The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints claims to have a living prophet to guide them in knowing truth. They discount the Bible because of this, and other Mormon doctrines will not stand up to the test of Scripture. Article eight of the LDS Articles of Faith reads, “We believe the Bible as far as it is translated correctly …” You will notice that it does not question the underlying text. It only questions the translation. If they really believe this they could easily show the mistranslated parts and correct them. Joseph Smith said that he did this and that it was completed by 1833.
“We this day finished the translating of the scriptures, for which we returned gratitude to our Heavenly Father.” (A letter dated July 2, 1833, and published in Times & Seasons Volume 6 page 802, signed by Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and F.G. Williams)
I wanted to make those who read this aware of the fact that Joseph Smith did finish his translation of the Bible because the passages I have quoted in this article are from his translation. You will notice that they are identical to the passages in the KJV. This means that he did not consider these passages to be mistranslated.
This article is not about the Scriptures, but about prophets of God. If we are wise we will put anyone who claims to be a prophet to the test because we are told that there are false prophets in the world. We need a standard or an authority by which to test them. That standard and authority is the Bible.
Test the Prophets
The Bible warns of false prophets so we are to test those who claim to be prophets.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1 Joseph Smith Inspired Version & KJV)
A true prophet speaks as he is moved by the Spirit of God.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:21 Joseph Smith Inspired Version & KV)
We are to try them to see if they are speaking truth. This means there must be some authority by which we can test their prophecies. That authority is the Holy Scriptures, the Bible.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11 Joseph Smith Inspired Version & KJV)
The Bereans were more noble because they tested what the preachers said by the Scriptures. At that time the only Scriptures they had were the Old Testament books. This means that the New Testament was tested by the Old Testament. If it didn’t agree, it would have been rejected as the Word of God.
And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:19-20 Joseph Smith Inspired Version & KJV)
Although prophets are not mentioned in this passage, it is speaking of those who pretend to speak for God. The law and the testimony are the holy Scriptures that had already been given by God through the earlier prophets. Those who pretend to speak for God, and say things that don’t agree with what has already been revealed, have no light in them.
If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 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; 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. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. (Deuteronomy 13:1-4 Joseph Smith Inspired Version & KJV)
In this passage we learn that even if the prophecies of a prophet come to pass, if the prophet teaches them to go after other gods, we are not to listen to him. God allows this to test our love and faithfulness to Him. The prophets of the Mormon Church teach their followers to go after a god who was once a man, and who changed into a god.
“As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become” (the fifth LDS President Lorenzo Snow, June 1840)
The God of the Bible does not change.
For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6 Joseph Smith Inspired Version & KJV)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17 Joseph Smith Inspired Version & KJV)
This is as true for Jesus Christ as it is for Jehovah.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8 Joseph Smith Inspired Version & KJV)
Even the Book of Mormon says that God is unchangeable:
For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity. (Moroni 8:18)
For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? (Mormon 9:9 – This is quoted from Hebrews 13:8 and James 1:17)
Not only does the Book of Mormon teach that God is unchangeable, it also teaches that there is only one God:
And Zeezrom said unto him: Thou sayest there is a true and living God? And Amulek said: Yea, there is a true and living God. Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God? And he answered, No. (Alma 11:26-29)
As you can see, the Mormon prophets not only disagree with the Bible, they disagree with their own scriptures. In so doing they teach their followers to go after other gods.
The next test of a true prophet is that what the prophet predicts comes to pass.
And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? 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. (Deuteronomy 18:21-22 Joseph Smith Inspired Version & KJV)
If we are going to try the spirits to see if they are of God, we must have a standard by which to try them. We have already seen that the authority they are to be tested by is the Word of God. We have seen that they are false prophets if they teach that we should go after other gods. Finally we have their own words to test them by. If they predict things that don’t come to pass, they are not speaking for the Lord and are false prophets. Let’s take a look at some prophecies by Mormon prophets that have not come to pass.
Unfulfilled Prophecies By Mormon Prophets:
Civil War Prophecy
Doctrine and Covenants 84:1-5
“Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls; And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place. For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations. And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war. And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation. And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations.”
Although many Mormons point to this “Civil War Prophecy” as proof of Joseph Smith as a prophet, many points in this revelation never happened or were incorrect. The Civil War was on the horizon and all who had any discernment could foresee its coming. However, the parts of his prophecy in bold print did not come to pass. It cannot be said that the prophecy was fulfilled when such a large part of it did not occur.
The United States Government to be overthrown in a few years
I prophecy in the name of the Lord God of Israel, unless the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the Saints in the state of Missouri and punish the crimes committed by her officers that in a few years the government will be utterly overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left for their wickedness in permitting the murder of men, women and children, and the wholesale plunder and extermination of thousands of her citizens to go unpunished (History of the Church, Vol. 5, page 394).
Joseph Smith made this prophecy in May 6, 1843. However, the United States Government did not redress any of the wrongs committed against the Mormons in Missouri, and even after 175 years, the U.S. Government still stands.
Congress to be broken up as a government
While discussing the petition to Congress, I prophesied, by virtue of the holy Priesthood vested in me, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that, if Congress will not hear our petition and grant us protection, they shall be broken up as a government, and God shall damn them, and there shall be nothing left of them – not even a grease spot. (Millennial Star, Vol. 22, p. 455. See also History of the Church (HC), vol. 6, p. 116, though when this prediction was incorporated into the official history, Mormon Church leaders decided to leave out the “grease spot” part.)
The petition was not heard nor was protection granted (Deseret News, Vol. 1, p. 59). Yet, Congress was never broken up and continues to function to this day. It is interesting that the compilers of History of the Church, added an editorial note in an attempt to soften or explain this prophecy. They state that: “This prediction doubtless has reference to the party in power; to the ‘government’ considered as the administration;” (note, p. 116). According to the note in The History of the Church, this means the Democratic Party, which was in control at the time. However, the prediction is that “Congress shall be broken up as a government” and Congress is made up of representatives from both parties. The Saints were making an appeal to the General Government, not to the Democratic Party, a point made by a summary statement in the left margin beside this prophecy as it is recorded in The History of the Church. It is obvious that this prophecy was not fulfilled because the Democrat party is still in existence today.
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, and Salem never fell into the hands of the Mormons.
Pestilence, Hail, Famine & Earthquake to Destroy the Wicked
And now I am prepared to say by the authority of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass away before the United States shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the history of our nation; pestilence, hail, famine, and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of the land, to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country. The people of the Lord, those who have complied with the requirements of the new covenant, have already commenced gathering together to Zion, which is in the state of Missouri; therefore I declare unto you the warning which the Lord has commanded to declare unto this generation, remembering that the eyes of my Maker are upon me, and that to him I am accountable for every word I say, wishing nothing worse to my fellow-men than their eternal salvation; therefore, “Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come.” Repent ye, repent ye, and embrace the everlasting covenant and flee to Zion, before the overflowing scourge overtake you, for there are those now living upon the earth whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things, which I have spoken, fulfilled (History of the Church, Vol. 1, pp. 315-316).
Such a widespread destruction of the wicked of that generation never occurred.
Temple to be Built in Zion, Missouri
This prophecy comes directly from Doctrine & Covenants Section 84, the introduction of which states:
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.
Mormons teach that this prophecy did not mean that those who were alive at the time were the generation spoken of. However, 25 years later, Heber C. Kimball still believed it. He said
“They are holy places, and they will be held sacred even as Jackson County..” “and I shall yet see the day that I will go back there, with brother Brigham and with thousands and millions of others, and we will go precisely according to the dedication of the Prophet of the living God. Talk to me about my having any dubiety on my mind about these things being fulfilled.—I am just as confident of it as I am that I am called to be a saviour of men, and no power can hinder it.” (President Heber C. Kimball, December 17, 1857 Journal of Discourses, Vol 6. p. 190).
He said that he would be among those who would be there to see the temple built. As President and Prophet of the Church, what he believed should settle the issue.
After 140 years, the Mormon Church itself admitted this was a false prophecy. No temple was ever built on this property and the close-dated, unconditional prophecy never came true. Joseph Fielding Smith finally admitted there was no expectation this prophecy would ever come to pass:
“It may be reasonable to assume that in giving this revelation to the prophet the Lord did have in mind the generation of people who would still be living with the one hundred years from the time of announcement of the revelation, and that they would enjoy the blessings of the temple, and a glorious cloud would rest upon it. It is also reasonable to believe that no soul living in 1832 is still living in mortality on the earth.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol. 4. p. 112)
Of course Mormons have excuses for the prophecies not coming to pass, but the fact that they didn’t come to pass proves that the prophets who made them were not prophets of the true and living God. The Mormons, like the Jehovah Witnesses, try to change the meanings of prophecies when they don’t come to pass because if the prophecies are taken interpreted according to their obvious meanings it would prove that their prophets were not prophets of the Living God. We only need one of them to fail to prove this point. In the last one, even Joseph Fielding Smith admits that it is a false prophecy.
If the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, Joseph Smith, was a false prophet because his prophecies failed, the Church if built upon a pretty shaky foundation. Those Mormons who care about truth and their eternal destiny would do well to take a closer look at their religion. When they do they will find that it has no authority for what it believes except the ever changing opinions of fallible men. Their scriptures disagree with the doctrines taught by their prophets. Their prophets disagree with one another. The prophecies often do not come to pass. Only a fool would use this kind of foundation as a basis for his hope for eternity?