One of the hallmark prophecies made by Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of Mormonism, involves the building of a Temple in Independence, Missouri. Smith prophesied the temple would be built during the lifetime of those living in his generation. He picked out the very spot where the temple had to be built. He said the Lord told him that all the “saints” would gather there, and that he would return in all his glory. This prophecy, like all others Smith made, proved to be completely false. Brigham Young, successor to Joseph Smith, Jr., took up the same false prophecy and in a speech he delivered on July 28, 1861, asked the following questions.
“When will Zion be redeemed? When will the Saviour make his appearance in the midst of his people? When will the vail be taken away, that we may behold the glory of God? Can any of you answer these questions.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 9, page 137). Young later gave his own answers, but the answer of the founder of Mormonism must be looked at first..
In one of Joseph Smith, Jr.’s moments when he claimed to be the recipient of divine revelation, he gave the Latter Day Saints the following in Doctrine and Covenants,* Section 84:
“2. Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.
“3. Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.
“4. Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.
“5. For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.”
When B. Young made the speech, bear in mind he was addressing those of the same generation Smith said would not die till the city of Zion and the temple were built and the glory of the Lord would fill that house.
The generation of Smith and Young have all passed to the great beyond. During their generation, the temple was never built, the Lord did not return, and the saints did not gather to “Zion” which they said was Independence, Mo. The prophecy failed and the prophet was clearly wrong. At best, Smith and Young, proved to be false prophets.
Now Young answered his own questions. He continued:
“Do you believe that we, as Latter day Saints, are preparing our own hearts, our own lives, to return to take possession of the centre Stake of Zion, as fast as the Lord is preparing to cleanse the land from those ungodly persons who dwell there?”
The sounds very much like there was a dispute involving possession of the place where the temple was to be built. Who owned the lot Joseph specified as the Temple Lot?
Who were the “ungodly persons dwelling in Zion” (Independence) from whom Young and the Latter day Saints wanted to take possession of the centre Stake of Zion? Joseph Smith, Jr., arranged for the Temple Lot to be purchased, avowing it was the exact spot picked out by the Lord for the Temple. Somehow, a Mormon named Hedrick obtained the title to that lot. In the turbulent days following the death of Joseph Smith, Jr., Hedrick formed his own little flock. With sole possession of the Temple Lot deed, he broke away from the group that opted for Brigham Young as the successor to Smith.
The Hedrickites are obviously the “ungodly persons dwelling in Zion.” Through the years, the major factions of Mormonism** have tried in vain to get possession of the deed to the Temple Lot. The small group of Hedrikites have resisted pressure, threats, legal efforts and vast sums of money, in order to retain control of the Lot. They number somewhere around 1500, and have never been able to obtain enough funds to build the Temple. Early on, they excavated a huge hole in the lot, but later the city of Independence filled it up when the Hedrikites were unable to get financing for the Temple. Only the corner stone remains as a reminder of the failed attempts.
I spoke once with one of the “apostles” of the Temple Lot Church. I asked him why they refuse to sell the lot to the Latter Day Saints (LDS) or the Reorganized Latter Day Saints (RLDS). I reminded him they could sell it to either of those groups and the Temple would be built. Both of those factions of Mormonism are extremely wealthy and powerful.
His answer was very plain. He said, “Mr., when God gets ready to have this Temple built, He will provide the money.” To this hour, God hasn’t made the money available, and even if God does, the prophetic utterances of Joseph Smith, Jr., are clearly false. His prophecy failed.
If you have questions about our opposition to Mormonism, please contact us. We stand ready to discuss any of these things with any representative of any of the branches of Mormonism.
*Doctrine and Covenants is one of the books accepted by Mormonism as inspired of God and equal to the Book of Mormon, and the Bible.
** A book written by Steven Shields, The Divergent Paths of the Restoration, listed more than a hundred factions of Mormonism.