Chapter Twenty-One

Joseph Smith’s Pretended Visions from God
Elias is Elijah!

     As one studies the Holy Bible it becomes apparent that God can communicate with men through various means. Numerous people throughout the scriptures are recorded as having seen visions and had dreams from God. The Prophet Joel spoke of the last days as a time when old men shall dream dreams and young men shall see visions.108   It is evident that God has never been limited from using them to speak to men, nor will he be limited in the future. God can use dreams and visions as he chooses, but not every person who claims to have had a vision from God is telling the truth. This is evidenced even in Jeremiah’s time by the following verses from Jeremiah 23:16-32:

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain:   they speak a vision of their own heart,   and   not out of the mouth of the LORD.
They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.
For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard   it?
Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.
The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.
I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
Am   I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?
Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.
I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying,   I have dreamed, I have dreamed.
How long shall   this   be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea,   they are   prophets of the deceit of their own heart;
Which think to cause my people to forget my name by   their dreams   which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.
The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What   is   the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.
Is   not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer   that   breaketh the rock in pieces?
Therefore, behold, I   am   against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
Behold, I   am   against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.
Behold,   I   am   against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness;   yet I sent them not, nor commanded them:therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.”

Notice above in verses twenty-eight and twenty-nine that God compares dreams to chaff and his Word to wheat. Chaff is the husk from the grains of wheat that peel off during harvest. It is discarded as useless trash while the wheat is gathered for use. The wheat has value; the chaff is waste. God’s words have value; dreams are likened to useless garbage. God’s words are also compared to fire that would burn the chaff and to a hammer that can break rocks in pieces. God’s comparison elevates his words above dreams and visions because his words will be the judge of all visions, and he is against people who prophesy false dreams and visions.  
Joseph Smith was a man who prophesied false dreams and visions much like the false prophets of Jeremiah’s day. How can one tell? Ignorance is a human trait! Joseph Smith proved his visions were imagined by the ignorance evident within them. God does not give visions laced with ignorance.  
     No man upon the earth today or ever before other than Jesus can claim to understand the whole of God’s Word, but God can! He existed when the Bible was written, knew every word written, and understood every word within its pages. The Bible is his message to men. To this day he knows and understands everything about and within the Bible. He has never forgotten the smallest item within its pages. When seeking understanding about his Holy Word, it must be to God we go in prayer. God alone can reveal the deepest secrets hidden within the pages of the Bible, and he does not have to spend time researching to find the answers. Ignorant men may imagine ignorant visions, but God does not give visions without understanding what he is giving. Any vision laced with ignorance cannot be from the true God.
     The 110th Doctrine and Covenant records visions Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery allegedly received in the Kirtland, Ohio, temple on April 3rd, 1836. The two of them supposedly saw the Lord, and then Moses, then the Prophet Elias followed by the Elijah the prophet. The record of the visions as recorded by Joseph Smith reads in part:

“We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, . . .
After this,   Elias   appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, . . .
After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for   Elijah   the prophet, . . . stood before us, and said:”109

     To the five-minute a day Bible reader these visions may appear trustworthy. Many so-called Christians who do not concern themselves with studying the Holy Scriptures might find these visions possible. Millions of Mormons see these visions as plausible, yet to the Bible Scholar who pays attention to the details of the very words of Jesus and digs deep into the truths of God’s Holy Word, it is evident that Joseph Smith pretended these visions. Joseph Smith did not know that Elias is the Prophet Elijah’s name rendered through the Greek language. God would not have made this mistake! He did not give these visions to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.  
     Consider the following words of Jesus where he mentioned Elias during a time when everybody used the Greek language. Then step back into the Old Testament and see the story from the Hebrew record. Compare the two following verse sections taken from the Bible and discover that Elias was Elijah the prophet! The two names refer to the same person:

New Testament mention:

“And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of   Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
But unto none of them was   Elias   sent, save unto Sarepta,   a city   of Sidon, unto a woman   that was   a widow.”110

Old Testament story:  
“And   Elijah   the Tishbite,   who was   of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab,   As   the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,
Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that   is   before Jordan.
And it shall be,   that   thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.
So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that   isbefore Jordan.
And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,  
Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which   belongeth   to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman   wasthere gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
And as she was going to fetch   it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.
And she said,   As   the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I   am   gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go   and   do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bringit   unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day   that   the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.
And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat   many   days.
And   the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by   Elijah.”111

By a comparison of the two verse sections it becomes apparent that Elias and Elijah were the same person. The reader may also have noticed how the Greek language of Jesus’ day affected the spelling of the city named Zarephath/Sarepta. Jesus also spoke of the Prophet Elisha immediately following his mention of Elias. Through the Greek language Elisha’s Old Testament name was rendered Eliseus in the New Testament as the following Bible verses will illustrate:

New Testament mention:

“And many lepers were in Israel in the time of   Eliseus   the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving   Naaman the Syrian.”112

Old Testament story
“NOW   Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour,   but he was   a leper.
And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife.
And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord   were   with the prophet that   is   in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.
And   one   went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that   is   of the land of Israel.
And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand   pieces   of gold, and ten changes of raiment.
And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I havetherewith   sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.
And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said,   Am   I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.
And it was   so, when   Elisha   the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.
So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.
And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.”113

     Nowhere in the Bible do we find prophets named Elias and Eliseus who are different persons than Elijah and Elisha. Elias is mentioned thirty times in the New Testament and refers to the Old Testament Prophet Elijah.  
     Joseph Smith’s record of the vision in the 110th Doctrine and Covenants tells us that Elias appeared and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham. After that vision had closed Elijah stood before them and spoke. If Joseph Smith truly saw and recognized Elijah as the fourth person appearing before them, why did he not recognize him as Elijah when he appeared as Elias, the third person in the vision? Why did Smith not record that the same person appeared again for the fourth vision? The record might have read that Elijah appeared as the third person, gave Smith and Cowdery two things and then vanished, had Joseph Smith truly seen a vision.  
It is evident to this writer that Joseph Smith thought Elias was a different prophet than Elijah. He did not realize that Elias is the Greek rendition for the name Elijah. It makes no sense for Joseph Smith to have recorded the vision as if the two were different people unless he thought they were. The truth of the matter is that Joseph Smith’s ignorance of the Bible is plain to see for all who will open their eyes to see it. God isn’t ignorant and did not give this vision to the two men.
     Another clue is present within the recorded visions that proves God did not give them to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. When Elias allegedly appeared and committed unto them the dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham, he is recorded to have said:

“ . . . in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed.”114
(Speaking of Smith’s and Cowdery’s children),
A Bible scholar should recognize this as a similar reading of the promise given to Abraham in Genesis 28:14 in the Bible:

“ . . . in thee and in thy seed shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

There is little doubt that Joseph Smith had this verse on his mind when he claimed to have been given the ‘dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham’. It is evident that he thought the words ‘thy seed’ referred to the children of Abraham, which led him to apply the idea to his own children. ‘Thy seed’, when spoken to Abraham, did not refer to all of his children. In Genesis 28:14 the phrase ‘thy seed’ is a direct mention of Jesus himself rather than the multitude of Abraham’s children. The following passage from the Bible found in Galatians 3:16 will reveal ‘thy seed’ to be Jesus alone:

“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And   to thy seed, which is Christ.”

There was only one seed of Abraham mentioned as the one seed through which the blessing would come upon the whole earth. That seed was Jesus the Christ through whom every repentant sinner may find forgiveness of sins. He bore the penalty for all men’s sins upon the cross of Calvary nearly two thousand years ago and opened the door for humans to find mercy from the wrath of God’s judgment to come. The whole world has been blessed even if some in this world reject that blessing.  
     Had the promise of Genesis 28:14 applied to Abraham’s children, then the word at the end of the verse probably should have been ‘cursed’, (i.e.) ‘and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be cursed’. Many of the Arab people are the children of Abraham’s son Ishmael through Sarah’s handmaiden Hagar.115   The Jewish people are the children of Abraham’s promised son Isaac.116   Can we honestly call the ugly inhumane battles in the Middle East between the Arabs and the Jews a blessing to the whole earth? Any honest person would have to admit that Abraham has cursed the world through his descendant’s childish temper tantrums still happening thousands of years after Abraham’s passing. The verse was not referring to all of Abraham’s descendants; it spoke of Jesus alone.  
     Due to Joseph Smith’s ignorance, he attempted to apply a verse that strictly refers to Jesus himself as the seed through whom the whole world would be blessed. Thinking that it referred to Abraham’s children, he took the liberty to apply the idea to his and Oliver Cowdery’s children. Joseph Smith cannot claim to have produced a child of equal import as Jesus. Beside that, he said “our seed”, obviously referring to himself and Oliver Cowdery. One can in no way apply our seed to mean one person! Joseph Smith meant their children. God meant one person, Jesus, not all of Abraham’s children. Joseph Smith’s ignorance is evident in the way he misapplied Genesis 28:14.
     An interesting note follows the discussion of this recorded vision in The Restored Church, a Mormon publication. There we read:

“These statements, testified to by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, were accepted as a revelation by the solemn assembly of the Church and are considered as scripture. The authority for doing temple work in the Church, which has grown to tremendous proportions today, is based upon this restoration of the keys of Priesthood necessary to those functions, and especially upon the restoration of the keys held by Elijah.”117  

Imagine their surprise when millions of people stand before God having accepted Smith’s vision as scripture only to discover that all of their temple work was based upon a false vision. They are without excuse as well! The evidence that reveals Joseph Smith’s deception is readily available at any time they should open their eyes and see it. Many carry the Bible around, which could free them from the error they have been swallowed up in, but refuse to consider what God has to say in the Bible. God’s Word truly is the wheat, and Joseph Smith’s story is nothing more than chaff.  
     Wise people should wonder about a god who gives visions to a man who intentionally deceived other people. The true God in heaven knew who had truly written the BkM. He would not have been a part in lieing to the world. It is the Devil who is the father of lies according to Jesus:

"Ye are of   your   father   the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for   he is a liar, and the father of it."118

Either Smith made up his visions or the Devil gave them to him. They were nothing more than lies. This author will be gracious enough to allow the possibility that Smith devised his declared visions from his own imagination. The Devil would have known that Elias and Elijah are the same person. He may be the father of lies, but he is not stupid.
     Is this the only evidence available to show that Joseph Smith invented his visions? Let’s look at his proposed new Zion in the Americas and consider how God disagrees with Smith’s idea.
#108  Joel 2:28-29, KJV Bible
#109  Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, (Three books in one), 110th Doctrine and Covenants, verse 2, 11, 12, & 13, (The Mormon Church, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1947) p. 203-204
#110  Luke 4:24-26, KJV Bible
#111  1 Kings 17:1-16, KJV Bible
#112  Luke 4:27, KJV Bible
#113  2 Kings 5:1-11, KJV Bible
#114  Doctrines a nd Covenants (see footnote #107 above) verse 12, p. 204
#115  Genesis 16, KJV Bible
#116  Genesis 21:1-3, KJV bible
#117  The Restored Church, William E. Berrett, Twelfth Edition, (Deseret Book Company, Deseret News Press, Salt Lake City, 1965), p. 128
#118  John 8:44, KJV Bible