Joseph Smith's False Prophecies

by Matt Slick

Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons, claimed to be a prophet of God.  Was he a prophet of the true and living God?  There are two ways to find out.  First, compare what he says to Scripture and if what the Prophet teaches contradict Scripture, then he is false.  The second way is to examine any prophecies that he has made.  If a single prophecy fails, then the person is a false prophet.

Please note that having several fulfilled prophecies and even a single false prophecy still means that the person is not a true prophet of God. The test for a prophet is not if he gets them most right but all right.  The Bible tells us . . .

"But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 "And you may say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 "When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him." (Deut. 18:20-22).  emphasis added.

We can see that the criteria of a true prophet is not failing when predicting the future.  This is because God, who is outside of time and the creator of the universe, makes no mistakes when he tells us what will happen.  Those prophets whom he has called will not make a mistake and prophesy the future since to do so would mean the person is not speaking on God's behalf.  Therefore, if anyone claims to be a prophet of God and speaks in the name of God and gives a prophecy that fails, then the person is not of God.

Did Joseph Smith make any prophecies?  Yes, he did.  Here are just a few of his false prophecies.

False prophecies of Joseph Smith

  1. History of the Church
    1. Prophecy about Jesus' return within 56 years--"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. He then gave a relation of some of the circumstances attending us while journeying to Zion--our trials, sufferings; and said God had not designed all this for nothing, but He had it in remembrance yet; and it was the will of God that those who went to Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, 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, p. 189). See context.
      1. Jesus did not return within fifty-six years when 1891 arrived.
  2. Doctrine and Covenants
    1. Prophecy that the temple would be built in Missouri within Smith's Generation--"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,i 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 . . . 31 Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord, which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed." (Doctrines and Covenants 84:2-5,31.)  See context.
      1. The Mormons were driven out of Jackson County in 1833.  They were not gathered there in accordance to this prophecy dealing with building the temple.
      2. The prophecy clearly states that the generation present when the prophecy was given would not pass away until the temple was built at the western boundaries of the state of Missouri which is in Independence.  This clearly failed.
    2. All Nations would be involved in the American Civil War--"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; 2 And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place. 3 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," (Doctrine and Covenants 87:1-3).  See context.
      1. This is clearly another false prophecy since all nations did not get involved in the American Civil War.
    3. Prophesy that the earth will tremble and the sun be hidden in "not many days": "For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree," (Doctrine and Covenants 88:87)  See context.
      1. The sun hasn't yet been hidden nor has the moon hidden its face.
      2. This prophecy was given on 12/27/1832.  "Not many days hence"?  Since the writing of this article on 6/22/06, it has been 63,364 days or 173 years, 5 months, 26 days.  I think that 63,364 days is more than "not many days".
        1. For reference to January 1, 2000 it was 61,000 days (even), or 167 years, 5 days.
  3. Pearl of Great Price
    1. Prophecy that Isaiah 11 was about to be fulfilled--"In addition to these, he quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled. He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty-third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament. He said that that prophet was Christ; but the day had not yet come when 'they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,' but soon would come," (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith, History, verse 40).  See context.
      1. Isaiah 11:6-9 says, "And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the kid, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. 7Also the cow and the bear will graze; Their young will lie down together; And the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8And the nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den. 9They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea."
        1. This has not yet been fulfilled.  The wolf is not dwelling with the lamb, the calf and the lion are not together, nor are the cow and bear grazing together.  The lion is not eating straw like an ox.  Nursing children are not playing in the dens of cobras.

 

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