Bible Question:

Are there present day prophets? My husband is a Mormon and we are studying the Bible together. Mormonism has “latter-day saints” and present day prophets. Are there really present day prophets? If so, should their revelations just be added to the Bible?

Bible Answer:

Mormonism is a false religion. Mormonism denies that Jesus was always God. They teach that Jesus was once a man who later became a god. Their concept of the Jesus-god has flesh and bones. They believe that every man and woman can become a god too, just like Jesus, if he or she practices Mormonism. Consequently, they believe that there are many gods, and Jesus is only one of many. Mormons use the same terminology that Christians do. Therefore, they sound like they are Christians but have redefined almost every term: the Godhead, Jesus Christ, the fall, virgin birth, sin, forgiveness, salvation, born again, baptism, eternal life, hell, and heaven, for example. Here are a few examples of their false teachings. Then the answer to your question will follow.

Book of Mormon

The Mormons teach that the Bible is full of errors and is therefore untrustworthy. But they say that the Book of Mormon is completely trustworthy. That is their opening attack on the Bible. They want to discredit the Bible and motivate others to believe the Book of Mormon (BOM). Their goal is to convince uneducated Christians and non-Christians that the Bible is riddled with mistakes and inconsistencies. They are very successful. Those with Christian backgrounds are their primary converts. Baptists are their main converts. What the Mormons do not want others to know is that the current BOM has undergone 3,913 changes since the original BOM which was written in 1830.[1] Note: a copy of the original BOM was published by the Latter Day Saints’ Desert Book Company in 1980. Therefore, the 3,913 changes can be easily identified by comparing the original Book of Mormon to the current published copies provided to Mormons. Here are some important considerations.

First, the Book of Mormon is not the Word of God. Mormons claim that is the restored Word of God or the second witness. This is not a biblical concept. It is a man-made concept. The author of the book was Joseph Smith. The BOM was plagiarized from the Bible. For example, 27,000 words were copied directly from the Bible into the BOM. Entire chapters were lifted and included, including italicized words from the King James Bible (KJV). The italicized words were inserted in 1611 to indicate English words that did not appear in the original Greek. If the book of Mormon was first penned between 600 B.C. and A.D. 421, as the Mormons claim, why are their quotations from the KJV Bible of A.D. 1611?[2] Mormons claim that Joseph Smith translated the original documents perfectly without error. Joseph Smith is quoted as saying, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on the earth.”[3] If so, why were italicized words and the old King James language of 1611 included? Also, the BOM was supposedly originally written in reformed Egyptian. If true, did the Egyptians who existed between 600 B.C and A.D. 421 speak in the King James English of A.D. 1611?

Second, citing passages in the Bible that may have ambiguous wording does not mean that the teachings of the Bible are doubtful. Such questions actually indicate that the critic is uneducated about the Bible, the translation process, and the fact there are almost 25,000 manuscripts and 24,000 fragments of ancient copies of the Bible. The article “How Accurate Is the Bible?” explains why we know that the Bible is 99.9 percent accurate. Of the one percent that is in question, nothing affects what Christians believe. That is, no Christian doctrine is affected. But that is not true about the BOM. Here are a few examples,

1) The 1830 edition of the BOM reads, “Behold, the virgin who thou seest is the mother of God.” Now it says, “. . . Mother of the Son of God.”

2) Currently the 1 Nephi 20:1 reads “Hearken and hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, or out of the waters of baptism, who swear by the name of the Lord . . .” But neither the 1830 BOM nor the KJV Bible of 1611 included the words “or out of the waters of baptism.”

3) In the 1830 edition 1 Nephi 11:18 read, “Behold, the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh.” In the current BOM the passage reads, “Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.” The wording change supports the Mormon doctrine that the mother of Jesus is a female god. There is a god-couple in heaven having spirit babies. Jesus was one of their babies who later became a god.

Third, even though the Mormons want us to believe that the current BOM is God’s restored truth without error, it is important to notice that no major teaching of the Mormons can be found in the Book of Mormon. In fact, Joseph Fielding Smith has said,

In my judgment there is no book on earth yet to come to man as important as the book known as the Doctrine of Covenants, with all due respect to the Book of Mormon and the Bible, and the Pearl of Great Price which we say are our standards in doctrine. The book Doctrine of Covenants to us stands in a peculiar position above them all. – Doctrine of Salvation. vol. 3, p 198.[4]

This is a direct admission that they do not depend upon the BOM for their doctrinal beliefs. The BOM says nothing about the Aaronic priesthood, the Echinoid priesthood, the plurality of gods, God being an exalted man, men becoming gods, celestial marriage, baptism for the dead, word of wisdom doctrine, eternal progression, or a variety of other doctrines. Why? The truth is that the Book of Mormon actually teaches what Christians believe the Bible teaches. The following will explain.

Godhead

Mormons teach that God the Father and God the Son are resurrected men with physical bodies. God the Holy Ghost is a separate man with a spiritual body. They are three totally separate gods. The Mormon gods marry and have many spirit babies. Every god owns a world and his children populate that world. Consequently, there are many gods and many worlds like earth.[5] This means that since Jesus was the Son of God, then God the Father was a son of another god, and that father was the son of another god-father, and so on. But the BOM contradicts their own teaching. The BOM actually agrees with the Bible. There is only one God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Here are several quotes from the Book of Mormon.

This is the doctrine of the Christ, and the only and one doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen. – Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 31:21

And Amulek said: Yea, there is a true and living God. Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God? And he answered, No. – Book of Mormon, Alma 11:27-29

. . . and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God . . . – Book of Mormon, Alma 11:44

. . . unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God . . . – Book of Mormon, Mormon 7:7

Not the Book of Mormon, but the Doctrine of Covenants Section 121:32 supports the Mormon teaching that there are a plurality of gods. This is an important point because they claim that only the BOM is infallible and without error. For more information, please visit the Utah Lighthouse Ministry website. We would encourage you to study the article “Who Is God?” It is located at this website.

Jesus Christ

Mormons teach that Jesus Christ was the first spirit-child of the god-couple. But their own Book of Mormon disagrees,

And behold, he shall be “born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God. – Book of Mormon, Alma 20:10

The book of Alma, from the BOM, teaches that the Holy Ghost, whom they believe is another god, actually gave birth to Jesus and not an unknown god-mother. They also believe that Jesus is our elder brother, born to heavenly god-parents in a pre-mortal life. Jesus, Lucifer and humans are all the same species and are brothers and sisters.[6] We would encourage you to study the articles “Jesus Christ our Lord” and “Angels.” According to the Bible, everything in heaven and everything on the earth, all angels, which includes Satan, were created by Jesus who is our God.

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (NASB) Col. 1:13-17

If you have questions about the statement that Jesus was the “firstborn of every creature,” please visit the previous question and answer “What was the first creation?

Salvation

Mormons have redefined “sin” as a wrong judgment, a mistake, an imperfection, or an inadequacy.[7] But God calls it disobedience to His will or lawlessness.

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (NASB) 1 John 3:4

They have defined salvation as follows,

When Mormons talk about “salvation” (or “general salvation”), they essentially mean resurrection. Jesus is the “Savior” because He saved the human race from physical death. Mormons say that what Jesus did was very important because without a resurrected body one cannot become a god and give birth to spirit children. Despite this important feat accomplished by Jesus, it did not do away with the need for good works. Indeed, Jesus did His part, and now it is up to us to do our part to prove ourselves worthy of exaltation to godhead. Mormons reject the doctrine of justification by faith (which says that at the moment we believe in Jesus we are “justified” or “declared righteous” before God, without works involved).[8]

Mormons teach that salvation requires 1) that one is baptized in the Mormon church, 2) regularly attends a Mormon church, 3) consistently does good works, 4) eventually is considered “worthy,” and 5) participates in temple rituals. But the Bible warns us that if someone, including an angel such as the Mormon angel, claims that there is another way to obtain salvation other than by faith in Jesus, without work, that person or angel is to be condemned. Listen to the apostle Paul,

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! (NASB) Gal. 1:6-8

What does the Bible teach about salvation? Two articles are recommended, “Peace With God” and “The Rescue!

Mormon Prophets

Your question is, “Are there present day prophets? The answer can be found in some facts and the following passage,

Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men. . . – Book of Mormon, Doctrine of Covenants 7:7

The passage indicates that if Mormonism is frustrated, then it is the work of man. So let us see if Mormonism is the work of man or God. Here are some facts,

Saints Did Not Gather At Independence, Missouri and Build the Temple – According to the Doctrine and Covenants Section 84, the LDS saints were to build a temple and city in Independence. Missouri. It never happened.

Doctrine and Covenant (DAC) 84:1-5 is a revelation given to Joseph Smith in September, 1832, in Kirtland, Ohio. The DAC says that the New Jerusalem and its temple were to be built by the Mormons then living in western Missouri, “for verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord.” Yet, neither the temple nor the city was ever built by the 1832 generation. They are now all dead. Some LDS leaders try to explain away that problem by claiming that the Lord was bound to fulfill this only if LDS were obedient, and that generation was not obedient enough so the prophecy is yet to be fulfilled. Yet, the LDS praise them for their faithfulness. They were the pioneer forefathers who supposedly reclaimed the truth. Other Mormons claim that non-Mormons cannot understand this prophecy because they don’t have the LDS priesthood. While it is true that non-Mormons do not have LDS priesthood, surely LDS Apostles do! Apostle Orson Pratt quoted DAC 84:1-5 on May 5, 1870 and said, “God promised in the year 1832 that we should, before the generation then living had passed away, return and build up the City of Zion in Jackson County, that we should return and build up the temple of the Most High where we formerly laid the corner stone” (J. of D. Vol. 13, p. 362). Again on Nov. 9, 1871, Pratt quoted DAC 84:1-5 and declared “all the people that were living thirty-nine years ago have not passed away; but before they do pass away this will be fulfilled (J. of D. Vol. 14, p. 275). Thus, Apostle Pratt and other LDS leaders understood this text to mean exactly what it says, just like you or I do. But, it did not happen and can never happen because everyone alive in 1832 has died.[9]

This was and is a false prophecy. It was given by the founder of Mormonism.

Zion (Independence, Missouri) Cannot Fall – Another false prophecy can be found in the Doctrines and Covenants 97:19. There the prophecy predicted that the Mormon’s Zion could not fall, but it did.

Doctrine and Covenant (DAC) 97:19 was given to Joseph Smith in Kirtland, Ohio on August 2, 1833. It is about Zion, Jackson County, Missouri. This revelation states that, “Surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place.” But, two weeks prior to this prophecy, on July 20, 1833, “Zion” began moving from Jackson County! LDS newspaper presses were destroyed by a mob, and leading LDS officials were tarred and feathered and run out of town (D.H.C. Vol. I pp. 390-400). But Smith was in Kirtland, Ohio and was unaware about what was happening in Missouri when he claimed that God gave him this “revelation.” His god should have known what was happening in Missouri! Therefore, either the Mormon god is not omniscient or Joseph Smith didn’t get this message from God.[10]

This is one more example of a false prophecy from the founder of Mormonism.

The Biblical Criteria for a Prophet – The Bible warns about people who claim to be prophets. The following passage states that a prophet cannot make any mistake. If he makes a mistake, then he is not speaking for God. because God does not make mistakes.

You may say in your heart, “How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?'” When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (NASB) Deut. 18:21-22

Joseph Smith made many false prophecies. A complete listing of them can be found at the Utah Lighthouse Ministry’s website. According to Deut. 18:21-22 only one false prophecy is required to determine that a man or woman is a false prophet. Joseph Smith was a false prophet. This implies that Mormonism is a false religion.

Present-Day Prophets

The Bible explicitly indicates that the Old and New Testaments are complete. We would encourage you to read the document “How Accurate Is the Bible?” It will explain how Jesus endorsed the New Testament during His ministry here on earth. He did it in a variety of ways. The Dead Sea Scrolls, which are dated around 150 B.C. at least, have demonstrated that the copies of the Old Testament that the Christian church has used for more than 1,000 years are very accurate. This is important since this reveals that our copies of the Old Testament agree with the Old Testament scriptures to which Jesus referred.

Both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible were written by God the Holy Spirit through human authors. That is the message of the following two verses,

All Scripture is inspired by God . . . (NASB) 2 Tim. 3:16

. . . for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (NASB) 2 Pet. 1:21

The Bible explicitly reveals how this occurred in many different passages. The men wrote under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Listen to the following passages,

. . . who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, “WHY DID THE GENTILES RAGE, AND THE PEOPLES DEVISE FUTILE THINGS? . . . ” (NASB) Acts 4:25

The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying,”GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY . . . (NASB) Acts 28:25-26

In both passages we see that the Holy Spirit wrote these passages and so did a human author. The Old Testament prophets were used to write the Old Testament and Jesus’ apostles were used to write the New Testament. It is clear from the New Testament that apostles were reviewing the documents as others were writing. In the process they determined which ones were scripture. Again we would encourage you to read “How Accurate Is the Bible?” for the details. The last apostle was John. He wrote the book of Revelation in about 90-95. A.D. At the end of the book the Holy Spirit used John to write these words,

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; 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. (NASB) Rev. 22:18-19

The message from the Holy Spirit is simple. We cannot add anything to scripture, that is, the Bible. If we cannot add anything to the prophecy, then there is no need for a prophet or an apostle.

Mormons have a serious problem because their teachings contradict scripture. The Bible warns us that false prophets will come in the later days and seek to distort and even deny the teachings of God’s Word. And the “latter-day saints” have! Listen to 1 Timothy 4:1.

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons . . . (NASB) 1 Tim. 4:1

The Bible was here first. It has proven itself to be completely accurate through fulfilled prophecy and the witness of secular testimony. God has preserved the Bible to an accuracy of 99.8% percent. But that is not true for the Book of Mormon which actually teaches what Christians believe about God. The key Mormon doctrines come from other books. If we are to believe the Mormon prophets and apostles, then they must demonstrate that they agree with and satisfy the criteria of the Bible. Here is a reminder.

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! (NASB) Gal. 1:6-8

This means that any prophet who speaks for God will agree with the teachings of the Bible. Remember that Hebrews 13:8 says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has always been God. The Mormon prophets do not agree. Self-proclaimed prophets will not agree. If he or she does not agree, then he or she is not God’s prophet. They are false prophets.

Present-Day Apostles

The Bible tells us that no one can be an apostle today. The apostle Peter gives us the criteria for an apostle in Acts 1:21-22.

Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us—beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection. (NASB) Acts 1:21-22

Peter says that an apostle is one who must have 1) walked the earth during the time that Jesus was here, 2) was present at the beginning when John the Baptist was in ministry, and 3) saw the resurrected Jesus. Since Jesus and John the Baptist are no longer alive on this earth, it is not possible for an apostle to exist today.

Conclusion:

The reader should investigate the book “False Prophecies of Joseph Smith” by Dick Baer and Jim Robertson. It cites fifty-six different false Mormon prophecies. The founder of Mormonism was not a prophet. He did not speak for God. Consequently, Mormonism is a cult and a false religion. Mormonism is a man-made religion. Joseph Smith was the founder and not God.

Related Links:

Peace With God
Who Is God?
Jesus Our Savior
The Holy Spirit
Healing Starts Here
The Rescue!
How Accurate Is the Bible?
Utah Lighthouse Ministry

References:

1. Jerald and Sandra Tanner. 3,913 Changes in the Book of Mormon, Utah Lighthouse Ministry (www.utlm.org).

2. Ron Roads. 10 Most Important Things You Can Say to a Mormon. Harvest House. 2001. p. 26.

3. History of the Church, Vol. 4, page 461.

4. Marin Cowan. Mormon Claims. 1997. p. 26.

5. Doctrine and Covenants 130:22. Teachings, pp. 345-346, pp. 370-373; Doctrines of Salvation,v.1, p. 10-12. Credit is also extended to the Utah Lighthouse Ministry (www.utlm.org).

6. Gospel Principles., pp. 11, 17-18.

7. Ron Roads. Ibid., p. 89.

8. Gospel Principles. Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985, p. 17. and Ron Roads. Ibid. p. 89-90.

9.Marin Cowan. Ibid., p. 58.

10.Marin Cowan. Ibid., p. 60.