140 years ago today - Dec 16, 1877

A Vision of the Apostle John Taylor: "…Some of the brethren have been asking me concerning [The Second] Coming events, and I will now tell you some of the things which will shortly come to pass.

I then found myself wandering about the streets of Salt Lake City and noticed on the doors of every house, including my own, badges of mourning… No one seemed to be passing along the streets and everything was as still as death… I then looked over the country; in every direction as far as I could see, a similar condition of sickness and death prevailed. The inhabitants of Illinois and Missouri were in dreadful condition, the men and women killing each other in the most brutal manner.

Next I visited the City of Washington, D.C., and found the place deserted and in ruins. From there I went to Baltimore and on the square, where stands the monument of 1812, dead bodies of the inhabitants of the place were piled in heaps. While there I saw mothers cut the throats of their own children and drink the blood in order to quench their thirst. The waters of the Chesapeake Bay were so befouled from the effect of dead bodies that the water could not be used. Sickness and death prevailed throughout the city and the stench was something awful. I thought surely that this must be the end of suffering, but when I visited the City of Philadelphia, I found the place in ruins and the smell from dead bodies was beyond anything one could imagine.

In New York I saw men crawl out of cellars, ravish beautiful women, kill them and rob them of their jewels. I saw parents eating the flesh of their own offspring and then roll over and die. Looking back while on my way to Central Park, I saw fire break out and a heavy wind carried the flames over the city, and all the buildings, wharfs and ships in the harbor were burned. The stench from the burning bodies was carried by the wind across the Hudson River spreading death and destruction wherever it went. The sights that met my view on all sides were so horrible to look upon that it would be impossible for me to describe them.

After these scenes had passed, I found myself standing on the left bank of the Missouri River, just opposite to where stood the City of Independence and soon discovered that the states of Illinois, Missouri, and part of Iowa had been swept clean of its inhabitants and the surrounding country was a complete wilderness.

A short distance across the river, I beheld twelve men dressed in their temple robes standing in a square with their hands raised, and it was made known to me that they represented the twelve gates of the New Jerusalem. They then consecrated the grounds and laid the cornerstones of the city and temple; and while they were doing so, I saw myriads of heavenly angels hovering over them. I heard the most beautiful music and singing that I ever listened to and these were the words they repeated: "Now is established the Kingdom of our God and His Christ which shall no more be thrown down or given to another people."

I then saw a multitude of people coming from various directions to take part in the upbuilding of the city and temple and even the angels were on hand to assist in the glorious work. A great cloud arose above them and many of the saints were clothed in their temple robes. All of a sudden I found myself standing at the pulpit of the Ogden Tabernacle, yet I could see the building of the city of Zion and temple going on and the cloud that hovered above the place.

I had become so animated by this time that I called upon the congregation to listen to the sweet music and singing of the angels that seemed to fill the house. Then I heard a voice say, "Now has come to pass that which was spoken by the mouth of Isaiah the Prophet, where he declares that `Seven women shall take hold of one man saying, We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel, only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach.'"

By this time I was so exhausted that I staggered backwards, and Brother Franklin D. Richards and some of the other brethren caught me before I fell. I then asked Brother Richards to apologize for me stopping so abruptly in my remarks, and to tell them that I had not fainted, but was overcome from exhaustion. I then rolled over in bed and the clock in the City and County Building struck twelve."

[Source: Wilford Woodruff's Journal, June 15, 1878, A Vision, Salt Lake City, Night of Dec 16, 1877, in The Last Days and December 1890 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ, y George D. Speer Sr., privately circulated]

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