How Mormon Prophets Fit the False-Prophet Tests of Deuteronomy

by Staci Lee

The book of Deuteronomy contains two passages of judgment concerning false prophets. Here they are:

Deut 18: 20-22
“But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' You may say in your heart, 'How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”

Deut 13:1-5
"If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,
and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.”

To reiterate, there are two tests:

1- A person claims to be a prophet of the LORD, but his prophesies do not come to pass.
2- A person claims to be a prophet and is able to produce signs and wonders to validate his claim. But this person asks you to follow other gods besides the LORD.

The judgment on a false prophet is the death sentence.

How do the Mormon prophets stand up against these tests?

Test one -- the early LDS prophets (for example Joseph Smith and Brigham Young), were prolific with prophecies. Joseph Smith had at least 50 which did not come to pass. The later prophets have not presumed in such a way, that is, to try to predict future events.

Test number two - the prophets of the LDS church teach that there are many gods, and that a person may become a god. But have they been teaching people to follow other gods?

Joseph Smith said he was visited by two heavenly personages -- Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. His church teaches that Heavenly Father is Jehovah’s literal spirit father (by an unnamed “heavenly mother”), and also Jesus’ literal fleshly father (by Mary). Jehovah/Jesus is the same person.

Though Mormonism says that both of the personages are gods, it claims agreement with the first of the 10 commandments by saying that Heavenly Father is "the only god with whom we have to do". And Heavenly Father has a name. Elohim.

This is the crux of the matter.

“The name Elohim”, states, “is unique to Hebraic thinking – it occurs only in Hebrew and in no other ancient Semitic language. The masculine plural ending does not mean “gods” when referring to the true God of Israel, since the name is mainly used with singular verb forms and with adjectives and pronouns in the singular (e.g. see Gen. 1:26).”

In other words, “Elohim” is uniquely a Hebrew word. Most of the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and, in fact, the word “elohim” is in the Bible just over 2600 times. What’s more, the Bible does translate the Hebrew word “Elohim” into “God”.

However, there are big problems with “Elohim” being Jehovah’s father. Take a look at just a few of the hundreds of examples from the Bible:

Gen 2:4 “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens…”

The word “LORD” in the above verse is translated from the Hebrew word for “Jehovah”. The word “God” is translated from the Hebrew word “elohim”. So, swapping word for word, we get: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah Elohim made the earth and the heavens…”

There are many, many passages in the Bible where Jehovah and Elohim occur side by side. There is no “and” involved, no “because of” or “for” or “with instructions given by”.

The 10 Commandments:
(Exodus 20:2-3) “I am Jehovah thy Elohim, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other elohim before me.

Here, as in many other places in the Bible, Jehovah is described as a certain “elohim”. Specifically, in the Bible, Jehovah is the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of the Israel nation. He is not the same “elohim” that non-Israelite nations worship.

Showing false gods:
Remember when Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal? This is one of the many terrific illustrations that the other “elohim”, except for Jehovah Elohim, are false ones:

1 Kings 18:24-39: “And call ye on the name of your elohim, and I will call on the name of Jehovah: and the elohim that answereth by fire, let him be Elohim. …Then the fire of Jehovah fell... And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, Jehovah, He is Elohim; Jehovah, He is Elohim.” is a site that allows use of Strong’s concordance with its search tool. One can find any word in the Bible, and see its original Hebrew wording and meaning. It says “elohim” can be translated as:
“1) (plural) a) rulers, judges b) divine ones c) angels d) gods
2) (plural intensive - singular meaning) a) god, goddess b) godlike one c) works or special possessions of God d) the (true) God e) God.

The above verses and the definition fit together perfectly. “Elohim” is a label for something that is worshiped as powerful, as deity, as divine – regardless of whether or not it is actually, truly, GOD.

Now, Deuteronomy is a book about not worshiping other gods. In Deut's Other Gods, I showed how the “other gods” -- the other “elohim” -- of Deuteronomy are not real gods, but merely things that people worship wrongfully, instead of worshiping the one true God, YHWH (Jehovah). Some of the “elohim” of Deuteronomy are idols/graven images, some are heavenly bodies (stars, moon, sun), and some are demons.

Joseph Smith’s church teaches people to follow “elohim”. “Elohim”, distinct from Jehovah, is a NON-GOD, an idol, even a devil. Praying to “elohim” is leaving the door wide open to something that is not God, even Satan himself.

Not convinced? Consider this excerpt from the temple endowment ceremony:

Adam: “O God, hear the words of my mouth.
O God, hear the words of my mouth.
O God, hear the words of my mouth.”
Lucifer: I hear you; what is it you want?
Adam: Who are you?
Lucifer: I am the god of this world.
Adam: You, the god of this world?
Lucifer: Yes, what do you want? "

Joseph Smith introduced “elohim” as god. Joseph died young.

Mormon, please reconsider following this false prophet.