4: Mormon Millennialism

Clay hosts a panel discussion about Mormon millennialism and failed second coming prophecies with Heather, Brandt, and guest panelist Matt Nokleby.

References Used

One Long Funeral March: A Revisionist’s View of the Mormon Handcart Disasters

Mormon Millennialism: The Literalist Legacy and Implications for the Year 2000

Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable Is the Gospel Tradition?

Come, Let Us Go Up to the Mountain of the Lord: The Salt Lake Temple Dedication

and of course…

Journal of Discourses
New Testament
Doctrine and Covenants
Pearl of Great Price



  1. Jared Lundholm

    My parents always kept up a backpack for everyone in the family with clothes and food.
    I was on my mission 98-2000. We, the missionaries were so sure that y2k was the end. I remember being so disappointed when nothing happened.
    Around February 2000 a family from the ward also made the move to Missouri. So yes I think that mentality is still alive and in peoples minds.

    Reply Sep 05, 2012 @ 15:27:26
    • Clay

      Thanks, Jared, for sharing. It would be interesting to speak to some of these families that made the move. I wonder what there thoughts and feelings are now about the issue.

      Reply Sep 05, 2012 @ 17:05:44
  2. Nate

    Awesome podcast.

    I was 25 at the turn of the millenium and even though I had been out of the church for 4 years, and considered myself fully mentally emancipated from the Church, I was still surprised to find myself very very relieved when I woke up that New Years day and nothing had changed! I remember it was a beautiful sunny day and I took some deep breaths and felt like the final lingering brainwashing was dismissed.

    Reply Sep 05, 2012 @ 18:21:34
    • Clay

      Thanks for the input, Nate. Was the connection between the year 2000 and the millennium articulated within your LDS upbringing, or was it a conclusion that you came to by yourself. This Y2K association with the millennium is fascinating to me.

      Reply Sep 06, 2012 @ 01:26:26
      • Nate

        It was totally a combination of both. The whole hype about the Y2K computer issue that was supposed to happen (which was causing non mormons to stock up food and water just like mormons) plus the mathematics of 4,000 years b.c. plus 2,000 years A.D = SATURDAY … I didn’t really think anything was going to happen but it just felt like, if the mormons had been right, it would have been then.

        Reply Sep 06, 2012 @ 02:57:33
  3. Angie

    I love you guys so much but now I will have “How Firm a Foundation” in my head for the rest of the day. Ahhhh!

    Reply Sep 05, 2012 @ 22:04:42
    • Nate

      Ok I’ve been meaning to leave a comment about that. Since I was the ward pianist/organist for so many years I remember well when they changed the hymnbook … to correct some harmonic awkwardness and correct some grammar. Didn’t the original say “You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?” I always liked that version better because it was like, “Yoohoo Jesus!!!!”

      Reply Sep 06, 2012 @ 02:53:48
      • Heather

        I think we’ll probably change up the song from time to time. Personally, I want someone to take a slow song like There Is A Green Hill Far Away and jazz it up, without lyrics so people will hear it and think, “I know this song, what is it?!” And of course, have it stuck in their heads all day. It’s like the 80’s advertising strategy for men’s shaving cream. Byyyyy Mennan!

        Reply Sep 09, 2012 @ 05:17:27
        • Heather

          Holy crap. What did I do?! Look at that huge Youtube window. haha.

          Reply Sep 09, 2012 @ 05:18:07
  4. Cylon

    Heather, I love your story of the family who moved to Missouri and promised to prepare the way for the rest of the ward.

    I grew up in the 80’s and I also remember the apocalyptic tinge to things in church, especially with the emphasis on food storage. I felt really bad for the two apostles that were going to be killed in Jerusalem, but I also loved that primary song “I Wonder When He Comes Again. By the time Y2K rolled around, though, I had lost the belief that it would be anytime real soon. Not sure why, I just didn’t think it was all that imminent.

    Also, regarding the question about how believers deal with failed prophecies, that’s easy. They don’t know about them. That stuff isn’t taught in Sunday School. Until I started researching the stuff that led to my disaffection, I had no idea how many of the early church leaders actually gave specific, falsifiable prophecies!

    Reply Sep 08, 2012 @ 22:24:28
    • Heather

      I also liked that song. It’s haunting and beautiful.

      Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one who had been taught about apostles dying in Jeruselum. I’ve tossed it out there a few times and every time I get blank stares. :)

      Reply Sep 09, 2012 @ 05:19:12
    • Clay

      I, too, was taught the story of the two prophets dying in the streets of Jerusalem, lying there for three days and then being resurrected; thanks for bringing that topic up!

      I agree that for the majority of members these prophecies are unknown, untaught and obscure, but I think that there are plenty of believing Mormons that do know about these prophesies, and it was for that minority that my question was directed at.

      Thanks for chiming in, Cylon! BTW – I love the Battlestar Galatica reference.

      Reply Sep 09, 2012 @ 17:47:22
  5. Jacob M

    I was on my mission when the Bush Gore debacle happened, and I thought that was the harbinger of the end times prediction that I had in the MTC a few months earlier, because I remember books like Prophecy : Key to the Future, by Duane S Crowther which made me think the US government would fall apart quite shortly. And then 911 happened, which convinced me further. Then I got home, and haven’t really thought about it again. Fun memories.

    Reply Sep 12, 2012 @ 00:14:56
  6. Corpus

    I decided to go on a mission after reading Revelations and cross-indexing some of the topics with Mormon Doctrine (by McConkie). Millennialism is a powerful psychological force and motivator. Great podcast.

    Reply Sep 13, 2012 @ 19:34:17
  7. Lindsay

    Great podcast guys! I loved it. I was like Heather growing up, in that I really felt I wasn’t going to get to experience all of life because Christ would be here before then. I remember saying prayers asking to at least let me get married first….. oh boy. Anyway, good stuff.

    Reply Sep 18, 2012 @ 17:38:50
  8. Anabelle

    Thank you for this interesting podcast. Are there other known communities (other than Jackson County) where people are gathering in preparation for last-day events? I have heard about one such area in a Utah mountain community, where some of the people believe they have a responsibility/calling to prepare for those (sent by the Lord) who will “flee to the Rocky Mountains” for safety during latter-day calamities.

    Reply Oct 01, 2012 @ 16:54:44
    • Clay

      Anabelle. I have tried to do some searching for lists of Millennialistic groups that are gathering and waiting for the end of times. Aside from some very obscure and smallish groups, I have been unable to find any. If you come across any info, please pass it allong!

      Reply Oct 08, 2012 @ 20:37:24
  9. JT

    “The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints”

    The next subtle change?

    Reply Oct 09, 2012 @ 13:36:44
    • Clay

      Ha! Clever, JT. It took me a re-read to catch it :)

      Reply Oct 16, 2012 @ 13:35:36
  10. Debbie

    Great podcast but how did no one mention Dec. 21, 2012 and the Mayan Calendar? My father lives in a little town in Utah and believes it. There are companies that sell food storage and survival equipment for the impending end of the world. I think it rings especially true to Mormons because it’s a Mayan prophecy coming from the lands of the BOM. When I heard BKP’s talk in Oct. 2011 conference where he said the end of the world was not coming anytime soon, I completely understood it as an attempt to counter the 2012 hysteria.

    Also, wasn’t the food storage program originally in preparation for the end of the world craziness coming out of the cold war. BTW, I would love to see you do a podcast about food storage.

    Finally, Matt Nokelby was a really nice addition to the podcast, you need to have him on more often. And Brandt, you’ve probably been criticized for using “sitting here” so much but for me it’s become your signature phrase. I can always tell who’s talking when I hear “I’m sitting here thinking/going….” :-) Great podcast guys……

    Reply Nov 11, 2012 @ 10:21:51
    • Heather

      We all have those phrases. I say “like” WAAAAAAY too often and I always seem to end my contributions to the discussion with, “does that make sense?”

      Reply Nov 11, 2012 @ 12:24:47

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