When I was 18 years of age, late in the year 1970, I was deceptively introduced by a persuasive high school German teacher to the devilishly insipid specter of a long-dead 19th Joseph Daher Century man, Joseph Smith, Jr., that, today, continues to loom over the minds of millions of God’s children as a cult of personality in the guise of what they believe to be a modern day prophet proclaimed to be a man in the likeness of Moses. That’s what I was told, that Joseph Smith was a prophet “like unto Moses,” having known nothing at all about him or the organization that he created in April of 1830, the Mormon Church, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A question was asked of me shortly after I was visited by two full-time Mormon missionaries from Utah in Tyler, Texas. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a living prophet to lead and guide humanity in this most confusing world?” The senior of the two missionaries, named Burgess, had asked me this, and I had replied that, “yes, it would be wonderful indeed if God had called a prophet to guide his people here on the earth.” So that response to their question began my processive indoctrination into the Mormon Church, as an impressionable young man totally ignorant of the scriptures revealed in the Holy Bible about prophets, which the Mormons claimed to accept and believe as the word of God.
One thing led to another during the early fall of 1970, as the two aforementioned Mormon missionaries met with me once a week, for around six weeks, and told me quite a few things about Joseph Smith and his “Book of Mormon,” that I, for some stupid reason, fully accepted at that time without questioning their validity in accordance with the Holy Bible. Though I had read the Bible during my youth, and had memorized quite a few verses in it, I hadn’t really understood what I’d read; that is, the true gospel, or good news, of Jesus as revealed by the Savior and his Apostles in the New Testament, and prophesied by holy prophets in the Old Testament. I was totally ignorant about the Old Testament record, which made it easy for these unscrupulously persuasive missionaries to lead me around by the nose to believe in their nonsense and to do their bidding. In fact, the only reading that I was required to do in order for me to “obtain” a testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet, and of the Book of Mormon as the word of God, was selected chapters and verses from the Book of Mormon. There was no required reading from the Bible. During the periods of time in which the two missionaries met with me, they used a flannel board and plastic figures as a means of embellishing in my mind their six canned presentations that they called discussions. At the beginning of each of these presentations, one of the missionaries always asked me whether I had prayed about what they had told me about Joseph Smith and Book of Mormon, and received a burning in my bosom as to the truthfulness of those things. Not having known at that time the genuine historical truth about Joseph Smith and his Book of Mormon, that Smith was a charismatic charlatan and the book a 19th Century conspiratorial product of Smith’s, and his third cousin, Oliver Cowdery’s vivid imaginations, I was completely taken-in and duped by those missionaries, and was baptized into the Mormon Church in October of 1970. Hence, allow me to present in this recounting what I would have said, and how I would have responded, to those Mormon missionaries and the significant other Mormon men and women who had entered my life, had I known what I learned later, and now know, about the Holy Bible and about the Lord Jesus Christ.
As to first question that I was asked, about the need for a living prophet in the early-19th Century, I would have simply said that everything that was, and is, needed for a full and complete knowledge of Jesus Christ and his glorious gospel, is within the confines of the Holy Bible; and that if any man claimed to be a prophet, or a teacher, in the present age, he wouldn’t say anything but what has already been stated in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible by holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Every scripture in the Bible was given by holy men of God for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness, that a person seeking to follow Jesus may be thoroughly furnished in every way. There was a distinct reason why those Mormon missionaries hadn’t encouraged me to read the Bible, but only the Book of Mormon. Had I read, and understood, the Old Testament, I would have realized that the God of the Old Testament, the ante-mortal Jesus, had established some very stringent requirements for a being one of his true holy prophets, and that Joseph Smith hadn’t fulfilled “any” of those exacting prerequisites. You see, there is another extra-biblical book that the Mormons accept as the word of God, which is filled with the evidences that conclusively prove that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. That book is called the “Doctrine and Covenants,” and is hardly mentioned by Mormon missionaries during those six canned presentations, called discussions, which prelude an acceptance or rejection of Mormon doctrine by struggling Christians. In Jeremiah 14:14 (KJV), the prophet writes, “Then the Lord said unto me, the prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.” This was written over 500 years after Moses had already written in Deut. 18:18, “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” Furthermore, the Lord continues speaking in Deut. 18:20-22 (NIV), “If any prophet presumptuously speaks a word in my name that I did not command him to speak or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. However, you may say in your heart: How will we know that Jehovah has not spoken the word? When the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word is not fulfilled or does not come true, then Jehovah did not speak that word. The prophet spoke it presumptuously. You should not fear him.” What does this mean? I think the meaning of the words is pretty darn clear. If a man claims to be a prophet, like unto Moses, and makes a prediction, or prophecy, about what is to come to pass, and if what he says, in every detail, does not come to pass, the man is a false prophet, and, if he were living anciently, should be put to death. The Old Testament is filled with examples of true prophecy given by true holy prophets of God. One of these examples is the prophecy given by Isaiah, in Isaiah 37:22-35(NIV), “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: “He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor build a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return; and he shall not come into this city,” says the Lord. “For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.” Isaiah had prophesied that the Assyrian Army, under the King of Assyria, would not shoot “one” arrow into the city. Not one arrow, he said! Well, had one measly arrow been discharged from the bow of one anxious Assyrian soldier into the city, Isaiah would have delivered a false prophecy in God’s name. But the record reveals that not one arrow was shot into the city, which made the prophecy true and faithful to God. In fact, every prophecy delivered by God’s true anointed prophets was true and faithful to the Lord God, and turned out just like the prophet had they would.
At this juncture, the prophecies of Joseph Smith, Jr. may be examined and understood for what they were, predictions made by an uninspired man calling himself a prophet. Remember, if a man, presuming to be a prophet, predicts anything to come to pass in God’s name, every detail of the prediction must come to pass. For instance, If I claimed to be an anointed prophet of God and said, in the name of God, that on Friday May 12, 2017, at 4:00 in the afternoon in Washington, DC, that it would begin raining, and that it would rain steadily until 9:00 and immediately stop, after which an earthquake would be felt throughout the world. Well, let’s say that on that Friday it began raining at 3:00 in the afternoon and rained steadily until 6:00 and immediately stopped, and no earthquake followed. Was my prophecy fulfilled in every detail? No, it wasn’t! It started raining on that Friday, but the time detail was not fulfilled, nor was the earthquake fulfilled. Therefore, I delivered a false prophecy in the name of God, for which I could have been put to death if I had been living during the time of Isaiah. That was the penalty paid by false prophets. Now let’s look at one of the several prophecies delivered by Joseph Smith. Section 87 of the infamous book, the Doctrine and Covenants, considered by Mormons to be their source of doctrine and scripture, is supposedly a prophecy of the American Civil War delivered by Joseph Smith on December 25, 1832. Let’s examine exactly what Smith said would happen in Doctrine and Covenants 87:
“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 (During the American Civil War, war was not poured out on all nations. From 1861 to 1865, the rest of the world was pretty much at peace). 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 (The Confederacy did not call upon any other nation(s) than Great Britain for support); and then war shall be poured out upon all nations (Again, war was not poured out to any on “all” nations during the period of time, 1861-65). And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war (The slaves that rose up against their masters were actually very few, and these slaves were not disciplined for war. In most cases they were killed). 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 (This did not occur at all). 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 (There were no famines, earthquakes, plagues, or fierce thunder and lightning from heaven reported any place in the world from 1861-65); That the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies. Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.”
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