Joseph Smith: Fallen prophet?

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Jaxzmin801
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Joseph Smith: Fallen prophet?

Post by Jaxzmin801 » 04 May 2019, 22:20

I was talking to my mom about Joseph Smith, his other marriages specifically, and she told me that when she was attending BYU , which would have been late 60's early 70's, she heard a rumor/ theory about Joseph Smith being a fallen prophet. Just curious if anyone knows anything about this? I haven't had much luck on my own. I usually find either super anti mormon things which don't include him being a prophet at all, or the usual he was so great pedestal talk. This idea of being a fallen prophet and that it was whispered around BYU intrigues me. Has anyone heard this theory, have any info or suggestions of where to look?

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DarkJedi
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Re: Joseph Smith: Fallen prophet?

Post by DarkJedi » 05 May 2019, 07:25

A main tenant of some of the offshoot churches is the idea that Joseph was a prophet but fallen. I am thinking particularly of the Church of Christ Temple Lot, but regarding polygamy it's pretty much true if the Community of Christ as well. I can see where the idea comes from and even consider it a possibility. So, yes, I've heard it, but it is not the doctrine of the Church.
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dande48
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Re: Joseph Smith: Fallen prophet?

Post by dande48 » 05 May 2019, 09:47

It definitely goes against LDS doctrine. But I think when learning that a belief we held turns out to be more "complicated", like with Joseph Smith, we end up reframing it in a way that both makes sense, and helps us maintain our world view (and dignity). For example, Emma Smith was in clear and absolute denial about Joseph's polygammy to the end of her life. She absolutely could not believe it. She'd rather believe he had an "affair", or weakness of the flesh, than believe he was going around marrying other women behind her back.

Beliving Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet allows you to maintain a belief in the Plan of Salvation, Eternal families, modern revelation, etc... but not in polygammy, racist doctrine, etc. Of you could just believe that "Joseph Smith never claimed to be perfect", those teachings were his "personal opinion" held by many of the time, the restoration is an ongoing process, and now the Church is "truer" than at the time of Joseph Smith.
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Roy
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Re: Joseph Smith: Fallen prophet?

Post by Roy » 05 May 2019, 11:37

I understand that there was a fairly significant group that felt JS to be a fallen prophet during the time of the Kirtland banking scandal.

If I remember correctly, David Whitmer felt that the revelations received through the seer stone were reliable. Once JS moved beyond the stone and started composing revelations without it, Bro. Whitmer felt that he had faltered.

The Church of Christ (formerly reorganized LDS) is fascinating. They taught that JS never preached polygamy for many years. The LDS church (Brighamite) provided much proof by way of documented testimony from living witnesses to prove the practice. Many details surrounding the implementation of the practice in Nauvoo would likely have been lost if not for this religious dispute.
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SilentDawning
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Re: Joseph Smith: Fallen prophet?

Post by SilentDawning » 05 May 2019, 12:28

I would entertain the idea he was a fallen prophet. The Fannie Alger situation is one that sort of "reeks" to me, and I believe plural marriage might have been a doctrinal cover up of JS's libido. I don't think much about this, but it's consistent with what I believe to be factual statements about his sexual behavior.
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Roy
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Re: Joseph Smith: Fallen prophet?

Post by Roy » 05 May 2019, 14:18

SilentDawning wrote:
05 May 2019, 12:28
I would entertain the idea he was a fallen prophet. The Fannie Alger situation is one that sort of "reeks" to me, and I believe plural marriage might have been a doctrinal cover up of JS's libido. I don't think much about this, but it's consistent with what I believe to be factual statements about his sexual behavior.
I suppose we would need to establish what makes a person a prophet. The scriptures are full of prophets that have serious flaws and have done very bad things. Once we establish the criteria for becoming a prophet in the first place, how would we distinguish a flawed prophet from a fallen prophet?

According to one common LDS assumption if the prophet is about to lead the church astray then God removes that prophet from his post. Thus, there is no such thing as a fallen prophet in modern LDS interpretation. A prophet and president of the church is either a "living prophet" or …
(makes slicing motion across throat). :sick:
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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SilentDawning
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Re: Joseph Smith: Fallen prophet?

Post by SilentDawning » 05 May 2019, 17:52

Roy wrote:
05 May 2019, 14:18
SilentDawning wrote:
05 May 2019, 12:28
I would entertain the idea he was a fallen prophet. The Fannie Alger situation is one that sort of "reeks" to me, and I believe plural marriage might have been a doctrinal cover up of JS's libido. I don't think much about this, but it's consistent with what I believe to be factual statements about his sexual behavior.
I suppose we would need to establish what makes a person a prophet. The scriptures are full of prophets that have serious flaws and have done very bad things. Once we establish the criteria for becoming a prophet in the first place, how would we distinguish a flawed prophet from a fallen prophet?

According to one common LDS assumption if the prophet is about to lead the church astray then God removes that prophet from his post. Thus, there is no such thing as a fallen prophet in modern LDS interpretation. A prophet and president of the church is either a "living prophet" or …
(makes slicing motion across throat). :sick:
According to Bruce R McConkie, a prophet is a someone who receives revelation from God for a stewardship. I am a prophet to my own personal affairs. The Bishop is a prophet to the Ward, and the Prophet is a prophet to the Church. Lower revelation can't conflict with the priesthood line of revelation said DHO.

What makes a prophet a fallen prophet? Probably one who is removed from his place if you follow Mormon theology and the LDS Assumption as Roy put it. This could be by an early death, for example, or excommunication by the 12.

The LDS assumption is one that I don't believe, however. Prophets led the membership astray on the priesthood band and other things, and stayed in their place. But you make a good point if looking at the question of a fallen prophet. But your logic seems correct above Roy if you look at it purely from a traditional believer's perspective.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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On Own Now
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Re: Joseph Smith: Fallen prophet?

Post by On Own Now » 05 May 2019, 18:33

Jaxz,

Throughout the history of the Church, there have been groups that didn't like "current" teachings as much as (how they perceived) the older teachings, and they assert, to their convenience, that the "current" prophet is no longer viewed as a prophet by God. This happened early with the Hedrickites (Church of Christ (Temple Lot)). It happened during Kirtland, it happened in Missouri, it happened in Nauvoo. For example, the Nauvoo Expositor claimed that the Church as originally established was in truth, from God, but JS had taken it far afield and and the NE proposed reformation.

It happened during BY's time, two examples of many: the scattered branches which became the Community of Christ and the Godbeites in the 1860's (Church of Zion) that installed excommunicated Apostle Amasa Lyman as their president. It happened after the manifesto, claiming that JT was the last true prophet. It happened plenty of times in the 20th century and is actively happening now with the followers of Denver Snuffer. Any significant group that has broken away since the death of JS has viewed JS as faithful to the end, but subsequent leaders as losing the Church's standing with God. Even within the RLDS/CoC Church, there have been significant breakaways since the 70's/80's. Even forming their own Churches, with their own prophets.

I suspect what drives this is a deep-rooted desire for it to be true to some degree, but to purge what they don't like (polygamy or the end of polygamy, to name two).

This has never been and never will be a teaching of the CoJCoLDS.

I think in the CoJCoLDS, the most that will happen (and it's much closer to this today than at any time in the past) is to think of JS as prophetic sometimes, and on-his-own, trying-his-best at other times.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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dande48
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Re: Joseph Smith: Fallen prophet?

Post by dande48 » 05 May 2019, 19:57

Roy wrote:
05 May 2019, 14:18
According to one common LDS assumption if the prophet is about to lead the church astray then God removes that prophet from his post. Thus, there is no such thing as a fallen prophet in modern LDS interpretation. A prophet and president of the church is either a "living prophet" or …
(makes slicing motion across throat). :sick:
From what I recall, Joseph Smith was "abruptly removed from his post". So was Jesus.
The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty.
I take this quote to mean, quite literally, that the prophet will never lead you astray from the prophet; which is pretty redundant. If a prophet were to "fall" and "lead astray", how would anyone tell?
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Jaxzmin801
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Re: Joseph Smith: Fallen prophet?

Post by Jaxzmin801 » 06 May 2019, 19:48

Interesting, I have not done much reading about the Church of Christ. That line of thinking seems to fit most with what my mom was saying. I have to admit the idea did certainly appeal to my logical brain, I mean what better way to keep what I like while being able to disregard what I don't? Lol, now if only my heart and my brain would get on the same page I'd be in business! I appreciate the input, it had been too difficult to research without coming across so many things that were so negative, and I try to tread lightly since my faith hangs by a thread some days.

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