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And It Came To Pass


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And it Came to Pass

These words thunder with the authority of Almighty God! The words themselves come directly from the Scriptures --being used several hundred times in the Bible as well as over 2000 times in the Book of Mormon. The phrase signifies both the passage of time and the fulfillment of the prophecies of God. It is on the latter basis that the phrase becomes a keystone for testing a man revered by many as a prophet of God. What man? It is Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons).

Here is a man (though dead now for almost 140 years) who must be reckoned with by you today. Why? Because he said that God spoke to him and appointed him to be the Lord's prophet for the latter days. He was not a "Jim Jones" --a crazed man with a messiah complex, whose life's work passed into oblivion upon his death. No, not at all. Joseph Smith left a legacy that built a great empire whose modern influence now extends far beyond the mountains and valleys of the American West. Millions of sincere and sober people believe him to be a prophet with all their hearts. Included among their number are intelligent people who are leaders in the arts, business and government.

Joseph Smith's claims are too sweeping and important to just ignore. Every Bible believing person, both Mormon and non-Mormon, should know of his teachings so that they can decide for themselves whether Joseph Smith had the right and authority to say, "Thus saith the Lord..." The 10th Mormon prophet, Joseph Fielding Smith, best summarized this dilemma when he said, "Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground (Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 1, page 188, emphasis is on the original.)

Truly there is "no middle ground" -- Joseph either spoke for God, or he didn't. But on what basis can we objectively determine this? The strength and industry of his subsequent followers is often cited as evidence enough of Joseph's "good fruit" as a prophet of God. However, is the lifestyle of a prophet's follower the "fruit" spoken of in the Bible when it says "By their fruits ye shall know them"? (Matthew 7:16) Not really - because Jesus was NOT talking about the fruit of a false prophet's followers! He was giving us a "key" by which we can determine if a "prophet" is truly speaking on behalf of God. The "key" is the fruit of the prophet himself. As a "messenger of God" the prophet's primary fruit is PROPHECY!!

A BIBLICAL TEST

Since Joseph Smith claimed to be a prophet of God, let us check the Bible to see if the Lord gives any instructions of how to tell when someone is speaking on His behalf. Turning to one of God's acknowledged prophets, Moses, we can hear the truth of the ages ringing down the corridors of time:

"When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." (Deuteronomy 18:22)

Although this is not the only "test" a prophet needs to pass, it is the only one we need to apply to Joseph Smith. It is a "negative" test and therefore very clear in its criteria and application. If there is just one single thing that Joseph Smith ever said in his capacity of God's mouthpiece that failed to come to pass, we need check his "fruit" no further. This is because God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10) and therefore there is no possibility for error in the smallest of detail.

The early Mormon newspaper, "The Evening and Morning Star" of July 1833 had an interesting front page article on false prophets. The conclusion of the editorial is worthy of our notice:

"When, therefore any man, no matter who, or how high his standing may be, utters, or publishes, anything that afterwards proves to be untrue he is a false prophet."

Notice the strict warning against a false prophet who "...utters, or publishes ANYTHING that afterwards proves to be untrue." Here is official Mormon recognition that the "fruit" of a prophet is what he says in the name of God. We now have a common agreement on an objective test - prejudice, emotions, and subjective feelings can be safely laid aside.

A simple investigation will establish the credentials of Joseph Smith. We have distinct advantage over Joseph's early followers. In 1833, very little time had yet passed since Joseph first claimed to be a prophet. But now, time is on our side, as we look back over the last century and a half.

How Far Need We Go?

Just as one case of infidelity in a marriage makes your spouse an adulterer or on killing makes a person a murderer -- so also does ONE false prophecy make a false prophet. Although there are many false prophecies to deal with in the life of Joseph Smith, we have space enough to only deal with three -- but that is triple the amount needed. Both the Mormon and Biblical criteria agreed -- one "strike" and you are out of the "ball game."

An "Escape" Clause?

Joseph Smith once said:"...I told them that a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such." (History of the Church, volume 5, page 265.) This comment was made ten years after the above editorial. Perhaps a nervous Joseph was "hedging his bet" somewhat by this time. Regardless, this comment is often used by modern Mormons when they encounter the false prophecies of Joseph Smith. We do grant that prophets are subject to the same weaknesses as other men and will not blame Joseph Smith for any individual sin or character fault. All of the prophets of the Bible had their faults, but that does not include any instance when they were speaking forth the word of the Lord. We will confine ourselves to prophecies from canonized LDS scripture or statements wherein Joseph did say, "thus saith the Lord." Therefore, we can eliminate any doubt of the "divine" authenticity of the prophecy made.

The U.S. Government

". . ..I prophesy in the name of the Lord God of Israel, unless the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the Saints in the state of Missouri and punish the crimes committed by her officers that in a few years the govenment will be utterly overthrow and wasted and there will not be so much as a potsherd left..."
Joseph Smith
History of the Church
Volume 5, page 394

"I prophesy by virtue of the holy priesthood vested in me, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that, if Congress will not hear our petition and grant us protection, they shall be broken up as a government and God shall damn them, and there shall be nothing left of them - not even a grease spot."
Joseph Smith
Millennial Star
Volume 22, page 455

Both of these prophetic warnings dealt with the Missouri situation the Mormons had in the early 1830's. The Saints were "gathering on Zion" in Jackson County, Missouri, and almost immediately ran into trouble with the local people that preceded them there. It should be noted that the Mormons brought on some of this trouble themselves by their rather imflammatory talk of the land being theirs "by inheritance." For the rough frontiersmen of Missouri, those were "fighting words." And unfortunately, fighting did ensue, with the end result of the Mormons being driven out of Missouri.

It is well-known that the government and Congress never granted the Mormons their desired hearing, believing as they did that much of the Mormon's "persecution" was not because of their religion per se but because of the various excesses brought about by some of their peculiar beliefs. In the years that followed, the pressure from the U.S. Government increasec until the Mormons were forced to give up their most peculiar "excesses" of polygamy and blood atonement. Then, and only then, did the Government let up.

These prophecies fail on all counts of the details given. History reveals of course, that the U.S. Government was never broken up (despite the Civil War, which attempted to do just that!). As we look around us today, we see a U.S. Government which has an annual budget approaching one trillion dollars. That is far beyond a "grease spot" or "potsherd" remaining.

The Travel Orders

"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 twelve including himself, to testify of my name and bear glad tidings unto all the world."
Doctrine and Covenants, 114:1
April 17, 1838

"And next spring let them depart to go over the great waters, and there promulgate my gospel, the fulness thereof, and bear record of my name.
"Let them take leave of my saints in the city of Far West, on the twenty-sixth day of April next, on the building-spot of my house, saith the Lord."
Doctrine and Covenants, 118:4-5
July 8, 1838

These verses of Mormon Scripture deal with a missionary "call" given the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to go abroad "next spring" (i.e. Spring 1839) to preach the Mormon gospel "unto all the world," The "Minutes of the Meeting of The Twelve" held on July 9, 1838 (recorded in the History of the Church, Volume 3, page 47) acknowledge the Twelve's understanding that these revelations were sending them on an overseas missionary journey together, beginning on April 26, 1839.

Despite hardship, 12 Mormon apostles departed on their journey on April 26, 1839. Consequently, this event is often cited as a fulfilled prophecy by Mormons themselves. However, in doing so, they are overlooking one key detail which turns an apparently fulfilled prophecy into a false prophecy. David W. Patten did not g with his fellow apostles because he died six months earlier! The only apostle that the Lord singled out by name for this mission "to all the world" was killed before he could go and therefore, this becomes a falsd prophecy even though the others went anyhow.

But, let us be a little extra cautious in this case. Perhaps there was a "condition" set upon David Patten even though there is nothing in the text to imply it. After all, God wouldn't want a man who fell into sin or apostacy to represent Him to "all the world." But was David Patten guilty of sin or apostacy? Joseph Smith himself was there: and his own words of mourning clear Patten's name completely:

"Brother David Patten was a very worthy man beloved by all good men who knew him. He was one of the Twelve Apostles, and died as he had lived, a man of God and strong in the faith of a glorious resurrection, in a world where mobs will have no power or place. One of his last expressions to his wife was - 'Whatever you do else,O! do not deny the faith' "
Joseph Smith
History of the Church
Volume 3, page 171

The dying declaration of David W. Patten to his wife certainly does not sound like someone who was involved in sin or apostacy. Thus, what is often cited as prophecy fulfilled, is actually a prophecy failed because of the 100% accuracy required by the Mormon editorial: "any man...who publishes anything which afterwards proves to be untrue.. . . is a false prophet."

Prophetic Succession

"Blessed of the Lord is my son Joseph, who is called the third, for the Lord knows the integrity of his heart, and loves him, because of his faith, and righteous desires. And, for this cause, has the Lord raised him up; that the promise made to the fathers might be fulfilled, even that the anointing of the progenitor shall be upon the head of my son, and his seed after him, from generation to generation. For he shall be my successor to the Presidency of the High Priesthood: a Seer, and a Revelator, and a Prophet, unto the Church; which appointment belongeth to him by blessing, and also by right.

"Verily, this saith the Lord: if he abides in me, his days shall be lengthened upon the earth, but, if he abides not in me, I, the Lord, will receive him, in an instant, unto myself.

"When he is grown, he shall be a strength to his brethren, and a comfort to his mother. Angels will minister unto him, and he shall be wafted as on eagle's wings, and be as wise as serpents, even a multiplicity of blessings shall be his. Amen."
Joseph Smith, Jr.
January 17, 1844

Recently, the above document detailing Joseph Smith's "blessing" his son, Joseph Smith III, came to light in Utah. The authenticity of the document is not challenged by the Utah church, and has created quite a stir in Mormon circles. From the time of Joseph Smith's death, those who became the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (known as the RLDS) have claimed that the prophet had designated his son to take over the leadership of the "restoration." This document is a vindication of those claims.

But Joseph Smith III never allied himself with the Utah church. Up until this document was discovered in 1981, the Utah church merely dismissed the claims of Joseph III and his followers because there was no "proof." The Utah church can no longer use this tactic, and the clarity of the statement made by Joseph Smith concerning his son, has really put the Utah church in a bind.

Since suppression of the document was impossible, and the importance of the evidence was too great to just ignore, the Utah leadership apparently decided to try a novel approach. They called the news media together, and with a lot of fanfare, presented the paper to the RLDS in exchange for a copy of the 1833 Book of Commandments. The whole thing was written up in the LDS church newspaper complete with photographs of officials from both churches with lots of smiles and handshakes.

The accompanying text in the church newspaper mentioned that the RLDS church was given the document because it was "just a father's blessing" to his son, and therefore not binding on the church then or now. However, this "father's blessing" was spoken by an alleged prophet of God and included the words, "Verily, thus saith the Lord....

Because God is quoted in this blessing we should turn to the Bible to learn something from the Old Testament blessings. These blessings always came to pass in every detail There are numerous examples, but the most telling is that of Isaac blessing Jacob with the blessing of the firstborn. When Esau finally showed up to get the blessing, it was already given to Jacob and could NOT be revoked, even though Jacob tried to "help" God by using deception. That is the kind of absolut that the God of the Bible works His Will with.

Because Joseph III met the "conditions" established in the second paragraph of his blessing he should have been the prophet to head the Utah church. Joseph III obviously remained "faithful" because God is quoted as saying that if he didn't "abide" that Joseph III would be removed "in an instant." But Joseph III lived to the ripe old age of 82, and the onl conclusion allowed us by the text of the blessing, is that Joseph III di "abide" in the Lord - unless the Reorganized LDS church is the "true successor" as they have claimed all along! Either way, the big church in Utah is the "loser." But lest the RLDS people go overboard in their elation and joy, I would remind them of the old story about the two school boys arguing which of them really is "teacher's pet" when in fact, the truth of the matter is that NEITHER of them is!

So also is the situation with the "true succession" from Joseph Smith. It really doesn't matter which of them is the "true successor" to the authority of Joseph Smith, Jr., because he had no authority from God to begin with! Having already shown that he was a false prophet, all that remains is a false prophet naming his son to replace himself.

Why Pick On Us?

"If Joseph Smith was a deceiver...then he should be exposed; his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false for the doctrines of an imposter...will not stand the test when tried by the accepted standards of measurement, the scriptures."
Joseph Smith
Doctrines of Salvation
Volume 1, page 188

The primary purpose of a false prophet is to lead people away from the true God; and the basic tools used in this deception are a variety of supernatural happenings including "special" feelings, burning bosoms, and yes, "angelic" visitations (see 2 Kings chapter 13). But none of these experiences hold any guarantee that the source is God Himself - unless and until the experience passes the test of the "...accepted standard of measurement, the scriptures."

Therefore, this information is presented to you in response to the above request made by the 10th Mormon prophet. By the examination of the evidence presented herein, it is our prayer that Mormons will see that their founding prophet did not speak for God - and then turn to the Bible, for it alone speaks the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ. As Jesus told the religious people of His day: "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye THINK ye have eternal life; and they are they which TESTIFY OF ME! And ye will come to ME, that ye might have life. (John 5:39-40.)

The "gospel" is not an organization of prophets and priesthoods, duties and ordinances - it is the MESSAGE that the Lord Jesus Christ became a man, fulfilled the countless prophecies concerning Him to validate His earthly ministry, and then went to the cross willingly to die in your place that you might be reconciled to God through the power of His resurrection.

We in this world can only become "sons of God" by adoption through the new birth of receiving Jesus as our Saviour (John 1:12), otherwise, we remain as children of the Devil (John 8:44). All mankind is born physically one way - but those born twice, shall die only once.

What you do with this message is what determines your eternal destiny. Come to Jesus in total submission to His Will and with empty hands, and He will receive you as one of His own.

The choice is yours.

-Bob Witte


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