Essential Parley P. Pratt
Foreword by Peter L. Crawley
“One Hundred Years Hence. 1945”
(from The Nauvoo Neighbor, 10 September 1845)
[p.141]God, through his servants the prophets, has given all men a clue to the future. In view of this, we were cogitating upon our bed, the other night, what would be the state of the world a hundred years hence. In quick succession the events and periods which have filled up nearly six thousand years, passed before our mind’s eyes, together with the accompanying “thus saith the Lord,” I will destroy the earth with a flood, after one hundred and twenty years. There shall be seven years of plenty, and seven years of famine in Egypt. Israel shall be held captive in Babylon till the land enjoys her Sabbath’s seventy years, and then came Daniel’s numbers, and the exact time when the Savior should be born, his crucifixion, and second coming.
While thus looking over the “has beens,” we fell into a deep sleep, and the angel of our presence came to the bedside and gently said, “arise.” Now it mattereth not whether we were in the body or out of it; asleep or awake; on earth or in heaven; or upon the water, or in the air; the sum of the matter is like this: Our guide, for such we shall call the angel or being that conveyed us, soon brought us in sight of a beautiful city.
As we were nearing the place, a “pillar of fire,” seemingly over the most splendid building, lit the city and country for a great distance around, and as we came by, the TEMPLE OF THE LORD IN ZION, in letters of a pure language, and sparkling like diamonds, disclosed where we were. Our guide went round the city in order to give us a chance to “count the towers;” and, as it was nearly sunrise, he conducted us into one, that we might have a fair chance to view the glory of Zion by `daylight.’ We seemed to be swallowed up in sublimity! The “pillar of fire” as the sun rose majestically mellowing into a “white cloud,” as a shade for the city from heat. The dwellings so brilliant by night, had the appearance of “precious stones,” and the streets glittered like gold, and we marvelled. Marvel not, said our guide, this is the fulfilment of the words of Isaiah:
“For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thine officers peace and thine exactors righteousness.”
Now the eyes of our understanding began to be quickened, and we learned, that we were one hundred years ahead of “common life,” and we gloried. The “veil” that hides our view from the glory of the upper [p.142]deep had been taken away, and all things appeared to us as to the Lord. The great earthquake, mentioned by John, and other prophets before him, had levelled the mountains over the whole earth;—the “sea” had rolled back as it was in the beginning; the crooked was made straight, and the rough places plain. The earth yielded her “increase,” and the knowledge of God exalted man to the society of resurrected beings.
The melody and prayers of the morning in Zion, showed that the “Lord was there:” and truly so; for, after breakfast the chariot of Jesus Christ was made ready for a pleasure ride; and the `chariots’ of his `hundred and forty four thousand’ glittered in the retinue of `earth’s greatest and best’ so gloriously, that the `show’ exhibited the splendour of Gods, whose Father’s name they bore on the front of their crowns.
Our curiosity excited us to inquire, what day they celebrated? To which the guide replied: “This is the Feast-day of the Lord to JOSEPH AND HYRUM SMITH, for being martyred for the truth, held yearly on the 7th day of the fourth month, throughout all the tribes of Israel.”
Flesh and blood cannot comprehend the greatness of the scene; the worthy of the earth, with Adam at their head; the martyrs of the different dispensations, with Abel at their head; and honorable men from other worlds composed an assemblage of majesty, dignity, and `divinty,’ so much above the `little pageantry’ of man in his self-made greatness, that we almost forgot that mortals ever enjoyed anything more than misery, in all the pomp and circumstance of man’s power over man! This was a feast-day for truth! This was the reward of integrity!—This was the triumph of “kings and priests,” unto God, and was a holiday of eternity! Who could be happier than he that was among the holy throng? No one, and away we rode out of Zion among her stakes.
At the first city out, we found the same spirit—ALL WERE ONE. While there the following news, by post, came from the east. It was read from one of the papers just published that morning:
“In digging for the foundation of our new Temple in the 124th city of Joseph, near where it is supposed the City of New York once stood, a large square stone was taken from the ruins of some building which, by a seam in it indicated more than mere stone. The seam being opened, disclosed a lead box about six by eight inches square. This box was soon found to contain several daily papers of its time, together with some coin of the old Government of the United States. It will be recollected that all the inhabitants of this city which were spared from calamity, were `slung out when the earth was turned upside down,’ some forty or fifty years ago, for their wickedness.”
The account of `fires’ in one of these papers was truly lamentable, destroying, as the paper said, more than twenty-five millions worth of property, in about three months. Each contained a large number of [p.143]`murders,’ `suicides,’ `riots,’ `robberies,’ and hints of `war expected,’ with columns of divisions among the sectarian churches about slavery, Onderdonking, and the `right way.’ The `Archer of Paradise’ remarked as these horrors of `old times’ were being read, that `all that was transacted in the last days of Babylon, before Satan was bound.’
Joseph Smith said, “Lord, we will put those papers and coin in the repository of relics and curiosities of satan’s kingdom of the old world;”—which was agreed to, by all, after exhibiting the coin. The silver coin contained the words `United States of America,’ and `half dollar,’ round the image of an eagle on one side, and a woman sitting upon the word `LIBERTY,’ and holding up a night cap, between thirteen stars, over `1845,’ on the other.
The only idea that could be gathered from all this was, that the government had fallen from the splendor of an eagle to the pleasure of women, and was holding up the night cap, as a token that the only liberty enjoyed then, was star-light liberty, because their deeds were evil.
Another coin had the `appearance’ of gold, with `five doll’ upon it, but upon close examination it was found to be nothing but `fine brass.’
While this was going on the Lord said, `beware of the leven of old;–Let us enjoy our day.’
In a moment, this `band of brethren’ were off, and what could equal the view? No veil, no voice; the heavens were in their glory, and the angels were ascending and descending. The earth was in its beauty; the wolves and sheep; the calves and lions; the behemoth and the buffalo; the child and the serpent, enjoyed life without fear, and all men were one.
As we were passing to another city amid all this perfection of the reign of Jesus before his ancients gloriously, we discovered the fragment of a hewn stone, of a lightish blue color, with an abbreviated word `Mo.’ and the figures `1838′ upon it. To which the `Lion of the Lord’ exclaimed:—`The wicked are turned into hell, and forgotten, but the righteous reign with God in glory,’ and it seemed as if the echo came from a redeemed world, `glory.’
At about two, after five hours ride among the cities and stakes of Zion, we returned to the capitol to partake of the feast of the martyrs.
The preparation was perfect. A table through the grove of Zion for more than three hundred thousand saints, where Jesus Christ, sat at the head of the fathers and mothers, sons and daughters in Israel, was a sight, which the world, even Babylon, in its best days, never witnessed. Says Jesus, as every eye turned upon him,
“Our Father, and thine,
Bless me and mine: Amen.”
[p.144]After the `feast’ (the sentiments, words of wisdom and other touching matters were to be published in `Zo-ma-rah,’ or `Pure News,’ and are omitted) we stepped into the `news room’ and the first article in the `Pure News,’ which attracted our attention, was, the minutes of the General Conference held in Zion on the 14 day of the first month, A.D. 1945, when it was motioned by Joseph Smith, and seconded by John the Revelator, That fortyeight new cities be laid out and builded, this year in accordance with the prophets which have said, `who can number Israel who can count the dust of Jacob? Let him fill the earth with cities.’ Carried unanimously.
Twelve of these cities to be laid out beyond eighteen degrees north, for the tribes of Reuben, Judah and Levi. Twelve, on the east, at the same distance, for the tribes of Joseph, Benjamin, and Dan. Twelve on the south, at the same distance, for the tribes of Simeon, Issacher, and Zebulon—and twelve on the west, at the same distance, for the tribes of Gad, Asher, and Napthali.”
The paper contained a notice for the half yearly Conference, as follows:
“The general half yearly Conference will be held at Jerusalem on the 14th day of the seventh month, alternately with the yearly conference in Zion.
It is proposed that the `high way cast up’ between the two cities of our God, be decorated with fruit and shade trees between the cities and villages, (which are only eighty furlongs apart,) for the accommodation of `wayfaring men of Israel.’ Gabriel has brought from Paradise, some seeds of fruit and grain, which were originally in the Garden of Eden, and will greatly add to the comfort and convenience of man.”
While we were engaged in reading, a strain of music from some of the `sweet singers of Israel,’ come so mellowly over our sensations for a moment, that we hardly knew whether the angels or saints of the millenium, were chanting a vesper to their Savior. We were so delighted with the performance, as we saw the `musical chariot’ pass, filled with young men and maidens, all in white robes, that we only remember the following verses:—
“Death and Satan being banish’d;
“And the `viel’ for ever vanish’d;
“All the earth’s again replenish’d,
“And in beauty appears:
“So we’ll sing hallelujah’s;
“While we worship our Savior,
“And fill the world with cities
“Through the `great thousand years.’“
[p.145]Our eye next caught a map showing the earth as it was, and is. We were delighted with the earth as it is. Four rivers headed a little south of Zion, for Zion, is situated in `the sides of the north.’ The first river is called `Passon,’ and runs west. The second is called `Gion,’ and runs south. Third is called `Haudakal,’ and runs north; and the fourth is called `The Fraters,’ and runs east. These four rivers divide the earth into `four quarters‘ as was in the days of Adam, and with their tributaries give an uninterrupted water communication over the face of the world, for in the begining the earth was not called `finished’ till it was `very good,’ for every thing.
By the paper we were reading, we learned that rain was expected in the beginning of the seventh month, according to the Law of the Lord; for the promise is, “it shall rain moderately in the first and seventh month, that the ploughman may overtake the reaper.”
Contemplating the greatness of the earth in its glory, with Jesus Christ for her king, president and lawgiver, with such wise councillors as, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Peter, and Joseph, we were imperceptibly led to exclaim: “Great is the wisdom, great is the glory, and great is the power of man with his maker!”—When of a sudden our guide came in and said “you must drink wine with the Lord in his kingdom and then return.” This we did, and many things which we saw are not lawful to utter, and can only be known as we learned them, by the assistance of a guardian angel.
When we were ready to return, our guide observed, “may be you would like to look through the Urim and Thummim of God, upon the abominations of the world in the day of its sin.” “Yes,” was our reply, and he handed us the “holy instrument.” One look, and the soul sickened. Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what folly, corruptions, and abominations are wrought among men to gratify the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the cunning of the devil. But they shall come. We returned, and awoke, perfectly enamored with the beauty and glory of Zion to be—as well as the splendor and harmony of the “feast of the martyrs,” determining in our minds, at some future day to give a sketch of the TEMPLE wherein Jesus sat and reigned with the righteous, when there was “not a Canaanite in the land,” nor anything to hurt or destroy in all the Holy Mountain—when the earth should be full of the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea. In short, the heavenly reality of one hundred years hence.