Doctrine & Covenants 112:23-26 reads (emphasis mine):

Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face. Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; first among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.

If I read this prophecy correctly, everyone on earth has become corrupted (or unclean, see 1 Nephi 10:21, etc.) including members of the LDS Church, that this corruption will be the justification for vengeance, and that vengeance will begin with the Church and then proceed to the rest of the Earth.

Which, to simplify, sounds like the Lord will clean His house1 before He cleanses the world.

What do the scriptures2 and/or Church leaders suggest is the corruption the Lord is speaking about?


1This revelation was received in 1837, after the 1836 dedication of the Kirtland temple. It could be argued that "house" refers specifically to the Kirtland temple, or temples in general. However, setting aside the fact that the LDS Church no longer owns the Kirtland temple and presupposing the Lord had more in mind that a single geographical location when discussing the need to cleanse people from sin, I'm electing to interpret "My house" as "My church." If scripture or Church leaders suggest otherwise, I'm open to correction.

2The LDS Scriptures include the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.

  • just out of curiosity have you looked at the footnotes (1 Peter 4:17, Psalm 14:1, D&c 10:21)? – depperm Jul 20 at 12:31
  • @depperm, I have! What behaviors do you see inside the Church or might eventually see inside the Church that meet the description of D&C 10:21? – JBH Jul 20 at 17:02

This part of this revelation speaks about 2 things: Darkness and corruption and Vengeance. This part of section 112 is not taking about corruption in the church today, it's talking about the state of the world when the church was organized. It is not a prophecy about the spreading of corruption in the church, rather the coming of judgement to the world.

Darkness and Corruption

Regarding the darkness and corruption, Joseph Fielding Smith clarified this as referring to the spiritual darkness and corruption that existed at the time of the revelation:

"This proclamation should cause us even in this day serious reflection. If darkness covered the earth in 1837, surely it has deepened in its blackness since that day. If that was a day of wickedness, and the Lord in several revelations testified to this fact, then it is even more so today." [Church History and Modern Revelation, 2:74]

We know that after the death of Christ, the apostles and the church were persecuted and killed to the point where there would be a "famine of the word," Amos 8:11, see Preach My Gospel. This loss of spiritual light, and the revelation from the living prophets left a void of which God declared,

"all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me" JSH 1:19

Vengeance

Without the fullness of the law, however, the Lord does not hold men accountable,

"He will judge them, not according to what they have not, but according to what they have" Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith Ch. 35

So when the Lord speaks of vengeance going forth from his house, it refers to the restoration of the gospel in this dispensation:

"...it is a dispensation in which the Gospel has been revealed from heaven, the servants of God called to labor in the vineyard for the last time, and in which the Lord intends to pour out great and terrible judgments upon the nations of the wicked after they have been warned by the sound of the everlasting Gospel." - [Latter-Day Judgments. Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the 13th Ward Assembly Rooms, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, January 26, 1873.]

Naturally, the first to receive these judgements would begin with the first to reject the restored gospel:

25 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

26 First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.

This behavior matches the definition of personal apostasy: "turning away from the Church and ultimately denying the faith.." Teachings of President Brigham Young

What do the scriptures and/or Church leaders suggest is the corruption the Lord is speaking about?

Elder Claudio D. Zivic in a talk titled Avoiding Personal Apostasy, mentioned a few things that this could include (though surely not exhaustive):

  • When a person commits serious sin but does not repent
  • Conflicts between Church members, which includes being offended by leaders and other members.
  • Faultfinding, including beginning to think one could make better decisions than our leaders
  • Assuming authority one does not possess or when one seeks revelation for a stewardship outside of their sphere of responsibility
  • I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I like and don't like about this answer. Note that with the possible exception of Br. Zivic's quote, it doesn't answer my question. For exmaple, Does Amos 8:11 + D&C 112:23-26 mean there will be a spiritual famine within the Church? Does JSH 1:19 mean Church members or the Church itself will be an abomination in the sight of God? How can the Restoration be an act of vengance for anything Church members do today or in the future (or is this prophecy fulfilled? Your JFS quote suggests no.)? I think the don'ts outweight the do's in this answer. – JBH Aug 6 at 22:57
  • Sorry I provided evidence for my claims but didn't explain my claims. Section 112 is not taking about corruption in the church today, it's talking about the state of the world before the church was organized. Same with JSH 1:19 and Amos 8:11. The restoration will spread the truth and condemn those who know the truth but reject it. This is what is meant by vengeance coming to the world starting with the wicked in the church. This section is not a prophecy about the spreading of corruption in the church, rather the spreading of truth around the world. – JBaczuk Aug 6 at 23:36
  • Now that's an interesting point of view! Do you have scripture or church leaders to establish the interpretation? – JBH Aug 7 at 3:04
  • The JFS quote clearly shows the corruption was referring to the world, not the church. The Orson Pratt quote speaks of great and terrible judgements after the nations have been warned (i.e. gospel preached). Judgement is synonymous with the vengeance mentioned in section 121, see footnote b in v. 25. Finally, I need to correct myself, instead this being a prophecy of spreading the "truth", I should have said "judgements" to be more precise. The truth must spread also, but only as a predecesor to the judgements. – JBaczuk Aug 7 at 5:12
  • I've spent more time thinking about it and there are problems. D&C 112 is future tense. We're talking about something that will happen after Joseph Smith's time, not at or before. JFS' quote (which I need to find, it's not online other than here) doesn't clarify the timeline and only substantitaes the world is wicked, but not how that wickedness will be manifest in the Church. The Amos 8 connection is tenuous without church leader support. Many of the statements by Orson Pratt before he edited the D&C in 1879 are suspect. No, this isn't a complete answer and needs better support. – JBH Aug 9 at 16:23

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