Where do we start? How are we to know if someone or an institution who/which claims they are a Prophet(s) of the LORD to be true?
To answer these questions, we only need to turn to the Almighty’s word found in the Holy Bible (KJV)
God provides the test in the book of Deuteronomy for those who claim to speak for the LORD.
For Example, Joseph Smith Jr. of the Mormon LDS Church clearly falls under this test.
From Joseph Smith’s own words, the Lord has set him apart to deliver to an apostate world. So we must ask these questions, is he truly a prophet of the Lord?
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. 21 And if thou say in thine heart, how shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? 22 when a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”
Verse 20 gives us reasons why a Prophet may die.
1. If the Prophet speaks a word in God’s name that he did not command.
2. If the Prophet speaks in the name of other Gods.
Verse 21 asks the question, how should we know what the word is that is not spoken of the Lord?
Verse 22 answers this question; if the prophet has spoken in the name of the Lord, and the thing does not happen. The Lord has NOT spoken it.
With this information, we can apply this rule to help us discern, anyone who claims they are a prophet of the Lord.
Joseph Smith and his Prophecies
Joseph Smith made many prophecies throughout his life time with a few, recorded in the Doctrines and Covenants. We will examine a few of them using the above principals we have learned from the Lord.
1. Prophecy that the temple would be built in Missouri within Smith's Generation
a. Doctrines and Covenants Section 84:2-5,31
i. The Mormons were driven out of Jackson County in 1833. They were not gathered there in accordance to this prophecy dealing with building the temple.
ii. The Dedicated Temple Lot land is owned by Church of Christ which had a dispute with The Reorganised Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS) in the 1890s which the RLDS had initially won then the decision was overturned on appeal by the Church of Christ.
iii. The Prophecy clearly states that the generation present given by Joseph Smith would not pass away until the temple was built in Missouri, Independence. This Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, September 22 and 23, 1832 clearly FAILED.
2. All Nations would be involved in the American Civil War
a. Doctrines and Covenants 87:1-3
i. The imminent break out of civil war in America was common knowledge to most people, so this cannot be considered information that no one knew.
ii. War, did not pour out to all nations as Joseph Smith stated.
iii. Everyone knew it was between the northern and southern states, the southern states tried to gain favour from Great Britain with the exporting of wool from the southern states as they depended on winning the war with the help of Great Britain, however the Great Britain would remain officially neutral and neither any other nation was involved. Clearly another FAILED Prophecy.
There are other prophecies he has spoken of that did not come to fruition but as we can see, God tells us a prophet needs only have one prophecy fail to make him NOT a prophet of the Lord. This can be applied to any man or a woman that claims to be a true prophet of the Lord we only need to apply the test found in Deuteronomy, you say, what about prophets that don’t prophesy? Then they are not a Prophet at all.