A Bahá'í View of Joseph Smith and Mormonism

The Baha'i Faith teaches that the Prophets are the Incarnations of the Names and Attributes of ALLAH. They do not have "human" souls. Their souls are Divine (the Names and Attributes). These Names/Attributes can "return" in every Dispensation. Human souls cannot "return" and have only one lifetime per material planet. But, the Souls of the Prophets (Manifestations of God) are Divine. They are Sinless and Perfect Men.

On the other hand, the Faith also accepts the existence of "Seers": meaning ordinary men and women with human souls, who are sinful and fallible, but who nevertheless see and speak with angels. These are called "Muhaddathoon" in Arabic or "Seers" in English. Mary the mother of Jesus was a "Seer" because the Angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her she would bare the Messiah. She saw an Angel, but she was not a Prophet lesser or otherwise. Zecharias the father of John the Baptist saw an Angel in the JEwish Temple who told him to name his son John, but he was not a Prophet lesser or otherwise.

In Mormon doctrine a Seer is also a Prophet. But in Baha'i Doctrine Prophets and Seers are quite different: Prophets being the sinless and infallible Incarnations of the Names and Attributes of God, and Seers being ordinary sinful and fallible human beings who see and speak with Angels.

The Holy Texts make no mention of Joseph Smith, but several letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi have said that Joseph Smith is not considered to be a "Prophet". However, in several unofficial "pilgrim's notes" Shoghi Effendi is purported to have said that Joseph Smith was a "Seer". A "pilgrim's note" is basically a "saying" that was written down by a Baha'i on Pilgrimage to Haifa or Akka Israel. They are not considered to be absolutely reliable; so Baha'is are not bound to accept anything in a "pilgrim's note".

Baha'is are free to accept, or reject, Joseph Smith as a "Seer" but they cannot accept him as a Prophet. "Seers" can see angels and receive Revelation, but they are not sinless and infallible as "Prophets" are.

Baha'is are free to believe that Joseph Smith was a fraud too; as long as they don't try to force others to believe as they do.

Some Baha'is think Joseph Smith was a fraud. Some Baha'is accept Joseph Smith as an inspired Seer who prophesied of Baha'u'llah in the capacity of a Seer. But most Baha'is have no opinion either way.

Baha'is can be....

*Pro-Joseph Smith (believe he was a SEER who prophesied of Baha'u'llah in the capacity of a Seer)

*Anti-Joseph Smith (believe he was a FRAUD)

*No Opinion-Joseph Smith (have no interest or opinion either way)

In regards to The Book of Mormon, it is not recognized as "infallible" Scripture in the Faith. But, again, that does not mean Baha'is must regard it as uninpired. Even the title-page of The Book of Mormon declares that it contains "the mistakes of men". Baha'i Scripture must be infallible. It inclues the Torah, the Injil (Gospels), and the Qu'ran and the Holy Writings of the three Central Figures of the Faith. Only these are considered infallible. Shoghi Effendi was once asked if The Book of Mormon was "historical" and he replied it "was a matter for historians to pass upon". Baha'is interpret that statement in various ways.

Some Baha'is see The Book of Mormon as historical, others as a non-historical parable about America (i.e. the Nephites represent the white race in the Americas and the Lamanites the dark races in America). Others believe it is simply a fraud. All views are acceptable as "personal belief" in the Baha'i Faith.

The Book of Mormon was written for "the convincing of both Jew and Gentile (non-Jew) that Jesus is the Christ". Baha'is already accept Jesus as the Christ and do not need The Book of Mormon to convince them further.

If you join the Faith you may retain your belief that Joseph Smith was inspired of God as a "SEER". You may also reject Joseph Smith and Mormonism completely. You can "agree to disagree agreeably" with other Baha'is, but you cannot try to force others to believe as you do on this matter.


The following websites are NOT official Bahá'í websites, but personal websites that express the personal views and opinions of their author:

CALL OUT TO ZION! An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith for Mormon Seekers (22 printed pages)

The 1891 Prophecies of the Seer Joseph Smith FULFILLED in Bahá'u'lláh (26 pages)

Did Jesus Visit Salt Lake City in 1912? (20 pages)

1. Bahá'ís are forbidden from displaying a photo or artwork of any Manifestation of God, this is why no photo of Baha'u'llah is shown. Bahá'ís may only see a photo of Him during a Pilgrimage to the Bahá'í Shrines in the Holy Land.

2. Bahá'ís are allowed to believe that Joseph Smith was an inspired Seer if they hold this as a "personal belief" and do not try to force this personal belief upon other Bahá'ís.