackson, were working so that that would not be the result. Additionally, abolitionists, or anyone in the US for that matter, did not know when slavery would end. So to assume that it was the question of slavery and states' rights automatically points to the American Civil War (1861-65) is what David Hackett Fisher has called a "historian's fallacy." Joseph Smith's revelation did have prophetic implications, I do not doubt that. What I am saying is that the reason Joseph asked the Lord in prayer about this issue was the Nullification Crisis, not some assumed premonition of a war that would not actually occur for 30 more years. The issues of slavery and states' rights were prevalent in the early republic from the time of the Revolution until the end of the Civil War and passage of the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.

  • donn layton, UT
    Nov. 21, 2011 3:01 p.m.

    Re: Onandagus1834,Joseph had that conflict in mind, not the Civil War?

    (D&C 130:12 -13) prophesy, in the name of the Lord God, that the commencement of the difficulties which will cause much bloodshed previous to the coming of the Son of Man will be in South Carolina. 13 It may probably arise through the slave question. This a voice declared to me, while I was praying earnestly on the subject, December 25th,1832.

    Oct 29,1832 President Andrews Jackson ordered SC Harbors forts placed on alert.

    Dec/10/1832, President Andrew Jackson declared, S C stood on "the brink of insurrection and treason," and denied the right of secession.

    Not far from Smith's Kirtland, Ohio headquarters, Painesville Telegraph printed a story from the New York Courier and Enquirer entitled "The Crisis." The article spoke of the "probabilities of dismemberment" stemming from discontent in South Carolina and Georgia over states rights. It is interesting to note that the date of this article is Friday, December 21, 1832, just four days before Smith received his alleged "prophecy."

  • Onandagus1834 MIDVALE, UT
    Nov. 21, 2011 2:09 p.m.

    BobP, my opinion about what? I'm sorry to say, but any historian of the early American Republic will agree with me on this issue.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 21, 2011 2:08 p.m.

    Bob P,

    Johnston was at the head of the army unit that came to put down the non-existent Mormon rebellion of 1857, he did not lead the battalion. His effectiveness in the Civial War can be debated as he only survived one year of the conflict, being killed in the battle of Shiloh in April 1962.

    Captain James Allen was sent to raise the battalion; he died en route to Santa Fe, so Lieutenant Andrew Jackson Smith led the battalion to Santa Fe, where Philip St. George Cooke took over. Cooke was appointed to the position by Stephen W. Kearny.

    so the D&C and Book of Mormon only applied while the church was within the territorial area of the US? The constitution was no longer inspired when Young attempted to lead the church to Mexican territory?

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Nov. 21, 2011 1:19 p.m.

    Onandaus, your opinion only.

  • Onandagus1834 MIDVALE, UT
    Nov. 21, 2011 11:39 a.m.

    While I could spend hours debating this article along with the blog that appeared in the New York Times and the lack of historical ability on the part of both authors, I do feel compelled to say one thing. I am a faithful member of the LDS Church and have spent countless hours researching Mormon history. But Latter-day Saints need to know that the famed "Civil War" revelation (D&C 87) does not make any reference to the Civil War. Joseph Smith received that revelation in December 1832 in the wake of what historians today call the Nullification Crisis of 1828-1832. Basically, South Carolina--behind their "wonderful" Senator John C. Calhoun--threatened nullification of a tariff that affected their production of cotton. When Andrew Jackson sent a Federal Army to South Carolina in mid-1832, the "rebellious" state threatened secession if they were not left alone. Fortunately, in one of Jackson's only good acts as President, the Commander-in-Chief was able to stave of war for at least another 30 years. Joseph had that conflict in mind, not the Civil War. However, his revelation is all the more amazing to me knowing this historical context.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Nov. 21, 2011 11:15 a.m.

    The US army Colonel the lead the Mormon war was Albert Sidney Johnson. Later one of the better Confederate Generals.

    The largest part of the Mormon population was Northern or From Britain (the Brits abandoned slavery in 1830).

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Nov. 21, 2011 10:10 a.m.

    What is truly strange is the fact this this article ignores the contributions of Lot Smith during the Civil War. He was a captain commissioned by Abraham Lincoln.

    Lot Smith was absolutely instrumental in protecting the overland mail route to California. If it had not been for the efforts of Smith and the LDS soldiers who served with him, the South may well have had more success in its efforts to isolate California from the rest of the Union.

    It is a popular activity among revisionists of history to claim that Utah was somehow pro-South during the Civil War. These revisionists ignore the examples of Smith and others which show that Utah was strongly on the side of the Union.

  • patriot vet Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 21, 2011 10:03 a.m.

    1. The 19th century church (1830-1900) was in general opposition to the US Government.

    2. The Church does not encourage military service. Indeed, of the 15 highest GA's only 3 are veterans. Mitt Romney is one of our most Vietnam prominent draft dodgers, but there are many Saints with him.

    3. The Mormon Battalion was formed to provide needed finances for the migrating Saints. It had no real military purpose nor experience. It did bring in a lot of money for the Church.

    4. The Civil War was the greatest threat we have ever experienced to our Constitutional union. Those that sat on the sidelines (including Utah) showed their colors, or rather lack thereof.

  • Mc West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 21, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    Brigham Young's message to President Lincoln shows that he and the Church considered themselves to be loyal Americans. He did not send that message to the head of the Confederacy. He sent it to the President of the United States. I see no reason to assume that Brigham Yound sided with the south or was in favor of slavery.

  • junkgeek Agua Dulce, TX
    Nov. 21, 2011 9:28 a.m.

    lost in DC - Those passages in D&C date to when they were actually part of the States. The treat notwithstanding, the Saints in those early years in Utah did not consider themselves part of the United State, even though the boundaries now included them by the time the Civil War started.

    Kind of like no one now really considers Puerto Rico to be part of the States.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 21, 2011 8:34 a.m.

    Brigham Young and therefore Deseret sided with the south in favor of slavery during the civil war. There were slaves in the first party of pioneers to enter the valley in 1847.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 21, 2011 8:28 a.m.

    I find your comments to be very odd. Mormons were never really part of the United States during that era?

    Ever hear of the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo? Signed in 1848 (before the civil war), it gave possession of the Utah territory to the United States. The MORMON battalion, while never engaged with Mexican forces, was part of the US effort in the Mexican War leading to that treaty. The justice of that war is debatable and the topic for another discussion.

    Never really part of the US during that era?

    Ever read the sections of the D&C declaring the constitution to be divinely inspired?

    Ever read the parts of the Book of Mormon calling this land a land of promise and freedom?

    Brigham agreed to raise the Mormon Battalion to show loyalty to the constitution DESPITE the outrageous treatment at the hands of those in NY, MO, OH, and ILL.

    BTW, to the best of my knowledge, the Mormon Battalion is the only military unit in US history to bear a religious title. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Is Pioneer Day bigger than Independence Day? debatable. There are definitely more parades on 7/4.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 21, 2011 8:00 a.m.

    The Mormons were in Mexico.
    And many were never even Americans to begin with [English, Welsh, Scottish, & Swedish]

    Besides, the Republicans considered Slavery and Polygamy as the 2 biggest cancers that needed to be swiped off the surface of the Earth.

    Lincoln was hardly a "friend" to the Mormons....

    Flash forward to 2011 --
    Utah Mormons today would be hard core Southerns.
    Wishing for a Smaller Government less intrusive Federal Government and a Christian Theocracy.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Nov. 21, 2011 7:24 a.m.

    As one with Mormon roots going back to the 1830s, I find this article to be very odd. The Mormons left the United States. They went to Mexican territory. They had little connection to the United States and were never really part of it in that era. Lincoln was not telling Mormons "to avoid the war altogether." He just didn't need the headache. Mormons had no role in the Civil War. It is not part of the Mormon legacy. To draw a conclusion that Mormons had to be tucked away during the war is unfounded. The thing is, while many Utah Mormons claim to love Lincoln, they don't really know and understand what Lincoln stood for. Why, even today, July 24th is a bigger deal than July 4th. Let's be realistic and rational. Utah's roots are essentially not American roots by, understandably, choice and action.