On December 23, 1805, a son was born to Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith, in Sharon, Vermont who was destined to influence the lives of many people through his religious visons, and writing.
In his 1838-39 history, as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith Jr. describes his First Vision in Palmyra, New York. He says of himself that he was an “obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age” when he experienced his vision “early in the spring of eight hundred and twenty” (Joseph Smith–History 1:22–23, 14). Smith said he was told that Christianity had become corrupt. Their Creeds were an abomination, and he should not unite with any one of them.
Three years later, Smith said he was visited by an angel named Moroni who told him about some buried golden tablets which would explain to him the true gospel, and tell him about the American Indians. The text on the golden plate was Reformed Egyptian, which necessitated a translation.
After locating the golden tablets, and the special spectacles which allowed him to translate the tablets, Smith produced The Book of Mormon in March, 1830. He was 24 years old. There are 531 pages in the Book of Mormon, and 6604 verses. Two other works would later become part of Mormon faith and practice, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Grace Price.
There are 15 chapters in The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi.
- First Nephi
- Second Nephi
- Book of Jacob
- Book of Enos
- Book of Jarom
- Book of Omni
- Words of Mormon
- Book of Mosiah
- Book of Alma
- Book of Helaman
- Third Nephi
- Fourth Nephi
- Book of Mormon
- Book of Ether
- Book of Moroni
The Failed Prophecy of Joseph Smith Jr.
“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut. 13:1-3).
“When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18:22).
“Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart” (Jer. 14:14).
Joseph Smith Jr. fits the Biblical description of a false prophet. Consider the evidence.
The Canadian Copyright Episode
In 1829 – 1830, a publication was brought forth by David Whitmer, one of the three original witnesses to the Book of Mormon. The publication was called, AN ADDRESS TO ALL BELIEVERS IN CHRIST.
When Smith needed more money to publish the Book of Mormon, his brother, Hyrum Smith, suggested some Mormon men should go to Canada and sell the copyright. Smith agreed to seek the Lord by looking into a hat with the seer stone, a dark, egg-size polished rock which he said he used to produce the Book of Mormon.
Smith said that he received a vision that some of the Mormon men should go on a mission to Toronto, Canada where they would be received and find success in selling the copyright. Hyrum Smith and Oliver Cowdery traveled to Toronto, but were not able to sell the copyright. They returned without any money.
When asked why his prophecy failed, Smith returned to the seer stone and inquired of the Lord. He was told the initial revelation was not from God. “Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of men: and some revelations are of the devil” (Joseph Smith).
With these words, Smith created a clever, however illogical, covering for any failed prophesies. Any revelation he spoke in the name of God was valid if it succeeded. However, if Joseph Smith Jr. gave a revelation in the name of the Lord, and it failed, well, he had obviously been deceived by man, or the devil, and was not to be blamed.
However, responsibility and blame is exactly what the Bible ascribes to a false prophet who dares to speak in the name of the Lord God, and take it in vain.
Those who have studied the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr.’s revelations, estimate that two thirds of what he predicted did not come true. They were therefore either of Satan, or the flesh of man. Consider other examples of events Smith predicted, but did not come to pass, according to the Institute for Religious Research, © copyright 1997.
The Second Coming of Christ
President Smith then stated that the meeting had been called, because God had commanded it; and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit. . .. it was the will of God that they should be ordained to the ministry and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, for the coming of the Lord, which was nigh – even fifty-six years should wind up the scene. (History of the Church, Vol. 2, page 182).
This prophecy was spoken by Joseph Smith in 1835, and recorded by Oliver Cowdery. The fifty-six years were passed by 1891.
David W. Patten to Go on a Mission
Verily, thus saith the Lord: It is wisdom in my servant David W. Patten, that he settle up all his business as soon as he possibly can, and make a disposition of his merchandise, that he may perform a mission unto me next spring, in company with others, even twelve including himself, to testify of my name and bear glad tidings unto the world. (Doctrine & Covenants 114:1)
This prophecy was made on April 17, 1838. David W. Patten died in October of 1838 and thus never went on a mission the following spring.
Finding Treasure in Salem, Massachusetts
This prophecy is recorded in Doctrine & Covenants Section 111. The introduction to this prophecy, found at the beginning of Section 111 states:
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Salem, Massachusetts, August 6, 1836. HC 2:465-466. At this time the leaders of the [LDS] Church were heavily in debt due to their labors in the ministry.
1. I, the Lord your God, am not displeased with your coming this journey, notwithstanding your follies.
2. I have much treasure in this city for you, for the benefit of Zion, and many people in this city, whom I will gather out in due time for the benefit of Zion, through your instrumentality.
3. Therefore, it is expedient that you should form acquaintance with men in this city, as you shall be led, and as it shall be given you.
4. And it shall come to pass in due time that I will give this city into your hands, that you shall have power over it, insomuch that they shall not discover your secret parts; and its wealth pertaining to gold and silver shall be yours.
5. Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them.
No treasure was ever discovered, nor did Salem ever come into the hands of the Mormons.
Temple to be Built in Zion, Missouri (in Jackson County)
Zion is an unincorporated community in Central Township in southern Madison County, Missouri, United States. It is located on U.S. Route 67, approximately ten miles south of Fredericktown. The community is situated on the banks of Twelve Mile Creek. A post office called Zion was in operation from 1880 until 1964. The community took its name from a nearby church of the same name, which in turn was named after Mount Zion in West Asia (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia).
In 1832, a prophecy given by Joseph Smith Jr. and recorded in Doctrine & Covenants Section 84.
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, September 22 and 23, 1832. HC 1:286-295.
1. A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high.
2. Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.
3. Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.
4. Verily, this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.
5. For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.
The Mormons were forced to flee Missouri due to persecution, and a temple was never built on the “temple lot” in the lifetime of Joseph Smith, or within the generation of his contemporaries.
The Biblical answer to the question, “Should I become a Mormon?” is, “No. You should not become a Mormon, for the founder of this religious movement is, Scripturally, a false prophet.”