The now famous or infamous “White Horse” prophecy is something that has made the rounds over the years. It is an alleged record of a prophecy recorded by Edwin Rushton and Theodore Turley who claim that they heard Joseph Smith make some predictions in their own home around May 6, 1843.
It may very well be all true and recorded accurately, partially true at least, but some of the details of the statement are in doubt since we don’t have record of Joseph stating many of the details elsewhere. The main oft-repeated idea from the ‘prophecy’ is the concept that the Constitution of the United States would “hang by a thread” and that the “Elders of Israel” or “The Church” would be the means somehow “preserve” it or “bear it away” from total destruction.
President Joseph F. Smith said in the October 1918 General Conference said that the prophecy “…was never spoken by the prophet in the manner in which they [Rushton and Turley] have put it forth.” What Joseph Smith actually said, that we have record of was:
“Even this nation will be on the verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground and when the Constitution is on the brink of ruin this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction.” – President Joseph Smith, Jr (19 July 1840, as recorded by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray; ms. in Church Historian’s Office, Salt Lake City)
Eliza R. Snow recollected Joseph Smith saying:
“I heard the prophet Joseph Smith say the time would come when this nation would so far depart from its original purity, its glory, and its love for freedom and its protection of civil rights and religious rights, that the Constitution of our country would hang as it were by a thread. He said, also, that this people, the sons of Zion, would rise up and save the Constitution and bear it off triumphantly.” – Eliza R. Snow
Even though many of the predictions in the “White Horse Prophecy” might be in question, the idea that the Constitution would be in danger and next to destruction has been stated on many occasions by several General Authorities of the church. Ezra Taft Benson even validated this idea:
“Concerning the United States, the Lord revealed to his prophets that its greatest threat would be a vast, world-wide ‘secret combination’ which would not only threaten United States but also seek to ‘overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries’ (Ether 8:25)… In connection with attack on the United States, the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith there would be an attempt to overthrow the country by destroying the Constitution. Joseph Smith predicted that the time would come when the Constitution would hang, as it were, by a thread, and at that time ‘this people will step forth and save it from threatened destruction’ (Journal History, Brigham Young’s Speech, July 4, 1854) – “The American Heritage of Freedom” by Ezra Taft Benson. From God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties, pg. 356. 1974.
J. Reuben Clark, as an apostle, has stated:
“You and I have heard all our lives that the time may come when the Constitution may hang by a thread. I do not know whether it is a thread, or a small rope by which it now hangs, but I do know that whether it shall live or die is now in the balance” (Conference Report, October 1942, p.58).
Brigham Young didn’t mince words when he bypassed the idea of a “hanging thread” and stated that the Constitution would be “torn to shreds” at a future point.
When the people shall have torn to shreds the Constitution of the United States the Elders of Israel will be found holding it up to the nations of earth and proclaiming liberty and equal rights to all men, and extending the hand of fellowship to the oppressed of all nations. (Journal of Discourses, 21:8)
It was Ezra Taft Benson, however, who revealed what that final ‘thread’ would be that the Constitution would hang from:
“Our great Constitution has been beaten and torn until now it hangs by a single thread, and that thread is our franchise to vote.” (Ezra Taft Benson, 1976, Freeman Institute, Provo, Utah)
It seems clear by these and many other quotes not referenced in this article that the Constitution will at some point in time be near total destruction and may even be destroyed at the national level only to be preserved among the community of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and possibly other pockets of patriots and others. Sounds extreme, but crazier things have happened throughout history!
As you consider these statements, watch and think about the following videos and the last link at the bottom and ask yourself how thick you think that last thread is, or if there is a thread anymore at all:
“You know, comrades, that I think in regard to this: I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.” – Joseph Stalin, “Memoirs of the former secretary of Stalin” by Boris Bazhanov
July 4, 2011 – Corrected quote attributed to Spencer W. Kimball that was actually a quote from Ezra Taft Benson (Thanks Brian!)