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. grindael says:

    prophecy, cont.

    “I also herd [sic] President Joseph Smith, jr., declare in the presence of F. Williams, D. Whitmer, S. Smith, W. Parrish, and others in the Deposit office that he had received that morning the word of the Lord upon the subject of the Kirtland Safety Society. He was alone in a room by himself and he had not only [heard] the voice of the Spirit upon the Subject but even an audible voice. (“Wilford Woodruff’s Journal Jan 6, 1837,” January 6, 1837, as quoted in Conflict at Kirtland, p. 296)

    “Thou shalt have great power over the treasures of the earth, and when thou hast no other means thou shalt go and dig treasures out of the earth to supply their wants.” (blessing of JSmith Sr. to Alexander S. Standley, 8 Apr. 1838) once a money digger, always a money digger?
    We will never get a man into space. This earth is man’s sphere and it was never intended that he should get away from it. The moon is a superior planet to the earth and it was never intended that man should go there. You can write it down in your books that this will never happen.” –Joseph Fielding Smith, Stake Conference, Honolulu Hawaii, June 14, 1961.

    “It is my belief, that the time of our deliverance will be within five years; the time indicated being February 14th, 1891…. And that the man raised up will be no other than the Prophet Joseph Smith in his resurrected body…. the government will pass into the hands of the Saints, and that within five years. There will not be a city in the Union that will not be in danger of disruption by the Knights of Labor, who are becoming a formidable power in the land….” –Apostle Moses Thatcher (Daily journal of Abraham H. Cannon, October 14, 1886, BYU Library).

    I will state as a prophesy, that there will not be an unbelieving Gentile upon this continent 50 years hence; and if they are not greatly scourged, and in a great measure overthrown, within five or ten years from this date,

  2. grindael says:

    then the Book of Mormon will have proved itself false“-Parley P. Pratt, 1838 (Mormonism Unveiled—Truth Vindicated, by Parley P. Pratt, p.15; copied from a microfilm of the original at the Mormon church historian’s library).

    And do you know why I think people who are actually promised that they would live to see the temple built [in their patriarchal blessings] are dying before the completion of the temple? Because we haven’t converted the Indians in large enough numbers; never shall we go to Jackson County until we have converted and brought into this church great numbers of Lamanites. Now you just as well set that down as a basic fact.-Spencer Kimball, December 1963 talk obtained from President Kimball’s secretary as quoted in Book of Mormon Student Manual (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed., 1981), 427-28

    “Here then we see a prediction, and we believe it. Yes! The Latter-day Saints have as firm faith and rely upon this promise as much as they rely upon the promise of forgiveness of sins when they comply with the first principles of the Gospel. We just as much expect that a city will be built, called Zion, in the place and on the land which has been appointed by the Lord our God, and that a temple will be reared on the spot that has been selected, and the corner-stone of which has been laid, in the generation when this revelation was given; we just as much expect this as we expect the sun to rise in the morning and set in the evening; or as much as we expect to see the fulfillment of any of the purposes of the Lord our God, pertaining to the works of his hands. But say the objector, ‘thirty nine years have passed away.’ What of that? The generation has not passed away; all the people that were living thirty-nine years ago have not passed away; but before they do pass away this will be fulfilled.“-Orson Pratt, JOD:14:275

    Constant Readers, Can these men be inspired by God?


  3. Olsen Jim inadvertently attributed David Whitsells’ comment to me

    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.

    Yup, David wrote it, not me, but I agree with it anyway.

    For example, the “Mark of Cain” in Gen 4:15. Joseph Smith had a prime opportunity to correct the English idiom with his superhuman powers of translation and say “it’s not a stigma, but a mark of protection”.

    It would have advanced the Civil Rights movement in North America by about a century and a half. He would have been subject to intense social stigma, but when did that ever stop a Prophet of God? But no, he persists with his 19th Century “white” agenda, and flirts with the prejudices of his time.

    What a missed opportunity!

  4. Mike R says:

    The hype: If the Book of Mormon(BM) is found to be
    true then this automatically proves that
    the Mormon church is the one true chrch

    The tactic: producing a large volume of “research”
    on the BM in an effort to divert the
    attention away from evaluating the
    authoratative claims of LDS prophets
    and apostles.

    Can a prophet, after giving revelation(scripture)
    from the Lord, fall into sin (heresey) and lose
    God’s favor? Can those who he teaches then pass
    on his false teachings?
    What I am trying to convey is that, for arguement
    sake the BM could be true, but that does not prove
    the Mormon church is the one true church TODAY.
    The more important question would be:

    Have LDS prophets/apostles been RELIABLE in their
    interpretation of God’s written Word? They claim
    the exclusive insight on God’s Word:

    ” How blessed we are as Latter-day Saints to know
    that God can speak to us through our living
    prophet today and give us guidance and instruct-
    ion….He will choose the prophet, and He will
    never let that man lead us astray…There is at
    least one place we can turn for pure unpolluted
    guidance.” [1998 Gen.Conf. Virginia Jensen ]

    ” Through the media we find analysts analyzing
    the analysts, almost overwhelming us with
    opinions and different views.What a comfort it
    is to know that the Lord keeps a channel of
    communication open to His children through the
    prophet.What a blessing it is to know we have a
    voice we can trust to declare the will of the
    Lord.The Lord surely understood THE NEED TO
    conflict and confusion and differing opinions
    are eliminated.President Brigham Young has
    THE PROPHETS.” [Elder Tom Perry,Ensign 11-1994]

    How does this affect us today?

  5. Olsen Jim also wrote <blockquote<Joseph clearly did not simply “plagiarize” the KJV.

    …then why did he “translate” the BoM into the KJV’s vernacular? Why not early 19th Century American?

    The least strained answer I can think of is that Joseph Smith had acquired his knowledge of religion from the KJV, and he was most comfortable expressing that knowledge by using the patterns that he had learnt.

    The human brain is marvelously adept at absorbing patterns, such as language and music. Most of the time, when we express “original thought”, we re actually recycling the patterns that we have acquired, such that “original thought” is actually a very rare thing. And its not as if we have to recycle the pattern exactly; we introduce our own “variations” on the theme.

    Recently, in Australia, the band “Men at Work” lost a lawsuit against the current owners of the copyright to an Australian folklore ditty “the kookaburra sits in the old gum tree”. The case was won because the famous flute part in “Men at Work’s” song “Down Under” repeats the pattern of “kookaburra”.

    Personally, I think the judgment is harsh, not least because most musical compositions bear some resemblance to most other previous musical compositions. The fact that no-one has attempted to copyright pentatonic scales (for example) indicates how silly the “your music resembles my music” argument can get. I think that “Men at Work’s” flute player might have had “kookaburra” in his memory, but whether he played it deliberately is moot.

    My point is that we acquire language, patterns of words, idioms, and expressions of thought from our environment. Then, we consciously or subconsciously recycle them in our own language and other expressions of mind.

    If the BoM was authentic, then it would express the patterns and concerns of Ancient Native North America. It doesn’t. It expresses the patterns and concerns of an early 19th Century white frontier society that is informed by the KJV Bible.

  6. Mike R says:


    When Jesus said to be aware of false prophets
    does’nt that mean there would be a means to detect
    these prophets? Can we evaluate their claims and
    their scriptural interpretations?

    What is the price to be paid for agreeing with
    and supporting the authority of un-true prophets?

  7. Jim,

    I am not really attacking the olive tree thing. I can make allowance for it, or other old world references, that appear in the BoM during or soon after Lehi’s party left the old world. The grafting thing does not seem that profound though.

    As far as wheat goes, the word has meaning in the English language. If the sound “wheat” means snow in some language, and you are translating, you don’t just give the sound and leave others to form a logically wrong conclusion. There are numerous collections of words that sound similar, even identical, but have separate meanings in different languages. If the original BoM writers called hemp by the name “wheat”, then Joseph should have used the word “hemp” even if the word “wheat” did exist in the English language (but has a different meaning).

    I think you answered your own question. If the sound “wheat” did not have a corresponding word in the English language Joseph could have transliterated; we have words we do not know the meaning of in the BoM (neas and sheum) But he did not, he used a word that had meaning in 1830 America: “wheat”.

    This issue is full of nuances that must be taken into account, but that does not let Joseph off the hook. The “out” you are taking here leaves the door open for total subjectivity. If you really believe the defense you are giving is valid then the whole book is up in the air. How do you know that the word “sword” is not really a hammer? Or a bird is not a fish?

    I do want to know if you accept the standard narrative for the bringing forth of the BoM. Do you?

    Also, are you really stating that Joseph did not use the KJV at all, even if only in his mind, in bringing forth the BoM?

  8. Furthermore, why the need to change the BoM? If it is from God, and the standard narrative is to be believed, then how can one change what was from God? What is the basis for such changes if those making the changes even admit that they do not even have the plates? At least, for the first printing Joseph claimed to have had the plates.

    The bottom line question here is “does any of this matter”. One of the reasons I am reluctant to get into “evidences” with Mormons is that I would first like to pin down what exactly counts. Is there any overarching principles that we can use to distinguish a false prophet from a real one?

    One of the big problems I have with Mormon apologetics is that if they are consistently applied almost any book or prophet could pass “the test”. The same techniques that critics use to verify or discredit books in general are the ones applied to the BoM. If the KJV is not, to an extent, a source text for the BoM then it would be impossible to say that any book is a source text of any other. If the presence of an NT passage in the BoM is not a problem for Mormonism then the presence of the infancy gospel of Thomas in the Koran is not a problem either. The Book of the Law of the Lord? The Urantia book?

  9. Martin,

    I heard about the Men at Work ruling. My thirst thought was “why now”. I was a kid when that song came out (almost 30 years ago).

    My second thought was the ruling came off as a bit unpatriotic. If this world famous Aussie band made a hit about the southern hemisphere in general, and specifically Australia (“the land down under”), then let it go. How much more so if the flute riff is “borrowed” from an Aussie folk song. Heck, there is even a reference to Vegemite.

    Your point is a valid one. There are so many constructs that we operate in and with – linguistic, cultural, etc. that it is near impossible to identify them all. We, 19th century Americans included, take for granted the way we think.

  10. liv4jc says:

    I see nothing spectacular in Jacob 5. Romans 11:16-21 has many parallels to the beginning of the chapter. It speaks of roots, branches, breaking off branches, grafting in branches, etc. Just because Joseph chose to make this short passage from Romans run on and on and on with many “and it came to pass’s” does not show that the book was written by an ancient person with knowledge of olive trees. What it does show is that JS had access to Romans 11 and probable heard sermons on that text.
    In Luke 13:6-9 we have the parable of the fig tree in the vineyard. We have the man telling the vineyard keeper to cut it down. We have the vineyard keeper saying he will dig around it and fertilize it until the next year to see if it will bear fruit. In John 15:6 we have Jesus saying that the branches that do not bear fruit are cut off and cast into the fire. And of course in Matthew 7:17-20 we have another parallel where Jesus tells us that good and bad trees cannot bear differing fruits. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
    Jacob 5 is nothing more than JS creating a poorly written, extra long (punishingly long), confusing, disjointed, discourse on biblical themes available to him in the bible and common sermons of his day.

    Mystery solved. Plagiarism proven once again.

  11. setfree says:

    did you see my comment a while back that JJM (from the Monson post) got saved?

  12. liv4jc says:

    setfree, I’m really sorry I missed that. Praise the Lord! That’s wonderful news. What thread is it in, because I can’t find it. If you have any details I’d love to hear them. [email protected]

  13. Olsen Jim says:


    On the wheat thing- I understand what you are saying. There are questions that don’t have perfectly clear explanations at this point. Some people are very uncomfortable with that. Taken to an extreme, a person can look at one single verse that may seem anachronistic or not right and dismiss the whole book as a fraud. This would be rash and unwise.

    Similarly, a person could, and plenty of people do, take a verse or set of verses from the Bible that may appear to be contradictory or that disagree with modern knowledge, etc. and claim it is all a fairy tale.

    Ultimately, I don’t know why the word “wheat” was used twice in the BOM, while “Sheum and Neas” are also used as new words, undefined in English. I can see possibilities, but nothing can be concluded with certainty at this point.

    I agree that Joseph and the BOM can’t be given infinite latitude, and I don’t think they need that- it is true or it isn’t. But that does not mean every nuance and question must be crystal clear without debate. Things are just not that neat, even in the matter of scripture.

    I will say that the difference between wheat and other species of grass used as grains is subtle compared to the difference between a sword and hammer, or bird vs. fish.

    As far as the “narrative” on the method of translation, I fully believe in the method as described by Joseph and his scribes. I have simply been asking you to clarify what that is so that I am not agreeing with something that I don’t believe. I believe the translation involved the Urim and Thummim as described as well as the seer stone, independent of the U&T. I also believe that Joseph eventually was able to translate without the use of either of those tools. But it all involved “the gift and power of God” as Joseph claimed.

  14. Olsen Jim says:

    In the end, or at least until God settles the matter once and for all, one must consider all the evidences, both for and against the BOM, not just a few strategically chosen matters. Critics who dismiss the book as “obviously” a fraud, clumsy, or ridiculous really discredit themselves and it is honestly difficult to take them seriously. An objective, thorough investigation into all the BOM issues may not result in a definitive answer either way. But there are more than enough supporting evidences for the astute student to conclude that it is absolutely plausible.

    In general, Mormons are not dumb people. In fact, they have a relatively high level of education, taken as a whole. Grindael says “What I find fascinating is what lengths Mormons will go to, to validate this book WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE. It is also fascinating to me that Grindael says there is not “any evidence.” The problem I see is that we are all tempted to find a possible solution to a given issue that supports our view. No matter how “far-out” that possibility may be, we can categorically choose to accept that possibility because is supports our view.

    You see this with Grindael’s response to the statement from Arthur Wallace on olive tree cultivation- Grindael says his view is “dim.” Wallace is a Professor at UCLA and fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, the Soil Science Society of America, the Crop Science Society of America, and the American Society of Horticultural Science (He is quite the partier). He claims there are key descriptions of the olive tree in Jacob 5 that are different than typical fruit trees found in America in 1830, and that it would have been almost impossible for Joseph to have come up with that. But with a wave of the hand, Grindael dismisses him without a second thought.

    The cumulative evidence for the BOM is quite substantial, despite what Grindael and many say. It is just that you will do anything to dismiss the opposing evidences.

  15. Olsen Jim says:

    I am sure you feel the same way about me and other LDS. That is why, if the BOM is true, there will never be enough proof to convince critics of it through the intellectual approach.

    As far the KJV language in the BOM. Do you find it interesting that the BOM language very closely matches the Old Testament language and not the New Testament? If you calculate the frequencies of text-independent words in the BOM, they most closely match the frequencies for those words in the OT- specifically the writings from the time periods contemporary to Lehi (i.e. 800-600 B.C.). But committed critics dismiss this without any consideration as to why or how that is. I could offer a multitude of similar curiosities and evidences. But in my experience, it never matters. We have made up our minds- the matter is closed. And that is why the Holy Ghost has to be the primary means of revealing the truth of the BOM to a soul.

    You also ask about the changes to the BOM. Good question. On the surface, this may implicate a suspicious process of production. Royal Skoussen has done the definitive work on the manuscripts and variations in the BOM text. I highly recommend his books on the matter. As you might guess considering the very technical nature of the topic, it requires a bit of room and time to piece it all out and discuss. But in the end, he claims and I agree after doing the reading that, if anything, such an analysis actually supports a divine source of text and legitimate translation process.

    Consider 1 Nephi 20 which setfree posted. Skoussen examines each change, and his findings are very interesting. For example, the “or the waters of baptism”clause was a marginal note from Joseph which eventually was adopted as part of the text. It was initially in brackets to indicate that is was simply a note. Joseph never claimed that was part of the original text. The typical critic never sees or considers any of that, as demonstrated by setfree.

  16. liv4jc says:

    Sure, I’ll take Royal Skousen’s word. He’s not partial in any way, and has nothing to gain by validating his own personal witness by propping up the BoM translation. He is not in any way connected to the LDS church, BYU, or F.A.R.M.S, who have everything to lose, and nothing to gain from honesty.

    How can anyone honestly give validation to a translation of an ancient book that has absolutely no manuscript evidence? How can an honest scholar assume that any word or passage was translated correctly without an exemplar? The only exemplars JS had was the KJV of the bible, his own experiences with Christian churches and culture of his day, and his imagination. Just because Skousen sees parallels in writing and language styles doesn’t mean that we throw out every other bit of evidence that we have that the BoM is a fabrication with no physical or literary evidence to back it up. Skousen’s opinion is just that. His opinion.

    The problem with Mormonism is that it sets personal revelation above evidence and objective truth.

  17. Jim,

    Thank you for your tone and the quick response. Obviously, Mormons are not dumb people. I think what many non-Mormons have issue with is that intelligent Mormons do not use their natural God-given intelligence towards matters of faith that they use in everyday life. They want a consistency that they do not see is there.

    If you believe in how Joseph and his scribes described the translation process (the “standard narrative” then many apologetic arguments that are out there are not available to you.

    I see alot of New Testament verbiage(even some Greek) in the BoM as well as Old testament verbiage. I even see a whole passage that looks like I Cor 12, and I see that as a big BoM problem. I see churches and synagogues referenced together (very NT sounding) and I see that as having several problems for the BoM. I also think that when we mention “The Book of Mormon” people should have the 1830 version in mind. I think that the colloquial nature of the book comes out more in its original form.

    One curious linguistic “nuance” that some people have picked up on, you have actually alluded to. The BoM does often diverge from the KJV readings of the Bible and this most often happens at the points of ambiguity, parts that are italicized, in the KJV; the BoM “clears up” the KJV reading. We also see the BoM settling doctrinal controversies that were around in Smith’s day.

    Where the BoM parallels known Biblical passages it does so in King James idiom complete with King James mistakes. Some of these mistakes and readings are unique to the KJV so when we see them in the BoM . . . you get the point. I am not trying to be closed minded or over critical here. Competent linguists have looked at the BoM from several angles and they see a 19th century origin for it.

    As far as the changes go, it is indeed suspicious and I am glad you at least admit it can come off as such. Without being too harsh, I would say that the example you provided amounts to a canard.

  18. Several books have had the types of issues you mention, even printers mistakes, but the BoM has those as well as several “genuine” changes (and many Mormons admit this). If you believe what Joseph and his scribes said about the translation process those changes should not be there.

    Furthermore, several of those changes took place during the lifetimes of Joseph and his scribes. So, its not like one can blame everything on an institution but not the authors/proprietors/translators. Again, if you believe what Joseph and his scribes said about the process, then changes (even small ones) should not have taken place or have even been needed.

    I wish I could agree with you that the BoM narrative is plausible. If the BoM were true most academic discplines like archeology, linguistics, anthropology, etc. would be turned on their heads. BoM style metallurgy alone would change near everything that is known about the world.

    I think you make a mistake arguing for the “plausible”. Given the grand nature of the BoM and its origins, I think you need to argue for its likelihood. B.H. Roberts agrees with me on this one:

    “Those who accept the BoM for what it claims to be, may not so state their case that its security chiefly rests on the inability of its opponents to prove a negative. The affirmative side of the question belongs to us who hold out The Book of Mormon to the world as a revelation of God. The burden of proof rests upon us in every discussion.”

    All of this goes towards character and authenticity. When the BoM is taken as a whole, along with other writings of Joseph Smith, a picture begins to develop. That picture is 19th century in its look.

  19. Olsen Jim says:


    We can use the same logic with Bible scholars who happen to believe in the Bible. Are you willing to dismiss all the research done by those folks over the last 2 mellenia? Shall we rely soley upon those “intellectuals” who do not believe in the Bible and who are not biased toward its claims? Or the BOM? Didn’t think so.

    Skoussen has spent decades studying every version of the BOM and the original manuscripts. He has documented every change and outlined the reasons for those changes where possible based on all the available evidence. To dismiss his findings because he is mormon is absolutely bizarre- nobody comes close to knowing as much as he does on that particular topic.

    By the way, how do we know that the record found in Genesis “was translated correctly?” Wasn’t that written by Moses? From what manuscripts did he get the record? After all, we don’t have those originals to compare?

    I would agree with you in one thing- I believe the Holy Ghost is the most reliable source of truth and knowledge. That does not mean all other sources are to be dismissed (and I don’t).

  20. setfree says:

    I appreciate your tone as well, Jim. Thanks.

    It may appear to you that I see any old thing, and jump on it in attack. Perhaps it has something to do with blogging… how much can i really say? how much are people willing to read? therefore, i try to present my arguments as briefly as possible.

    I don’t know if you know this, but there are 1323 occurrences of “it came to pass” in the Book of Mormon.

    That’s an issue all by itself, because it sounds as though someone was stalling as they made it up. “And…it…came…to…pass… that…” while they were thinking of the next thing to say.

    But that is just one thing about that. Another thing about it is that it is Genesis-like. With the PofGP, it’s not hard to see that Joseph Smith was fascinated with Genesis. There are many books in the Bible that never use the phrase. But Genesis is one that does.

    Which brings the third point. Every single one of the book of Mormon “authors” (except Moroni) overuses that phrase. I had a primary teacher who overused “really really” and “special”; her little primary speeches were laced with really really special. What are the chances that all of the Book of Mormon writers tended to say “it came to pass” too often? Isn’t it more likely that it’s one writer, writing his first fictional history book?

    Especially when put together with the KJV stuff,
    the anachronism stuff,
    the “we was a-goin” stuff,
    the “white”-to-“pure” thing,
    the “among the ancestors” change,
    the fact that the Mormon gospel is not found in the book,
    the fact that the stories are similar to Joseph SMith’s own life, or ones from the Bible,

    etc etc etc

    What it ends up as, is a lot of evidence that points the same finger.

    As for Joseph having spirit-help, I believe that too. Unfortunately, it’s more likely, based on his past and what came of what he wrote, that his spirit help was demonic

  21. setfree says:

    When I was little, I had a illusion book in which was a picture of Peter Pan, with a spot in the middle. The instructions were to stare at the spot for 30 seconds, and then look up at the wall. If you did that, you could see Peter Pan’s shadow on the wall! But was he there?

    A mind that knew that Peter Pan is a fairy tale, and his shadow was not on the wall would also understand that the focusing of the eyes on the spot was part of what made the illusion possible.

    I think it’s possible to stare-into the BofM the things that you want to see in it. I know you’ll say that the same could be said of the Bible, but I’ve been on both sides of this issue, and it’s not the same.

    I remember the day I read in the Book of Mormon about Christopher Columbus. This proves the church is true! i thought. Of course, I wasn’t yet considering that Joseph Smith produced the BoM after Columbus was a done (and well-known) deal.

    I remember how wonderful and beautiful the faith growing like a seed analogy in Alma was. I didn’t know, then, that that was yet another thing already in the Bible, far before the BofM came out.

    And the three Nephites, roaming the earth. I was so excited about that. I hoped to run into them someday. In fact, I remember when someone helped me when my car broke down on the freeway… I believed it could have been a Nephite. For no other reason than how helpful the person was, and how badly I needed help.

    It wasn’t until much later that I read the Bible, and realized that Jesus never did say John would stick around. (John 21:21,22,23,24)

    I’m not a random, flybytheseatofmypants Mormonism attacker. This is personal to me, as many of those I love are still following the godwhoisn’t God. I hope to see you saved Jim. For no other reason than because I know the difference, and I wish with all my heart that more people knew the LORD.

  22. falcon says:

    One thing that false prophets are really good at is the art of seduction. Joseph Smith was primo when it came to this. Of course in some way those that buy into the false prophets program have to have a certain amount of willingness to be seduced. In the days (actually nights) that Joseph Smith was tramping about the countryside with his little band of treasure hunters, he had ready made excuses for why his magic rock didn’t lead them to the riches of Captain Kidd’s hidden trove. Either someone “drew the circle” wrong or there was a “speaking out of turn” that resulted in the gold slipping further into the earth.
    Smith used these well honed tricks to convince his “witnesses” to “see” things that really weren’t there. In-other-words Smith was able to convince them that they were “seeing” the golden plates through “the eyes of faith”. The guy was a master in the art of duping the gullible.
    Using his well honed skills as a seducer, Smith turned it on women so he could satisfy his lust for sexual gratification. The man really had no shame for he would seduce a teenager, a young woman living in his own home or a followers wife. He’s even reached across time and the grave to seduce his current followers into believing that there was absolutely nothing wrong with this. That it was all ordained by God and an angel with a sword who threatened death to him if the women didn’t submit to his desires. What a guy!

  23. falcon says:

    A false prophet’s successful seductions begin with his ability to radiate a quality that people are attracted to. The mark’s emotions are stirred and they can’t control them. Once seduced, the mark is oblivious to the false prophets manipulation(s).
    According to Robert Greene in “The Art of Seduction”, there are nine seducer types, each with a certain quality that is used to seduce people. There are “sirens”, “rakes”, “Ideal Lovers”, “dandies”, “naturals”, “coquettes”, “charmers”, “charismatics”, and “stars”.
    So with his expertise in occult folk magic, his own natural but well developed skills of manipulation and his tapping of the spirits of the darkness, Joseph Smith was able to draw to himself followers who were willing to forsake all for the emotional reward of buying into his seductive fantasy. These followers are willing to turn against God for the empty promise of becoming gods themselves. Smith’s obvious deviant behavior isn’t even enough to turn the seduced from his fairy tale.
    Smith and false prophets like him, are so skilled that people turn against common sense, factual evidence and the demanding organizational structure that perpetuates the lie; to continue in the self-satisfying fantasy.
    Why people are willing to turn against God and embrace the seductive false prophets like Smith is not all that complicated. It’s all about the Luciferian quest to not be the creature, but the creator with a personal solar system with minions who will honor, obey and adore them. They become their very own false god. What a delusion. What a seduction.

  24. falcon says:

    False prophets play on people’s need to believe. That’s primary to building a cult following. False prophets keep their words vague as they fill folks with promises. Enthusiasm is emphasized over rational clear thinking. The cult inductees are given rituals to perform. False prophets gain commitment from their followers by getting them to make sacrifices on their behalf.
    False prophets get their followers to worship them. So inclined, the followers will do anything to defend the false prophet.
    According to Robert Greene in “The 48 Laws of Power” there are five easy steps to creating a cult. The false prophet Smith was an expert at these.
    1. Keep it vague. Keep it simple.
    *Stimulate hazy dreams by which followers can develop and make their own connections and see what they want to see.
    2. Emphasize the visual and the sensual over the intellectual.
    *Boredom and skepticism are the enemies of the false prophet. Skepticism allows followers opportunities to think rationally.
    3. Borrow the forms of organized religion to structure the group.
    *Create rituals, organize people into hierarchies, rank them in grades of sanctity, give them names and titles ask them for sacrifices that fill your coffers and increase your power. Talk and act like a prophet.
    4. Disguise the source of your income.
    *Never reveal that your wealth comes from your followers. Make it seem that your wealth comes from the “truth” you proclaim.
    5. Set up an us-versus-them dynamic.
    *Make your followers believe they are part of an exclusive club.
    *To strengthen the bond manufacture the notion of a devious enemy who is out to ruin you.
    False prophets over the centuries have used techniques like these. They seem to come naturally to the false prophet. Joseph Smith created a religion that those so inclined buy into with great enthusiasm. The initial emotional buzz hooks them and once hooked the truer believer will maintain his own fantasy by any means necessary.

  25. mobaby says:


    Another characteristic that Joseph Smith displayed that came before being a false prophet was being a compulsive liar. This can be seen in his storytelling ability and desire to persuade others to believe his tales of gold and fortune. His own mother said he was a very good storyteller and would regale them with tales of the previous inhabitants of America. I sometimes think that the propensity to use this storytelling ability to fool others is the sin, and that God gives some people a gift of storytelling that they pervert to their own demise and others demise. Mike Warnke was a famous Christian author of the 1970s or 80s who told tales of Satanism and witches covens and meeting Charles Manson in the desert. He fooled people for a long time and had a bestselling book called “Satan Seller” and spoke to Christian groups across the country until he was exposed as a complete fraud. It was as simple as putting the dates he related in his book on a time line and seeing how it didn’t add up, it was impossible. (For instance Manson was in prison when he supposedly met him in the desert.) Warnke got rich and was a serial polygamist (divorce/remarriage/repeat). People who knew him in his younger days said Warnke was a master storyteller. Too bad Joseph Smith and Warnke did not use their gifts to uplift, but instead used them to deceive – turning a gift of engaging others with stories into a compulsion to deceive and dupe others into giving them money and power over their lives. Joseph Smith said he met John the Baptist, Peter, James, and John in the woods down by the river to get the priesthood restored. Mike Warnke said he met Charles Manson in the desert for devil worship. Warnke’s lies were small potatoes when compared with Joseph Smith.

  26. falcon says:

    There was a 27 year old guy in Milan in 1653 by the name of Francesco Giuseppe Borri who claimed to have had a vision. It seems that the archangel Michael had appeared to him. The message was that he was to become the captain general of the army of the new pope. It was also revealed to him that he could now see people’s souls. He was also to discover a stone that could change base metals into gold. People were very impressed with Borri’s retelling of the vision and the change that had taken place in his life.
    He devoted himself to the study of alchemy and talked only of mysticism and the occult. So enthusiastic was he that he attracted a following. This was his method. He spoke of his vision, which over time grew more elaborate. He offered to look into the soul of anyone who believed him. He would go into a trance and stare at a new follower. He would then say he had seen the person’s soul, their degree of enlightenment and potential for spiritual greatness. For those who showed promise, they were added to his followers. There were six degrees or levels of attainment in Borri’s group. Hard work and devotion would get the follower a step up to the next level. All followers had to turn over their money to Borri and then take a vow of poverty. When he discovered the magic stone, they’d all have gold plenty. There’s more to the story but people would come from all over Europe because Borri supposedly had healing powers. He took off with the money, was captured but people believed so strongly in his occult powers that to his dying day he was visited by wealthy believers, including Queen Christina of Sweden. They supplied him with money so he could continue his search for the elusive stone.
    People want to believe in something out of this world. They want to hear of angels and out-of -body experiences. The messiah must mirror the desires of his followers. The bigger and bolder the illusion, the better.
    Robert Greene; “The 48 Laws of Power”.

  27. David Whitsell wrote

    The bottom line question here is “does any of this matter”.

    (BTW I like the restrained style of your dialog with OJ, and vice versa)

    I’m thinking along the same lines, David, though I’d put it this as “what’s the agenda?”

    The agenda with the truth (or otherwise) of the BoM is the validation of Joseph Smith’s credentials as a prophet. If the BoM is bogus, then Joseph can’t establish his qualifications as a prophet, and the movement he started (Mormonism) is false.

    There’s a tsunami of evidence that demonstrates that the BoM is a 19th century creation; from its agenda, to the method of translation, to the comparison of its narrative with extra-BoM sources, to the charactor of Joseph Smith himself.

    None of this would matter much if the BoM was presented as a curious religious artefact (like an image of Mary that some people would burn into their toast in the morning), but it’s not; its the bedrock on which the enterprise of Mormonism rests.

    None of this would matter much if Mormons took a rather broad/liberal/humanist view of scripture, but when they do so, they’re headed in exactly the opposite direction to Joseph Smith, who held a very literalist view of scripture (his own and the Bible’s).

    Olsen Jim also wrote

    I believe the Holy Ghost is the most reliable source of truth and knowledge.

    Well, I’ll agree with you there, but who has Him? Me or you? I don’t know about “your” Holy Ghost, but “my” Holy Ghost brings me to worship Christ and He has zero tolerance for falsehood.

    You might say that I don’t have the “real” Holy Ghost because I have not been endowed by Christ’s authorized church.

    I would answer that neither do you, because the church you subscribe to has already apostized from the Restored Gospel, as revealed by Joseph Smith himself. How can it give what it doesn’t have?

  28. liv4jc says:

    Jim said, “We can use the same logic with Bible scholars who happen to believe in the Bible. Are you willing to dismiss all the research done by those folks over the last 2 mellenia? Shall we rely soley upon those “intellectuals” who do not believe in the Bible and who are not biased toward its claims? Or the BOM? Didn’t think so”

    Actually, we can’t use the same logic with the Bible scholars, Jim. What we have in Skoussen’s work is a man that has dedicated his life to the LDS church. He has a “personal witness from the Holy Ghost” that the BoM is true. This personal witness is in direct contradiction to everything we know about the lack of evidence for a BoM type culture in north or south America (because honestly nobody can say where this culture took place). Skoussen may find similiarities to Hebrew in Joseph Smith’s writing, but that’s all he has is JS’s word that the BoM is a copy of a magically disapearring book. People also find similarities between Christianity and other ancient religions like Hare Krishna, Mithraism, etc. If I’m looking for a similarity to bolster my opinion I can find it. Skoussen is not an objective person. Skoussen is given over to belief, despite rational evidence, not primarily that the BoM was an actual book, but that JS was a prophet and received and translated this supposed book. Therefore, based upon JS’s testimony the book actually existed. It all boils down to JS’s testimony, and as has been demonstrated his character is not consistent with that of a prophet of God. And I don’t care about the witnesses who claimed to have seen the book. The spiritual coercion that was perpetrated upon them by JS was no different than the spiritual coercion that goes on at that hands of other supposed prophets like the Watchtower Society, the Catholic Pope, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Sun Myung Moon, etc. Other rational people have made professions of faith in other so-called prophets, yet I believe you would doubt their testimonies.

  29. liv4jc says:

    (cont for Jim) You even admit that you believe JS was eventually able to “translate” the plates without using the U&T and his peep stone. The scribes also say that often times the plates were not even present when JS was “translating”. So we have evidence that Joseph was receiving direct revelation, not translating anything. There is no external evidence to believe that the revelation JS received about the BoM culture was true even if it wasn’t manufactured by his own mind, but by an actual spirit working through him. Then the spirit becomes the liar, and JS the accomplice. You actually believe in Joseph Smith despite the lack of evidence that the BoM or its culture ever existed. Separate from Smith you would not believe in the BoM if it was presented on its own.
    On the other hand, Biblical scholars believe the Bible is trustworthy, even if they don’t believe that it is always accurate or even a revelation from God. There are many scholars of religion, history, and archaeology that can trust that the Bible as an ancient book compiled by an actual civilization even though they are not Jewish or Christian. They can be atheists and still find truth in its pages. The evidence to support much of the Bible is found in surrounding cultures mentioned in it. There are countries and geography that still exist, and traditions found in its pages that we can prove have been going on for thousands of years. My point is that someone doesn’t have to have a revelation from God that the Bible is true and that Moses or anyone else was a prophet to believe that it is at least rational to believe what the Bible reports, at least historically. As for Moses, there is no evidence that he translated from any records, but he is the one who wrote the first five books of Bible, including Genesis. I have my own idea about where that information came from, but that’s beyond the scope of this discussion. Do you see the difference between the Bible and the BoM and Biblical scholars and Skoussen?

  30. setfree says:

    I had forgotten, before just in the last couple of days going back into some of the study-work I’d done with the BoM, what is the biggest piece of evidence I have against the BofM.

    And this is it.

    The Bible is God-centric.

    The Book of Mormon is righteous-person-centric.

  31. Olsen Jim says:


    I think you misunderstand the nature of Skoussen’s work. He is an expert on the BOM manuscripts and the changes that have been made to editions of the BOM and the reasons for those changes. His work is not in the linguistics or comparative characteristics of the text.

    You say “Separate from Smith you would not believe in the BoM if it was presented on its own.” You are wrong. That is exactly how I accepted the BOM- on its own, independent of Joseph Smith.

    And in your 2 brief posts, you demonstrate my earlier point about people considering available evidence. By definition in your mind, there can be no evidence for the BOM. New insights or issues are dismissed categorically, because it is all lumped together in a heap of bias in a rush to judgement (sorry to use that overused phrase from the O.J. trial).

    You have a very unrealistic view of what the Bible is and isn’t Your inability to see the similarities in the issues that face both the Bible and BOM show this very clearly. It is obvious to you that the Bible is true, but not to billions of other people. And my point about Bible scholars who believe in the Bible is 100% valid. I don’t think your are seeing that.

    Martin- I don’t think it is a matter of either/or. I don’t think I am 100% filled with the Holy Ghost and that you have 0%, nor vice versa. I think we as individuals utilize the Holy Ghost to different degrees with the different issues we address. I personally believe you may not rely on the Holy Ghost as much in considering the BOM as you do when you study the Bible. Instead, the intellectual, critical, cynical part of a personality can play a more prominent role in such a pursuit than it would elsewhere.

    Setfree- I disagree wholeheartedly with you. No other text in the world mentions Jesus Christ more frequently than the BOM. Its message is clear and consistent- Come unto Christ and be saved. It could not be more “God-centric.”

  32. setfree says:

    Jim said: “Setfree- I disagree wholeheartedly with you. No other text in the world mentions Jesus Christ more frequently than the BOM.


    I think this shows your mormon bias Jim.

    New Testament (260 chapters)
    Jesus – 942 times
    Jesus (with) Christ – 258 times

    Bible (1189 chapters)
    LORD – 6519 times

    Book of Mormon (239 chapters)
    Jesus – 174 times
    Jesus (with) Christ – 58 times
    Lord – 1634 times

    That’s the first thing.

    Secondly, mentioning Jesus Christ, even thousands of times, does not make a book God-centric. Suppose there exists a book about Jesus that written by an atheist, or an anti-Christ. Get my point?

    The Bible is a story about God. There are lots of people in it (none of them perfect but Jesus) but even in His gifts to them, or His using them, or His working through them, the light is on God.

    The book of Mormon is many stories about super special people like Nephi, for example, who is so much better than his brothers, and even his parents, and can get the lord to respond genie-like to his every need. It’s about people, and how they are either good or bad. There are even nearly 4 generations of sinless people. What an amazing book about people’s goodness or badness. But it is not about God.

    I know you can’t see it, Jim, I know, I know. I am just telling you what I have seen, in the decade or so since becoming born-again.

  33. Olsen Jim says:


    Christ is mentioned in the Book of Mormon, either by the name Jesus or Jesus Christ or Redeemer, Lord, Messiah, Lamb of God, etc. on average every 2.7 verses. Using the same names and terms, this is more than the Bible.

    But of course, a person could simply write a book Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…… I get your point. But The BOM does not come from atheists or anti-Christ’s, despite what you want or say.

    I am sorry- but your analysis of the book is extremely shallow and superficial. The Bible too is a story about people- some of them follow God, some do not. God favors and blesses and covenants with those who follow Him.

    Your statements could hardly be more subjective or lacking in support.

  34. grindael says:

    “To dismiss his findings because he is mormon is absolutely bizarre-”

    “Royal Skousen is a professor of linguistics and English language at Brigham Young University and the leading expert on the textual history of the Book of Mormon.”

    From off one of his books. Jim, he is PAID by your Church to write these books. And Mormons ask to be fair and read his opinions, but at 35.00 a pop for his books, why should we?

    I bring this up because you make some points, but there is no verification except your broad statements of ‘read his books and you will know what I am talking about.’ You don’t quote anything or present any evidence as to what he is talking about so his ‘opinions’ can be counterpointed. On the other hand, some of us here, with what we have available, try to do just that. If I were to do what you do here, I would be torn apart. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the same thing about the Tanners, (they are anti – so they have a motive, therefore)..

    This statement you give:

    As you might guess considering the very technical nature of the topic, it requires a bit of room and time to piece it all out and discuss. But in the end, he claims and I agree after doing the reading that, if anything, such an analysis actually supports a divine source of text and legitimate translation process.

    How can anyone take this seriously? Pick one of his points, quote him and lets talk. Like your 1 Nephi 20 comment, what does that mean? You say I dismiss with a wave of the hand, I showed you how ‘grafting’ works, quoting basic knowledge about it. You did not counter with quotes, you just generalize. Exactly, how did Smith show in the BOM he had intimate knowledge of how to prune olive trees and that it makes a difference in relation to the text? Or how did the author do that. How can the BOM be true when you never address all Smith’s false prophecies and his life. The two ARE tied together.

  35. grindael says:

    Are you going to believe the writings of David Koresh KNOWING who he was? Are you going to make the effort to read & pray KNOWING the man’s character? He was like Smith in many ways. Dallin Oaks neatly gets around these arguments by saying:

    In fact, it is our position that secular evidence can neither prove nor disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Its authenticity depends, as it says, on a witness of the Holy Spirit.

    He also says: I admire those scholars for whom scholarship does not exclude faith and revelation”, but Mormons do not give Christians the benefit of that doubt. I claim to have spiritual knowledge that the BOM is false. But that is subjective. So what is left? Debating the supposed “language & cultural” nuances of the book? It has been amply debated by both sides to no one’s satisfaction. If this were true, all missionaries would have to do is put BOM’s in people’s mailbox and let God do the rest. But Mormons have to present the whole Smith story to back up the BOM. Oaks says this also:

    There is something strange about accepting the moral or religious content of a book while rejecting the truthfulness of its authors’ declarations, predictions, and statements. This approach not only rejects the concepts of faith and revelation that the Book of Mormon explains and advocates. This approach is not even good scholarship.

    I could write a book about Jesus, quote him extensively, and the truth of his sayings would not make my book divine. It is the life of Jesus, and what he did and those that SAW Him and told us to believe in HIM that makes us pray and ask God for a witness. We investigate his life and it shows that He was not ‘just a good teacher’, he was God. The men who saw this then had long lives devoted to Him and they all DIED for HIM. This was real events validated by REAL history. What exactly do we need the BOM for then? To validate Mormonism.

  36. grindael says:

    Jesus Apostles also stayed true to HIS teachings. And yes, I realize that He did come back and teach some more. This is the great ‘loophole’ that Mormons throw all of Christianity into. We say ‘PLAIN & PRECIOUS TRUTHS’ are just that. Plain. Smith built his whole religious ‘empire’ on obscure OT lifestyles that are out of harmony with the whole message of Jesus life. His life and teachings WERE simple.

    I respect you a lot more than other posters here because you obviously HAVE researched and read. But you take statements like this one by Oaks to heart, and I have a problem with that:

    In the first of these revelations the Lord said that he had sent his everlasting covenant into the world to be a light to the world, a standard for his people. “Wherefore, come ye unto it,” he said, “and with him that cometh I will reason as with men in days of old, and I will show unto you my strong reasoning” (D&C 45:10). Thus, this divine offer to reason was addressed to those who had shown faith in God, who had repented of their sins, who had made sacred covenants with the Lord in the waters of baptism, and who had received the Holy Ghost, which testifies of the Father and the Son and leads us into truth. This was the group to whom the Lord offered (and offers) to enlarge their understanding by reason and revelation.

    This reasoning is backward. How many times did Paul show from the OT that it pointed to Jesus. For example: The Bereans of Thessalonica didn’t just blindly accept what Paul and Silas told them about Jesus, but:

    “they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

    Is Oaks saying that you have to repent, get baptized and receive the Holy Ghost before you can really believe in the BOM? You will probably say no, all that gives us is the foundation to reject any scholarly evidence that it is false.

  37. grindael says:

    Fine. But have you ever heard of a placebo? Sure you have. You know, you get two people and give them a drug. One is real and one is fake. A percentage always says they get something out of the placebo. It might be small, but it is there. You have 12 million Mormons and over a BILLION Christians. Do you see the conncetion? That is why evidence is SO important. It is the ‘drug’ while the lack thereof is the ‘placebo’.

    The Gnostics also had the scriptures and presented their views based on them. But they died out. Why? Because ultimately the true meaning of the scriptures was made clear by those that saw Jesus and bore witness to that in their words and writings. That is why ‘second-hand’ accounts are not near as compelling as those who were there. The earliest manuscripts of the NT are only 50 years removed from the events. The evidence there is overwhelming. But I don’t want to divert to a discussion on that, it has been done before.

    Why did the plates have to be returned to God? What is ONE GOOD REASON that they were? Would that not PROVE what Smith said was true. But there is nothing to examine and compare. You see the problem with the Book of Abraham. Smith’s statements show he said those documents were 3500 years old. They are not. Regardless of the fact of how you interpret how he translated, that one fact alone allows you to dismiss ANYTHING he says about it as false. It was not what he said it was.

    It is easy to dismiss with a wave of the hand things presented with NO EVIDENCE. So what if Wallace has a PHD. He is also Mormon, with a vested interest in promoting that agenda. And you did not quote him, and show how his view applies to Jacob. I agree with setfree that Smith could have used Hebrews with simple knowledge about grafting to produce the allegory. What EXACTLY is there in the allegory that makes it tip the scales in your favor?

  38. grindael says:

    I looked on line for anything detailed about Royal Skousen & Wallace. But short of buying the books and reading them, there is nothing out there. So the burden is on you to quote them and PROVE your point.

    This is the whole reason behind evidence. To go back to the Book of Abraham, Smith generated a whole series of writings based on what he claimed those papyri were. He used them to back up what he presented. But his statements about what those papyri were do not support what they actually are. I hear a lot of Mormons say that well, Smith could just have produced the revelation. That would have been better for Smith. Why then, did he not do that? Because of who he was. He had to prove he was a seer, a translator, & here was a perfect way for him to do it and gain credibility with his followers. In those times there was no one to gainsay him. He was safe in doing so.

    Look at Kinderhook. He was shown those plates, and then asked Fugate to take them around to learned scholars before he would ‘begin a translation’. When Fugate came back with the statements, Smith knew he was safe, like with the BOA and then began a translation. He did not do much but generalize about them, but he still made statements about them that were so important that they were included in the History of the Church. Then, when they were revealed to be a fraud, those statements were no longer regarded by the Church as important and they attacked the credibility of Clayton & Pratt.

    You have the same thing going on with BOM geography. From that same Oaks speech he says this:

    “…the Book of Mormon only purports to be an account of a few peoples who inhabited a portion of the Americas during a few millennia in the past.”

  39. grindael says:

    Again, this is exactly the opposite of what is in the BOM and what the vast majority of Apostles and Prophets in the Church (and even Smith) taught. Again, we see the Book of Mormon redefined as filtered through the lack of evidence to support it’s claims. Another point is the American Indians (all of them) being descendents of the Lamanites. The church today, because of DNA has changed the preface to the BOM and made these statements in regard to that:

    “As to whether these were the first inhabitants,” Reid said, “we don’t have a position on that. Our scripture does not try to account for any other people who may have lived in the New World before, during or after the days of the Jaredites and the Nephites, and we don’t have any official doctrine about who the descendants of the Nephites and the Jaredites are. Many Mormons believe that American Indians are descendants of the Lamanites [a division of the Nephites], but that’s not in the scripture.”

    This is quoted by Farms without a source, and it took me quite awhile to locate the source. They say only that it was a Church Spokesman who said this, but the original article says:

    “My information [the above quote] about these points has come from Stewart Reid, a doctrinal specialist on the public-information staff at the Mormons’ headquarters in Salt Lake City.”

    Not that he might not be a Church Spokesman, but that I took the interest and time to research the Lamanite premise, because of the Oaks quote. My point with this is that I don’t agree. Here is the BOM:

    And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east.” – Helaman 3:8

  40. grindael says:

    And 2 Nephi 1, verses 5-9 does say that God covenanted with Lehi to give him a land for the inheritance of his seed. It also reveals that there “shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord” and it is ‘wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.’ Lehi even says his seed would ‘be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves,’ that there would be none to molest them or take it away from them. Orson Pratt elaborated on the extent on the Nephite Civilization here in the Americas:

    “When I contemplate the vast number of millions that must have swarmed over this great western hemisphere in times of old, building large cities, towns and villages, and spreading themselves forth from shore to shore from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the frozen regions of the north to the uttermost extremity of South America…
    These poor degraded Lamanites, or American Indians, that are now so far sunk beneath humanity, are to be lifted up by the power of the Almighty when the day shall come for Israel to be restored, for God will not forget them. They are descendants of the tribe of Joseph, and consequently they are numbered with the people of the covenant. God will remember the covenant which he made with our ancient fathers. These Lamanites, these American Indians, will come to the knowledge of the covenant,

    …They formed a colony. We know that to be the region of country from the fact that these plates were taken from a hill in the interior of the State of New York, being the descendants of those same colonists that settled in the valley of the Mississippi. When we speak of the valley of the Mississippi, let me say a few words to inform the minds of my brethren and sisters from foreign countries who may not be so fully acquainted with the geography of our land.

  41. Olsen Jim replied to me…

    I think we as individuals utilize the Holy Ghost to different degrees with the different issues we address.

    Jim, now that is weird.

    I don’t recall anywhere in the Bible when believers utilize the Holy Ghost. What I see is Him (yes, the Holy Ghost is a person, not a thing) “utilizing” believers.

    You seem to think that “it” is a kind of power source we can plug into to achieve some kind of superhuman task (like a miraculous translation of an ancient manuscript).

    I know your movement doesn’t like creeds, but the Nicene Creed sums it up with

    We believe … in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father [and the Son (Filioque)], who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.

    In other words, the Holy Spirit is fully God, and yet a distinct person in the Trinity, just as Jesus and the Father are. He is to be worshiped and followed, not “utilized”.

    I’ve been thinking about how to explain this from the Bible, and what I’ve come up with is to follow the experience of John.

    John, it seems, was a young man when he encountered Jesus. He might have known Jesus for only a couple of years before his trial and execution, yet the encounter profoundly affected John. Judging by his Gospel, John occupied himself with the meaning of Christ’s life, death and resurrection.

    John particularly focusses on Jesus’ dialogs, and the picture I get is John listening while Jesus patiently explains what its all about.

    The key thing here is the revelation of God through Jesus to John and the other disciples, which is portrayed poignantly in Peter’s confession in John 6:68-69

    Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.

    This relationship changes, however, when Jesus is taken from them…ctd

  42. grindael says:

    The valley of the Mississippi does not mean a small valley like these valleys here in the Rocky Mountains, but it means a vast area of territory some fifteen hundred thousand square miles in extent, enough to accommodate several hundred millions of inhabitants, almost a world of itself. There the Nephites became a great and powerful people. In process of time they spread forth on the right and on the left, and the whole face of the North American continent was covered by cities, towns and villages and population.-DELIVERED IN THE TABERNACLE, SALT LAKE CITY, SUNDAY AFTERNOON, FEBRUARY 11, 1872 (JOD 14:323-25)

    Again, modern Mormons dismiss Pratt’s statements as ‘speculation’. But this is a man intimately acquainted with Smith and had a prophet sitting right there when he made those statements in the Tabernacle. Farms & Apologists will quote Anthony Ivans to say there was a viewpoint that agreed with Oaks & there are a few other quotes in the Farms Wiki. But that is a small majority and the definitive statements clarifying that this is doctrine come from the mouths of Prophets and future prophets. The BOM stand or falls on the premise IT IS WHAT THESE MEN SAY IT IS. Instead of embracing the obvious statements that define it, the Church now distances themselves from viewpoints that cannot be reconciled in the light of new evidence. Or they have apologists write long books on the culture and dynamics of the text in the book, and come up with well maybe a horse is really a deer.
    In 1845 the Q12 issued a Proclamation to the World which in which they proclaim in the proclamation that the Indians ARE the descendants of the Lamanites, not just a few, but ALL OF THEM. They even say the Proclamation is a declaration of the Doctrines of the Church.

    In 1975, Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Q12, at Conference stressed the importance of what was in that Proclamation”

    “Today I shall speak doctrine, by way of warning and of testimony, and shall do so

  43. grindael says:

    as one holding the holy apostleship, whose responsibility it is to proclaim the Lord’s message in all the world and to all people. Each of my brethren of the Council of the Twelve has the same responsibility I have to declare these things to the world and to bear record of them before all men. “Toward the end of his mortal ministry, the Lord commanded the Prophet Joseph Smith as follows: “‘Make a solemn proclamation of my gospel . . . to all the kings of the world, to the four corners thereof . . . and to all nations of the earth.’ ( D&C 124:2–3 .) He was to invite them to come to the light of truth, and use their means to build up the kingdom of God on earth. “In the spirit of this divine direction, on the sixth day of April 1845, and shortly after the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum had mingled their blood with that of the other martyrs of true religion, the Council of the Twelve made such a proclamation. . . . “It seems fitting and proper to me that we should reaffirm the great truths pronounced in this declaration and that we should proclaim them anew to the world.”

    Is this enough to take the statements in that Proclamation as Doctrine? Here is a recent statement by the First Presidency:

    With divine inspiration, the First Presidency…and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles…counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith.

    And what does this Proclamation say?

    We also bear testimony that the “Indians” (so called) OF NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA are a REMNANT of the tribes of Israel, as is now made manifest by the discovery and revelation of their ancient oracles and records.

  44. …ctd…

    Jesus prepares his disciples for this transition, and tells them

    And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever

    (John 14:16).

    I understand that Jesus’ “another” means “more of the same”, not “something completely different”; and “Counselor” (“Comforter” in KJV) has a sense of “advocate”. Jesus is a person, so His disciples should expect another person (not a “thing”) to be with them to the end of the age. Also this new “Counselor” should do the same kind of thing that Jesus is doing, which is to explain what is going on (so, yes, the Holy Ghost does lead us into the truth).

    Picture John in his later years when he wrote his Gospel, Epistles and Revelation (or at least initiated their writing, depending on your Biblical criticism). He now writes without the personal presence of Jesus to dialog with, but with the personal presence of the Holy Ghost who continues that dialog, as Jesus promised.

    John writes about Jesus (not on his own righteousness, thanks setfree). Now, plenty of people had seen Jesus, but its the Holy Ghost who illuminates the meaning of Jesus life, death and ministry to John. And when John beholds Jesus, John worships Jesus, and he sees the whole of creation ultimately united in the worship of Jesus (see Rev 5).

    Finally, the Holy Ghost fills His temple today just as God filled His temple in the OT (2 Sam 7:1 etc). The body of believers is this Temple, such that the True Church is the “place” where the Holy Ghost is in residence. Only now, the Temple is not something you can see and touch, but it is “heavenly”, “eternal” and “unshakable” (Heb 12:14-28). The glory of God and the filling of the Holy Ghost are one and the same, and that’s why we worship Him.

    See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven

    (Heb 12:25)

  45. PS A footnote on the Biblical term “heavenly”.

    I don’t believe the Biblical term “heavenly” refers to “up in the sky”, as in, if you’ve got a telescope big enough you can see it (like Kolob, for example).

    I think the Biblical writers (John especially) used the term to relate to the “unseen” realm “behind” the present reality that we do see. We could say that the “heavens” affect the “climate” of our “earthly” or “tangible” experience. Shifts in the heavens have consequences here on earth. For example

    The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

    John 3:8.

    You can’t “see” the wind, but you can “see” what it does by its actions on the tangible.

  46. grindael says:

    Proclamation cont.

    Or, in other words, He will assemble THE NATIVES, THE REMNANTS of Joseph in America, and make of them a great, and strong, and powerful nation; and he will civilize and enlighten them, and will establish a holy city, and temple, and seat of government among them, which shall be called Zion.
    He has revealed the origin and the records of the aboriginal tribes of America, and their future destiny.—And we know it.
    Let the government of the United States also continue to gather together, and to colonize the tribes and remnants of Israel (the Indians), and also to feed, clothe, succour, and protect them, and endeavour to civilize and unite; and also to bring them to the knowledge of their Israelitish origin, and of the fulness of the gospel which was revealed to, and written by their forefathers on this land, the record of which has now come to light.

    But be ye sure of this, that whether we live or die, the words of the testimony of this proclamation which we now send unto you, shall all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but not one jot or tittle of his revealed word shall fail to be fulfilled.

    I recommend everyone read the entire document, it is a revealing look into the Church & you can find it here:

    So how can there be ‘no official doctrine’ on whether the American Indians are descendants of the Lamanites? It IS doctrine, for it is in an official Proclamation of the Church.

    This shows that there is more to Oaks statements then meets the eye, and with all the supporting statements of former apostles & prophets on this, it shows he is being deliberately deceptive. If the glove don’t fit….you must acquit. And here is Oaks quote again, in context with the rest of the Paragraph:

    ”In contrast, if the Book of Mormon only purports to be an account of a few peoples

  47. grindael says:

    who inhabited a portion of the Americas during a few millennia in the past, the burden of argument changes drastically. It is no longer a question of all versus none; it is a question of some versus none. In other words, in the circumstance I describe, the opponents of historicity must prove that the Book of Mormon has no historical validity for any peoples who lived in the Americas in a particular time frame, a notoriously difficult exercise. You do not prevail on that proposition by proving that a particular eskimo culture represents migrations from Asia. The opponents of the historicity of the Book of Mormon must prove that the people whose religious life it records did not live anywhere in the Americas.”

    Oaks here, is speaking to the claim some make that the BOM is not historical, but rather inspired with no historical backround. But he shoots himself in the foot by claiming it is a record of only a few peoples, when the official doctrine of the Church is that it is a record of a large group of people, evidenced by the massive amounts of descendents [remnants] that remained upon the whole of North & South America. In 1976, N. Eldon Tanner spoke at a Conference & taught that

    and we have the Book of Mormon record which tells of the Jaredites who were the first to come to America. They came at the time of the confusion of languages during the building of the tower of Babel” -General Conference Address, Ensign, May 1976, p.48.

    The Church now claims no stance & it is imperative to ask why. I think we know the answer. It is not hard to understand why Smith would not let anyone ‘see’ the plates, why he supposedly kept them in the woods as he ‘translated’ them & why they had to be returned to an angel. This plays in nicely with the Moroni Promise, the placebo effect which is the only verification the Church can fall back on to validate the BOM.

  48. falcon says:

    The Mormon false prophets and those of like ilk within Mormonism remind me of Mickey Mouses character in the cartoon “The Sorcerers Apprentice”. Mickey just wasn’t as good as the real sorcerer in plying the sorcerers trade. He really made a mess of things with the brooms carrying buckets of water until there was a flood and a real catastrophe.
    False prophets like Smith are really good at what they do, at least as far as duping the dupe-able. This false prophet stuff should come with the disclaimer “do not try this at home.” Now down at the wards, the idle speculations and pseudo science, creative history and endless speculation is treated seriously and in some cases great awe. On blogs like this one, the false prophet wanna bees are viewed about as seriously as our cartoon friend Mickey Mouse. And that’s the problem with Mormonism. The followers of the false prophet Smith are stuck with all of the nonsense that came from Smith and his fellow 19th century wizards. So modern Mormons finally throw up their hands and proclaim “I bear my testimony. God has spoken to me. I know the church is true.”
    They got the feeling of course and that feeling about the false prophet and his claims proves Mormonism because it’s the voice of God that counts not the wisdom of man. And the feeling of course is beyond examination as to its merit as being God speaking.
    So our false prophet apprentices come here wearing their ill fitting pointy wizard hats and capes borrowed from the real wizards and dabble in their Mormon wizardry while the rest of us marvel at the mess they make. Frankly, unlike the warning to the contrary, this is something that should only be done in the privacy of one’s home!

  49. falcon says:

    The trade of the false prophet has been known and honed for centuries. Such a “prophet” of sorts was a the doctor and scientist Franz Mesmer he applied his craft around the year 1788. In summary, Mesmer was a pioneer in the study of animal magnetism. This is the belief that animals contain magnetic matter. A “doctor”, it was believed, could achieve miraculous cures by using this charged substance.
    Mesmer lived in Vienna but his theories were not accepted from the medical establishment. He was treated with scorn and ridicule. Mesmer claimed to have cured a blind girl but that claim was rejected by a physician and the girl herself claimed to be unable to see. Mesmer of course said that his enemies were out to get him and had convinced the girl she couldn’t see.
    Mesmer moved on to Paris and decided to start again. He rented an apartment and had it specially decorated. He had stained glass windows installed that created a religious feeling. He used mirrors on the walls to producer a hypnotic effect. Woman especially came to his parlor and paid to see the miracles that would be performed there.
    Mesmer had special scents of orange blossoms and exotic incense coming in through vents. There was harp music and the soothing sounds of a woman’s voice singing. And there in the middle of the room was a long oval container filled with water that Mesmer said was magnetized. There was a metal lid with movable iron rods sticking out. The “clients” sat around and placed these magnetized rods on the body part that needed treatment. The people would sit as close as possible to each other, hold hands so that the power would be enhanced.
    Mesmer’s assistants would come in and massage magnetized water on the clients putting them into a trance like state. Soon the women would become delirious, shriek, tear their hair and even laugh hysterically. Mesmer than would enter the room in a long flowing robe carrying a magnetic rod. He would stroke the women until the hysteria died down. Mesmer, the women reported, had this strange power over them due to his piercing look. The women thought that this look had the effect of exciting or quieting the magnetic fluids in their body.

  50. falcon says:

    Of course Mesmer claimed that his methods could bring all of humanity into harmony. A French commission disagreed and Mesmer’s theories were debunked in a published report. The report said that Mesmer’s supposed magnetism effects were actually the results of group hysteria and autosuggestion. The cult of Mesmerism had taken hold and “Societies of Harmony” had been established in many towns.
    Chastised by the report Mesmer retired but unwilling to let a good thing go, a few years later more prophets of Mesmerism sprung up and attracted more followers than before.
    Robert Greene in “The 48 Laws of Power” summarizes Mesmer in this way.
    “Our tendency to doubt, the distance that allows us to reason, is broken down when we join a group. The warmth and infectiousness of the group overwhelm the skeptical individual. This is the power you gain by creating a cult…….the most effective cults mix religion with science. Take the latest technological trend or fad and blend it with a noble cause, a mystical faith, a new form of healing. People’s interpretations of your hybrid cult will run rampant, and they will attribute powers to you that you had never even thought to claim.”
    In conclusion read the words of Grete de Francesco:
    “The charlatan achieves his great power by simply opening a possibility for men to believe what they already want to believe…..The credulous cannot keep at a distance; they crowd around the wonder worker, entering his personal aura, surrendering themselves to illusion with a heavy solemnity, like cattle.”

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