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Joseph Smith — The Great Pretender?

Rich Kelsey

Joseph Smith


Today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) is the 4th largest religious denomination in the United States. It has over 50,000 missionaries worldwide, which is three times as many as it had 40 years ago. No doubt Mormonism is a formidable spiritual movement! However, "If the LDS Church were not true, would you want to know?"



In this short study we look into a few revelations which the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, claimed he received from God. We document the method which Joseph Smith used to receive many of the early revelations. And, we consider the question:


"Who was really speaking: God, or, Joseph Smith?"


Here is an example of an early revelation:


"What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." (D&C 1:38)


One might wonder if the Lord was the one speaking, after all the words,


"... and I excuse not myself ..."


sounds like something Joseph Smith might say.


Another thing to take into consideration is how Joseph Smith received this revelation: he supposedly saw what he was to speak while looking at a seer stone, as documented in the LDS Church Ensign Magazine:


[Ensign Magazine, Jan. 2013]

Great and Marvelous Are the Revelations of God




Church History Department


Joseph Smith Received Revelations through the Power of God


Those who believed that Joseph Smith’s revelations contained the voice of the Lord speaking to them also accepted the miraculous ways in which the revelations were received. Some of the Prophet Joseph’s earliest revelations came through the same means by which he translated the Book of Mormon from the gold plates. In the stone box containing the gold plates, Joseph found what Book of Mormon prophets referred to as “interpreters,” or a “stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light” (Alma 37:23–24). He described the instrument as “spectacles” and referred to it using an Old Testament term, Urim and Thummim (see Exodus 28:30).


He also sometimes applied the term to other stones he possessed, called “seer stones” because they aided him in receiving revelations as a seer. The Prophet received some early revelations through the use of these seer stones. For example, shortly after Oliver Cowdery came to serve as a scribe for Joseph Smith as he translated the plates, Oliver and Joseph debated the meaning of a biblical passage and sought an answer through revelation. Joseph explained: “A difference of opinion arising between us about the account of John the Apostle … whether he died, or whether he continued; we mutually agreed to settle it by the Urim and Thummim.” In response, Joseph Smith received the revelation now known as section 7 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which informed them that Jesus had told the Apostle John, “Thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory”


Records indicate that soon after the founding of the Church in 1830, the Prophet stopped using the seer stones as a regular means of receiving revelations. Instead, he dictated the revelations after inquiring of the Lord without employing an external instrument.

(see additional LDS seer stone quotes)


Here is another example of Joseph Smith receiving a revelation from the Lord:


"Brother Hyrum said it had been suggested to him that some of the brethren might go to Toronto, Canada, and sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon for considerable money: and he persuaded Joseph to inquire of the Lord about it. Joseph concluded to do so. He had not yet given up the stone. Joseph looked into the hat in which he placed the stone, and received a revelation..." (An Address To All Believers in Christ — David Whitmer, Chapter 4)


A few examples of revelations which could be perceived as self serving:


"And let my servant Martin Harris devote his moneys for the proclaiming of my words, according as my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., shall direct." (D&C 104:26)


"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 through the weak things of the earth." (D&C 124:1)


Now, this next revelation is noteworthy:


"The Lord spake unto Joseph Smith, Jun., saying: Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God, who are ordained unto the high priesthood of my church, who have assembled yourselves together..." (D&C 78:1)


Because, David Whitmer, who is one of the Book of Mormon's Three Witnesses wrote a work entitled, An Address To All Believers in Christ, in which he lays out his case against having the office of high priesthood in the LDS Church:


"Now Brethren, seeing they had no High Priests in the church of Christ of old, and none in the church of Christ in these last days until almost two years after its beginning--when the leaders began to drift into error; remembering the fact of the revelation being changed two years after it was given to include High Priests; taking these things into consideration, how is it that any one can say that the office of High Priest should be in the church of Christ to-day? I can account for it only on the grounds of your spiritual blindness. This matter is so plain and self-evident that any one should see and understand it. Brethren, your blindness must be utter blindness. May God have mercy on you is my prayer.

In no place in the word of God does it say that an Elder is after the order of Melchisedec, or after the order of the Melchisedec Priesthood. An Elder is after the order of Christ. This matter of 'priesthood,' since the days of Sydney Rigdon, has been the great hobby and stumbling-block of the Latter Day Saints." (An Address To All Believers In Christ, David Whitmer, p. 64


(also see Restoring The Lost Priesthood Keys — Part I / Part II)


The bottom line: did,


 "the Lord thy God,"


speaking through Joseph Smith, really say:


"... I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred..." (D&C 132:7)


Or, was it just Joseph Smith pretending to speak as God's mouthpiece?[i] 


If there is still any doubt left that something is seriously wrong with Joseph Smith acting as God's mouthpiece, perhaps the following revelation will remove it?  





1 Behold, I say unto you, that as my servant Martin Harris has desired a witness at my hand, that you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., have got the plates of which you have testified and borne record that you have received of me;

2 And now, behold, this shall you say unto him—he who spake unto you, said unto you: I, the Lord, am God, and have given these things unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and have commanded you that you should stand as a witness of these things;


25 And then he shall say unto the people of this generation: Behold, I have seen the things which the Lord hath shown unto Joseph Smith, Jun., and I know of a surety that they are true, for I have seen them, for they have been shown unto me by the power of God and not of man.

26 And I the Lord command him, my servant Martin Harris, that he shall say no more unto them concerning these things, except he shall say: I have seen them, and they have been shown unto me by the power of God; and these are the words which he shall say.

27 But if he deny this he will break the covenant which he has before covenanted with me, and behold, he is condemned.


Notice how in verse 1 it reads:




1 ... my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., have got the plates ...


But, then further down it is written:




25 And then he shall say unto the people of this generation: Behold, I have seen the things which the Lord hath shown unto Joseph Smith, Jun., and I know of a surety that they are true, for I have seen them, for they have been shown unto me by the power of God and not of man.


If Joseph had the plates in his possession; then, why were they about to be shown to the Three Witnesses by the power of God?"


Let's read verse 27 one more time:




27 But if he deny this he will break the covenant which he has before covenanted with me, and behold, he is condemned.


Here, supposedly Jesus Christ threatens Martin Harris with condemnation if he does not say he saw the golden plates.




Martin Harris wanted to see the golden plates with his whole heart; he had asked Joseph Smith for a view of the plates while serving as his scribe, over and over again; and, he wanted to tell the world about them!


Harris was obsessed with the golden plates; he even had a falling out with Joseph Smith over not being allowed to see them; then, he came back to Joseph's side still hoping to see the plates.


This supposed Divine commandment is highly questionable because it was supposed to convince Martin Harris that Joseph Smith had,


"got the plates,"


yet, the story of an angel coming down from heaven with the plates in hand, clearly indicates that Smith did not have possession of the plates at that time; supposedly, an angel did. < (see documentation)


Was it God who could not keep His story straight; or, was it Joseph Smith?



Part I: Was Joseph Smith a Fraud / Con-man?




Note: The following links will take you to articles in English; however, there is a Google translate button at the top of the articles which can be used to translate the articles into other languages:


LDS (Mormon) Series:


The Book of Mormon

Joseph Smith's First Vision
Joseph Smith on Trial
Those Mysterious Golden Plates
The Fall of Mormonism
Book of Moses Changes/Anachronisms
Another Testament of Jesus Christ
What to say to Mormons at the door
Preach My Gospel — A Guide to Missionary Service
Family Home Evening Lesson 1
■ Enchantment — Magic and Money Digging

Sub-Pages in the LDS (Mormon) Series

1. Joseph Smith has "got the plates?"

2. Joseph Smith Money Digging Accounts: 

● Joseph Smith Money Digging Accounts (Main Page)
Willard Chase Account of the Gold Plates
Fayette Lapham Account of the Gold Plates
Peter Ingersoll Account of Smith's Money Digging History
● The Amboy Journal < Bleeding Ghost Account
● Interview with Martin Harris in Tiffany's Monthly 1859


3. Joseph Smith 1826 Glass Looking Trial Testimonies / Records:

1826 Trial Testimonies (Main Page)
A. W. Benton Account
Bishop Tuttle Account
W. D. Purple Account
New Evidence and New Difficulties
Bill of Justice
LDS Accounts
Articles of Agreement


4. Joseph Smith First Vision Accounts: 

● First Vision Accounts (Main Page)
1823 Bedroom Vision/Dream Accounts (eighteen accounts from the 1820s—1840s...)
Bedroom vision account — "Official version" (Extracts from the History of Joseph Smith, the Prophet)
Joseph Smith's First Vision was unknown LDS statements
(1832) Joseph Smith's hand written account of the First Vision (Photo)
(1834-35) Joseph Smith's first published vision (which contains elements of the 1838 LDS "Official" First Vision story)
(1842) Joseph Smith's Sacred Grove Account — "Official LDS First Vision Account" — also found in Smith's 1838 History 


5. The Angel and the Gold Plates
6. Cumorah's Cave - Cameron J. Packer
7. Joseph Knight’s Recollection of Early Mormon History
8. Book of Mormon Printing Arrangements and History
9. The Trouble With Martin Harris (mean spirited quotes about Martin Harris taken mostly from LDS source material)
10. Introduction — Richard Bushman 


International Articles:

11. Mormonism is a lie / Joseph Smith was a fraud / The LDS Church is not true

12. LDS Priesthood Lie / Myth — the story of John the Baptist visiting Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery 

13. Disturbing Early Versions of the Golden Plates Stories

14.  Joseph Smith Lied

15. Was Joseph Smith a Fraud?



[i] "Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me. For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith." (D&C 21: 4-5) 




joseph smith, mormon, d&c, doctrine & covenants, lds church