Play It Again, Sam: The Remarkable "Prophecy" of Samuel Lutz, Alias Christophilus Gratianus, Reconsidered
I recall traveling, as a brand-new missionary in Germany in the summer of 1960, with my senior companion by train from Freiburg to several cities in and around the Black Forest which made up our mission district. On one such occasion, I acquired a most intriguing note from a fellow missionary: a "prophesy" by a Catholic monk named Lutius Gratus from the year 1739, the original of which was said to be found in the library of the University of Basel in Switzerland. This amazing document foretold the coming forth of the true church of God within one hundred years, a church which would be led by prophets and elders bearing the priesthood of old; the tiny band of faithful followers of these divinely ordained men would be persecuted and killed until at length they found refuge in the valley of a great salten sea; there they would cause the land to burst forth in blossoms, build a temple of indescribable beauty, and gather the righteous from the four corners of the earth, all in anticipation of the day when the Lord God would visit the wicked with his destructive fury.
I had never heard of such a prophesy before, but to a twenty-year-old Mormon elder it was further proof of the validity of the message I had come to Germany to proclaim. It was exciting to know that almost a hundred years before the Restoration through Joseph Smith a vision of that great event and of associated circumstances had been vouchsafed to a righteous monk.