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The Mormon Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was founded in 1830 by a man called Joseph Smith who claimed to be a prophet of God. Was he really a prophet of God? We will soon see that he wasn’t. He was behind scriptures such as the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.


How to Answer a Mormon by Robert A Morey is an excellent refutation of the Mormon claim that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. It copies the prophecies so you can read them for yourself and make your own choice.


Internet Infidels has a good page called Joseph Smith as a Prophet by Richard Packham. It shows that Smith was a false prophet and refutes the Mormon boast that Smith made fulfilled prophecies.




Like Jesus, Smith erred on the universal flood and different things. A prophet that cannot get the past right is worse than one who gets the future wrong for the past has happened and the future has not happened yet. He would be hopeless to depend on for insights about the future.


Smith claimed that some old Egyptian scripts purported to be the writings of Abraham and "by his own hand on papyrus." He used the word purported and while it can indicate uncertainty it is clear that when Smith "translated" the book of Abraham from them and declared it sacred that he was far from uncertain. He clearly argued that any uncertainty was cleared up by his "translation". The argument that Smith said the text was sacred and that is not the same thing as saying it was scripture is splitting hairs. He clearly regarded its teaching as valid. The scripts could not be translated at that time by scholars but then things changed. Egyptologists then found his translation to be pure make-believe. 


The other argument that he was trying out his own ideas of translation and unlike the Book of Mormon he was not saying God gave him the words in English is rubbish. He was clearly saying something was showing him how to translate and that something had to be God. His insincerity is shown by how he never invited scholars to consult with him or agree with him. If he had been right then he would have changed the scholarly world forever for now at last they had a sample to work out the translation rules. Egyptian Hieroglyphics would have been no longer a mystery. He did not claim to have solved that.



Smith claimed to be prophet not only in giving what doctrines God wished people to believe but in predicting the future. He affirmed Deuteronomy 18 which says real messages from God always get it right when they forecast the future. The text forbids listening to any prophet who gives so much as one wrong revelation.


In recent years, the Church added Section 137 to the Doctrine and Covenants with four false prophecies from Smith, one of which concerned Elder McLellin preaching to a multitude in the south and curing a lame man, excised. So here we have a case of the Church correcting a revelation and then saying it was inspired by God!


Smith had to get some prophecies right and these are the ones the Mormons are interested in. But he made a lot fewer impressive prophecies than the Church would have you believe. Here is a study of Jeff Lindsay’s collection of Smithian prophecies which he thinks we should be impressed by.


The Mormons say that Smith prophesied that the Saints would go to the Rocky Mountains before it happened or could even be thought possible. There he foresaw the saints becoming strong there and building many cities (History of the Church, Vol 5. Ch 4, p 85). But the Church had much opportunity to add to the writings of Smith while it was on the way to the Rockies. Many revelations including the notorious revelation authorising polygamy surfaced long after Smith and were under suspicion of having been altered or even composed under Brigham Young and having nothing to do with Smith. This was one of the main accusations against Mormonism made by the Reorganised Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The diary recording the prophecy was written from memory after the Mormons went to Utah and in 1845 the manuscript of the History of the Church contained the prophecy but this was after the Mormons set off for Utah.


The Church says that the Rocky Mountain Prophecy was written before the event. But the manuscripts in question have the prophecy written in small handwriting which is obviously showing that it is an interpolation inserted after the Mormons went to the Rocky Mountains. Dean C Jessee of the Church Historical Department declared that this was the case.


The Mormons incredibly regard section 87 of Doctrine and Covenants which says there will be a war that will start off a world war which will begin in South Carolina and result in the end of all the nations as a true prophecy. The war happened but it did not lead to a world war. The Mormons say it set in motion events that led to World War 1. But you could say any war did that. What had the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand have to do with the trouble in South Carolina? Nothing. And World War 1 did not bring down all the nations or even involve all the nations. Some Mormons say that the war of South Carolina was not the one that happened since Smith prophesied but is still to happen. But probability says that Smith meant the past one for he said it was to come to pass shortly and there was much speculation in his day that it would happen. Smith knew that riots and battles were inevitable even small-scale ones. Even if there had been no big war Smith could still have pointed to the skirmishes as war for that is what they are. The fact that he blurted out such a twistable prediction proves he was a fraud and not a prophet.


The Mormon Church says that when Smith was in Liberty Jail it was extremely likely that he would be put to death but he prophesied that this wouldn’t happen. God told him he would triumph over his foes. The Church says this came true. There is not enough in the prophecy to demand a supernatural fulfilment. Had Smith died then by execution the Church would have burnt the prophecy or even started a resurrection report.


The Mormon Church says a remarkable prophecy about Stephen A Douglas made by Smith has been wonderfully fulfilled. But all Smith said to the man was that the government of America will be destroyed if they do not start respecting the Saints and that Douglas would try to become President and if he ever turned against God he would strike him. But what government and when? One in forty years time? In those days a collapsed government had to happen sometime soon. But the government was certainly never destroyed despite its troubles. And Smith only said Douglas would try to become President not that he would or wouldn’t. What counts as trying: asking for supporters maybe? And had Douglas succeeded and led a charmed life and then died, the Mormons would be still be saying God struck him in death – all men have to die so that is not impressive. Or they could say that he couldn’t get out of persecuting the Mormons and so was not accountable before God which was why he escaped the punishment Smith said would befall him if he persecuted. The way Smith worded his prophecy actually proves that he was not a prophet but a shrewd operator.


The Word of Wisdom, Section 89, of the Doctrine and Covenants, forbids tea and coffee, tobacco and alcohol to Mormons. The Mormon Church says this proves that God told Smith that tobacco was bad before it was discovered to be unhealthy in the twentieth century. But he could have allowed tea within reason. This shows that he was only guessing that these things were immoral and harmful. Smith knew that tobacco was harmful to the chest and that was known long before its carcinogenic properties was known.


The prophecies that there would be branches of the Church in New York and Boston are unimpressive for Smith had more success with Mormonism than he thought possible so he knew it had to expand into these places someday. Had he been a prophet he would have been able to give the decade when the branches would be organised.


Smith allegedly told Dan Jones the night before the assassination at Carthage Jail that he would survive the impending unexpected attack and serve the Church in Wales. This came true. But we have only Dan Jones’ word for this. It is one of the lies that are always told about people after they die. Was Dan like a fortune tellers client who remembers the “hits” and forgets the predictions that are wrong or ridiculous?


Smith said that God made Sidney Rigdon a spokesman for him to the Mormon people (Doctrine and Covenants 100:9-11). The Church says Smith foreknew how Rigdon would lead the Church under him. But how a man like Smith who has the power to fulfil the prophecy by giving Rigdon a high office could have the right to make such a prophecy is not explained. It would be a sure sign that he was claiming supernatural significance for what was not supernatural. So what else was he doing? However, the assertion does not claim to be making a prediction. Had Rigdon not become a leading Mormon the Church would be teaching just that.


The Mormon Church says that Smith knew Newel K Whitney by name without having seeing him before in 1831. This is supposed to show that Smith really was a Prophet. But there are other explanations.


Read Section 114. David Patten died before he could accomplish this mission.


The Mormon excuse is that God knew he would die but was not predicting his future but telling him what to do if he lived. This is a lame answer beyond belief. It overlooks the fact that it could be a prophecy, it could be a command and it could even be both. Two out of three chances then that it was predictive.


God rarely speaks and would not waste his words on a command that won't be fulfilled.


Prophecy or command the section has God saying Patten will be alive to do the mission. Why else would it tell him to take care of his business affairs and sell things so that he will have the money to do the mission? God says it is wisdom that David do this.


The detail in the command shows that if it was not merely a prophecy it was a command-prophecy. If it were a command God would not say, "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 all the world." He would say, "It is wisdom in my servant David W Patten that he settle up all his business and make a disposition of his merchandise, that he may perform a mission unto me to testify of my name and bear glad tidings unto all the world". The stuff about the mission in the spring, David joining with eleven others means that God sees the need for this to be done meaning he has seen the need in the future. He knows what circumstances are needed.


God says that those who deny his name will be replaced and links this with Patten. So Patten will be accepted by God to replace those who have gone astray. He is predicting then that Patten will be alive "to bear glad tidings unto all the world".




Joseph Smith was a false prophet. I would add that Joseph Smith revised the Bible and kept its vicious parts - ie the commands from God telling his corrupt and evil people to accuse adulteresses and stone them to death! He claimed to be able to fix it under divine inspiration for the apostate Christian Church had altered it and deliberately mistranslated it.

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