Episode 185: The White Horse Prophecy for Dummies

John, Zilpha, Troy, Jesse, and Matthew discuss a controversial apocalyptic revelation credited to Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism.

Episode 185

27 comments on “Episode 185: The White Horse Prophecy for Dummies”

  1. Anonymous Reply

    Fine podcast. Thank you.

    I appreciate your pointing out the significance of World War I for the Mormon church. This was the first real war in which Mormons saw combat, with more than 24,000 soldiers including some church leaders (B.H. Roberts served as a chaplain in Europe with the First Utah Artillery). Over 500 died.

    While this may not seem like much today, these fatalities comprised one out of every five hundred male Utahns. Combined with the wounded and missing, and given how large and interconnected Utah families were, this had to have a real psychological impact. 

    In contrast, the Utah Mormons did not participate in the Civil War. Mormon units were raised for the Mexican-American and Spanish-American wars, but saw virtually no combat.

    • Ipse Dixit Reply

      In addition to the First World War, the Russian Revolution was also in full swing in 1918. Tsar Nicholas II, the last of the Russian tsars, was executed on July 17, 1918 by Bolshevik revolutionaries. This was earth-shaking news at the time, and certainly would have been a topic of conversation amongst the Church leadership in Salt Lake. Given the prominence of the Russians—particularly the Russian Tsar—in the White Horse Prophecy, it could be this event that prompted Joseph F. Smith to denounce the prophecy in General Conference in October 1918. No tsar, no fulfilment of the prophecy, ergo it must be false. Coupled with the general movement of the Church at the time toward a mainstream position in American life in the aftermath of the Second Manifesto, and a desire by the leadership to quell apocalyptic fear and fervor that must also have been in the air as a result of the war, I think the stage was superbly set for an official denouncement of the White Horse Prophecy. 

      Mere speculation on my part, of course.

  2. Elisabeth Oppelt Reply

    Ok, so a guy I know posted this as his status on Facebook. It’s even more funny after listening to this podcast.

    Why are people are afraid of a Mormon president?

    1st: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) 11th article of faith, a fundamental doctrine of the church states: “we claim the privilege of worshiping all mighty God according to the dictates of our conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” This means it’s against the LDS faith to enact a law that would restrict the free exercise of another’s worship.
    2nd:Latter-Day Saints are the only religion that teaches as doctrine the constitution of the united states is inspired by God, and not just the design of wise and just men (other random pastors may teach this, but the LDS church has this belief written in Scripture) This means Latter-Day Saints do not seek to change the constitution but to preserve it.
    Finally:LDS are taught that it is their duty as Latter-Day Saints to defend the constitution and protect it from those who seek to destroy it.
    so having a later-day saint in the white house, who sticks to these beliefs, should be something that all Americans take solace in.

    Repost this if you know a mormon who loves this country and lets fight the misguided prejudice against the Latter-Day Saints.

    • Hermes Reply

      1: Unless they are gay people who want to marry or adopt.  These people are subhuman, degenerate monsters.  Anyone who leaves them the freedom to marry or adopt is attacking religious freedom.

      2: The Constitution has some things in common with God.  It waffles around historically, arbitrarily embracing and rejecting things like slavery and the income tax.  Which version is God’s, the one where we have slaves?  Does God want the income tax as part of his eternal plan to save us?  (I can think of many men who want this: are they prophets, seers, and revelators?)

      3: Who is trying to destroy the Constitution?  Anyone who disagrees with your (fascist) interpretation of it?  Give me a concrete example of the Constitution being destroyed, and show me how Mormons are blocking this.  

    • Michael Johnson Reply

      Putting aside the Article of Faith, since the LDS church doesn’t practice what it claims in the one that states “we believe in being honest…”, I have a problem with a Mormon as US president and I live in Australia

      Mormonism teaches that the church is led by Jesus Christ, and that one day, any day now, he will return to take control and show everyone that Mormonism was the way to go after all.Mormons are also taught that prior to the return of Jesus, several things must occur. One of these things is Armageddon. Do I want someone in power in the US with the power to start WW3 who believes that in order for his saviour to return there has to be a cleansing of all the non-believers? NO!

      Do I want someone in power over a powerful nation who suffers from paranoid delusions regarding prejudice and hatred against Mormons, and a completely skewed understanding of what true bigotry is? NO!

      Do I want a leader of the “free” world to believe war is good but providing health care for the poor is bad? NO!

      Do I want a US leader to come from a culture where it is acceptable, and often required, to lie in order to hide the truth so as to keep people in a state of stupor and blind obedience? NO!

      Even if Romney wasn’t Mormon, he’s Republican – the most GD un-Christlike political party I can think of in the US political mainstream.

  3. Anonymous Reply

    First would be to define what ‘hang by a thread’ actually means. The history stuff is interesting, don’t get me wrong here, but my question throughout is what hang by a thread means so one can then compare with today’s issues or not. 

    • Troy Olsen Reply

      I’m not sure “hang by a thread” has ever been defined.  I tried to make that point during the podcast.  Because no one really knows what it means, Church leaders, and/or Mormon politicians, can use the “hang by a thread” prophecy to advance any political agenda.  Ezra Taft Benson and others used the phrase to speak against Communism and the civil rights movement in the 60’s.  Orin Hatch used the phrase in his presidential campaign four years ago.  I’m sure many current Church members believe the Constitution is hanging by a thread because they don’t like the Obama administration.  But I’m not sure what Joseph Smith actually meant when he used the phrase (if he ever really did use that phrase).

      • Anonymous Reply

         yeah, that’s a real problem since people can use it any which way.

        Today i guess obamacare is what is making the constitution hang by a thread and Mitt’s rinding a white horse to his inauguration will save it, the US constituiton that is not MA’s one since obamacare works well there…

    • Anonymous Reply

      Common!  plane as daylite.  It mean “on the brink of  ruin. A smart book riter name of Ridges wrote it it #55 on the official list of 65 signs of the times


      Check it out!  5 stars on Amazon!

      I wrot al 65 signs on card and I carries it around in my wallet and regularly check them off as I see them or hear them on TV .  I have checked off 46 of them.  When I get to 60 the barbed wire goes up. 

  4. Anonymous Reply

    Actually John, if you want to hoard something with which to barter in a post-apocalyptic world, I would suggest alcohol, cigarettes, and porn that doesn’t need electricity.

  5. Anonymous Reply

    Excellent run-down!  Thanks for the podcast.  As was reinforced multiple times during the podcast, it almost does not matter what the provenance of the prophecy was.  The motifs are now hardwired into mormon culture and thought.

  6. Elder Vader Reply

    When I listened through this, and got to the end, for a while there I was thinking:  “This ‘prophecy’ is bologna.  Why is ME even talking about it.” 

    But after kicking around in my brain for a couple of days, I like it.  And I’m glad I suffered through this conversation, and the dramatic reading of the prophecy. 

    Pretty much everything in there was familiar to me.  But nobody had ever sourced it back to anything.  Benson made the constitution hanging by a thread thing immortal in mormon circles.  And it ties back to the white horse prophecy which nobody is willing to stand by.  Its simultaneously disowned, and a permanent resident.  Hilarious. 

    I remember listening to the 14 fundamentals podcast and they sourced the quote from Joseph Smith’s letter to Nancy Rigdon (Joseph wrote a letter to Nancy Rigdon trying to induce her into an adulterous affair) back to the scrapbook of mormon literature.  Everybody laughed about that.  This is along those same lines, but somehow less funny to me, but still relevant.   

  7. Michael Johnson Reply

    A note on food storage….
    Last January (2011) my TBM parents’ house was flooded when the city of Brisbane Australia was flooded. They had several barrels and drums full of wheat and other grains. The flood waters got into all the plastic containers, which expanded and pushed open the lids. The wheat was ruined, and became absolutely putrid. It seemed like flies came from a 100km radius to party on the stinking wheat. During the several days when the city was fragmented by flood waters, the remaining food storage cliches where never used, neither were the 72 hour packs which just took up space in the cars meaning valuable things like computers with hard drives full of photos were left and destroyed.  

    Several areas of the city of 2 million were blacked out as Energex turned off transformers that were at risk of being flooded. Consequently, there was a HUGE loss of food in fridges and freezers by many hundreds of thousands of households, however supermarkets had generators so people could buy what they needed before each meal.

    During the flood, you could still get most of the food sold at McDonalds, Hungry Jack’s (BK), KFC, Red Rooster etc. So we were there with freeze dried chili con carne, and you could still buy a whopper.

    What I learnt – The most important things to take in a flood are your papers, photos, title deeds etc (although these were also held at state archives) ELECTRICAL goods such as TVs, PVRs, computers, coffee machine etc. These things are valuable and will be destroyed. It might sound like out of wack priorities but clothes and bed coverings can be washed, most furniture is too big to take in a hurry, and you can fit out your kitchen with toaster, microwave, blender etc for less than $200 total.

    Generators are an essential item for power outages that may last a few days until the floodwaters are out of transformers. You need to keep food fresh in fridges and frozen in freezers. You need power for a TV to watch what is happening and to prepare for further developments. You need to be able to charge your mobile phones – some landlines failed, and the government sent text messages to all mobile phone numbers in specific locations warning of evacuations etc. We were able to check the radar images of the rain on a laptop owned by the people where we stayed. More generators would have saved a lot of people their food and allowed them to keep their phones charged. A car charger should also be kept in the car. 

    I also learnt that when it comes to natural disasters, if your wheat etc is ever to come in handy, society as a whole has to pretty much fail completely – i.e there will be no other people safe anywhere and able to help you out. In countries like the US and Australia, that will just never happen unless a comet takes the whole place off the map.

    The church is clueless when it comes to preparation. If people are going to need a years supply of food, there will be gangs of thugs roaming destroyed cities looking for lights at night so they can take what you’ve got. If there is no food supply for a year, people will be eating each other. An entire year when every system breaks down and there is no other human population anywhere on the planet able to send food drops? Let’s be realistic.

  8. Anonymous Reply

    Enjoyed the podcast as usual.  I read the FAIR article which I can not find anymore.  I agree with you John it always make sound stupid when they use words like so called.  Also I agree that when the they make arguments they take in fare more than they intend. Their first argument against the white horse prophecy is that it was recorded such a long time from when it was claimed to have happened.  This is my argument with the gospels.   I also think that all their arguments work against the part about the constitution hanging by a thread except they can’t find important people talking against it. It was also not quoted until after the prophets death and it was never Canonized.  Why is that part ok and the rest is bunk?  Why do we see the gospels of the new testament given credibility? 

  9. i_follow_u Reply

    Shame on the lawyers for not knowing the purpose of the “three-fifths” clause. I am so sick of the lack of historical (and political) understanding about this clause. Do you not understand that without the “three-fifths” clause that slavery would have existed in the U.S. longer than it did? The Southern states wanted slaves to have the right to vote. Why? Because as property, the slave owners would have been able to order their slaves to vote as they directed and therefore giving the Southern states a huge voting block and a tremendous amount of political power in the federal government. A majority of the founders wanted to abolish slavery, but abolition was political quicksand and a stumbling block to completing the work of ratifying the Constitution. So a compromise was reached and the “three-fifths” clause was born. (BTW, no conservative I know wants to reinstate or preserve the “three-fifths” clause; that is just ridiculous nonsense.)

  10. Anonymous Reply

    OK. So I know the discussion has died down here but I wanted to comment.

    First, great podcast as usual. Thanks

    Second, anyone have any hints on where to find references showing Joseph taught the idea of the Const. hanging by a thread and the Elders saving it? I’m getting really tired of defenders saying the White Horse is bogus and thereby trying to dismissing many of the ideas therein that clearly came from Smith.

    I can Google like everyone else…just wondered if anyone remember where these can be found. I think Zilpha named at least one. I may have to go back and listen again

  11. Karen Buffington Reply

    Quite evident that this prophecy was clearly taken from the New Testament..just repackaged…I do not like the idea of the commentators dismissing the fact that we are living in end times..We have biblical prophecy from our christian bible that has not been wrong as has the Joseph Smith teaching…the bible tells us that the generation who sees the nation of Israel (you know, the one in the middle east) reborn will live to see the Jesus’ return…we have no reason to doubt that.  I hope that Mormons would take a look at biblical teaching of the New Testament and compare them…

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