As a boy, I remember going through my dad’s binder. He kept a Franklin Day Planner stocked full of notes, old talks, information from meetings, details from work and church. He also kept inside nuggets of interesting Mormon quotes, scriptures, and anything else he might easily want to quote if he found himself in a teaching moment, and wanted to move a crowd.
Somehow, I snagged the following jewel from his collection. He probably doesn’t know that I have it. I should probably return it to him one day. This is a letter written by Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone on April 6, 1983 to the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 21st Century after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I have seen this partially quoted on the internet on many sites, but I’ve never seen the full letter posted in its entirety before. It’s interesting because the most quoted parts are amazing, but there are some pretty prophetic things they often leave out that warrant a fresh look by those who live in the South, are from the South, or wish you could visit. As you read it, think of all that of these things we’ve already witness happen, and which ones have not happened yet.
Vision of the South – Vaughn J. Featherstone -PDF of original letter by Vaughn J. Featherstone
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The First Quorum of the Seventy
47 East South Temple Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84130
To my beloved fellow saints in the twenty-first century,
God bless you. We love you. We are grateful to you for your great faith in Christ. Many of you have probably lived through the darkest period in the history of the world. Those of you who read this letter have witnessed the second coming of Christ, the day for which we have long awaited. What a glorious experience to live in the day when our Lord, our Redeemer, the very Son of God is reigning personally upon the earth.
We can imagine what General Conference must be like, to have the Savior address the people. My thoughts entertain such questions as, will there still be wards and stakes? Will the Lord hold area conferences and solemn assemblies? Have those of you reading this letter been visited by Him? My heart and soul seem nigh to be consumed at the very thought. In 3rd Nephi Chapter 17 the people looked “steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them.” Oh what a blessed generation you are and must be.
My calling in the Church is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. When the First Quorum of the Seventy in this dispensation was organized, I was privileged to be called into it. Previous to that time I had served as a second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric. The Church is organized in a way that members of the First Quorum of the Seventy supervise the areas of the earth under the direction of the Twelve Apostles. I am the Executive Administrator (the supervisor) for the South Central Area of the United States. This area includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and parts of Kentucky, Missouri, and Virginia. The temple is in the area I supervise. We have in this area, as presently organized, 44 stakes, 12 regions, and 9 missions.
There is a great satanic thrust, both by enemies of the Church from other religions and apostates who are filled with lies, deceit, and insidious evils. But they nor all the hosts of Satan can stop this work. We are seeing modern-day bands of Gadianton Robbers. I believe we are on the very threshold of great trials. The darkest clouds in the history of the world are on the horizon. They are being driven with fierce satanic winds in our direction. Earthquakes, famine, pestilences, disease, plagues will soon be upon us but we trust in our God and He will spare us and take us under his wings.
The Atlanta Temple is the first temple in the South. I can see temples in Charlotte, Columbia, Birmingham, Jackson, Nashville, and in Louisiana and Arkansas.
We now have more than 110,000 members of the Church in this area. I can see in my minds eye great hosts of converts to exceed a million members in the South. We will baptize people in the tens of thousands. These members, traditional Protestant and Catholic – Christians are being prepared right now. We will baptize “pivotal” leaders and their influence will reach out. Non-members will want to know about the Church. These people will call the missionaries and will desire to be taught. The missionaries will be teaching large groups from early morning until late at night. Entire congregations will accept this message. Ten times tens of thousands will be baptized into the Lord’s true Church. I know that the spirit of the Lord is brooding over the South. You who are reading this letter are witnesses to my words.
And should this letter come to the attention of our Lord who is reigning personally upon the earth, I have these words. Dear Jesus, I love you. You are most precious and dear to me. My life has been committed to Thy work. I have loved you and defended you with all my heart. I would give my life for you. You mean everything to me and my family. Thanks for answering so many of my prayers. Thanks for the magnificent atonement. Thanks for your love and compassion. You know my heart and you know that I love you. I have tried to prove worthy as an especial witness of you. Thank you for the holy call to serve as one of Thy General Authorities. Possibly we will have had an interview as I later will have passed from this life. If so, then I can tell you personally that I adore you and will worship you for time and all eternity and I will see you again there.
Farewell beloved saints and citizens, until we all meet in eternity.
Faithfully and eternally yours,
Vaughn J. Featherstone,
First Quorum of the Seventy
and Executive Administrator
Hope you enjoy this as much as I have throughout the years. Post your reactions, thoughts, and personal experiences with the Church’s growth in the South below!
Joshua B. Pettus
Your Friendly Mormon Neighbor