Posts Tagged ‘Missouri Temple prophecy’

In my February 16 entry on this blog, I listed ten suggestions that Mormons have offered over the years to explain the apparent failure of Joseph Smith’s Missouri Temple prophecy. These included the suggestions that the LDS Church was unable to build the temple because of opposition from enemies or disobedience of the LDS people themselves; that the prophecy referred to the Kirtland temple rather than one in Independence; and that it was not a predictive prophecy at all but rather a command for the Saints to (try to) build a temple in Independence. (Mormons occasionally suggest that no answer is needed because scripture need not be inerrant; this view admits that the prophecy is in error but denies that the mistake is evidence against Joseph Smith’s claim to be a prophet.) I have argued up to this point that all of these suggested strategies for handling the problem fail.

The explanations that remain attempt to resolve the difficulty by stipulating definitions of the word generation that overcome the problem. Read the rest of this entry »

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One of the most interesting explanations of Joseph Smith’s Missouri Temple prophecy is the suggestion that the words “shall be reared” and “shall be built” (D&C 84:4, 5) may be imperatives rather than indicatives. In other words, they may express commands of what the Saints were told to do, not predictions as to what would certainly occur. One LDS apologetics web site offers this explanation with some tentativeness: Read the rest of this entry »

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The explanations for the apparent failure of the Missouri Temple prophecy in D&C 84:1-5 that I have examined so far all agree that the prophecy does speak about the building of a temple in Independence, Missouri, within the lifetime of at least some of the people alive in 1832. Some Mormons, however, offer an alternative explanation of at least part of the prophecy.

According to Stephen Gibson, “the prophecy in (D & C 84:5-6) came to pass less than four years after Joseph Smith received it.” He points out that verse 5 speaks of “an house” rather than “the temple” and argues, “The use of words ‘an house’ indicate that the Lord is not necessarily referring to ‘the temple’ mentioned in verse 4…. The ‘house’ mentioned in verse 5 was dedicated in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1836.” Thus, the “temple” of D&C 84:4 should be distinguished from the “house” of D&C 84:5, which refers to the Kirtland, Ohio temple dedicated in 1836, not to the Independence temple that has yet to be built. Read the rest of this entry »

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20
Feb

The Missouri Temple Prophecy as a Conditional Prophecy

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in Mormonism

Mormons frequently lecture their critics on the fact that biblical prophecies were sometimes conditional. Michael T. Griffith offers the following “rules” for properly interpreting prophecy:

  1. Almost all prophecy is conditional to one degree or another, even if this is not stated in the prophecy itself (which is often the case).
  2. In many cases human actions and choices can alter, postpone, or prevent the fulfillment of prophecy.
  3. A prophecy is not always telling us what will happen, but what could happen under certain circumstances.

Mormons commonly cite various examples of biblical prophecies that seem to have been conditional as proof that their conservative evangelical critics are judging Joseph Smith’s prophecies by a double standard. Read the rest of this entry »

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I mentioned in my previous post that Mormons have offered two similar but incompatible explanations for the fact that a temple was not built in Independence, Missouri, as Joseph Smith had predicted in 1832:

  • The enemies of the Mormons goofed (from the Mormon perspective) by preventing the Mormons from doing what they were supposed to do to bring about the prophecy’s fulfillment.
  • The Mormons goofed by failing to do what they were supposed to do in order to bring about the fulfillment of the prophecy.

From what I have seen in the literature, these two explanations are the most common of those offered by Mormons. Read the rest of this entry »

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One basic strategy for explaining the apparent failure of Joseph Smith’s Missouri Temple prophecy is to argue that someone goofed. Since God can’t goof (though, according to at least some Mormons, he can change his mind), that leaves four possible suspects for the goof:

  • The prophecy itself is a goof, either because the prophet goofed or whoever reported the prophet’s words goofed.
  • The Mormons goofed by failing to do what they were supposed to do in order to bring about the fulfillment of the prophecy.
  • The enemies of the Mormons goofed (from the Mormon perspective) by preventing the Mormons from doing what they were supposed to do to bring about the prophecy’s fulfillment.
  • Mormon interpreters have goofed over the years by mistakenly understanding the passage to say something it really doesn’t say.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Mormons have offered a bewildering variety of explanations for the apparent failed predictive prophecy of Joseph Smith in Doctrine & Covenants 84:1-5 that a temple would be built in Independence, Missouri, before the generation living in 1832 had all died. Let me just list these various explanations. I will attempt to list them very roughly (as best I can at this point in my research) in the chronological order in which they first appear in the literature: Read the rest of this entry »

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13
Feb

Joseph Smith’s Missouri Temple Prophecy

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in Mormonism

Was Joseph Smith truly a prophet of God? Although there are several ways of seeking an answer to this question, an obvious one is to test Joseph Smith’s accuracy in prophecies that were predictive of events to come. If Joseph, speaking in his capacity as a prophet, claimed to say on God’s behalf that something humanly unpredictable was going to happen, and if it did, that would be impressive evidence that he was supernaturally inspired—and would count as evidence that his claim to be a prophet was true. On the other hand, if such predictive prophecies failed to happen as stated, this failure would be evidence against his claim to be a prophet of God.

One of Joseph Smith’s most famous—or notorious—predictive prophecies was a “revelation” that Joseph Smith claimed to receive in 1832 from Jesus Christ concerning the building of a temple in Independence, Missouri. Read the rest of this entry »

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