Modern Prophets Wear Suits

The LDS book Gospel Principles includes a chapter titled “Prophets of God.” In discussing what a prophet is, the book also considers the varied backgrounds from which a prophet may come. He might be young, old, educated, unschooled, a professional, or a laborer. Furthermore, the book points out,

“Ancient prophets wore tunics and carried staffs. Modern prophets wear suits and carry briefcases. What, then, identifies a true prophet?” (Gospel Principles [2009], 39)

This is a great question, one Christians are forever trying to get Mormons to think about, because Jesus warned us to beware of false prophets, even if they dress in wool ( Matthew 7:15).

The Bible often portrays Jesus as a Shepherd and His followers as sheep. When Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:15 that false prophets will come in sheep’s clothing, He’s telling us they will look like His followers: they will look like Christians. The apostle Paul also warned that false apostles and deceitful workers “disguise themselves” as apostles of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:13). Paul told Timothy: “But realize this, that in the last days…[there will be men] holding to a form of godliness” who do not belong to God (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

The Greek word translated “beware” in the Scripture actually means more than just “be careful.” It means “to turn one’s mind or attention to a thing by being on guard against it.” Therefore, Jesus is directing us to pay attention to what lies below the surface in order to guard against being deceived.

False apostles, dressing up in fine clothes while presenting sweet demeanors, will pretend to be true apostles, maintaining a façade of godliness and good works. Nevertheless, Jesus said they are dangerous and will usher their followers down the broad way that leads to destruction.

So, whether dressed in suits and carrying briefcases, or wearing tunics and carrying staffs, we need to identify whether someone claiming to speak for God is–or is not–a true prophet.

Gospel Principles asks what identifies a true prophet and answers:

“A true prophet is always chosen by God and called through proper priesthood authority (see Articles of Faith 1:5).”

These points may be requirements for a Mormon prophet, but they are not identifiers that would allow someone to ascertain whether a person is a true prophet; for anyone can claim he’s been chosen by God, and anyone can claim he’s been called through an assumed “proper priesthood authority.”

The Bible provides a pretty good list of identifiers for false prophets. Christian apologists Norman L. Geisler and Ron Rhodes explain,

There are many tests for a false prophet…Put in question form, the tests are:

  1. Do they ever give false prophecies? Do 100 percent of their predictions of future events come true? (Deut. 18:21-22)
  2. Do they contact departed spirits? (Deut. 18:11)
  3. Do they use means of divination? (Deut. 18:11)
  4. Do they involve mediums or witches? (Deut. 18:1)
  5. Do they follow false gods or idols? (Exod. 20:3-4; Deut. 13:1-3)
  6. Do they deny the deity of Jesus Christ? (Col. 2:8-9)
  7. Do they deny the humanity of Jesus Christ? (1 John 4:1-2)
  8. Do their prophecies shift the focus off Jesus Christ? (Rev. 19:10)
  9. Do they advocate abstaining from certain foods and meats for spiritual reasons? (1 Tim. 4:3-4)
  10. Do they deprecate or deny the need for marriage? (1 Tim. 4:3)
  11. Do they promote immorality? (Jude 4, 7)
  12. Do they encourage legalistic self-denial? (Col. 2:16-23)

A positive answer to any of the above questions is an indication that the prophet is not speaking for God. God does not speak or encourage anything that is contrary to his character and commands as recorded in Scripture. And most certainly the God of truth does not give false prophecies (Deut. 18:21-23).

If we look beneath the surface of suits and briefcases while asking the biblical identifying questions, how do LDS prophets fare? (You might start with a look at Joseph Smith here.)


Comments within the parameters of 1 Peter 3:15 are invited.


About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in LDS Church, Mormon Leaders and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

197 Responses to Modern Prophets Wear Suits

  1. setfree says:

    i know exactly where you’re coming from 🙁

  2. Ralph says:

    This blog is a very cunning trap. For us LDS to properly show how we can follow our prophets and claim them to be true despite some of the un-fulfilled prophecies, we will need to show a precedence from the Bible, as the ‘rules’ above come from the Bible.

    BUT if we do this then everyone here will then start raving on how we are attacking the Bible and we do not hold it as authoritative, etc proving once again that we are not the true church.

    Well who cares – if there is a precedence in the Bible I am not attacking it I am using it to prove my point. There are many sites on the internet showing many prophecies that have failed to come to pass. Here is one from a former evangelical minister who was trying to find an answer to a question one of his deacons asked him –

    On the Sceptics annotated Bible there is a whole page dedicated to prophecies that have not been fulfilled. While I disagree with their interpretation of most, some cannot be ignored.

    Genesis 4:12 As a punishment for killing Abel, God says Cain will be “a fugitive and a vagabond.” Yet in just a few verses (4:16-17) Cain will settle down, marry, have a son, and build a city. This is not the activity one would expect from a fugitive and a vagabond.

    Genesis 46:3 God promises to bring Jacob safely back from Egypt, but Jacob dies in Egypt (Gen.47:28-29)

    Exodus 33:2 “I will drive out the Canaanite.” God promises to cast out many nations including the Canaanites and the Jebusites. But he was unable to fulfill his promise. (See Joshua 15:63, 16:10, 17.12-13: Judges 1:21, 27, 3:1-5)

    Joshua 8:28 This verse says that Ai was never again occupied after it was destroyed by Joshua. But Nehemiah (7:32) lists it among the cities of Israel at the time of the Babylonian captivity.

    Ezekiel said Egypt would be made an uninhabited wasteland for forty years (29:10-14), and Nebuchadrezzar would plunder it (29:19-20). Neither happened.

  3. Ralph says:

    Since the ‘established’ rules above from the Bible indicate a 100 percent accuracy rate, then just one of these failed prophecies have proven a couple of the Biblical prophets to be false prophets. But everyone here believes in them.

    So I have no problems with there being some unfulfilled or failed prophecies from our prophets as I know God works in ways that we do not understand and that many prophecies outcomes are influnced by what the people do once the prophecy is received. For example Jonah and Ninevah – he was told by God to prophecy and let them know the city was going to be destroyed. There was no ‘escape’ clause given in the prophecy that if the people repented it would be spared. However, that is what happened – the people repented and the city was spared. Jonah points out that this ‘proved’ him as a false prophet, but God reproved him for his complaint.

    So is there Biblical precedence? Yes there is. Can I believe that my prophets are called of God even though there are a few failed or unfulfilled prophecies? Yes.

  4. Ralph,

    First off, Peter was not a pope or a prophet. He was one among eleven (ten if you do not count Judas) apostles who’s authority was traceable to Jesus himself. The other apostles’ authority did not flow through Peter.

    Second, do you relieve that which is in the skeptics annotated Bible or are you just throwing it out there? If scripture can fail, or be inaccurate, then how bad does it have get before we drop kick the entire book? Do we keep it around no matter what? Does the same apply for prophets themselves? If 100% prophetic accuracy is asking too much, then what percentage is the make or break point?

  5. Andy Watson says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I’ve been gone for a while because I’m involved in some other projects right now so I won’t be able to stay with you for the duration here on this thread. I was informed about Sharon’s great article here and was wondering if I could ask a favor/request of our LDS readers/posters:

    Would you please inform me of any LDS apostle or prophet currently or in the past that has fulfilled the criteria stated in 2 Corinthians 12:12? The Apostle Paul and the others proved their credentials as an Apostle of the real Lord Jesus Christ. I know of no LDS apostle or prophet that has done this in the past or currently.

    What I see are old men who left banking, law and medical practices, science and airline pilot positions and have now put on expensive suits, artificial teeth that have been whitened, hair plugs and facial make up that read talks prepared for them by committees in Salt Lake City. I don’t see any LDS leadership fulfilling and proving their credentials as an apostle or prophet as the real apostles did in the New Testament or the real prohets did in the Old Testament. If they did…well, then I’d be ready to start listening to what they had to say…maybe.

    If 2 Corinthians 12:12 is being demonstrated in Salt Lake City please contact me at [email protected] so I can take some time off from work to go up there and see it with my own eyes. Thank you!

  6. falcon says:

    The Mormon church has seen fit to down grade the credentials to be considered a prophet. Up to a while ago, the faithful were led to believe that the boys who sit in the big buildings in SLC had “seen” Jesus. That’s my understanding. The claim was that they had a personal revelation of Christ not in a faith way but in an actual way.
    These Mormon prophets, past and present, are bad dudes. Smith hoodwinked a whole lot of people with his “seeing” which was a form of second sight vision common in the occult. Mormons use zero discernment and accept any form of “spiritual” or supernatural occurrence as proof positive that the Smith myth is the real deal. What foolish people these Mormons are. Caught in a trap of their own emotions, they let their desires to be gods rule their lives. Their prophets are false and their scripture is false and worst of all, their god is false. What a tangled web of deceit and false hope. Having bought into pseudo-spiritual experiences, Mormons have been seduced into a poor religious counterfeit the equivalent of temporary good tasting but lacking in nourishment; spiritual junk food.

  7. mobaby says:


    I will try to answer some of your questions, being equipped with a study Bible, having never been to Seminary:

    1) Genesis 4:12 – in verse 4:16 it says Cain went away from the presence of the Lord. A fugitive from God. He left the area he was living. A fugitive from those who know him. Then building a city, Cain challenges the supremacy of God. He rejects God’s judgment by trying to build a place of comfort – and his children learn from his unfaithfulness and continue in his violence. He rejects God’s protection that was offered and rebels.

    2) Genesis 46:3 – says Jacob eyes will be closed by his son Joseph – meaning he will die with Joseph. Check. Jacob’s descendants did come out of Egypt – could this be what the Scripture is referring to in “you” and why he references being made into a great nation? Jacob’s grave was brought with them out of Egypt as well.

    3) Exodus 33:2 – Scripture is clear on driving out the people in the promised land – Israel did not obey, this did not happen to COMPLETENESS. Did this happen as God’s people were faithful? – yes. Was it complete? – no. This did happen.

    4) Joshua 8:28 – I am not sure this is prophetic. The writer is looking back and saying Ai was made a heap forever as it is “to this day.” When this was written I suspect the Ai was not inhabited and was a heap. Is this verse saying it will never be inhabited? Maybe. If it was never to be inhabited, is the Ai referred to in Nehemiah 7:32 the same Ai. Just as the Bible foretold the destruction of Tyre to never be rebuilt – this is true, it was never rebuilt – but there is a Tyre in a different location – not the same city. (I haven’t checked, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a Tyre Texas – probably near Paris or Palestine Texas!)

    Those are my answers right now to those Scripture questions – I could research more and see if my answers jive with Biblical studies and research.

    Isn’t it great we can examine historical evidence?

  8. falcon says:

    So what are some prophetic errors?
    1. Lack of accountability for prophecies that do not come true.
    2. The attempt to establish doctrine or practice by revelation alone, a part form clear Biblical support.
    3. Dogmatic assertions in delivery of prophetic words.
    4. The use of “prophecy” for controlling purposes.
    5. Manifesting an attitude of superiority through the possession of a “secret” body of information.
    The Mormon prophets are polluted wells of deceit; their prophecies emanating from their own imaginations. Jude called such men “hidden reefs”, “clouds without water carried along by winds”, “autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted”, “wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam”, “wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever”. Their is no shame with these false prophets because their deception is so deep that they have no ability to feel shame for their part in their wholesale rejection of God. Driven by pride and desire, these false prophets profane the Holy Name of God in their blindness.

  9. Jim said,

    Just look at Aaron who takes every opportunity to claim we believe God was a sinner.

    Talking about it like that reveals a still-persistent deep misunderstanding of the project. I am not asking Mormons if they believe God was a sinner. I am asking Mormons if they believe God was perhaps once a sinner. I am essentially asking if they are leaving the door open in their mind to the historical possibility. Only about 1/3rd of the Mormons I talk to about this issue (off and on camera) resort to the royal line of sinless savior-Gods.

    Implying that I don’t account for the royal line theory, or that I am crassly saying (without qualification) Mormons believe God was a sinner only shows me one has yet to take a serious look at the content at

    Please take another look, Jim.



  10. grindael says:

    Hi Ralph,

    I’m not an OT scholar, but I’ll take a crack at your scriptures.

    16 So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

    17 Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. (NIV)

    This gave me pause, but I don’t see any real problems with it. Did Cain settle down and live the rest of his life there? What is the full extent of God’s ‘curse’ on Cain? Was Cain later driven out? Does it say that Cain would be a ‘fugitive’ like the TV show, pursued by MIB’s every second of his life? There is simply not enough info to judge. It did remind me of an interesting tidbit from Mormon History though, & I’d like to share it. In 1836 David Patton claimed to have seen Cain wandering around in Tennessee. (I guess he never really strayed too far from the ‘supposed’ Garden of Eden):

    “As I was riding along the road on my mule, I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me. He walked along beside me for about two miles. His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark. I asked him where he dwelt, and he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men. About the time he expressed himself thus, I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he immediately departed out of my sight. Life of David W. Patten, the First Apostolic Martyr p. 50

    Jacob was told by God not to be afraid to go to Egypt, that He would bring him back again:

  11. grindael says:

    3 “I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.” (NIV)

    Where is the ‘safely’ part of your ‘prophecy’. Jacobs bones were returned with Moses were they not? In fact it shows fulfillment in two ways: Jacob WAS made a great nation there, & Joseph’s hand did ‘close his eyes.

    God makes a promise & CAN fulfill it. The question is why was it NOT fulfilled? Not that God COULD NOT do it. The answer is in Judges:

    They HAD the opportunity to Drive them out in Fulfillment of God’s promise, but THEY chose not to, instead for their own convienence, used them as slaves:

    “When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but never drove them out completely”. Matthew Henry puts it this way:

    “The people of Israel were very careless of their duty and interest. Owing to slothfulness and cowardice, they would not be at the pains to complete their conquests. It was also owing to their covetousness: they were willing to let the Canaanites live among them, that they might make advantage of them. They had not the dread and detestation of idolatry they ought to have had. The same unbelief that kept their fathers forty years out of Canaan, kept them now out of the full possession of it. Distrust of the power and promise of God deprived them of advantages, and brought them into troubles. Thus many a believer who begins well is hindered. His graces languish, his lusts revive, Satan plies him with suitable temptations, the world recovers its hold; he brings guilt into his conscience, anguish into his heart, discredit on his character, and reproach on the gospel. Though he may have sharp rebukes, and be so recovered that he does not perish, yet he will have deeply to lament his folly through his remaining days;

  12. grindael says:

    and upon his dying bed to mourn over the opportunities of glorifying God & serving the church he has lost. We can have no fellowship with the enemies of God within us or around us, but to our hurt; therefore our only wisdom is to maintain unceasing war against them.”

    Mormons claim this in relation to the ‘failed prophecies’ about Zion but there are problems with Smith’s prophecies:

    ”Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power; Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel.” – D&C 103

    ”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, & 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, & 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). Italics & emplasis mine.

  13. grindael says:

    Apologists say the Civil War fulfilled this prophecy see: but that is NOT what it says. It says that “pestilence, hail, famine & earthquake will sweep this generation from off the face of the land… to open and prepare the way for the return of the ten tribes.” NOT the Civil War. There is no evidence any of this happened & all have died from that generation. The Israelites disobeyed God by not driving out the Canaanites, while the Mormons claimed to be doing everything God asked them to and it still did not come to pass.

    There is archeological confirmation for the destruction of AI, see: [another kudo for Biblical affirmation] and after reading the scripture:

    So Joshua burned Ai and made it forever a heap of ruins, as it is to this day.

    I have to question this as a ‘prophecy’. It hinges on the word forever. The Hebrew word olam means in the far distance. When looking off in the far distance it is difficult to make out any details and what is beyond that horizon cannot be seen. This concept is the olam. The word olam is also used for time for the distant past or the distant future as a time that is difficult to know or perceive. This word is frequently translated as eternity or forever but in the English language it is misunderstood to mean a continual span of time that never ends. In the Hebrew mind it is simply what is at or beyond the horizon, a very distant time.

  14. grindael says:

    Yes Ralph, there are problems with the Bible. But we take those in the light of it’s ancient historical contexts, the translation into different languages & the amount of information given. On the other hand, Smith gives specifics and details & is speaking in plain English. There is no ambiguity there. You do bring up excellent points though, but I don’t think there is any ‘cunningness’ involved with this. With modern tools, men have solved many of the translation problems of the Bible, found it to be an accurate & reliable historical record & proven archeologically sound. But Mormons still cling to the ‘as far as it is translated correctly’ line of thought, which might have been a valid point in 1830, but is far from true in these times. But thanks for putting me down this road, I learned an awful lot & it only re-affirms my faith in the God of the Bible & it’s authenticity.

    Hi Falcon, sure missed you. Check out my comment on this thread, Feb. 17th, (almost to the end):

  15. Olsen Jim wrote

    There are plenty who will misrepresent the church to the greatest degree possible.

    …are you referring to the current generation of SLC Prophets? Like Hinckley, they do a better job of misrepresenting the Mormonism of Joseph Smith than the likes of Grindael.

    OJ, how can you persuade us that you are not defending an apostate church?

  16. Ralph posted a short list of unfulfilled prophecies from the Bible. Here’s my reaction to them…

    Gen 4:12 God tells Cain that he would be a “restless wanderer”, yet Cain founds a city. Robert Alter comments that this is a “…famous inconsistency. Either the writer was assuming knowledge of some other account of human origins involving more than a single founding family, or because the schematic simplicity of the single nuclear-family plot impeded narrative development after Cain’s banishment, he decided not to bother with consistency”.

    I would add that the idea of banishment to anywhere outside “the Land” might have been regarded as a “wandering homelessness”, even if it did involve settling in a city somewhere (compare the Exiles in Egypt and Babylon). What I mean is, the focus is not so much on what Cain was sent to, but where he was sent from. Cain got a city, but was it truly a “home”?

    (Incidentally, Alter comments on Gen 4:15 that “It is of course a mark of protection, not a stigma as the English idiom ‘Mark of Cain’ suggests”. What a pity Joseph Smith didn’t have “black skin” at Carthage Jail.)

    Gen 46:3 When God addresses the “you” in Joseph, He is addressing Joseph’s legacy.

    Ex 33:2 The list of those to be driven out also includes the Jebusites and Hittites, yet Araunah was a Jebusite and Uriah was a Hittite living in Jerusalem under David. We could infer that God had intended to drive out these peoples, but the Israelites were not thorough enough (per grindael), but that brings its own theological problems (can God’s plans be thwarted?). Or, we could take a redactionist route, which would suggest that these lists were finalised around the time of the Babylonian exile with the message “we’ve got these problems now because our forefathers weren’t faithful”.

    Josh 8:28 Ai has a history of habitation and abandonment (from extra-Biblical sources). The “to this day” qualification is illuminating in several respects.


  17. …ctd…

    At some stages in its history, Ai might have been occupied as an “uninhabited” garrison.

    I have posted before that I am intrigued to find a fit between extra-Biblical evidence and the Biblical narrative. Some things in the Bible “fit” better than others, and I am quite willing to challenge to our conventional explanations of certain events and scenarios (for example, did the 2 million or so escapees from Egypt stay together in Sinai, or did they disperse and coalesce at various times in their travels?). However, I hasten to add that the extra-Biblical evidence needs as much scrutiny and evaluation as the Biblical narrative. Also, I don’t think the redacters were so stupid to have allowed glaring inconsistencies to have remained without either reconciling the autographs in their own minds, or making the necessary corrections.

    Upon reflection, I don’t think there any easy answer to the riddles that the Bible poses. What is certain, however, is that the Bible exists today, and we have a fair idea of how it came into being (though its BC history is murkier than its AD history). Also (importantly) we have ample evidence in the NT about how the first Christians perceived and understood the stories of the OT (here’s my “Christian revelation” again).

    What grates on me are the likes of Joseph Smith who did produce a “magic bullet” answer. He just said it was incorrectly translated but, Hallelujah, he had been supernaturally blessed with the gift of translation so he could fix it all up. Even so, what he produced is exactly what I would expect from an 1830’s teenager with a Messiah complex (and active hormones). I see the same myopic approach in the Skeptics Bible, maybe they’re reacting against the myopia that they were subjected to.

    Anyway, none of this supports the Mormon agenda. If we take a broader approach to scripture, then we inevitably refute Joseph Smith’s understanding of what it means to be a prophet. Mormons cannot have it both ways.

    As for me, I believe there can be prophets today; they just have to support the Christian revelation to be called Christian Prophets. Joseph Smith didn’t, at just about every level I can think of.

  18. falcon says:

    These false prophets, these wolves, need to be exposed, treated harshly and run off. A wolf won’t stop eating sheep if the shepherd is nice to it, even if he feeds it. Wolves have instincts and they do what wolves do. False prophets ravish their followers. They lead them not beside still waters but they plunge them into fast flowing, unsafe rapids with the sharp rocks of falsehood that rip and shred their spiritual flesh. The degree to which the Mormons malign the Bible, the only real spiritual life preserver available to keep the believer afloat, tells us volumes about the character, nature and spirit by which they operate.
    Our friend Ralph has only one defense of Mormonism or the BoM and that is to try to find something wrong with Christianity or the Bible. Some how in his twisted logic, this proves Mormonism is true. Joseph Smith was a false prophet who was driven by a huge ego that led him to deny god and create his own “scripture” and eventually his own god. He was a wolf and the Mormon “prophets” that follow him are no better. Smith was a major manipulator who used his experiences in the folk magic occult to fool and deceive those that were/are willing to be deceived.

  19. falcon says:

    And so why do Mormons follow Smith and the prophets that follow him. Well it’s because it makes them feel good to do so and to a Mormon, if something feels good it must be true! In the 60s we use to say that if “something feels good, do it!” Of course this philosophy leads to hedonism and eventual destruction. So with evidence to the contrary, Mormons continue to follow their false prophet Smith and the miniprophets that follow him in a sort of emotional free flow that feels good and leads to a type of spiritual hedonism.
    It’s instructive to note that the Mormon church is kept quite busy cleaning-up after and walking back a whole lot of the nonsense that has emanated from these prophet wolves, in particular Brigham Young. They have neutered this walking talking prophetic disaster to the point where his legacy is totally impotent. About the only thing that BY ever conceived of that survived in some form were the truckload of kids he produced as a result of his unlawful sexual relations with his multiple wives.
    The best treatment program a hooked Mormon could enter to escape the delusion of Mormonism, would be a consistent study of the Bible using solid Biblical interpretive principles. Now it might not feel good at first but neither does strenuous exercise but the long term benefits will lead to a healthy spiritual mindset as well as eternal life.

  20. falcon says:

    False prophets could not thrive without the willing participation of eager followers. There is something emotionally satisfying about thinking that you have secret, proprietary information. The old 60s tune “The In Crowd” goes a long way to explain why folks follow these huckster prophets. The lyrics they sing are, “I’m in with the in crowd, I go where the in crowd goes. When you’re in with the in crowd, you know what the in crowd knows.” There’s nothing like thinking you’re special. The emotional buzz is intoxicating.
    And when it comes to the foundational beliefs that these false prophets proclaim, the more obscure and convoluted the subject, the more profound the followers find it to be. As Christians we have a kind of “are you nuts?” reaction to the Mormon prophets. This just bolsters the true believers because they then believe that they are super spiritual because they understand and accept these deep “truths”. It’s not easy to give-up something that you think is special and makes you feel good.
    Facts are stubborn things and the facts tell us that Joseph Smith was a false prophet but a brilliant snake oil salesman.
    In the Book of Romans, in talking about God, the apostle Paul could have been addressing these false Mormon prophets when he writes: “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man…..” (Romans 1:21-23)
    Paul says that man is without excuse. The Mormons have the correct information about God before them, but they reject it. There is no excuse for this and it is their hardened unrepentant hearts that keeps them from acknowledging God. They have chosen to worship a god of their own making, who like them is a corruptible man with no power because he doesn’t exist.

  21. Martin,

    “what he produced is exactly what I would expect from an 1830’s teenager with a Messiah complex”

    I am sure that Mormons will take issue with my take on the following. I think it is about as clear as it gets that the “scriptures” that J. Smith brought forth not only bare the mark of the 19th century, American frontier but are the product of it. The doctrinal issues addressed in the BoM seem straight out of Smith’s day. Indeed, Mormonism (at least early on) could be considered an anti-Calvinist, Cambellite sect.

    The Book of Ether contains Christian concepts that more than severely strain its credibility.
    The entire BoM contains uniquely King James concepts and mistakes. The BoA seems to embrace a Newtonian view of the universe. The JST commits some basic errors of its own that I have documented here before and Sharon has here:

    I do not think that J. Smith had other generations, and other people groups, in mind when he wrote his scriptures. I am sure to him the idea of reformed Egyptian speaking/writing, Jewish native Americans with Greek names was not a problem but it is for me and many others (and the Nephites were “native Americans”, small “n”, even though they are not supposed to be the primary ancestors of today’s American Indians).

  22. Olsen Jim says:


    You ask “OJ, how can you persuade us that you are not defending an apostate church?”

    I believe that is beyond my ability and responsibility. No amount of scientific, historical, or archeological evidence can convince a person who does not want to believe. The Holy Ghost is the great converter and teacher.

    You also state: “I think it is about as clear as it gets that the “scriptures” that J. Smith brought forth not only bare the mark of the 19th century, American frontier but are the product of it.”

    Such is a massive underestimation of the text of the BOM. I am sure the textual examples pointed out by BOM critics with which you are familiar appear as you claim. But the BOM is infinately more complicated, nuanced, and consistent with an ancient origin than a brief glance will reveal.

    Consider Zenos’ allegory found in Jacob 5. The usage of the olive tree, the knowledge of its biology, and ancient horticultural practices are spot on. The olive tree was quite foreign to New York in the 1830s. There were essentially no resources for Joseph to consult at the time. I have never heard critics ever address this stunning allegory and its consistency with ancient imagery, symbolism, and cultivation.

    But it is a long chapter and requires some thought, which is more than most critics are willing to tackle.

    There are literally hundreds if not thousands of textual evidences in the BOM that strongly connect it to an ancient source.

  23. grindael says:

    The earliest English settlers in America brought seeds and propagating wood for European varieties of apples and other hardy fruits. Capt. John Smith reported in 1629 that residents of Jamestown were growing apples, pears, peaches, & many other fruits. In 1638, J, Josselyn reported in New England’s Rarities Discovered that all the hardy fruits were growing in New England. Large orchards quickly developed. Apples from New England were being exported to the West Indies by at least 1741; Albemarle pippins were sent from Virginia to England as early as 1759. Westward movement of settlers in North America seems to have been preceded by the distribution of apple seedlings by Indians, trappers, and itinerants.


    Fruit trees cannot be reproduced “true” to the original cultivar from seed. They can only be reproduced by grafting. Grafting describes any of a number of techniques in which a section of a stem with leaf buds is inserted into the stock of a tree. Grafting is useful however, for more than reproduction of an original cultivar. It is also used to repair injured fruit trees or for topworking an established tree to one or more different cultivars.

    Young, vigorous fruit trees up to 5 years old are best for topworking. Older apple and pear trees of almost any age can be topworked but the operation is more severe and those over 10 years old must be worked at a higher point. Hibernal, Columbia, or Virginia crab, because of their 3 vigor and their strong, well-placed branches, are very good understocks.

    Young trees should have 1 to 2 feet of branch between the trunk and the graft. Otherwise the good crotch formation of the understock will be lost by the trunk expanding past the union.

    Trees up to 5 years old can be grafted at one time. On older trees about half—the upper and center part only—should be worked at one time. Remainder should be worked a year later.

    All basic knowledge, know to Western New York Farmers in the early 1800’s & is same as olives.

  24. falcon says:

    So why do people believe in and follow false prophets? Two basic reasons: emotions and ignorance. Mormonism has as it’s foundation emotionalism which was a product of the 19th century Christian revivalism that Smith was very familiar with. The going to the woods to have an encounter with God was not all that unusual as anyone who has studied the life of Charles Finney knows. But Mormons are told that their emotional reaction to the BoM is God speaking to them confirming the truth of the Book. Once the emotional hook is set, the convert than must buy into the entire Mormon program no matter how convoluted it is or what the actual evidence reveals.
    Ignorance also keeps the Mormon locked into a system that is built on false premises that can be easily exploded if someone would take the time to investigate. Among these is the tale about real Christianity disappearing from the earth with the deaths of the apostles. The Council of Nicea, the corruption of the Biblical text and any number of folk tales that are the basis for Mormonism are easily refuted.
    But we can’t discount the effects of the Mormon opening himself up to the voices of deceitful spirits that blaspheme Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit. When Mormons listen to the voices of these contrary spirits that confirm the teachings of the false prophets, they have given themselves over to a force that will keep them locked into a religion that will end in spiritual destruction.

  25. Jim,

    You attributed a quote to Martin and it was actually me that wrote that to Martin. I would add to grindael’s post that the appearance of olive trees in the book of Jacob is possibly anachronistic as olive plants/trees/bushes are not native to the new world. Granted, at this spot in the BoM narrative, it is possible this olive metaphor would make sense as it comes along relatively recently after Lehi’s party left the old world – and there would be people who would know what an olive is.

    However, there are metaphorical references in the BoM that a native to the Americas would not understand. Jesus, in the BoM, makes reference to things that only a person from the old world (or a person from much later along) would know – olives being one of these.

    Your statement regarding belief is telling. Wanting to believe, or not believe, should have no bearing on determining if something is true . While some BoM skeptics may approach the text in the manner you think they do, many (myself included) do not take the exact opposite view of the Mormon position -wanting the book to be true ala Moroni 10: 4&5. At least you threw us this bone:

    “I am sure the textual examples pointed out by BOM critics with which you are familiar appear as you claim”

    I can assure you I have spent much time with the BoM. I have read it from cover to cover; I have prayed about. I have the Holy Ghost (or rather He has me) and He tells me the exact opposite of what you believe. I would in no way refer to myself as an expert on the BoM, but I have spent considerable time with it (not just me, many here have) and I can tell you that the book fails the “smell test” if ever a book does.

  26. The “devil is in the details” as the saying goes Jim, and the details point to the fact that Joseph Smith depended heavily on the King James Bible when he was bringing forth the BoM. There is no place in the standard Mormon narrative concerning BoM translation (face in hat – new letters would not appear until the scribe go the old exactly right) for King James mistakes. Some liberal Mormons try to gloss over this by claiming that Joseph was acting as a scribe or redactor in some ways – and admitting that he made mistakes. The problem with this is that on more than one occasion Joseph Smith gave details for how the BoM came to be and the text of the BoM flatly contradicts those details. Furthermore, we see some fo the same problems, and different ones as well, in the other books that Joseph brought forth. All of this goes to character, the character of a man who claimed to be prophet.

  27. Olsen Jim says:


    While I applaud your speedy efforts, I remind you that olive trees were not among the many fruit trees found in New England in the early 19th century. Furthermore, olive trees, while similar in some respects to the trees found in America at the time, were different in many important ways.

    Consider one simple example discussed by Arthur Wallace in “The Allegory of the Tame and Wild Olive Trees Horticulturally:”

    “Even though pruning was certainly part of nineteenth-century American practices, Joseph Smith would have been familiar with it in relation to deciduous trees or vines, in which pruning has to consider the wood on which fruit would be borne the next year. Grapes and apples would be examples with which Joseph Smith would have been familiar. In contrast, the pruning of the olive, a subtropical evergreen fruit tree, is initially for training to make it into a tree rather than a bush, and second for rejuvenation-or, more appropriately, survival. In the nine times the word pruning is used in the parable, survival rather than increased fruit production, is implied. Survival pruning reverses the aging process by altering the balance of regulators (hormones). It is not the type of pruning Joseph Smith knew.”

    And this is just one example. There are others for which the BOM critic must account.

    David- do you understand that the allegory Jacob is quoting was found on the brass plates that were carried by Lehi’s party from Jerusalem, and that the author- Zenos- lived sometime around 900-700 B.C.

    So it is not as if Jacob is creating this allegory himself based on his knowledge in the new world. The text reflects ancient principles specific to olive tree cultivation.

    Your point is a good one though- there were no olive trees in the New World during the BOM time period. Isn’t it interesting that olive trees are not mentioned again in the BOM text after Jacob 5? This makes perfect sense given your point.

  28. Jim,

    I am aware of what you are stating. That is why I wrote, “at this spot in the BoM narrative”. Would you not agree that a reference to a olive tree would not make sense to a Lamanite or Nephite who lived centuries later?

    I made a mistake with what I wrote earlier. It should have been “figs” and not olives. So, if the lack of olive tree references later on makes your point (an ancient origin for the BoM) then what does Jesus’ mention of figs or wheat in 3 Nephi tell us? Or a literal reference to wheat in Mosiah 9?

    Going back to my original point, how do you account for the King James concepts and mistakes in the BoM?

    Jim, if the BoM did not come about the way Joseph Smith said, then is that not a problem for Mormonism?

  29. setfree says:

    What makes no sense is how the Mormons treat the Bible as peripheral.

    And what I mean by that, is that they only go to the places in the Bible where they think that Mormonism is supported, and leave the rest of the Bible alone.

    Really, shouldn’t it be the other way around?

    If you guys weren’t “born” mormon, or otherwise converted before knowing anything about the Bible,
    you’d have to look at Joseph Smith’s claim.

    The Bible had been in place for a long time when Joe Smith came on the scene. It was clearly first. In fact, the Book of Mormon was supposed to be “another testament”, not a new one.

    Joe claimed that plain and precious truths had been removed from the Bible, therefore corrupting all Christianity.

    It would, therefore, behoove a person, before accepting the new literature from a new prophet, to first seriously investigate the Bible. That way, when the person read the Book of Mormon or the other books that came out of Joseph Smith, they’d be able to see the differences and/or similarities, and understand if something had been corrected, restored, or what!

    The LDS commenters out here, at no fault of their own, started with the BofM as “scripture”. I say no fault of their own, because these are 20th century people out here. The BofM had been adopted by their relatives before them, and so it came as part of the “way things are”.

    I’ll bet you there is not one ex-Mormon on here who didn’t do the same. Started with “Mormon scripture”, with the Bible as “peripheral”, and then finally went back and looked at the Bible for real.

    That’s my challenge to any LDS reading this. Drop the Joe-scriptures, and go on a serious pursuit of the Bible, and where it came from, and what it says. Then you’ll know…

  30. falcon says:

    One of the Mormon missionaries who found Christ on his mission and sent home with a couple of weeks left was asked a question regarding what @ntiM literature did he read that led him out of Mormonism. He replied that he hadn’t read any such material he had only read the Bible.
    The Bible is @ntiM literature that’s why it has to be degraded and seen as not trust worthy by Mormons. This young man also reported that when he came to Christ the Book of Romans finally made sense to him. Within a Mormon paradigm, the Book of Romans, for example, won’t make any sense.
    Mormons give themselves over to false prophets because they don’t know and understand the Bible and even the basics of early Church history. The false prophet Smith knew that the only way he could sell his story was to convince the convinceable that the Bible was corrupted and that the early Church went into apostasy. Without these twin false claims, his religion collapses. That’s why he also had to convince people to accept an emotional response as proof of the truth of his fictitious tome the BoM. Without the emotional hook, people will not stay in Mormonism nor any other cult for that matter. That’s why when the pressure is on, the Mormon falls back on their testimony. Once the personal testimony is gone, Mormonism dissolves.
    Jesus warned about false prophets. Mormons would do well to heed His warning. However none of us can underestimate the influence of deceitful spirits and the emotional addiction of cult membership. Knowing Christ and the pure unadulterated truth of God’s Word can deliver Mormons from the spiritual trap they are in.

  31. falcon says:

    “That devil of a man exercises a fascination on me that I cannot explain even to myself, and in such a degree that, though I fear neither God nor devil, when I am in his presence I am ready to tremble like a child, and he could make me go through the eye of a needle to throw myself into the fire.” General VanDamme, on Napoleon Bonaparte.
    “The masses have never thirsted after truth. They demand illusions, and cannot do without them. They constantly give what is unreal precedence over what is real; they are almost as strongly influenced by what is untrue as by what is true. They have an evident tendency not to distinguish between the two.” Sigmund Freud, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, v. 18
    “Amongst the surplus population living on the margin of society (in the Middle Ages) there was always a strong tendency to take as leader a layman, or maybe an apostate friar or monk, who imposed himself not simply as a holy man but as a prophet or even as a living god. On the strength of inspirations or revelations for which he claimed divine origin this leader would decree for his followers a communal mission of vast dimensions and world-shaking importance. The conviction of having such a mission, of being divinely appointed to carry out a prodigious task, provided the disoriented and the frustrated with new bearings and new hope. It gave them not simply a place in the world but a unique and resplendent place. A fraternity of this kind felt itself an elite, set infinitely apart from and above ordinary mortals, sharing also in his miraculous powers. Norman Cohn, The Pursuit of the Millennium
    False prophets, like the poor, will always be with us. For the undiscerning there is a willingness and a desire to believe that will over-ride even common sense and factual data and empirical evidence. The emotions so engaged cloud any reason and shove aside normal skepticism that would deliver the person from the trap of the false prophet.

  32. Olsen Jim says:


    Three points on the appropriateness of Jacob recording the allegory on the Plates of Nephi:

    1. You say it would not make sense for him to do so, but that is an opinion. I have no direct experience with olive trees, but the allegory still conveys plenty of meaning to me. The same would be true of any people, including the Nephites.

    2. At that “point” in the BOM record- Jacob’s primary relatives- parents and siblings grew up and lived around/in Jerusalem. Makes perfect sense for them to be familiar with olive trees.

    3. For whom was the book written? It was written for those who would live in the period immediately preceding Christ’s second coming. Therefore, the fact that Lamanites or Nephites hundreds of years after Jacob couldn’t understand all the nuances of the allegory doesn’t affect the rationale for its inclusion in the record.

    I apologize, but I do not understand your point about figs or wheat. Are you saying that figs are an anachronism of the BOM? The Central American Banyan is a fig tree native to central America. It would be perfectly appropriate for Christ to mention figs to the Nephites.

    Same thing with wheat? Anachronism?

    Two possibilities- either the Lehites gave that name to a different native plant in the Americas or there was actually a species of wheat that we simply have not discovered evidence for.

    As for the first possibility- “It is a well-known fact,” writes Professor Hildegard Lewy, a specialist in ancient Assyrian and Babylonian (Akkadian) languages, “that the names of plants and particularly of [grains] are applied in various languages and dialects to different species.” (

    The other possibility should not be dismissed. It has long been thought that barley too was not native to the Americas. Turns out that two different research teams have discovered the presence of different barley species in the Southwest U.S.

  33. Olsen Jim says:

    As far as the KJV in the BOM: there are 478 verse in the BOM that quote Isaiah. Critics love to say that Joseph simply “plagiarized” the KJV. But only 201 of those verses are the same as the KJV, 207 are different, while 58 are paraphrases and 11 are paraphrases and/or variants.

    John Tvedtness compared these verses to the Hebrew Massoretic text (MT), the Hebrew scrolls found at Qumran, the Aramaic Targumim (T), the Peshitta (P), the Septuagint (LXX), the Old Latin (OL) and Vulgate (V), and the Isaiah passages quoted in the New Testament. (

    These texts vary, and it is difficult to tell which is the “original.” Given the presence of variation within these ancient texts, it is not unreasonable to assume that the brass plates from which the Nephite prophets quoted Isaiah also contained verses that may have varied from the “original.”

    Low and behold, where the BOM and KJV are different, more times than not, the BOM verses are closer to the ancient texts than is the KJV.

    Critics love to dismiss the BOM out of hand because it “plagiarizes” the KJV. The matter is much deeper than that, and a more thorough analysis shows that the BOM quotes of Isaiah does not weaken the argument for its historicity. In fact, it strengthens it.

    Your last question- in fact, Joseph never described the details of the method by which the translated was accomplished. To what method and descriptions in the BOM are you referring?

    Setfree- does it matter to you that a very large number of converts to the LDS church come from other Christian churches. To assume they don’t know the Bible is ridiculous. I can provide names of dozens of people I know who studied the Bible intensely over decades before joining the church after reading the BOM. Good theory- just no basis for it in reality.

  34. setfree says:

    Take a gander at the Isaiah 48/1 Nephi 20 comparison. Bold words are “Nephi”s additions, words in parantheses are Isaiah’s original wording where changed a little by “Nephi”, italicized are Isaiah’s words that “Nephi” left out or rearranged

    1 Hearken and hear this, O house of Jacob, (which) who are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, or out of the waters of baptism, (which) who swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, yet they swear not in truth nor in righteousness.
    2 Nevertheless, (for) they call themselves of the holy city, (and) but they do not stay themselves upon the God of Israel, who is the Lord of Hosts; yea, the Lord of Hosts is his name.
    3 Behold, I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them. I (shewed) did show them suddenly (and they came to pass).
    4 And I did it because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;
    5 And I have even from the beginning declared (it) to thee; before it came to pass I showed (it) them thee; and I showed them for fear lest thou shouldst say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image hath commanded them.
    6 Thou hast seen and heard all this; and will ye not declare them? And that I have showed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.
    7 They are created now, and not from the beginning, even before the day when thou heardest them not; they were declared unto thee, lest thou shouldest say–Behold I knew them.
    8 Yea, and thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time thine ear was not opened; for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.

  35. setfree says:

    Here are some more NUGGETS of love out of Joseph’s mouth, love for himself, instead of the Savior.

    In 1Ne 4:13, “the Spirit” says that it’s better for one man to perish than for a nation to dwindle and perish in unbelief. This is to support the “commandment” to kill Laban in order to get the Old Testament and geneology. Of course, those of us who love the Bible understand that the “one man” who needs to perish for “the nation” is Jesus. (John 11:50,51,52,53)

    In 1Nephi 11:30, we see “angels descending upon the children of men”. This was also stolen from Jesus (John 1:51)

    In 1Nephi 15:18, JS writes that his bringing forth of the BoM is what is meant when Abraham is told by God that “in your seed, all of the nations of the earth will be blessed”. He says it again in 22:7-9.

    Seriously? Another theft, right from Jesus. What God meant, when He told Abraham that “in your seed, all of the nations of the earth will be blessed” was that JESUS WOULD COME from Abraham’s line.

  36. setfree says:

    In 2 Nephi 3, we have the same text of the JST of Genesis (the part where Joseph tried to write himself into the Bible)

    5 Joseph truly saw our day. (JST Genesis 50:24-25) He obtained a promise from the Lord that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, yet to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord, that the Messiah would be manifest to them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness into light– out of hidden darkness and captivity unto freedom.

    6 Joseph truly testified, saying: (JST Genesis 50:26) A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.

    7 Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: (JST Genesis 50:27-28) A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers.

    8 (JST Genesis 50:29) And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.

    9 And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.

    10 And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.

    11 (JST Genesis 50:30) But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins–and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.

  37. setfree says:

    12 (JST Genesis 50:31) Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.
    13 (JST Genesis 50:32) And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.
    14 (JST Genesis 50:33) And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;
    15 (JST Genesis 50:33) And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.
    16 Yea, thus prophesied Joseph: I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever.
    17 (JST Genesis 50:34) And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much, for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him.
    18 (JST Genesis 50:35) And the Lord said unto me also: I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman. And I, behold…

    How interesting!

  38. setfree says:

    (behold! the author)

  39. Jim,

    2. At that “point” in the BOM record- Jacob’s primary relatives- parents and siblings grew up and lived around/in Jerusalem. Makes perfect sense for them to be familiar with olive trees.

    I am not attacking your specific point here for that reason. I am saying that certain references in the BoM do not, or would not, make sense to someone who had never known of a certain item. A 3rd century A.C.E. Nephite living in Texas (if BoM lands where there) would not know what an olive is. Just like I do not know what a nea or sheum is.

    Your explanations for wheat are problematic. First, the word “wheat” in English denotes a certain plant, or at least certain kind/family of plants. Your “possibility” would mean that the BoM was not translated correctly if the sound “wheat” was actually marijuana or some other plant.

    Second, I could accept one maybe two species of plant and animals going extict in such a short period of time (only about a thousand years) but there are several old world plants and animals that are mentioned that such a quick extinction of so many plants/animals strains credibility. This is further compounded by the lack of any evidence like cave drawings, petrified or frozen seeds, samples preserved in pottery, etc.

    As far as barley goes . . . the evidence is weak at best for it and the fact that Mormons are so quick to jump on the slightest hint of anything that might confirm the slightest portion of a book that makes claims that are beyond extraordinary shows that many Mormons are not just biased but extremely biased.

  40. I am not overly concerned about the mere parallels between Isaiah and the BoM. I am concerned with the 1830 BoM and the word “seraphims”. This is a double plural and the KJV makes/made the same mistake. Also, the presence of steel is anachronistic and in at least one instance its presence can be attributed to a mistranslation by the KJV. Nephi’s steel bow is a parallel of Psalm 18:34 and II Samuel 22:35. David’s bow (if it were real he might be using hyperbole) was made out of copper or a copper alloy like brass or bronze. Check the modern translations on this issue and elsewhere in the KJV where iron and/or steel is referenced. Again, if the standard narrative is correct translational mistakes (even small ones) should not be found.

    I am referring to the standard translation narrative heard around the world and contained in the Comprehensive History of the Church. The one about Joseph looking into a hat with a rock in it. A decent article in regards to it can be found here:

    Jim are you really stating that you do not believe in the narrative I am referring to?

  41. grindael says:

    Ralph, take your best shot:

    SALE OF BOOK OF MORMON COPYRIGHT: Winter 1829-1830. Comp Hist 1:165 Joseph had a revelation that Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery were to go to Kingston to sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon to raise money. They went, according to the revelation, but were completely unsuccessful. Joseph Smith “inquired of God” and Daivd Whitmer related he was told that some “revelations” are not from God. see: thanks, Bill.

    CHRIST’S SECOND COMING: Feb 14, 1835. HC 2:382. Joseph Smith preached that the coming of the Lord would be in 56 years (i.e., about 1891). See also D&C 130:14-17. The second coming did not occur about 1891, and the Church does not claim that it did. Nor has it occurred since. Joseph Smith did not live to be 85 years old &God knew that he would not. Why would God make a revelation conditional upon an event which he knew would never happen?

    NEW YORK DESTROYED: Sept 22-23, 1832. D&C 84:114-115. New York, Albany and Boston will be destroyed if they reject the gospel. The “hour of their judgment is nigh…” Newell K. Whitney and Joseph Smith went to New York, Albany, and Boston and preached there. These cities did not accept the gospel. They have not been destroyed.

    THE END OF ALL NATIONS: Dec 25, 1832. D&C 87. Prophecy of the rebellion of South Carolina, war between the states. The South will call on Great Britain for aid, and as a result war will be poured out upon all nations; slaves will revolt; the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; famine, plague, earthquake, thunder, lightning, and a full end of all nations will result. This prophecy is the one most often cited by Mormons to prove Joseph Smith’s prophetic power but consider: In November 1832 South Carolina had declared its power to “nullify” any federal act, and President Jackson was prepared to go to war to enforce federal authority. Most people expected war.

  42. grindael says:

    Thus the “prophecy” did no more than reflect commonly held opinion. Even when the South did finally revolt, in 1861, although Great Britain came to its assistance, other elements of the prophecy were not fulfilled: slaves did not rise up, war was not poured out upon all nations, there was no world- wide famine, plague, earthquake, etc., and there was no resulting “end of all nations.” Apologists contend that World War I, the associated famines, the 1918 influenza epidemic, fulfill this prophecy. But these are not as a result of the American Civil War.

    POWER TO DETECT FALSITY: April 28, 1842. Joseph Smith gives the sisters of the Relief Society “and the Elders” the keys of the kingdom “that they may be able to detect everything false.” [Quinn, Origins of Power, p. 634]. Apparently by the 1980s the Elders no longer had these keys, since they were unable to detect the forgeries foisted on them by Mark Hofmann, but rather esteemed him an authority on rare Mormon documents, paying him thousands of dollars for his forgeries. The church leaders learned of his deception from the secular authorities, when he was arrested for murders he had committed in furthering his schemes against the church. (Not really a prophecy, but it fits nicely into this thread)

    US GOVERNMENT WILL BE DESTROYED: May 18, 1843. HC 5:394. Joseph Smith prophesies “by virtue of the holy priesthood… and in the name of the Lord” that if Congress or the United States will not redress the wrongs which the Mormons suffered in Missouri, and grant them protection, “the government will be utterly overthrown and wasted,” they shall be “broken up as a government” and there will be nothing left of them. The United States rejected the Mormons’ petitions; their wrongs were not redressed; they were not protected from their enemies. The United States government was never overthrown and is still in existence.

  43. grindael says:

    FINDING TREASURE IN SALEM MASSACHUSETS: August 6, 1836. D&C 111. 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. “I, the Lord your God, am not displeased with your coming this journey, notwithstanding your follies. 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. 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. 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. Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them.” No treasure was ever discovered, nor did Salem ever fall into the hands of the Mormons.

    THE UNITED ORDER – EVERLASTING TILL JESUS COMES: Apr 23, 1834. D&C 104. Revelation establishing a separate United Order in Missouri, to be “everlasting” – “..a commandment concerning…a united order, and an everlasting order for the benefit of my church, and for the salvation of men until I come— (v 1), “This is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints…” (v 16). The United Order failed, even though the saints tried valiantly to make it work. It was attempted in Ohio, Missouri and Utah. Nowhere did it survive. It was not everlasting. It was not immutable or unchangeable, since it was tried with numerous variations. It has not provided for the saints. It has not lasted until the Lord has come. Why are they not ‘trying’ to continue it? Is it too hard for the ‘Lord’s Prophet’ to keep His Word?

  44. grindael says:

    Is there not enough ‘faith’ in the Mormon People? In verse (55) it says: “Behold, all these properties are mine, or else your faith is vain, and ye are found hypocrites, & the covenants which ye have made unto me are broken.” If you think this is only about Kirtland, read verse 59. It ends with: And inasmuch as ye are humble and faithful & call upon my name, behold, I will give you the victory. I’m sure many Mormons did, so where is ‘the victory’? Why are they not living this order as commanded?

    “I heard him (Martin Harris) make this statement, that there would never be another President of the United States elected; that soon all temporal and spiritual power would be given over to the prophet Joseph Smith & the Latter Day Saints. His extravagant statements were the laughing stock of the people of Palmyra.” – Albert Chandler, worker who helped bind 1830 Book of Mormon, see Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, v. 3, pp. 222-223

    “… all who believed the new bible would see Christ within fifteen years, & all who did not would absolutely be destroyed and dam’d.” – High Priest Martin Harris, The Telegraph (Painesville, OH), March 15, 1831, v. 2, no. 39

    ORSON HYDE’S PREPARATION OF JEWS’ RETURN: Feb 14, 1835. Joseph Smith prophesied that Orson Hyde would go to Jerusalem, &“by thy hands shall the Most High do a great work, which shall prepare the way and greatly facilitate the gathering of that people.” [Morris, PJS p 261] they did not need to ‘dedicate’ Palastine, God had already decreed Israel would be regathered. What work did the Most High do by Orson Hyde? Did Hyde go there to give God the okay to start the gathering of the Jews? It’s like me saying, I promise you Jesus is going to come & if you live to see it, I can claim to be a prophet. Smith sent Hyde to dedicate Palestine, so what? Nothing happened in Hyde’s lifetime that makes this significant or can excuse the fact that Mormons play the hell out of it, along with the Civil War Prophecy.

  45. grindael says:

    From the Vault:

    THE TEN TRIBES WILL RETURN FROM OUTER SPACE: “When Enoch and his City was taken away, a portion of earth was taken and would again be restored. Also in the days of Peleg, the earth was divided, see Genesis 10th Chapter, 25th verse.” He then referred to the ‘Ten Tribes’ saying, “You know a long time ago in the days of Shalmanezar King of Assyria when the Ten Tribes was taken away, and never been heard of since.” He said, The Earth will be restored as at the beginning, and the last taken away will be the first to return; for the last shall be first, and the first will be last in all things. He illustrated the return by saying. “Some of you brethern have been coming up the river on a steamboat, and while seated at the table, the steamboat run against a snag which upset the table and scatter[ed] the dishes; so it will be when these portions of earth return. It will make the earth reel to and fro like a drunken man,” quoting 24th ch. Isaiah 20th v. When speaking of the return of the Ten Tribes, he said, “The mountains of ice shall flow down at their presence,” and a highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep.” (Diary of Wandle Mace) This should have happened in Smith’s generation since that is when he predicted their return. This poem by Eliza R. Snow published in the Millennial Star shows this is not one man’s faulty memory:

    When Enoch could no longer stay,
    Amid corruption here;
    Part of thyself was borne away,
    To form another sphere.
    That portion, where his city stood,
    He gain’d by right approv’d;
    And nearer to the throne of God
    His planet upward mov’d.
    And when the Lord saw fit to hide
    The “ten lost tribes” away;
    Thou wast divided to provide
    The orb on which they stay.

  46. grindael says:

    For more proof, there is Wilford Woodruff: “Sunday We had social Conversation in the Evening <b?President Young said he herd Joseph Smith say that the Ten Tribes of Israel were on a Portion of Land separated from this Earth. He had also herd Joseph say that Children would not Grow after death & that at another time that they would grow & he hardly knew how to reconcile it. He would like a variety in Eternity. Children might grow in intelligence & not in statute as well as a grown Person. If his Children were grown up after leaving him he would not know them. Sep 8, 1867, Printed in Waiting for World’s End, The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, Susan Staker, ed., Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1993, p. 291. Charles L. Walker said that Smith told him: “they are hid from us in such a manner and at such an angle that the Astronomers cannot get their telescopes to bear on them from this earth. He exorted the saints to live up to their great privilleges and gain power with the heavens.” Like Smith had?

    “We shall pull the wool over the eyes of the American people &make them swallow Mormonism, polygamy and all.” -Brigham Young, July 12, 1875, quoted in E.A. Folk, “Story of Mormonism,”

    “Plurality of wives is a law established by God forever. It would be easier for the United States to build a tower to remove the sun as to remove polygamy. –Heber C. Kimball, Millennial Star, vol. 28, p. 190

    It [polygamy] is an eternal part of our religion, & we will never relinquish it – We cannot withdraw or renounce it – He has promised to maintain it.” – John Taylor, Millennial Star 47:708, 9 November 1855.

    “[The wicked] are laying the axe at the root of this government, and unless they speedily turn round and repent and follow the principles they have sworn to sustain—the principles contained in the Constitution of the United States—they will be overthrown, they will be split up and divided, be disintegrated and become weak as water;

  47. grindael says:

    for the Lord will handle them in his own way. I say these things in sorrow; but as sure as God lives unless there is a change of policy [polygamy] these things will most assuredly take place. –John Taylor, (JD 23:270)

    “Though I go to prison, God will not change His law of Celestial Marriage.”- Lorenzo Snow, History of Utah, Orson F. Whitney, 1879.

    “If plural marriage be divine, as the Latter-day Saints say it is, no power on earth can suppress it…”-George Q. Cannon, (Journal of Discourses, vol. 20, p.276)

    “The present struggle (Civil War) will not free the descendants of Ham who are slaves.” –Brigham Young, JOD 10:250 (October 6, 1863)

    “The curse will remain on blacks so that they can never hold the Mormon priesthood until all other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood. — —Brigham Young, JOD:7:291 (October 9, 1859)

    “Brigham Young will become President of the United States…You may think that I am joking; but I am perfectly willing that brother Long should write every word of it; for I can see it, just as naturally as I see the earth and the productions thereof –Heber C. Kimball, JOD 5:209 (September 6, 1856)

    “A temple shall be reared in the Center Stake of Zion in the generation in which the the revelation was given’. –George Q. Cannon, JOD:10:344 (October 23, 1864), This confirms Smith’s own version.

    “I have listened to him [Smith] with feelings of no ordinary kind, when he declared that the audible voice of God, instructed him to establish a banking-anti banking institution, who like Aaron’s rod shall swallow up all other banks (the Bank of Monroe excepted,) and grow and flourish and spread from the rivers to the ends of the earth, and survive when all others should be laid in ruins.” –Warren Parrish, (Painesville Republican, February 22, 1838, as quoted in Conflict at Kirtland, p. 297)

  48. Olsen Jim says:


    I am dead tired and have to get up early. So I will respond to your points to the extent possible in 5 minutes:

    The olive tree thing: Again, the record was written by Jacob (who understood Olives trees) for the benefit of those who would read it in the last days. Today, we know what olives are. It then makes sense for the allegory to be included in the record if it has application to our day.

    The wheat issue: If the Nephites named a native Central American plant “wheat,” the issue of definition could just as likely be attributed to the other end of the translation process- those creating the original record or text, not the person translating centuries later.

    I understand the point you are making. But consider- what if the actual species of plant were found in Central America and had not been given an English name by 1830? (There are plenty of plants for which that is true). How could Joseph assign such a species an English name if none existed? Using a literal translation of the actual word used in the original text doesn’t seem that crazy. Neas and Sheum then bring up issues. I really think the process is more nuanced than we can appreciate. Critics want to make it seem so straight forward and testable, and I don’t think it is. I have never translated anything, but I read from others who do that it is more complicated than one might imagine.

    Barley- discoveries two different places in the SW U.S.- the researchers suggested the plant had been “widely” cultivated in ancient times. For whatever that is worth.

  49. Olsen Jim says:

    I understand the issue with “seraphims.” But this goes back to the matter I mentioned above. Yes- there are verses that seem to match the KJV in its mistakes. Yet most of the OT verses quoted are different from the KJV, most of the time agreeing more closely with the ancient texts. I think the more interesting and balanced questions result when this broader perspective is appreciated. Joseph clearly did not simply “plagiarize” the KJV. There was a great deal more involved. Will freshen up on the Seraphims issue tomorrow if I get time.

    As far as the method of translation, I would agree that everything rests on whether the book came about as it is claimed- by the “gift and power of God.” I am not sure where you are going with that. Most critics attack the method in order to dismiss the book. The method prescribed in the book for determining its truth goes in the opposite direction: If the book is true, Joseph was a prophet. If the book is true, the way to determine it is in the order it outlines.

    More when I can open my eyes.

  50. grindael says:


    I don’t find the allegory stunning, (even after a re-read) Just nothing there that can’t be applied from basic knowledge about trees. Could YOU clarify? A tree is a tree. Grafting is just cutting into the tree, using a new shoot you have also cut, sticking it in there and – taping it up [modern] using wax? I’m guessing [ancient] The rest is common sense.

    What I find fascinating is what lengths Mormons will go to, to validate this book WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE & in the face of Smith’s character as a charlatan. I shake my head at the guys who see some kind of secret code in the Bible too. Why do your leaders tell you NOT to worry about evidence? I read a talk by Dallin Oaks & he says there are two kinds of ways to ‘approach’ the BOM. With scolarship, & with scholarship & faith & revelation. He says: “Those who rely exclusively on scholarship reject revelation.” How untrue.

    Honestly, knowing who David Koresh is, would you read & pray about his 7 seals Revelation? Would you read & pray about the Koran without investigating it first? Or if you read Koresh’s ‘revelations’ & thought them inspired, THEN found out about Waco, his molesting children, etc, etc, what would you do? EJECT the false teachings & admit you were duped. Wouldn’t you? The BOM is a total package, not just what ‘s between the covers.

    We ‘re not living in 1830, where anyone could make up anything. We live NOW, when there is scientific proof & technology. Using an 1830’s standard to judge that Book defies all sense. Wallace’s obervations are dim. In Jacob: “he pruned it, and digged about it, & nourished & dunged it.” (repeatedly) it doesn’t explain HOW HE PRUNED IT. What technique he used. What made him an ‘expert’? That he kept the top and bottom even? Again, basic knowledge. Mormons dwell on these issues because they have nothing else, & ignore the larger issures. But I do have faith, but NOT in Smith who produced it. Oaks has his ‘only Mormons can receive revelation’ blinders on.

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