Joseph Smith Fooled by the Devil?

© 1999 Institute for Religious Research

© 1999 Institute for Religious Research

In late 1829 or early 1830 insufficient funding held up the first printing of the Book of Mormon. Martin Harris was trying to sell his farm to raise the needed capital, but was not having immediate success. At the urging of friends, Joseph Smith sought direction from God. Placing his trusty seer stone in a hat, Joseph looked in and received a revelation that instructed him to send representatives to Canada; there they would sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon and return with enough money to publish the book in the United States.

According to Mormon Apostle and Book of Mormon witness David Whitmer,

“Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery went to Toronto on this mission, but they failed entirely to sell the copy-right, returning without any money. Joseph was at my father’s house when they returned. I was there also, and am an eye witness to these facts. Jacob Whitmer and John Whitmer were also present when Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery returned from Canada. Well, we were all in great trouble; and we asked Joseph how it was that he had received a revelation from the Lord for some brethren to go to Toronto and sell the copy-right, and the brethren had utterly failed in their undertaking. Joseph did not know how it was, so he enquired of the Lord about it, and behold the following revelation came through the stone: ‘Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil.’ So we see that the revelation to go to Toronto and sell the copy-right was not of God, but was of the devil or of the heart of man. When a man enquires of the Lord concerning a matter, if he is deceived by his own carnal desires, and is in error, he will receive an answer according to his erring heart, but it will not be a revelation from the Lord. This was a lesson for our benefit and we should have profited by it in future more than we did…” (An Address to All Believers in Christ, 31)

Brigham Young once made this sage observation in relation to another matter:

“A man that will be fooled by the Devil—a man that has not sense to discern between steel grey mixed and iron grey mixed when one is dyed with logwood and the other with indigo, may be deceived again.” (A Book of Mormons, 185)

David Whitmer would probably agree for he offered readers this sound counsel:

“Remember this matter brethren; it is very important…Now is it wisdom to put your trust in Joseph Smith and believe all his revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants to be of God? Every one who does not desire to be of Paul, or of Apollos, or of Joseph, but desires to be of Christ will say that it is not wisdom to put our trust in him and believe his revelations as if from God’s own mouth!” (ibid.)


And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name.
I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them.
They are prophesying to you a lying vision,
worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.”
-Jeremiah 14:14-

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 Book of Mormon, Early Mormonism, Joseph Smith, Mormon History, Truth, Honesty, Prayer, and Inquiry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Joseph Smith Fooled by the Devil?

  1. falcon says:

    Joseph didn’t fail in this prophecy! It was the fault of the magic rock and those deceitful spirits that were always trying to trip-up the prophet.
    Interestingly enough, this use to happen when Joseph and his friends were hunting for buried treasure but, alas, could never find any. There was always some excuse as Grant Palmer explains. Either someone talked out-of-turn or drew the circle wrong. I think, if I’m not mistaken, that the treasure would get moved or sink lower into the earth on occasion.
    Mormons are full of excuses and alibis as to why something may appear as evidence but is really all lies or a mis-interpretation or taken out of context and on and on. The bottom line is that if someone really wants to believe something, they’ll find a reason to believe it.

  2. Old man says:

    I’m probably going out on a limb when I say this but I don’t believe that Jo Smith was ‘fooled by the devil’. From my perspective it’s more likely, at least initially, that he saw religion as a more lucrative endeavour than ‘treasure seeking’ It’s just my opinion but I’m sure that he saw his time as a ‘treasure seeker’ was drawing to a close, prior to his revealing the ‘gold plates’ was there anyone left who actually believed that he could see hidden treasure? So, why not drop all that & become a minister of religion, after all, the groundwork had already been laid by Ethan Smith & possibly Solomon Spaulding. His decision to do this would certainly fit in well with what we know of his character. He was not simply charismatic, in my opinion he was also a true narcissist & it’s my belief that he eventually convinced himself that God was guiding him. However, having said that it’s also my belief that once he had started out on that road he laid himself open to spiritual forces & eventually came to be oppressed, possibly possessed, by a powerful spirit of deception. The LDS church was founded in deception & even now continues to be controlled by that same deceiving spirit. For proof of this one has only to look at the continuous stream of half-truths & plain old-fashioned lies put out by the leaders of this so called church.

  3. MJP says:

    Do I read Smith to say that if it turns out OK, then it is from God?

  4. grindael says:

    I agree with Old Man on this one. I think Smith was just motivated by plain old fashioned greed to begin with, just like his father was. He really thought the BOM was going to take off. His mother Lucy reported that they were to live off the proceeds of the Book, Martin Harris said he was in it for money (in addition to its religious claims) and Jo certainly was. Jo still had this mindframe in 1838 when he wrote to his brother and told him about “treasures buried in the earth” in Missouri and how he could get rich off of them.

  5. falcon says:

    I could never figure out why Mormons would believe Joseph Smith was a prophet. Who he was, was always pretty plain to me. Then I realized that Mormons had bought into a myth, not reality. How much evidence does it take to shake a Mormon’s faith in Joseph Smith? I think it comes down to how bad they want to believe the myth. There are those for whom the religion has become a drag and they see the hypocrisy of the scam. For those folks learning about Joseph Smith is a confirmation of what may have just been hinted at before. For others, they have way too much equity in the system that needs to be rescued. For those, any explanation will do; for a while.

  6. Kate says:

    “Do I read Smith to say that if it turns out OK, then it is from God?”

    Welcome to Mormonism! All you have to do is look at what past prophets have revealed. If it is embarrassing or out in left field then it wasn’t from God! If it’s acceptable then it was from God! If a prophecy didn’t come to pass, it wasn’t from God! See, it’s simple! There is no consistency whatsoever in Mormonism. Especially with the LDS. With the LDS, Mormonism has become a modge podge, cut and paste, wishy washy, pick and choose which parts you want to believe religion. It certainly isn’t the Mormonism I grew up with where we would be offended to be lumped in with apostate Christianity. We were so much better than that. We were the only true church and the only true Christians and we weren’t afraid to shout it from the roof tops. We had prophets who stood up in front of the world twice a year and boldly proclaimed what we believed along with faith promoting stories.. We were a peculiar people who’s ancestors had suffered great persecution for our religion and we were still being persecuted by the world because we were the only true church. We followed every word and teaching of the prophet and we didn’t dare question anything because the church was perfect but we weren’t. I could go on and on lol! Yes, Mormonism has changed!

  7. falcon says:

    Man aren’t you glad you’re out of it………..Mormonism that is!
    When I was watching the movie about the “prophet” at the visitors center at the Carthage Jail, there was this young couple sitting in front of us, he had his arm around her, they had the baby and they were just in dreamland. They were so taken in. Actually the scene was replayed in Nauvoo as the really dedicated folks seemed to have made the pilgrimage.
    Mormonism defines their lives. It is who they are. I was wishing they could take that sincerity, devotion and commitment and apply it to a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. These folks are in love with Mormonism.
    What happens when the dream is shattered. You’ve been there, listened to the prophets and leaders, hung on their every word and then it turns out to be less true than Disney World. At least at Disney World there are rides!

  8. Kate says:


    I can only speak for myself , I was devastated when I finally figured it out. It was a hard thing to go through. I could easily have continued being a Mormon for the culture I was familiar with, but I have this little thing called integrity. I could not live a lie. Somewhere in that mess I found the true and living Christ of the Bible. It’s incredible and now my heart aches for the suffering of my ancestors, the ones who spent every penny they had on the crossing from Europe and the ones who were there from the beginning who suffered polygamy and all the heartache that brought. Just think about all those people who died on the way to Zion. All the innocent babies and children who didn’t choose it. I have read stories of women who were converted in Europe, traveled here, was married into polygamy, found out it wasn’t what it was cracked up to be and wanted to go home. Brigham Young told them they could leave as soon as they paid the church back for their passage over. I can’t imagine being trapped like that. I’m sure they were threatened for being an apostate as well.
    I’m with you, Mormons need to put that sincerity, devotion and commitment into a personal relationship with Jesus. He’s an afterthought in Mormonism.

  9. MJP says:

    Kate, well said. I see that even in the discussions here. LDS do seem to pick and choose that which they want to present about their present beliefs, and their history.

    I, personally, would respect them more if they were to stand proud with what they actually believe and not try so hard to fit in with the rest of society.

  10. Old man says:


    As an ex-Mormon you know far more about past Mormon doctrine than I ever will & I would go along with what you say 100% but I would like to add a little something to your post.
    From my perspective I don’t believe that there is any fundamental change in the church, if there has been I have yet to see it. It might be wearing this years outer garments but under the fashionable new hat & coat can still be seen last years underwear. As far as I can make out it’s all window dressing, nothing more than a public relations exercise & essentially no different to that practised by any other business organization.
    It’s my belief that the ‘prophet’ (CEO) & the various leaders (management) have come to realise, no doubt through the LDS PR division, that we live in a world where people are more cynical than of old, much less trusting of door to door ‘salesmen’ now they are inclined to go to the computer to check out what’s true & what’s false.
    The LDS know they have to change tack & change quickly for, in spite of all their denials they are haemorrhaging members at a previously unheard of rate.
    So, what has frightened the leadership so much that they want the LDS to appear as a Christian organization? It’s quite simple really, the two things the LDS leadership fear more than any other is loss of revenue & loss of authority. The only way to combat that without destroying basic Mormonism is to ‘appear’ to be Christian hence the need to wear a fashionable new coat. I’ll believe that the underwear has changed only when I see a doctrinal change in writing & that’s not going to happen any time soon.

  11. Kate says:

    Old man,
    “As an ex-Mormon you know far more about past Mormon doctrine than I ever will”

    I would say that I know more about Utah Mormon culture but I knew almost nothing of Mormon doctrines. Only the whitewashed versions taught at church. I’m sure you know more about Mormon doctrines than I ever did as a Mormon. I think you are correct that the importance of money and authority are the same. It’s the lay members that are changing. How can they not change when faced with true Mormon doctrines and teachings that were once hidden and are now available with the click of a mouse? Mormon doctrines are recorded in black and white and that’s what we go over again and again on this site. Mormons now days will come up with some pretty far out mental gymnastics to make those doctrines fit today’s beliefs or they chalk it up to opinion or folklore. We didn’t have to deal with this when I was growing up Mormon. It’s interesting to me that older generation Mormons are leaving. Those of us that have lived and believed it for 40, 50, even 60 years. We see LDS leaders sit back quietly while lay members are defending the faith. They let apologetic sites like FARMS and FAIR say what Mormon doctrines and beliefs are, and if someone, anyone, shows their answers wrong, well it isn’t the church’s fault, it isn’t official and they endorse nothing. We have gone from prophets who dared to speak in general conference to prophets who just don’t know where some of these doctrines came from, even though they were taught these doctrines growing up ( Think blacks and the priesthood) why follow a man who doesn’t know the basics of that doctrine? Why follow a man who doesn’t know if God was once a man even though that is basic Mormonism? What I am saying is, as lay members, it’s now OK to believe whatever you want, even about prophets and leaders. When I was LDS, you weren’t allowed to do that, you conformed or you were disfellowshipped or excommunicated.
    In that sense, Mormonism has changed.

  12. Old man says:

    Thanks for the reply, you explained yourself very well 🙂
    Interesting that you should say it’s ok to believe what you want, presumably as long as you’re not that honest at the Bishops interview. My ex finds herself in a similar situation since she stopped believing much of what she has been taught, to be blunt, she’s less than honest with her Bishop, not that I endorse dishonesty but if it’s ok for the LDS to deceive her then I imagine she thinks it’s ok for her to deceive them. From being a TBM she’s become a ‘social Mormon’ & I think that in time she will abandon that fraudulent organization for good.

  13. falcon says:

    Over the years, when I’ve traveled in the western part of the country, I’ve had occasion to run into former Mormons. One woman said something about her family having been Mormon, “way back when”. In a way, she liked raising her kids in a Mormon community because the teenagers, in this small community, were pretty straight and narrow. The funny thing is her daughter married a Mormon boy who was considered the “black sheep” of the family because he drank beer and was not into the program. So within that story are a couple of types of Mormons. “The way back one time” types and the one that just isn’t into the LDS church.
    Another Mormon I ran into talked about how her parents considered themselves failures because none of the three kids were Mormons of any stripe. She talked about being about 13 and asking her mom about the man to god program. The mom just sort of stuttered about. This woman had been raised in Utah.
    So I’ve seen a wide swath of Mormons. I’m sure there are various classifications.
    Let’s face it. Mormonism is only going to be attractive to a certain segment of the population. It’s just too far out there with the beliefs and system expectations.
    Some Mormons would view the above article and just make up a ton of excuses. Some wouldn’t even get the implications. Still others, it would spur them on to begin looking into the topic and be led to other discoveries.
    We can only hope that digging into Mormonism would lead them to Christ. I’m thankful that so many former Mormons post here. It serves as an example to current Mormons that there is life after Mormonism especially new life in Christ.

  14. Mike R says:

    Joseph Smith fooled by the Devil ? I think , given all those angels of light that appeared to him
    early on , that is a very good possibility . With what he told his colleages who were to go to
    Canada being a “revelation” I think of the three sources of “revelation” ( from God , or Satan
    or one’s own heart ) that what he experienced was of his own heart, his own reasoning . With
    most false prophets this is their m.o. They may have good intentions because they are living a
    moral lifestyle in accordance with what the scriptures teach so they assume that the still small
    whispering they hear/feel just has to be the voice of the Holy Ghost . That’s a trap anyone can
    succumb to , and Mormon leaders especially as is evident by their teaching track record since
    their alleged appointment by Jesus to teach the world about Him and the gospel . The Mormon
    people have been detoured from the truth by men who mimic the claims of Jesus’ true apostles.
    The sincere and decent LDS people have trusted their leaders to be reliable guides in teaching
    spiritual truths , largely because of also a feeling they accept as being from the Holy Ghost
    which tells them their leaders are accurate about the ” restored ” gospel or new insight about
    God which they introduce . But Mormons have been promised that their leaders would
    never teach false doctrine , therefore rank and file members are reminded that they are being
    influenced by Lucifer if they believe that their leaders are as likely to be wrong as they are to be
    right on doctrinal issues. These Mormons have been told to repent and get in line !
    It can be difficult for rank and file followers of false prophets , like Mormons , to test their
    prophets teachings /counsel by comparing it with God’s Word [ 1 Jn 4:1 ] seeing as they have
    a inner feeling that they trust having learned about it from these men in the first place . But
    Jesus was well aware of the danger of prophets/apostles arising in the latter days who might
    mimic those who He first appointed to spread His truths , and so His Word is here today to
    use in evaluating new gospels from latter days prophets —-Matt 24:11 ; Gal 1:8 .
    Any inner witness from the Holy Ghost will be consistent with the Word He authored —-
    Jn 14:26 ; 17:17-20; 20:31; 1Jn 4:6 .
    May the Mormon people test their prophets by the Word of God .

  15. falcon says:

    I’ve never been able to figure out why Mormons can’t connect the dots when it comes to Smith.
    Smith was an occultist. He and his extended family were into folk magic. He used his magic stone to hunt for buried treasure, to “translate” some plates he said he found and then to send his home boys up to Canada to try and sell the copyright for the BoM. It was a money scam with Smith and then he caught a wave and got into the lucrative religion business. That business continues today with LDS Inc. in Salt Lake City.
    Now to top all of this off is the fact that Smith had a woman problem his whole adult life. When he was able to sell himself as a prophet, he had a clear path to seduce numerous women under a religious scam.
    Smith is easy to see through. His use of second sight vision allowed him to get witnesses to the “golden plates” by having these (witnesses) to see the plates through the “eyes of faith”. In-other-words, they imagined it. It was all apart of the Smith hocus pocus from his treasure hunting days.
    I don’t know if he was tapping into demonic spirits or if he was simply using parlor games to work his magic.

  16. Mike R says:

    Falcon, I think the reason why followers of Joseph Smith don’t ” connect the dots ” , as you
    stated , is because of what I mentioned in my last post , namely , it’s because of feelings and /or
    fear . Mormon prophets instruct their followers to trust in a still small voice to hear , an inner
    witness they feel to be the Holy Ghost and if they are living right morally this will confirm that
    their prophet’s behavior or his new doctrines are from God when they ask Him about such .
    Then there is the fear of criticizing the prophet, calling into question that he really has heard from
    God concerning his doctrinal revealments or given wrong counsel, to do this is to invite God’s
    judgement . It’s a sign of spiritual sickness and can easily lead to personal apostasy and loss of
    salvation (eternal life ) . Who wants to gamble with that ! It’s safer just to stay in line keep busy
    and keep your criticisms to your self and follow the leader . Of course there is a serious
    downside to this arrangement : Matt 15:14 .
    The Mormon people deserve better.

  17. Old man says:

    I was reading through a couple of your earlier posts & one thing in particular stuck in my mind, that of the suffering of your ancestors. You may have already read the article that I’m linking to but for anyone who hasn’t it makes fascinating & at times, heart breaking reading. To think that people calling themselves Christians & members of ‘the one true church’ could behave in such a way leaves me cold. That article should be required reading for anyone considering conversion to the LDS

    This declaration found in part one is worthy of note.
    Brigham Young announced: “I believe in Sisters marrying brothers, and brothers having their sisters for Wives.”

    No comment from me is needed his own words condemn him

    Anyway, here’s the link for anyone who would like to know more about early English converts to Mormonism

  18. Tom says:

    Kate made this comment:

    “It’s incredible and now my heart aches for the suffering of my ancestors, the ones who spent every penny they had on the crossing from Europe and the ones who were there from the beginning who suffered polygamy and all the heartache that brought”

    My third great grandparents joined the LDS Church in 1832 while living in Vermont. My great- great- grandmother was baptized at eight. She and my 2nd great-grandfather made it to SLC in 1850. That’s the background. They, also, suffered for the cause, which brings me to my comment.

    In 2003 my wife and I spent a few days in St. George, UT. We went on the tour of Brigham Young’s winter house. My first thought was, “This is a pretty nice place, even by modern standards.” Then I thought about my family. They gave up everything to go to Kirtland, OH because of the ‘revelations’ of the prophet. They moved again, leaving much behind, to go to Missouri because, in huge measure, of the prophet’s spiritual guidance regarding an illegal bank. They followed their prophet who was fleeing persecution, er, I mean prosecution in Ohio. They moved again, following their prophets’ misguided 1838 Fourth of July rhetoric. Once again, they lost everything. Then Nauvoo. Once again, their prophet’s megalomaniacal behavior was at the very root of another disastrous move. Once in SLS, where they stayed for ten years, slowly rebuilding their temporal condition, they heeded Brother Brigham’s call to go to Cache Valley(Logan, UT), where they really suffered and my second great-grandfather succumbed to an early death in 1877, the same year Brother Brigham died, while living in a dirt dugout with a sod roof.

    So, there I was, standing in Brother Brigham’s beautiful home in St. George. I remember getting very angry when the tour guide spoke about how marvelous it was that Young was able to come West virtually penniless and, through God’s blessings, build such a wonderful home. What a tribute to the industry of the saints. “What a load of horse s**t,” was my exact inner thought.

    My family lived in a mud hut while Brigham got rich because every last deal that ever went down in Utah Territory had to pass through his fingers. Another con man. Another mad led by the spirit of who knows what. Brigham wasn’t led by the Devil; he was the Devil.

  19. Tom says:

    man, not “mad.”

  20. Kate says:

    I have also toured that home. If you think that one is nice, you should tour the lion house in Salt lake. That was his home there. He lived the high life while most of those following him were dirt poor. Members of my family were also sent to the wilderness or barren deserts of Utah to build communities while he lived in the lap of luxury.
    When I was starting to research, I was reading the Journal of Discourses. What I read from Brigham Young made my skin crawl. How ANYONE can believe that evil, blood thirsty man was a prophet of God is beyond me! Joseph Smith was a lying, lustful, adulterous, immoral man, but Brigham was just plain evil.

    I personally don’t believe Joseph was deceived by Satan. I think he was a con man and religion was just another way to make him some money. I think even he was surprised when people actually followed him. I’ll bet he was really surprised when people gave him all they had for his Kirkland bank. Of course we all know how that turned out. I wonder how Mormonism would have turned out if he had not been killed. Prominent members were leaving and speaking out publicly against him because of polygamy and other weird things he was coming up with. I wonder what “revelations” he would have conjured up. I’m sure the D&C would be a lot thicker than it is now.
    I have to wonder why the Mormon god no longer speaks to his prophets. The D&C hasn’t been added to for over a hundred years. I don’t count the declarations on polygamy or the lifting of the priesthood ban on the Blacks. Those weren’t revelation, they were only done out of necessity.

  21. Tom says:


    I live in the Salt Lake valley, so I’ve been to the Beehive House many times. It’s the same deal: rich guy surrounded by a lot of poor people (not everyone, of course). When BY died, his personal fortune was so entangled with the Mormon Church’s, it took years to come to a settlement.


    “Brigham Young and other church authorities, when need required it, drew on the tithing resources of the church, and at a later date repaid part or all of the obligation in money, property, or services. No interest seems to have been paid for the use of these funds…. This ability to draw, almost at will, on church as well as his own funds, was a great advantage to Brigham Young and was certainly one of the reasons for his worldly success…. while Brigham Young was probably the largest borrower of funds from the trustee-in-trust, he was certainly not the only one.” (“The Settlement of the Brigham Young Estate,” 1877-1879, Reprinted from the Pacific Historical Review, vol. 21, no. 1, Feb. 1952, p.7-8)


    “During the three years’ presidency of the council of the twelve [after the death of Pres. Young] the affairs of the church quite generally were prosperous. Some difficulty arose, however, in the matter of settling the estate of the late President Brigham Young. Some claims were made by a number of the late president’s heirs respecting the possession of property that President Young held for the church as trustee-in-trust. It was alleged by them that President Young died seized of an estate valued at two and a half millions of dollars. This, however, was denied by his executors, and also by President John Taylor…that the property to which Brigham Young held the legal right or title was not worth over $1,626,000; and further they affirmed, that much of said estate was held by the testator in trust for the Church…and that Brigham Young was largely indebted at the time of his death ‘and justly owed to said church over $1,000,000.’ ” (Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, vol. 5, by B. H. Roberts, p.524-525, BYU Press 1965)

    The guy’s financial dealings were shady at best. To be able to dip into church funds at will for personal financial gain is very telling of the man. I’m confident that current upper leadership sees financial advantages as well, although probably not as egregious as Brother Brigham’s.

    This ties into this blog post, because even today there is an attitude that The Lord calls successful men into their high and holy callings, as Gordon B. Hinckley was wont to call them, because He somehow “needs” the wealthy, powerful, and influential to move the cause along. Oh, really? Give me a Mother Teresa, a Thomas Merton, a Dietrich Bonhoeffer, or an N. T. Wright any day over one of these bloated, nepotistic wanna-be’s. to me, most of what my LDS friends and family point to as divinely guided inspiration are no more or less than corporate-style decisions, based on money and statistical data. One of my ah-ha moments came when I finally saw that most of the ‘big’ changes seemed to be no more than the output of boardroom deliberations, statistical analysis, pilot programs, and focus groups. Revelation, indeed. Harrumph!

  22. grindael says:

    Tom & Kate,

    Wilford Woodruff wrote up Young’s expenses and detailed them in his Journals after his death. Notice the salary Young got for 30 years…

    The following property was Turned over to day By George Q. Cannon & Brigham Young and Albert Carrington as Executors of the Esstate of Presidet Brigham Young to John Taylor Trustee in Trust for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This property turned over was Church Property or to Pay Church Debts.
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    $ $ ct
    The Empire Mills 40,000
    Two offices of Presidet Young 7,000
    Gordo House 100,000
    Theater 125,000
    Various lots of Land 28,648.50
    Washington Factory 60,000
    Z.C.M.I. Stock 118,000
    Provo Factory 50,000
    Utah Southern Rail Road Bonds 16,000
    Street Rail Road Bonds or Stock 55,050
    Salt Lake City Gass Stock 80,000
    For Mary Ann and Amelia Young 20.000
    Total 699,698.50

    For Services Rendered the Church

    for 30 years $10,000 [Total] 300,000.00

    Total of all Claims against the Esstate $999,698.50

    Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 7, p.409

    This means that Young was paid a salary of $10,000 a year for 30 years, and that was IN ADDITION to all of the other perks he got as President of the LDS Corporation. Every one of his apostles (that he liked) got rich off of Church Money used for investments. He didn’t like Orson Pratt nor Orson Hyde so they had money problems, but still got over $2000 a year in salary. Here is Young flat out LYING to Horace Greely,

    G. Then how do you get your living?

    Y. I would think myself a poor financeer if I Could not work for Nothing & keep myself. There is No man from the Highest to the lowest in the Church that Has a salary. The Presidency, Twelve Seventies & all the Elders who labour for the interest of the Church do it without a salary. The Elders travel the world over as it were & go without purse or scrip or money & all preach without a salary.(Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 5, p. 360, July 13, 1859.)

    G. Were not the leaders of the Church poor? You say you have no salary. You seem to be wealthy. I do not see how you get your property.

    B.Y. I gathered some property in kirtland. I earned it with my hands except half of a pig which weighed 90 lbs which Joseph Gave me. We had to leave kirtland through persecution. I Came to Nauvoo with nothing. I there got a property through my labor & the Blessings of God.

    We were driven from our property there & I had to Borrow to get here & now my Property I suppose is worth some three hundred thousand dollars. And you may ask any man in heaven Earth or Hell, if I have wronged him out of a dollar and if you Can find such a man I will make it right. I have wronged No man. I have paid for what I have had as I have said I do not have as much as an Ear of Corn out of the tithing office ownly what I pay for. I Borrowed money to help the poor when I Came here and I want you to write my statement as I give it for it is true as the son.

    I financeer my affairs according to the wisdom God has given me & I trust to him & he alone gives me my increase. There are fears here that there will not any potatoes grow. I shall look for potatoes when it is time to dig them. I do so with all my business. The Lord kan make me rich or poor Just as he pleases. I Care not a groat for all the gold & silver in the world and Jesus Christ did not. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 5, p. 364, July 13, 1859.)

    True as the sun? Hardly. False as can be. How can anyone trust that these men speak for God when they blatantly lie like that? Here is where they raised the wage of “apostle” Erastus Snow to $2500 a year…

    Jan 10 1883 I attended the Council in the Afternoon and a vote was taken to raise the wages of Erastus Snow to $2,500 a year and that he send up his back account and it should be allowed him. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 8, p.146)

    The blatant lying of these “prophets” is just disgusting. Even Bishops and Stake Presidents got salaries back then, a portion of their tithing receipts. The Corporation suits stopped that though, why pay them when they could get them to do it for free? Too bad they don’t think enough of the poor to do the same themselves. The pay out to Young’s wives that Woodruff documents had to do with the Gardo House that was supposed to go to them when Young died. Instead, John Taylor and his wives moved into it. This article documents how this was received by those in Utah…Taylor’s justification for living there? Here you go,

    Zion should become the praise of the whole earth, and that we in this land should take a prominent and leading part in the arts, sciences, architecture, literature, and in everything that would tend to . . . exalt and ennoble Zion. [It is the president’s duty] to take the lead in everything that is calculated to . . . place Zion where she ought to be, first and foremost among the peoples

    So it’s his “duty” to live like a king while the poor suffer? Wow. Unbelievable.

  23. johnnyboy says:


    I seriously can’t understand how lurkers out there reading this comment thread can honestly justify any of these actions taken by Brigham young. I have journals of my own family history where Brigham would demand money for divorcing women who were being beaten and abused by their “loving” husbands.

    Random side note: my wife discovered today the verse in Mathew where The Lord discusses marriage. She was shocked at how vastly opposite it is to Mormons definition of marriage. So she looked up what fair and farms had to say on the subject. Basically it boiled down to “the bible is incomplete and modern prophets trump biblicist doctrine.” I laughed and told her we should probably start calling Jesus’ words on this topic “The Jesus marriage theory” as it’s not really doctrine and modern prophets have straightened it all out for us. I guess The Lord was just speaking as a man and not as the Son of God when he told us that marriage ends at death.

    According to fair there is no celestial marriage in the resurrection. I guess all those Sunday school lessons were wrong when they told us that the girls who were too homely to get married in this life would have it worked out by then. Or maybe they were right and fair was wrong. Maybe I’ll just toss a coin. Tails never fails!

  24. grindael says:

    Hi Johnny,

    That was a very interesting post for me, because I was thinking about that last night myself, and I thought, why don’t Mormons just say about Jesus and his Apostles what they do about their own, that hey, that part of his teachings is just “opinion”. A god is only a god when he is acting as such. That way, the things they don’t want to carry any weight, don’t. What people forget is that Brigham Young (at his own insistence) and all other “prophets” instituted a THEOCRATIC GOVERNMENT. That means that their words are law. They went Old Testament on everyone. (That is why Mormonism is so crazy).

    So to pick and choose amongst their teachings would be like saying to Jeremiah, or Isaiah, I’m not going to give that any importance… that’s just your OPINION. Young had all day long to sit in his office and give opinions. The stuff we quote are his SERMONS. Don’t you think he would be acting like a prophet then? If not then, when? The same for the rest of them. And like I documented above, there are scores of times in those sermons when they specifically say, THIS IS MY OPINION. But you don’t see Mormons at FAIR giving anyone that information.

    Mormon “prophets” all had clerks for a reason. They WANTED their words recorded! And many of them are still squirreled away by the church. For example they just has a private dealer buy up the John V. Long diaries, that are written in Pitman Shorthand. They came up for sale in 2007 and a Mormon bought then and donated them to the church. (That is how the church operates – the same as they did with Hofmann). I doubt we will see them, because Long broke with Young, and died with his face in a ditch of water and they say he “drowned”.

    Young used to charge $10 for a divorce. In those days, that was about $200 in today’s currency.

  25. Kate says:

    I wonder how much of a modest salary today’s prophet is paid. Mormons say these leaders leave high paying jobs to serve in those callings but tell me what high paying job did Thomas Monson leave? Hasn’t he always worked for the church?

    “Young used to charge $10 for a divorce. In those days, that was about $200 in today’s currency.”

    Wouldn’t this be considered indulgences? I had a great Aunt who married a Catholic, she converted to Catholicism. When he died my Mormon family were appalled because she paid the priest.
    None of this is shocking to me anymore.

    Yes, the Beehive house too. His first wife lived in a smaller house. So that makes what? At least four homes?After the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the church took all of the victim’s belongings, wagons, horses, over 800 head of cattle, money, and I’ve read that Brigham rode around in a very fancy carriage that also belonged to the Fancher party. None of that was ever returned to the victim’s families. How much of that wealth did Brigham pocket for himself? Was any of that recorded?

  26. johnnyboy says:


    Didn’t the church historian who went to answer members questions in Sweden say the same? Didn’t he claim to have left some high paying career for the church? That turned out to be dubious at best after people went and looked up his job history.

  27. Mike R says:

    If we’re talking about being fooled then we should look at how sincere, decent, people have been
    fooled by false prophets/apostles who arise in these latter days . Mormons are such people,
    they have been fooled by men who convinced them to follow by mimicking the claims of Jesus’
    true apostles. Many Mormons who once were fooled by the clever advertising of these men
    to have the very same church organization and very same gospel which was established through
    the apostles of the New Testament times , now “restored” , are finally discovering the difference
    and are moving to a liberating experience with the true Savior and His authentic gospel of
    salvation by exchanging their latter days apostles for the real ones , the ones that Jesus
    actually appointed to preach His good news . They are no longer fooled by an imitation .

  28. grindael says:

    Monson has worked for the Church his entire life except for a brief teaching stint at UofU:

    In 1945 Monson joined the United States Naval Reserve and anticipated participating in World War II in the Pacific theater. He was sent to San Diego, California for training, but was not moved overseas before the end of the war. His tour of duty lasted six months beyond the end of the war, and after it was completed he returned to the University of Utah. Monson graduated cum laude in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in business management.[8] Monson did not serve a full-time mission as a youth. At age 21, on October 7, 1948, he married Frances Beverly Johnson in the Salt Lake Temple. The couple eventually had three children: Thomas Lee, Ann Frances, and Clark Spencer. His wife, Frances, died on May 17, 2013.

    After college he rejoined the Naval Reserve with the aim of becoming an officer. Shortly after receiving his commission acceptance letter, his ward bishop asked him to serve as a counselor in the bishopric. Time conflicts with bishopric meetings would have made serving in the Navy impossible. After discussing things with church apostle Harold B. Lee, (his former stake president), Monson declined the commission and applied for a discharge. The Navy granted his discharge in the last group processed before the Korean War. Lee set him apart six months later as a bishop—mentioning in the blessing that he likely would not have been called if he had accepted the commission.

    Monson taught for a time at the University of Utah, then began a career in publishing. His first job was with the Deseret News, where he became an advertising executive. He joined the advertising operations of the Newspaper Agency Corporation when it was formed in 1952. [Owned by the Church] Monson later transferred to the Deseret News Press, beginning as sales manager and eventually becoming general manager. While with Deseret News Press, Monson worked to publish LeGrand Richards’s A Marvelous Work And A Wonder. He also worked with Gordon B. Hinckley, the LDS Church’s representative on publications, with whom he later served in the First Presidency. wiki

    Thomas S. Monson : -2nd cousin, once removed of Graham W Doxey
    -3rd cousin, once removed of wife of M Russell Ballard
    -3rd cousin, once removed of Spencer J Condie

    “Some people say a person receives a position in this church through revelation, and others say they get it through inspiriation, but I say they get it through relation. If I hadn’t been related to Heber C. Kimball, I wouldn’t have been a damn thing in this church.” – J.Golden Kimball after he was called to First Council of the Seventy in 1892. In later years, he explained why he had not been advanced to the Quorum of the Twelve: “The main reason was that my father was dead and I was not popular with the brethren.”

    If you are related to enough people, and socially integrated into the Church with a solid background, you are golden for advancement. Jesus went out and chose his 12 from among the poor. The Mormon Corporation now grooms their hierarchy and chooses from the lawyers, and businessmen or those who have climbed the ranks of the Church System. There are few exceptions.

  29. falcon says:

    There’s a major difference between political church appointees and those that God actually chooses as apostles or who are gifted as prophets.
    Since Mormons are clueless regarding who God is, their appointments are in the flesh and are made to run the Mormon religious system.
    Mormons have no respect for God because they don’t acknowledge Him as God but rather they have gathered about themselves mere men whose job it is to tickle the ears of the church members.
    Coming to Christ in faith changes the equation totally because at that point a person is not dependent on a religious system for their salvation, but they are resting solely on Jesus and what He did for them.
    Mormons believe they have to “earn” their reward within the Mormon system of works. They can never get good enough, unless the LDS church declares them righteous having reached the pinnacle of LDS accomplishment.

  30. falcon says:

    Wasn’t it the comedian Flip Wilson that use to claim in one of his routines that “the devil made him do it”?
    That’s a pretty good out actually if someone doesn’t want to take responsibility for their behavior. Mormons, with maybe the exception of a couple of the sects, are masters in providing excuses for the behavior of their “prophets”. Prime examples are Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Mormons will spin themselves into the ground to come up with excuses, alibis and tortured explanations for the things their prophets have done.
    Some of these things deal with behavior and routine personal practice but much of it has to do with the shifting sands of Mormon doctrine and belief. That’s one of the primary reasons people leave Mormonism. They find things out and they are unable and unwilling to compromise their personal integrity to prop-up the leadership.
    It’s a real shame when you think of the time, money and effort many of these Mormon folks devote to a religious system and leaders that deserve their contempt rather than their admiration.

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