Latter-day Saints and the Apocalypse

Latter-day Saints and the Apocalypse October 14, 2020


Kirtland Ohio Temple, no longer ours
The first Latter-day Saint temple — the first Latter-day Saint building, period — was dedicated in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1836. Owing to apostasy and persecution, the Prophet and the Saints were obliged to abandon Kirtland, and the temple is no longer in the hands of the Church.
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


Tom Kimball, formerly affiliated with Signature Books as its marketing director and formerly a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, moved some years ago to the vicinity of Kirtland, Ohio.  Tom didn’t exactly consider himself a friend of mine, nor of my religious beliefs.  I was saddened, though, to learn this afternoon of his death, apparently by his own hand.  I wish him peace.




Freshly available via the website of the Interpreter Foundation:


Latter-day Saint Beliefs on the Apocalypse, with Christopher J. Blythe

The Interview: The mayhem of 2020 has brought the Apocalypse to the forefront of many people’s minds, but for Latter-day Saints, this kind of thinking is nothing new. Christopher J. Blythe describes in his new book, Terrible Revolution: Latter-Day Saints and the American Apocalypse, how apocalypticism has presented itself throughout the church’s history.

Blythe notes, “Latter-day Saints of the nineteenth century belonged to an apocalyptic tradition. Their very identity was entangled with the belief that society was headed toward cataclysmic events that would uproot the current social order in favor of a divine order that would be established in its place” (p. 8). Nearly 200 years later, that tradition is still alive within Latter-day Saint culture.

In this episode, Christopher J. Blythe discusses how end-times narratives have evolved and been perpetuated not only through official Latter-day Saint leadership channels but also folk traditions and lived religion.

About our Guest: Christopher James Blythe is a faculty research associate at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University, as well as the coeditor of the Journal of Mormon History. He completed a PhD in American religious history from Florida State University, an MA in history from Utah State University, and BA degrees in religious studies and anthropology from Utah State University and Texas A&M University, respectively. He was a documentary editor at the Joseph Smith Papers between 2015 and 2018. Blythe lives in Springville, Utah, with his wife and three boys.

This podcast is cross-posted with the permission of LDS Perspectives Podcast.


See also Christopher J. Blythe, “Vaughn J. Featherstone’s Atlanta Temple Letter,” in Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship:

Abstract: In this essay, I examine a letter written by Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone in 1983 and deposited in the cornerstone of the Atlanta Georgia Temple. The letter is addressed to twenty-first century members of the Church and is written with the expectation that these future Saints will have been alive for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I consider the claims made about this letter from a recent viral video entitled “7 Year Tribulation in the SEVENTH Seal TIMELINE.”



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