Crash Course Mormonism: Joseph Smith

By Eric Johnson Joseph Smith (1805-1844) is the founder and first president/prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While he is not worshiped by followers of the church, he is certainly the most highly esteemed leader this religion has ever had. First Vision According to the official account told by the church, Joseph … Read more

Plural Marriage and Joseph Smith: A PR Nightmare in Mormonism

By Eric Johnson This article first appeared in the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL, volume 38, number 05 (2015). The full text of this article in PDF format can be obtained by clicking here. For further information or to subscribe to the CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL go to: http://www.equip.org/christian-research-journal/ Publicly mention the religion of Mormonism and the first thought to come to mind is “polygamy” or, as … Read more

Paying Allegiance to Joseph Smith

Note: The following was originally printed in the March/April 2018 edition of Mormonism Researched. To request a free subscription, please visit here. By Bill McKeever The dictionary defines “allegiance” as “loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior or of an individual to a group or cause.” Mormons are often quick to deny that members of The Church … Read more

The Boast of Joseph

By Eric Johnson Joseph Smith, the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made this boast a month before he was shot to death in a gun battle at the Carthage Jail: “Come on! ye prosecutors! Ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! For I will … Read more

Examining Mormonism’s Founder: The What-Did-Joseph-Smith-Lie-About Approach

By Rob Sivulka Summary A question I am often asked while holding up my “JosephLied.com” website sign [1] is, “What did Joseph lie about?” The question is like having a fish bite on the bait. When that happens, it’s time to set the hook and reel it in! While many issues may be brought up, I … Read more

Whatever happened to Emily and Eliza Partridge?

By Bill McKeever Note: The following was originally printed in the September/October 2017 edition of Mormonism Researched. To request a free subscription, please visit here. In early Mormonism, you might say some of  the women who became plural wives were kept as a set. Several Mormon leaders, including Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, married sisters. When Edward Partridge, Mormonism’s first … Read more

Joseph Smith is needed if the atonement to be “fully efficacious”

By Bill McKeever Note: The following was originally printed in the May/June 2017 edition of Mormonism Researched. To request a free subscription, please visit here. In the first volume of Doctrines of Salvation, tenth Mormon President Joseph Fielding Smith made it very clear that there is “no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith” (1:188). While some might think that Mormonism … Read more

Joseph Smith’s Alleged Ignorance of the Bible

Note: The following was originally printed in the November/December 2016 edition of Mormonism Researched. To request a free subscription, please visit here.  By Bill McKeever On the FAIR-LDS.org website, an article responds to the question, “Did Joseph know what the italics in the Bible meant?” FAIR stands for the Foundation for Apologetics and Information Research, an organization made up … Read more

Plural Marriage and Joseph Smith: A PR Nightmare in Mormonism

By Eric Johnson This article was originally was printed in the Christian Research Journal Vol. 38 No. 5. Publicly mention the religion of Mormonism and the first thought to come to mind is “polygamy” or, as it is also called, plural marriage. This common perception linking Mormonism with the practice of one man marrying two … Read more

Mormonism’s “Near Deification” of Joseph Smith

By Sharon Lindbloom 6 September 2016 Mormon blogger Mette Ivie Harrison posted an intriguing article on August 23rd at Huffington Post. She titled it, “Do Mormons Worship Joseph Smith?” In the article Ms. Harrison expressed her dismay that some non-Mormons might misunderstand the way modern Mormons feel about the faith’s first prophet and wrongly conclude … Read more

Chapter 5: Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration

During 2016, LDS members will be studying the latest manual published by their church, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter We will evaluate this book regularly, chapter by chapter, by showing interesting quotes and providing an Evangelical Christian take on this manual. The text that is boldfaced is from the manual, with our … Read more

Do the First Vision accounts coincide?

By Eric Johnson and Bill McKeever Mormons are taught that, as a fourteen-year-old young man, Joseph Smith was visited by both God the Father and Jesus Christ during the spring of 1820. This visitation is known in Mormonism as the First Vision. According to the official LDS version, Smith was perplexed by the behavior of certain Christians in the area … Read more

List of Joseph Smith’s Wives (George A. Smith)

Mormonism’s  founder, Joseph Smith, was married to more than 30 women, meaning that Emma was not his one and only wife. Many who know about Smith’s philanderous ways may assume that these women must have been widows or “old maids” and their prophet was doing a favor to them by marrying them. However, the idea that Joseph Smith … Read more

The Virtue of Joseph Smith

The following was originally printed in the March/April 2015 edition of Mormonism Researched. To request a free subscription, please visit here.  Speaking at the general conference in October 2014, Mormon Apostle Neil L. Andersen gave a talk simply titled “Joseph Smith.”  Toward the end of his message, Andersen said, “I give you my witness that Jesus is the Christ, … Read more

Joseph’s Wives.com

Welcome to JosephsWives.com, a page that has been created to help people better understand the truth about the more than thirty wives of Joseph Smith. We invite you to look through the information we have made available here and see that what we are saying is historical fact, not anti-Mormon rhetoric. And please understand what … Read more

Did Emma Smith approve of polygamy?

By Eric Johnson Some Latter-day Saints may rationalize Smith’s behavior. After all, some might think, his wife Emma must have been a believer in this practice. Actually, Emma Smith approved of plural marriage for only a short time–maybe a few weeks–but she otherwise always despised polygamy and her husband’s involvement with this practice. In their book Mormon … Read more

Did Emma Smith ever approve of polygamy?

By Eric Johnson Some Latter-day Saints may rationalize Smith’s behavior. After all, some might think, his wife Emma must have been a believer in this practice. Actually, Emma Smith approved of plural marriage for only a short time–maybe a few weeks–but she otherwise always despised polygamy and her husband’s involvement with this practice. In their book Mormon … Read more

Which First Vision Account Should We Believe?

By Lane Thuet According to LDS scripture, when Joseph Smith was 15 years old, he was confused as to which church was true. He claimed this confusion was sparked by an 1820 religious revival in his neighborhood. His heart was powerfully impressed one night when he read James 1:5, and subsequently he went into the … Read more

Painesville Telegraph (Dec. 8, 1832)

Introduction Many members of the LDS Church have looked to Doctrine and Covenants 87 as one of many proofs for the divine calling of Joseph Smith as a latter-day prophet. This section, said to be given to Joseph Smith on Christmas Day in 1832, seemingly prophesies the coming War Between the States; a war that … Read more

Chapter 7: Joseph Smith, an Instrument in the Hands of the Lord

Chapter 7: Joseph Smith, an Instrument in the Hands of the Lord Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson, (2014), 102–13 During 2015, LDS members will be studying the latest manual published by their church, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson. We will evaluate this book regularly, chapter by chapter, … Read more

Joseph Smith and his many wives

The Mormon Church recently admitted in a Gospel Topics essay  that Joseph Smith had a total of 30-40 plural wives, meaning that Emma was not his “one and only.” In fact, the church even acknowledged that there was sexual intimacy in most of these relationships. Does this information agree with scholarship? And is it true that teenagers were also involved? 

Gospel Topics Essay: Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo

On October 22, 2014, the LDS Church published another “Gospel Topics” essay titled “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo.” There were a number of admissions made. However, all the facts were not included to give a complete picture. The information contained within should be disconcerting for any faithful Latter-day Saint, as history doesn’t lie. A 12-part Viewpoint on Mormonism series aired in November 2014.

Review of In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith (Signature Books, 1997)

Although many Mormons know that second LDS President Brigham Young was a practicing polygamist, some may not realize that Joseph Smith had many wives as well. When this issue is broached, I have heard it said more than once that we were connocting nothing more than an anti-Mormon lie. What LDS writer Todd Compton does in this book is explain details about each of Joseph Smith’s 33 wives. Reading it may cause you to forever change your opinon about the founder of the LDS Church.

10 reasons why Joseph Smith should not be considered a true prophet of God

10 reasons why Joseph Smith should not be considered a true prophet of God

1.  He was not considered to be trustworthy by the people of his day.

2.  He taught in a version of God different from the Bible.

3.  He produced prophecies that didn’t come to pass.

First Vision Accounts: Response to the LDS.org Essay

A good Mormon will be able to explain Smith’s supposed vision of God the Father and Jesus. As part of the Gospel Topics Essay, Joseph Smith’s First Vision account is described and defended by the LDS Church. But what about the different accounts that provided contradictory details? Did Smith see angels or did he see God the Father and God the Son? This response to the church’s essay goes along with 10 Viewpoint on Mormonism radio shows (podcasts) that will air beginning June 3, 2014.  Along with  our podcasts as aired on Viewpoint on Mormonism, this article provides our response to the church’s essay. For any Paypal gift to MRM during the month of June, receive a PDF version of Wesley Walters’ booklet “The Palymra Revival & Mormon Origins.” See article for details.

Chapter 7: Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Witnesses for Christ

Chapter 7: Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Witnesses for Christ

During 2014, LDS members will be studying the latest manual published by their church, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith. We will evaluate this book regularly, chapter by chapter, by showing interesting quotes and providing an Evangelical Christian take on this manual. The text that is underlined is from the manual, with our comments following.

Joseph Smith’s Aberrational Marriage Habits

By Sharon Lindbloom The following was originally printed in the Nov-Dec 2010 edition of Mormonism Researched. To request a free subscription, please visit here.  Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith introduced the doctrine of polygamy to his followers, and led the way by example, wedding over 30 females. According to LDS author and researcher Todd Compton, the ages … Read more

Isaiah 40:3: Does the Bible speak about Joseph Smith?

According to Isaiah 40:3, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.” Tenth President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “You may apply this to John if you will, and this is true…But I will go further and maintain that Joseph Smith … Read more

Malachi 3:1: Does the Bible speak about Joseph Smith?

Malachi 3:1 states: “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.” On page 23 of the January 1989 Ensign, it reads: Malachi prophesied of the … Read more

Chapter 23: The Prophet Joseph Smith

During 2013, LDS members will be studying the latest manual published by their church, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow. We will evaluate this book regularly, chapter by chapter, by showing interesting quotes and providing an Evangelical Christian take on this manual. The text that is underlined is from the manual, with our … Read more

The "Martyrdom" of Joseph Smith

SYNOPSIS

Critics and supporters agree that the veracity of Mormonism hinges on Joseph Smith, Jr. (1805-1844), the founder and first prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS or Mormon Church). Smith began his own church with just six people and saw it grow and thrive, despite the many persecutions it endured. He and his brother Hyrum Smith were murdered on June 27, 1844, by an armed mob, an event that has prompted Mormons to classify them as martyrs. It has caused others, however, to raise the question whether someone who dies in a gun battle fighting against his enemies can be considered to be a martyr. A close examination of the term reveals that one must meet specific requirements to be considered a martyr, which involve, for example, the reasons why one is put to death and the way one faces such a death. An investigation of the reasons why Smith was murdered and the actions he took to avoid this fate inevitably makes it difficult to maintain that Smith was “like a lamb led to the slaughter.”

When the Constitution “Hangs by a Thread” – The White Horse Prophecy in Modern Mormonism

By Bill McKeever

Following the Mormon expulsion from Missouri in 1838, Joseph Smith made a trip to Washington, D.C. “to present to the National Congress the petition of the Saints for a redress of their grievances, suffered in Missouri” (History of the Church 4:xxvi). Arriving in November 1839, Smith met with several powerful politicians of that day, including President Martin Van Buren, and left Washington in disappointment. As the story goes, President Van Buren told the Mormon prophet, “Gentlemen, your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you…If I take up for you I shall lose the vote in Missouri”(Allen and Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, p.144).

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith Chapter 4

During 2012, LDS members will be studying the latest manual published by their church, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith. We will evaluate this book regularly, chapter by chapter, by showing interesting quotes and providing an Evangelical Christian take on this manual. The text that is underlined is from the manual, with our comments following.

Chapter 4: The Prophet Joseph Smith, God’s Instrument in Restoring the Truth

The First Vision’s Slow Entrance Into the LDS Story

When addressing the subject of Joseph Smith’s personal encounter with God the Father and Jesus Christ, Gordon B. Hinckley, the fifteenth president of the LDS Church, stated, “There’s no other event in all recorded history that compares with it, not even at the baptism of the Savior” (“Testimony of the First Vision,” Church News, July 1, 2006, p.2). This event, known to Mormons as the “First Vision,” is one of the most extraordinary tales told by Mormonism’s founder. However, if this event plays such a major role in Mormonism’s history, why do we find no mention of it among the writings of early LDS leaders or members, including Joseph Smith?   

Did Joseph Smith have sex with his wives? (and other questions answered)

Joseph Smith’s first wife was Emma Hale (1804-79) the daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth (Lewis) Hale. They were married on January 18, 1827 in South Bainbridge, Chenango County, New York. Smith’s marriage to Louis Beaman is considered by some to be his first official plural marriage since it is the first for which there is a witness and a reliable record. However, several Mormon general authorities and LDS historians believe that Smith married his housemaid Fanny Alger as early as 1833.

Is It Fair to Compare Joseph Smith with the Prophet Jonah?

 By Eric Johnson

We at Mormonism Research Ministry and other like-minded groups have adamantly maintained that Joseph Smith was a false prophet based on his prophecies which did not take place as he said they would. One common LDS response which we have repeatedly hear is: “If Joseph Smith was a false prophet, then the prophet Jonah must have been a false prophet as well. He predicted the destruction of Nineveh yet the Bible tells us that city was spared.”

No Salvation Without Joseph Smith

By Bill McKeever 

In the fourteenth chapter of John, Jesus tells His disciples that He would be leaving them but that they should not be troubled. “If I go,” He said, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

Jesus’ statement puzzled Thomas, who asked how it was possible to know how to get where Christ was going. To this Jesus replied, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

A Greater Prophet than Isaiah?

 By Bill McKeever

The June 27, 1998 edition of the LDS Church News, in commemoration of the 154th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s death, quoted from a 1933 book entitled Joseph Smith an American Prophet. This book, written by John Henry Evans, was an attempt to give a ‘scientific treatment of Joseph Smith … without smothering these facts in opinion. ” Still, he admits in his preface that he has tried to “give a picture of the Prophet as one of his contemporaries would see, who was interested, but had no axe to grind” (p. vii).

History of Wayne County – How the Locals Viewed Joseph Smith and His Family

The History of Wayne County New York (1789-1877) gives both a “historical and descriptive” look at the area where Joseph Smith lived as a young man and where Mormonism began. As the title implies, it is a look at the history of the entire county and is not at all intended to elaborate on the intricate details surrounding Mormonism’s beginnings. In fact, only a very small portion of the book is dedicated to Mormonism and its founder.

What Would Joseph Do? A look at the documentary, "An American Prophet"

By Bill McKeever

“Millions of people around the world know of him. Yet this frontier prophet of the early 1800’s found little honor and eventual martyrdom at the hands of an angry mob in his own country. Who was this Joseph Smith and what was it about his remarkable life story, which inspired such impassioned rancor or unflinching reverence?”

The "Rising Generation" and Christ’s Second Coming

By Bill McKeever 

In an April 1843 general conference speech, Joseph Smith predicted that Jesus Christ would not return before he would reach the age of 85. He said, “Were I going to prophesy, I would say the end [of the world] would not come in 1844, 5, or 6, or in forty years. There are those of the rising generation who shall not taste death till Christ comes… I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written-the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till I am eighty-five years old” (History of the Church 5:336).

Joseph Smith – "President of the Resurrection"

By Bill McKeever 

Since Jesus made it clear to Martha in John 11:25 that He was the “resurrection and the life,” there has been no question among Christians as to who is responsible for the resurrection of mankind. Apparently Brigham Young, Mormonism’s second president, would care to differ.

Does the Bible contain prophecies about Joseph Smith?

By John Divito 

For many evangelical Christians, the answer to the above question will be a swift “No!” In fact, some would think that this idea is ludicrous! However, many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) believe that Smith is foretold in the Bible. How is such a claim substantiated? There are two primary types of biblical evidence provided.

Amorous Advances by the Mormon Prophet

By Bill McKeever 

Mormon historian Richard Van Wagoner paints anything but a flattering picture of Joseph Smith in his book Sidney Rigdon, Portrait of Religious Excess. In his chapter titled “Between Friends and Family,” he notes that “perhaps the most scandalous manifestation of Smith’s lust for manly achievement was his inclination toward extra-martial romantic liaisons, which he believed were licensed by the Old Testament and countenanced by God’s modern revelation” (pp.290-291).

Examining Joseph Smith’s "Rocky Mountain Prophecy"

[Speaking in General Conference on Sunday, October 5, 2008, Mormon Apostle M. Russell Ballard stated that on August of 1842, Joseph Smith prophesied “that the Saints would continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains,” and that some would live to “build cities and see the Saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.” Is this statement based on fact, or is this Mormon Apostle promoting Mormon folklore?]

Guess Who?

Members of the LDS Church are familiar with the charge that Mormonism isn’t a Christian faith. They hear it often enough, but they really don’t understand why people think that. "We are Christians," Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley insisted. "We have the name of Jesus Christ right in the name of our Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We follow Christ. We worship Him. We love Him. He is the center of all we do"("Inspirational Thoughts," Liahona, June 1999, 3; 2 Nephi 25:24-29).