Monday, April 08, 2019

Deuteronomy on the Death of Joseph Smith

I wrote this post because I want to record a reference to a chapter of the Bible in case I need it later.

I live in Utah. A common narrative in this state is that "a mob" of unruly gentiles killed Joseph Smith with the implication that everyone who is not Mormon is somehow guilty of this great crime.

I finally got sick and tired of the narrative and studied the death of Joseph Smith. Crimes that Smith had committed in his life include the burning of press, adultery (he "sealed himself to other men's wives"), child molestation (he "sealed himself" to 14-year-old girls). He committed banking fraud and there were numerous murders associated with his group including an attempt to assassinate Lilburn Boggs who had been the territorial Governor of Missouri.

These were all real crimes with documented evidence.

According the account of John Taylor (who was LDS). Joseph Smith, John Taylor and Hyrum Smith had guns. They fired on the crowd gathered outside the jail and killed two of the people in the crowd before someone in the crowd fired back.

Joseph Smith himself was shot while trying to squirm through a window and and escape.

This was not the case of a perfect man being falsely accused and lynched by a mob. The people who shot Smith were acting in self defense. Smith was escaping from a jail.

The idea that people who aren't Mormon are supposed to share some sort of collective guilt for this action is absurd.

NOTE: From 1844 to 1919, the LDS Church included a thing called the Oath of Vengeance against the United States. This oath was a sacred oath sworn by Mormons in Temple ceremonies. The wording of the oath are: "You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray and never cease to pray to Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and to your children's children unto the third and fourth generation."

Generations of Mormons actually swore a curse on the United States of America for the death of Joseph Smith: Wikipedia.

The fact that Mormons swore an oath on this nation shows that the LDS Church charges non-Mormons with collective guilt for the event.

I have had Mormons swear guilt on me for this and other events.

Anyway, I decided to read the Bible from cover to cover and this passage in Deuteronomy (KJV Version) jumped out at me:

If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,

2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

4 Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
The prescription in Deuteronomy 13 is that "Dreamer of Dreams" who presents "signs of wonder" (like the Book of Mormon or The Doctrine and Covenants and Book of Abraham) should be put to death.

The use of the passive voice implies, of course, that it is the will of God that the Dreamer of Dreams is put to death.

I strongly oppose people who kill others and claim that the murder was the will of God. The fact that Smith's death is precisely the death one would expect for a false prophet jumps out at me.

The reason for this post: I have been in multiple conversations with Mormons who hold that all non-Mormons are complicit in the death of Joseph Smith. If this happens again I will direct the person who is making this collective accusation against the United States for Smith's death and point out that Smith's death is precisely what the Bible prescribes for false prophets.

This quote does create a troubling paradox: It says that one should kill people who falsely claim to be prophets of God. The person who is doing the killing in the name of God is setting himself up as a prophet of God and is setting himself up for the exact same judgment that he inflicted on others.

Killing people in the name of God is just plain wrong-headed and stupid. In Smith's case, his group fired into a crowd and someone in the crowd fired back (aka self-defence). The very way that Smith died provides further evidence that the guy was a false prophets. Most of the people who claim to be prophets are false.