What the world calls
"Mormonism" will rule every nation.
God has decreed it, and his own right arm will accomplish it.
Chief Apostle Orson Hyde
Journal of Discourses, VII, 48-53
Mormonism is neither a fraternal order nor a religious
association: it is a kingdom, the kingdom of God. In the words of Joseph F. Smith, sixth
Prophet of the Church:
The greatest event that has ever occurred in the world,
since the resurrection of the Son of God from the tomb and his ascension on high, was the
coming of the Father and the Son to that boy Joseph Smith, to prepare the way for the
laying of the foundation of his kingdom not the kingdom of man never more to
cease nor to be overturned.
The kingdom "never more to cease nor to be
overturned" is the messianic kingdom foreseen in the second chapter of the Book of
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set
up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other
people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand
Stated Church historian B.H. Roberts:
We are warranted in the belief, however, that it will be a
tangible, bona fide government of God on earth, consisting of a king; subordinate
officers; laws; subjects; and the whole earth for its territory - for its dominion.
History of the Church, Vol. I, Intro. p. xxxvi.
The Mormons equate this kingdom as well with the words of Revelation 11:15: "The
kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He
shall reign forever and ever."
"The kingdom is organized," wrote Brigham Young
in 1844, "and although as yet no bigger than a grain of mustard seed, the little
plant is in a flourishing condition and our prospects brighter than ever." Id.,
Vol. VII, p.381Note. Few Americans comprehended the magnitude of the political
expectations of the Mormons. "As was observed by Brother Pratt, that kingdom is
actually organized and the inhabitants of the earth do not know it," stated Brigham
Young on July 8,1855. "If this people know anything about it, all right; it is
organized preparatory to taking effect in the due time of the Lord, and in the manner that
shall please him." Id.
Joseph Smith, capitalizing on the fervor for primitive
Christianity that animated the American frontier in the 1820's and 1830's, claimed that
Jesus Christ Himself had chosen him to restore His original ceremonies, build up a Church
to greet Him at the Second Coming, and rule the earth during the Millennium. "Flee
the wrath to come" and "gather to Zion" were the watchwords of Mormon
missionaries in the early days. "The missionary was confident the end of the world
was hourly approaching," wrote one observer, "that soon the earth and all
therein, except such as embraced Mormonism, would be destroyed, and his benevolence made
him use extraordinary exertions to bring the human race within the pale that he assured
them could alone save them from impending destruction." William White Smith, The
Although the Mormons argue that the church of God will be
distinct from the government of God during the Millennium, this is true only in the sense
that the communist party of the Soviet Union was different from the government of Russia
after the revolution of 1917. Brigham Young did say that the "kingdom grows out of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but it is not the church." He also
said, however, that "no one can draw the line between the government of God and the
government of the children of men." History of the Church, Vol. VII, p.382;
April 9, 1844. In fact, although non-Mormons may participate in the rulership of the
millennial kingdom, the Mormon priesthood will control its organization and
administration. The kingdom of God and the church of God will both be run by the Mormon
Church - under the direction of Christ, who will pass freely back and forth "through
the veil" during this period.
"What I mean by the kingdom of God," wrote Joseph
F. Smith in October, 1906, "is the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, over which the Son of God presides, and not man. That is what I
mean." On another occasion he said, "I know that this is the kingdom of God and
that God is at the helm." It is such claims that inspired Apostle Parley Pratt to say
of Joseph Smith: "His work will live to endless ages. Unnumbered millions yet unborn
will mention his name with honor." Grieving at the blindness of humanity in failing
to recognize the nascent kingdom in their midst, Apostle Ezra Taft Benson wrote in 1948:
"The history of humanity has, to a large extent, been one of groping blindly in the
dark, fearing for the future and yet resisting the guiding hand of inspired men who would
willingly lead mankind in the path of safety." Forward to W. Cleon Skousen, Prophecy
and Modern Times (1948). At the head of the path stands Joseph Smith, holder of the
keys of salvation "keys which will unlock the door into the kingdom of God to
every man who is worthy to enter and which will close that door against every soul that
will not obey the law of God." It can hardly be expected that Christ will allow the
governance of His kingdom to rest in the hands of those who refuse to acknowledge His
chosen medium of salvation. "No man or woman in this dispensation," declared
Brigham Young, "will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent
of Joseph Smith." Journal of Discourses 7:289.
Well known and often cited within the church is the
utterance of Joseph Smith that "the day will come when the Constitution of the United
States hangs by a thread and will be saved only by the elders of the Church."
One student of Mormonism phrased this expectation somewhat differently: "They are
promising their followers," wrote Bruce Kinney in 1912, "that they will in time
control things politically in the United States." Mormonism: the Islam of America.
Mormon political activity is rooted in the assumption that the day is coming when the
American political system will collapse and the hierarchical apparatus of the Mormon
Church will take its place. The Mormon Church, in this sense, is a shadow government
like the ayatollahs of Iran only awaiting the Biblically-predicted chaos
that shall sweep away American democracy and install Mormon theocracy in its place
to reign forever, "never more to be overturned." A commonly-cited scenario
envisions the inevitable degeneration of the godless American polity into the anarchy
envisioned by Christ in his discourse on the Mount of Olivet: "Nation shall rise up
against nation and kingdom against kingdom . . . . Now the brother shall betray the
brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents
and cause them to be put to death." Mark 13:8, 12.
Joseph Smith added his own personal vision to this
prophecy: "I saw men hunting the lives of their own sons, and brother murdering
brother, women killing their own daughters, and daughters seeking the lives of their
The principle of "gathering to Zion as God pours out
His wrath" is fundamental to Mormonism. Current policy is that Mormons should stay in
their own localities, not migrate to Salt Lake City, but "build up Zion" where
they live. When the time comes, however, the Prophet shall summon all Mormons everywhere
to gather in to Salt Lake City for shelter while the Great Anarchy sweeps the globe. After
the Great Wrath, Christ Himself shall return, appearing first in a Mormon Temple in
Independence, Missouri on a plot of ground designated by Joseph Smith for this purpose.
This Temple shall be the centerpiece of a holy city, the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21,
which shall surround it and become the new capital of Mormonism. From it the world shall
be ruled as the Mormons who fled to Salt Lake City for protection return to their
hometowns and home lands as rulers and organizers of the new and everlasting theocratic
kingdom. Although Christ will also appear in Jerusalem to organize the repentant and
worshipful Jews into the Millennial Kingdom, the real seat of world government will be the
New Jerusalem in Missouri. The two capitals will be formally co-equal, but the New
Jerusalem will be the source of power, much as the Disney Corporation is to Disneyland.
The new Jewish kingdom will require instruction, guidance and ultimately subordination to
the Mormon authorities, for he who receives authority from another is subservient to the
giver of that authority. The Jews can only receive the authentic priesthood of God from
the Mormons, and therefore, must be beholden and obedient to them.
Yes, the messianic kingdom described by Isaiah is already
here in embryo in Utah; the Jews shall be part of it - indeed, it cannot achieve its
fullness until they do but they will not rule it. That question was decided in 1820
when Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and gave him the Keys of the Millennium. In the
1830's one dramatic day Moses and Elijah also came to visit and invested the Prophet
Joseph with their authority as well. "And it shall come to pass in the last
days," reads Isaiah 2:2, "that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be
established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all
nations shall flow unto it." In the annotated Mormon edition of the Bible, the
mountains here are the Rocky Mountains and "the Lord's house" is the Salt Lake
Temple. "For out of Zion shall go forth the law" continues Isaiah, supposedly
referring to the Mormon capital, "and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem," the
The Mormons have quite a message for Messianic Jews
quite a message and someday, no doubt, if they get their hands on the levers of
power, they will attempt to deliver it first as protectors of the Jews and then as
Before the Church became a national institution and began
to soften and obscure its publicly-displayed doctrines, the inevitable consolidation of
all earthly power into the hands of the Mormon authorities was clearly understood.
"The understanding," related Bishop Cahoon in his testimony, "was that God
had established His Kingdom upon the earth, and the Mormon Church was the Kingdom of God,
and all that belonged to the Mormon Church were expected to yield allegiance to that
church, to that Kingdom alone, and the highest allegiance was to the Mormon Church
the Kingdom of God." An oath administered in the endowment ceremony at that time
committed the priesthood to "avenge the blood of the prophets" and teach this
doctrine to their children and their children's children. The Church "taught,"
testified Bishop Cahoon, "that this government would be overthrown, and the Kingdom
of God be established on its ruins . . . . They didn't care much about the government of
the United States when they had a kingdom." The comparable oath that I took in the
Mormon Temple in Washington, D.C., in August, 1981 had no political overtones but did
commit me to pledge all my time talent and treasure to the upbuilding of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Such an oath does not leave much room for any other
The official establishment of the government of God as
distinct from the government of the Church took place in 1844 when Joseph Smith organized
a secret Council of Fifty as the ruling politburo of the kingdom of God. This council
encompassed non-Mormons, including Joseph Jackson, who, by his own report, was offered
$3,000 by the Prophet to kill the governor of Missouri. In the days before the authority
of the United States government became effective in Utah, the Council of Fifty, according
to church historians Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, "began deliberations on
the nature of civil government to be established in the valley." Having ruled the
Salt Lake valley directly through the church, Brigham Young and his associates now decided
to establish a civil government subsidiary, nominally independent of the church, called
the State of Deseret. On March 8,1849, three days after the opening of the constitutional
convention, a standard state constitution of the time was adopted and an election
scheduled for two months later to select officers for the new state. Ballots, however,
were actually cast four days later on March 12,1849 somewhat limiting the amount of
campaigning any independent candidate might undertake. Brigham Young won the office of
governor and Heber C. Kimball chief justice, both winning 100% of the ballots cast for
their respective offices. The election of the temporal government of the Kingdom of God
had as much resemblance to a free election as the elections conducted by the governments
of Eastern Europe in 1946. This procedure was deliberate. "Every government lays the
foundation of its own downfall," declared Brigham Young in 1872, "when it
permits what are called democratic elections." "Remember," said the church
authority who interviewed me for my worthiness to become a Mormon priest, "the Church
is a theocracy, not a democracy." Any government the church creates, it creates in
its own image.
All power lies with the Prophet who is God's representative
on earth; his word is law. As the Prophet is to the Church, so the Bishop is to the local
ward. Unlike the rabbi of a Jewish congregation, who is dependent upon the favor of the
synagogue for his position, the Bishop is chosen and installed solely by his
ecclesiastical superiors. The notion of "division" or "separation" of
powers is anathema to Mormonism.
The members of the ward are sternly enjoined to
"sustain the authorities" for this is the "only true" church of God
and the officers of it God's chosen selected by "inspiration" after
"prayerful consideration," and installed by the laying on of hands. To dispute
the church authorities is to defy God. And who would do that?
Thus, it is not surprising that, given the occasion and the
opportunity, the Mormon hierarchy will create a civil government in the image of their
church government elections by acclamation and zealous obedience the essence of
virtue. The popularity of military careers for Mormon youth is a direct outgrowth of the
inculcation of these principles. That the Mormons fully expect to rule the United States
and the world as well one day is, of course, a political hallucination that could never
happen. If so, however, it may be expected that they will formally reverence the U.S.
Constitution while simultaneously abolishing the division of powers, based on mistrust of
all unchecked human authority, that underlies it. A portion of Bishop Cahoon's testimony,
given in 1889, expresses the sentiments that still reign in the minds of the Mormon
Q. Did they ever teach you anything in regard to the
overthrowing of the Constitution of the United States, did you ever hear that at all?
A. The Constitution of the United States would be, perhaps,
an after consideration; after the government was overthrown the leaders of the Mormon
Church would reform that document to suit themselves.
Q. Did you ever hear them say that the document needed
A. O, yes.
Q. You never heard it taught that that was a Divine
A. O, yes, they taught that it was an inspired document,
but that it would be better - eventually it would be better.
Q. Who was going to better it?
A. The priesthood of the Mormon Church.
A. Well, when they got it in their hands.
Q. When was that going to be?
A. Well, directly, it has been put off from time to time.
They say it is pretty near now.
Q. State when and where you heard it.
A. Heard it all the while, ever since I was in the church.
To obscure the fundamental incompatibility of Mormon
doctrine with democratic politics, Brigham Young made the remarkable statement: "The
Constitution and laws of the United States resemble a theocracy more closely than any
government now on earth." Journal of Discourses 6:342. He came slightly
closer to the truth in the following statement:
Few, if any, understand what a theocratic government is. In
every sense of the word, it is a republican government, and differs but little in form
from our National, State, and Territorial Governments; but its subjects will recognize the
will and dictation of the Almighty . . . .
There is no room for legitimate disagreement in Mormonism.
Anyone who questions church practices is considered to have lost his faith in revealed
truth. Such an individual must speedily repent and humble himself, begging forgiveness or
he will be excommunicated. A man named Morris had the effrontery to establish his own
mini-Mormonism in Utah in the days of Brigham Young, claiming to receive instructions from
God as did the Mormon prophet. Brigham sent his "avenger" on horseback and shot
the fledgling prophet dead in broad daylight in the presence of his followers. John
Taylor, successor to Brigham Young as Prophet, made it clear that the Mormons envision no
separation of church and state once they take power.
Was the kingdom that the Prophets talked about, that should
be set up in the latter times, going to be a Church? Yes. And a state? Yes, it was going
to be both Church and State, to rule both temporarily (sic) and spiritually.
When Utah became a state and began to elect Senators and
Congressmen, some question arose as to whether a Mormon Senator would consider himself
bound by his oath to support the Constitution and laws of the United States, or whether
his endowment oaths of supreme loyalty to the Church would prevail. John Taylor answered
It may be asked, How can we live under the dominion and
laws of the United States and be subjects of another kingdom? Because the kingdom of God
is higher, and its laws are so much more exalted than those of any other nation, that it
is the easiest thing in life for a servant of God to keep any of their laws and, as I have
said before, this we have uniformly done.
Journal of Discourses 6:24. The Mormon leadership
fully expect the American government to collapse as a prelude to their assumption of power
on the American continent. "When the Lord commands it through his living
prophets," writes a BYU faculty member in the June, 1976 Ensign, "the
New Jerusalem will become the capital city . . . ." The Constitution will then become
the responsibility of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "It is not
wise to sit by and think that the protection of the Constitution is the problem of someone
else at some other time," warns the Ensign. "Our commission to save the
Constitution is, like salvation, a continuing task." Should the Mormon apparatus ever
come to power in the United States during a period of inner turmoil, this country will
become a white tyranny, the ecclesiastical mirror image of communism. "And this is
the redemption of Zion," said Joseph Smith in 1841, "when the saints shall have
redeemed that government and reinstated it in all its purity and glory."
The Mormons will come as saviors of the constitution,
firm-willed virtuous patriots full of love for God and country. Their ecclesiastical
autocracy will come wrapped in the evocative symbolism of constitutional purification.
But, of course, it could never happen here. Joseph Smith
was but twenty-five years of age, full of the fire of youth, when he donned the mantle of
prophethood: Brigham Young was forty-seven. There has not been a prophet under the age of
sixty since. The Church is a mature businesslike institution that discourages excessive
fanaticism. Its doctrines have been softened and blended to have as wide an appeal as
possible. Tradition since World War II has chosen the oldest apostle for the office of
Prophet. Of the five prophets since 1945, four were in their mid-seventies when chosen and
the fifth over ninety. The current Prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, is eighty-seven: his two
counsellors are eighty-four and eighty-five. The Church in many of its activities today
displays a silly farcical spirit a spirit I always found offensive but now view as
inherent in a company of religious play actors. Gordon B. Hinckley, who was recently
elevated from the Council of the Twelve Apostles to be a third counsellor to the Prophet,
was active in the 1970's as an adviser to the Public Communications Department the
Church's propaganda agency. [In 1995, Hinckley became the 15th President and Prophet of
the Church.] He worked, in particular, on the "subject content" for the
Washington, D.C. Visitor's Center, which is attached to the Temple.
In the Washington center, life-size mannequins representing
Isaiah, Nephi, Joseph Smith, and other prophets will speak their messages from the
scriptures. With translucent masks and hidden rear projection, the figures will speak as
Ensign, August, 1974.
One does not associate such Disneyland techniques with
traditional religious solemnity. They remind one more of Revelation, Chapter 13: "And
he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should
both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be
killed." Whether the Wizards of Mormon will one day install a humanoid mannequin as
prophet is beyond my power to foresee. Whether or not a young ambitious technocrat prophet
will be able to simulate the second coming of Christ and gather an ocean of white-robed
believers to the templed Missouri hills to witness the inauguration of the Millennium is
also beyond my power of prediction. A visit to the Hill Cumorah pageant staged every
summer in Palmyra, New York to commemorate and re-enact Joseph Smith's discovery of the
golden plates from which he translated the Book of Mormon will keep interested observers
of the Millennial Kingdom up to date on the state of the art in religious pyrotechnics,
while we wait patiently for the Mormon "rendezvous with our Constitution's
destiny." Ensign, June, 1976.