The Prophet from Palmyra
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15-16)
The Prophet from Palmyra is about a 40-minute documentary of "Joseph Smith, Jr. and the Origins of Mormonism." This is a very nice short introductory overview of the history and some historical problems of the Mormon Church. It is hosted and narrated by Peter Kruschel, who also hosted Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons with Pastor Mark Cares of Truth in Love to Mormons.
The Prophet from Palmyra introduces Mormonism in Salt Lake City, but quickly goes back to Palmyra, New York to give the "Life and Times of Joseph Smith, Jr." The film gives background on Palmyra, Smith and his family, church divisions during the early part of the 19th century, as well as some popular philosophies and visions of the day.
The documentary next moves to "Joseph Smith, Jr. and the Mormon Church: Early Years." Here are mentioned the first vision story, the angel Moroni's visit to Smith, the production and completion of the Book of Mormon, the founding of the Church, and the subsequent moves that ended up with Smith being jailed and shot in Carthage, Illinois.
The historical problems are clearly presented, and these demonstrate Smith's lack of credibility as a prophet of God. The problems talked about are the different accounts of the first vision, the name of the angelic visitor subsequent to the first vision, the lack of evidence for what Smith claimed were the revivals in 1820 and the evidence for an 1824 date instead, and Smith being convicted for "peep stone gazing" (an occult practice of staring at a stone to find buried treasure).
In the final section of the film, the particular historical problems of "The Book of Mormon" are dealt with. The film deals with the alleged eyewitnesses to the Book of Mormon, Professor Charles Anthon's involvement, the fact that we don't have the plates or any other ancient manuscripts to substantiate it, its plagiarism from the King James Version of the Bible, the problem of identifying native Americans as really Israelites, as well as other problems.
To purchase a DVD or video of The Prophet from Palmyra, click here.
R. M. Sivulka
Salt Lake City, UT
June 7, 2005