The following is copied from the this web site...
http://www.exmormon.org -- highly recommeded reading for anyone who questions the Mormon church.
JOSEPH SMITH AS A PROPHET
The Latter-Day Saints ("Mormons") hold as among the first and
most important principles of their religion, on which all the
rest is based, that the founder of their church, Joseph Smith Jr.
(1805-1844) was literally a prophet of God, if not the greatest
prophet ever to have lived on the earth. Was he?
Examine the record for yourself:
Test of a prophet: "And if thou say in thine heart, How
shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? 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..." Deut
The fulfillment of a prophecy cannot be delayed
long. "They ... say, The vision that he seeth is for many
days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off.
Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God: There shall
none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have
spoken shall be done, saith the Lord God." Ezek 12:21-28
See also Isaiah 8:20 and 9:15 on false prophets: if what a
prophet says is different from the law, it is because there is
"no light in" him; a prophet that teaches lies will be "cut
Nephi Lowell Morris, in the preface to his book The Prophecies
of Joseph Smith and Their Fulfillment (which discusses only
prophecies which he considered fulfilled), says:
"Time is the supreme test of a prophecy. He who undertakes to
foretell events must know that Time in its merciless pursuit will
find him out. Of all the pretenses of the false prophet,
prophesying is the most hazardous. Religious impostors often
qualities of leadership in controlling the affairs of their
followers. The more modest their pretenses, however, the more
likely are they to escape detection and exposure. But when
spiritual leaders assume to exercise the exalted function of
prophecy, and have the courage to publish their prophecies, they
place their reputations before the bar of the world, and as the
weight of Time presses out the vintage of the centuries they must
sink to a deserving oblivion or be exalted to a place in the
skies. Time is a foe of Fraud, but the never-failing friend of
Joseph Smith himself (speaking for God) gave tests which could be
applied to determine the truth of prophecies or revelations:
"And everything... that [is] not by me or by my word,
... shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are
dead... For whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever
things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed." D&C
"...remember, it is not the work of God that is
frustrated, but the work of men." D&C 3:3.
"Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the
Lord God, and not a house of confusion." D&C
Can even a "true" prophet have false revelations? Even
Joseph Smith had to admit that some of his "revelations" might be
of man or even of the devil. Comp Hist 1:165. This is
contradictory in concept to the Deuteronomy 18:22 test, which
says that the failure of the test indicates that the prophet is
false. Joseph Smith here implies that the prophecy may be false,
but the prophet himself is apparently still a prophet. One might
ask then, what good is a prophet?
Hyrum Smith, who was also a "prophet," on Nov 1, 1831, commented
about prophecy and said that "if you hit once in 10 times, that
is alright." [quoted by Abraham O. Smoot in 1868 at the Provo
School of the Prophets] This also is a contradiction of Deut
Note that the prophecies and promises which are in the D&C "shall
all be fulfilled." If even one remains
unfulfilled, then this also is a false prophecy. D&C 1:37
PROPHECIES OF JOSEPH SMITH WHICH WERE NOT
The following prophecies made by Joseph Smith have not been
fulfilled in over 150 years. They are given in approximate
chronological order, except for the many Missouri prophecies,
which are grouped together.
PEACE AND KNOWLEDGE: Sept 21, 1823. Joseph Smith says in
the Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 2:40, that Moroni
told him that Isaiah 11 was "about to be fulfilled." Isaiah
11:6-11 prophesies that the wolf and the lamb, the calf and the
lion, etc. shall dwell in peace together, and that nothing will
"hurt or destroy," and that the earth shall be "full of the
knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
FULFILLMENT: None of this has yet come to pass.
SALE OF BOOK OF MORMON COPYRIGHT: Winter 1829-1830. Comp
Hist 1:165 Joseph had a revelation that Hiram Page and Oliver
Cowdery were to go to Toronto to sell the copyright of the Book
of Mormon to raise money.
FULFILLMENT: They went, according to
the revelation, but were completely unsuccessful. Joseph Smith
"inquired of God" and was told that some "revelations" are not
from God. David Whitmer reports this incident in his book
An Address To All Believers In Christ, Richmond,
1887, photo reprinting by Utah Lighthouse Ministry, pp 30-31.
(See the comment above on the test of a true
PRAYERS ANSWERED: September 1830. D&C 29:6. Jesus
promises the Saints that "Whatsoever ye shall ask in faith... ye
shall receive." (see also D&C 132:40) Joseph Smith believed
firmly in this promise (see Chron JS Mar 10, 1844)
The prayers of the faithful Mormons, especially during the
periods of conflict in Kirtland, Missouri, and Nauvoo undoubtedly
included many requests for divine aid, victory over their
enemies, and peace in their lands. Surely they asked for these
things. But instead they were driven out and found no peace.
This prophecy is probably failing thousands of times a day, as
faithful Mormons pray. (This prophecy is just a repetition of
Jesus' promise at Matt 21:22, Mark 11:24, John 14:13-14, 15:7,
16:23, and 1 John 3:22.)
SAINTS GATHERED IN ONE PLACE: September 1830. D&C 29:8
God has decreed that the elect shall be gathered into one place
"against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth
upon the wicked."
FULFILLMENT: The "one place" continued to
change as the Mormons were driven from one temporary refuge to
the next. After arriving in Utah, the Mormons viewed that as the
gathering place. But the modern church apparently no longer
believes in this gathering, since it encourages new converts to
remain in their homelands. Tribulation and desolation have not
been sent forth upon the wicked.
WICKED WILL BURN, ALL PROPHECIES FULFILLED: September
1830. D&C 29:9-11. "For the hour is nigh and the day soon at
hand" when the wicked will burn, all prophecies will be
fulfilled, and Jesus will return for a thousand years.
FULFILLMENT: This is another prophecy such as Ezekiel 12:27-28
referred to: if the hour were nigh and the day soon at
hand, this surely would have been fulfilled within 160 years. By
no means have all prophecies been fulfilled, and many
cannot now be fulfilled.
ALL NATIONS SHALL BOW: March 1831. D&C 49:9-10. The
nations of the earth shall bow to the Mormon gospel or they
"shall come down" and "shall be laid low of power."
None of the nations of the earth have accepted the Mormon gospel
or "bowed" to it, yet none have been "laid low" because of it.
Joseph Smith made a number of prophecies regarding Missouri as
the location of Zion and the gathering place and refuge for the
saints. Since they all have the same general meaning and none of
them have been fulfilled, they are dealt with together here.
March 7, 1831. D&C 45:64-74. Saints are to gather riches and
purchase an inheritance to be called New Jerusalem, also called
Zion, a place of refuge and safety, where the wicked will not
come, and against which the wicked will refuse to battle. The
righteous will come from all nations and sing songs of
everlasting joy. The wicked will fear and stand afar off and
tremble, and "all nations shall be afraid."
July 1831. D&C 57:1-3 Missouri is named as the land consecrated
for the gathering of the Saints and the place for the City of
Zion and the building of a temple at Independence. It will be
purchased by the saints "for an ever-lasting inheritance."
August 13, 1831. D&C 62:1, 6. The faithful will be preserved
and rejoice in Missouri. "I, the Lord, promise the faithful and
Sept 22-23, 1832. D&C 84:2-5, 31 Zion will be built with its
temple at Independence, "in this generation". This generation
shall not all pass away until the temple will be built upon the
spot. Orson Pratt in 1870 reiterated the prophecy (JD 9:71,
10:344, 13:362) and insisted that it will come to pass within the
generation living in 1832.
Jan 4, 1833. HC 1:315-316. Joseph Smith says "by the authority
of Jesus Christ" that "not many years shall pass away" before the
wicked "of this generation" will be swept from off the face of
the land and the Lost Ten Tribes will be gathered to Missouri,
and that "there are those now living upon the earth whose eyes
shall not be closed in death until they see all these things,
which I have spoken, fulfilled."
Aug 2, 1833. D&C 97:18-20. Promise that if the saints are
obedient the City of Zion (in Missouri) will prosper and become
glorious, great and terrible, honored by the nations of the
earth. Zion cannot fall or be moved out of its place.
FULFILLMENT: Mormons were driven out of Independence and from
all of their settlements in Missouri in 1839. The temple lot is
not owned by the Mormon church. No one living in the generation
when the prophecy was made is still alive. The wicked of that
generation were no more "swept from off the face of the land"
than were their contemporary Mormons. The Lost Ten Tribes have
not been gathered to Missouri. Nothing in all these
prophecies has been fulfilled, even though the majority of the
saints steadfastly followed Joseph Smith and were faithful.
Oct 12, 1833. D&C 100:13-15 Zion (Missouri) will be chastened
"for a little season" but then "redeemed."
Dec 10, 1833. HC 1:455. Joseph Smith tells the saints that they
should retain their lands in Missouri and seek legal redress
against their enemies. If they should not obtain it, God will
avenge them with "ten thousand of his Saints" and all their
adversaries would be destroyed.
FULFILLMENT: The Mormons lost all their lands in Missouri; they
did seek legal redress but were unsuccessful; their enemies were
not destroyed; their wrongs were not avenged; the Mormons were
driven out of Missouri.
Dec 16, 1833. D&C 101:17-20 Zion (Missouri) shall not be moved
out of its place; the Saints will receive their inheritance
there, and there is no other place than Missouri appointed by God
for the gathering of the Saints.
Feb 24, 1834. D&C 103:5-7 If the Saints will hearken to the
counsel of the Lord, "they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to
prevail against mine enemies from this very hour... and...
they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world
are subdued under my feet, and the earth is given unto the
saints, to possess it forever and ever." Verse 15: "The
redemption of Zion must needs come by power;" and God will raise
up a man like Moses, namely Joseph Smith, who will enable them to
"possess the goodly land" (v. 20). Joseph Smith is to organize
Zion's Camp (a Mormon army) and relieve the distress of the
Saints in Missouri. Verse 36: "All victory and glory is brought
to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness and prayers
Spring 1834. Joseph Smith prophesies to the members of Zion's
Camp that "within three years they should march to Jackson County
and there should not be a dog to open his mouth against them."
Reed Peck Manuscript p. 3 [cited in Tanner, The Mormon Kingdom
FULFILLMENT: Zion's Camp was organized but utterly failed and it
disbanded in July. Cholera decimated them and the campaign did
not restore the saints to their homes. They did not return as
Zion's Camp. The Mormons continued to encounter fierce
opposition. The Mormons never prevailed against their enemies.
(Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel through the Ages, p. 282,
"Reed Peck Manuscript" p. 3; HC 3:xxxix [cited in Tanner, The
Mormon Kingdom 1:4].
June 22, 1834. D&C 105:13-15. The Lord says regarding Missouri:
"I will fight your battles... the destroyer I have sent forth to
destroy and lay waste mine enemies; and not many years
hence they shall not be left to pollute mine heritage, and to
blaspheme my name upon the lands which I have consecrated for the
gathering together of my saints."
FULFILLMENT: The Missouri opponents of the Mormons
destroyed, but have remained in Missouri (and "polluted" it?)
The Mormons were driven out of Missouri within five years.
Aug 16, 1834. HC 2:145. Joseph Smith says that the Spirit of
the Lord tells him that the Saints should be ready to move into
Jackson County, Missouri, on September 11, 1836, "which is the
appointed time for the redemption of Zion."
FULFILLMENT: If Zion was redeemed in 1836, it was unredeemed in
1839, when the Mormons abandoned Missouri.
FAR WEST TEMPLE: April 26, 1838. D&C 115. Revelation
concerning the city of Far West, Missouri, and the building of a
temple there. God commands the temple to be built; the church
will be gathered to Zion (Missouri), which will be "for a
defense, and for a refuge from the storm." Work on the temple is
to commence in the summer of 1838, with construction to begin
April 26, 1839, with work to continue "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." (v.
12) Verse 17: "I say unto you, it is my will that the city of
Far West should be built up speedily by the gathering of my
FULFILLMENT: The temple cornerstone was laid, but no
more work was ever done and the temple is still not completed.
Far West was abandoned by the Mormons soon after this revelation.
It would appear that the building of the Far West temple was not
the work of God, since God's work cannot be frustrated (see D&C
LIBERTY JAIL PROPHECIES: March 20, 1839. D&C 121. This
is "Prayer and Prophecies" from Joseph Smith while he was a
prisoner in the jail at Liberty, Missouri. It contains several
- he will be avenged of his enemies by the sword (v. 5) (this
is phrased as a prayer, but God had promised Joseph Smith that
his prayers would be answered; he need only ask. D&C 29:6)
- his friends will not charge him with transgressions (v. 10)
- the hopes of those who do charge him with transgression shall
have their hope blasted (v. 11)
- God will "change the times and seasons" (v. 12)
- Joseph Smith's enemies will be taken "in their own
craftiness" (v. 12)
- "not many years hence, ... [his enemies] and their
posterity shall be swept from under heaven, saith God, that not
one of them is left to stand by the wall." (v. 15)
- knowledge will be poured down from heaven upon the heads of
FULFILLMENT: None of these prophecies came to pass. Joseph
Smith's enemies were not destroyed "by the sword;" rather, the
Mormons were successfully driven out of Missouri. His friends
did charge him with transgressions within a few years, and those
charges (in The Nauvoo Expositor) resulted directly in his
arrest and destruction, as his enemies wished. God did not
"change the times and seasons," whatever that may mean. In
general, the enemies of the Mormons achieved their goal of
driving the Mormons out and destroying Joseph Smith. Their
posterity was not destroyed, but survived. At least, there is no
record of the anti-Mormon Missourians being swept away. And what
knowledge has been "poured down from heaven" upon the Mormons
(One might wonder why Smith spent so long in prison; according to
of Mormon , Mormon 8:24, faith can make prison walls
End of the Missouri prophecies
ICE SHALL FLOW: Nov 3, 1831. D&C 133:26. Those "who are
in the north countries... shall smite the rocks, and the ice
shall flow down at their presence."
FULFILLMENT: The church has
made no claim that this prophecy has been fulfilled. Besides,
what does it mean?
CHRIST'S SECOND COMING IS IMMINENT:
Joseph Smith prophesied on several occasions that the Second
Coming was to be expected very soon.
Nov 3, 1831. D&C 133:17. "The hour of [Christ's Second]
coming is nigh."
Nov 13, 1833. "...a sure sign that the coming of
Christ is clost [close] at hand."
April 23, 1834. D&C 104:59. "...to prepare my people for
the time when I shall dwell with them, which is nigh at
Nov 25, 1834. D&C 106:4. "The coming of the Lord draweth
Apr 3, 1836, D&C 110:16. "The great and dreadful day of the
Lord is near, even at the doors."
Feb 14, 1835. HC 2:182. Joseph Smith preached that the coming
of the Lord would be in 56 years (i.e., about 1891). This
prophecy also occurs in his diary for April 6, 1843 and HC
5:336. See also D&C 130:14-17. Joseph Smith prophesies that
"there of those of the rising generation who shall not taste
death till Christ comes." He prophesies "in the name of the
Lord God - let it be written: that the Son of Man will not come
in the heavens till I am 85 years old, 48 years hence or about
1890." (The official historians have deleted the last phrase,
beginning with "48 years" from the church history, but it is
contained in the original diary.) The version in D&C 130 is
phrased negatively, i.e., Christ will not come before 1890. It
is also made conditional on Joseph Smith living to the age of 85.
Joseph Smith says (v 16) that it might merely mean that if he
lives to 85 he will go where Christ is, and therefore see his
face. But that interpretation would not make sense if the
revelation is in response to Joseph Smith's inquiry about the
time of the second coming (v 14).
FULFILLMENT: The second coming did not occur about 1891, and the
Church does not claim that it did. Nor has it occurred since.
Joseph Smith did not live to be 85 years old. God must have
known that he would not. Why would God make a revelation
conditional upon an event which he knew would never happen?
NATIONS SHALL TREMBLE: Nov 3, 1831. D&C 133:42 "...all
nations shall tremble at thy presence."
FULFILLMENT: No one can
claim that all nations tremble at the presence of the Mormons.
ENEMIES WILL BE SHAMED: Dec 1, 1831. D&C 71:7-10
Mormons are to call upon their enemies to meet them both in
public and in private, and the shame of their enemies shall be
made manifest. "No weapon that is formed against you shall
FULFILLMENT: The Mormons are generally reluctant to
discuss their religion with anyone but prospective converts, but,
when they have been willing to meet with their critics and
debate, they have not been particularly able to make their
opponents' shame manifest. The Missourians and the residents of
Hancock County, Illinois, who "formed weapons" against the
Mormons, were successful in driving them out.
NEW YORK WILL BE DESTROYED: Sept 22-23, 1832. D&C
84:114-115. New York, Albany and Boston will be destroyed if
they reject the gospel. The "hour of their judgment is nigh..."
FULFILLMENT: Newell K. Whitney and Joseph Smith went to New
York, Albany, and Boston and preached there. These cities did
not accept the gospel. They have not been destroyed.
THE END OF ALL NATIONS: Dec 25, 1832. D&C 87. Prophecy
of the rebellion of South Carolina, war between the states. The
South will call on Great Britain for aid, and as a result war
will be poured out upon all nations; slaves will revolt; the
inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; famine, plague, earthquake,
thunder, lightning, and a full end of all nations will result.
FULFILLMENT: This prophecy is the one most often cited by
Mormons to prove Joseph Smith's prophetic power. However, most
Mormons are unaware of the political situation in America at the
time it was made. In November 1832 South Carolina had declared
its power to "nullify" any federal act, and President Jackson was
prepared to go to war to enforce federal authority. Most people
expected war. Thus the "prophecy" did no more than reflect
commonly held opinion. Even when the South did finally revolt,
in 1861, although Great Britain came to its assistance, other
elements of the prophecy were not fulfilled: slaves did not rise
up, war was not poured out upon all nations, there was no world-
wide famine, plague, earthquake, etc., and there was no resulting
"end of all nations." Morris, PJS, contends that World War I,
the associated famines, the 1918 influenza epidemic, fulfill this
prophecy. But these are not as a result of the American Civil
War. (see Chron JS, Dec 1832) Not even Morris claims that there
were earthquakes because of it.
STARS WILL FALL: Dec 27, 1832. D&C 88:87. Earth shall
tremble and reel, the sun shall not give light, the moon shall be
bathed in blood, the stars shall "become exceedingly angry" and
fall, all "not many days hence."
FULFILLMENT: More than 59,000
days have now passed, and this prophecy has not been fulfilled.
It is doubtful that in any sense the stars will ever fall. (This
is a paraphrase of Isa 13:10, as re-paraphrased by Matt 24:29 and
DESTROYING ANGEL WILL PASS BY: Feb 27, 1833. D&C 89.
The "Word of Wisdom" promises that those who obey it (i.e., by
abstaining from hot or strong drinks and from tobacco) shall
"receive health in their navel...; find wisdom and great
treasures of knowledge...; and shall run and not be weary, and
shall walk and not faint. And... the destroying angel shall pass
by them... and not slay them."
FULFILLMENT: Most Mormons
observe the "Word of Wisdom" faithfully. Although Mormons have
been shown statistically to have fewer health problems than the
average American, they still seem to be subject to being slain by
the destroying angel. Nor do they seem to have greater wisdom
and knowledge than others because of their avoidance of coffee,
alcohol and tobacco.
THE UNITED ORDER - EVERLASTING: Apr 23, 1834. D&C 104.
Revelation establishing a separate United Order in Missouri, to
be "everlasting" (v 1), "immutable and unchangeable" (v 2), to
benefit the church "until I come" (v 1). "This is the way that
I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints..." (v 16).
FULFILLMENT: The United Order (holding all property in common)
failed, even though the saints tried valiantly to make it work.
It was attempted in Ohio, Missouri and Utah. Nowhere did it
survive. It was not everlasting. It was not immutable or
unchangeable, since it was tried with numerous variations. It
has not provided for the saints. It has not lasted until the
Lord has come.
MORMON DEBTS WILL BE PAID: April 23, 1834. D&C 104:
78-83. God's promise to deliver the Saints from their debts.
"It is my will that you shall pay all your debts." The Lord will
soften the hearts of their creditors.
FULFILLMENT: Joseph Smith
and other prominent Mormons had to flee Kirtland to avoid their
creditors, leaving debts of thousands of dollars unpaid. Smith
ultimately filed bankruptcy.
ORSON HYDE'S PREPARATION OF JEWS' RETURN: Feb 14, 1835.
Joseph Smith prophesied that Orson Hyde would go to Jerusalem,
and "by thy hands shall the Most High do a great work, which
shall prepare the way and greatly facilitate the gathering of
that people." [Morris, PJS p 261]
FULFILLMENT: Orson Hyde did
go to Jerusalem, but did not do anything to greatly facilitate
the gathering of the Jews, which did not occur until over 100
APOSTLES IN FOREIGN LANDS AND HEAVEN: Jan 21, 1836. HC
2:380-381. Joseph Smith had vision of the future (thus, by
implication, a prophecy) in which he saw "the Twelve Apostles of
the Lamb, who are now upon the earth... in foreign lands,
standing together in a circle, much fatigued, with their clothes
tattered and feet swollen..." He saw "Elder M'Lellin in the
south, standing upon a hill, surrounded by a vast multitude,
preaching to them [and performing a miraculous healing]." He
also saw Brigham Young "standing in a strange land, in the far
south and west, in a desert place... preaching to them in their
own tongue.." He also "saw the Twelve in the celestial kingdom
FULFILLMENT: The Quorum of Twelve as constituted at
the time of this revelation never was together in a foreign land
as described. William E. M'Lellin never preached in the South,
and was excommunicated May 11, 1838, just over two years after
the prophecy. Brigham Young never preached to the
inhabitants of any "strange land" in their own tongue. If Mormon
doctrine is correct, five of the apostles seen by Joseph Smith
"in the celestial kingdom" should never be there, because they
apostatized or were excommunicated: Lyman Johnson, Luke S.
Johnson, William E. M'Lellin, John F. Boynton, and William Smith.
SALEM, MASS., WILL BELONG TO MORMONS: Aug 6, 1836. D&C
111. Joseph Smith received a revelation telling him to go to
Salem, Massachusetts. This section is the revelation given to
him when he and his companions had arrived there. It promises
that they would receive the city and "have power over it" and
"its wealth pertaining to gold and silver" should be theirs.
FULFILLMENT: Joseph Smith returned in September to
Neither he nor the Mormons ever had power over the city, nor did
they receive its gold and silver.
KIRTLAND'S MORMON BANK WILL PROSPER: Jan 1837. LDS Mess
& Adv. 3:443 Joseph Smith says it is "wisdom and according to
the mind of the Holy Spirit" that the saints should invest in the
Kirtland Safety Society. Wilford Woodruff's journal Jan 6, 1837,
records that Joseph Smith declared "that he [Joseph Smith] had
received that morning the word of the Lord upon the subject of
the Kirtland Safety Society," and that "if we would give heed to
the commandments the Lord had given this morning all would be
well." [cited in Tanner, MSR 531] John F. Boynton, apostle,
said that he understood that the bank was established because it
was the will of God (HC 2:509-510) Joseph Smith prophesied that
like Aaron's rod the bank would swallow up other banks "and grow
and flourish ... and survive when all others should be laid in
ruins." Zion's Watchman March 24, 1838 [cited in Brodie p 195]
FULFILLMENT: The Kirtland Safety Society Bank, renamed the Anti-
Banking Company, was organized Nov 2, 1836. It failed to receive
a charter from the state, and Joseph Smith and S. Rigdon were
convicted and fined $1000 for illegal banking. The bank failed
miserably. Those who had invested in it lost their investment.
(Comp Hist 1:401-402)
KIRTLAND LAND INVESTORS WILL BE RICH: April 1837. LDS
Mess & Adv Apr 1837 p 488 [cited in Brodie 202] "This place
[Kirtland, Ohio] must be built up, and will be built up, and
every brother that will take hold and help secure and discharge
these [land] contracts shall be rich."
became rich investing in Kirtland land contracts. Most of those
involved in the Kirtland land speculation, encouraged by Joseph
Smith, lost money. Joseph Smith himself went bankrupt and had to
flee his creditors.
PROPHECY ABOUT THOMAS MARSH: July 23, 1837. D&C 112.
Revelation to Thomas B. Marsh, then the president of the quorum
of the Twelve Apostles, prophesying that he would be "exalted,"
that he would preach to Jews and Gentiles "unto the ends of the
earth," "among the mountains, and among many nations." Marsh is
told that "by thy word many high ones shall be brought low, and
.. many low ones shall be exalted." In verse 11 Marsh is told
that "I [God] know thy heart."
than two years
later, on March 17, 1839, Marsh was excommunicated. God
apparently did not know his heart. Marsh never preached the
Mormon gospel as was prophesied, but was a bitter enemy of the
church for many years. He later repented and rejoined the
church, but this prophecy was never fulfilled.
PROPHECY ABOUT DAVID W. PATTEN: April 17, 1838. D&C
114:1. Revelation concerning David W. Patten, an apostle,
directing him to settle his business up so that he could go on a
mission "next spring...to testify of my name and bear glad
tidings unto all the world."
FULFILLMENT: Less than eight months
later Patten was dead, killed leading Mormons in the Battle of
Crooked River on October 25, 1838. He never went on the mission
as prophesied. It cannot be that his lack of faith frustrated
the revelation, since Joseph Smith said of him that he "died as
he had lived, a man of God, and strong in the faith." HC 3:171.
PROPHECY ABOUT OLIVER GRANGER: July 8, 1838. D&C
117:12-15. Revelation and prophecy regarding Oliver Granger:
"his name shall be had in sacred remembrance from generation to
generation, forever and ever, saith the Lord... let the
blessings of my people be on him forever and ever."
FULFILLMENT: No Mormon knows anything about Oliver Granger
beyond this mention in the D&C. As far as the Mormon people are
concerned, Oliver Granger has been forgotten, rather than "had in
sacred remembrance ... forever and ever."
JOSEPH SMITH WILL BE SUCCEEDED BY HIS SON JOSEPH: April
22, 1839 and Aug 27, 1834. Joseph Smith says that he will be
succeeded by his oldest son, Joseph Smith III. [Quinn pp 630,
FULFILLMENT: Joseph Smith III left the main body of
Mormons when they went to Utah under Brigham Young. Thus,
according to the Utah church, he did not become his father's
successor in the Utah church. He became president of the
Reorganized Church in 1860.
PROPHECY ABOUT GEORGE MILLER: Jan 19, 1841. D&C
124:20-21. Revelation and prophecy regarding George Miller. He
"is without guile; he may be trusted...; I, the Lord, love him...
Let no man despise my servant George, for he shall honor me."
FULFILLMENT: On December 3, 1848, George Miller was
disfellowshipped by the Mormons. Apparently God was mistaken
NAUVOO HOUSE WILL ALWAYS BE SMITH'S: Jan 19, 1841. D&C
124:56, 60. God orders the building of the Nauvoo House, a
hotel, in which Joseph Smith and his "house" will have "place"
"from generation to generation."
FULFILLMENT: Nauvoo House was never fully completed. Joseph
Smith never lived in it; his widow Emma was living in it at her
death, but his family have not owned or occupied it since then.
It is owned by the Reorganized Church of LDS.
KIRTLAND WILL BE BUILT UP: Jan 19, 1841. D&C 124:83.
God says that he will "build up Kirtland [Ohio]" after he has
scourged its [non-Mormon] inhabitants. The implication is that
it will be built up for the Saints.
FULFILLMENT: The Mormons
never returned to Kirtland, except in very few numbers. The
inhabitants never suffered any "scourge." The Reorganized Church
holds title to the temple there.
CITY OF ZARAHEMLA, IOWA: March 1841. D&C 125:1-4.
Revelation directing the Mormons to build a city called Zarahemla
in Iowa, across the river from Nauvoo.
FULFILLMENT: No such
city was ever built.
QUEENS WILL CONTRIBUTE: Apr 28, 1842. Joseph Smith
prophesies about the newly-founded Relief Society: "before ten
years... the queens of the earth shall come and pay their
respects to this Society. They shall come with their millions
and shall contribute of their abundance for the relief of the
poor." [Quinn p. 634]
FULFILLMENT: By 1852 no
queens of the
earth had done anything resembling what Joseph Smith prophesied,
nor have they done so since.
POWER TO DETECT FALSITY: April 28, 1842. Joseph Smith
gives the sisters of the Relief Society "and the Elders" the keys
of the kingdom "that they may be able to detect everything
false." [Quinn p. 634]
FULFILLMENT: Apparently by the 1980s the Elders no
longer had these keys, since they were unable to detect the
forgeries foisted on them by Mark Hofmann, but rather
esteemed him an authority on rare Mormon documents, paying him
thousands of dollars for his forgeries. The church leaders
learned of his deception from the secular authorities, when he
was arrested for murders he had committed in furthering his
schemes against the church. See any of several excellent
accounts of this affair, e.g. Naifeh and Smith, The Mormon
Murders, New York, 1988.
PROPHECY ABOUT ANSON CALL: Aug 6, 1842. Anson Call Diary
[cited in Morris PJS]. Joseph Smith prophesies that Anson Call
will "go and assist in building cities from one end of the
country to the other and ... shall perform as great a work as has
ever been done by man, and the nations of the earth shall be
FULFILLMENT: Anson Call assisted in building
Fillmore, Utah (population in 1970: 1411). He did not assist in
building cities from one end of the country to the other. He did
not perform any work "as great ... as has ever been done by man,"
or at which the nations of the earth were astonished.
JOSEPH SMITH WILL TRIUMPH: September 1, 1842. D&C 127:2.
Joseph Smith prophesies that he "shall triumph over all my
FULFILLMENT: His enemies murdered him
less than two
years after this prophecy.
JOSEPH SMITH IN PALESTINE: January 20, 1843. Joseph
Smith prophesies to Orson Hyde that the two of them will drink
wine together in Palestine. (JS MS Diary)
Smith never was in Palestine. (His drinking wine would have been
a violation of the Word of Wisdom)
US GOVERNMENT WILL BE DESTROYED: May 18, 1843. HC 5:394,
also Mill Star 22:455. Joseph Smith prophesies "by virtue of the
holy priesthood... and in the name of the Lord" that if Congress
or the United States will not redress the wrongs which the
Mormons suffered in Missouri, and grant them protection, "the
government will be utterly overthrown and wasted," they shall be
"broken up as a government" and there will be nothing left of
them. (A similar prophecy was made Dec 16, 1843. See Quinn p
641, Chron JS 189)
FULFILLMENT: The United States
Mormons' petitions; their wrongs were not redressed; they were
not protected from their enemies. The United States government
was never overthrown and is still in existence.
JOSEPH SMITH WILL BE MADE RULER AND STRENGTHENED: July
12, 1843. D&C 132:53. "I give unto my servant Joseph that he
shall be made ruler over many things;... and from henceforth I
will strengthen him."
FULFILLMENT: At the time of this prophecy
Joseph Smith was at the height of his power. He was never a
ruler over any more than at that time. In less than one year he
was dead, not strengthened.
MORE WILL BE REVEALED ABOUT PLURAL MARRIAGE: July 12,
1843. Revelation and prophecies regarding plural marriage. D&C
132.66 says that "pertaining to this law [the law of plural
marriage] I will reveal more unto you, hereafter."
The church has not said that it has received any subsequent
revelation on this subject except to say that plural marriage
will not be practiced by the church.
PLURAL MARRIAGE WILL ALWAYS BE PRACTICED: D&C 132 was
interpreted by Brigham Young [see Tanners, MSR p 228] to mean
that the principle of plural marriage, once it had been made
known, had to be lived and practiced by anyone to whom it had
been made known, or that person would be damned, and only by
living in plural marriage could one receive the highest
exaltation. Verse 3-4: "all those who have this law revealed
unto them must obey the same. For behold, I reveal unto you a
new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that
covenant, then are ye damned, for no one can reject this covenant
and be permitted to enter into my glory." See also verses 6, 21,
33. The principle of plural marriage is referred to as a "new
and everlasting covenant." John Taylor, third president
and prophet, interpreted this to mean that the church could never
give up the principle of plural marriage.
FULFILLMENT: Plural marriage was practiced by the Mormons
secretly until 1852 (and the church lied during that time,
vehemently denying any such doctrine or practice), then openly
until 1890, when the church announced to the world that it had
stopped performing plural marriages (although they continued to
be performed secretly by high church authorities for about
another 15 years). Any Mormon who now enters into a plural
marriage is likely to be excommunicated by the church, even if
the Mormon lives in a jurisdiction where polygamy is not illegal.
The attempt by God to institute plural marriage among the Mormons
was frustrated and abandoned by them.
MORMONS WILL NO LONGER HAVE TO COOK: Feb 6, 1844. Joseph
Smith prophesies that within five years the Mormons would be able
to live without cooking their food. (Joseph Smith manuscript
diary, omitted from the HC. Cited in Quinn, p. 642).
FULFILLMENT: The Mormons are still cooking their
DAVID SMITH WILL BE PRESIDENT AND KING: April 1844.
Joseph Smith prophesies that his unborn child will be called
David, and will be "president and king of Israel." (cited in
Quinn p 644)
FULFILLMENT: The child was called David. However,
he was never "president and king of Israel." He died in 1904, at
the age of 60, having spent the last 27 years of his life in an
insane asylum. He was a member of the Reorganized Church. His
highest position in that church was counsellor to the president,
but he never actually served as such.
MORMONS WILL TRIUMPH OVER ENEMIES: June 19, 1844.
Mormon Neighbor. Joseph Smith warns others not to
interfere in Mormon affairs, "for as sure as there is a God in
Israel, we shall ride triumphant over all oppression."
FULFILLMENT: Within 10 days of this prophetic warning, Joseph
Smith was killed by the mob, and within three years the Mormons
had abandoned Nauvoo.
PROPHECY ABOUT W. W. PHELPS: Date unknown. Prophecy made
to W. W. Phelps, cited in Stenhouse, Rocky Mountain
Saints, p. 42, that Phelps would not taste of death till
FULFILLMENT: W. W. Phelps died March 7, 1872,
apparently before Jesus came.
PROPHECIES OF JOSEPH SMITH WHICH WERE FULFILLED
MOVE TO THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS: Aug 6, 1842. HC, George Q.
Cannon Diary, Anson Call Diary (which gives the date as 1843),
cited in Morris, PJS. Prophecy that the Mormons would continue
to suffer affliction and would finally move to the Rocky
Mountains and become a mighty people.
FULFILLMENT: Joseph Smith sent scouts West in 1843
to look for a
place to settle, and again on Feb 21, 1844 he instructed the
Twelve to explore the West. He was considering Oregon,
California, and Texas,
as well as the Great Basin, as the next Zion. [Quinn p 635] The
move to the Rocky Mountains and
became the most powerful segment of society in Utah, as well as
an influential force in several other Western states, a position
which they have maintained and continue to strengthen.
However, the Call diary was not actually written until years
later, from memory, and the manuscript of the HC dates only from
1845 (after JS's death), where the words of this prophecy appear
only as an interlinear insertion which could only have been made
after the Mormons actually arrived in Utah. Thus it appears that
this "prophecy" is a forgery. See MPM 85-86.
PROPHECY ABOUT STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS: May 18, 1843. HC
5:393-4,398, Chron JS, PJS. Joseph Smith prophesies to Stephen
A. Douglas that he will "aspire" to the presidency of the U.S.,
and that if he ever turns against the Mormons, he will "feel the
weight of the hand of Almighty God upon [him]"
Douglas did aspire to the presidency, but did not get it.
Mormons claim that it was because he did turn against them.
However, this prophecy, like the previous one, appears to be a
forgery by the editors of HC. It supposedly is recorded in Wm.
Clayton's diary. The manuscript of that diary, however, has no
prophecy about Douglas. See MPM 86-88.
MORMONS WILL ESCAPE THEIR ENEMIES: Feb 25, 1844. HC
6:225, Chron JS. Joseph Smith prophesies that within five years
the Mormons would be out of the power of their old enemies.
FULFILLMENT: By 1849 the Mormons had set up their theocracy in
Utah and, for a time at least, were no longer plagued by their
enemies. (By 1857, however, the U.S. was sending an army to Utah
to put down the "Mormon Rebellion.")
JACKSON COUNTY WILL BE DEVASTATED: ca. 1839. Unrecorded
prophecy, reported in Morris, PJS p 180. Joseph Smith advised
General Doniphan not to own property in Jackson County, Missouri,
because "God's wrath hangs over Jackson county. God's people
have been ruthlessly driven from it, and you will live to see the
day when it will be visited by fire and sword. The Lord of Hosts
will sweep it with the besom of destruction. The fields and
farms and houses will be destroyed, and only the chimneys will be
left to mark the desolation."
FULFILLMENT: In 1863 Union troops
were ordered to burn all houses and crops in Jackson County
because of the anti-Union guerrilla warfare of the residents. It
was considered one of the worst atrocities of the war.
PORTER ROCKWELL WILL DIE IN BED: Joseph Smith promised
his body guard Porter Rockwell that if he never cut his hair, he
would die in bed.
FULFILLMENT: Rockwell complied, and in spite
of a violent life, died peacefully. (Harold Schindler, Orrin
Porter Rockwell, Salt Lake City 1966, pp 108-109)
A VAIN PROPHET WILL BE THROWN DOWN: This prophecy by
Joseph Smith, although it was fulfilled quickly and literally, is
rarely cited by Mormons. July 1828. D&C 3:4. "For although a
man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty
works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught
the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own
will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of
a just God upon him."
FULFILLMENT: On May 26, 1844, Joseph Smith
made the following statement in a public sermon (Brodie p 374, HC
"Come on, ye persecutors! ye false swearers! All
hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! For
I will come out on the top at last. 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."
At this time he was secretly married polygamously to over 40
women, some of them wives of men still living. Many who knew of
these secret marriages accused him of changing the doctrine of
the church to satisfy his own carnal desires, in violation of the
Book of Mormon (Jacob 2:23-29, 3:5) and D&C 49:16.
Almost exactly one month after this boast, on June 27, 1844,
he was killed by his enemies in a gun battle at Carthage Jail.
Summarized above are about sixty prophecies of Joseph Smith
which were not fulfilled. Mormons may object that some of them
may still be fulfilled, for example, Jesus will yet come, the Far
West temple will yet be built, New York will yet be destroyed,
Salem will yet belong to the Mormons, etc. Yet many of the
prophecies cannot be fulfilled: the dates for their fulfillment
were given, and those dates have passed; the people whose deeds
were prophesied have died without their performing those deeds.
Morris, PJS, discusses only "fulfilled" prophecies, and only
eight of them. In addition to four of those discussed above (he
does not mention the prophecy about the downfall of boastful
prophets), he is forced to include pronouncements by Joseph Smith
that were not prophecies about the future at all, but statements
about the past, namely, that mankind began in America, not the
Old World; that Jesus was born on April 6; and that the Western
Hemisphere is a choice land and will always be free from tyrants
(the latter, since it occurs in the Book of Mormon, should not be
considered a prophecy of Joseph Smith, since, according to Mormon
doctrine, Joseph Smith merely translated of the book, not its
Five prophecies fulfilled out of the sixty-five or so found
recorded does not even measure up to Hyrum Smith's standard of a
"hit one in ten times," and is far short of the promise (and
prophecy) in D&C 1:37 that "ALL" will be fulfilled.
Joseph Smith fails to pass the test of a true prophet, even by
his own standards or those of his followers (e.g., Morris).
Doctrine and Covenants (an official compilation of
revelations, accepted by the Mormons as scripture)|
|JD||Journal of Discourses (a
stenographic report of speeches made by Mormon leaders during the
days of Brigham Young)|
|Comp Hist|| Comprehensive
History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
|HC|| History of the
Church (both of these histories are published by the LDS
|PJS||Nephi Lowell Morris,
Prophecies of Joseph Smith and their Fulfillment, Salt
Lake City, 1926|
|Chron JS||J. Christopher
Conkling, A Joseph Smith Chronology, Salt Lake City,
|Brodie||Fawn M. Brodie,
No Man Knows My History, 2nd ed, New York, 1993 |
|Quinn||D. Michael Quinn,
The Mormon Hierarchy, Salt Lake City, 1994 |
|Tanner MSR|| Jerald and
Sandra Tanner, Mormonism - Shadow or Reality?, 5th ed,
Salt Lake City, 1987|
|MPM ||Jerald and Sandra
Tanner, Major Problems of Mormonism, Salt Lake City, 1989
See also Richard D. Baer's "Why I Left The Mormon Church," n.d.,
Another list of 7 of the most relevant false prophecies of Joseph Smith:
Joseph Smith bore many titles in his lifetime, Elder, Seer, President, Mayor, even Lieutenant General, but he is probably best known as the Prophet. And prophesy he did, often with great passion, invoking the powers of heaven and the name of God. What follows are seven prophecies of Joseph Smith, notable for their specificity and appeal to divine authority. These are taken from official Mormon sources - either the Latter-day Saint scriptures or the History of the Church (HC), a seven volume history published under the authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). Each are given in context and cited directly from the original source. Where they are known, subsequent historical events relevant to the prophecy are noted.
Prophecy # 1 - The Coming of the Lord
President Smith then stated that the meeting had been called, because God had commanded it; and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit. . . . it was the will of God that they should be ordained to the ministry and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, for the coming of the Lord, which was nigh - even fifty six years should wind up the scene. (History of the Church, Vol. 2, page 182).
This prophecy was spoken by Joseph Smith in 1835, and recorded by Oliver Cowdery. The fifty-six years were passed by 1891.
Prophecy # 2 - David W. Patten to go on a mission
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 the world. (Doctrine & Covenants 114:1)
This prophecy was made on April 17, 1838. David W. Patten died in October of 1838 and thus never went on a mission the following spring.
Prophecy # 3 - The United States Government to be overthrown in a few years
I prophecy 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 government will be utterly overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left for their wickedness in permitting the murder of men, women and children, and the wholesale plunder and extermination of thousands of her citizens to go unpunished (History of the Church, Vol. 5, page 394).
Joseph Smith made this prophecy in May 6, 1843. However, the United States Government did not redress any of the wrongs committed against the Mormons in Missouri, and now over 150 years later, the U.S. Government still stands.
Prophecy # 4 - Congress to be broken up as a government
While discussing the petition to Congress, I prophesied, 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. (Millennial Star, Vol. 22, p. 455. See also History of the Church (HC), vol. 6, p. 116, though when this prediction was incorporated into the official history, Mormon Church leaders decided to leave out the "grease spot" part.)
The petition was not heard nor was protection granted (Deseret News, Vol. 1, p. 59). Yet, Congress was never broken up and continues to function to this day. It is interesting that the compilers of History of the Church, added an editorial note in an attempt to soften or explain this prophecy. They state that: "This prediction doubtless has reference to the party in power; to the ‘government’ considered as the administration;" (note, p. 116). According to the note in HC, this means the Democratic Party, which was in control at the time. However, the prediction is that "Congress shall be broken up as a government" and Congress is made up of representatives from both parties. The Saints were making an appeal to the General Government, not to the Democratic Party, a point made by a summary statement in the left margin beside this prophecy as it is recorded in HC.
Prophecy #5 -Finding Treasure in Salem, Massachusetts
This prophecy is recorded in Doctrine & Covenants Section 111. The introduction to this prophecy, found at the beginning of Section 111 states:
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Salem, Massachusetts, August 6, 1836. HC 2:465-466. At this time the leaders of the [LDS] Church were heavily in debt due to their labors in the ministry.
1. I, the Lord your God, am not displeased with your coming this journey, notwithstanding your follies.
2. I have much treasure in this city for you, for the benefit of Zion, and many people in this city, whom I will gather out in due time for the benefit of Zion, through your instrumentality.
3. Therefore, it is expedient that you should form acquaintance with men in this city, as you shall be led, and as it shall be given you.
4. And it shall come to pass in due time that I will give this city into your hands, that you shall have power over it, insomuch that they shall not discover your secret parts; and its wealth pertaining to gold and silver shall be yours.
5. Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them.
No treasure was ever discovered, nor did Salem ever fell into the hands of the Mormons.
Prophecy #6 - Pestilence, Hail, Famine & Earthquake to Destroy the Wicked
And now I am prepared to say by the authority of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass away before the United States shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the history of our nation; pestilence, hail, famine, and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of the land, to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country. The people of the Lord, those who have complied with the requirements of the new covenant, have already commenced gathering together to Zion, which is in the state of Missouri; therefore I declare unto you the warning which the Lord has commanded to declare unto this generation, remembering that the eyes of my Maker are upon me, and that to him I am accountable for every word I say, wishing nothing worse to my fellow-men than their eternal salvation; therefore, "Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come." Repent ye, repent ye, and embrace
the everlasting covenant and flee to Zion, before the overflowing scourge overtake you, for there are those now living upon the earth whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things, which I have spoken, fulfilled (History of the Church, Vol. 1, pp. 315-316).
Such a widespread destruction of the wicked of that generation never occurred.
Prophecy # 7 - Temple to be Built in Zion, Missouri
This prophecy comes directly from Doctrine & Covenants Section 84, the introduction of which states:
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, September 22 and 23, 1832. HC 1:286-295.
1. A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high.
2. Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.
3. Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.
4. Verily, this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.
5. For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.
The Mormons were forced to flee Missouri due to persecution and a temple was never built on the "temple lot" in the lifetime of Joseph Smith or within the generation of his contemporaries.