|Others who use modern scripture||WhyProphets.com|
|The Baha'i Faith
- not supported by Joseph Smith
The Baha'i faith accept the 1844 prophecies, and even refer approvingly to the prophecies of Joseph Smith. By implication, perhaps Joseph Smith's teaching supported the Baha'i faith? Some claim that they do. But the claims to not stand up under examination.
In praise of the Baha'i movement
This just my personal experience, but every Baha'i I have come into contact with has been pleasant and reasonable, and always very positive. Every Baha'i book I have read has been very positive, and generally quite well informed regarding other religions. Basically, I like Baha'is.
The Baha'is teach about Baha'u'llah and his fore-runner, the Bab. Were these people inspired men? It is not for me to judge, but I will refer to Articles of Faith 13:
We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
As Joseph Smith taught elsewhere (History of the Church, vol.6, p.477):
I want to see truth in all its bearings and hug it to my bosom. I believe all that God ever revealed, and I never hear of a man being damned for believing too much; but they are damned for unbelief.
George Q. Cannon (JD, vol.21, p.75) taught:
God has revealed himself at various times and in various ways to many people. The heathen have had communication from him. All the light that exists; all the truths that are taught and all the correct principles and knowledge that have been communicated and existed among the children of men, have come from God; he is the author of all. Socrates, Plato, Confucius, the heathen philosophers who knew nothing about Jesus Christ and the plan of salvation, received important truths from him, and so did many other people to a greater or less extent, according to their abilities in improving upon the knowledge communicated to them.
So I have plenty of time for the Baha'i faith.
However, there are a couple of little points. (You knew there would be, didn't you?).
The rest of this page is Baha'i interpretations of LDS scripture that are false. Actually, they may not be official Baha'i teachings, but they deal with dated prophecies, so deserve to be answered. The points here are in reply to Joel Smith's excellent web site, especially http://bci.org/prophecy-fulfilled/mormon.htm
Quotations in Green are from that site. My response follows.
The "imminent coming of the son of man"
Beginning in 1820, Joseph Smith claimed to have experienced a series of heavenly visions in which he was informed that all existing churches were in error, that the true Gospel had been lost and that he was being given the task of preparing people to recognize the imminent coming of the "Son of Man"... the return of Christ.
This is important. The "imminent coming of the son of man" refers to Christ, in his Second Coming in glory. I am troubled by the apparent claim that the "son of man" reference can be applied to Baha'u'llah. The return of Christ is described in Matthew 24:23-30
"Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here [is] Christ, or there; believe [it] not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, [he is] in the secret chambers; believe [it] not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. ... And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
Christ ascended into heaven and will descend from heaven in the same way. See Acts chapter 1:
"And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
This is confirmed in Revelation 1:7
"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."
The "one mighty and strong"
This book [of Doctrine and Covenants] contains prophecies which explicitly foretell the coming of two Messianic figures who were to appear in rapid succession--- one right after the other. The first of these two Messianic figures is called the "one mighty and strong" and is considered to be a forerunner like John the Baptist
This is not true. The "mighty and strong" was a figure of speech in a single letter from Joseph Smith to William Phelps regarding the possibility that Bishop Partridge may need to be released from his calling and replaced with someone else. (It was not added as part of the Doctrine and Covenants until later).
Read the start of section 85. It is talking about a situation of apostasy. When someone is not doing what God asked, they need to be replaced with someone who will do the job properly. So this is a conditional prophecy. Conditional prophecies are nothing new - see the cases of Hezekiah (2 Kings 20) or Jonah. After this prophecy was given, Edward Partridge (like Hezekiah or Ninevah before him) listened to the warning. He chose the better path, and thus the prophecy did not have to be carried out. That was the end of it.
The history of what happened regarding Bishop Partridge can be found in the Doctrine and Covenants. For this and more background information, see the official First Presidency statement of 1905.
At least eighteen false prophets...
The "mighty man" passage has been ripped out of context. Like all scriptures it is useful for study, but is not some kind of key text. The term "one mighty and strong" is a general term, not a specific one. It is applied to the Lord (Psalm 24:8), and also to Israel's enemies (Isaiah 28:2). This scripture is one of several well known statements that the Lord will not allow his church to be led astray, and will if necessary replace a person with someone more able to do the job.
In the early days of the church, people knew what this passage meant. According to Sidney Sperry, it was not even included in the Doctrine and Covenants until 1876. More important, according to Russell Rich, it was not until the twentieth century that some people began to re-interpret it as meaning a single prophetic figure.
Since 1905, at least eighteen different people have been identified as "the one mighty and strong" by some group or other (see "Origins and Development of the Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times", Master's thesis at BYU by Lyle O. Wright, 1963, pp. 27-50).
The 1890 prophecy
The second prophecy is from Section 130 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Here Joseph Smith prophesied:
I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man when I heard a voice repeat the following: Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter... The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit..."-D&C 130
The ellipse (...) is crucial. Important parts have been missed out, in order to change the meaning of the passage. The complete quotation begins like this:
"I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: "Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter." I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see His face. I believe the coming of the Son of Man will not be any sooner than that time."
Thus 1890 forms a lower limit to the possible time of the Second Coming. But as the scriptures make clear, no man knows the day or the hour. For more about the year 1890, see my pages on 1260 literal days, and also on 1905, the "blessed period".
The man who putteth forth his hand to steady the ark
The "man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God" was Joseph Smith.
This is not true. The scripture, the written context (the letter to William W. Phelps that contained this revelation), the surrounding references to Partridge in the Doctrine and Covenants, the historical context, and the testimony of Joseph Smith himself, indicates that this man was Edward Partridge. See the 1905 statement for more details.
Church commentaries identify the "one mighty and strong", as an Elijah figure.... as a forerunner like John the Baptist.
Perhaps Baha'i commentaries do, but not any LDS commentary I have ever seen. All the commentaries I can find refer to the official statement of 1905, which indicate that (a) this was about Missouri and Edward Partridge. (b) the scripture was fulfilled without the need for the "one mighty and strong", and (c) if there should arise the need for such a person in the future, they would also need to be an LDS bishop concerned with Missouri.
The Civil War
Joseph Smith predicted that the "coming of the Son of Man" would become a reality shortly after the beginning of the civil war.
This is not true. The scripture states that the civil war would begin the bloodshed. There is no indication of how long the bloodshed would last, or whether it would last uninterrupted until the Second Coming.
"The Savior will be a man like ourselves"
Once again, key verses are missed out. The missed verses make clear that the Second Coming will make the earth physically different.
"When the Savior shall appear we shall see him as he is. We shall see that he is a man like ourselves." continues "And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy."
So it will not be like now. We "do not now enjoy" that kind of glory. The clearest description of this glory is in the Book of Moses, chapter 1, verses 11-14:
"But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him. And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me. And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee? For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?"
No human who has appeared since the ascension of Christ has Christ's glory. "Is it not so, surely?"
The Celestial Kingdom prophecies
Once again we have key verses missed out. The "celestial kingdom" prophecies are referred to, while missing out the other verses in section 130:
"The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth; But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord. The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim."
This is important. The celestial kingdom is not like this earth that we know. To continue:
"This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ's."
So according to the revelations quoted, this earth, as the celestial kingdom, will be physically changed. It will have a physically glorified state.
"I am in your midst and ye cannot see me"
It is true that, before his Second Coming, the Lord is present but not visible. This just emphasizes the contrast with the Second Coming. Before the Second Coming, Jesus visits when he wishes and the world does not know. But at the Second Coming, "then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
It is also worth noting Matthew 28:20: "and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen." If Christ was present in 1830, he was also present in 1820, and in the late First Century, and at every time that true believers have been on the earth.
Also, the promise that "the day soon cometh that ye shall see me, and know that I am; for the veil of darkness shall soon be rent." was fulfilled in the events described in section 110 of the Doctrine and Covenants.
The Bab as "one mighty and strong"
No doubt the Bab was indeed mighty and strong. But he does not fulfil the prophecy in section 85. Did he come after Edward Partridge failed to repent? Did he fulfil the bishop's duties in Jackson County, Missouri, specifically keeping the record books and allocating lands?
Baha'u'llah as "the son of man"
As note above, Baha'u'llah did not fulfill the physical prophecies regarding the Second Coming of Christ.
Joseph Smith promised: "I prophesy, in the name of the Lord God, that the commencement of the difficulties which will cause much bloodshed previous to the coming of the Son of Man will be in South Carolina. It may probably arise through the slave question." The American Civil War began in South Carolina in 1860 but it was not until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln signed the 'Emancipation Proclamation' freeing the slaves and crystallizing the "slave question". It was also in 1863 that The "Son of Man" actually did appear.
The date also cause problems.
If "it shall probably arise" refers to the civil war, then "the slave question" would refer to events before and during the year 1860, and not 1863.
If "it shall probably arise" refers to "the coming of the son of man", then the coming of Baha'u'llah must be shown to "arise through the slave question". How did Lincoln signing that document cause a religious figure to go public on the other side of the world? I do not see the link.
Baha'u'llah wearing a red robe
Baha'u'llah did appear wearing a red robe.
It is true that Doctrine and Covenants 133 states that Jesus will return wearing a red robe. It then goes on to say that when he returns (verse 56),
"And the graves of the saints shall be opened; and they shall come forth and stand on the right hand of the Lamb."
Wearing a red robe is one thing. Resurrecting the dead is quite another. And a spiritual interpretation will not do. Jesus' resurrection, remember, was physical.
The contrast between Baha'u'llah and Christ
I am sure that Baha'u'llah was a great man and no doubt a man of God. Perhaps a prophet in the sense of being inspired to some degree. No doubt an inspired leader we could all learn from. But the Resurrected and glorified Son of God is something more.
Joseph Smith was promised that he would "see the face of the Son of Man" if he lived to be 85 years old. Joseph Smith would have been 85 years old in the year 1890. It was in the year 1890 that the first people from from Europe and America journeyed all the way to Israel to meet Baha'u'llah.
I suppose I am being picky, but Joseph Smith was born on December 23rd. For all but the last week of 1890, Joseph Smith would have been aged 84. But that is not the main problem. I find it hard to believe that if Joseph Smith went on a boat to see a mortal man in Israel, he would recognise the same being he described in the vision of 1836 (Doctrine and Covenants 110):
"The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened. We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber. His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying: I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father.
Or consider this earlier vision described in section 76
And while we meditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about. And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fullness; And saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever. And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father-- That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.
If Baha'u'llah was a great man and a wise leader, I want to learn more. But if he claimed to be Jesus Christ, I want no part of it.