Catholic priest prophesies of restoration in 1739
This Mormon urban legend is over 100 years old. The legend claims that a Catholic priest named Lutius Gratus wrote in a book called “Hope of Zion” in 1739 an amazing prophecy. The supposed prophecy included statements about how the gospel had been lost and that false doctrine filled the earth and that an angel will restore the truth within 100 years. The prophecy went on to claim that the followers of this new gospel would build a great city, but then be forced to the shores of a great lake.
This legend first makes appearances in LDS periodicals in both English and German in 1893, in a story by a returned missionary named Jacob Spori. Many have tried to verify the authenticity of the story, including Rulon S. Wells of the First Council of the Seventy, but all have been unsuccessful. Elder Wells wrote an article called “A Fraudulent Prophecy Exposed” published in the January, 1908 “Improvement Era”.