1. UNDERSTANDING THE FOUNDER OF MORMONISM: JOSEPH SMITH
- We do know he had many leadership qualities
- We also know he was a deceiver
- He was an occultist
Joseph Smith practiced occultism at a very young age. He and his father used to dig for buried treasure and used a seer stones to search for the money. Historical record gives us an account of Joseph Smith’s arrest in 1826 for hiring himself out to another person for the purpose of money-digging. He admitted in court using a special stone for seeing hidden treasure.
Smith practiced multiple occult activities throughout his lifetime. Some of those included:
– Magick: What we might call black magic of the occult and not what magicians do.
– Divination: This is special knowledge through the supernatural. Bible directly speaks against this practice.
– Astrology: The studying the positions of the stars and how they affect humans.
– Soothsaying: Making predicting of the future, which he continued even after the founding of the Mormon Church in 1830.
Joseph Smith also was said to be carrying a Jupiter’s Talisman in his pocket. I found people selling a Joseph Smith Jupiter Talisman online. People carry these around for wealth and good fortune. Some Mormons have either tried to deny Joseph Smith carried a Jupiter Talisman or his practice in the occult was trivial and didn’t detract from his being a prophet of God. We have good historical grounds for believing he carried one and demonstrated repeatedly, he practiced occultism. Smith being an occultist, over and against the condemnation of the Bible, demonstrates clearly Joseph Smith was not a prophet of God.
- False First Vision
The Mormon Church makes a big deal out of the first vision of Joseph Smith. The truth is Smith’s “first vision” has undergone multiple revisions over the years. His first vision was very simple and has been expanded and changed to what we have today. Charts are available that demonstrate how changes were made over the years. However, the Mormon Church today says they have the true vision of Smith in spite of the multiple contradictions in early publications.
In the official “first vision” Joseph Smith says at age 14 as he walked into the forest and the Father and the Son appeared to him. He had been bothered for years about which church to attend, so he asked them which church was the correct one. They said all the Christian Churches were corrupt and that none of them were true. Soon afterwards, God allegedly commissioned Joseph Smith to start a new church. This became known as the Mormon Church or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
A good chart of the multiple “first visions” is available in the book “Becoming Gods,” by Richard Abanes pages 32 and 33. A first vision with revisions is a false vision. Do not be fooled when Mormons share the “first vision” of Joseph Smith.
We have seen clearly Joseph Smith was a leader, a deceiver, an occultist, and his first vision was altered and expanded over the years. Next I’d like to begin to explore some of the weaknesses of the Book of Mormon.
 Abanes, Richard, “Becoming Gods,” Harvest House Publishers, 2004 p. 45