Did Joseph Smith See God?

Joseph Smith claimed that when he was 14 years old he went into the woods to pray, and both the Father and Son appeared to him. According to the Bible, this is impossible.

  • Exodus 33:20 says, “And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.”
  • John 1:18 says, “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
  • 1 Timothy 6:16 says, referring to the Father, “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.”

Many people have seen God when they see Jesus (such as Genesis 18 and Isaiah 6), but the above verses refer to the Father. Jesus made that clear in John 6:46 when He said, “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.”

So we’re left to decide whether the Bible is wrong or whether Joseph Smith is wrong. I’m going to stick with the Bible, and say Joseph Smith was either lying or terribly confused. If a prophet contradicts previous revelation, we know we should disregard him.


29 Responses to Did Joseph Smith See God?

  1. men4god says:

    I totally agree. Joseph Smith is a false prophet who has been disproved many many times. None of the predictions he made or places that he described in his book have come to pass or been found. In fact, no prophet should be believed that cannot be proved with another source, especially the Holy Scriptures. Another great example of this kind of individual claiming to speak from God with no verification is Mohamed.Keep up the faith!

  2. ditchu says:

    the bible states that no man can see the face of God least he be quickened in the spirit. There are several instances where people in the bible have seen God, including when Jesus was transfigured in front of 3 of his diciples. this is another instance of someone seeing God.

  3. ditchu says:

    The Bible in it’s original form is missing information, and it is common knowledge in religous history that it was compiled incomplete. Beyound that however I think on this issue it is not the bible that is wrong but your interputation of the bible.

  4. billphillips says:


    Men have seen God, and I gave you examples, however no one has seen the Father (John 6:46). The Father is spirit (John 4:24), and while I don’t know all of the implications of that, it means He can’t be seen. It also means He’s not on the planet near Kolob empregnating His wives so that He can populate earth. Did you know there are about 2 people born per second? I don’t want to have to spell out the implications for what your god must be doing on his planet.

    You believe the Bible is missing information, because you can’t reconcile Joseph Smith with it, so you throw the Bible out rather than Joseph Smith. I would urge you to reconsider.


  5. ditchu says:

    So for Joseph Smith to have seen God (the Father) He would have had to be of God?
    That is your argument…. I have no problem with it.

  6. billphillips says:


    No. That’s not what I meant.

    Jesus is God. Both Mormons and Christians believe that Jesus is Jehovah (the LORD), and there are several accounts of people seeing the LORD in the Old Testament. Trinitarians like me believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all the LORD, but they are distinct persons. Therefore, it is possible for people to see the LORD without seeing the Father. Mormons believe that people have seen Jesus and that He is one of many gods, but they believe the Father is Elohim. Am I correctly stating what you believe?

    Jesus said, referring to Himself, “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father” (John 6:46). 1 Timothy 6:16 says, no one can see or has seen the Father. If Joseph Smith says he saw the Father, he was lying or confused, or we should throw the Bible away. If he had only claimed to have seen Jesus, I wouldn’t have a problem with that claim, in and of itself.

    No one has seen or can see the Father. I don’t know how to explain it any differently. So, was Joseph Smith wrong, or is the Bible wrong?

    Thank you for the conversation. I hope you don’t read this thinking that I have an angry tone. I think that Momons and Evangelicals have different understandings of the same words, and that can make clear communication difficult.


  7. Tom says:

    Joseph Smith described the being that appeared to him as “an angel of light.” Now, in the Bible who is described as an angel of light? Is it God? NO….it is Satan who is described as an angel of light. So, who was it now that appeared to Joseph Smith? That’s right, it was Satan….not God.

  8. Tom says:

    The Bible in it’s original form is missing information, and it is common knowledge in religous history that it was compiled incomplete.

    Common knowledge? Please site some sources of this common knowledge as it seems that I need some educating.

    I am curious…if something is in its original form, then how do you determine that it is missing something? There must be some standard by which to compare it to in order to make this determination…but then which is the original form.

  9. ditchu says:

    A point on Satin. Satin was named Lucifer “The Morning Star.” this is not an angle of light. There is too much prejudgest here for my comments to be understood. I was just stating that it is possible for a man to see the face of God. The bible states that he must be of God in one place or quickened in spirit in another. Also for you to pin all your information on just the Bible alone you are leaving out a lot of scripture that does not contradict the Bible. Just a note on the Bible that you may be unaware of, it is incomplete, it has always been so ever since it was compiled, that’s History. But that as it may be, You really have not pondered any possison but your own. That is causing my point to be lost.

  10. ditchu says:

    Look up Constintine and the counsel of Necia it happened some ware arround 320 AD.
    This is where Christianity was started as an Official Religon and where the Books that would be included and excluded in the Bible were decided.
    I will let you find your own sources because you may not trust the information comming from me due to any preconcieved bias.

  11. billphillips says:


    The word “Lucifer” means light bearer. The Bible never says that you must be of God or have a quickened spirit to see the Father. It says no one has seen or can see the Father. If you know of a verse you would like to use, I’d appreciate it if you could find the address.

    I’m not leaving out “scripture” that doesn’t contradict the Bible. I’m throwing out prophets that contradict the Bible. Christianity didn’t start in 320. It started when Jesus began His ministry, or at the very latest when Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and 3000 people were saved.

    There are good reasons why the Bible we have today is the inspired Scripture God meant us to have. Take a look at http://www.carm.org/questions_bible.htm You have fallen for the oldest lies Satan ever told. In Genesis 3, he caused Eve to doubt God’s word, and told Adam and Eve that they would be like God. Mormonism is built on these lies. Thanks for the conversation.


  12. Tom says:

    Ditchu said:

    Also for you to pin all your information on just the Bible alone you are leaving out a lot of scripture that does not contradict the Bible. Just a note on the Bible that you may be unaware of, it is incomplete, it has always been so ever since it was compiled, that’s History.

    Please tell us what “scripture” you are referring to that contradicts the Bible. What divinely inspired writings are not in the Bible? On what basis do you claim that they are divinely inspired?

    As Bill said in his last comment, Christianity did not start in 320AD. It started when Jesus walked the earth. The people were not called Christians at that time, they were members of the Way.

    Also, you are misinformed on what happened at the First Council of Nicaea in 325AD. Please research this again. The Canon had already been recognized and completed much before this time and it was only confirmed during the Council. By the way, this was not even the primary purpose of the meeting.

  13. ditchu says:

    Christianity was a sect of Jewish followers and seen as a cult in the Earily ADs. It was not until the Council of Nicaea held by The roman Emperor Constintine the first, that it was established as a Religion.

    “The First Council of Nicaea, held in Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day Iznik in Turkey), convoked by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325, was the first Ecumenical council[1] of the Catholic Church, and most significantly resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed.”
    “A precedent was set for subsequent general councils to create creeds and canons.”

    That is what I am commenting on.
    What cannons do you think they had disagreements about? There were several “Books” that were removed from some Cannons.
    How did I get this wrong?

  14. billphillips says:


    Are you saying that Christianity wasn’t a religion because it was too small? Does a religion have to be recognized by the government before it’s a religion? If Christianity is the only true religion of the only true God, does it really matter whether it’s recognized by the government?

    I read through the link you provided, and it doesn’t say anything about canonizing the Bible. They were discussing the trinity. Take a look at: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/canon
    The first meaning for canon is “an ecclesiastical rule or law enacted by a council or other competent authority and, in the Roman Catholic Church, approved by the pope.”

    Personally, other than for interest sake or historical sake, I couldn’t care less what any council said. I take my doctrines from the Bible.

    It sounds to me that you are convinced that the Bible is not trustworthy. That’s the direction this conversation has gone, and that seems to be the position you’re defending. So why do you care at all what the Bible says? Why would you even bother owning a copy or ever reading it when you can merely pick and choose what you want it to say? There may or may not be statements in the Satanic Bible I agree with, but I don’t bother owning it because I know that overall it’s not correct. Why would you lend any credence to a book you believe to be incorrect? Anytime the Bible disagrees with Joseph Smith, you reject the Bible in favor of Joseph Smith. Why not just stick with him and forget the Bible?


  15. Jim says:

    Ditchu – you haven’t answered the question set by Tom on 10th March 3pm: How do you know there is some missing information from the bible? this claim presupposes an original against which it can be seen to be incomplete. But then i think I know why you assert this without evidence. It is a groundless presupposition that you are compelled to make because a complete Bible makes unnecessary further ‘scripture’.

    Please help me out here – I’d like to know what precisely is ‘missing’.

    Also, throwing around the ideas that others have ‘preconceived bias’ and they have never ‘pondered any position but their own’ is pretty rich given what I’ve just stated above. It is no substitute for the facts of the matter. How do you know that about them? Follow the evidence where it leads – unless you have no interest in that most sacred of goals – the truth.

  16. ditchu says:

    Ok Look. I’ve supplied enough answers here to help you find your information.
    1. There are missing manuscripts from the moderen bibles because they were removed from some cannons as I have stated prior.
    2. A religion is defined to be a religion by Government. When you start a church you must apply for a government to have it be a religion. any personal beleifs add up to a faith and several Faiths do not make it a religion. There is an application to a religious charter. and it was not just seen as a Faith but as a cult in the jewish faith.

  17. billphillips says:


    Thanks for being patient, but I still don’t know what you’re talking about as far as missing manuscripts. The New Testament has 5600 early Greek manuscripts, and is the most reliable ancient book there is. Take a look at:


    I don’t understand why a government would have to recognize a religion to make it a religion. How many governments don’t recognize Mormonism and/or Christianity as a religion? It’s illegal to be a non-Muslim in some countries. Which country has to recognize the religion? What religion were the 3000 people who got saved on the Day of Pentecost?

    I guess all of that is a little bit beside the point. Whenever the Bible contradicts Mormonism, do you just say the Bible is corrupt? That seems to be what you’re doing with Joseph Smith’s claim to see the Father. What do you do with the many verses saying there is only one God, like Isaiah 43:10, “…before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”


  18. Pilgrim says:

    I suppose that if there’s missing manuscripts and missing books from the Bible (as LDS leaders have taught) then the Book of Mormon containing the fullness of the gospel (http://reformationnation.wordpress.com/2008/03/07/3913-documented-changes-to-the-most-correct-book-on-earth/)
    should contain these “lost” books along with the Pearl of Great Price and Doctrines and Covenants. After all, according to LDS teachings, they are the “restored” church on the earth, so I imagine they should have all these essential lost books.

  19. Tom says:

    Ditchu said

    Ok Look. I’ve supplied enough answers here to help you find your information.
    1. There are missing manuscripts from the moderen bibles because they were removed from some cannons as I have stated prior.

    I am sorry but you have not provided any answers…you have only provided your assertions without providing any evidence to back them up. You made the assertions, the burden is on you to provide the evidence. If you will provide your evidence we can examine and discuss it.

  20. ditchu says:

    Wait just a minute there. I will not suggest that the Bible is corrupt. All I’m saying here is that the Bible is incomplete. you have taken My comments farther than I intended and I hope I did not offend you. I would like you to understand the roots of both of our faith. This history seems too often overlooked. Do not think I am trying to undermine the Bible, I am attempting to show that though it is important it is yet to be complete.

    Pilgram – That is not what I am talking about. At this time I have limmited my Discussion to the Bible and the manuscripts removed from the cannon after the 1st Council of Nicaea. I do not think the responces to my comments warrented my to teach on the stick of Juda and the stick of Ephreum.

    About my evidance to missing books of the bible, Look for the Gosple of Mary. there are others but I do not know what they are. Do any of you?

  21. ditchu says:

    How do you classify the difference from a religion and cult?

  22. Tom says:


    You are talking about the Gnostic Gospels (Gospel of Thomas, Judas, Mary, and Philip). Basically no one, other than the gnostics, consider them worthy to be included in the Bible. Do you realize that in order for something to be included in the canon it had to be recognized as divinely inspired? The canon had been completed long before the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. Christianity was well established before then as well. Please give your reasoning as to why these gnostic gospels should be included in the Bible.

  23. billphillips says:


    Tom is right on the Gnostic Gospels. They are the writings of gnosticism, which is a different religion than Christianity. Those writings may be sacred to Gnostics, but they are disagree with the Bible. In fact, even though those books claim to be authored by biblical characters, they are well accepted to have been written long after the supposed authors were dead, so they are in fact forgeries.

    So, how do you reconcile Isaiah 43:10 with the Mormon belief in the plurality of gods, and the hope of good Mormons to become a god? There are many verses like Isaiah 43:10 that preclude that idea.


  24. ditchu says:

    are you telling me now you don’t believe in Jesus Christ?
    How do you reconcile Isaiah 43:10 with the belief in Jesus Christ?
    Do you think He is not God? This is a strange question for the postings I’ve read in this page. What does Isaiah 43:10 have to do with the fact that Joseph Smith Jr. saw Jesus Christ and God the Father?
    My personal take on Isaiah 43:10 is that God was telling Isaiah that he was the most suprieme being on this plane of existance, that Isaiah should worship no other god.
    Where is the hiccup here?

  25. ditchu says:

    I have no Idea if I’ve talking about the gnostics or not. I do not know much about the pre-sactioned cannons of the bible, except that diferent books were in use by different faiths that have come to be known today as christianity. that is all I can tell you about it. If you want to help me understand the earily church history please let me know where I can find reputible information. Too Often I come accross sites that do not give documentation to support their statments and I am not sure if they can be trusted or not. I do appologize if I have not given enough leads to back up my statments. I have done here what I can off the top of my head as I check in on breaks at work and do not have the time to research these things in detail, as I wish… Such is Life.

    I just want to state for the record again, I do not mean to offend or upset anyone here. I did have an interesting conversation with you all… Thank you.

  26. billphillips says:


    Cool questions! Trinitarians believe there is only one God. Jesus is God (John 1:1), the Father is God, and the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). We believe that there is one God in three persons. It can be difficult to grasp, but it doesn’t go against the laws of logic.

    I agree with your interpretation of Isaiah 43:10–that we should only worship one God. However, throughout the Bible, the Father is worshipped, and Jesus is worshipped, even by angels (Hebrews 1:6, Rev. 5:11-14, John 5:23). So if there is only one God that should be worshipped, are the angels idolaters, or are the Father and the Son one God? I would add to your take on that verse that it says there is only one God anywhere, anytime, ever.

    Here’s a reputable, easy-to-read site:

    You certainly haven’t offended me, and I appreciate your time. I’ve also enjoyed the conversation, and feel free to comment anytime.


  27. ditchu says:

    Billphillips –
    Thanks for the insite on Trinitarians. The LDS Church teachings are simillar, they just add to it that the Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are one in Godhood but 3 distinct personages… Meaning one god but 3 bodies (in the Holy Ghost’s case it is a spirit body – no pun.) The only difference is in respect of defining it to be one being that plays 3 rolls (as in some Celtic Mythos), or 3 beings that work together in the Godhood (thus all 3 are 1 God). I did not go as far to define one more posibility because it is a more strict idea than both of the others and that is that 3 work as 1 but God the father (who has all glory) is the one true God. The problem with this is any argument that Jesus Christ is God would conflect with the 1 God idea. Therefor I do not care to tred too far on this line.

    P.S. I use idea here not to down play the importance of significance of these beliefs but to be more objective in this reasoning. I have strong beliefs in this regard and I know others do as well, and our beleifs do not always agree.
    Again thank you for the simple and accurate example of Trinirarian Belief.

  28. jase says:

    some of you may benefit from the Christ in America presentation at http://www.josephsmith.com – regards, jase

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