The Test Has Begun

Jul 29, 2012
5 min read

I can’t remember quite when I first read of the Heber C. Kimball’s “Test” prophecy but it has always intrigued me. The intrigue has grown to deep concern as I have pondered the deep implications of a future he saw, especially when I discovered that I am apparently living in the time of its fulfillment. Provided below are some quotes containing the words of this prophecy as well as evidence that the test has already commenced.

In  August 16, 1857, Heber C. Kimball stated:

There will also be a day when you will be brought to the test — when your very hearts and your inmost souls will melt within you because of the scenes that many of you will witness. Yes, you will be brought to that test, when you will feel as if every thing within you would dissolve. Then will be the time you will be tried whether you will stand the test or fall away. (Remarks by President Heber C. Kimball, Delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, August 16, 1857. source)

In May of 1868 Heber C. Kimball said:

An army of Elders will be sent to the four quarters of the earth to search out the righteous and warn the wicked of what is coming. All kinds of religions will be started and miracles performed that will deceive the very elect if that were possible. Our sons and daughters must live pure lives so as to be prepared for what is coming.

After a while the Gentiles will gather by the thousands to this place, and Salt Lake City will be classed among the wicked cities of the world. A spirit of speculation and extravagance will take possession of the Saints, and the results will be financial bondage.

Persecution comes next and all true Latter-day Saints will be tested to the limit. Many will apostatize and others will be still not knowing what to do. Darkness will cover the earth and gross darkness the minds of the people. The judgments of God will be poured out on the wicked to the extent that our Elders from far and near will be called home, or in other words the gospel will be taken from the Gentiles and later on carried to the Jews.

The western boundary of the State of Missouri will be swept so clean of its inhabitants that as President Young tells us, when you return to that place, there will not be left so much as a yellow dog to wag his tail.

Before that day comes, however, the Saints will be put to a test that will try the integrity of the best of them. The pressure will become so great that the more righteous among them will cry unto the Lord day and night until deliverance comes.

Yes, we think we are secure here in the chambers of these everlasting hills, where we can close the doors of the canyons against mobs and persecutors, the wicked and the vile, who have always beset us with violence and robbery, but I want to say to you, my brethren, that the time is coming when we will be mixed up in these now peaceful valleys to that extent that it will be difficult to tell the face of a Saint from the face of an enemy against the people of God.

Then is the time to look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great shifting time, and many will fall. For I say unto you there is a test, a Test, a TEST coming.

This Church has before it many close places through which it will have to pass before the work of God is crowned with glory. The difficulties will be of such a character that the man or woman who does not possess a personal knowledge or witness will fall. If you have not got this testimony, you must live right and call upon the Lord, and cease not until you obtain it.

Remember these sayings: The time will come when no man or woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within themselves. If you do not have the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ, how can you stand? (Heber C. Kimball, First Counselor in the First Presidency, May 1868, in Deseret News, 23 May 1931; see also Conference Report, Oct. 1930, p. 58-59)

In his talk “Be Not Deceived” in the October 1963 General Conference Ezra Taft Benson stated:

Those of us who think “. . . all is well in Zion . . .” (2 Nephi 28:21) in spite of Book of Mormon warning might ponder the words of Heber C. Kimball when he said, “Yes, we think we are secure here in the chambers of these everlasting hills . . . but I want to say to you, my brethren, the time is coming when we will be mixed up in these now peaceful valleys to that extent that it will be difficult to tell the face of a Saint from the face of an enemy against the people of God. Then is the time to look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great sifting time, and many will fall. For I say unto you there is a test, a Test, a TEST coming.” (Heber C. Kimball, 1856. Quoted by J. Golden Kimball, Conference Report, October 1930, pp. 59-60.)

In the October 1974 General Conference, Gordon B. Hinckley stated the following words which were then repeated verbatim in a first presidency message in July 1990, note the very last paragraph quoted here:

“In 1856, when the Latter-day Saints were largely alone in the Western valleys, some people thought we were safe from the ways of the world. To such talk, President Heber C. Kimball of the First Presidency responded: “I want to say to you, my brethren, the time is coming when we will be mixed up in these now peaceful valleys to that extent that it will be difficult to tell the face of a Saint from the face of an enemy to the people of God. Then, brethren,” he went on, “look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great sifting time, and many will fall; for I say unto you there is a test, a Test, a TEST coming, and who will be able to stand?” (Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1945, p. 446.)

I do not know precisely the nature of that test. But I am inclined to think the time is here and that the test lies in our capacity to live the gospel rather than adopt the ways of the world.” (1974, 1990)

The test is upon us today. If we consider the gravity of this and open our eyes to understand the times we live in and what is coming next, it should awaken all those who value eternal truth to serious reflection and hopefully the faith and desire to act.


  1. I think we are at that time as we speak.

    • No doubt. Living in such a time is a great responsibility and also a great opportunity to see and experience many wonderful things. Tests are not supposed to be easy though, so I think it is important to be mentally and spiritually prepared for the trials and hardships that will be likely to affect everyone in the world. Once again, it is just the simple adherence to gospel principles as they were intended that will always be only the salvation of man in any situation.

  2. In a recent address to the Claifornia YSA’s, Elder Ballard seems to have hinted at an upcoming season of prosperity, and that it will provide such a trial. At least, I got that impression.

  3. Yes, I think prosperity can be a test. But prosperity, cannot be the ultimate test; Wouldn’t prosperity–which basically temps us to become self sufficient and forget God–really just one of many which line themselves up to test us? Isn’t each day full of tests?

    We are opposed at every hand, if we start to notice it, even in the little things.
    Our patience with others is tested, our integrity is tested, our thoughts are tested, each positive word, thought, or action has its opposite that we can choose or not.

    There is going to be a test of not only spiritual proportions, but physical ones as well.
    When your life is on the line–like the early Christians who were opposed openly for following Christ–and you must choose to show that you will follow Christ even at peril to your life for doing so–I believe that is the test that we will face. We can see it coming. When a national leader is openly Islamic
    and the nation is supposedly Christian, and the two beliefs do not mix, and the Islamic powers gain the upperhand, what do you think will happen?

    I think Heber C.’s test he was speaking of is much more than prosperity or daily happenings testing us.
    In reading Isaiah and other of the apocalyptic prophetic scriptures, and seeing the signs of the times around us, it is apparent that the test that is coming is going to be a full-out battle between the forces of good and evil at its ultimate.

    When the issue of liberty and slavery come to battle, the battleground is going to be littered not only with physical bodies, but spiritual losses, as well.
    We know that in the end of days of this dispensation, that the forces of evil will

    grow. I don’t know why some people seem to think this is a sudden or

    mysterious thing, for this battle has been building ever since the pre-existence.
    Satan uses gradualism to bring about his plans. That way he can sneak his plans into all walks of life without people really paying attention. And his plans

    have been taking generations to come to the point we are at now.
    There have been some great wins for the “good guys” along the way, but gradually, the bad guys have been gaining the upperhand in the battle for liberty and personal agency.

    We are told that in the end satan knows he has but a short time and that God will give him reign of the whole earth. Or rather, allow him to exert his power in full force, as what is actually a way to test everyone’s loyalty to whichever side they have listed to obey.

    I believe this power is actually given to him by the people who did not do their duty in standing firm for principles of agency and righteousness. The forces of evil in the world could not gain the upperhand if God’s people– no matter their Christian affiliation– had stood firm in all times, in all things, and in all places and in all ways.

    A little equivocation here, a little there, a gradual giving away of liberties into the hands of those who work to bring about satan’s plan has been the name of satan’s game.”Make us safe,” is the cry of the day, even at the price of chains and slavery, to borrow Patrick Henry’s words.
    Peace and safety are given with a high exchange rate. But many love to have someone else do their thinking for them, and love to have that cozy feeling of security so much, that they don’t care that that which they give away in exchange for that is most dear and precious.
    They do no realize that agency is the only way that we can grow. Enforced charity or goodness goes not engender growth of the individual.

    There is no real peace and safety except through Jesus Christ and his precept.
    The precepts of men only bring false peace and safety,in exchange for man’s liberty.

    I believe that during the Millennium satan will be bound because of the righteousness of the saints, the only ones who will inherit the earth at that time. He can have no influence or power except what we give him. Thus, when he can no longer sway people to his side, he will be bound.

    In these days he could not be gaining strength for his side if people were not giving in to his lies and plans of false security.
    It bothers me when we as church members are told that we have been saved for these last days because we are the best and strongest, reserved for these times.
    Well, if we are the best, then how come satan has been able to rise to power?
    All the people on the earth have been “saved” for these last days, so what makes us so special.

    Because we are God’s covenant, birthright people, we have been commissioned to do a work in the earth. But because something has gone wrong somewhere, I believe it has allowed satan to gain strength, instead of him becoming weaker. I believe the blame can be laid at the feet of those who have been given the most truth and who sold their birthright for a mess of pottage.

    It matters not if you are a latter-day warrior unless you have been diligent in doing your job.

    Because God’s people have grown apathetic, in many ways, sated with their own self sufficiency and outward performances that lead them to believe that is all they have to do, and watchmen gave their money to the “exchangers” because they perceived it to be a time of peace so why build a guard around the vineyard, ( after all they are working so hard in the soul-saving business)–that is what will bring about the test of which Heber C. spoke, in my estimation. While God’s people have been diligently trying to keep the letter of the law, satan has sown tares among the wheat while they were not looking.

    When Jesus came the first time, people were looking for a physical savior, one to save them from unjust and cruel Roman rule. Instead, they got a spiritual savior.
    In the endtime, people will be having their eyes forward, focusing on spiritual work, working so diligently to buy their way into heaven doing outward performances, they will be looking for a spiritual savior.
    But those who qualify will get a savior who will save the remnant from physical destruction, or “there would be no flesh saved.” because of the devastation caused by the enemies of righteousness.

    The true test will be when/if you can stand firm in the faith when you see
    the opposing powers threatening you and your loved ones. Will you value your life so much that you will deny the Christ when you are faced with certain death for believing in him? The Book of Revelation shows that many of the saints will “be made white” even unto the end, until their fellow saints are also killed as they were, for their testimony of Christ. Pretty chilling to contemplate and something most readers
    of those words do no dare to think apply to our future.

    I believe it will all come down to that. Those who escape execution, will be
    the small remnant whom God will deliver at some point, as Isaiah tells us he will, who will be gathered from the four quarters of the earth, in a latter-day exodus that will be unparalleled in history, led out by a latter-day Elias, savior.
    Yes, indeed, there is a test coming. I wish I didn’t see what it most likely will be.I don’t know if I will be strong enough.

  4. Scott Christensen

    1 Peter 4:17-18 “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” It seems as if God always first starts the cleansing process in his own kingdom. I read this scripture this morning and thought of this article.

  5. Great reference! It makes sense that if any judgements befall the world that they would begin among those that have been warned first. As this cleansing happens, people will not see it that way. They will assume that the “religion” is failing and that this is evidence that the movement and teachings are false, while ignorant to the many who are silently preparing to be ready for what is coming.

  6. I thought that Missouri had been wiped out from the Civil War, but Heber Kimball’s prophecy was post-civil war era.

    • Some speculate that the “civil war” prophecy was encompassing a larger span of time than just the civil war, or that it could be referring to another great war. Perhaps there is some dual fulfillment mixed in there as well. Not sure, but Heber’s prophecy continued to be repeated up until the 90’s at least which is interesting.

  7. I believe the greatest test refers to the one mentioned in 2 Thessalonians referring to the Great Delusion sent to God’s People to cause them to believe in a lie. They do so because of their own unrighteousness and choose to believe in that lie, which the Lord’s more righteous people among His Covenant People will not believe, and therefore become separated from those who do.

    Since the Lord tells us that only a “Remnant” shall be saved, I suppose those who choose not to believe that lie, will then be HEAVILY PERSECUTED even unto death for some. This to me is the Great Test Kimbal is referring to, with two lesser tests of Faith to precede that final Big One as depicted “a test, a test”, as compared to the final “TEST”!

    • I agree with you in that the test will be something that will involve a great deception that the people of the Lord must resist. I also believe that those true to the Lord will be seen as heretics and there will be violence imposed upon them. You mentioned two lesser tests to precede a big one, and I’ve thought about the same thing. This first occurred to me when I read something in one of Avraham Gileadi’s books and I posted about it here:

      I asked Gileadi if his idea to write about three tests had any connection to Heber’s prophecy and he said that he didn’t make that connection when he wrote it.

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