By Marvin W. Cowan
Joseph Smith, Mormonism’s founder, often said his messages were “revelations from God” and he began many of them with the words “Thus saith the Lord.” Smith was a prolific writer and speaker and many of his messages are available to examine and see if they came to pass or are true. Smith said God revealed Doctrine and Covenants Sec. 124 to him in Nauvoo, IL on January 19, 1841. It has 145 verses with many subjects, but we will only examine parts of the first 12 verses now. It begins: “Thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Joseph Smith…you are now called immediately to make a solemn proclamation of my gospel…to all the kings of the world, to the four corners thereof, to the honorable president-elect, and the high minded governors of the nation in which you live, and to all the nations of the earth scattered abroad… For it shall be given you by the Holy Ghost to know my will concerning those kings and authorities, even what shall befall them in a time to come. For, behold, I am about to call upon them to give heed to the light and glory of Zion, for the set time has come to favor her. Call ye, therefore, upon them with a loud proclamation and with your testimony…and again, I will visit and soften their hearts, many of them for your good, that ye may find grace in their eyes, that they may come to the light of truth and the Gentiles to the exaltation or lifting up of Zion. For the day of my visitation cometh speedily in an hour when ye think not of…Awake, O kings of the earth! Come ye, O come ye, with your gold and your silver, to the help of my people, to the house of the daughters of Zion. And again, verily I say unto you, let my servant Robert B. Thompson help you write this proclamation, for I am well pleased with him, and that he should be with you.”
Now notice what actually happened: 1. On January 19, 1841 Smith said the Lord told him to immediately make a proclamation of his gospel to “all the kings of the world,” yet he didn’t do anything about it until 11 months later when on December 22, 1841, he began instructing an unnamed scribe to write that proclamation (History of the Church, vol. 4, pp. 483-484). But, the proclamation wasn’t written and isn’t mentioned again until November 21, 1843 when Smith “instructed Elders Richards, Hyde, Taylor and Phelps to write a Proclamation to the Kings of the Earth” (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 80). They didn’t write it either and it is not mentioned again until 1845 when it was listed as a 16 page pamphlet entitled Proclamation of the Twelve to the Kings of the World by Parley P. Pratt. It was published by Wilford Woodruff in Liverpool, England (History of the Church, vol. 7, p. 558). By 1845 Smith was dead, so he did not write or deliver it. That 1845 proclamation was not made to all the kings of the earth, but was only printed as a pamphlet, which is not what this “revelation” required. Even the Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual says the fulfillment of the directive to make a solemn proclamation to the kings of the earth “did not come until 1845. A number of individuals were to assist in preparing the document but circumstances seem to have prevented it until later when it was issued by the Twelve” (p.304). The writers of the D. & C. Student Manual ignored the fact that it was Joseph Smith who was to make the proclamation in 1841, not the Twelve Apostles in 1845. They said “circumstances seem to have prevented” issuing the proclamation earlier. But, D. & C. 3:1 declares, “The works, and designs, and purposes of God cannot be frustrated,
neither can they come to naught.” So, was D. & C. 124 from God? The D. & C. Student Manual also quoted from a message by Ezra Taft Benson in October 1975 and said he “reaffirmed the message of the proclamation” of 1841 (p. 304). But 1975 was not 1841 and Ezra Taft Benson was not Joseph Smith and none of the kings of the world were alive to whom Smith was to make his proclamation of the gospel in 1841! 2. “The Lord” told Smith, “call ye upon them” (the kings, nations, etc.). That sounds like Smith was to personally call upon all nations and kings of the world as well as the governors in the USA, with a loud proclamation of his gospel and with his testimony, and the Lord would soften their hearts. It is implied that some would accept the LDS gospel and help them build their temple and establish Zion in Nauvoo, IL, but that never happened. A tribal king or two may have joined the LDS Church later as a result of LDS missionary work, but no king of a major country ever joined the LDS Church as the result of a proclamation by Smith. 3. “The Lord” told Smith the Holy Ghost would reveal to him “my will concerning those kings…even what shall befall them in a time to come.” But there is no evidence to show that Smith knew any more about the future of the kings in 1841 than anyone else knew. Smith didn’t even know his own future or the future of any of his LDS friends. “The Lord” said He would call upon those kings and others to give heed to the light of Zion, for the set time has come to favor her.” Kings did not heed “the light of Zion” or accept Mormonism or bring their gold and silver to Illinois. If “the set time had come to favor Zion,” how was Zion “favored”? Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of “Zion,” was killed three years later and the LDS fled from Illinois and went to Utah! 4. Smith was to tell the kings that the Lord’s day of visitation was coming speedily (in 1841) which should have encouraged them to bring their gold and silver to Zion (Nauvoo, Ill) to help the LDS build a temple there. All of the kings who were alive in 1841 died over 100 years ago, but the Lord’s day of visitation did not come for them, nor has it come yet! So, how speedily has it come? 5. On January 19, 1841 “The Lord” told Smith to have Robert B. Thompson help him write the proclamation because he was pleased with him and wanted him to be with Smith. But Thompson died seven months later on August 27, 1841 at the age of 30 without helping to write the proclamation (History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 411). I John 3:20 says the God of the Bible “knows all things,” but the god who revealed this message to Smith must not have known the future! Many things mentioned in the first 12 verses of D. & C. 124 failed to happen the way they were “revealed” to Smith, so there are good reasons to question their origin. When someone claims to be a prophet who has a message from the Lord, that message should be fulfilled accurately.