Joseph Smith/Alleged false prophecies/Ten tribes return and wicked swept away
|Joseph Smith, Jr.|
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- Critics claim that Joseph prophecied that the wicked "of this generation" would be swept from the face of the land and the Lost Ten tribes would be gathered within Joseph Smith's generation.
The final and total return of the Ten Tribes is not required by the prophecy—only the preparation and preliminaries for their return. The destruction of the wicked was seen by those to whom the prophecy was given as fulfilled by the Civil War and its attendant destruction, and it was this that those living were commanded to avoid by fleeing to Zion and the safety of the gospel.
The quote in context reads:
And now I am prepared to say by the authority of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass away before the United States shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the history of our nation; pestilence, hail, famine, and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of the land, to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country. The people of the Lord, those who have complied with the requirements of the new covenant, have already commenced gathering together to Zion, which is in the state of Missouri; therefore I declare unto you the warning which the Lord has commanded to declare unto this generation, remembering that the eyes of my Maker are upon me, and that to him I am accountable for every word I say, wishing nothing worse to my fellow-men than their eternal salvation; therefore, "Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come." Repent ye, repent ye, and embrace the everlasting covenant, and flee to Zion, before the overflowing scourge overtake you, for there are those now living upon the earth whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things, which I have spoken, fulfilled. Remember these things; call upon the Lord while He is near, and seek Him while He may be found, is the exhortation of your unworthy servant.
There are two aspects to the prophecy.
1. Destruction of the wicked (marked in blue.
These events were certainly seen by the nineteenth-century Saints as fulfilled. They saw the Civil War as the culmination of prophecies against wicked people in a wicked nation. For more information see:
Those now living are to flee to Zion to avoid the scourge—i.e., the destruction, which certainly bypassed the Saints in Utah during the Civil War.
2. The preparation for the return of the ten tribes (marked in red.
The critics wish to say that Joseph prophesied the return of the Ten Tribes—but, he did not. He prophecied that those living would see those things necessary to "prepare the way" for the return of the tribes. The prophecy also noted (in green) that this gathering was already beginning as those who embraced the covenant gathered to Zion.