Four items about Mormons appear below:

1    In Search of a 2000-Year-Old Man                    61
2    Four 2000-Year-Old Men Alive on Earth!         65
3    Mormon Logic Reaches "Low Depths"            66
4    Third Attempt to Find 2000-Year-Old Man       70



(Investigator 61, 1997 July)

Doug Davies is searching for a 2,000-year-old man but didn't find him in South Australia.

The Bible Dictionary of the Mormon religion under the heading "John" says:

We  especially  have  a  clarification  of  John  21:20-23, ascertaining that John did not die, but has been allowed to remain on the earth as a ministering servant until the time of the Lord's second coming.
The "John" here referred to is the Apostle John, one of the twelve Apostles who preached with Jesus Christ almost 2,000 years ago!

Doug Davies is a Melbourne taxi driver, book collector, member of the Victorian Skeptics and spare time researcher into cults.  He has a special interest in Mormons and visited South Australia to search for Mormon books and question some of the local Mormons.

  Mr Davies

Doctrine and Covenants (one of the four Mormon standard books) says:

And the Lord said unto me: John, my beloved, what desirest thou? For if you shall ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you.

And I said unto him: Lord, give unto me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee.

And the Lord said unto me: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people...

He shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth.
(Doctrine And Covenants Section 7)

The teaching about John is necessary, explained Mr Davies, because of a prophecy by Joseph Smith prophet and founder of Mormonism which would otherwise be a false prophecy. The prophecy was that a  temple would be built in Missouri within the generation of 1832 on a  property dedicated by Joseph Smith's son.

Mr Davies cited Doctrine And Covenants again:

A REVELATION of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high.

Yea,  the  word  of  the  Lord  concerning  his  church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.

Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the state of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.

Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be raised in this generation.

For verily this generation shall not pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord...
(Doctrine And Covenants Section 84)

The preamble to Section 84 says this revelation was given in September 1832.

Said Mr Davies: "The generation alive in 1832 has obviously died out – apparent proof that Joseph Smith is a false prophet.

"The answer Mormon missionaries in Melbourne gave me is that the Apostle John is still alive and will live until the Second Coming. The idea of a 2,000-year-old man is their loophole to avoid refutation.

"They have not been able to build their temple because the predicted piece of real  estate belongs to an offshoot from the Mormon mainstream."

Missionaries at the Mormon temple  ["church" or "chapel" not "temple" Ed.] in Fulham Gardens (Adelaide) were interviewed for more information. They consulted a commentary on Doctrine And Covenants titled  Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual (1983).

The Manual says:

The Apostle John ministered to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in 1829 when he assisted Peter and James in the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

In a conference of the Church on 3 June 1831, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught concerning John's ministry: "John the Revelator was then among the Ten Tribes of Israel who had been led away by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, to prepare them for their return from their long dispersion."

Elder Heber C. Kimball recorded an appearance of John the Revelator in the Kirtland Temple, as follows:

"When the Prophet Joseph had finished the endowments...the beloved disciple John was seen in our midst by the Prophet Joseph, Oliver Cowdery and others." (pp. 17-18)

Doug Davies, skeptical of all this, said: "If John attended a Mormon temple he'd have to be a Mormon. If the Mormons are the truest and most accurate religion – which you claim to be – John would be a Mormon for that reason too.

"Good Mormons are supposed to marry and produce children! They're also keen on genealogy.

"Where, then, are all the Mormons who trace themselves to John?"

The missionaries – both of them Americans – argued that John might be an exception, he might be single. Singleness might be better for his function as a "ministering servant."  However, they had no idea where John currently lives or what temple he attends. Nor did they know anyone who had seen John or heard anything about him.

Mr Davies asked whether John would have problems with the pension department or renewing his drivers license or anything else where age is relevant.

The missionaries didn't know and refused to speculate. They said they know John is alive because they had prayed and been assured in their hearts that Joseph Smith is a true shepherd and everything he taught is true.

Mr Davies cited the Bible, King James version, John 21:23:

Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, "He shall not die;" but, "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?"
Said Mr Davies, "The Bible plainly says that Jesus did NOT say 'He shall not die!'"

The missionaries replied that the Bible is correct only to the extent it's accurately translated!

Afterwards Mr Davies commented: "Those were the standard responses.  Mormons say, 'I know it's true because I prayed about it.' And when the Bible is in conflict with them they say the Bible is wrong.

"In Melbourne the Mormons told me, 'You can't meet John because you'd ask for a miracle and nobody gets saved by miracles but people get saved by faith.'"



B Stett

( Investigator 65, 1999 March )

Mormons do not just believe in ONE 2,000-year-old man alive on Earth today, as reported in Investigator 61, but FOUR!

This came up during debate recently at the Fulham Gardens church (Adelaide) where Doug Davies – a cult researcher, book collector and skeptic – faced a semi circle of Mormons.

Investigator 61 reported on the Mormon doctrine that the Apostle John – one of the 12 apostles who preached with Jesus almost 2,000 years ago – is still alive and that several early leaders of the Mormon religion claimed they met him in 1831.

The doctrine is important because of a prophecy made by Joseph Smith the prophet and founder of Mormonism.  The prophecy was about the building of a city and a temple:

Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the state of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.

Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be raised in this generation.

For verily this generation shall not pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord…
(Doctrine And Covenants section 84)

The Mormons have been unable to do the building job because the designated real estate is owned by a Mormon offshoot sect.

Doug Davies told Mormon missionaries at Fulham Gardens a year ago that the generation of 1832 has died out and that Joseph Smith therefore was a false prophet.

This led to debate about a 2,000-year-old Apostle John whose supposed existence meant the generation of 1832 had not died out!

All these things were reported in Investigator 61.

On January 31 this year (1999) Mr Davies returned to Fulham Gardens for more discussion about John but nobody seemed interested!

Sister Worthen, a missionary from America, stated: "Everyone I know who prayed sincerely about whether the Church's teachings are true received the assurance that they are."

Mr Davies was then led outside and left alone.

A discussion started with a new convert who happened to be nearby. Other Mormons then came out one after another and formed a semi circle.

These included Shirralee (former missionary to the Philippines and now a college student), Robert Goddard (teacher in computing) and Tony Russo.

Mr Davies sought to demonstrate by reference to another doctrine – the doctrine of the "restoration" – that Mormons contradict their belief in the Apostle John still being alive:

Mormons teach that after the death of the original apostles of Jesus, Christianity became mixed with apostasy and true doctrine was lost. This necessitated a "restoration" of the true church and of true doctrine and this took place about 1830 via Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

Doug Davies quoted a 1988 Mormon textbook called Gospel Principles:

Because of the persecution, surviving apostles could not meet to choose and ordain men to replace those who were dead. Eventually, local priesthood leaders were the only ones who had authority to direct the various, scattered branches of the Church. The perfect organization of the Church no longer existed, and confusion resulted. More and more error crept into Church doctrine, and soon the destruction of the Church was complete…

There were no apostles or other priesthood leaders with power from God and no spiritual gifts. (pp. 100-101)

Said Mr Davies, "If John were alive there couldn't have been a complete 'destruction of the Church'. There would be no need of a 'restoration' since the true Church would be centred around John!"

Mr Goddard replied, "To keep the Church going would have required a quorum of apostles. John did not have authority to do this by himself. If John was by himself he could be a special witness but could not operate in other areas."

Mr Davies said, "But it says that 'there were NO apostles'. This implies that all the Apostles including John were dead.

Even clearer is the booklet Apostasy And Restoration (1983):

As Latter-day Saints, we testify that shortly after the death of the Lord's original twelve apostles, there came seventeen hundred years of apostasy and darkness. (p. 14)
The semicircle of Mormons pondered the seeming contradiction:  Is John alive and 2,000 years old, or dead?

Mr Davies proceeded to cite Deuteronomy 18:

When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously.
He then asked: "Based on this do you agree that if Joseph Smith made any prophecies which did not come true he would be a false prophet?"

The Mormons refused to answer except for Shirralee who said, "That all depends."

Mr Davies next quoted the prophecy from Doctrine and Covenants about New Jerusalem and the temple to be built within the generation of 1832.

Said Mr Davies, "There is no one left alive from 1832. Not even the Apostle John as we just read. Therefore Joseph Smith failed the test in Deuteronomy 18.  Therefore Mormonism is not a restoration of the true church but the product of a false prophet!"

Shirralee responded, "There are three Nephites who are still alive!"

"Nephites" were American Indians who Jesus visited – so claims the Book of Mormon – after his death and resurrection. Jesus supposedly changed three of these Nephites and made them indestructible.

Shirralee referred to 3 Nephi chapter 28  in the Book of Mormon:

Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled… (v. 7)

And ye shall never endure the pains of death… (v. 8)

And now I, Mormon, make an end of speaking concerning these things for a time. Behold, I was about to write the names of those who were never to taste of death, but the Lord forbade; therefore I write them not, for they are hid from the world. (vs. 24-25)

And behold they will be among the Gentiles, and the Gentiles shall know them not. They will also be among the Jews, and the Jews shall know them not. And it shall come to pass, when the Lord seeth fit in his wisdom that they shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel, and unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls… (v. 27-29)

Yea even among the Gentiles shall there be a great and marvelous work wrought by them, before that judgment day. (v. 32)

Therefore, that they might not taste of death there was a change wrought upon their bodies, that they might not suffer pain or sorrow save it were for the sins of the world. (v. 38)

And in this state they were to remain until the judgment day of Christ; … (v. 40)

This chapter of the Book of Mormon is set in the year 35 AD and therefore implies that there are three two-thousand-year-old men alive on Earth today aside from the Apostle John!

The alleged existence of these 2,000-year-old men means that the generation of 1832 has not died out and therefore Joseph Smith is saved from being a false prophet!

Mr Davies referred to the Mormon Church's emphasis on marriage, children and genealogy and asked: "Where are all the Mormons who trace their genealogy to John or to the three Nephites?"

The Mormons did not reply.

Mr Davies then reasoned that three or four 2,000-year-old men each with a ministry to "all nations, kindreds, tongues and people" would be adequate for a "quorum" around whom the Church could exist.

With such an impact there could not have been a total apostasy during which "the destruction of the Church was complete."

Said Mr Davies, "A restoration by Joseph Smith therefore seemed unnecessary!"

Shirralee promised to research the points discussed.


Frank Russo

(Investigator 66, 1999 May)

How low do the depths of implausibility plummet?

The Mormons believe in four 2,000-year-old men (Investigator 65 18-23) whose existence saves Joseph Smith from being a false prophet despite prophesying the building of a certain temple within one generation of 1832 the construction of which has not happened!

Wouldn't the four alleged oldies be of the generation of the first century and not of the 19th?

Furthermore, Joseph Smith predicted: "For verily this generation shall not pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord…" He's talking about a generation which could potentially "pass away" but won't pass away whereas the four oldies have immortality and therefore can't ever "pass away"!

If the existence of these oldies is used to salvage Joseph Smith's reputation we need to meet them and have medical specialists confirm their age.



(Investigator 70, 2000 January

A third attempt by Doug Davies to find the Apostle John – claimed by Mormons to be alive and well and 2,000 years old – failed in November.

Doctrine and Covenants, a book which to Mormons ranks with the Book of Mormon and the Bible as inspired writings, says:

And I [Apostle John] said unto him: Lord, give me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee.

And the Lord said unto me: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people. (Section 7)

This doctrine of John still being alive is important because in 1832 Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, predicted a temple would be built on a designated plot of land in Missouri within one "generation".  (See details in Investigator 61 and 65)

The temple, however, cannot be built because the land is owned by a branch of Mormonism separated from the main branch.

The main branch, officially called Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, argues that with John still alive the generation of 1832 has not died out and the prophecy is not refuted.  Using the words of Mr Davies in a previous article:

"The idea of a 2,000-year-old man is their loophole to avoid refutation."
Recently Mr Davies made his third search for John. This was a trip to the Family History Centre at the Mormon chapel in Modbury (Adelaide) to use the genealogical records.

Mormons practice "baptism for the dead".  Living Mormons do family research to identify their ancestors and then get baptized on their behalf – an action that, they believe, improves the ancestors' chance of salvation.

"Tony", an elder of the "Melchizedek Priesthood", explained: "Baptism for the dead is not a sure thing.  In the judgment they will still have to decide whether they accept the baptism or not."

Mr Davies summarized  Mormon teaching about John the Baptist and asked whether genealogical records could identify John or at least John's living relatives.  After all, unless there is tangible proof of John being alive we can't use John to salvage the prophecy regarding the generation of 1832!

[Note:  Mormons also believe three 2000-year-old "Nephites" are still alive. See Investigator 65. However, the points in the present article about John would apply to the Nephites too – which is: "Where are they?"]

Tony explained that Mormons alive now could not trace themselves back to John because genealogical records rarely go back further than the 16th century.

He added: "John being alive is never discussed at meetings. It is too controversial and would raise questions people would speculate about."

Mr Davies replied that John, if alive, could give decisive evidence to confirm the Mormon claim to being the true faith.  As a living witness from the 1st century, and close friend of Jesus Christ, John the Apostle could at one stroke confirm the correctness of Mormonism.  Besides, confirmation of John is needed to save Joseph Smith from being a false prophet regarding the 1832 generation!

Tony replied that there are living prophets today – including in that very chapel at Modbury – whom we could ask and who would confirm that everything the Church teaches is true.

Mr Davies replied that to ask a Mormon "prophet" whether Mormonism is true is like asking the Pope whether Catholicism is the true faith. The Pope would say he's from a line of popes going back to the Apostle Peter. But if John could be found, he'd confirm who really has the truth.

Tony repeated that the 16th century limit to genealogical research would prevent Mormons tracing themselves back to John the Apostle.

However, what about John the Apostle himself? John attends Mormon meetings (Investigator 61 p. 55) and also "shall prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people." [See above]

Therefore, if Mormons are the true church John would be a Mormon and, like all good Mormons, do his own genealogy which should then be in the genealogical records of the Mormon religion.  Indeed John's genealogy would stand out as being the only genealogy to go back 2,000 years!

This point was put to "John" [not the Apostle but another John] in the Family Research room at the Modbury chapel.

A dozen people were using computers and microfiche. Filing cabinets of copies of British census records lined one wall and a shelf of books on genealogy extended along another wall above the computers.

John – himself not a Mormon but a volunteer worker there for ten years – explained that all over the world church registers are being copied and recorded on the International Genealogical Index. The IGI already has 700 million names.

However, he knew of no way of using genealogy to find the Apostle John and he knew of no genealogy that went back 2000 years.

Said John the volunteer: "I only come here because I love genealogy. I don't believe the doctrines. I think they teach a lot of crap."

Investigating religion and the paranormal – Investigator Magazine: