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Avatar4321

jospeh the con man?

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thinking about the discussion we were having in another thread and I thought it might be good to focus directly on the claim by critics of the Church that Joseph was obviously a con man and use that as a reason to not consider the Book of Mormon or anything of the teachings of the Restored Gospel.

my own studies have convinced me that Joseph sincerely held the beliefs he taught. What reasons have you seen to believe he was a con man? What exactly was the objective of the con? It wasn't money. Joseph received a revelation early on that he wouldn't be blessed materially, which is an odd revelation for a con man to receive.

if you believe Joseph was sincere, what stories or experiences do you see that demonstrate his sincerity?

I was thinking of using what I learn here to elsewhere to share the gospel.

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1 minute ago, Avatar4321 said:

thinking about the discussion we were having in another thread and I thought it might be good to focus directly on the claim by critics of the Church that Joseph was obviously a con man and use that as a reason to not consider the Book of Mormon or anything of the teachings of the Restored Gospel.

my own studies have convinced me that Joseph sincerely held the beliefs he taught. What reasons have you seen to believe he was a con man? What exactly was the objective of the con? It wasn't money. Joseph received a revelation early on that he wouldn't be blessed materially, which is an odd revelation for a con man to receive.

if you believe Joseph was sincere, what stories or experiences do you see that demonstrate his sincerity?

I was thinking of using what I learn here to elsewhere to share the gospel.

I'm not aware of many scholarly critics that characterize Joseph as a con man.  Brodie & Vogel don't paint him as that one sided.  I personally don't believe he was a con man, I think he did have problems with deception, but I think at some level he bought into his own deceptions.   He was a very complex individual.  I don't know of anyone that is either 100% sincere or 100% con.  The people I have experienced in life are much more complicated.  

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Let's see.  He lied to cover up his sexual exploits. He lied to his wife and to his membership and to the public at large about this.  Don't shoot me, I am only the messenger on this.  This are facts.  So we can debate this in the forum bubble, but the reality is he took women and young girls to be his "wives".  He did did this using his position of religious position of authority.   This is just one issue.  I won't bright up the Kirkland banking fiasco, and his translation failures.  This one issue is a smoking gun in my opinion.  We know what regular, non-apologist, think of the Mormon story.  There are more ex-members an in active members than there are active members. The ratio is 2 to 1.  

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14 minutes ago, sunstoned said:

Let's see.  He lied to cover up his sexual exploits. He lied to his wife and to his membership and to the public at large about this.  Don't shoot me, I am only the messenger on this.  This are facts.  So we can debate this in the forum bubble, but the reality is he took women and young girls to be his "wives".  He did did this using his position of religious position of authority.

The topic of this thread is his motivation, not his methodology.
 

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51 minutes ago, sunstoned said:

Let's see.  He lied to cover up his sexual exploits.

What sexual exploits?

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A con man does not believe the things they are saying. They know what they are saying is deception and lies.  Joseph really believed the things he taught.  Whether one believes those things are not does not matter.  The fact is Joseph believed them.  One can argue he was deceived. One can argue he was mentally crazy but con man I don't think so.

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2 hours ago, Avatar4321 said:

thinking about the discussion we were having in another thread and I thought it might be good to focus directly on the claim by critics of the Church that Joseph was obviously a con man and use that as a reason to not consider the Book of Mormon or anything of the teachings of the Restored Gospel.

my own studies have convinced me that Joseph sincerely held the beliefs he taught. What reasons have you seen to believe he was a con man? What exactly was the objective of the con? It wasn't money. Joseph received a revelation early on that he wouldn't be blessed materially, which is an odd revelation for a con man to receive.

If you're interested in hearing the case for Joseph Smith as con man, I suggest listening to Chris Smith's 2015 Sunstone presentation: https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/christopher-c-smiths-four-views-of-joseph-smith-historians-debate-the-prophet-puzzle/. He's being deliberately provocative in that presentation but he's not making anything up. It's one way to read the historical evidence, and Smith is a serious historian.

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17 minutes ago, LittleNipper said:

Thankfully, Christianity isn't about prophets.

Then according to Amos in the Bible God has ceased to be an active participant in the lives of men.

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5 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

This is a debate that cannot be won by either side because it really boils down to a matter of opinion. After all of these years no smoking gun has been found providing any evidence of a fraud. The Christopher Smith segment that Nevo linked to is a seventeen minute character assassination on a person who is no longer here to defend himself.

However, Joseph was brought to court some 48 times in courts that were non too friendly to him and was acquitted each time because the witnesses were found to be not credible. Those are the type of witnesses used to build the case for a fraud. The only time that I am aware of where Joseph was not acquitted was an instance where he assaulted a man, turned himself in and paid the fine. Chris may not have been making anything up but he was not overly concerned with presenting a balanced perspective, especially accusing Joseph of making counterfeit money. Those accusations or rumors were afloat but no evidence was ever adduced to support those accusations. This was not the work of a serious historian in this case.

But anyone is free to believe what they wish.

Glenn

You are not playing fair. Shame on you.  He was a con man, period.  Why?  Because critics say so and by golly that is good enough. Sexual exploits coming out his ears but no posterity - doesn't matter.  Lies, all lies is all he told I tell ya.  Gads, do I get tired of the broken record.  As long as they can close their eyes and ears they can always scream he was a con man without ever looking, seeing or hearing the man.

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52 minutes ago, LittleNipper said:

Thankfully, Christianity isn't about prophets.

No. Its about Christ. And prophets testify of Christ. Without the Spirit of prophecy no man can know Jesus.

Which is why apostles and prophets are the foundation of His Church. And He will call them until we all come to the unity of the faith.

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One of the first revelations Joseph received the Lord told Him:

 

"And in temporal labors thou shalt not have strength, for this is not thy calling. Attend to thy calling and thou shalt have wherewith to magnify thine office, and to expound all scriptures, and continue in laying on of the hands and confirming the churches." D&C 24:9

 

why would a con man reveal to himself in a public revelation that he was not to have success in temporal Labors?

if the point of the con is to enrich yourself on your followers gullibility, then would you say you won't be blessed temporally? How would you expect to explain the wealth you'd expect to reciecesfrom the con if you've said you won't be blessed temporally

 

 

 

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23 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

I'm not aware of many scholarly critics that characterize Joseph as a con man.  Brodie & Vogel don't paint him as that one sided.  I personally don't believe he was a con man, I think he did have problems with deception, but I think at some level he bought into his own deceptions.   He was a very complex individual.  I don't know of anyone that is either 100% sincere or 100% con.  The people I have experienced in life are much more complicated.  

 

22 hours ago, sunstoned said:

Let's see.  He lied to cover up his sexual exploits. He lied to his wife and to his membership and to the public at large about this.  Don't shoot me, I am only the messenger on this.  This are facts.  So we can debate this in the forum bubble, but the reality is he took women and young girls to be his "wives".  He did did this using his position of religious position of authority.   This is just one issue.  I won't bright up the Kirkland banking fiasco, and his translation failures.  This one issue is a smoking gun in my opinion.  We know what regular, non-apologist, think of the Mormon story.  There are more ex-members an in active members than there are active members. The ratio is 2 to 1.  

Both you guys can't be simultaneously right.  Was he as clueless as our current fake COINC?  Or was he a cunning liar and cheat?  After all, we have seen plenty of phonies in our time, and we'll probably see more.

One the one hand, hope argues that no one is 100% honest, but that is a fallacy and doesn't address the hard question of fraudulent behavior.  sunstoned is certain that he has the "facts," but his own comments here and elsewhere indicate a great loathing for Joseph, such that his interpretations tell us more about him than about Joseph.  For example, sunstoned accuses Joseph of "sexual exploits," but we have no offspring of Joseph from any of those "exploits," and we know for certain that he was fertile during that entire time.  Likewise, for the Kirtland Banking fiasco (he misspells it "Kirkland"), which was part of a nationwide economic crisis, from which Joseph repaid all his debts.  sunstoned imagines "translation failures," even though the main problem we have is accounting for the impossible accuracy of those translations -- even including a feat no one else could perform of employing an extinct form of the English language.  A "smoking gun"?  More of an obstacle in sunstoned's path which he is unable to account for.   As for what regular non-Mormons think of the Mormon story, since when has sunstoned taken a survey?  In fact, of the non-Mormon scholars who in fact know something about Mormonism, they seem quite friendly and admiring, and they include some brilliant minds.  Why is sunstoned unable to make an even-handed statement about the Mormon Church?  Antipathy and ignorance, I'd say.

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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4 hours ago, sunstoned said:

Let's see.  He lied to cover up his sexual exploits. He lied to his wife and to his membership and to the public at large about this.  Don't shoot me, I am only the messenger on this.  This are facts.  So we can debate this in the forum bubble, but the reality is he took women and young girls to be his "wives".  He did did this using his position of religious position of authority.

Joseph’s motivation, from the age of 14, for writing the BoM and founding the church (with all that entailed) was to sleep around???

People sleep around all the time.  They don’t usually go to such extremes to do so.

If this was all just a con, why would he only exploit it for sex when he could have used his position for great wealth too?

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5 hours ago, sunstoned said:

Let's see.  He lied to cover up his sexual exploits. He lied to his wife and to his membership and to the public at large about this.  Don't shoot me, I am only the messenger on this.  This are facts.  So we can debate this in the forum bubble, but the reality is he took women and young girls to be his "wives".  He did did this using his position of religious position of authority.   This is just one issue.  I won't bright up the Kirkland banking fiasco, and his translation failures.  This one issue is a smoking gun in my opinion.  We know what regular, non-apologist, think of the Mormon story.  There are more ex-members an in active members than there are active members. The ratio is 2 to 1.  

I won't bring up your colossal idiocy either so does that makes us even then in terms of favors?

And you finish it up with an ad populum argument or an irrelevant statement. Still not sure what you meant there.

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“In 1838, Joseph and some of the young men were playing various outdoor games, among which was a game of ball. By and by they began to get weary. He saw it, and calling them together he said: ‘Let us build a log cabin.’ So off they went, Joseph and the young men, to build a log cabin for a widow woman. Such was Joseph’s way, always assisting in whatever he could." -Edwin Holden

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3 hours ago, Nevo said:

D&C 24 calls on church members in Colesville, Fayette, and Manchester to support Joseph financially or the Lord will "send upon them a cursing instead of a blessing" (v. 4). That doesn't sound totally unlike something a con man might say. It's true that Joseph Smith didn't do well financially for the first couple of years of the church's existence, but he did quite well thereafter.

According to D. Michael Quinn, "from 1833 onward, the church president owned significantly more personal property and more real estate in Kirtland than the average resident, reaching an apex in 1837, when Smith had 4.5 times more than the average (in personal property) and 2.75 times more than their average land ownership. . . . After Nauvoo became the headquarters in 1839, there were significant changes in those trends. The municipal assessment rolls for taxation from 1841 to 1843 show an unprecedented divergence between the church president's assessed wealth and everyone else's. This was not simply due to Joseph Smith's role as trustee-in-trust after 1841, because LDS assessors itemized his personal real estate as distinct from each parcel of land he owned as the church's trustee. . . . In 1842 and 1843, Smith's personal ownership of land remained at least twenty-one times higher than for Nauvoo's average resident. His personal property (non-land wealth) remained at least 2.7 times greater than for Nauvoo's non-hierarchy. During those years, he also owned at least twice as much personal property than the average general authority, and his personal ownership of land remained at least 4.9  times their average."

Needless to say, Joseph Smith fared much better financially as church president/mayor/lieutenant general, etc., than he would have had he remained a tenant farmer/day laborer in western New York.

It is certainly unfortunate that he would lose his personal property over and over again. What happened to the property when he and his followers were forced to leave the area? And when he was murdered, I don't seem to believe that emma was a rich woman from Joseph swindling the church members. And how was his wealth enjoyed by him? Did he take trips around he world? Did he buy the best that the country had to offer? Did he buy mansions in NYC or was he stuck in the boonies being hounded by his enemies? When all is said and done, Joseph died a poor man, murdered in a small building surrounded by his brother and a couple of friends by men in black faces.

I think nevo that you know much history. I have been reading your posts for years. You have immense knowledge of the facts and you are a master of interpretation. But I sometimes do not see the human element in your facts. Joseph should have left his church when he had some change in his pocket (you imply he was wealthy), move out west with emma and his kids and get himself a piece of land, raise cattle and enjoy life. Those cattle ranchers with huge pieces of land were truly rich.

http://www.moroni10.com/prophets_homes/Joseph_Smith.html

I just don't get that rich feeling from the link above.

Edited by why me

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11 hours ago, sunstoned said:

Let's see.  He lied to cover up his sexual exploits. He lied to his wife and to his membership and to the public at large about this.  Don't shoot me, I am only the messenger on this.

No you're not. You're the accuser.

11 hours ago, sunstoned said:

  This are facts.

No they're not. They are opinions.

11 hours ago, sunstoned said:

So we can debate this in the forum bubble, but the reality is he took women and young girls to be his "wives".  He did did this using his position of religious position of authority.   This is just one issue.  I won't bright up the Kirkland banking fiasco, and his translation failures.  This one issue is a smoking gun in my opinion.  We know what regular, non-apologist, think of the Mormon story.  There are more ex-members an in active members than there are active members. The ratio is 2 to 1.  

So in your mind, truth is established  by opinion poll?

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1 hour ago, LittleNipper said:

Truth is established by the Word of GOD. That is the standard by which everything must be measured.

 

http://truthreallymatters.com/wordpress/?page_id=84

That presumes a consensus among everyone on what is the word of God.  There is none.

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3 hours ago, LittleNipper said:

Truth is established by the Word of GOD. That is the standard by which everything must be measured.

 

http://truthreallymatters.com/wordpress/?page_id=84

And the Word of God, that thing you say you believe in, says that prophets are REQUIRED in the Body of Christ.  That is a problem for you and your church - you have no prophets, no priesthood, no apostles....but you have a book which you do not appear to understand.

See, we all can do "drive-by" snipping about the other's faith. It is not productive or helpful.  Most of us, if not all of us, have seen your kind for decades and we are not impressed.  You deal in third rate anti-Mormon attacks which on tells us you are not interested in a discussion or learning or even teaching.  You want to tell us - which does not work. 

It has been my opinion that we all can learn from one another.  Your approach conflicts with that premise - seen it, heard it, and it misses the point and denies the teachings of scripture. 

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