IDAHO FALLS — Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell spoke to reporters during a press conference and took interviews on Wednesday regarding a series of upcoming meetings for Mormon elders.
The topic of the meetings centers around the so-called "White Horse Prophecy."
The prophecy was supposedly given by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints founder Joseph Smith and deals with the U.S. Constitution hanging by a thread and church elders saving it.
Rammell has released this statement to the press:
"In order to motivate my fellow elders in the LDS church, I have invited many to attend meetings to discuss Joseph's prophecy and how we can help save the Constitution. Some people, LDS and non-LDS, think it is inappropriate for me to hold such meetings. I think that is ridiculous.
"I have and will hold meetings with all kinds of groups in Idaho. I will speak to each group on matters that are of interest to and directly affect them individually. As such, it would only be appropriate for me to address Joseph Smith's prophecy with people who believe he was a prophet."
At the press conference Rammell explained that the meetings were not meant to offend or exclude anyone.
"The reason I put down elders only is because of the subject matter — I wanted to talk to people that believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet," Rammell told News Radio 1260 talk-show host Neal Larson in a radio interview. "I didn't think non-LDS people would have wanted to come and listen to that type of speech."
But is the White Horse Prophecy really LDS doctrine? For some LDS members, the validity of the prophecy has been called into question.
"The only accounts of the alleged White Horse Prophecy were provided second hand, years after Joseph Smith died and can't be corroborated with other sources," said Scott Gordon, the president of FAIR, a group LDS scholars who have heavily researched the topic. "For many people, it is a faith promoting rumor that been around for a long time — it's a rumor that never dies."
But Rammell claims the prophecy is valid because according to his research former LDS President Ezra Taft Benson said he believed in Joseph Smith's prophecy.
The LDS Church has not officially commented on Rammell, his meetings or the White Horse Prophecy.
Rammell's first meeting will held at the Hampton Inn in Idaho Falls between 7 and 8 p.m. on Jan. 19. Subsequent meetings will be held in Rexburg, Blackfoot, Pocatello, Twin Falls and Boise.