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BYU Studies Quarterly

BYU Studies Quarterly

Abstract

Critics have used Joseph Smith's statements about the eminent return of the Messiah as evidence that he was a false prophet. Joseph's 1835 statement that "fifty-six years should wind up the scene" has fallen under considerable criticism. By examining the context of this statement, the author asserts that it was not a divinely revealed pronouncement but an opinion or an interpretation of a personal revelation the prophet received. Unlike other millenarian groups, the Latter-day Saints did not actively forecast the arrival of the Savior, nor did they passively wait for the glorious millennial day to arrive. Joseph Smith inspired the Saints to anticipate the millennium but also to work patiently for it.

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