Revelation, [, OH], 25 Dec. 1832. Featured version, titled “A Prophecy given Decm. 25th 1832,” copied [between 22 Jan. and ca. 27 Feb. 1833] in Revelation Book 2, pp. 32–33; handwriting of ; CHL. Includes redactions. For more complete source information, see the source note for Revelation Book 2.
On Christmas Day, 25 December 1832, JS dictated this revelation warning of the outbreak of war across all nations, beginning in South Carolina. Remarking on the context of this revelation, a later JS history states: “Appearances of troubles among the nations, became more visible, this season, than they had previously done, since the church began her journey out of the wilderness.” The Painesville Telegraph of 21 December 1832 highlighted some of these problems. It contained an article titled “Revenge and Magnanimity. A Tale of the Cholera” about the worldwide cholera epidemic, as well as information about a plague in India that was killing 150 to 200 people a day. The newspaper also included extensive coverage of the passage of a resolution by a Nullification Convention held in November in South Carolina. This resolution declared the federal tariff acts of 1828 and 1832, which levied high duties against imports, “null and void” in the state. Many South Carolina residents believed the acts were passed solely to protect northern manufacturing at the expense of the South. Not only did South Carolinians claim the right to nullify the law, they also stated their willingness to “organize a separate Government” should the federal government try to enforce the tariffs in the state. The governor called for two thousand men to form a militia “for the defence of Charleston and its dependencies.” President Andrew Jackson responded quickly to this resolution, stating, according to the Telegraph, “that the laws and the Union must be maintained, at all events.” Because , Ohio, was only about ten miles from , Ohio, it is probable that JS saw or heard about the articles in the 21 December Telegraph within a day or so. These developments troubled JS, who saw in them the threat of the “immediate dissolution” of the . Indeed, the 25 December revelation predicted that rebellion on the part of South Carolina would lead not only to civil war and war among nations but also to slave rebellions and an uprising of remnants of the house of Israel. This violence, combined with plague and other natural disasters, would ultimately lead to the “full end of all Nations.” Using millenarian language, the revelation cast such events as portents of the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.
wrote the revelation as JS dictated it, but the original manuscript is no longer extant. Probably between late January and late February 1833, Williams copied the revelation into Revelation Book 2, titling it “Prophecy given Dec 25— 1832 concerning concerning the wars” in that book’s index.
Although it is unlikely that William W. Phelps saw this revelation before publishing the January 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star, that issue contained an article titled “Signs of the Times.” Some of the signs Phelps listed included the trouble in South Carolina and the cholera epidemic. “Such strange movements of men; such dreadful sickness; oh! such fearful looking for the wrath of God to be poured out upon this generation,” Phelps declared, “ought to convince every man in the world, that the end is near; that the harvest is ripe, and that the angels are reaping down the earth!” (“Signs of the Times,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, .)
The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.
See Revelation Book 2, Index, . Other manuscript copies of the revelation were also made around that same time, including one by John Whitmer in Revelation Book 1. The revelation was not published in the 1835 or 1844 editions of the Doctrine and Covenants, in part, according to Brigham Young, because “it was not wisdom to put that . . . in private escritoire.” In 1851, Franklin D. Richards published the revelation in England in a pamphlet titled The Pearl of Great Price: Being a Choice Selection from the Revelations, Translations, and Narrations of Joseph Smith, First Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Revelation Book 1, p. 157; Brigham Young, Discourse, 20 May 1860, in George D. Watt, Discourse Shorthand Notes, 20 May 1860, George D. Watt, Papers, as transcribed by LaJean Purcell Carruth, copy in editors’ possession; “A Mormon Prophecy,” Philadelphia Sunday Mercury, 5 May 1861, ; see also Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 2:234–238.)
Watt, George D. Papers, ca. 1846–1865. CHL.
Philadelphia Sunday Mercury. Philadelphia. 1860–1863.
Crawley, Peter. A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. 3 vols. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997–2012.
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 Britian as it is called and they shall also call upon other Nations in order to defend themselves against other Nations and thus war shall be poured out upon all Nations and it shall come to pass after many days Slaves shall rise up against there Masters who shall be Martialed and disaplined for war and it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will martial themselves also and shall become exceding angry and shall vex the with a soar vexation 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 chastning hand of an Almighty God untill the consumption decribed decreed hath made a full end of all Nations that the cry of the saints and of blood of the saints shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Saboath from the earth to be avenged of their enimies, wherefore stand ye in holy places and be not moved untill the day of the Lord come, for be hold it cometh quickly saith the Lord. Amen
TEXT: A later redaction in the handwriting of Frederick G. Williams inserts “Nations” at this point. All other early manuscript versions have “nations” here, suggesting that “Nations” was likely part of the original inscription. (See, for example, Gilbert, Notebook, .)
Gilbert, Algernon Sidney. Notebook of Revelations, 1831–ca. 1833. Revelations Collection, 1831–ca. 1844, 1847, 1861, ca. 1876. CHL. MS 4583, box 1, fd. 2.
In the wake of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, the United States continued to view Britain as both a political and economic rival in the Western Hemisphere. (Haynes, Unfinished Revolution, 8–9.)
Haynes, Sam W. Unfinished Revolution: The Early American Republic in a British World. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010.
Brigham Young, who was not present when the revelation was dictated, claimed in 1860 that the revelation was the result of “serious reflections” by “the brethren” about “African slavery on this continent” and “the slavery of children [of] men throughout the world.” “After much deliberation and reflection etc. and being tolerably well acquainted with the customs of the north and south,” he continued, “the Lord gave a revelation concerning slavery.” In August 1831, a slave named Nat Turner led a rebellion in southeastern Virginia that resulted in the deaths of approximately sixty white people and the execution of twenty-one black people (including Turner). Many white Virginians and other white Southerners feared that further rebellions would follow. (Brigham Young, Discourse, 20 May 1860, in George D. Watt, Discourse Shorthand Notes, 20 May 1860, George D. Watt, Papers, as transcribed by LaJean Purcell Carruth, copy in editors’ possession; Oates, Fires of Jubilee, 125–126.)
Watt, George D. Papers, ca. 1846–1865. CHL.
Oates, Stephen B. The Fires of Jubilee: Nat Turner’s Fierce Rebellion. New York: Harper and Row, 1975.
“Remnants” refers to the scattered descendants of ancient Israelites still found on the earth. The Book of Mormon uses the singular “remnant” to refer specifically to descendants of the family of Lehi but the plural “remnants” when discussing all descendants of Israel scattered throughout the world. A letter from JS to Noah C. Saxton, editor of the American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer, written just ten days after this revelation, used “remnants” in a similar way. In that letter, JS declared that God would “recover the remnants of his people which have been left from Assyria, and from Egypt and from Pathros &.c. and from the Islands of the sea.” (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 31, 117, 23, 496–497 [1 Nephi 13:34; 2 Nephi 30:3; 1 Nephi 10:14; 3 Nephi 20:10–23]; Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 Jan. 1833; see also Ashurst-McGee, “Zion Rising,” 263–264.)
Ashurst-McGee, Mark. “Zion Rising: Joseph Smith’s Early Social and Political Thought.” PhD diss., Arizona State University, 2008.
This theme from the book of Revelation also appears in the Book of Mormon. (See, for example, Revelation 6:10; 16:1–6; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 106, 473, 534 [2 Nephi 26:3; 3 Nephi 9:11; Mormon 8:27].)