Friday, October 31, 2014

Joseph Smith - Prophet? Part 1

Joseph Fielding Smith stated, "Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith.  He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen.  There is no middle ground.  If Joseph Smith was a deceiver, who willfully attempted to mislead the people, then he should be exposed, his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false, for the doctrines of an impostor cannot be made to harmonize in all particulars with divine truth....  The doctrines of false teachers will not stand the test when tried by the accepted standards of measurement, the scriptures...."

The purpose of this series will be to determine whether Joseph Smith was a prophet of God according to the test of Scripture and, if not, to expose him.

The claim for Joseph Smith's position as prophet is made in D&C 21 (April 6, 1830): 1. Behold, there shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ, 2. Being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof, and to build it up unto the most holy faith.  3. Which church was organized and established in the year of your Lord eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April.  4. Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; 5. For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.  ... 9. For, behold, I will bless all those who labor in my vineyard with a mighty blessing, and they shall believe on his words, which are given him through me by the Comforter... 

Notice that this says Joseph is titled by God as a seer and prophet.  God says the church is to "give heed unto all his words and commandments", that these are to be received as if from God's own mouth, and that the words are given to him through the Comforter.  By Biblical standards Joseph could make no mistake of prophecy or as a seer because he is supposedly provided with what to say directly from God.

Brigham Young stated, "Every intelligent person under the heavens that does not, when informed, acknowledge that Joseph Smith, jun., is a Prophet of God, is in darkness, and is opposed to us and to Jesus and his kingdom on the earth.Journal of Discourses, Vol. 8, p. 223

These statements are very straight-forward: They claim that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.  So does he pass the test of Scripture?  Deuteronomy 18:20-22 makes it plain that the prophet of God can make no false prophecy.  Even the LDS newspaper Evening and Morning Star, Vol.2, p.105, July 1833, stated, "When therefore, any man, no matter who, or how high his standing may be, utters or publishes anything that afterwards proves to be untrue, he is a false prophet."

Statements about prophecies:

Even though D&C 21 says God is directing all his words, Joseph made the statement that, "A prophet is a prophet only when he is acting as such."  (History of the Church, vol. 5, p.265)  Where is the Biblical support for this?  And how would one know when he was not “acting as such”?

In regards to a failed revelation sending Oliver Cowdery and Hiram Page to go to Canada for a man to pay to print the Book of Mormon, Smith said, "Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil.... When a man enquires of the Lord concerning a matter, if he is deceived by his own carnal desires, and is in error, he will receive an answer according to his erring heart, but it will not be a revelation from the Lord."  David Whitmer recorded this on p. 31 of his Address to All Believers in Christ.  Where is the Biblical support for this?  How does this correlate with D&C 21?

Joseph made the following statement on April 7, 1844, as recorded by Willard Richards: "Every man has a right to be a false prophet as well as a true prophet." There is no Biblical support for this claim.

So before we examine Smith’s prophecies, we already see some biblical problems with his claim to be a prophet.  D&C 21 says that God directed ALL Smith’s words, and yet contradicting this prophecy are statements that gave Smith an “out” if the prophecies failed.  This in and of itself should be grounds for dismissing him as a prophet of God.

In my next post I will begin examining various prophecies made by Joseph Smith to see if they did indeed come from God.


shematwater said...

Hello. I thought I would start by making a comment here.

First, you miss represent D&C 21. You claim that it says God is directing all his words, but that is not what it says.

It says "give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them."
In other words, those words which he receives from God, as he receives them, the church is commanded to give heed. If he says anything that he did not receive from God we are under no obligation to give heed to them.

This is exactly what Joseph Smith said when he said a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

“God” says that Joseph Smith will be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, etc. vs.2 say he is inspired by the Holy Spirit (Smith used the archaic KJV “Holy Ghost”). Vs 4 directs Smith’s church to give heed to “all” of Smith’s “words and commandments” because what he is giving the to church he is receiving them from God. And vs 5 says that Smith’s words shall be received as if coming from God.

ALL of Smith’s words. In this passage the only context must be “all.” There is no caveat about words not receive from God, because it says Smith is inspired by the Spirit and all his words and commandments which he gives the church are from God. And the context I noted was as a prophet or seer. IF Smith is prophesying or acting as a seer, then it comes from God.

So where did I misrepresent this D&C?

shematwater said...

"So where did I misrepresent this D&C?"

Right here.
"D&C 21 says that God directed ALL Smith’s words, and yet contradicting this prophecy are statements that gave Smith an “out” if the prophecies failed."

You said these other passages contradict D&C, and they don't. Just like the D&C 21 they give Joseph Smith the right to personal opinion. Thus they do not, in any way, contradict D&C as you claim.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

IF the statement says ALL of Smith's words are inspired, that means even personal opinion should be taken as from God.

BUT NOTICE, I didn't say this was a false prophecy. Notice this whole article is demonstrating that Smith was a prophet. And by being a prophet he could not have "false prophecies" nor could he claim revelations might be from man rather than God (I could just see that claim being made by a Biblical prophet - they'd "rock him to sleep." And where does it say in the BIBLE that a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such? As my question here, how do you know when he is acting or not acting as a prophet? I guess if what he said was in error or didn't come true, then you have the out to say, "Well, he wasn't acting as a prophet."

This article was to prove that Joseph Smith claimed to be a prophet and was accepted as such.