There are many who claim to speak for the Lord in these the last days. Many who take upon them His name, yet He doesn’t claim them. The Lord gave us a measurement to test those who claim such high regard.
15 ¶Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 ¶Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I say, Ye never knew me: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matt 7:15–23)
With that in mind I thought I would compile a list of traits or characteristics that makes one a false prophet, priest, or teacher. Not all of the characteristics need to be demonstrated, but be leary if any one of them are being demonstrated. Here is the list of corrupt practices that help us identify corrupt fruit.
- They preach that which they term to be the word of God. (Alma 1:3)
- They teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost. (2 Nephi 28:4)
- They deny the power of God. (2 Nephi 28:5) (Mormon 8:28)
- They teach that God hath given His power unto men. (2 Nephi 28:5)
- They lie, and deceive with vain and flattering words. (2 Nephi 28:7–8) (Mormon 8:31) (Mosiah 11:7) (Isa 9:15) (Jacob 7:2–4)
- They do not warn people of their sins. (Lamentations 2:14) (Helaman 13:27)
- They teach that all are saved at the last day, all are redeemed, all have eternal life. (Alma 1:4) (2 Nephi 28:7–9)
- They teach for doctrine the commandments of men. (Isaiah 29:13–14) (Mark 7:5–9)
- They teach the precepts of men instead of God. (2 Nephi 28:5–6)
- They teach false, vain, and foolish doctrines. (2 Nephi 28:9)
- They secretly bring in damnable heresies. (2 Peter 2:1)
- They reject the commandments of God, to keep their own tradition. (Mark 7:8–9)
- They are puffed up in their hearts, and full of pride. (2 Nephi 28:9) (Mormon 8:28) (Alma 1:6)
- They seek deep to hide their counsels from God. (2 Nephi 28:9) (Isa 29:15)
- Their works are in the dark. (2 Nephi 28:9) (Isa 29:15)
- They set themselves up as a light to the world. (2 Nephi 26:29)
- They seek the praise of the world. (2 Nephi 26:29)
- They seek not the welfare of Zion. (2 Nephi 26:29)
- They teach that they ought to become popular. (Alma 1:3) (Luke 6:26)
- They set their hearts upon the things of the world. (D&C 121:5)
- All their works they do for to be seen of men. (Matt 23:5)
- They love receiving greetings in the markets. (Matt 23:7)
- They love to be called of men, Prophet, Prophet. (Matt 23:7)
- They teach they ought not to labor with their hands. (Alma 1:3)
- They seek and conspire to get gain. (2 Nephi 26:29) (Ezekiel 22:25–27)
- They charge money for worship and forgiveness of sins. (Mormon 8:32)
- They will, in their greed, exploit you with fabricated stories. (2 Peter 2:3)
- They teach they ought to be supported by the people. (Alma 1:3) (Helaman 13:28) (Mosiah 11:6)
- They accept support and money from the people. (Alma 1:5)
- They rob God and man by abuse of tithing funds. (Mal 3:8–12)
- They teach that poor widows need to pay tithing, thus devouring their houses. (Mark 12:40–44)
- They teach that tithing is not for the poor. (Deut 26:12–15)
- They wear very costly and fine apparel. (Alma 1:6) (Mormon 8:36)
- They focus on outward appearances of themselves and others. (Matthew 23:27–28)
- They offer unacceptable and unworthy sacrifices. (Gen 4:3) (Malachi 1)
- They cause people to build up churches. (Alma 1:6) (Mosiah 11:5–13) (4 Nephi 1:34)
- They build up a church, but not unto the Lord. (2 Nephi 28:3)
- Their churches are lifted up because of pride. (2 Nephi 28:12)
- Their churches are corrupted. (2 Nephi 28:12)
- They use their church to produce a profit. (Mormon 8:33)
- They adorn their churches with that which hath no life. (Mormon 8:37)
- They build many elegant and spacious buildings. (Mosiah 11:8–9)
- They ornament them with fine work of all manner of precious things. (Mosiah 11:8–9)
- They build pulpits in order to speak lying and vain words. (Mosiah 11:11)
- They cause all manner of fine work within the walls of the temple. (Mosiah 11:10)
- They build large buildings near the temple to overlook the land. (Mosiah 11:12)
- They love the uppermost rooms at feasts. (Matt 23:6)
- They love the chief seats in the synagogues. (Matt 23:6)
- They build seats set apart for the high priests, above all other seats. (Mosiah 11:11)
- They are deeply concerned with seniority and hierarchy. (John 8:9)
- They aspire to the honors of men. (D&C 121:5)
- They envy others in higher positions within their own churches. (Mormon 8:28)
- They have priesthood conferred upon them. (D&C 121:37)
- They undertake to cover their sins, gratify their pride, and their vain ambition. (D&C 121:37)
- They exercise control, dominion, and compulsion on the souls of men. (D&C 121:37)
- They enforce their priestcraft and destroy those who threaten it. (Alma 1:12)
- They prevent others from entering the kingdom of heaven (Matt 23:13)
- They will not enter into the kingdom of heaven themselves. (Matt 23:13)
- They are blind seers and blind guides. (2 Nephi 27:5) (Isa 30:9–10) (Matt 23:16) (Hel 13:29)
- They follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! (Ezekiel 13:3)
- They speak a vision of their own heart. (Jer 23:16) (Ezekiel 13:2)
- They prophesy false dreams. (Jer 23:32) (Zech 10:2)
- They prophesy in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 7:21–23) (Jer 23:31) (Jer 27:15) (Jer 29:9)
- They cast out devils in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 7:21–23)
- They do many wonderful works in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 7:21–23)
- They cast out and stone those who are true prophets. (Matthew 23:37)
- They always arise to oppose the true prophets. (TPJS 365)
- The world always mistakes false prophets for true ones. (TPJS 205)
- They discredit miracles and God’s work. (2 Nephi 28:6)
- They profess they know God, but in works they deny Him. (Titus 1:16) (2 Peter 2:1)
- They will not openly testify of having received Christ. (Mormon 8:38)
- They don sheep’s clothing but are actually ravening wolves. (Matt 7:15)
- They rule their flock with force and cruelty. (Ezekiel 34:4) (D&C 121:34–40)
- They are intoxicated with self deception. (Isa 28:7)
- They trod and destroy the vineyard. (Jer 12:10–11)
- Their spiritual feasts offer only vomit, or partly digested food. (Isa 28:8)
- They feed themselves instead of the flock of God. (Ezekiel 34:1–5)
- They persecute the saints, and fight against God. (D&C 121:38)
- They oppress the Lord’s people, and grind on the face of the poor. (Isa 3:15) (2 Nephi 26:20)
- They neglect the widows, the poor, and the orphans. (Matt 23:14)
- The hungry, needy, naked, sick, and afflicted pass by them unnoticed. (Mormon 8:39)
- They neglect the weak, the sick, those driven away, and those who are lost. (Ezekiel 34:4)
- They do not seek out the lost sheep. (Ezekiel 34:6)
- They are cursed by their own words, and bring their own destruction. (Jer 14:15) (2 Peter 2:1)
- They stray, err, and blunder. (Isa 28:7)
- They cause their followers to err. (Isa 9:16) (2 Nephi 13:12) (2 Nephi 28:14) (Jer 23:32)
- They cause their followers to do all manner of iniquity. (4 Nephi 1:34)
- Their followers idolize them. (Mosiah 11:7)
- Their followers will not find fault with them. (Hel 13:28)
- Their followers have itching ears. (2 Timothy 4:3)
- Their followers want to hear smooth things. (Isa 30:9–10)
- Their followers prefer fables over truth. (2 Timothy 4:4)
- Their followers will not endure sound doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:3)
- Their followers are blind. (2 Nephi 16:9–10)
- Their followers are deaf. (2 Nephi 16:9–10)
- Their followers dwindle in unbelief and wickedness. (4 Nephi 1:34)
- Their followers are led into darkness. (1 Nephi 8:5–8)
- Their followers are broken off and driven out. (1 Nephi 21:1)
- Their followers are scattered and devoured by beasts. (Ezekiel 34:5)
- Their followers are destroyed. (Isa 9:16) (Jer 14:16)
- Their followers inherit the Telestial Kingdom. (D&C 76:98–100)
- Their followers are many. (D&C 76:109) (2 Peter 2:2)
- They are many. (Matt 24:5,11) (Mark 13:6) (Luke 21:8) (2 Timothy 4:3) (1 John 4:1) (D&C 121:34)
“Woe! Woe! be to that man, or set of men, who lift up their hands against God and his Witness in these last days.–for they shall deceive almost the very chosen ones–my apostate enemies say that I have been a true prophet–& I had rather be a fallen true prophet, than a false prophet; when a man goes about prophesying and commands men to obey his teachings, he must be either a true or false prophet;
false prophets always arise to oppose the true prophets, and they will prophesy so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones.” – Joseph Smith (TPJS 365)
“The world always mistook false prophets for true ones, and those that were sent of God, they considered to be false prophets and hence they killed, stoned, punished and imprisoned the true prophets, and these had to hide themselves “in deserts and dens, and caves of the earth,” and though the most honorable men of the earth, they banished them from their society as vagabonds, whilst they cherished, honored and supported knaves, vagabonds, hypocrites, impostors, and the basest of men.” – Joseph Smith (TPJS 205)
Help me with the list. I will continue to add to it as I read and study the word of God. Leave a reply below if you have any thoughts, comments, or questions. To be continued… (updated 12/20/14)
Excellent, but we need some practical application. Name names. Cite instances.
I read through this and found some of them at least to apply to every prophet who has ever been in all of history, including Joseph Smith.
So what I would like to see is exactly what the scriptures say a prophet IS, rather than what they are not. I remember a quote from JS basically saying that a Prophet was just anyone with a testimony of Jesus Christ. I’ve seen very little else about it. IMO, a prophet would point us toward God so that we could have a relationship directly with rather than relying on a middle man.
In all honesty, there are MANY points on this list of corrupt practices that are applicable to the LDS Church. How is it that the faithful are blind to this?
It’s easy to tell true prophets from false ones, for true prophets look so much different, for they really keep the commandments of Christ, which is so rare for someone to actually do that they stick out like a sore thumb.
Christ was very clear about how to tell a true prophet or true disciple of his from a false one. True ones will really preach and keep all of his commandments false ones will only give lip service. Thus it’s easy to see that all LDS prophet from Joseph Smith to today are all false prophets, for they preach and practice so contrary to the teachings of Christ.
True prophets would be preaching completely contrary to what LDS Church leaders are preaching today. True prophets preach Christ’s words not their own. But true prophets have few followers, for their teachings, or Christ’s teachings, are not well received, they are so hard, too high, too near impossible to keep, that hardly anyone is willing to follow them, so they cast such prophets out and label them as false prophets.
While false prophets like Joseph Smith and his successors, preach things that are pleasing to the carnal mind, things that are much easier then Christ’s Gospel, so many people like what they say and thus call them true prophets.
We all see what we want to see. If we want to really follow Christ then we will discern true prophets correctly, if not, then we will convince ourselves that false prophets are true.
Amazing! Thanks so much for all the effort you put forth in compiling this list.
Its like you read my mind! You appear to grasp a lot about this,
like you wrote the e book in it or something. I think that you just could do with some percent to power the message home a bit,
however instead of that, that is excellent blog. A great
read. I will definitely be back.