1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
Line Upon Line, p. 95; “Chapter 9 The Development of the Concept of a Holy Ghost in Mormon Theology. … “There are other theories regarding the identity of the Holy Ghost attributed to Joseph Smith. The most widespread is the belief that Smith was the Holy Ghost; or more correctly stated, that he represented the emanating spirit of the Father and the Son.35…”” – Vern G. Swanson
John 14:17; “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
This is one of those. It’s one of those things said by the Church that as a brand new Christian, would’ve left me bawling for days. Today, I see it as not surprising we’ve come to this point.
Many experts on Joseph Smith have reached the same conclusion; he was becoming delusional. Towards the end of his life, he made several statements leading one to believe he had a ‘messiah complex’ ready to be laid bare for all to see. Others hold another view, giving Smith more than a generous helping of sympathy for being harmless man, if not frustrated, and complex, trying to fill the roles of imaginary heroes. I tend to side with the former. Smith may have been frustrated and complex; harmless, he was not.
Whatever the case, he had a mouth on him that didn’t know when to quit, and was all too eager to see how far he could push that infamous envelope. The longer he went left unchecked, and backed by people who either didn’t know, or didn’t love God, the worse he became in his self-proclaimed prophetic office.
Many books and essays have been written about his progressively changing personality that are worthy of checking out. See Dan Vogel’s essay ‘Prophet Puzzle Revisited’, and his book ‘The Making of a Prophet’. There are also others just as good; Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith:, and The Joseph Smith Revelations, to name a few. As an FYI, there are dozens of books you can read for free at Signaturebookslibrary.org.*
Smith’s outrageously, blasphemous claim of being God’s Holy Spirit was the natural progression of someone who hated God and thought rather highly of himself. I found no less than 55 others in this world who’ve claimed to be the Messiah since Jesus walked the earth – all you have to do is Google false Messiahs and look for the Wikipedia pages. It’s a sad testament to Satan’s work.
Jesus’ words in John 14:27 is a good reminder for all of us that many won’t know our Lord. A sure-tell sign someone is not from God is when they don’t exhibit the gift of peace He gave to us through His Holy Spirit. Smith was obviously lacking in that arena.
*(Please note: the majority of these books are pro-LDS, and are written by former Mormons, or active Mormons who have not denounced Smith’s writings in full. I recommend them on the basis they can serve as good reference materials to better understand how Joseph Smith operated, not because I totally agree with their spiritual points of view.) Other books listed are written by Christian clergy that are also good resource material.