Something REALLY Interesting…


I recently uncovered a little buried treasure tonight that I had to share!

For a long time, I’ve utilized a simple argument with Mormons that I’ve found quite effective.  When we talk about Mormonism and they start talking about the restoration of Christianity (or the book of Mormon), the idea that Joseph Smith was a prophet frequently comes up.  Instead of arguing about whether or not he was a prophet, I direct the conversation to how a person know whether or not anyone is a prophet.

I use the following simple line of reasoning:

1.  If Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, I must listen to him.

2.  God has established specific criteria for determining prophecy.

3.  If Joseph Smith meets that criteria, then he’s a prophet and I must listen to what he has to say.


At that point, most Mormons tend to misunderstand me and try to urge me to read the book of Mormon and pray about it.  I cut them off and tell them that if Joseph Smith is a false prophet, the Bible commands me to do several things:

i. Do not listen to them (Deut. 13:3; Matt. 24:25-26)

ii. Treat them as unbelievers (Gal. 1:8-9)

iii. Avoid them (Rom. 16:17-19)

iv. Do not associate with them (2 John 1:10-11)

Notice that “pray about it” isn’t on the list.

I then ask them about whether or not they know what the Bible does say about the test for prophets, and they’re always stumped to respond.  It’s at this point that we shift the conversation to places like Deut. 13:1-11, Deut. 18:21-22, Is. 8:19-20, Rom. 16:17, Titus 1:9-11, etc.  We used to talk about prophetic fulfillment and orthodoxy.  I also have wanted to bring up Ex. 4:1-9 and 1 Kin. 17:17-24 and the idea of miraculous verification.

I haven’t really had any fuel on that front though, not really being super familiar with Joseph Smith or whether or not he attempted to perform any miracles.

Tonight I randomly stumbled across an account of several of his failed miracles.  The following pictures are from the article History of Mormonism” in The Southern Quarterly Review: Volume: 1, Issue: 2, Apr 1842, pp. 398-413.  I’ve marked out the relevant section.


How’s that for failed miraculous verification?

No wonder that “he has finally concluded, that the power to work miracles is a non-essential as far as the truth of the brazen bible, and the Mormon faith in general.”  It’s utterly amazing to me that Mormonism is as big as it is today, given the slapstick beginnings it had.  Then again, I’m continually reminded at how unbelievably gullible large quantities of people can be.  There’s absolutely no shortage of proof of that on the web.

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “doing my best to remain as unpopular as possible” Unger


18 thoughts on “Something REALLY Interesting…

  1. It just occurred to me that I bought my house from a Mormon. It looks good and everything’s nice and shiny, but I should probably go downstairs and make sure that there’s actual a foundation somewhere down there.

  2. It is fascinating, but one must question where the source came from. The details of basically everything are lacking, and the idea of exhibition of miracles is so counter to the character of Joseph Smith that the entire account is suspect.
    Note that the authors seem to have the church moving from Jackson County strait to Illinois, thus skipping five years and the details of the conflicts in Missouri.
    Also note that this is placed in the town of DeWitt, which is claimed to be in Jackson County. However, the town is actually in Carrol County, and Joseph Smith was never in DeWitt. Actually the LDS were there for less than a year.

    The authors of this supposed history are obviously not well acquainted with the facts and thus there work should not be used as evidence of anything.

    • Hmmm. Sounds like you’re an LDS apologist.

      The account doesn’t sound like a hagiography, so it’s probably not true.

      Yeah. For some reason, people don’t find the LDS whitewashing of history too convincing…

      Smith wasn’t a polygamist either, and he didn’t kill 2 people with the pistol from the Carthage jail either, right?

    • For the lurkers, the pages I referenced are from contemporary witnesses, not selectively edited history written a century after the fact.

      The typical LDS apologist argues that contemporary eyewitness testimony is unreliable because it doesn’t portray the parties involved as saints…but the “saintly” history that is trustworthy only comes from the LDS.

      The tight control of information and slander of the motives of anyone with contrary information is a standard boiler plate tactic for every cult.

      As a Christian, I can face the history of Christianity square on without any need of fear. The LDS apologist and ward leader is most afraid of anyone in their organization asking questions, because of the tsunami of damning evidence from history.

      Joseph Smith was a documented liar, con artist, sexual predator, adulterer, murderer, false prophet, etc.

      That doesn’t bode well for his claims of restoring the “true church” to the world…which coincidentally looked just like every other cult of his day.

    • From the three pages I posted, where did the event take place?

      Read closely.

      Mt. Zion, Missouri.

      Apparently the town of Mt. Zion was previously named DeWitt, before it was named Mt. Zion. Apparently the events of Mt
      Zion preceded his going to Illinois. Also, the author telescopes a period of history…which is perfectly fair in writing articles that aren’t intending to be comprehensive accounts of a life or period of time.

      Any historical refutation on the renaming of Mt. Zion? Was it not called DeWitt before it was renamed?

      • I can find no evidence that Dewitt was ever renamed Mt. Zion, nor is there any evidence that a town named Dewitt was ever in Jackson county.
        The town was in Carrol County, not Jackson. It was not renamed Mt. Zion, but remains Dewitt to this day. The saints were not in Dewitt until 1837, long after they were driven from Jackson County. Joseph Smith visited the town only once, in October of 1838.
        As to Mt. Zion, the only place with this name that I can locate in Missouri is the Mt. Zion Church, which was a Methodist church established in 1843. It also is not in Jackson county.
        Actually, I can find no record of the LDS having ever named a town Mt. Zion, not even in Utah where almost all the names were chosen by members of the church.

        So, as I said, the account in so full of inaccuracies as to make is highly suspect. If it were to have any credibility it would have at least some of this right.
        One might also ask why there is no other account of what is described. If, as is claimed, the whole town turned out, one would expect to find news articles, or personal journals that recount the event. To have only one account of such a public event also makes it suspect.
        In other words, if it actually happened than why were more people talking about it?

        • You find no evidence…therefore none exists.

          Well excuse me if I don’t bow and worship your infallible knowledge.

          How far back do the city & county records go? 1859. That’s how far.

          What about newspapers? The Independence Examiner archives only go back to 1905. The Jackson Examiner, which preceded it, only was around as of 1898. The archives of the Kansas City Star only go back to 1880. So what newspaper from the area has surviving archives from around 1830?

          And what planet do you live on where people’s personal journals somehow survive and are archived for public record 170+ years later when the newspapers don’t go back that far?

          I’m no Mormon historian, but standard historical expectations of evidence involve expecting evidence only if there’s a possibility of it existing. If the records don’t go back to the time this would have taken place, how exactly could you find evidence of it outside of a contemporary account (like the one I provided)?

          Why do you keep bringing up irrelevant data? I’m not arguing that there’s no DeWitt in another county, nor that there is currently one in Jackson County. The article doesn’t even tell when these events took place. Why are you trying to smokescreen like that? You know full well you’re just trying to obfuscate the reality of this whole scenario: you don’t like what the article says, so you are determined to poke any miniscule holes in it you can.

          The article only says that they were before the Mormons were driven from Jackson County. That would mean “before 1833” right?

          And Google found the Mt. Zion Methodist Church when you typed in “Mt. Zion” + “Jackson County”?

          Yippee for you and Google.

          This sort of research requires a little more than “freshmen luck”. I’ve already found one town called “Mt. Zion” in Missouri, and it only took me a few minutes. It’s not in Jackson County, nor is it still around. It was in Henry County, but it was already gone by the 70’s.

          That’s one you missed…and I’m starting to be highly suspect of something too. I wonder the weak link in your “I can find no evidence that…” claim is simply the I part.

          I have far more pressing things to do than this. Here’s a little hint where you can find the information you’re looking for: The Jackson County Historical Society ( & the Midwest Genealogy Center (

          Knock yourself out and let me know when you find some positive refutation of the claims of the article.

      • I never said none existed, only that until it is provided there is no logical reason to accept this account as accurate. That is good historical practice.

        In other words, unless you can show that there was a town called Dewitt in Jackson county, and that Joseph Smith did change the name to Mt. Zion, then there is no reason to accept this account. There is even less reason to accept it when one can show that a town named Dewitt did play a large part in the history of the church in Missouri, but was in Carol county, and was never renamed Mt. Zion. We now have a logical reason to suspect that the facts were confused by the author of this account.
        We then consider that the author was not a witness to the events described, and has declared open hostility towards the church; both of which put the author’s motives and tactics in question.
        We then add to this the lack of evidence from any witness to the supposed events, despite the claim that it was a very public display, and that many who supposedly witnessed them had every reason to make it publically known to everyone else.

        When we put everything together the account is highly suspect and should not be accepted until corroborating evidence can be produced. Producing such evidence in not the responsibility of the reader, but of the writer, or anyone who chooses to accept the account and use it as evidence in a discussion.

        All this is perfectly in line with the practices of historical research, the expectation of evidence, and sound reasoning.
        Or we can take your approach and say that since we can find no direct proof that it is false we will accept it as true; which approach is the exact opposite of accepted research practice (which starts with skepticism until further proof is found).

  3. I get the feeling you barely read what I wrote.

    The account you have provided, regardless of when it was written, is inaccurate on many points other than the alleged attempts at miracles. They place a town in the wrong county and the wrong time frame. They ignore large portions of the time they are writing about, and connect events that were not connected.
    This has nothing to do with whitewashing anything, but with actually taking the time to evaluate the source being used. The source is not very good, and I would say the same thing regardless of who it was claiming to describe.
    Of course there will be those who will accept it simply because it says something that they like to hear, regardless of its actual credibility.

    Oh, and just so we are clear. I know the history of the church very well. Yes, Joseph Smith practiced plural marriage, and he did fire his gun into the mob when they stormed Carthage jail. I have not seen any reliable account that anyone was killed from these shots, but I have heard the legends and I have no reason to doubt them.
    But then, these things don’t really matter.

  4. Pingback: Some things I have read on the internet | clydeherrin

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s