LDS Prophets and Prophecies, Part XXVI

By Marvin W. Cowan

Polygamy was so important in early Mormonism that their first seven Prophets or Presidents and thousands of members were polygamists. “The Lord” commanded Joseph Smith and other LDS men to have more than one wife in Doctrine & Covenants (D. & C.) Sec. 132 which was recorded on July 12, 1843. That is the only LDS scripture that clearly teaches polygamy, but it also teaches celestial (eternal) marriage and those two LDS beliefs are so intertwined that it is not easy to separate them. D. & C. 132 is still in LDS scripture even though LDS claim polygamy ended in 1890. It remains in LDS scripture because it is their only scripture that defines Celestial Marriage, but it also teaches polygamy, so it can be a problem for them. D. & C. 131:2 does mention “the new and everlasting covenant of marriage,” but it doesn’t define it. It is dated May 16 & 17, 1843, which was two months before D. & C. 132 defined Celestial Marriage.

D. & C. 132:4 says polygamy is “a new and everlasting covenant.” LDS Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie said, “Each time this everlasting covenant is revealed it is new to those of that dispensation” and it is everlasting because the Everlasting God revealed it (Mormon Doctrine, p. 530). Was it really new if Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other Old Testament men lived it as D. & C. 132:34-39 says? And was it really everlasting if it was first recorded in 1843 and ended 47 years later in 1890 when LDS Prophet Wilford Woodruff issued his “Manifesto”? Is “everlasting life” that brief? D. & C. 132 was recorded on July 12, 1843 and was announced publically on August 29, 1852 by LDS Apostle Orson Pratt, but it didn’t become LDS scripture until 1876 when it was added to the D. & C. If LDS polygamy ended in 1890, the “new and everlasting covenant” was only in their scripture 14 years when they were told not to obey it! Although years of pressure by the US Government led Woodruff to issue his Manifesto which told LDS to obey the laws of the land, they still call it a “revelation from God.” But polygamy was so important to LDS from Joseph Smith’s time until 1890 that many didn’t give it up. Brigham Young, the second LDS Prophet even said, “The only men who become Gods, even the sons of God are those who enter polygamy” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269). So, some polygamists went to Canada or Mexico to continue polygamy while still others secretly practiced it in the USA. But, pressure from the US Government continued until another LDS “Manifesto” was issued in 1904. That ended most of the LDS polygamy the USA, but some Mormons still didn’t give it up because they thought their leaders were obeying man rather than God.

Many of those who continued to practice polygamy claimed to be the true successors of Joseph Smith’s Church. They formed the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) and other Mormon polygamist or fundamentalist groups. A few LDS today have their membership in both the LDS Church and one of the polygamist groups. But LDS leaders claim there is no connection between their Church and polygamist groups like the FLDS. If there is no connection between the LDS and FLDS Churches, why do they both claim that: 1. Joseph Smith was their founder; 2. their first three Prophets are the same men; 3. they are led by a Prophet today; 4. they accept the Bible, Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price as scripture; 5. they have the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods; 6. they are the one true church; 7. they have temples where sacred (secret) rites are performed for eternity; 8. God authorized Joseph Smith in D. & C. 132 to teach and live in polygamy and it is “scripture”. Such things show that there is a long historical connection between LDS and FLDS Churches even though there is no organizational connection today.

In April 2008 the polygamous Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch in Texas, which is owned by the FLDS Church, was raided by Texas authorities because they were told underage girls were being pressured to marry older polygamous men. The news media carried many reports about the raid and the FLDS Church. A survey later showed that 36% of people interviewed thought the YFZ Ranch was part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon or LDS Church). The LDS Church wants to be accepted as “Christian” and they know if people think they are involved with polygamy, that acceptance won’t happen. So, whenever the news media reports about fundamentalist Mormon groups, Mormon leaders have asked them to clearly state that they are not part of the LDS Church. If the Mormon Church doesn’t want to be identified with polygamy there are at least three things they can do that will help them: 1. Take D. & C. Sec. 132 (about polygamy) out of their scripture or have a “revelation” canceling it. 2. Quit the current practice of marrying or sealing multiple wives to Mormon men for eternity in LDS temples, even though they may not live in a polygamous relationship now. 3. Quit teaching that LDS men will have multiple wives after this life in eternity when they become gods. In those areas Mormonism still has a strong connection to polygamy!

LDS Prophets and Prophecies, Part XXV

By Marvin W. Cowan

Joseph Smith, the founding Prophet and first President of the Mormon Church, was a polygamist. He claimed God revealed to him that he and other LDS men were to have more than one wife. That revelation was “recorded on July 12, 1843” and is now Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 132. The first four verses out of the 65 that make up D. & C. 132 state: “Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph (Smith), that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter. Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same. For behold, I reveal a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.”

The introduction to D. & C. 132 says, “Although the revelation was recorded in 1843, it is evident from historical records that the doctrines and principles involved in this revelation had been known by the Prophet (Smith) since 1831.” If Smith knew the doctrines and principles of having more than one wife since 1831, where did he get that information? There is no record of a revelation on that subject prior to D. & C. 132 recorded on July 12, 1843. The introduction to D. & C. 132 says “It is evident from historical records” that Smith knew about this doctrine since 1831, but the only historical evidence that exists is that Smith began marrying other women as plural wives in 1831! Wouldn’t an all wise God have given the revelation before Smith began marrying other wives if the revelation came from Him? Since Smith “recorded” D. & C. 132 twelve years after he began to marry several other wives, was he trying to justify what he was already doing? D. & C. 132 clearly shows that Smith had other wives before he received this revelation because he is told in verse three, “Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you…” Since “the Lord” was “about to give” instructions concerning having more than one wife, He had not given those instructions to Smith previously. But, verse 52 of this revelation says, “And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith (Joseph Smith’s first wife) receive all those (wives) that have been given unto my servant Joseph…” The words “have been given” show that Smith already had other wives when “the Lord” gave him this revelation!

In D. & C. 132:1 Joseph Smith was obviously thinking about polygamy when he asked “the Lord” how Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other Old Testament men were justified in “having many wives and concubines.” Some men in the Old Testament did have more than one wife, but the Bible does not say that God commanded them to do that or that He “justified” them in it. Smith seems to be looking for a way to justify himself since he already had several wives. In verse one of this “revelation” the subject of having many wives was brought up by Smith, not God. But the Bible says, “No prophecy (revelation) ever came by the will of man; but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Pet. 1:21). In other words, revelation from God doesn’t originate with man and isn’t given because man wants it. Revelation is given only because God knows we need it and He wants to give it.

When God created the first man and woman He said, “Therefore, shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Notice, it says “wife,” not wives. Jesus also said in Matt. 19:4-5 “Have ye not read, that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain (two) shall be one flesh.” Again it says “wife,” not wives. It also says “they two” shall be one flesh, not the man and his five, ten, or twelve wives shall be one flesh! Eph. 5:31 also says, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” These and other Biblical texts clearly teach monogamy, not polygamy. There is no Biblical command to be a polygamist, but there are many texts that teach monogamy. So, why was Joseph Smith asking about polygamy instead of monogamy? Was he was looking for a way to make the polygamous lifestyle he had lived since 1831 appear to be holy or scriptural because he knew that most people would not accept it otherwise?

LDS Prophets and Prophecies, Part XXIV

By Marvin W. Cowan

Joseph Smith said the Lord named their Church the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because they were living in the last days (Doctrine and Covenants 115:3-4). And he said D. & C. 112:15 was revealed to him by the Lord on July 23, 1843. It said, “Exalt not yourselves; rebel not against my servant Joseph; for verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him; and the keys which I have given unto him, and also to youward, shall not be taken from him till I come.” That indicates that Smith will be alive and have the “keys” until Jesus returns! Joseph Smith also claimed that the Lord said in D. & C. 130 14-17, “I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore, let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter. I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face. I believe the coming of the Son of Man will not be any sooner than that time. D. & C. 130 is dated April 2, 1843 and came from Smith’s diary dated that day. Smith was born December 23, 1805, just one week before 1806 began. If 85 years are added to 1805 or 1806 Christ’s coming would be no sooner than 1890 or 1891, according to Smith.

At the LDS General Conference on April 6, 1843, just four days after the above prophecy, Joseph Smith also said, “Were I going to prophesy, I would say the end [of the world] would not come in 1844, 5, or 6, or in forty years. There are those of the rising generation who shall not taste death till Christ comes. I was once praying earnestly upon this subject, and a voice said unto me, ‘My son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years of age, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man.’ I was left to draw my own conclusions concerning this; and I took the liberty to conclude that if I did live to that time, He will make His appearance or I shall go where He is. I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written—the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till I am eighty-five years old” (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 336, also in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 286, by Joseph Fielding Smith, 6th LDS Prophet). Note that Smith said in 1843, “There are those of the rising generation who shall not taste death till Christ comes.” Is anyone still alive who was alive in 1843? LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie knew that this prophecy had to be fulfilled or Smith would be a false prophet. So he said, “It is not unreasonable to suppose that many young men had babies at the time of this prophecy (1843) and also had other children as much as 50 or 75 years later, assuming for instance that they were married again to younger women. This very probable assumption would bring the date up to, say, the 2nd decade in the 20th century—and the children so born would be members of that same rising generation of which the Prophet spoke. Now if these children lived to the normal age of men generally, they would be alive well past the year 2000 A D” (Mormon Doctrine, pages 692-693). So, if a 20 year old man had a child in 1843 and 75 years later in 1918 when he was 95 he had another child by a younger wife, that child would be 96 years old in 2014. Is 90 “the normal age of men generally”? How many 95 year old men fathered children in 1918? How many 96 year old people today are really part of the rising generation of 1843? McConkie tried very hard to show that Smith was a true prophet, but Christ has not come, so Smith’s prophecy still has not been fulfilled! On January 4, 1833 Smith also predicted many things would happen to that generation related to the coming of Christ and again said, “There are those now living upon the earth whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things which I have spoken, fulfilled” (H. of C. vol. 1, pp. 315-316). Most of what he predicted never happened, yet all of the people living in 1833 are dead!

The minutes of a meeting on February 14, 1835 when the first Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church were selected say: “President (Joseph) Smith then stated that the meeting had been called, because God had commanded it; and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit. He then gave a relation of some of the circumstances attending us while journeying to Zion (Missouri)—our trials, sufferings; and said God had not designed all this for nothing, but He had it in remembrance yet; and it was the will of God that those who went to Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, should be ordained to the ministry , and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh—even fifty-six years should wind up the scene” (H. of C. vol. 2, p. 182). The names of the 210 people who went to Zion and who were to “prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord” are listed in vol. 2, pages 183-185. They all died more than a century ago! A baby born the day Smith made this prophecy would be 179 years old in 2014 and everyone else living then would be older. Is anyone that old still alive? Smith also said those who went to Zion would “prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh—even fifty-six years should wind up the scene.” If 56 years are added to 1835 when this prophecy was made, it equals 1891, the same year Smith’s other prophecy predicted the Lord’s return. Did the Lord come then? Was this a true prophecy? What does that tell us about Joseph Smith as a prophet?

LDS Prophets and Prophecies, Part XXIII

By Marvin W. Cowan

Diaries are not usually considered to be scripture, but Doctrine and Covenants, Section 130 was copied from Joseph Smith’s diary dated April 2, 1843. All the introduction to D. & C. 130 says is, “Items of instruction by Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Ramus, Illinois, April 2, 1843 HC 5:323-335,” but D. & C. 130 doesn’t cite the source of those instructions. HC 5:323-335 is History of the Church vol. 5, pp. 323-325 and is given as a reference but neither it nor the Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual pp. 321-324 give the source of Smith’s instructions in D. & C. 130. However, parts of Smith’s diary on April 2, 1843 were copied with a few words changed to make D. & C. 130. To see that, compare D. & C. 130 with photo copies of Smith’s original 1843 diary, pages 37 through 44 or in the published volume entitled An American Prophet’s Record, The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith, pages 339 to 341, published by Signature Books in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1987. Smith’s diary on April 2, 1843 has other content before, after and between some of the verses in D. & C. 130, so how and why was the content selected to become LDS scripture? Did God intermittently inspire what Smith wrote in his diary that day? Smith didn’t say that any part of his diary was LDS scripture.

D. & C. 130:1 says, “When the Savior shall appear we shall see him as he is. We shall see that he is a man like ourselves.” I John 3:2 also says “We shall see Him as He is,” but it does not say He is just like us now. It says “We shall be like Him,” but that is future, when He returns. So, He is NOT a man like us now, as Smith said. D. & C. 130:2 says, “That same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory which glory we do not now enjoy.” Nothing in the Bible indicates that the same social structures we have here continues in eternity. On the contrary, the picture given in Revelation 21 & 22 is very different from our present society. Smith wrote in D. & C. 130:3, “John 14:23—The appearing of the Father and Son, in that verse, is a personal appearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false.” If that is a false sectarian notion, why does the Book of Mormon say in Alma 34:36: “…the Lord hath said He dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth He dwell.” This is just one of many places where Smith contradicted what he said somewhere else. The context of John 14:23 shows Jesus was not talking about a personal (physical) appearance. In John 14:19-20, Jesus said, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but you see me: because I live, you shall live also. At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” In John 14:22 a disciple asked Jesus, “How is it that you will manifest yourself unto us and not unto the world?” In response Jesus said in v. 23, “If a man loves me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” So, the context does not imply a personal, physical coming of the Father and Son as Smith claimed. Furthermore, John 15:5 says, “I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit.” The Bible also says that God or Christ is in believers in Rom. 8:9-10; Eph. 4:6; Col. 1:27; I John 4:4 etc., so that is not an old “sectarian notion” but a Biblical doctrine.

D. & C. 130:4 is not in Smith’s diary, but is a transition to a new subject. Then D. & C. 130:5-6 says angels who minister to this earth “belong to it or have belonged to it.” D. & C. 132 not only teaches polygamy but it also says in verses 16-17 that angels were mortals who lived on earth but did not get married for eternity (in an LDS temple) and therefore can’t become gods but will become angels who are single and who will serve others forever. So, LDS scripture says that is how angels “belong to this earth.” D. & C. 130:7-9 says angels and God live on a great “Urim and Thummim” which is “like a sea of glass and fire.” “This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto a crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon.” On page 323 of the Doctrine & Covenants Student Manual the 2nd LDS Prophet, Brigham Young, explained what that means when he said, “When it (the earth) becomes celestialized, it will be like the sun, and be prepared for the habitation of the (LDS) saints (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 163).” It also quoted Brigham saying, “This earth, when it becomes purified and sanctified, or celestialized, will become like a sea of glass; and a person, by looking into it, can know things past, present, and to come; though none but celestialized (LDS) beings can enjoy this privilege (J. of D. vol. 9, p. 87).” But, Brigham also said, “Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening, called the moon?…When you inquire about the inhabitants of that sphere you will find that the most learned are as ignorant in regard to them as the most ignorant of their fellows. So it is with regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No question about it; it was not made in vain” (J. of D. vol. 13, p. 271). In the same volume Brigham said, “I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture” (p. 95). Does Joseph Smith’s and Brigham Young’s “scripture” teach the same thing as the Bible? LDS claim to believe the Bible and they want to be accepted as part of mainstream Christianity, but the LDS teachings above are neither Christian nor Biblical.

LDS Prophets and Prophecies, Part XXII

By Marvin W. Cowan

The caption over Doctrine and Covenants Section 130 says, “Items of instruction given by Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Ramus, Illinois, April 2, 1843.” But, the Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual adds, “This section contains important items of instruction and doctrinal truths which the Prophet Joseph learned from God by revelation” (p. 321). So, Joseph Smith gave the instructions, but God gave them to him by revelation” and they were canonized as LDS scripture in D. & C. 130. Smith said in verses 12-13, “I prophesy, in the name of the Lord God, that the commencement of the difficulties which will cause much bloodshed previous to the coming of the Son of Man will be in South Carolina. It may probably arise through the slave question. This voice declared to me, while I was praying earnestly on the subject, December 25, 1832.” So, Smith said the slave question in South Carolina may probably cause the difficulties and bloodshed leading up to “the coming of the Son of Man (Christ).

The full text of Smith’s December 25, 1832 revelation is now D. & C. 87. LDS often call it “The Civil War Prophecy” and they believe it proves Smith was a true prophet. It says, “Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls; And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations beginning at this place. For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations. And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters and be marshaled and disciplined for war. And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation. And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightening also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations” (vs. 1-6).

On December 25, 1832, when Smith received this “revelation,” he lived in Kirtland, OH, next to Painesville, OH. Four days before Smith’s revelation the Painesville Telegraph & Geauga Free Press reprinted excerpts from “The Crisis,” an article originally in the New York Currier and Enquirer. It predicted South Carolina would soon start a war with the Northern States and also predicted many other things found in Smith’s “prophecy.” Other newspapers predicted similar events as early as July 1832 when Congress passed a tariff act that was harmful to the South. On November 24, 1832 South Carolina nullified that tariff act and declared their state was a free and independent nation. Tensions were so high that on December 10, 1832 President Andrew Jackson sent General Scott with part of the army and a warship to South Carolina and war was expected then. So, Smith’s prophecy isn’t as unique as Mormons think it is. But most of Smith’s predictions in D. & C. 87 did not happen. He said that “wars will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina” and that “war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place” (SC). Even though the Civil War did begin in South Carolina as expected, no other war after it had anything to do with South Carolina. But Joseph Fielding Smith, the 10th LDS Prophet, said that “the Civil War was the beginning of the war that will bring about the end of the world” (Doctrine & Covenants Student Manual, p. 194). South Carolina did call on Great Britain but Britain did not enter the Civil War, nor did they call on other nations in order to defend themselves against other nations as Smith predicted. Nor was war poured out upon all nations as a result of the Civil War. And while the Civil War produced more casualties for America than any other war, it did not lead to famine, plague, earthquake, thunder and fierce and vivid lightening and “a full end of all nations” as verse six predicted!

In verse four Smith said “slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.” That didn’t happen in the USA. The Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual says that “slaves” rising up against their masters may refer to slaves all over the world, especially in Russia and China (p. 195). But that isn’t mentioned in the text, nor did it happen. D. & C. 130:12-13 shows that “slavery” refers to slavery in South Carolina and the Southern states! D. & C. 87:5 says the “remnants who are left of the land shall marshal themselves and shall become exceedingly angry and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.” The D. & C. Compendium says the “remnants” refer to American Indians. And LDS also call non-LDS “Gentiles.” But, U. S. history shows that it was the Indians who were vexed by white men who put them on reservations. The D. & C. Student Manual tries to make Smith’s prophecy true by saying that “remnant always refers to a segment of the house of Israel” and may mean Indians in Mexico, Central and South America (p. 195). But Indians in those areas did not vex white men! The authors of the D. & C. Student Manual obviously accepted the Book of Mormon claim that Indians in the Americas have an Israelite ancestry. But, DNA shows that all Indian tribes in the Americas come from Asian ancestry. D. & C. 87 does not say that any Indians are included in this prophecy other than those in the USA, so this was a false prophecy.

LDS Prophets and Prophecies, Part XXI

By Marvin W. Cowan

Joseph Smith claimed he had a vision in 1820 when he was 14 years of age which led him to organize the Mormon Church ten years later (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith History 1:14-19). He also said the angel Moroni began visiting him in 1823 and visited him once a year until 1827 when he began to translate the Book of Mormon. Following Smith’s example, many of his early followers also said they were visited by angels or had revelations. Smith soon realized that such claims could result in a loss of his authority. Fortunately for him, he received revelations that said he was the only one who could receive revelations for the LDS Church (Doctrine & Covenants 23:1-5; 28:2-3; 43:3-6). Smith also said on July 2, 1839 “An angel of God never has wings” (History of the Church vol. 3, p. 392). On April 1, 1842 Smith wrote an editorial in the LDS Times and Seasons saying, “There have also been ministering angels in the (LDS) Church which were of Satan appearing as an angel of light. A sister in the state of New York had a vision, who said it was told her that if she would go to a certain place in the woods, an angel would appear to her. She went at the appointed time, and saw a glorious personage descending, arrayed in white, with sandy colored hair…Many true things were spoken by this personage, and many things that were false. How, it may be asked, was this known to be a bad angel? By the color of his hair; that is one of the signs that he can be known by” (H. of the C. vol. 4, p. 581).

The Bible mentions Heavenly messengers or angels many times. Some angels appeared as men like those in Gen. 19, so they didn’t have wings. Sometimes angels can’t be seen while at other times they can, as in Numbers 22:21-35. The Angel Gabriel was able to “fly swiftly” in Daniel 9:21, but it doesn’t say he had wings. However, Cherubim are angelic beings with wings as Gen. 3:24 with Exodus 25:18-20 shows. Seraphim are also angelic beings with six wings according to Isaiah 6:2. So, Smith’s statement that “An angel of God never has wings” is not Biblical. Nor does the Bible teach that if an angel has “sandy colored hair” he is a “bad angel.”

On Feb. 9, 1843 Smith said, “A man came to me in Kirtland (OH), and told me he had seen an angel, and described his dress. I told him he had seen no angel, and there was no such dress in heaven. He grew mad, and went into the street and commanded fire to come down out of heaven and consume me. I laughed at him and said ‘you are one of Baal’s prophets’” (H. of the C. vol. 5, pp. 267-268). That same day Smith gave the instructions in D. & C. 129 which reveal the “Three grand keys by which the correct nature of ministering angels and spirits may be distinguished.” There are nine verses in D. & C. 129 which say, (1) “There are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely: Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones—(2) For instance, Jesus said: Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. (3) Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory. (4) When a messenger comes from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you. (5) If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand. (6) If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his glory; for that is the only way he can appear—(7) Ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is contrary to the order of heaven for a just man to deceive; but he will still deliver his message. (8) If it be the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him. (9) These are three grand keys whereby you may know whether any administration is from God.”

Smith said in this LDS scripture that there are three kinds of heavenly messengers and you tell them apart by a handshake. If you feel his hand he is an angel. If you don’t feel his hand, it is the devil. The spirit of a just man made perfect will deliver his message, but won’t shake your hand. By Smith’s instructions anyone could claim to be a messenger from heaven and offer to shake hands to prove it. Or, someone could imitate “the spirit of a just man made perfect” by claiming to be a messenger from heaven and delivering his message without offering to shake hands. But it would be more difficult to imitate the devil by a handshake! There is no record of Joseph Smith giving the “Angel Moroni” the handshake test, so how do LDS know he was really an angel? Smith also claimed he was visited by John the Baptist, Peter, James and John, Elias, Elijah and others, yet there is no record of Smith giving the handshake test to any of them, so how can LDS be sure they were messengers of God and not the devil? But the Bible does not say to test a “heavenly messenger” by a handshake or by looking to see how he is dressed or if he has wings or sandy colored hair. I John 4:1 says “Try (or test) the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” And the next two verses show that they are to be tested by what they believe and teach about Jesus Christ!

LDS Prophets and Prophecies, Part XX

By Marvin W. Cowan

Joseph Smith said Doctrine and Covenants Sec. 125 was a revelation given to him in March of 1841. Since there are only four verses we will quote the entire text so that it may be seen in context. A question is raised in verse 1 “What is the will of the Lord concerning the saints in the Territory of Iowa?” The answer begins in verse 2 “Verily, thus saith the Lord, I say unto you, if those who call themselves by my name and are essaying to be my saints, if they will do my will and keep my commandments concerning them, let them gather themselves together unto the places which I shall appoint unto them by my servant Joseph, and build up cities unto my name, that they may be prepared for that which is in store for a time to come. v. 3 Let them build up a city unto my name upon the land opposite the city of Nauvoo, and let the name of Zarahemla be named upon it. v. 4 And let all those who come from the east, and the west, and the north, and the south, that have desires to dwell therein, take up their inheritance in the same, as well as in the city of Nashville (in Lee County Iowa), or in the city of Nauvoo, and in all the stakes which I have appointed, saith the Lord.”

In this revelation “the Lord” said it was His will for Iowa LDS to gather together in the places He reveals through Joseph Smith. He said that the LDS were to build up the cities of Zarahemla and Nashville, which were small towns in Iowa across the Mississippi River west of Nauvoo, IL. The Lord also said all LDS who had the desire should take up their inheritance in those towns, which sounds like He was speaking of a permanent home. But the last part of v. 2 says “that they may be prepared for that which is in store for a time to come.” On p. 312 of the Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual (used by LDS Seminaries and Institutes of Religion) it says that meant that the LDS in Iowa were to be ready to help the Nauvoo Mormons when they left for Utah. Since the LDS in those two tiny Iowa towns went west with the Nauvoo Mormons when they left, any help they gave the Nauvoo LDS had to be brief and minimal. Smith’s revelations often refer to the soon coming of Christ (as in D. & C. 128:24) which may be what he really had in mind in this revelation. Smith’s only prophecy about the LDS going to the Rocky Mountains is recorded in the History of the Church, vol. 5, pp. 85-86 and is dated August 6, 1842 which is a year and a half after D. & C. 125 was given, so it is doubtful that he had the LDS exodus in mind. Other LDS wrote about Smith’s Rocky Mountains prophecy but gave different dates for it and mention people who weren’t there, which raises questions about the whole prophecy. It would be contradictory for the Lord to tell the LDSin Iowa to “build cities” and claim their “inheritance” in them if He planned to move them to Utah within five years. On August 7, 1841 the “city” of Zarahemla, Iowa had a population of 326 while Nashville was even smaller, so were they really “cities”? When the Nauvoo Mormons left for Utah, all the LDS in Zarahemla and Nashville went with them and those towns ceased to exist. Did the Iowa LDS do anything that this revelation said should be done?

On September 1, 1842 Joseph Smith wrote an epistle to Mormons which became D. & C. 127, so it is LDS scripture. In the first two verses Smith said that his enemies had persecuted him in Missouri and were now persecuting him in Illinois. At the end of verse two he said, “I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth; for behold, and lo, I shall triumph over all my enemies, for the Lord God hath spoken it.” Smith was not writing about the persecution of the LDS Church, but about being persecuted himself. He said that God has “delivered me” out of all tribulation “and will deliver me from henceforth.” Yet, less than two years later, his enemies killed him, so did the Lord really tell Smith that He would deliver him from henceforth and that Smith would triumph over all his enemies?

Verse four begins “And again, verily thus saith the Lord: Let the work of my temple, and all the works which I have appointed unto you be continued on and not cease.” Verse six says, “When any of you are baptized for your dead, let there be a recorder” who was to witness the event and record it. Verse nine goes on to say “And again, let all the records be had in order, that they may be put in the archives of my holy temple, to be held in remembrance from generation to generation, saith the Lord of Hosts.” Even though Smith wrote this epistle he claimed “The Lord” revealed its message. The temple Smith wrote about was the Nauvoo Temple which was under construction in 1842 but still wasn’t completely finished when the Mormons left Nauvoo in 1846. Yet, the Lord said the LDS records of their baptisms for the dead were to “be put in the archives of my holy temple, to be held in remembrance from generation to generation.” But the Nauvoo Temple caught fire in February 1846 and in September that year a mob entered it and desecrated much of the interior. On November 19, 1849 it was set on fire and everything burned except the exterior stone walls and only six months later those walls were knocked down by a tornado on May 27, 1850. All that remained of the Nauvoo Temple were scattered, scorched stones, so no archives existed where the records of baptisms for the dead could be kept. Therefore, the LDS records of baptisms for the dead were “not put in the archives of my holy (Nauvoo) temple, to be held in remembrance from generation to generation” as “the Lord of Hosts” said. Did the Lord make a mistake or did Smith’s revelation come from some source other than the Lord?

Prophets in Mormonism, Part XIX

By Marvin W. Cowan

Doctrine and Covenants Sec. 124 is dated January 19, 1841. Verse 1 says, “Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, I am well pleased with your offering and acknowledgments, which you have made; for unto this end have I raised you up, that I might show forth my wisdom…” Our last five articles discussed some of the problems in D. & C. 124. Remember those problems were all in just one revelation (D. & C. 124)! Following is a summary of some of the problems. For more details about them, see our recent articles.

1. Joseph Smith was immediately to make a proclamation of the LDS gospel to the kings of the earth and American leaders and to tell them to bring their gold and silver to help the LDS build a temple in Nauvoo (vs. 2-11) but 3 ½ years later he still hadn’t done that when he died in 1844.

2. Robert B. Thompson was to help Smith write that proclamation (vs. 12-14). But he died at the age of 30 just seven months after Smith said he received this revelation, so he didn’t help write that proclamation.

3. John C. Bennett was also to help with the same project (vs.16-17). But he was disfellowshipped for immorality a year later on May 11, 1842 and he was later excommunicated without ever helping with Smith’s proclamation.

4. Lyman Wight was to preach the gospel and help oversee the building of the Nauvoo House (vs. 18-19, 22, 62). “The Lord” said “It is my will that my servant Lyman Wight should continue preaching for Zion…that when he shall finish his work I may receive him unto myself (vs.18-19). But against Brigham Young’s advice, he went to Texas to help George Miller start a new church in 1845 and was excommunicated on December 3, 1848. So, he did not faithfully preach the LDS gospel nor oversee the building of the Nauvoo House. Did “the Lord” receive him when he died as v. 19 says?

5. “The Lord” said “George Miller is without guile; he may be trusted,” “I love him” and “he shall honor me” (vs. 20-21). He was to help oversee the building of the Nauvoo House (vs. 22, 62). But, instead he went to Texas in 1845 to start a new church and he was excommunicated on December 3, 1848. So, was he trustworthy, honoring “the Lord,” and loved by “the Lord” when he disobeyed the LDS leaders?

6. “The Lord” commanded George Miller, Lyman Wight and others to oversee the building of a boarding house called the Nauvoo House (vs. 22-24, 56-61). Joseph Smith and his descendants were to “have place” in the Nauvoo House from “generation to generation, forever and ever” (vs. 56-59). But Joseph Smith was killed before it was built, so he never lived in it. After Smith’s death, his wife, Emma, remarried and her second husband built a house on part of the Nauvoo House’s foundation. They lived in it for awhile and then the RLDS Church bought it, so it did not stay in the Smith family forever. No one has lived in it in more than a hundred years.

7. “The Lord” also commanded the LDS to build the Nauvoo Temple (vs. 25-55). All LDS were to come to Nauvoo with their gold, silver and other wealth to help build the temple (vs. 25-26). But “all” LDS didn’t come nor did they give all their wealth to build the temple. The Nauvoo Temple was still under construction when it caught fire and burned, so it was never fully completed. “The Lord” commanded LDS to build that temple and He said He would give them sufficient time to build it, but if they didn’t finish it in that time they would be rejected as a Church (vs. 31-32). Since it wasn’t finished, were the LDS rejected? “The Lord” explained that the LDS temple in Jackson County, MO wasn’t built because the LDS were hindered by their enemies, so “the Lord” did not require any more of them (vs. 49-54). That contradicts what “the Lord” said in D. & C. 3:1-2 “The works and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught…neither doeth He vary from that which He hath said.” If God doesn’t change and what He said in D. & C. 3:1-2 and 124:31-32 is true, can the LDS Church be the Lord’s Church?

8. Vinson Knight was to buy stock in the Nauvoo House which would belong to him and his descendents from generation to generation (vs. 74-76) but he died just 18 months after Smith said he received this revelation. The Nauvoo House was never completed, so neither he nor his descendants had any benefit from it.

9. William Marks was to buy stock in the Nauvoo House “for himself and his generation from generation to generation” (v. 80). Since it wasn’t built, this never happened. Wm. Marks was dropped from the LDS Church on October 7, 1844, so he didn’t remain faithful to it.

10. William Law was also to buy stock in the Nauvoo House “for himself and his seed after him from generation to generation” (vs. 82-102) but it never happened. And he was to preach the LDS gospel, publish Smith’s translation of the Bible, become a prophet, seer and revelator as well as heal the sick, cast out devils and raise the dead. “The Lord” said he had a mission for Wm. Law and Hyrum (Smith) “and for them alone” (v. 102). Even though William was a counselor in the First Presidency he became estranged from Smith by January 1844 and was excommunicated on April 18, 1844 while Smith was still alive, so he never did what “the Lord” said he would do.

11. Robert D. Foster was also to buy stock in the Nauvoo House for himself and his descendants (vs. 115-117) but, he was also excommunicated on April 18, 1844 along with Wm. Law.

12. Don Carlos Smith, the youngest brother of Joseph, was called as president over a quorum of high priests (v.133), but he died on August 7, 1841, less than seven months after Joseph Smith said he received this revelation and when Don Carlos was just 26 years old. If “the Lord” is omniscient, why did He give Joseph Smith so much false information? “The Lord” said of Joseph Smith in D. & C. 124:1 “I raised you up that I might show forth my wisdom through the weak things of earth.” Where does D. & C. 124 show the wisdom of the Lord?

LDS Prophets and Prophecies, Part XVIII

By Marvin W. Cowan

In Doctrine and Covenants Section 124 “the Lord” on January 19, 1841 commanded LDS to build a Temple as well as the Nauvoo House in Nauvoo, Illinois. “The Lord” said, “And again, verily I say unto you, let all my saints come from afar. And send ye swift messengers, yea, chosen messengers, and say unto them: Come ye, with all your gold, and your silver, and your precious stones, and with all your antiquities…and build a house to my name, for the Most High to dwell therein…But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms (for the dead) shall be acceptable unto me. But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God…And ye shall build it on the place where you have contemplated building it, for that is the spot which I have chosen for you to build it…And again, verily I say unto you, I command you again to build a house to my name, even in this place, that you may prove yourselves unto me that ye are faithful in all things whatsoever I command you, that I may bless you, and crown you with honor, immortality, and eternal life” (vs. 25-27; 31-32; 43; 55).

“The Lord” is very specific in these instructions: All Mormons everywhere are to bring all their gold, silver, precious stones and antiquities to pay for building of the temple in Nauvoo. But LDS records show that the temple was built slowly because Mormons did not give all their wealth for it. In An Epistle of the Twelve Apostles to the Saints on December 13, 1841 they wrote, “The building of the Temple of the Lord in the city of Nauvoo is occupying the first place in the exertions and prayers of many of the Saints at the present time, knowing, as they do, that if this building is not completed speedily, ‘we shall be rejected as a Church with our dead;’ for the Lord our God hath spoken it” (History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 472). Yet, Brigham Young said that temple was never completed: “Joseph (Smith) located the site for the Temple Block in Jackson County, Missouri, and pointed out the south-east corner of the Temple in the year 1831, –also laid the corner stone for a Temple in Far West, Caldwell County, MO. These Temples were not built. We built one in Nauvoo. I could pick out several before me now that were there when it was built, and know just how much was finished and what was done. It is true we left brethren there with instructions to finish it, and they got it nearly completed before it was burned, but the Saints did not enjoy it”(Journal of Discourses, vol. 18, pp. 303-304). According to History of the Church, the roof of the Nauvoo Temple caught fire November 9, 1846 while the building was still under construction (vol. 7, p. 581). On November 19, 1848, after the LDS moved to Salt Lake, that temple burned to the ground (vol. 7, pp. 617-618).

Were “the Lord’s” commands fully obeyed by the LDS in Nauvoo? Did all Mormons come from everywhere bringing all their gold, silver, etc. to pay for the Nauvoo Temple? “The Lord” said, “I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house (temple) unto me.” Since the
LDS didn’t complete it within that time, were they rejected as a Church? Is “the Lord’s” word trustworthy? The Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual says: “The building of the Nauvoo Temple was the fifth attempt by the Latter-day Saints to build a house of the Lord. The first attempt was in Jackson County, Missouri; then in Kirtland, Ohio; and then in Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman, Missouri; and finally in Nauvoo, Illinois. Only the Kirtland Temple was completed before the one in Nauvoo, and it was desecrated…the Temple at Kirtland had fallen into the hands of wicked men, and by them been polluted, like the Temple at Jerusalem, and consequently it was disowned by the Father and Son” (p. 306). The “wicked men” who took possession of the Kirtland Temple were members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (RLDS) which is now called the Community of Christ Church. They were followers of Joseph Smith’s son instead of Brigham Young after Joseph Smith’s death and that is why LDS history calls them “wicked.” Some of those “wicked men” helped build the Kirtland Temple along with the LDS who followed Brigham Young to Utah! It seems a bit strange that “the Lord” gave specific instructions in “Latter-day scripture” for LDS to build five Temples in specific locations, yet only one out of the five was completed and it fell into “wicked” hands soon after it was built! Why did the all-knowing “Lord” command LDS to build temples in places where they were not able to finish them? Since moving to Utah LDS have completed over 150 temples all over the world without any scriptural command from “the Lord” to build even one of those temples! But, the five temples that “the Lord” specifically commanded to be built in LDS scripture were not built or used as “the Lord” commanded! LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie said, “The Prophet observes that God is the only supreme governor and independent Being in whom all fullness and perfection dwell; who is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient; without beginning of days or end of life” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 317). The word “Omniscient” means that “He knows all things.” So, did “the Lord” know that the LDS wouldn’t build or use those first five temples that He commanded them to build? In Doctrine and Covenants 1:37 the Lord said, “Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.” Can men stop God’s plans from being fulfilled if He is omnipotent?

LDS Prophets and Prophecies, Part XVII

By Marvin Cowan

In our last article on Doctrine and Covenants (D. & C.) 124, George Miller and Lyman Wight were the subjects. D. & C. 124: 22-23 says they along with John Snider and others are to “build a house unto my name, such a one as my servant Joseph (Smith) shall show unto them, upon the place which he shall show unto them also. And it shall be for a house for boarding, a house that strangers may come from afar to lodge therein; therefore let it be a good house worthy of all acceptation that the weary traveler may find health and safety while he shall contemplate the word of the Lord; and the cornerstone I have appointed for Zion.” Then in verses 56-60 “the Lord” said to Joseph Smith, “And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding house which I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph and his house have place therein, from generation to generation. For this anointing have I put upon his head, that his blessing shall also be put upon the head of his posterity after him. And as I said unto Abraham concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say unto my servant Joseph: In thee and in thy seed shall the kindred of the earth be blessed. Therefore, let my servant Joseph and his seed after him have place in that house, from generation to generation, forever and ever, saith the Lord. And let the name of that house be called Nauvoo House; and let it be a delightful habitation for man, and a resting-place for the weary traveler, that he may contemplate the glory of Zion, and the glory of this, the corner-stone thereof.”

Smith said he received this revelation on January 19, 1841 and a month later on February 23, 1841 an “Act to Incorporate the Nauvoo House Association” was signed by the Governor of Illinois. Section one said, “Be it enacted by the people of the state of Illinois, represented in general assembly, that George Miller, Lyman Wight, John Snider, and Peter Haws, and their associates, are hereby declared a body corporate, under the name and style of the ‘Nauvoo House Association;’ and they are authorized to erect and furnish a public house of entertainment, to be called the ‘Nauvoo House’” (History of the Church, vol. IV, p. 301). The Church History in the Fulness of Times says on page 243 that “The cornerstone of the building (Nauvoo House) was laid on 2 October 1841.” Little is recorded about the Nauvoo House or the Association responsible to build it until 1844. Then Lyman Wight, one of the men responsible for building the Nauvoo House wrote to the LDS First Presidency on February 15, 1844 and said, “Having also become convinced that the Church at Nauvoo or in the Eastern States will not build the Nauvoo House according to the commandment, neither the Temple in a reasonable time…”(History of the Church, vol. VI, p. 256). The Church History in the Fulness of Times says Joseph Smith “The Prophet considered the construction of the Nauvoo House hotel nearly as urgent as construction of the temple…In March 1844 Joseph Smith postponed further construction on the hotel in order to press forward on the temple” (p. 243). And on May 3, 1844, Brigham Young and Willard Richards wrote a letter to Reuben Hedlock saying, “We have dropped the Nauvoo House until the Temple can be completed and the Temple is going finely” (History of the Church, vol. VI, p. 353). An official publication of the LDS Church entitled The Restored Church says of the Nauvoo House, “The building was never completed as originally
designed, the martyrdom of the Prophet and the contemplated exodus West causing a change in plans. The part completed is still standing in Nauvoo not far from the Mansion House; but it has been changed to make a dwelling” (page 160).

Obviously, what “the Lord” said about the Nauvoo House in D. & C. 124 did not happen! The Nauvoo House was never finished as a “boarding house,” so it never became a place for boarding strangers. In D. & C. 124:59 the Lord said, “Let my servant Joseph Smith and his seed after him have place in that house, from generation to generation, forever and ever, saith the Lord.” But even that part of the Nauvoo House that briefly became a private home wasn’t built while Joseph Smith was alive, so he never lived in it! After the LDS moved west, Emma Smith (Joseph’s wife) lived in it for a short time, but the rest of the time it has sat empty. The RLDS Church (now called the Community of Christ) later bought the Nauvoo House but it is still not occupied, so Smith’s descendants did not live in it forever and ever as “the Lord” said they would. D. & C. 124:74 also says, “Therefore, I say unto you concerning my servant Vinson Knight, if he will do my will let him put stock into that (Nauvoo) House for himself, and for his generation after him, from generation to generation.” But Vinson Knight died on July 31, 1842, just nine months after the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House was laid (H. of C. vol. V, p. 84). He never even saw the part of the Nauvoo House that was later built, so if he put stock in it, it didn’t do him, his family or his descendants any good! So, was it really “the Lord’s will” that Vinson Knight put stock in the Nauvoo House? And was this “revelation really from the Lord?” D. & C. 3:1-3 says, “The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught. For God doth not walk in crooked paths…neither doth he vary from that which he hath said…Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of man.” Was the Nauvoo House the work of man or God? D. & C. 1:37 also says, “Search these commandments for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.” Were “the Lord’s” prophecies and promises in D. & C. 124 all fulfilled? The people mentioned in this “revelation” all died more than a hundred fifty years ago, so it is too late for them! So, was this “revelation” from God or from Joseph Smith?