Why did Smith say that David Patten was to go on a mission and then he died before he could go?

"Verily thus saith the Lord: It is wisdom in my servant David W. Patten, that he settle up all his business as soon as he possibly can, and make a disposition of his merchandise, that he may perform a mission unto me next spring, in company with others, even twelve including himself, to testify of my name and bear glad tidings unto all the world. For verily thus saith the Lord, that inasmuch as there are those among you who deny my name, others shall be planted in their stead and receive their bishopric. Amen" (D&C 114:1-2).

It does seem rather strange that in April 1838 the Lord would call Patten on a mission for the next spring only to have Patten die before it could happen. Recall that the Lord is supposed to be ultimately in control of when each individual dies. Also keep in mind that Patten died in good standing with the LDS Church. In fact, he died in a gun battle defending the
Joseph Smith Jr.
LDS Church. Joseph Smith said, "Brother David Patten was a very worthy man, beloved by all good men who know him. He was one of the Twelve Apostles, and died as he had lived, a man of God, and strong in the faith of a glorious resurrection" (History of the Church 3:171).

LDS Stephen R. Gibson claims that this was not a "prophecy that David would serve a mission, but an admonition to set all his affairs in order so that he may perform a mission." Gibson claims that Patten did in fact get his affairs in order, and that this was indicative of the Lord’s foreknowledge of his death. Then Gibson says, "And who knows but that Patten served that mission call on the other side of the veil?" Gibson then likens Patten to Judas being promised by Christ in Matthew 19:28 to sit with Him on one of the twelve thrones to judge the tribes of Israel. Finally, Gibson plays the D&C 124:49 card where the Lord lets His people off the hook of keeping their commandments if their enemies are too powerful for them.

There are problems here though. The possibility that Patten served his mission in the spirit world seems difficult to square with the call for him to accompany eleven others who remained living in testifying and bearing glad tidings to all the world the following spring. Further, Gibson leaves out the important detail of Christ saying, "[Y]e which have followed me… shall sit" in the Matthew passage. This makes the analogy between Judas and Patten not very good. The former did not end up following Christ whereas the latter supposedly did, and there was no such statement in the Lord’s alleged command to Patten. Finally, D&C 124:49 does not really help if we are supposed to take God seriously. What God says, He will do; to hell with His enemies (for more on this, see HERE).

With all this in mind, it still seems prima facie that Gibson makes a good point about this being an admonition and not a prophecy. It would be quite different if the passage clearly said that Patten would serve the mission. It would be a lot more obvious that this was a false prophecy if that were the case. As it is though, we need to judge whether it is possible here for the Almighty to have His own reasons for not following through. It is also important to keep in mind Romans 11:29: "for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable" (NASB). If this is the case, then how are there instances in Scripture where God announces He will do one thing, but something else follows (e.g., Hezekiah or the Ninevites)?

I have already dealt with this elsewhere, but it seems that those reasons have to do with God simply showing mercy. When it comes to God, He says, "For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment" (James 2:13, NASB). God values mercy over judgment.

This is not what appears to be going on with the Patten alleged revelation. God did not extend mercy to Patten by allowing him to be killed when He already told Patten that He wanted him to go on an earthly mission with the other living followers. God also did not need to extend mercy to Patten for being in rebellion to Him, since according to Smith, Patten was not in rebellion.

Things would be totally different if God was not in charge of life itself. But since God is, and since Patten was supposedly following the Lord, there was no reason for God to go back on His alleged calling to Patten by allowing him to die. As such, this supposed revelation seems more like it came from the mind of man rather than the mind of God.

R. M. Sivulka


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North Carolina says...
"HERE WE GO AGAIN KNOWING NOTHING ABOUT MY CHURCH AND ATTACKING JOSEPH SMITH IS GETTING OLD YOU PEOPLE NEED TO GET OVER IT ." (10/4/15)
A LDS member says...
"Honestly, why would you create such a website? It's not only offensive to us ( Mormons), but you're preaching false doctrines & making a website based on 'Mormonism'..It just goes to show there are low live people in this word, extremely jealous of the hard work and effort put into our beautiful gospel, that yous have nothing else to do but to put our gospel down.. Seriously? You obviously have nothing better to do then to type rubbish on this website..Think & write whatever you want on your website.. But those strong members of the gospel will look past your lies and deceitfulness & know that our gospel is true to it's standards, responsibilities, priorities and authorities. 17/11/15" (11/17/15)
Ignacio Delgado-Aristud says...
"How much money do you make with this website? Or at least, with this article.? Why don't you also write about the revelations that really came true, just to play fair a little? RM Sivulka, I would like to know about what you have done in your life before giving credit to your writings. " (11/19/15)
thamom says...
"the facts are there in the church's history and writings.
with the number of obvious problems within the lds doctrine, your mind must be controlled by the leadership of the church or you would be able to see.
do not doubt your doubts, if it can hold up to scrutiny why worry? it won't, that's why they say doubt your doubts- they don't want you to know the truth." (11/19/15)
HiPlainsDrifter says...
"Appear to be good people, how could they be so led astray?
Joseph Smith has perpetrated the greatest con! Akin to Muhammed." (12/12/15)
a mormon says...
"This website lies" (12/31/15)
An ex LDS worshipper says...
"It's a shame so many Mormons are so brainwashed that even when facts are written they can't see the truth. Thank you so much for this site, even if 1 Mormon leaves this false church it means it served it purpose well. " (1/6/16)
Ex Mormon says...
"The fact that so many lds members come here to spew ad hominems, misinterpret, and take general offense just proves how brainwashed they are. Glad i got out..." (1/18/16)
the smart person says...
"this site cracks me up!! nobody on here knows anything! read a little more before you speak out of your butt! " (2/8/16)
Proud EX mormon says...
"It is sad that Mormons get on here to either criticize or insult the site when they know that by Church law that they are forbidden from visiting or even reading "Anti-Mormon" material, also it is pointless to write anything on "successful" prophecies when the Bible clearly states that it only takes ONE false prophecy to make someone a false prophet., read the Bible more then false doctrines and books. The Bible is the only truth you need! do more then just read these articles do the research yourself you might be surprised. If you claim yourselves as true Church of Jesus then you should ask yourself would Jesus come on here to make insults or would he try and teach truth? God bless the teachings of this site and I pray that the Mormons may learn what real Truth is." (2/8/16)
A Person says...
"Christianity is real there's prof and there's no prof that Mormens are right , But all you need to know is Jesus died on the cross for me and you so stop causing conflict between the religions" (3/6/16)
Mike McCoy, D.Min., Th. says...
"While I understand the frustration of many Mormons when their religion is attacked, they need to understand that it wasn't Christians who first began the confrontation . It was actually Joseph Smith who attacked Christians when he claimed in his revelation that all religions were “an abomination.” Dialog must be with “gentleness and respect,” as both Mormons and Christians desire the same thing and that is for all to be saved. We are told in 1 Timothy 2:4-7, “[God] who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” Christianity is “testable,” and until such time the LDS church allows its member to investigate other truth claims, the hostility will likely continue. Neither side should be held captive, but rather investigate other truth claims knowing, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). To both sides, I say, continue to dialog, with respect, but go where the evidence leads you, after all, the apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good” (ESV). I say, do not be held captive, when leaders refuse to allow their member to question their beliefs, that’s not freedom, that’s indoctrination. " (3/14/16)
Joe says...
"Thanks I am tired of these missionaries going door to door deceiving people to believe they are christians. The true God does not need to deceive people to make converts. They also did not believe that african americans could join the church because they were racist and believed they bore the mark of cain. Sad" (3/20/16)
Lost but now FOUND! says...
"I appreciate your info. I am so frustrated. I have been a lifelong LDS, (Faithful) member. However, my eyes are now open, but I don't have any real support to help me leave the LDS faith. I don't want to disappoint my family, especially my Parents and Husband. I have been searching for Christ and wanting to feel his love for a long time! And now that I have found him I feel so alone in my own little world. Although I am comforted and happy to finally feel loved by God. In that my Salvation does not depend on my husband. At least if I am to go to the highest degree of Glory... According the lds faith. I now realize that we are all equal in the eyes of the lord and I will not be a baby factory in the eternities. (Although I did love the idea of having spirit children.) But the sweet simple truth of Grace and that Jesus died for all my sins and does not require a lifetime of "WORKS" gives me such joy and happiness. I cannot express the joy I feel knowing that the Bible and Christianity is so pure and loving. I use to be the most judgemental. I still feel that I can be judgmental, out of habit! But I catch myself and I feel more compassion, love, and peace for others, especially those whose sin was visible! Mormonism is all about a LOOK, putting on the appearance of "Perfection." No wonder Utah is known to have the most people on Prozac and watch Porn. People are not happy in the LDS faith. Especially, Women. We feel that we have to look perfect, that if we don't keep our men in line, that we have not done our jobs. The LDS women strive to make everyone else think that they are good and holy. I don't mean to be bashful, but I went to church today and when I go, those old feelings come back to me. That I am not good enough and that I will never be good enough. I should not feel like crying when I leave church. I should feel uplifted and loved. However, I went because I felt pressured.. I have kids who have social groups, and a husband who has self guilt because he thinks I have left the church because he was looking at Porn! LOL.... So he thinks if he goes to church and demonstrates he is doing better, that I will put on the garments again.. What should I say! ?? I love him... I refused to go to the Bishop about his Porn, because I refused to force him to be good. Now I have forgiven him, don't feel upset about his sins, because after all I am a SINNER too! But he does not understand I am not leaving because I am mad at the church. I have come to the understanding that the "Garments" and Temple Ordinances are a mockery to Jesus's most precious gift of Grace! I have finally found Jesus Christ and I know he loves me! I finally understand Grace and it gives me great joy! So I go to church in order to keep the peace! It does not make me happy, but the more I read the Bible the more I know, God does not want me to leave my husband because we don't see things the same way. I truly believe that with time, he will find Jesus Christ too. That he will feel the love and know him. That when he finally knows Jesus like I do, he will be able to share the joy I know feel. However, I sometimes am afraid, and doubt my ability to be strong. So by coming to your website, I have found strength again today. If that makes any sense. Thanks for being a voice to people like me. Without groups like this, I would have never found the truth and would never understand Grace! I would have continued just silently doing what I was told to do. "Enduring to the END" Thinking that my reward would be eternal life as a Godly Wife having Spirit children for eternity! " (5/15/16)
Brad Greenwood says...
"I appreciate the website... but I absolutely LOVE the "bruised" Mormons trying in vain to defend their "church". Just a note to these people: these sites are NEVER going to go away... in fact, they are multiplying rapidly. The internet is destroying the church, and even the "Brethren" are baffled as to what to do to try and close Pandora's box. THIS "box" contains truth, not bogus gold plates." (5/27/16)
Philly Guy says...
"Interesting all the people crying on here to stop "attacking their church", yet every weekend you show up ay my door to tell me my faith is wrong.. Mormons and Scientologists have a lot in common, so just be good until you become god of your own planet. BTW, where is that in the original bible?" (6/14/16)
Lds youth says...
"After going to the Manti pagent in Utah, I came across an LED display. Upon the LED display it showed this website. I honestly don't know a lot of the answers on this, but I know that my church is true. Some of the "truths" here are very exaggerated. I am still full heartedly faithful in my church." (6/28/16)
Clent says...
"This is an informative site. HAHA. :) Thanks! Mormonism is evil." (7/3/16)
Larry says...
"I live in the heart of this cult. Yes, its a cult. I have talked to locals who say they only belong to the Church to be liked or use their "store". Yes, its true. No need to lie. Its the internet, not here to make friends or enemies.
Its sad to see LDS people struggle in life, give EVERYTHING they have to their Church, and struggle themselves. The Church requires them to have 4 kids. Easy way to sort out LDS members here. Do they have 4 kids? If yes. Then LDS members. No different than FLDS. Reason? Church needs new members and feature members. Most people keep same faith as parents. So, its a number game. As for most LDS here not living the faith. Its a joke around here. Look at the casino or local liquor store. Guaranteed to be LDS faith there. If their faith is so good, why are they always so depressed? There are many leaving the faith, and if you ask one, they will tell you they left and are much happier. I feel bad for these brain washed people and this cult. =(" (7/29/16)
kicks and giggles says...
"I would first like to say thanks for the kicks and giggles of your ridiculous webpage. I would like to point out that the LDS Church is founded on the principles that Christ himself taught to His 12 Apostles. We are not a perfect people by far, however Christ is perfect and His True Church that was organized from the beginning is perfect. " (8/30/16)
Rob Sivulka says...
"To "kicks and giggles," please forward this site on to spread more "kicks and giggles"!" (9/9/16)
It is so great to be a Mormon :) says...
"First thing The LDS people have free agency, there is no such thing as church law that disallows us to read or check out other anti-mormon crap. Second not everything Joseph Smith said was a darn prophecy, (plus we are still alive on this earth) he was a man that had free agency, he was not perfect and also needed the atonement of Jesus Christ. saying that there are many things with the Book of Mormon he would have no knowledge about, example: the Bible and the Book of mormon are structured the same way, the old Hebrew was written using a "Chiasmus" structure. Joseph Smith had to of been a genius or he is the Prophet of God that brought more evidence of Jesus Christ to help us. One of the worst prophecies that Christians believe is the rapture before the tribulation, and this is going to shake the faith of a lot of good people. when it does the LDS people will be here to help you, because we have to go through it to. " (10/11/16)