The Lincoln Hypothesis

The Lincoln Hypothesis CoverI recently read and thoroughly enjoyed The Lincoln Hypothesis: a modern-day abolitionist investigates the possible connection between Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and Abraham Lincoln by Timothy Ballard. For my own record, and also for the TL;DR crowd, below are some of my favorite quotes.

Disclaimer for the Compelling yet Unsubstantiated Assertions in the Book

“This book will contain many valuable facts and sound historical conclusions, but it will also include unsubstantiated, yet compelling, ideas that I believe are also worthy of serious consideration” (from the Preface).

Introduction: The Hypotheses

  • “Abraham Lincoln’s mission directly revolved around the prophecies of Joseph Smith”
  • “Joseph’s works and prophecies, operating together with Lincoln’s revelations and reactions, created the perfect formula for the building up of Zion and for the establishment of temples on the earth”
  • “The key that unlocked this knowledge for Abraham Lincoln was a copy of the Book of Mormon that ended up in his possession precisely during the darkest days of the Civil War, right when he needed it the most.”

Chapter 1: Easter Sunday, 1865

Abraham Lincoln was shot by an assassin’s bullet on Good Friday, April 14, 1865. “Abraham Lincoln had been struck down on the very night that commemorates the murder of our Lord.”

Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of state, William H. Seward, had turned to God upon the death of his daughter in 1837. When “he was baptized a Christian. He wrote his wife of that day, explaining to her that during his baptismal service he thought continually of “our child-angel, ‘that left her errand with my heart and straight returned to heaven.’” He resolved on that Easter “to live more in the fear of and under the influence of love and gratitude to God” and to “gradually elevate and refine my motives of action.””

Abraham Lincoln’s “sacrifice directly led to that thing which is of greatest import. Indeed, his life and death represent a crowning achievement in the building of the kingdom of God and in the development of the Restoration of the gospel.”

Chapter 2: The Witness

On his humility: “Abraham Lincoln did very little to ensure his own personal legacy. He did not begin a memoir, nor did he keep a regular detailed journal. He simply was not consumed by the power of his position.”

Waiting on General McClellan — The Humility of Abraham Lincoln: “Hay could not understand why Lincoln acted as though he didn’t even notice the snub. The president then calmly told Hay that “it was better at this time not to be making points of etiquette and personal dignity.””

“He would be asked of God Almighty to dramatically change the national course—a change that everybody, himself included, believed would be his political suicide. But God needed it done, and Lincoln was one of the few prepared to do it. “Whatever shall appear to be God’s will,” declared Lincoln, “I will do!””

Chapter 3: The Covenant Day

George Washington, in his first inaugural address, said, “The propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.” In the author’s opinion, this “was the day that a covenant between God and America was officially invoked over all the land. I will be your God, the Almighty had declared. Will you be my people? This covenant—and its power to heal the land—is the secret Lincoln learned and employed to save America.”

Washington insisted that “Providence has heretofore saved us in remarkable manner and on this we must principally rely.”

Washington would explain in reference to his Yorktown victory, “in acknowledging that the interposing hand of Heaven, in various instances of our preparations for this operation, has been most conspicuous and remarkable.”

Book of Mormon prophet Lehi said: “Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord. . . . And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity” (2 Nephi 1:5, 7).

“The covenant is on our land. This idea would have powerful consequences in Lincoln’s day, for it was this concept that would begin to define Lincoln and make him the indispensable servant of God.”

“This whole story—the purpose for this book—revolves around the temple. What do you think happens when evil creeps into the promised land and begins destroying temples and obstructing their development? How far will God go to defend His temple?”

“A major purpose of the Civil War was to cleanse the land so that temples could be built and maintained unmolested by evil.”

Chapter 4: Joseph, Abraham, and the Breach

In 1838, a young Abraham Lincoln declared: “Whenever the vicious portion of the population shall be permitted to gather in bands of hundreds and thousands, and burn churches, ravage and rob provision-stores, throw printing presses into rivers, shoot editors, and hang and burn obnoxious persons at pleasure, and with impunity; depend on it, . . . this Government cannot last.”

A few years later, when the Mormons had received just the kind of treatment Lincoln described above, Joseph Smith declared: “Unless the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the Saints in the state of Missouri and punish the crimes committed by her officers that in a few years the government will be utterly overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left for their wickedness in permitting the murder of men, women and children, and the wholesale plunder and extermination of thousands of her citizens to go unpunished, thereby perpetuating a foul and corroding blot upon the fair fame of this great republic.”

Abraham Lincoln described what America’s founding fathers did as “the noblest cause—that of establishing and maintaining civil and religious liberty.” He described the Founders as “the pillars of the temple of liberty.”

Joseph concurred when he stated that “the very thought of [America’s sins] would have caused the high-minded and patriotic framers of the Constitution of the United States to hide their faces with shame.”

Chapter 5: The Prophet for President

“We must understand that the way things were going for Joseph and the Saints, the temples of God could not stand. They had been, and would be, continually obstructed, confiscated, and burned if the national status quo remained. Again I ask, what is the purpose of a promised land if you can’t have a temple therein?”

“An appeal for redress had been made to President Andrew Jackson. But the Prophet was turned down. A later appeal in person to President Martin Van Buren produced the same results: though the president agreed the Mormon cause was “just,” he told Joseph that the federal government could not intervene in matters pertaining to the states. His federal authority was too limited.”

“After claiming America as His design (verse 80), the Lord declared to His prophet and church, “Let them importune at the feet of the judge; and if he heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the governor; and if the governor heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the president” (D&C 101:86–88).”

“If state governments decided to deny any group of people basic First Amendment rights, they could do so? Unfortunately, yes. This is the dirty little secret of ­nineteenth-century America. That grand Bill of Rights pertained only to the federal government. In other words, only the federal government had to respect those precious rights. The states could do what they wanted. They could apply those sacred rights, or they could deny them. Too often, they chose the latter. And the federal government, agreeing with the constitutional interpretation of the states, would not come to the rescue. As a result, the Latter-day Saints and other minorities suffered dearly.”

Joseph Smith said: “I am the greatest advocate of the Constitution of the United States there is on earth. In my feelings I am always ready to die for the protection of the weak and oppressed in their just rights. The only fault I find with the Constitution is, it is not broad enough to cover the whole ground. Although it provides that all men shall enjoy religious freedom, yet it does not provide the manner by which that freedom can be preserved, nor for the punishment of Government officers who refuse to protect the people in their religious rights, or punish the mobs, states, or communities who interfere with the rights of the people on account of their religion. Its sentiments are good, but it provides no means of enforcing them. It has but this one fault. Under its provision, a man or a people who are able to protect themselves can get along well enough; but those who have the misfortune to be weak or unpopular are left to the merciless rage of popular fury. The Constitution should contain a provision that every officer of the Government who should neglect or refuse to extend the protection guaranteed in the Constitution should be subject to capital punishment; and then the president of the United States would not say, “Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you.””

“And so we come to what Joseph called the provision: an amendment to the Constitution that would bring consequences to state governments that denied the constitutional rights of the people. This provision has since been achieved. Indeed, we no longer face the challenges of the early Saints. Why? Because Joseph’s provision is here! We call it the Fourteenth Amendment. It simply proclaims that all Americans are heirs to the blessings of the Constitution.”

“Interestingly, the father of the Constitution seems to have had the intuition of Joseph Smith. Yes, James Madison, who was a principal author of the Bill of Rights, called for the very same provision to be added to the Constitution. He knew the states were abusing religious minorities; he saw it happening in his own beloved Virginia. The Constitution was his chance to stop it. He wanted to use the Constitution to influence the new national government to block the oppression.”

During the creation of the Bill of Rights, James Madison proposed the following amendment: “No state shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases.” Unfortunately, this amendment was not included in the bill of rights.

Joseph the candidate called for slavery’s eradication. He pointed out the great American irony of the Declaration of Independence: that it preached the words and promises of liberty to all, even while “at the same time some two or three millions of people are held as slaves for life, because the spirit in them is covered with a darker skin.”

The Prophet Joseph Smith declared: “Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire them to labor like other human beings. …Set them free, educate them and give them their equal rights.”

George Q. Cannon said: “Certain it is that had Joseph Smith been elected President of the United States and had been sustained by Congress in his poli­cies, this land would have been spared the desolating war which filled its hamlets and fields with carnage and its homes with sobbing widows and orphans.”

Chapter 6: The Civil War Prophecies

After declaring that “It is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.” The Lord said, “For this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose.” D&C 101:79-80. Then he commanded Joseph Smith to make an appeal for help to the federal government in regards to the Saints mistreatment in Missouri. Then continued the Lord, “And if the president heed them not, then will the Lord arise and come forth out of his hiding place, and in his fury vex the nation; And in his hot displeasure, and in his fierce anger, in his time, will cut off those wicked, unfaithful, and unjust stewards, and appoint them their portion among hypocrites, and unbelievers.” D&C 101:89-90

As the Civil War began, Brigham Young declared: “God has come out of his hiding-place and has commenced to vex the nation that has rejected us, and he will vex it with a sore vexation.” A few years later, he said, “[Joseph’s] prediction is being fulfilled, and we cannot help it.”

The Book of Mormon contains many statements about the covenant upon the land of America. One of the best is in Ether 2: 9 – 12 “And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity. For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off. And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done. Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.”

Chapter 7: Lincoln’s First Holy Field: Willie and the Divine

In the aftermath of his son Willie’s death, those close to Lincoln “would witness the president during his lunchtime, his eyes fixed on the Bible. He would often seek out the nurse to discuss a particular passage. His conversion [to the American Covenant] was taking place.”

“Lincoln was at last on firmer ground than ever before in his life. He was prepared to be what he often claimed he wanted to be: “a humble instrument in the hands of our Heavenly Father.”

“He would take his newfound spiritual power and apply it to his national calling. Speaking to a group during those days and weeks of spiritual enlightenment, the president declared: “Whatever shall appear to be God’s will, I will do.””

Chapter 8: Lincoln’s Second Holy Field: The Grassy Meadow of Frederick

“The Emancipation Proclamation, of course, did not free all slaves, but it began the process. It paved the way for the Thirteenth Amendment (which did free them all) and for the Fourteenth Amendment, which would usher in an era in which state governments could no longer deny their own people the God-given rights offered in the Constitution.”

“It has pleased Almighty God to put me in my present position,” Lincoln told one friend in the spring of 1862, “and looking up to him for divine guidance, I must work out my destiny as best I can.” Similarly, he told another group that “it is my earnest desire to know the will of Providence in this matter [of emancipation]. And if I can learn what it is I will do it.” In September 1862, after being pressed by those seeking clarification of his intention over emancipation, he would only say that the subject was “on my mind, by day and night, more than any other. Whatever shall appear to be God’s will, I will do.”

In September 1862, Lincoln wrote: “In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party. . . . I am almost ready to say this is probably true—that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet.”

Added the author: “Throughout the history of the world, what commander-in-chief would dare say such a thing? Yes, it is easy to argue that your enemy is wrong—but to suggest that your own side is also wrong? To suggest that God is doing this awful thing to both sides for some purpose heretofore unknown? It was like something out of the biblical account of ancient Israel or the Book of Mormon. What was he thinking?”

“Days after the news of the Union victory at Antietam arrived at the capital, Lincoln called an emergency cabinet meeting. He knew what he now needed to do. He had covenanted with God, and God had responded. It was September 22, 1862. The president marched into that meeting and boldly declared that “his mind was fixed, his decision made.” It was clear to all present that any objection to his call for emancipation would be immediately dismissed. The president told his cabinet not to bother him over “the main matter—for that I have determined for myself.”21 He then laid upon the table a sacred document: the preliminary draft of the Emancipation Proclamation.”

In an emotional state, Lincoln then declared unequivocally that “God had decided this question in favor of the slaves.”

Chapter 9: Lincoln’s Third Holy Field: The Book of Mormon

Lincoln had The Book of Mormon from November 1861 to July 1862. According to the Library of Congress ledger, the book was out for more than eight months. “Why did he keep it so long? Well, we should ask ourselves what was going on in Lincoln’s life during those eight months. Those very months marked what he called his “process of crystallization,” even those months of his life that have been described as his “Damascus Road Experience.” He had the book when Willie died, when he met Nurse Pomroy—yes, he had it precisely when he found God and turned the nation over to Him. Now get this: he turned the very overdue book back to the Library of Congress on July 29, 1862, a mere seven days after he submitted the first draft of his Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet.”

“The president then asserted that God “now wills to remove” slavery from the land and He is doing so through hurling the devastations of “this terrible war” to affect “both North and South.””

Said Lincoln. “If God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, ‘The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”

Said Lincoln: “We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own error therein. Meanwhile we must work earnestly in the best light He gives us, trusting that so working still conduces to the great end He ordains. Surely He intends some great good to follow this mighty convulsion, which no mortal could make, and no mortal could stay.”

Chapter 10: National Repentance

Lincoln declared “that “the Almighty has his own purposes” for the war. Of course, Lincoln grew to understand what that purpose was. It was exactly what the Lord declared it to be: a vexation and scourge to “set his hand and seal to change the times and seasons” (D&C 121:12). Or, in Lincoln’s own words, the war came from God for “the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people.””

“As the war produced Union defeat after Union defeat, what else could be said except that, as Lincoln increasingly began to point out, “the North as well as . . . the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong [the national sin].”11 The North and the federal government had, after all, watched and done nothing as the sins of oppression hit the innocent minorities—from black slaves to Mormon settlers.”

“If the war had ended early—with either Southern subjugation (a quick Union victory) or Southern independence (a quick Southern victory)—the North would have remained unchanged. The United States would have remained unchanged. The kingdom of God would have been left with the same weak application of the Constitution, which weak application was responsible for the Church’s frustrated growth and ultimate exile.”

“Something else also hung in the balance—the Restoration. The Church would need liberty to usher the gospel in to every corner of the earth. If America had failed here, if it had proved that a republic could not survive in the end, then budding republics the world over might have lost hope. Tyranny might have gained a stronger foothold throughout the nations of the world, and the proliferation of the Restoration might have been stymied. Lincoln himself declared as much: ‘[This civil war is] an important crisis which involves, in my judgment, not only the civil and religious liberties of our own dear land, but in a large degree the civil and religious liberties of mankind in many countries.'”

“Secretary Chase perpetuated it with a statement of his own to the director of the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia: “Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.” And so it was by 1864. IN GOD WE TRUST was later made, by an act of Congress, the national motto of the United States. The covenant had been invoked once again.”

Chapter 11: A Fight between Heaven and Hell

“If the North could not emerge victorious, the cause of the Restoration would be severely hampered. And this is why: A people cannot support and love a system that enslaves an entire race and not see the effects of such evil spill out in other areas of life. Yes, Southern intent was even darker than the preservation of slavery. Why? Because the ability for the South to enslave blacks provided the justification to do the same to any other group—and Mormons were that other group. The kingdom of God on earth was that other group.”

“In the end, the war was fought over the existence of a social order. It was a fight to determine whether the promised land of America would or would not continue to maintain a system wherein one group dominated at will any other group it desired to rule. The North was right because (eventually) it began fighting against oppression of the human spirit, and oppression of the human spirit has been Satan’s plan from the beginning.”

“One Missourian summed up the spirit in that state accurately when he announced that Mormons should not have civil rights, “no more than the negroes.” The Missouri mobocrats declared, “Mormonism, emancipation and abolitionism must be driven from the state.” This was the Southern cry. It was the opposite of God’s designs for America. It countered Lincoln’s new intention for the war. It directly challenged the American covenant.”

“It was Lincoln’s policy throughout the war to allow captured rebels to take the “oath of allegiance” to the Union and the Constitution, thereby setting themselves free from Union bondage. Lincoln explained that such oaths embodied “the Christian principle of forgiveness on terms of repentance.” Though officials in his administration might have thought this a strange practice, it would not have been strange to one who had read the Book of Mormon. For Captain Moroni did the same.”

Chapter 12: Answering the Critics

“I will concede that other nations have been able to eradicate slavery without a war. But I would ask the critic the following questions about those other nations: Were they large ­agricultural nations whose slave populations were growing rapidly, jumping from 800,000 to 4,000,000 in just two generations?15 Did those other nations have a rebel/separatist government recently created whose purpose was to preserve slavery at almost any cost? Did they have temples of God in their lands that were being destroyed, confiscated, and burned? Did they have prophets of God in their lands who were being shot and killed?”

“Not only had more than four million slaves been added to the forced-labor rolls in just two generations, but a mere four years before Lincoln took office, slavery had received further bolstering from the Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott (1857). Black Americans, declared the Court, even free ones, “are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word ‘citizen’ in the Constitution.””

“The modern-day critics do not have to deal with the ugly fact that one-third of slave marriages ended in a greedy business decision by the master, and over one-half of all slave children lost at least one of their parents (and many times both of their parents) for the same reason.”

“William Seward had his moment of clarity, and he manifested it in a speech he gave… “There is a higher law than the Constitution, which regulates our authority over this domain, and devotes it to the same noble purposes. . . . Does it therefore follow that Congress may amend the ten commandments, or reverse the principles of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount . . . ? Man could not, by any law, make right what God and his own conscience declared wrong.””

“What they need to understand is that the “states’ rights doctrine” of today (something that actually needs to be strengthened in the land) is not the same as it was in Joseph Smith’s or Abraham Lincoln’s America. Please understand this: The “states’ rights doctrine” of their day was destroying the Church and the purposes of America. The “states’ rights doctrine” served to protect an evil social order. God had placed Lincoln under orders to destroy that evil. So he did it. He did it by employing Joseph’s provision, or, in other words, the Civil War amendments.”

In 1820, just months after Joseph’s First Vision, the elderly Thomas Jefferson declared that “if the freedom of religion, guaranteed to us by law in theory, can ever rise in practice . . . truth will prevail . . . and the genuine doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by his pseudo-priests, will again be restored to their original purity.”

“Blinded by their preconceived political agendas, and ignoring both scriptural and historical evidence, critics continue to frame the war as North: oppressors of states’ rights, versus South: noble freedom fighters. All evidence points in the opposite direction. It was, in actuality, North: bearers of the covenant blessings of liberty, versus South: preservers of a state’s right to rule with blood and horror over the innocent—to legally enslave a race and to legally issue an extermination order against the Saints of God.”

Chapter 13: Brigham, Lincoln, and the Dispatch

“Within weeks of Abraham’s entering his “process of crystallization,” indeed, within weeks of his ordering up a copy of the Book of Mormon, we see the Saints break from their neutrality. On October 18, 1861, Brigham Young sent a telegram to the eastern states drawing a line in the sand and choosing sides once and for all: “Utah has not seceded,” he proudly declared, “but is firm for the Constitution and laws of our once happy country.””

Chapter 14: The Gettysburg Prayer

Lincoln recounted: “In the pinch of the campaign up there [at Gettysburg] when everybody seemed panic stricken and nobody could tell what was going to happen, oppressed by the gravity of our affairs, I went to my room one day and locked the door and got down on my knees before Almighty God and prayed to Him mightily for victory at Gettysburg. I told Him that this war was His war, and our cause His cause. . . . And I then and there made a solemn vow to Almighty God, that if He would stand by our boys at Gettysburg, I would stand by Him. And He did stand by your boys, and I will stand by Him.”

“If the North failed now, the rest of the world would be able to maintain their long-held belief that self-government and the pure liberty it provides is not possible. Indeed, it was a test to see if our nation or any nation so conceived . . . can long endure. If it could, democracy would be emulated and would grow, and the gospel would find safe haven throughout the world. If not, Satan would chalk up a victory against righteousness.”

“Lincoln often said the same thing—that this civil war is “an important crisis which involves, in my judgment, not only the civil and religious liberties of our own dear land, but in a large degree the civil and religious liberties of mankind in many countries and through many ages.” On another occasion, he declared that in this war “constitutional government is at stake. This is a fundamental idea, going down about as deep as any thing.””

“One minister from Gettysburg confirmed the national sentiment: “The deadly war that is now waging, is, on the one hand, the price we are paying for past and present complicity with iniquity.”

“As Lincoln stood to leave General Sickles’s bedside, the general related that “Mr. Lincoln took my hand in his and said with tenderness, ‘Sickles, I have been told, as you have been told perhaps, that your condition is serious. I am in a prophetic mood today. You will get well.’” And he most certainly did.”

“There is something about Helaman that reminds me of Lincoln and his Gettysburg experience. Perhaps it was Lincoln’s continued reference to the Gettysburg soldiers as “your boys.” Helaman, you will recall, repeatedly called his young stripling warriors “my two thousand sons,” “those sons of mine,” “my little sons” (Alma 56:10, 17, 30). The same tenderness was there. Or perhaps it was the heavenly assurance Lincoln received prior to the Gettysburg victory—God told him the North would win. Similarly, God told Helaman that his sons would see victory in their battle.”

Chapter 15: The Hymn

“the inspired words [Julia Ward Howe] wrote concerned all we have discussed about the true meaning of this war. You know these words already, for you have heard them countless times. They are the words that became the lyrics to the famous “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” But after truly understanding what God revealed through her, you will never be able to sing that hymn the same way again. You will not be able to sing it without the Spirit testifying to you about the truth behind Lincoln, Joseph Smith, the war, and the covenant on this land.”

Chapter 16: The Fall and Rise of Richmond

“As Lincoln reached the landing at Richmond, the unexpected occurred. Almost immediately, he found himself surrounded by a growing group of now freed black men, women, and children who shouted, “Bress de Lord! . . . Dere is de great Messiah! . . . Glory Hallelujah!” The former slaves then, one by one, began falling on their knees before Lincoln in deep respect and emotion. Lincoln, himself now becoming shocked and emotional, pleaded with the group, saying, “Don’t kneel to me, that is not right. You must kneel to God only, and thank him for the liberty you will hereafter enjoy.” The newly freed then stood, joined hands, and began to sing a hymn of praise to God. The streets, which up until that point had been “entirely deserted,” became alive with happiness and jubilee as black people all around began “tumbling and shouting, from over the hills and from the water-side.” One witness reported to Lincoln that he had seen an elderly, white-haired former slave exclaim, “Massah Linkum, he eberywhar. He know eberyting. He walk de earf like de Lord!” Upon hearing this, Lincoln became silent for several moments, then solemnly stated, “It is a momentous thing to be the instrument, under Providence, of the liberation of a race.””

“[Lincoln] seemed to love that phrase, “instrument in the hands of God,” and used it on a number of occasions. My curiosity compelled me to do a word search. Perhaps that glorious phrase was in the Bible. But it was not—not one reference there. You know where I went next . . . I ran the same check against the Book of Mormon. Stunning. No fewer than a dozen times did that phrase appear.9 I suppose it makes sense that Lincoln, in his quest to make and keep the American covenant, would use words from the book that does more than any other to testify of that covenant.”

Chapter 17: Upon the Altar

Historian William J. Wolf wrote: “Lincoln is one of the greatest theologians of America—-not in the technical meaning of producing a system of doctrine, certainly not as the defender of some one denomination, but in the sense of seeing the hand of God intimately in the affairs of nations. Just so the prophets of Israel criticized the events of their day from the perspective of the God who is concerned for history and Who reveals His will within it. Lincoln stands among God’s greatest latter-day prophets.”

“Compare these circumstances [of Lincoln’s death] to the death of Joseph Smith. Two men of the same generation (born just a few years apart), both came to earth in extremely humble circumstances, both became unlikely national figures, both were sustained by God, both saw the national sin and called the people to repentance, both foresaw their imminent murders, both were cut down in their prime by assassins’ bullets, and both were buried in Illinois.”

Lincoln biographer Richard Carwardine wrote: “Lincoln’s religious credentials and role as liberator of an enslaved people cast him as a latter-day Moses (though one who had freed even more slaves than the Old Testament leader, ‘and those not of his kindred or his race’).”

“Poor Lincoln had a tough go at that election. Lincoln had promised God that he would not end the war before he could eradicate the evil. This placed McClellan in a fortuitous position. While he could promise that if he were elected, the soldiers would go home to their families, Lincoln had to admit that if he were elected, the soldiers would likely have to die—for he would not give up the ship. How do you win that election? You pray!”

“First on September 10, 1864, then again on October 20, 1864, Lincoln called for days of national fasting, prayer, and thanks­giving. Lincoln dedicated these sacred days in a public proclamation to “our Heavenly Father” in the hopes for “an ultimate and happy deliverance” and the triumph of “the cause of freedom and humanity.””

“Then the miracle followed. Lincoln got the soldier vote. Eighty percent of those who suffered the most voted to keep their commander-in-chief, knowing that such a vote would keep them on the bloody battlefield until victory was achieved, which would mean they were quite possibly voting in their own death warrants. It was an amazing testament to the converted state of the North.”

“If Abraham was a type or shadow of Joseph, then Seward was his Hyrum. The elder brother sent to comfort, aid, and be there when nobody else would or could. The unheralded who did not want to be heralded. The unsung hero, who did not believe he was a hero but only wanted to serve God’s burdened servant.”

Chapter 18: For We Shall Meet Again

Union soldier Sullivan Ballou wrote: “O Sarah! if the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladest days and in the darkest nights, advised to your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours, always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.”

“Stated Washington, so long as there exists in the land a “Supineness or venality of [the] Constituents.” In other words, so long as we the people remain lethargic, apathetic, and uncaring about our responsibilities, we will lose the covenant blessings. All the while, according to Washington, “those who are entrusted with the management of this government . . . [will] overleap the known barriers of the Constitution and violate the unalienable rights of humanity.” Does this sound like America today? Boundless governmental ambition? Corrupted morals? Apathetic citizens? An ignored Constitution? The loss of unalienable rights? How long will we let America continue to sink? Will we learn the lessons God left for us in the history of the Civil War?”

“I pray we will take our cues from Washington and Lincoln, who learned the secret and masterfully employed it. I pray we will turn America back to its God! Turn America back to its covenant!”

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