Prophet or Con Man?

Deuteronomy 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,

Deuteronomy 18:11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

Deuteronomy 18:12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

an example? Scrying…Scrying (also called crystal gazing, crystal seeing, seeing, or peeping) is a magic practice that involves seeing things psychically in a medium, usually for purposes of obtaining spiritual visions and less often for **purposes of divination **or fortune-telling. The most common media used are reflective, translucent, or luminescent substances such as crystals, stones, glass, mirrors, water, fire, or smoke. Scrying has been used in many cultures as a means of divining the past, present, or future.

And who does this?

Isaac hale said, “his (Joe’s) occupation was that of seeing, or pretending to see by means of a stone placed in his hate and his hat closed over his face. In this way he pretended to discover minerals and hidden treasures.”

Martin Harris said, "“Joseph had a stone which was dug from the well of Mason Chase, twenty-four feet from the surface. In this stone he could see many things to my certain knowledge. It was by means of this stone he first discovered these plates.”

  • High Priest Martin Harris, one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, Tiffany’s Monthly, Aug. 1859 (v. 5, no. 4), p. 163

“Consequently long before the idea of a Golden Bible entered their minds, in their excursions for money-digging, which I believe usually occurred in the night, that they might conceal from others the knowledge of the place, where they struck their treasures, Jo used to be usually their guide, putting into a hat a peculiar stone he had through which he looked to decide where they should begin to dig. It was after one of these night excursions, that Jo, while he lay upon his bed, had a remarkable dream. An angel of God seemed to approach him, clad in celestial splendor.”

  • High Priest Martin Harris, Testimonies of Book of Mormon Witnesses, by John Clark, 1842, p. 226

“I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine.”

  • High Priest David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, An Address to All Believers in Christ, p. 12

Does it seem even remotely logical that God would use a method He has forbidden to bring forth “his greatest work”?

Is it just coincidence that the very method Joe used to defraud people is the method he used to translate a gold book?

:shrug: I don’t know that anyone could ever say for sure what was going on in those times. It was one long con.

Well, we know what was NOT going on…Jesus and Angels were not visiting Joseph

no, but there are 2 possibilities. 1. he really was visited, just not by anything Holy. 2. haveing studied his upbringing i would have to say, he saw starting his own religion, as a great way to make a living. i think it had to do more with gaining wealth, and comfort than anything else. nothing against modern day Mormons. i just dont see their prophet, in a very good light. Peace :slight_smile:

Over the years since I left Mormonism, I’ve gone from thinking that JS knew exactly what he was doing to thinking that he got caught up in the hype just like all his followers did.

He started small… just a little lie here and there… and then it got larger and larger until he couldn’t control it any longer and he had to invent larger and larger lies to compensate.

Sin is like that, I think. It always starts out subtly. Before we know it, we are in over our heads.

The enemy of our souls, in my opinion, doesn’t start out with the big stuff. We gradually are led away from Truth into heresy.

My belief is that during the fervor of the day, JS probably had a hunger for God. He wanted to seek for the Truth. That didn’t turn out profitable. His lies did. Eventually, JS abandoned his quest for God and turned it into his own little blossoming falsehood. Unfortunately, there were many who saw in him a charismatic leader who could explain the mysteries of the universe in such a way that they could grasp. I know that when I was a Mormon, it made sense to me. There was always AN answer, even if that changed according to who you were speaking with.


I agree

sirthomasmore. do you believe Joseph smith actually believed the things he was teaching after a time? Peace :slight_smile:

I believe he intentional;ly committed fraud, then after being praised by so many people, began to believe in his own hype.

This is a common phenomenon. Repeating erroneous information often enough is known to often result in altering perception whether it is in the mind of the speaker or the listener. This is why we need to do careful fact checking, especially when something doesn’t sound right.

I strongly suspect that most persons would scoff at the idea of anything of importance, much less scripture from God, coming from an angel on golden plates that were subsequently taken away, translated from a language that has never existed on Earth, and translated by means of peering at glowing rocks held at the bottom of a hat, done in such secrecy that it was done even out of the view of the person taking dictation from the translator. All this hiding and secrecy are the hallmarks of deception.

Under the circumstances, all such claims should be carefully scrutinized.

I’m not touching this one! Obviously, if I thought JS a prophet, I would be LDS.

If he is not a prophet, there is only one other alternative. :smiley:

it just seems Joe went around looking at rocks in his hat to fool folks into thinking he could find treasure. When that did not work and he got in trouble, he decided he could have a better shot at fooling folks if he used the hat-and-rocks trick to translate gold plates. And not just any gold plates, but gold plates that also give a man the strength to run three miles on a bad leg and outrun three men while carrying them

Somewhere on this forum (I wish I had saved the cite but I didn’t, my bad) someone calculated the weight of the so-called “golden plates” based on the description given and it was heavier than anyone could lift, much less run with.

It would take a lot of time to find that cite. It sure would be handy if someone had it.

He wasn’t all bad. He did build schools in all those little kingdoms of his. It does sound like there was some good in him. But if I had a teenage daughter I sure would not let her near him, then or now. Rigdon sounds fanatical.

I don’t know the Bible that well but are there any prophets (besides Jesus) in the Bible that require one must submit to him to get to heaven like one must submit to admitting Smith is a Prophet of God? When I joined one of the questions asked was - Do I believe Smith is a Prophet? They hammer that message almost every Sunday - Book of Mormon proves Smith is a Prophet!!! Over and over. It’s a little too much for me. They never tone it down either. What is the deal with that?

It is rare for someone to be totally evil. Even the worst of us often have some good quality. Just as an example, Hitler was said to be unfailingly kind to children. Doesn’t make up for the evil things he did, but it does take him out of the “totally evil” category.

As for why the Mormons consistently re-affirm the Prophet status of JS, as well as the current Prophet, it would seem to be a way of justifying their faith. If Joseph Smith was not a Prophet, the entire structure of Mormonism falls apart. Hence the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and the Prophet status of Joseph Smith is consistently re-affirmed.

There is no other prophet in the Old or New Testament for such affirmation is required.

I’ve seen that also. I have also seen it on several other sites.

If they were truly gold, they would have weighed several hundred pounds, but the people that say they lifted them suggested they weight 50-60 lbs. Either way, JS running through the woods, fighting off attackers, etc. etc. would be extremely difficult, even using the lighter weight.

Plus, you need to factor in the fact that JS had a somewhat bum leg.

It’s a little freaky. I’ve told myself it would be nice if they would just tone it down a little, just a little. :slight_smile: Nope. God, Christ, and Smith, God Christ and Smith, God Christ and Smith. Brodie says he created a continuation in heaven of these things found on earth - work, wealth, sex, and power. So being a Mormon means you enjoy work, wealth, sex, and power? Well, I guess most people do. But for some reason I think Smith corrupted it all.

Mormons claim that, because of certain things, they actually only weighed 50-60 pounds. I said so what? I used to carry 50-pound bags of dog food all the time. There is no way Joe could have carried 50 pounds and run three miles with it, especially on a bum leg, and especially fast enough to outrun three men

Picking up a 50 pound bag of dog food (a foolish thing to do at my age) broke my hand a couple of years ago. And I had no problem with bone density. Perhaps it doesn’t sound like all that much to some people, but for others it can be problematic. I would say that picking up 50 or 60 pounds, much less running with it, would present a problem for a lot of people. Others have arrived at a much higher figure, one that makes the entire story impossible.

In the final analysis, however, the assessment of Mormonism as being believable or not does not rest on any one thing, but on a collection of things. STM, you’re an attorney and I am not, so correct me if I am wrong, but in a case that involves “circumstantial evidence” the thing that makes or breaks the case is the fact that there is SO MUCH evidence, even if it is circumstantial, pointing in one direction.

With Mormonism, a dispassionate examination of numerous aspects yields an inescapable result, and that result is that the stories told by Joseph Smith, no matter how or where he got them, are just not credible. There is SO MUCH evidence to show that the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction as well as SO MUCH evidence to indicate that the other stories told by Joseph Smith are not true. The only thing left is to accept it all “on faith”.

Yes, it is true, that we Catholics are also asked to accept many things “on faith”. But not EVERYTHING. And that is a big difference.

Starting off I thought you were referring to another religion, it is quite disturbing when you put these verses into a slightly different context.

Circumstantial evidence can be used to prove a case. For example, if I see footprints in the snow, it is circumstantial evidence that someone walked in the snow. We have a lot more than circumstantial evidence here. We have eye witnesses to the Spaulding Transcripts. We have proof that Joseph could not have run 3 miles carrying 50 pounds on a bad leg and outrunning three men. We have proof that Joseph was big on diviniation, con jobs, and doing whatever he could to make a buck, legal or not. We have proof that he had 9 different versions of his vision, we have proof that he was an ego maniac. These are all things to which we have documents and/or witnesses.

The case against Joe is strong. If I could have him on the witness stand, I would be able to discredit him with no trouble at all.

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