I am firmly aware that we are to accept the admonitions of all prophets and apostles which I’m very grateful for in this day and age. However, there is one man that I am very curious about– Nostradamus. He was not a religious prophet, and spoke of non-religious world events to come. His writings have been absolutely chilling how accurate they are, even naming Hitler and his behavior, missing the spelling of Hitler’s name by one letter. I have to admit that I have absolutely no idea what to make of the man. Again, I state that I am formally aware that he is not a religious prophet of any kind, and never stated to be such. Further, his writings are all mixed up and he uses planetary positions to describe the time frames in which events are expected to occur. The crazy part is how much accuracy can be found in them, but usually in hindsight.
Is there some way to explain this man and what his purpose was in this world? Again, I am not asking if we should be taking him seriously, as we have prophets and apostles for that. I just find him to be a truly amazing and puzzling oddity.
Nostradamus truly is some sort of an enigma. But he is in no way unique as such. There are many observed phenomena for which we have no ready explanation–the exploits of Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519, among them. Among many other astounding achievements for his time, he invented both the helicopter and the bicycle. (Knowledge of his invention of the bicycle did not come to light until the late 1960s). There are other more occult phenomena that defy explanation by the limitations of our modern science, among them the art and practice of psychometry. A little known topic, the dictionary definition of which is the divination of facts concerning an object or its owner through contact with or proximity to the object. Perhaps the Leonardo da Vinci of psychometry was Enrique Marquesini, whom the doctors in major hospitals from Buenos Aires, Argentina to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota have consulted with respect to his diagnosis of difficult illnesses. In a conversation with Marquesini in 1948 he told me that his ability is not unique, but is possessed in one degree or another by almost everyone. But he confessed that in him it was developed to a very high degree. He told me, “It’s like this, we all have a voice, but there is only one Caruso.” In 1970 I was told by the chief surgeon at the Hospital Privado in Cordoba, Argentina, where Marquesini lived, that because of his advanced age he was beginning to lose his powers.
Now to Nostadamus, who died July 2, 1566. When they moved his body in the year 1700 to a more prominent location, they found on the skeleton a medallion inscribed with the number 1700, which they took for a prediction of the opening of his coffin at that time. His writings were in quatrains, and were difficult to interpret. As you mentioned, they were generally understood only in hind site. As a case in point, here are a couple of quatrains that touch on our own time.
Out of the country of Greater Arabia
Shall be born a strong master of Mohammed…
He will enter Europe wearing a blue turban.
He will be the terror of mankind.
Never more horror.
In the year 1999 and seven months
From the sky will come the great King of Terror.
He will bring back to life the King of the Mongols;
Before and after war reigns.
It is anyone’s guess who the Turk in the blue turban is. That could only be defined after the fact. And there seems to be no interpretation, even after the fact, of who the great King of Terror was. In spite of these difficulties, the fact that so many of Nostradamus’s predictions could be discerned after the fact place him in a unique position of having great incite into the future. But to equate him to any of the prophets who are ordained of God and who speak as moved upon by the Holy Ghost is completely untenable. We need not deny the unique abilities of particular individuals in order to have complete faith in the pronouncements of the prophets of God. The existence of such unique abilities is not inconsistent with the scripture found in Doctrine & Covenants 46:11-12,
For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.