Question: Will the U.S. Constitution eventually "hang by a thread"?

Table of Contents

Question: Will the U.S. Constitution eventually "hang by a thread"?

This concept of the Constitution "hanging by a thread" has been improperly associated with the White Horse prophecy

Occasionally heard among Church members are references to the Constitution "hanging by a thread' during the last days. This concept of the Constitution "hanging by a thread" has been improperly, and sometimes uniquely, associated with the White Horse prophecy. The implication is that the Constitution will be close to destruction and that the "White Horse" and the "Red Horse" will step in to save it. This is often misinterpreted to mean that a man on a white horse will step in to save the Constitution. [1] This was the reference that was often applied to Mitt Romney by his detractors during his run for the U.S. Presidency in 2008.

So what references have Church leaders made to the Constitution "hanging by a thread?" Brigham Young said:

Will the Constitution be destroyed? No: it will be held inviolate by this people; and, as Joseph Smith said, "The time will come when the destiny of the nation will hang upon a single thread. At that critical juncture, this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction." It will be so.

With regard to the doings of our fathers and the Constitution of the United States, I have to say, they present to us a glorious prospect in the future, but one we cannot attain to until the present abuses in the Government are corrected.[2]

Orson Hyde said,

It is said that brother Joseph in his lifetime declared that the Elders of this Church should step forth at a particular time when the Constitution should be in danger, and rescue it, and save it. This may be so; but I do not recollect that he said exactly so. I believe he said something like this—that the time would come when the Constitution and the country would be in danger of an overthrow; and said he, If the Constitution be saved at all, it will be by the Elders of this Church. I believe this is about the language, as nearly as I can recollect it.[3]

Brigham Young and Orson Hyde both clearly state that the Constitution will be in grave danger of being destroyed. If the constitution is to be preserved it will be because the "Elders" of the Church will step forward and provide the support that will help to preserve the Constitution. The Elders of the Church will always be in support of the constitution, and will not ever be in a position to replace or supplant the constitutional principles in that document. Note that this belief has nothing to do with the so-called "White Horse" prophecy, but in fact preceded the date claimed for that prophecy.

The concern for the Constitution of the United States of America is a real and valid concern of the authorities and membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because it was included as part of the White Horse does not give the White Horse any sort of credibility. It is an entirely separate concern.

Notes

  1. George Cobabe, "The White Horse Prophecy," (Redding, CA: FAIR, 2004).
  2. Brigham Young, "Celebration of the Fourth of July", Journal of Discourses 7:15 (July 4, 1854)
  3. Orson Hyde, "Self-Government, etc.", Journal of Discourses 6:152 (Jan. 3, 1858)