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Joseph Smith: Prophet

An examination of numerous prophecies given by Joseph Smith.

False Prophecies

A selection of numerous false prophecies given by Joseph Smith.
  • Joseph prophesied that his generation would build a temple in Independence, Missouri. The temple has never been built and today another church, the Church of Christ, owns the temple lot.
    Joseph Smith 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. 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. 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.
    Doctrine and Covenants 84:3-5

  • Joseph made four prophecies that did not come to pass, and thus were subsequently omitted from the Doctrine and Covenants 137.
    Joseph Smith I saw the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb, who are now upon the earth, who hold the keys of this last ministry, in foreign lands, standing together in a circle, much fatigued, with their clothes tattered and their feet swollen, with their eyes cast downward, and Jesus standing in their midst, and they did not behold him. The Savior looked upon them and wept.
    Note: *seven of the twelve were excommunicated or apostatized.

    I also beheld Elder M'Lellin in the south, standing upon a hill, surrounded by a vast multitude, preaching to them, and a lame man standing before him supported by his crutches; he threw them down at his word and leaped as a hart, by the mighty power of God.
    Note: M'Lellin was excommunicated.

    Also, I saw Elder Brigham Young standing in a strange land, in the far south and west, in a desert place, upon a rock in the midst of a bout a dozen men of color, who appeared hostile. He was preaching to them in their own tongue, and the angel of God standing above his head with a drawn sword in his hand, protecting him, but he did not see it.
    Note: There is no record of this at any time in Brigham's life.

    And I finally saw the Twelve in the celestial kingdom of God. I also beheld the redemption of Zion [Independence, Missouri] and many things which the tongue of man cannot describe in full.
    Note: since seven of the twelve had left the LDS church, according to LDS doctrine they would not all be together in the Celestial Kingdom.

    Joseph Smith - Mormonism founder
    History of the Church 2:381
    * John F. Boynton, Luke S. Johnson, Lyman Johnson, William E. M'Lellin, Thomas B. Marsh, Orson Hyde, William Smith.

  • Joseph prophesied that the LDS church was to form a communalist program to share property and resources to help eradicate poverty. This program was called the United Order, and was prophesied to be an everlasting order until Jesus Christ's second coming. It was short lived and ultimately abandoned.
    Joseph Smith Verily I say unto you, my friends, I give unto you counsel, and a commandment, concerning all the properties which belong to the order which I commanded to be organized and established, to be a united order, and an everlasting order for the benefit of my church, and for the salvation of men until I come.
    Doctrine and Covenants 104:1

  • On April 17, 1838, Joseph prophesied that LDS apostle David W. Patten would serve a mission the following spring. Six months later, on October 25, Patten died in the Battle of Crooked River.
    Joseph Smith 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 all the world.
    Doctrine and covenants 114:1

  • David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses said that Joseph Smith prophesied that the Book of Mormon copyright would be sold in Toronto.
    David Whitmer Joseph looked into the hat in which he placed the stone, and received a revelation that some of the brethren should go to Toronto, Canada, and that they would sell the copy-right of the Book of Mormon. Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery went to Toronto on this mission, but they failed entirely to sell the copy-right, returning without any money.

    David Whitmer - LDS General Authority and Book of Mormon Witness
    An Address To All Believers In Christ, p.31
    Joseph allegedly received a second revelation explaining why the first revelation failed:
    Joseph Smith Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil.

    Joseph Smith - Mormonism founder
    As quoted by David Whitmer in An Address To All Believers In Christ, p.31
    • If Joseph can't determine the source of a revelation why would we trust any of his revelations?

  • Joseph prophesied that unless his wife Emma accept him taking plural wives, she would be destroyed. Emma rejected it.
    Joseph Smith And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me... And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law... And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.
    Doctrine and Covenants 132:54-55,62
    • Despite rejecting the prophecy Emma lived to be 75 years old.
    • It was Joseph who died 11 months after giving this prophecy.

True Prophecy

Joseph's prophesied that a man who boasts in his own strength would incur God's vengeance.
Joseph Smith 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.
Doctrine and Covenants 3:4
  • On May 26, 1844, Joseph made this boast about himself:
    Joseph Smith 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.

    Joseph Smith - Mormonism founder
    History of the Church 6:408
  • One month later, on June 27, 1844, Joseph Smith was dead.


The prophets and apostles of biblical times warn about false prophets. They provide us criteria by which to determine false prophets.
  • Prophets must be put to the test
    Holy Bible Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
    — John 1:41
  • A prophet's message must be in harmony with the Gospel
    Holy Bible But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
    — Galatians 1:8-9
  • Examine the conduct of self-proclaimed prophets, do they:
    • Secretly introduce new doctrines?
    • Turn to sensuality?
    • Become greedy?
    • Exploit followers?
      Holy Bible But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
      — 2 Peter 2:1-3
  • False prophets make false prophecies
    See Jeremiah 28
  • Those who perform signs, wonders, and even prophesy things that come true are false prophets if they teach the wrong god(s)
    Holy Bible If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
    — Deuteronomy 13:1-3