Joseph Smith/Alleged false prophecies

Joseph Smith: Alleged false prophecies

This page is a summary or index. More detailed information on this topic is available on the sub-pages below.

Deuteronomy 18 as a prophetic test

Summary: Critics point to Deuteronomy 18:20-22 as a 'test' for a true prophet.

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Can't kill Joseph within 5 years of August 1843?

Summary: Sarah Scott's claim that Joseph Smith said on 27 August 1843 that nobody could kill him "till the Temple would be completed."

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Civil War prophecy

Summary: Joseph Smith made an 1832 prophecy of the Civil War. Critics use a variety of tactics to dismiss this prophetic "hit."

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Attitude of Saints toward Civil War prophecy

Summary: One critic claims that the horrors of the Civil War actually brought the Saints "some degree of emotional satisfaction and comfort," since it fulfilled Joseph's prophecy.

David Patten to serve a mission

Summary: Joseph Smith, under the inspiration of the Lord, issued a call for David Patten to go on a mission the following spring. Since Patten died before fulfilling this mission, is this a failed prophecy?

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Joseph Smith's Rocky Mountain prophecy

Summary: Critics Jerald and Sandra Tanner claim that a prophecy from Joseph about the Saints' move to the Rocky Mountains was forged after the fact and inserted into the History of the Church.

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Tanners' use of sources

Summary: An examination of the sources used by the Tanners and how they do not support the critical claim.

The Mormon temple to be built in Independence, Missouri

Summary: Despite the fact that the Saints were forced to leave Missouri around a year after the "prediction" was given to build a temple in Independence, Missouri, they still hoped to return and see the prophecy come to fruition.

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Joseph and Orson Hyde to drink of wine in Palestine?

Summary: Did Joseph utter a false prophecy in telling Orson Hyde that he would drink wine with him in Palestine? Did Joseph show his disregard for the Word of Wisdom by promising to drink wine?

Notes from Kirtland Safety Society to be "as good as gold"?

Summary: Critics make light of Joseph Smith's claim that Kirtland Safety Society notes would be "as good as gold."

Prophetic test in Deuteronomy

Summary: Critics point to Deuteronomy 18:20-22 as a 'test' for a true prophet:

Queens to pay respect to Relief Society within ten years?

Summary: A record exists of Joseph prophesying that queens would pay their respects to the Relief Society within ten years of its formation. That no queens did so is held up as a sign of false prophecy.

Second Coming in 1890 (56 years)

Summary: Is it true that Joseph Smith prophesied Jesus Christ's return in 1890?

Stephen A. Douglas prophecy

Summary: It is claimed that a "forged prediction" was added to the history of the Church related to the political career of Stephen A. Douglas.)

Ten tribes return and wicked swept away?

Summary: Did Joseph prophesy that the wicked "of this generation" would be swept from the face of the land and the Lost Ten tribes would be gathered within Joseph Smith's generation?

Thomas B. Marsh to be "exalted"

Summary: Thomas B. Marsh was told that he would be "exalted," and that he would preach "unto the ends of the earth." (See DC 112:.) Was this prophecy "unfulfilled," given because of Marsh's apostasy?

United Order everlasting, immutable, and unchangeable?

Summary: Did Joseph make a false prophecy when he described the United Order in revelation as "everlasting," "immutable and unchangeable," "until I [Jesus] come?"

Zion redeemed by September 1836?

Summary: Joseph predicted that Zion would be redeemed by September 1836.

Are prophets infallible?

Summary: Critics insist that any statement by any LDS Church leader at any point in time represents LDS doctrine and is thus something that is secretly believed, or that should be believed, by Latter-day Saints. Question: Do Mormons consider their prophets to be infallible?

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Fulfilled prophecies

Biblical Keys for Discerning True and False Prophets

  • The Word of Wisdom states that it is given in part because of the "evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days" (DC 89:4). Modern developments have vindicated this prophetic warning.
  • A list of some examples of fulfilled prophecies can be found here:
    • Jeff Lindsay, "Fulfilled Prophesies of Joseph Smith," off-site

Miscellaneous

The "White Horse Prophecy"

Summary: Does the "White Horse" prophecy predict the "transformation of the U.S. government into a Mormon-ruled theocracy?" Is it true that the "White Horse" prophecy "continues to be a dominant element of the faith espoused by Joseph Smith's followers" because they believe that they will be "officers and administrators" during Christ's millennial reign? Question: What is the "White Horse Prophecy?"

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A FairMormon Analysis of: One Nation Under Gods, Appendix B: Failed Joseph Smith prophecies



Further reading and additional sources responding to these claims