I used to believe the Civil War was fought over slavery. That was before I knew about the Proposed 13th Amendment of 1861 put forth to prevent secession by assuring the South of their states' rights to allow slaveholders to retain their human property. That's before I knew a lot of things I don't ever recall being conveyed to me during my public education.
I happened to be revisiting D&C 87 and 130 in light of this growing conviction of mine and, wouldn't you know it, I began to WONDER how Joseph Smith could have linked the then-imminent Civil War with "the slave question." I then looked closer and was excited to discover that it appears he doesn't - but instead, he shares with us a foreshadowing of 2 distinct times of trouble. In an Isaiah-like fashion, his words may contain both an immediate application and an ultimate application; both the here-and-now and the latter-days. Check this out:
1st, Imminent Application:
Yes, this sounds like the Civil War/War of Northern Aggression (take your pick).
2nd, Ultimate Application:
This is the statement that, when we read it, we automatically lump it in with the Civil War - but I think it deserves a closer look and even a cross-reference with section 130. I, personally, don't think the time had come in the 19th Century. I think the time he's referring to was possibly 2015 or later. Stay with me...
As often as I've heard the explanations put forth up until this day that the Civil War marked the beginning of a long list of wars to play out across the globe, it just didn't work for me. I always longed for something a little more "al dente" - a little more firm and satisfying - than that. And, also in Isaiah-like fashion, as soon as the events were visible over the horizon, the prophecies started to make sense.
South Carolina figures in as the birthplace of two rebellions. The first is, of course, the Civil War. The second is...I don't really know what to call it so let's just say: "the difficulties which will cause much bloodshed previous to the coming of the Son of Man."
Before there was Charlottesville, Virginia, there was Charleston, South Carolina. The Washington Post connected the recent violence in Charlottesville with the June 2015 shooting in Charleston of nine members of a black congregation by proclaimed white supremacist Dylann Roof (who adopted the Confederate flag as one of his emblems). The Washington Post stated that after the shooting "officials throughout the South grappled with what to do with the controversial [Confederate] figures." The Guardian (13 August 2017) brought our attention to the February 2017 Charlottesville City Council decision to remove and sell the Robert E. Lee statue as "part of a wave of such removals of Confederate monuments across the south, which began after Dylann Roof massacred nine African American churchgoers in Charleston, SC."
I invite you to consider the possibility that Joseph Smith, in his revelation from the Lord, was referring to a second period of intense conflict beginning at the SAME PLACE as the one which precipitated the Civil War because if that is true, not only did he never name slavery as the reason for the war of his generation, but the verse following should interest us greatly:
Average citizens of America and the world, as it is now, are the slaves in question, I think. And just to be clear - I don't believe the slaves are the ones marshaled and disciplined for war in this verse - I think it's the masters. This is a great place to mention the militarization of our police and so many other applications. This is something that all the well-meaning individuals attempting to interpret these passages for us could never have foreseen unless they had the same gift as the Prophet Joseph. We are entering into an era of slavery unprecedented in the history of this nation. How long will it last? I don't know, but the revelation contained in D&C 87 is both exciting and comforting because South Carolina could mark the beginning of an end. To a woman 9 1/2 months pregnant, the beginning of labor is a terrifying relief.
What say ye?