On Christmas night in 1882, the Mormon Bishop Charles D. Evans had a vision in which he saw what is now our present and near future:
“While I continued to stare and marvel at the wondrous work before me, all of a sudden the scene vanished, and a new era, resultant, however, from the forces of the religious agencies before mentioned, burst upon my view. The history of American Independence, with the actors therein, passed before me. The Constitution of the United States was emblazoned upon an immense distance. Civil and religious toleration was general throughout the land. Man rejoiced in the privilege of worshipping God according to the dictates of conscience. Prosperity reigned. Angels smiles. Heaven approved. The fetters of political and religious intolerance, forged by the monarchs of the eastern world, were sundered, shall it be said forever? Such was my thought. I was full of joy at the sight; big tears of joy rolled down my cheeks, when all of a sudden, my attention was directed to a personage standing by my bedside, and who was attired in a white and flowing robe. Addressing me, he said, ‘Son of Mortality, look.”‘
“I looked and beheld a scene most revolting to my senses, from the fact that it was the reverse of the prosperity and religious freedom I had before witnessed. I saw the representatives of one branch of the Republic holding in their hands fetters they themselves had forged.
“The personage, again addressing me, said,'”Knowest thou the meaning of these?’
“I answered, ‘No.’
“He replied, ‘These are the chains with which certain sons of the Republic, who have tasted the fruit of the tree of liberty, desire to bind their fellows. These are they who seek to subvert the cause of human freedom. These seek to enslave one portion of the children of freedom who differ from them in religious belief and practice. Know thou, my son, that their object is filthy lucre. They plot to take away human rights, and to destroy the freedom of the soul, to possess the homes of the industrious without fee or reward. Their souls shall be in derision, and the heavens shall laugh at their folly. Their calamity slumbereth not. But cast thine eyes eastward and look.’
“I looked and beheld that the bands that held society together during the reign of the republic, were snapped asunder. Society had broken loose from all restraints of principle and good conscience. Brotherhood had dissolved. Respect for common rights and even the rights of life and property had fled from the land. I saw faction after faction arise and contend with each other. Political strife was everywhere. Father and son alike contended in these awful feuds. The spirit of deadly hate… passed through the Republic. Blood was written every banner. The spirit of bloodshed appeared to possess every heart.
“Turning to the person in white I exclaimed, ‘Surely this means the total destruction of our nation.”‘
“Touching my eyes with his finger, he replied: ‘Look again.’
“I looked and beheld that many who were angry with the rulers of the Republic, for the subversion of the Constitutional law, and their wholesale plunder of the public moneys, arose and proclaimed themselves the friends of the Constitution in its original form. These looked around for some others to sustain the country’s flag inviolate, pledging themselves and their fortunes and sacred honours to that end.
“A voice was suddenly heard declaring these words: ‘In the distant mountain tops are to be found the true lovers of freedom and equal rights, a people who have never made war upon each other. Go there, for only there can your lives and property be secure from the spoiler. There alone can the flag you love wave proudly for the protection of all people, irrespective of creed and color.’
“While thus engaged I cast my eyes to the far west, when suddenly appeared on Ensign Peak, near Salt Lake City, a beautiful flag whereon was written these words: ‘Friends of Human Liberty throughout the world, all hail! We greet you under the flag of freedom, our country’s flag.’ One shout of ‘Welcome’ from the Mountain Sons of Freedom rent the air. I beheld that the multitude wept with joy. The laws were again administered in purity. The people prospered. Tyrants were hurled down. All religious bodies were equally protected before the law. No North, no South, no East, no West, but one unbroken nation whose banner waved for all the world. On this I awoke in tears of joy.” (21) 1