Question: Did a Catholic priest write a book in 1739 that the true church of Jesus Christ would be restored?

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Question: Did a Catholic priest write a book in 1739 that the true church of Jesus Christ would be restored?

This book has never been found and this claim is believed to be false

A persistent rumor claims that Lutus Gratus, a Catholic priest, wrote the following in 1739 in his book Hope of Zion, which was purportedly discovered in the library in Bayd, Switzerland:

The old, true Gospel and its truths thereat are lost. False doctrine prevail in all churches on the face of the earth today. All we can do is exhort the people to be just, fear God, shun evil, and pray. Prayer and purity may cause an angel to visit a deep distressed soul, but I will tell you—God will have spoken within a hundred years. He will restore the old Church again. I see a little band of people led by a prophet and persecuted, burnt out and murdered. But in a valley that lies on the shore of a great lake, they will build a city and make a beautiful land, have a temple of magnificent splendor and also possess the old priesthood with teachers, deacons, etc. From every nation shall the true believers be gathered by speedy messengers, and then shall the almighty God speak to the disobedient nation, with thunder, lightning and destructions such as man has never known."

This "prophecy" first appeared in LDS periodicals in both English and German in 1893, in a story by a returned missionary named Jacob Spori. One of the first to question the authenticity of the document was Rulon S. Wells of the First Council of Seventy, who unsuccessfully attempted to locate the book and its contents in Basel a few years after the story surfaced. Other leaders and missionaries also were unable to verify the statement.

Elder Wells wrote an article called "A Fraudulent Prophecy Exposed" which was published in the January, 1908 Improvement Era. A detailed historical analysis of the false prophecy was published in BYU Studies in 1985.

  • Paul B. Pixton, "'Play it Again, Sam': The Remarkable 'Prophecy' of Samuel Lutz, Alias Christophilus Gratianus, Reconsidered," Brigham Young University Studies 25 no. 3 (Summer 1985), 27–46. off-site