I remember what it was like growing up in Mormonism and feeling an overwhelming adoration and loyalty towards Joseph Smith. I vividly recall sitting in Sunday school and cringing as the teacher told us how Joseph Smith had been tarred and feathered.
I remember like it was yesterday many of the times I stood and gave my testimony of how grateful I was for Joseph Smith. I didn’t mention that I thanked God for Joseph mind you; I thanked Joseph for making all the sacrifices he did and for going through all the persecutions he did just so I could be a Mormon.
I get what it’s like to be totally sold out to the Mormon lifestyle and all it entails.
The day God saved me from myself and hell I began wondering why. Why was Smith tarred and feathered? Exactly what did he do to garner such animosity from the communities he kept moving to? Why did he keep moving around? Why didn’t he stay put in Palmyra or Kirtland or Independence or Nauvoo? He moved around the country like a military family does when they keep getting PCS orders. Why was his name maligned for prophesying?
All that brings us to the article I found that shocked me once again. Whether or not Mormons use the term venerate is a moot point. The way this man is spoken of and looked upon is the definition of veneration.
In an article from the April 1985 Ensign Richard Anderson (BYU Professor) wrote a comparison between the Apostle Paul and Joseph Smith. I’m not going through every single one because of how lengthy this thing was, but I think this is important for non-Mormons to see how revered Smith is in their world.
Without ol’ Joe they wouldn’t be going to heaven so keep that in mind as you look over these “parallels” Mr. Anderson provided.
Also keep in mind that no matter what God has done for us by providing salvation through His Son or the Apostle Paul’s writings or Joshua’s example of bravery; none of those things are as good as what Joseph has done.
“If Paul was a prophet, Joseph Smith was also a prophet. The evidences that support Paul’s prophetic calling also support that of Joseph Smith.”
How does it do this? What evidence is there biblically speaking that proves this is so?
“Such a conclusion grows naturally out of a careful study of the lives of these two great men… Paul was not striking in person, whereas Joseph Smith impressed most visitors by his height and bearing.”
In typical Mormon fashion attacking the non-Mormon’s character or personhood is the modus operandi. This is done my friends to divert attention from the issue at hand. Who cares what he looks like? Moreover, the pictures of Smith are mostly artists’ renditions of what he may have looked like. In one of the drawings he actually resembles John Denver, yet in a daguerreotype photo of him he’s a short brunette.
How does this man know Paul wasn’t a good looking fellow? Does he have a picture of him or was his opinion based on an artists’ portrayal as he sculpted a bust of Paul?
“Paul was a missionary Apostle, whereas Joseph Smith presided over Apostles and generally directed missionary work instead of traveling to do it personally.”
Yeah that Paul was such a disappointment for God. He was a lowly missionary who subjected himself to what God wanted him to do. Leaving a cushy lifestyle of a Pharisee to living a nomadic life puts him much lower than Smith.
“Paul had the best education his culture could furnish, whereas Joseph Smith was raised in frontier poverty without training beyond junior high school skills.”
And that would mean…?
“Christ appeared to Paul after the Savior had personally opened that dispensation, but the Father and Son appeared to Joseph Smith to begin the dispensation of the fulness of times.” [Emphasis mine]
In the minds of Mormons Joseph received more from God with a vision of two members in the godhead making a personal appearance. It matters not that God is spirit and he wouldn’t have been able to see Him, nor does it matter that God isn’t an exalted man as Joseph claimed. Paul’s visit was of a lesser quality because only Jesus appeared.
“Joseph Smith’s credibility is attacked because the earliest known description of his vision wasn’t given until a dozen years after it happened. But Paul’s earliest known description of the Damascus appearance, found in 1 Corinthians 9:1, [1 Cor. 9:1] was recorded about two dozen years after his experience.”
Let’s look at this in context. Jesus actually made a physical appearance to the Apostle Paul. There were witnesses with him on the road to Damascus. God told Ananias to go to Judas’ house on Straight Street and get him. (Acts 9:1-19) Other people knew and could back up his story. While the people who were traveling with Paul on the road to Damascus didn’t see Jesus they did see a bright light around them and then witnessed the effects of Jesus’ visit because Paul was blind.
With Joseph we’re given around a dozen or so different versions of a vision he had while alone out in the woods. No witnesses. No one backed up his claims.His story kept changing. God didn’t alert anyone else that He had spoken through Joseph.
Joseph is the sole witness to this whole experience and Joseph is the sole person who claims that God told him to radically change every doctrine He’s taught and given to man throughout all of history.
With Paul’s story there were numerous people who verified what happened. Yet with Smith we find that God sent many local ministers and townspeople to biblically repudiate Smith’s claims and testify to the character of Joseph Smith.
“Critics love to dwell on supposed inconsistencies in Joseph Smith’s spontaneous accounts of his first vision. But people normally give shorter and longer accounts of their own vivid experiences when retelling them more than once. Joseph Smith was cautious about public explanations of his sacred experiences until the Church grew strong and could properly publicize what God had given him. Thus, his most detailed first vision account came after several others—when he began his formal history.”
Which of you kept your salvation a secret when God saved you? Which of you have shared an experience with people over the years and your story grew and grew with more defined details? Typically memories fade with time, not grow.
“The first visions of Paul and Joseph Smith underline the directness of their divine contact. Both prophets were literally in the presence of the resurrected Lord, and both received specific direction… Neither prophet fell into the impostor’s trap of over claiming such sacred experiences.”
??? By “over-claiming” does he mean lying? We’ve proven many times over the years that Joseph Smith lied to people. Not one time have we ever seen where Paul lied about anything.
“Although both prophets were given great doctrinal insights, they avoided another trap common to impostors: they didn’t claim to know all the answers.”
Well that is true for Paul, but what about Joseph? Are you aware of what Joseph thought of himself?
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 350; “I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow, and He is within me, and comprehends more than all the world: and I will associate myself with Him.”
D&C 135:3; “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.”
History of the Church, 6:408-409; “Come on! ye persecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.”
History of the Church, 6:78; “I combat the error of the ages…I cut the Gordian knot of powers; and I solve mathematical problems of universities, with truth – diamond truth; and God is my “right hand man.””
History of the Church, 5:467; “I wish the lawyer who says we have no powers in Nauvoo may be choked to death with his own words. Don’t employ lawyers, or pay them money for their knowledge, for I have learned that they don’t know anything. I know more than they all.”
It seems rather clear that Joseph felt he was smarter than everyone else in the entire world – combined. He wasn’t just smarter than the little boy he sat next to in third grade (which by the way is the last time he went to school), no, Smith was smarter than everybody, everywhere. You can read more examples like this in our article The Real Joseph Smith here.
“Both Paul and Joseph Smith were considered blasphemers by their contemporaries. Their sin? They had added to the traditional scriptures. For this “offense,” Paul was considered anti-Jewish, and followers of Joseph Smith today are labeled as non-Christian. But Paul and Joseph Smith were simply doing what every Jewish and Christian prophet had done: they were adding a personal witness to prior revelations and speaking God’s message for a new generation.”
Paul didn’t add to scripture! Paul was writing letters to the churches he planted while on his missions! The letters were then gathered and subsequently became part of the New Testament a couple hundred years after he died. ANDPaul wrote those letters through the inspiration of God unlike Joseph who wrote hundreds of “scriptures”and rewrote the Bible without the inspiration of God.
Joseph Smith is the only one here guilty of adding to scripture. Furthermore, Paul was an apostle, not a prophet!
If you’re LDS I’m begging you to look at this entire article and ask yourself if these things are false then what else might be false. Why would the Church allow false information in their publications?
When you read the Ensign do you take the time to really read it and investigate whether the things printed on that page are true?
Know that we’re praying for you and we mean that with all sincerity. We’re not here to bash the Mormon people, but we are here to expose the lies of Smith and other LDS teachers. We love the Mormon people, but not as much as God loves you and He wants you to know Him and know the truth!
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor 1:18