Archive | August, 2017

Little Known Propaganda: 14 – 56 Year Prophecy

25 Aug

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13a, #13b

 

FACT #14. In 1835 Joseph Smith prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord.

At a meeting called by Joseph Smith he instructed the Latter-day Saints that it was “the will of God” to go forth and “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.” (History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 182) Eight years later he reinforced this by stating:

“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 1 am eighty-five years old.” (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 336)

These are obvious False Prophesies which would make Joseph Smith a False Prophet.

 

Before I address the full claims being made here, I would like to point out first that this fact is completely true, as it is stated initially. Joseph Smith did indeed prophesy concerning the coming of Christ. Of course, so did almost every other prophet who ever lived, so it should not be surprising that Joseph Smith would as well.

However, what the author is really trying to do is claim as fact his opinion that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. He doesn’t state that as part of the fact, of course, but that is the intention of including this in the list.

 

On this point, of Joseph being a false prophet, the author provides two different references to where Joseph Smith spoke concerning the coming of Christ. Let us look at each separately.

 

His first reference is from the second volume of the History of the church, and comes from the minutes of a meeting that Joseph Smith had called on February 14, 1835 in Kirtland. At this meeting all those “who journeyed last season to Zion for the purpose of laying the foundation of its redemption” were called together. After opening the meeting Joseph called the men together and addressed them regarding their service in Zion’s Camp. It was at this meeting, on the second day, that the first Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was chosen, and soon after that the first Quorum of the Seventies was called.

In the context of this meeting we are given a summary of what Joseph Smith said to the brother. The minutes were taken by a scribe and recorded in the History of the Church. In this record we read that Joseph

“gave a relation of some of the circumstances attending while journeying to Zion…and said God …had it in remembrance yet; and it was the will of God that those who went Zion…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.”

What was being said here? It is clear that the subject was the calling of the men of Zion’s Camp to the ministry, in preparation of the coming of the Lord. However, the exact words are not known, and thus the exact meaning is not known.

If it is calculated 56 years from the year 1835, brings us to the year 1891. We know that Christ did not return in that year, but there is something else of note that did happen. By the year 1891, all of the original 12 apostles were dead. From all I have been able to discover, the seven presidents of the Quorum of the Seventy were also dead. A little extra research is needed, but it appears that all members of Zion’s Camp had died by the year 1891. So, it would appear that 56 years did, in fact, wind-up the scene of the ministry that these men were called to.

 

 

Now, the second reference seems even more damning, as it is in Joseph Smith’s own words. However, if you look at what he is saying, and look at the context, you will see that what he said did, in fact, come to pass. So, let us see the full quote.

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 would make His appearance. But I do not say whether 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.

So, the only definite thing that Joseph Smith prophesied was that Christ would not come before he was 85 years old. That would have been the year 1891 again, and we can all agree that Christ did not come before that year. As such, Joseph Smith’s statement was perfectly fulfilled.

Beyond this, Joseph Smith himself stated that he was unsure of what to make of the revelation given, and that it could have reference to Joseph’s death, and thus him seeing Christ beyond the veil.

Then, to take the reference even farther, we read the following from Joseph Smith in the next paragraph of the record.

Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed. …all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance. There will be wars and rumors of wars, signs in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, the sun turned into darkness and the moon to blood, earthquakes in divers places, the seas heaving beyond their bounds; then will appear one grand sign of the Son of Man in heaven…as the sign of the coming of the Son of Man, which will be as the light of the morning cometh out of the east.

So, far from saying that Christ would return in the year of 1891 (or the year Joseph would turn 85), Joseph made it clear that many things had to happen before the Lord would return, and that it would not happen until sometime after the year 1891, and not before.

None of this is in error, and thus Joseph Smith is once again shown to be a prophet.

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Little Known Propaganda: 13 – Joseph Smith Boasted (part 2)

12 Aug

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13a

Note: This is the second part to this one because it ended up being much longer than the others. Please read both to have a full understanding of my comments. I do this because I don’t like any article on my blog to be over 1,000 words. Thank You

FACT #13. Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, boasted of doing a greater “work” than the Lord Jesus.

Joseph Smith made this incredible boast:

“I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. . . . Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor JESUS ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of JESUS ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (History of the Church, vol. 6, pp. 408, 409)

No true Prophet of God ever spoke such words as these.

 

Now, let us look at what Joseph Smith said.

 

My object is to let you know that I am right here on the spot where I intend to stay.

First Joseph Smith tells his audience his purpose in speaking, which is to let the world know that would remain faithful to God and the gospel.

I, like Paul, have been in perils, and oftener than anyone in this generation. As Paul boasted…

Here he directly compares himself to Paul, which is something he does throughout this talk.

God is in the still small voice. In all these affidavits, indictments, it is all of the devil–all corruption. Come on! Ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last.

Just as Paul was speaking to answer the accusations of false teachers, so Joseph Smith is addressing the accusations of those who opposed him. Then, what follows is his very brief statement of boasting.

I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.

Note a few things. First, the author made the claim that Joseph Smith boasted of doing a greater work than Jesus. They even placed the word ‘work’ in quotations to emphasize their point. Clearly they want the reader to believe that Joseph made the claim that he did a greater work than the Atonement that was wrought by Christ. However, if we look at what Joseph Smith said we see clearly that he never said any such thing. He claimed only to have done a unique work, making no claim to superiority in any way. So, the only thing that one need ask is was his work unique in the history of the family of Adam?

The answer to this is clearly yes. Every prophet in the scriptures had trouble with dissenters and apostates that continually divided the church and led to wide spread rebellion. Even Jesus was abandoned by a great portion of His followers. However, Joseph Smith led a church that remained faithful through some of the greatest tribulation that man has ever experienced. The vast majority stayed faithful through it all. This is unique in human history, and thus the claim is true.

Now, to say that Joseph was foolish to have said this, especially as regards Christ, is perfectly true. But then, as we have seen, he is taking his lead from Paul, who stated directly that he was going to speak foolishly. If Paul may have the privilege of speaking foolishly and still be considered a prophet, than why not Joseph Smith?

 

Now, we have seen that Paul’s intent was to answer the accusations of false teachers, and the rest of Joseph Smith’s remarks are also directed to this main purpose, with just a few side notes.

You know my daily walk and conversation…For the last three years I have a record of all my acts and proceedings…therefore my enemies cannot charge me with any day, time, or place, but what I have written testimony to prove my actions; and my enemies cannot prove anything against me…

To preface this answer to the accusers Joseph Smith declares that he can produce proof against their accusations, showing them all to be liars. He then spends the next five paragraphs speaking of the accusations of a Mr. Simpson, then nine paragraphs addressing William Law and his conspirators. In all this he is still, to some extent, boasting that these men can prove nothing against him.

When I love the poor, I ask no favors of the rich. I can go to the cross–I can lay down my life; but don’t forsake me. I want the friendship of my brethren.–Let us teach the things of Jesus Christ…

Here he entreats the saints to not forsake him, but to join with him in teaching Christ and his gospel. For Joseph Smith, even after foolishly boasted, still saw himself as a follower of Christ, and sought only for the glory of God.

He then gives some counsel, which is not important to our purpose here, and then speaks again about William Law and his associates. Finally he closes with this statement.

As I grow older, my heart grows tenderer for you. I am at all times willing to give up everything that is wrong, for I wish this people to have a virtuous leader, I have set your minds at liberty by letting you know the things of Christ Jesus. When I shrink not from your defense will you throw me away for a new man who slanders you?…

He expresses his love for the saints, and his desire to be the virtuous man they deserve (though he does not claim to be perfect in any way). He then invokes Christ, declaring that it is Christ that has liberated the saints and brought them the joy and blessings they had received.

He finally says something similar to what Paul had said to the Corinthians. Don’t forsake him (even though he is foolish at times and has weakness), especially for a false teacher.

 

In all his words Joseph Smith spoke to address the concerns of the saints that had arisen because of the false accusations of some among them who were seeking to pull him down that they might lead the people instead. Just like Paul he spoke foolishly, boasting in his own works in order that the saints might see the truth of his prophetic calling, despite his faults. He gave the credit for his success to Christ, and entreated all to remain faithful, even though he was not perfect.

Little Known Propaganda: 13 – Joseph Smith Boasted (part 1)

12 Aug

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12

Note: Because this one ended up requiring a longer response than the others I will be posting it in two parts. Please read both to have a full understanding of my comments. I do this because I don’t like any article on my blog to be over 1,000 words. Thank You

FACT #13. Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, boasted of doing a greater “work” than the Lord Jesus.

 

Joseph Smith made this incredible boast:

“I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. . . . Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor JESUS ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of JESUS ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (History of the Church, vol. 6, pp. 408, 409)

 

No true Prophet of God ever spoke such words as these.

 

This little tidbit has nothing to do with LDS doctrine, but is a sensationalized twisting of the words of Joseph smith. You can tell this by the fact that there is no attempt to actually address what was said. There is just a subdued outrage that he would dare to utter these words.

So, let us set aside the apparent clairvoyance of the author who thinks he knows everything every prophet has ever said, and let us look at what Joseph Smith is actually saying here, and in its full context.

 

In the record of this talk we are told at the beginning that Joseph Smith read from the 11th chapter of II Corinthians. We are not told how much of the chapter he read, and so it is assumed that he read the entire thing. So, to fully understand Joseph Smith we need to understand this chapter. As such I will review those relevant parts as briefly as possible.

1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.

First, Paul begins this chapter by asking us to bear with his folly. This is important for what comes later.

2-5 …I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means…your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached…ye might well bear with him.

It would seem that there were those in Corinth who had been teaching things contrary to the gospel that Paul and the other apostles had taught. Paul is here telling the people that if they follow Paul they should bear with him, but if they follow another they should bear with that person. This is important, as Paul is basically telling the people that they need to look past the faults of those whom they accept as teachers sent by God.

7-9 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?…in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

Basically, Paul is asking if it was wrong of him to work for their salvation at the expense of his own interests.

10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.

Here we have the first direct statement of Paul boasting. He here states that he boasts of his work in Corinth throughout that region of the world.

12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.

Here we get the real purpose of what Paul is saying. It is clear from this that there were those in Corinth who were not only teaching false doctrine, but were justifying themselves by ridiculing and accusing the apostles. They were seeking to find a reason, or an occasion that they could accuse the apostles, and thus turn the saints from them.

13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

This is a great indictment against those who would seek to find fault with God’s anointed leaders.

16-19 I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little. That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.

Here Paul asks the Corinthians to allow him a little folly and to suffer his foolishness gladly. In other words, accept that he had fault and let him have a few, as all men have faults.

21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.

And from this point on Paul really gets into the folly of boasting, though I do not feel the need to post the rest of the chapter. It is simply a list of all the sufferings and works of Paul that he lists to show how much he has done for the church, and in so doing he also claims that he has done more and suffered more than any of the other apostles.

 

So, to summarize: There were people in Corinth that had been teaching false doctrine and justifying themselves by accusing the apostles and persuading others that since the apostles had faults they weren’t really from God. In response Paul boasts of his works, doing so to counter the accusations of these false teachers in an attempt to persuade the Corinthians to remain faithful to the true gospel.

(Continued in part 2)