By Marvin W. Cowan
When a man claims to be a prophet of God, his message will reveal whether or not his claim is true. Since prophets claim their messages come from God, a prophet’s message may also reveal something about his God. LDS Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie said Mormonism’s God is all-knowing and omniscient even though He is also described as a “glorified and perfected Man, a Personage of flesh and bones” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 317 & 319). Joseph Smith claimed to be a prophet who received revelations from God, so how does he and his God measure up? The heading of Doctrine & Covenants 112 says it is a “Revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith to Thomas B. Marsh at Kirtland, Ohio, July 23, 1837…Thomas B. Marsh was at this time the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.” The revelation begins: “Verily thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Thomas:…thou shalt bear record of my name, not only unto the Gentiles, but also unto the Jews; and thou shalt send forth my word unto the ends of the earth. Contend thou, therefore, morning by morning; and day after day let thy warning voice go forth; and when the night cometh let not the inhabitants of the earth slumber, because of thy speech…I, the Lord, have a great work for thee to do in publishing my name among the children of men…for thou art chosen …and by thy word many high ones shall be brought low, and by thy word many low ones shall be exalted…I know thy heart…verily I say unto you, my servant Thomas, thou art the man whom I have chosen to hold the keys of my kingdom, as pertaining to the Twelve, abroad among all nations” (verses 1, 4-8,11,16).
Thomas B. Marsh did not do what this LDS scripture says! History of the Church vol. III, pp. 166-167 shows that he became an apostate before Oct. 24, 1838, and that was only 15 months after the date of this revelation! He was an apostate for 20 years and then was re-baptized into the LDS Church, but he died less than nine years later. Marsh never did the things this revelation said he would do, yet the Lord said of Thomas B. Marsh, “I know thy heart.” Why would an “all-knowing, omniscient God” say things about Marsh that weren’t true? The Bible says, “It is impossible for God to lie” (Heb. 6:18) and “God cannot lie” (Titus 1:2). So, was Smith deceived or was he trying to deceive others?
D. & C. 114 has only two verses. According to the heading it was a “Revelation given through Joseph Smith, the Prophet, at Far West, Missouri, April 17, 1838.” It says, “Verily, thus saith the Lord: It is wisdom in my servant David W. Patten, that he settle up all his business as soon as he possibly can, and make a disposition of his merchandise, that he may perform a mission unto me next spring, in company with others, even the twelve, including himself, to testify of my name and bear glad tidings unto all the world. For verily thus saith the Lord, that inasmuch as there are those among you who deny my name, others shall be planted in their stead and receive their bishopric. Amen.” David W. Patten was one of the original Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church, but he didn’t go on that mission because he was killed on Oct. 25, 1838 during the “Missouri war,” just six months after Smith’s revelation. Some Mormons try to claim that Patten fulfilled his mission in the spirit world after he died. But that isn’t what this revelation says. Patten was to go with the other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and preach “glad tidings unto all the world.” Since the other members of the Twelve Apostles were still alive, Patten could not go with them and preach to men in this world. So, was the “Lord” who revealed this message “all-knowing or omniscient?” If He is omniscient as LDS say he is, did He tell the truth? Can God lie? Or, was Joseph Smith deceived or a deceiver? Neither option would make Smith a trustworthy “Prophet.”
D. & C. 115 is dated April 26, 1838 and verse one begins with “Verily thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph Smith…” Verse 4 says, “For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Even though 1838 was eight years after the LDS Church began, this was the first time it was called by that name. Before that it was called the Church of Christ and the Church of Latter-day Saints. So, verse 4 is very important to LDS. The rest of this revelation ought to be just as important as it is. D. & C. 115:5-12, 17 says, “Verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations; and that the gathering together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes, may be for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth. Let the city Far West be a holy and consecrated land unto me; and it shall be called most holy, for the ground upon which thou standest is holy. Therefore, I command you to build a house (temple) unto me, for the gathering together of my saints, that they may worship me. And let the beginning be made on the fourth day of July next; and from that time forth let my people labor diligently to build a house unto my name; and one year from this day let them re-commence laying the foundation of my house. Thus let them from that time forth labor diligently until it shall be finished, from the corner stone thereof unto the top thereof, until there shall not anything remain that is not finished…And again, verily I say unto you it is my will that the city of Far West should be built up speedily by the gathering of my saints.” Smith’s revelation was addressed to LDS living in 1838 but none of the things in it happened! A few LDS “gathered” at Far West, MO in 1838, but it was a place of conflict, not a place of refuge! By the end of 1838 Smith was in jail at Liberty, MO and Far West was a ghost town. There was never a general gathering of LDS at Far West, and no city or temple was built there. Most of the LDS had moved to Quincy, IL by February 1839. Did God know what was going to happen when He gave this revelation to Smith? If He did, why did He tell the LDS to do something they didn’t or couldn’t do? If God didn’t know what was going to happen, is He really omniscient?