How do we know if a prophet has truly been sent from God? Was Marshall Applewhite, the Heaven’s Gate cult prophet, speaking from God when he encouraged his followers to commit suicide to join the Hale–Bopp Comet in 1997? Or what about the Branch Davidian cult prophet David Koresh, whose followers perished in the Waco Texas fire in 1993?
There is no lack of false prophets who have proclaimed revelations supposedly from God but that have turned out destructive in the lives of their followers. So how can we test if Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, was a true prophet of God?
When I was considering joining the LDS Church, the missionaries encouraged me to “pray” about the Book of Mormon to see if it was true. They told me that if I received a special feeling, this proved that Mormonism was true.
But are feelings the proper way to test the truth about a religion or prophet? I’m sure all of the people who died in these other cults had “feelings” that their prophets were from God, but obviously those feelings were given to them by false spirits. The Bible says, “…believe not every spirit, but try (or test) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
So how can we test the spirit of Mormonism and the claims of the prophet Joseph Smith? The Bible says, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20)
There’s nothing wrong in praying for truth (John 8:32), but the answer to truth is never based on feelings. Scripture tells us “the heart is deceitful” and cannot be trusted (Jeremiah 17:9). Truth is based upon facts and the facts prove that the teachings of Joseph Smith do not agree with the “law” and the “testimony” of biblical prophets. So Joseph Smith cannot be considered a prophet of God. Consider this chart:
JOSEPH SMITH VS. THE BIBLE:
|JOSEPH SMITH||THE BIBLE|
|God was once a man and men can become gods (The King Follett discourse).||God is not an exalted man (Hosea 11:9). He has always been God (Psalm 90:2).|
|Jesus is the “spirit brother” of Lucifer who competed with him to become Savior of the World (Moses 4, Book of Abraham 3, and Church Manual, Gospel Principles, Chapter 3).||Jesus is the eternal God, the Creator of all things, including the angels and Lucifer (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15-17, 2:9). He never competed with Satan for the role of Savior.|
|Bible is not accurate (8th Article of Faith,
1 Nephi 13:26-28).
|Bible is accurately preserved. Nothing is lost (Matthew 24:35).|