The Bible explains how to test whether or not somebody is a prophet. According to Deut. 18:20-22, if a prophet says in the name of the Lord only one thing that does not come true, he is a false prophet. There are no second chances to pass the test. Here is the Biblical test:

    -----Deuteronomy 18:
  1. 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.
  2. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
  3. 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.

Has Mormonism founder Joe Smith ever given a false prophecy? Yes, in fact, about 65 of his 70 or so recorded prophecies failed miserably. Joe Smith's failed Kirtland banking prophecy is an example. Several witnesses, including a future president of the Mormon "church," heard Joe Smith talk about a revelation from "God." In the revelation, "God" supposedly told Smith to start a bank that would be successful enough to "swallow up all other banks." (Millennial Star, 19:343)

Warren Parrish, who had worked as an officer in Joe Smith's bank, recalled Smith's revelation:

"I have listened to him [Joe Smith] with feelings of no ordinary kind, when he declared that the audible voice of God, instructed him to establish a banking-anti banking institution, who like Aaron's rod shall swallow up all other banks (the Bank of Monroe excepted,) and grow and flourish and spread from the rivers to the ends of the earth, and survive when all others should be laid in ruins." (Painesville Republican, February 22, 1838, as quoted in Conflict at Kirtland, p. 297)

Wilford Woodruff, who became the fourth Mormon president, confirmed the fact that Joe Smith claimed to have a revelation from the "Lord" about the bank. On January 6, 1837, Woodruff wrote in his journal:

"I also herd [sic] President Joseph Smith, jr., declare in the presence of F. Williams, D. Whitmer, S. Smith, W. Parrish, and others in the Deposit office that he had received that morning the word of the Lord upon the subject of the Kirtland Safety Society. He was alone in a room by himself and he had not only [heard] the voice of the Spirit upon the Subject but even an audible voice. ("Wilford Woodruff's Journal," January 6, 1837, as quoted in Conflict at Kirtland, p. 296)

In his journal, Woodruff further recorded Smith's promise that "if we would give heed to the commandments the Lord had given this morning all would be well." (Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, Mormonism: Shadow or Reality, Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, p. 531).

The 1837 LDS publication Messenger and Advocate (3:443) notes Joe Smith's saying that it is "wisdom and according to the mind of the Holy Spirit" that the saints should invest in the Kirtland Safety Society.

In an April 1837 issue of the Messenger and Advocate, Smith promised his investors wealth, "This place [Kirtland, Ohio] must be built up, and will be built up, and every brother that will take hold and help secure and discharge these contracts shall be rich." (LDS Messenger and Advocate 3:488; also see Brodie, p. 202).

To attract investors, Joe Smith filled several boxes with sand and other dead weights, and he salted the tops with fifty-cent silver coins. Smith brought prospective customers into the vault and let them see the phony reserves. Smith's trick worked about a month, for about 200 citizens pooled their money to charter the Kirtland Safety Society Banking Company. Joe Smith took the job of cashier next to the money, and Sidney Rigdon took the position of president.

Oliver Cowdery and Orson Hyde were sent to secure the printing plates for the money and to acquire a charter from the legislature. When efforts to obtain the charter failed, Smith decided to operate the bank outside of the law and to print the money illegally. Smith had had expensive plates manufactured in anticipation of getting legislative approval. When his charter was denied, Smith defiantly added the word "anti" to the plates and printed money anyway. Because the legislature denied a charter for the name Smith originally proposed, Smith added "anti" to the plates and changed the name of his bank to Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company.

As news of the uncharted bank spread, Smith's bank soon started to fail. Creditors filed suit, and depositors made a run on the bank. Those who had invested in the bank lost their money (A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1:401-402). Owing about $100,000, Joe Smith left town on various occasions when he sensed the hand of the law near. Smith refused to redeem depositors' money, but he urged them to be patient as he promised to secure additional funding. Smith's bank soon filed for bankruptcy, and Smith's printed money became worthless. While in Nauvoo, Smith transferred his assets to his wife, children and others in an attempt to evade his creditors. Courts declared Smith's transfers illegal and fined him $1,000 for illegal banking. The dismal story of Smith's banking fraud and of his failed prophecy about a wildly successful bank that "God" promised would "swallow up all other banks" is a matter of record.

When another of Smith's prophecies did not come to pass, Smith admitted that his prophecy may have been of the devil. Mormon "witness" David Whitmer recalled Joe Smith's putting his peepstone in his hat, burying his face in the hat and giving a false prophecy in the name of the Lord:

"Joseph looked into the hat in which he placed the stone, and received a revelation that some of the brethren should go to Toronto, Canada, and that they would sell the copy-right of the Book of Mormon. Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery went to Toronto on this mission, but they failed entirely to sell the copyright, returning without any money. Joseph was at my father's house when they returned. I was there also, and am an eye witness to these facts. . . . Well, we were all in great trouble, and we asked Joseph how it was that he had received a revelation from the Lord for some brethren to go to Toronto and sell the copy-right, and the brethren had utterly failed in their undertaking. Joseph did not know how it was, so he enquired (sic) of the Lord about it, and behold the following revelation came through the stone: 'Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil.' So we see that the revelation to go to Toronto and sell the copyright was not of God, but was of the devil or the heart of man" (David Whitmer, "An Address To All Believers In Christ," Richmond, Missouri, 1887, pp. 30-31).

Of course, all of Smith's prophecies were of the devil. Even Mormon historian B. H. Roberts, who was a member of the Mormon "church's" First Council of the Seventy, confirmed Smith's prophecy as false:

"May this Toronto incident and the Prophet's explanation be accepted and faith still be maintained in him as an inspired man, a Prophet of God? . . . . The revelation respecting the Toronto journey was not of God . . . but the Prophet, overwrought in his deep anxiety for the progress of the work, saw reflected in the 'Seer Stone' his own thought, or that suggested to him by his brother Hyrum, rather than the thought of God. . . . In this instance of the Toronto journey, Joseph was evidently not directed by the inspiration of the Lord" (B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1965, vol. 1, p. 280).

Section 111 of the Doctrine and Covenants records one of Joe Smith's false prophecies about finding much treasure in Salem, Massachusetts (Doctrine and Covenants, 111:1-11; History of the Church 2:465-466):

  1. I, the Lord your God, am not displeased with your coming this journey notwithstanding your follies.
  2. I have much treasure in this city for you, for the benefit of Zion, and many people in this city, whom I will gather out in due time for the benefit of Zion, through your instrumentality.
  3. Therefore, it is expedient that you should form acquaintance with men in this city, as you shall be led, and as it shall be given you.
  4. And it shall come to pass in due time that I will give this city into your hands, that you shall have power over it, insomuch that they shall not discover your secret parts; and its wealth pertaining to gold and silver shall be yours.
  5. Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them.
  6. Concern not yourselves about Zion, for I will deal mercifully with her.
  7. Tarry in this place, and in the regions round about.
  8. And the place where it is my will that you would tarry, for the main, shall be signalized unto you by the peace and power of my Spirit, that shall flow unto you.
  9. This place you may obtain by hire. And inquire diligently concerning the more ancient inhabitants and founders of this city.
  10. For there are more treasures than one for you in this city.
  11. Therefore, be ye as wise as serpents and yet without sin; and I will order all things for your good, as fast as ye are able to receive them. Amen.

Smith gave this "prophecy" in the name of the "Lord." Smith and some others trooped to Salem, Massachusetts in 1836, where they ran down rumors of buried treasure. After the rumors fizzled out, the forlorn crew trooped back to the "church" with empty pockets. Smith had not found "much treasure" as "God" promised; in fact, he had not found any treasure. Smith's August 6, 1836 "revelation" from "God" about finding much treasure, gold and silver in Salem was a grand fizzle, and it was just one more in a long string of failed prophecies.

Furthermore, even if the prophet passes the first test, there is a second test. Even if what the prophet says comes true, we are to test what the prophet says by the Bible, God's word:

    -----Deuteronomy 13:
  1. If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder,
  2. And if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them,"
  3. You must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.
  4. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
  5. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death. . . .

Actually, God's use of prophets ended two thousand years ago, when He spoke to mankind by His Son. John the Baptist was the last prophet:

    -----Hebrews 1:
  1. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
  2. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

The Bible specifically prohibits adding to God's words, the very thing Mormons do with their extraBiblical "scripture." One should look at God's warning on the last page of the Bible:

    -----Revelation 22:
  1. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;
  2. and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

Mormons, Muslims and members of other demonic religions should also carefully observe God's warning below. Even if an angel, such as one having a brilliant face with lightning flashing around it, should descend from heaven and preach another gospel, he will be accursed. The Greek word for accursed is "anathema," under the divine curse. The Book of Mormon is "another gospel," as is the Koran, etc.

    -----Galatians 1:
  1. I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
  2. Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
  3. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
  4. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

By Mark Hines, M.A.