Did Joseph Smith Write Himself into Scripture?

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2 Nephi 3:14-15

“And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled.  Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise; And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father.  And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.”

 

Who is that prophesy referring to?

Latter-Day Saints believe it was speaking into the future of Joseph Smith.

This passage is from the Book of Mormon for which we know there are no ancient documents or records to verify. 

And what’s the correlation?

You’ll need to read from the Joseph Smith Translation Genesis 50:33

“And that seer will I bless, and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise I given unto you; for I will remember you from generation to generation; and his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father; and he shall be like unto you; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation.”

Do you notice the similarities?

That reference to Joseph and his father is obviously, Joseph Smith Jr. and Joseph Smith Sr. 

Those corrections that Joseph Smith made do not appear in any of the numerous ancient Old Testament manuscripts.

So, what’s your point?

It’s apparent to me that both scriptural passages came through one man.  And it’s the same man who is the object of those prophecies – Joseph Smith. 

Doesn’t that seem self-serving and arrogant of Joseph Smith to write himself into the narrative of what is called Mormon scripture?


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Joseph’s Boasting

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“Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.  Ever and ever the keys he will hold.”

Who would you say this is referring to?

Naturally we would assume this is a tribute to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Sadly, however, this is a quote from an article entitled, “Recurring Themes of President Hinckley” featured in the Ensign magazine, June 2000, p. 18.  And it is referring to Joseph Smith – not, Jesus Christ.

Latter-day Saints will say they don’t worship Joseph Smith. They just look up to him as a great prophet.

That line came from the Mormon hymn, “Praise To The Man” which also includes the following lyrics: “Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer.  Blessed to open the last dispensation, Kings shall extol him and nations revere…Long shall HIS blood, (referring to Joseph Smith’s blood), which was shed by assassins, plead unto heaven while the earth lauds his FAME (again, referring to the Fame of Joseph Smith)”

Listen to the comparison Brigham Young made in 1871, between Joseph Smith and Jesus from the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 14, p.203:

“Well, now, examine the character of the Savior, and examine the characters of those who have written the Old and New Testaments; and then compare them with the character of Joseph Smith…and you will find that his character stands as fair as that of any man’s mentioned in the Bible.”

Even, Smith himself had no problem in bragging. He stated,

“…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.”

History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp.408-409

What do you think of that proud statement from the “prophet?”

A true prophet of God would never think of making such a statement!  In 1 Corinthians 1:31, the Apostle Paul reminded the church at Corinth what the Prophet Jeremiah had to say regarding boasting: “Thus says the Lord, let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me…” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

Listen to another boast from Joseph Smith.  “God made Aaron to be the mouthpiece for the children of Israel, and He will make me be god to you in His stead, and the Elders to be mouth for me; and if you don’t like it, you must lump it.”

That is from the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p .363.

The Bible teaches that humility, not boastfulness, should be the primary character of someone who claims to be a Christian.  Paul warned in Romans 12:3 “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

Even the Book of Mormon in Alma 5:27-28 says, “Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God?  Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble?  …Behold, are ye stripped of pride?”

Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “…I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Joseph Smith never boasted in his weaknesses.  Instead, he seems to have spent his life exalting himself.

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Article Bible References

  • 1 Corinthians 1:31

  • Jeremiah 9:23-24

  • Romans 12:3

  • Luke 14:11

  • James 4:6

The First Vision

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The Mormon missionaries have been taught that their first prophet, Joseph Smith, went into the woods as a 14-year old boy and that God and Jesus Christ both appeared to him.

Latter-day Saints believe that the “First Vision” was a real
physical event and that it was an historical fact, based on the fact that
Joseph Smith said it was.

If we were to apply basic investigation techniques, one would have to ask if someone else was there to witness this event. But only Joseph Smith was there.

But I’m sure he told other people about it, right away. His family at least.

In 1833, the Mormon church published the first Book of Commandments. That was a book that had all of Smith’s revelations to that point. And nowhere in that book is there any reference to the First Vision. And when Smith wrote the Church History in 1835, there was still no mention of it. Why?

The first newspapers published by the Mormon Church were in 1834 until 1836.  There’s no mention of a First Vision.  In 1835 Smith’s Lectures on Faith taught that the Godhead is two separate personages.

But again, no mention of
a First Vision.

Then, in 1837, the first important missionary pamphlet of the Church was written by Mormon apostle Parley P. Pratt.  You’d think surely the First Vision would be mentioned then, right?

But it wasn’t? Not a word about it. 

The first time the story was published was in the Church newspaper in 1842. 

That’s 22 years after it supposedly happened.

That’s the first time the public heard of it.  So, until then, the Missionaries had never even heard of their prophet’s claim to seeing God and Jesus.

The official account of the First Vision wasn’t included in Mormon scripture until 1889, 22 years after Smith’s death.  It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that the Vision was printed in the missionary literature.  Can you imagine all those early Mormons never even hearing about the First Vision until years after it supposedly happened?

One of the LDS prophets, Gordon B. Hinckley said,

“Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision.  It either occurred or it did not occur.  If it did not, then this work is a fraud.”

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Article Bible References

  • Deuteronomy 13:1-5

  • Jeremiah 14:14

  • Ezekiel 13:3

  • Ezekiel 6:8

  • Matthew 4:8-9

  • Matthew 18:16

  • Matthew 24:23-27

  • John 8:17

  • 2 Corinthians 13:1

  • Ephesians 5:11-13