Last week, I took note of a connection between Albany and the beginnings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), or the Mormons. A far more striking connection, however, can be found in the Doctrine and Covenants. The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) is a part of the LDS scriptures, consisting principally of the Lord’s revelations to Joseph Smith between 1823 and 1844. On September 23, 1832, the Lord spake thus to Joseph Smith: “… let the bishop go unto the city of New York, also to the city of Albany, and also to the city of Boston, and warn the people of those cities with the sound of the gospel, with a loud voice, of the desolation and utter abolishment which await them if they do reject these things. For if they do reject these things their hour of judgement is nigh, and their house shall be left unto them desolate.” (D&C 84:114-115).
In response to this prophecy, in September of the following year, Smith, together with bishop Newel K. Whitney, are said to have left Kirtland, Ohio and travelled to New York, Boston, and Albany, to warn them of their impending doom. Whitney later wrote that they were back in Ohio by November 6, 1833. I’ve combed some of the Albany papers of that very specific time period and could find no references to either man. This is a little strange, for Smith and the ‘Mormonites’ were by then well-known and frequently reported on by the press.
In the September 15, 1848 edition of the Millennial Star, an official LDS publication, the prophecy from the Doctrine and Covenants was printed adjacent to an extract from the Albany Express reporting on the recent ‘Great Fire’ in Albany, which took place on August 17, 1848. The excerpts were offered without commentary. The implication was clear. The prophecy had been fulfilled.
But apparently, more was to come. On August 21, 1863, Elder Wilford Woodruff addressed a group of ‘Saints’ in Logan, Utah, where they were gathered to begin construction of a new temple. Woodruff waved his hand over the location of the future temple and told those present that they could look forward to the day when they would ‘stand in the towers of the Temple and your eyes survey this glorious valley … occupied by tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints.” As they did, Woodruff said, they would remember the scenes of this day, “… before New York was destroyed by an earthquake; before Boston was swept into the sea, by the sea heaving itself beyond its bounds; before Albany was destroyed by fire …” After Woodruff had finished his address, President Brigham Young rose and said: “What Brother Woodruff has said is revelation and will be fulfilled.”
A group of ‘Saints’ recently prepared for the end of the world, which they expected to occur as recently as last September. The LDS authorities did not approve of the group’s speculations. One wonders if anyone bothered to check on how Albany was doing, in accordance with the prophecy.
So take heed, ye wicked Albanites!. What Sodom and Gomorrah were to the Old Testament, New York, Boston, and Albany are to the Mormon end times.