Mormonism Part 3

Who Was Joseph Smith?

Who was Joseph Smith and what influenced him?

  • He was born in Sharon, cialis generic treatment Vermont, discount cialis pharm on December 2, there 1805.
  • Joseph Smith moved with his family to Palmyra, New York, in 1816, looking to improve their financial stability and living conditions.   They began their recovery by searching and seeking out “rumored” hidden treasure in the surrounding hills.
  • He was very influenced by his father who dabbled in mysticism and also sought imaginary buried treasure.
  • His father eventually got into trouble with the state of Vermont for attempting other means of procuring riches by counterfeiting money.
  • Smith influenced by his father, looked for gold and silver through the various witchcraft practices of glass-looking, incantations, occultist manipulations, divining with stakes, and “animal sacrifices”.
  • Another major influence in Joseph Smith life was a fortuneteller named Walters. Walters made money by pretending to know where buried treasure from ancient Indians was located. He deceived ignorant farmers by reading from an “ancient Indian record” which was actually a Latin copy of Caesar’s Orations. He would mutter “unintelligible jargon” to hearers. He would then get money to tell them where the treasure was located. Perhaps it was this   influence that inspired Joseph Smith to concoct his story about finding the hidden “golden plates” which were written in Egyptian Hieroglyphics by the angel Moroni.
  • The summation of Joseph Smith’s life is very controversial at best.   He was sued 47 times, arrested and convicted 5 times. He was known for practicing polygamy and was confronted several times for adulterous affairs.   It was reported that he had a harem of over 50 women during his lifetime.

Smith’s Vision

  • Joseph Smith claimed to have had a vision when he was 14 years old while living in Palmyra, New York. After walking into the woods in the spring of 1820, he asked the Lord which Christian denomination he should join. A pillar of light (supposedly the Father and Son) appeared to Joseph and told him not to join any, because their creeds were all an abomination to the Lord.
  • Later on in life, Joseph claimed that the angel Moroni revealed to him the location of the hidden “golden plates. ”  They had been hidden on the hill Cumorah 1400 years prior by Moroni, the last of the “righteous” Nephites in America who had served the Lord.  There has never been a discovery to date of any Nephite artifact.    Archeologists are befuddled at the phenomena that an entire American race of people left nothing behind to prove their existence.
  • The “golden plates” Joseph Smith found were supposedly written upon in ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics. He translated them by looking through the “Urim and Thummim”, a large pair of miraculous spectacles that made clear the understanding of what was written. These glasses were given to Joseph Smith by the angel Moroni. Through these glasses Joseph Smith was able to translate the golden plates between the years 1827 and 1830.
  • Smith’s other claims of divine visitations include a visit by John the Baptist on May 15, 1829 at which time he was officially ordained into the “Aaronic Priesthood.”
  • In 1830, Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon.
  • Smith soon gained a considerable gathering of believers that moved to Kirtland, Ohio. Within 6 years of this move, his followers increased to about 16,000.
  • His movement grew and relocated again in Nauvoo, Illinois, where Smith met his death in 1844.

Joseph Smith’s final epitaph

  • During Smith’s life a great deal of opposition came his way for obvious reasons.
  • A local newspaper (Nauvoo Expositor) for example, profusely and adamantly opposed Smith calling his group a cult.   Smith was the mayor at the time, and in response ordered the destruction of the newspaper.
  • Joseph Smith was not beyond breaking the law which led to his own imprisonment.  After being jailed for a time with his brother in Carthage, Illinois June 27th 1844 an angry mob of about 200 men stormed the jail and murdered Smith and his brother.
  • Before he died, Smith emptied a smuggled revolver into the crowd killing two men.
  • Soon after these incredible events a large group of Joseph Smith followers, now Mormons, accepted Brigham Young as their new leader. Young was 43 years old when he took over the reign of leadership and subsequently moved over 14,000 Mormons to Salt Lake, Utah. He ruled over the Mormon Church there for the next 30 years.

Teachable Moment

Joseph Smith and the Mormons are personifications of Jesus’ warnings about false prophets and religions when He said, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:15-22)     In response to this warning go on a search with your children to find a tree that you know bears fruit.   In our back yard we have both an apple and orange tree.    Then locate a tree that looks like it bears fruit, but really does not.   We also have a tree like this in our back yard.   It has leaves; it looks beautiful, and provides shade for a season.   But although there are berries on it that look like fruit, they are not edible.    The berries off this tree taste sour, and if that were all we had to survive on we would perish.    Then share with your children about the false prophet Joseph Smith.    He is like that tree that looks like fruit, but the fruit provides no nutritional value.  In fact such a diet from that tree would lead to death.    And so it is with the Mormons, they appear to look like good fruit but they are not.

Final Comparisons

Mormon tree of grace (Bad fruit or good fruit?)

Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the fall of Adam and also because of man’s weakness and shortcomings.  However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient (LDS Bible Dictionary p. 697)

New Testament tree of grace

” For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Joseph Smith Quote  (Bad fruit or good fruit)

To become like him we must have all the powers of godhood; thus a man and his wife when glorified will have spirit children who eventually will go on an earth like this one we are on and pass through the same kind of experiences, being subject to mortal conditions, and if faithful, then, they will receive the fullness of exaltations and partake of the same blessings.  There is no end to this development; it will go on forever.   We will become gods and have jurisdiction over the world, and these worlds will be peopled by our own offspring.   We will have an endless eternity for this.” (Joseph Smith, Achieving a Celestial Marriage page 132)

God’s Word

16 ” Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”  (Paul the Apostle; Galatians 2: 16 & 20)

Final Comment

In my opinion Joseph Smith was not a prophet of God, but just a common sinner who like so many before and after him, rejected Jesus Christ as sole Lord and Savior.   The bottom line with Joseph Smith is that he loved himself over and above all, and created a religion that met all his depraved cravings.     Joseph Smith’s man-made Mormonism in essence supported his sexual addiction, insatiable need to be worshipped, and irrepressible desire to be in a superior position (godhood) over others.   This is who Joseph Smith was and in varying degrees is what draws most to the Mormon religion.   The rest come to Mormonism through ignorance, or family, business, and peer pressure.