Does It Pass God's 3-Question Test for Truth?
Question #2: Failed Revelations
The second of God's questions for evaluating persons or religions involves prophecies and revelations. If a prophet claims to speak for God but he gives one or more prophecies or revelations that fail, that prophet is a false prophet.
If Joseph Smith or any other Mormon prophet made a false prophecy when speaking for God, then Mormonism is false. If any of the Mormon scriptures (Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, or Pearl of Great Price) contain false revelations, then Mormonism is a false religion. It is not correct to pray about its truthfulness if God's evaluation shows that Mormonism is false.
The Mormon Church is built upon the foundation of Joseph Smith. If Smith was not a true prophet of God, there is no legitimate reason for the existence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormon leaders understand this.
How many failed prophecies does it take to make a false prophet? Just one! Since God is perfect, all revelations He gives through true prophets will always prove true! A true prophet will not speak something in the name of God if it does not truly come from God. Therefore, if a person gives a revelation in the name of God which fails, that person is a false prophet. God explained this in Deuteronomy 18:20-22 (quoted elsewhere).
Mormons often proclaim some fulfilled prophecies which they affirm were given by Joseph Smith. These are promoted as evidence that Smith was a true prophet. However, successful prophecies are not enough by themselves to prove that a person is a true prophet (see Deuteronomy 13:1-5, quoted elsewhere).
In an earlier chapter we learned that Joseph Smith and Mormonism teach a different god than the God of the Bible. That point alone classifies Smith as a false prophet, even if all his revelations were successful. However, Smith gave several prophecies which failed. Following are a few of them.
The Toronto prophecy
One of Smith's false prophecies involved an effort to sell the Book of Mormon copyright in Toronto, Canada. The failure of this revelation caused serious confusion among some of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon. Maybe this contributed to the cause for six of the eleven witnesses withdrawing from the Mormon Church in about 1838. (See the chapter on the Book of Mormon witnesses for more information.)
Joseph Smith and the Mormon Church acknowledged the failure of this prophecy. A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (published by the Mormon Church) documents this failed prophecy as follows.
This one failed prophecy is enough to disqualify Smith and Mormonism. Yet there are other revelations which also failed.
Bethlehem or Jerusalem?
Many people that are familiar with the story of the birth of Jesus know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem was a city located approximately five miles from Jerusalem in the land of Judah (i.e., Judaea). The description of the birth of Jesus and the Bible prophecy of His birth are given in the following Bible quote.
The Book of Mormon missed the birthplace of Jesus by approximately five miles when it said that He would be born at Jerusalem.
Apparently, Mormons have not noticed this error or they do not think a five mile mistake is significant (see the following quote). If the Book of Mormon prophecy was a true revelation from God, it would not have named the wrong city or called the land by the wrong name.
Some Mormons have claimed that Jerusalem was the name of the land and that it contained Bethlehem. However, the name of the land was Judaea (i.e., Judah). Jerusalem and Bethlehem were both cities in the land of Judaea. Bethlehem is about five miles south of Jerusalem. The Book of Mormon missed the location by five miles while Micah (in the Bible) was exactly right (Micah 5:2-5; Matthew 2:1-8). God never misses, not even by five miles.
Smith proclaimed by revelation from God that Zion (the promised land) was in Jackson county, Missouri (USA). He told Mormons that they should settle in that location.
Additionally, Smith prophesied that a temple would be built in Independence, Missouri, at a specified location. He prophesied that this temple would be completed before all the people of that generation died (those living in 1832).
Besides these, Smith also prophesied that the Mormons who moved to Missouri would rejoice there. They would find protection from the extreme troubles coming upon the rest of the people.
At the time when Smith gave these prophecies about Zion, non-Mormons controlled the land. According to Smith, that circumstance would soon change with the redemption of Zion. Smith prophesied that Zion's redemption would take place on September 11, 1836, with its rescue from the control of gentiles (non-Mormons).
In obedience to Smith's prophecies in the name of God, many Mormons began to move to the state of Missouri beginning in July, 1831. Joseph Smith told them that Missouri was the promise land. Several revelations were given by Smith encouraging Mormons to take up residence there. Even though the prophecies about Zion were an encouragement to them, the Mormon settlers soon found that Smith's revelations were wrong.
As the non-Mormons in the state of Missouri began to react against the growing Mormon influence, conflicts began to develop. The Mormon dream of Zion soon collapsed.
Finally, the Mormons were driven out of the state of Missouri. Their hopes for Zion were gone. Several promises made in the name of God were also gone. The god of Mormonism was not able to keep the promises as prophesied by Joseph Smith.
Upon leaving Missouri, the Mormons moved to Nauvoo, Illinois. Eventually, they were driven from there and gathered in Salt Lake City, Utah (beginning in July, 1847). According to Smith's prophecy, Missouri was the divinely chosen gathering place. Therefore, the Mormons gathered in the wrong place when they went to Utah.
In 1831, Joseph Smith claimed that God said the Mormons would be preserved in Missouri. He also prophesied that the Mormons would rejoice together in the land of Missouri. History shows that neither happened. This was supposed to be a promise made by God, one which He could not lie about. What happened? Either the god of Mormonism lied or Joseph Smith was a false prophet. In either case, this alone is enough to prove that Mormonism cannot be what it claims to be.
More than 150 years have passed since Smith prophesied that the wicked would be swept off the face of the land. The "wicked" are still in the land and all people who were alive in 1832 have died. Rather than being protected from the "overflowing scourge," the Saints who fled to Missouri were wiped off the face of that land. This prophecy came to pass exactly opposite from the way Smith predicted. This prophecy proved false!
Temple was not built
More than 150 years have passed since Smith prophesied the temple would be built "... in this generation...." It still has not been built on the designated spot in Independence, Missouri. As late as 1874, Mormons still hoped to return to Missouri to fulfill this prophecy. Despite their hopes, they have been totally unable to bring to pass what Smith claims God promised.
All those living in 1832 are now dead and the prophesied temple is not built. According to Mormon apostle Orson Pratt, this prophecy about the temple is very important. Pratt said,
According to Pratt, both of these promises (forgiveness of sins for Mormon and building the temple) depend upon the belief that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of the living God. Since Smith proved to be a false prophet concerning the building of this temple, his restored gospel must be false also.
The Mormons were driven out of Missouri to Nauvoo, Illinois. Since the United States did not help the Mormons against their persecutors in Missouri, Smith prophesied against the government. He said that if the U.S. government did not correct this wrong, that in just a few years, the government would be totally destroyed.
The wrong was not corrected and the Mormons did not return to their "Zion" in Missouri. Instead, the Mormon were driven out of their new gathering place in Nauvoo, Illinois. They finally settled in Utah after much loss of life and property. More than 150 years later, the U.S. government is bigger than ever.
In the previous sections, there are details of the shameful way the Mormons were driven out of Missouri. The U.S. government did not help them. Later, the Mormons were driven out of Illinois. Again, the government did not help them in their difficulties. Even in Utah, the Mormons had trouble with the U.S. government in what was called the Mormon War (1857-1858).
In 1862, the U.S. Congress passed a law which prohibited the Mormon practice of their revelation about polygamy (i.e., being married to more than one wife at the same time). The conflicts between the Mormons and the U.S. government continued to increase until, finally, the Mormon prophet was forced to officially prohibit polygamy.
Rather than correcting the wrongs committed against the Mormons in Missouri, the government did even more "wrongs" by forcing the Mormons to give up their doctrine of polygamy. Joseph Smith's revelations failed again. Concerning the loss of their right to practice polygamy, the following quote of Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt is informative.
According to Pratt, if Mormons do not have a divine right to marry two or more wives (at the same time) in this world, then Mormon temple marriages are worthless.
The white prophecy
The Book of Mormon contains another prophecy that failed. This prophecy said that those who were cursed with dark skin would have their curse removed and receive white skin if they accepted the Mormon gospel.
To understand the significance of this prophecy, some background information from the Book of Mormon story is required. According to the Book of Mormon, both Nephites and Lamanites originally had white skin and they were delightful. The Nephites were godly, but the Lamanites became ungodly. As a result of their ungodliness, God took away the white skin and delightful nature of the Lamanites and gave them a black skin, making them a "dark and loathsome" people.
The stated purpose of this curse was to prevent the Lamanites from enticing the godly Nephites into ungodly ways. Theoretically, the white and delightful Nephites would be repulsed by the dark and loathsome appearance of the Lamanites. In the event a Lamanite should turn back to God, the Book of Mormon says that God would remove the curse from him (see 2 Nephi 5:22, 2 Nephi 30:6, and Alma 23:15-18).
The Book of Mormon contains at least one instance where this curse was removed from certain Lamanites. When the curse was lifted, their skin returned to a white color.
According to the teachings of Mormonism, the American Indians are descendants of the Lamanites mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Therefore, according to the Book of Mormon, American Indians who become Mormons should receive white skin before long.
This prophecy demanded a change. Since the skin of Indians (and others) who converted to Mormonism refused to turn white, the passage was changed to read pure in the 1981 version of the Book of Mormon.
Mormon explanation for the change
Mormons have claimed that the same word has been translated as pure and white in the Bible. By this, they attempt to justify changing the word in the Book of Mormon. If it is true that white and pure were translated from the same word in the Bible, it still does not excuse or explain the change in the Book of Mormon. Mormonism claims that God gave Joseph Smith the correct translation for the Book of Mormon. By Mormon claims, God is the one who said it should read white.
Mormons have also claimed that the word white in this quote did not mean that their skin would literally turn white. They say people have just taken this and twisted it to try to prove the Mormon Church wrong. They claim the 1981 change from white to pure was simply to make the words agree more with the original intent of the writings.
According to 3 Nephi 2:14-16 in the Book of Mormon, the skin of Lamanites who joined the Nephites turned white when the curse of God was removed from them (quoted above). This demonstrates that the original intent of the writings in 2 Nephi 30:6 was that their skin would lose its dark color and become a white color. (See also Alma 23:15-18.)
In the early Bible days, a person was killed by stoning if he made a false prophecy in the name of God. One failed prophecy was enough to expose him as a false prophet. God is always accurate. Therefore, anything God tells His prophets is always completely accurate. Anything less than perfect accuracy is not from God.
This does not mean that a true prophet has to be completely accurate in everything he says or does. Perfect accuracy is required only when the person claims to be speaking for God. As the Bible instructs us, we expect Joseph Smith and Mormonism to be perfectly accurate every time they claim to speak for God. Since Smith and Mormon scriptures are guilty of false prophesying and misrepresenting the truth, then the whole of Mormonism must be rejected since it cannot be from God.
Table of Contents
Mormonism, Does It Pass God's 3-Question Test for Truth?
Attention: The material in this book attempts to accurately describe official Mormon doctrine in certain important areas. Therefore, quotes are included from several authorized sources of Mormon doctrine. However, this book does not claim to be authorized by or endorsed by the Mormon Church.
Copyrights of quoted Mormon materials belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church) or the copyrights are under their control.
Quotations from the Bible are from the King James Version.
This book by Sonny Bowman is used by permission. If you have questions or comments, please check the Frequently Asked Questions page or contact Sonny Bowman or check the links to Related Sites.
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