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Joseph Smith as an Honest, Honorable, and Sincere Man


Daniel Peterson

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I like this latest "Mormon Scholars Testify" entry, because its author, based on years of working with the legal and business documents associated with Joseph Smith, is firmly convinced that Joseph Smith was an honest and an honorable man, and a sincere one:

http://mormonscholarstestify.org/1477/gordon-a-madsen

That's my firm conviction, as well, based upon my own readings in published anthologies of his "personal writings." It's nothing that I can neatly prove, in the same way that I can construct a demonstrative syllogism, and others will, no doubt, dismiss my understanding of the man. But it's my very, very strong sense, after years of reading things that Joseph didn't write for publication: If I have any sense at all for genuineness in a fellow human being, any capacity to discern character in people, Joseph Smith was a sincere man.

Which, I think, is a very important thing to know.

The options seem to me, broadly, that he was either mad, or a liar, or a prophet. I'm convinced that he wasn't a liar, and I see no signs of insanity (and wouldn't regard madness as an adequate explanation anyway, if the Witnesses and his other associates are taken into account).

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The more I read about Joseph Smith and the more I read his writings the more convinced I become that he was indeed a prophet of God and of greatest integrity. Certainly those who knew him best thought so.

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If you look at the stuff he wrote and the things that the people who knew him wrote, you just can't see it.

Context is everything and of course the haters love to take things out of context and extrapolate it beyond its intentions.

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I like this latest "Mormon Scholars Testify" entry, because its author, based on years of working with the legal and business documents associated with Joseph Smith, is firmly convinced that Joseph Smith was an honest and an honorable man, and a sincere one:

http://mormonscholarstestify.org/1477/gordon-a-madsen

That's my firm conviction, as well, based upon my own readings in published anthologies of his "personal writings." It's nothing that I can neatly prove, in the same way that I can construct a demonstrative syllogism, and others will, no doubt, dismiss my understanding of the man. But it's my very, very strong sense, after years of reading things that Joseph didn't write for publication: If I have any sense at all for genuineness in a fellow human being, any capacity to discern character in people, Joseph Smith was a sincere man.

You know, I came to the same conviction after reading The Words of Joseph Smith, and that was a few months before I ended up feeling impressed to commit myself to Mormonism.

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The options seem to me, broadly, that he was either mad, or a liar, or a prophet. I'm convinced that he wasn't a liar, and I see no signs of insanity (and wouldn't regard madness as an adequate explanation anyway, if the Witnesses and his other associates are taken into account).

The world is not so neatly divided into good versus evil. Most of us have some measure of both in us. I find it highly probable that Joseph Smith both cared deeply about religious issues with a genuine concern for his fellow saints and yet had issues with pride and womanizing.

That doesn't answer the question of whether or not he was an actual prophet. I come to a different conclusion than Dr. Peterson and believe Mormonism springs from the mind of man, like any other religion, rather than from divine plan.

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If I have any sense at all for genuineness in a fellow human being, any capacity to discern character in people, Joseph Smith was a sincere man.

I have to agree. When I try to imagine Joseph as a cunning con-man, I see too much generosity and largeness of spirit to support that portrait. I don't see how he could do what he did without believing that he was on God's errand. And while I have to acknowledge that he is practically sui generis

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Ain't this thread cute. Based on the rules here - I guess all anyone can do is agree with the OP. Otherwise they would be talking bad about Joseph and we all know we can not have that.

Seriously though - for those who say they can't understand how anyone come come to another opinion - I say try a little harder, really, it's easy if you try. However you have to want to understand. I doubt many who are deep into the Church really want to know. You have to be willing to walk in someone Else's shoes, and not in your own. It's scary, it really is at times. However that is how we humans learn to understand and grow. Pretend you are an actor playing a role. Then try to examine the issue from all sides, not just the safe one.

If ya all really want to do the job of an apologist - first you need to understand where the other side is coming from. Know your audience if you will. Now, I doubt the audience here are those from other religions. No, my guess is the apologists job is to help convince those who are on the fence. To give them just a little wiggle room to stay.

When everyone says "I can't see how anyone could come to a different conclusion" - well, you just pushed those on the fence off on the wrong side. Cause, that is closed minded, and judgmental all at the same time.

After reading here a long time - personally, if all you are going to do is pat each other on the back, and tell everyone else how righteous you are, then slam anyone with a different opinion (not that that happened in this thread, but it does happen a lot) - well, then you have your own reward don't you.

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Seriously though - for those who say they can't understand how anyone come come to another opinion - I say try a little harder, really, it's easy if you try. However you have to want to understand. I doubt many who are deep into the Church really want to know. You have to be willing to walk in someone Else's shoes, and not in your own.

Back at you. I doubt many who leave the church or were never part of it have even given the benefit of the doubt in the many areas we don't have extensive documentation or only second and third hand accounts.

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Back at you. I doubt many who leave the church or were never part of it have even given the benefit of the doubt in the many areas we don't have extensive documentation or only second and third hand accounts.

You can't say that. You simply don't know what they have or haven't done. It might be very comforting for you to think that. The thought that yea, they gave JS the benefit of the doubt, and then some and still left is probably very scary to many here. So scary, that mentally, some cant even conceive of such a thing, yet I'm sure it has happened.

What would it mean to you if that were the case ? What would it mean to you, personally, if suddenly you ran into - say 5 different members from your own stake, who are leaving and who you know did give JS the benefit of the doubt ? What if they told you they did pray about it and got their answer and are still leaving ? How would that make you feel ? or would you just dismiss that possibility, put it out of your mind and go on your merry way ? Would you be willing to try and walk in their shoes and see what it was that was driving their behavior ? Why they came to that conclusion ?

That's what I'm trying to point out. If an answer is so scary you can't really imagine the consequences - well, then it's time to look in the mirror and ask some hard questions of yourself.

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Ain't this thread cute.

Huh. Based on the mocking and derisive tone, I suspect that this poster will have little or nothing of merit to say.

Well.....maybe he'll surprise me.

Based on the rules here - I guess all anyone can do is agree with the OP. Otherwise they would be talking bad about Joseph and we all know we can not have that.

This is an egregious distortion of what the rules actually proclaim.

We have people who come here every day speaking ill of the Prophet Joseph Smith; attacking his reputation, questioning his motives, and proclaiming his faults.

Indeed, we have at least two critics doing so in this thread alone....

So far, these facts do not bode well for Cooper's arguments.

Seriously though - for those who say they can't understand how anyone come come to another opinion - I say try a little harder, really, it's easy if you try. However you have to want to understand. I doubt many who are deep into the Church really want to know. You have to be willing to walk in someone Else's shoes, and not in your own. It's scary, it really is at times. However that is how we humans learn to understand and grow. Pretend you are an actor playing a role. Then try to examine the issue from all sides, not just the safe one.
It's interesting to note that no one here has denied that it's possible to come to another conclusion, nor have they "pushed those on the fence off on the wrong side"- that's the second deliberate misrepresentation of fact in this poster's missive.

Indeed, the closest anyone has come to what Cooper has asserted is the opinion that an analysis of what Joseph and those around him wrote does not support the caricatures made of him.

That's a far cry from Cooper's absolutist claim.

If ya all really want to do the job of an apologist -
Two questions must be asked:

First, where precisely did Cooper gain the authority to lecture us on what an apologist "must" do?

He's sneered and condescended, and misrepresented our positions twice now- why then should we believe that he is in anyway impartial- let alone that he has our best interests at heart?

Cooper's conflict of interest is enough to make us question his motives. His derision simply adds to that already ample justification.

first you need to understand where the other side is coming from. Know your audience if you will. Now, I doubt the audience here are those from other religions.
And thus Cooper violates his own maxim. "Know your audience"? Clearly, Cooper does not.

This board happily hosts faithful Mormons, doubting Mormons, avowed apostates, closet apostates, Sons of Perdition, agnostics, Catholics, Baptists, athiests, Muslims, Calvinists, and even those who aren't sure which of the camps (if any) they fall into.

Cooper asserts that this place is a mere testimony bearing echo chamber- but the actual population contradicts the claim.

That's at least three distortions from this poster in a single post.

The hopes that he has something substantive to add are growing increasinly dim.

No, my guess is the apologists job is to help convince those who are on the fence. To give them just a little wiggle room to stay.
Again, more derision and more cynicism, but not one jot or tittle of fact. Cooper's assertion is rife with cynicism, assumes the worst in others, and presumes to dictate to others what their own motives must be.

It is demagoguery and presumptive mind-reading at its worst, and commits the self-same sin he decries below:

When everyone says "I can't see how anyone could come to a different conclusion" - well, you just pushed those on the fence off on the wrong side.
The simple fact of the matter is that no one here has said anything of the sort.

Cooper is projecting his own sin onto others- and provides no evidence whatsoever to justify the charges.

Cause, that is closed minded, and judgmental all at the same time.
And so we see that Cooper has assumed the worst in others, arrogantly imputed motives and thoughts to others, and condemned them as being "close minded and judgemental"- and provided nothing but his own arrogance and prejudices to support his convictions (pun intended).

Cooper has appointed himself judge, jury, and executioner- but provided no evidence to support his accusations.

In doing so, he has demonstrated that the close-minded and judgemental attitude lies not with us, but in himself.

After reading here a long time - personally, if all you are going to do is pat each other on the back, and tell everyone else how righteous you are, then slam anyone with a different opinion (not that that happened in this thread, but it does happen a lot) - well, then you have your own reward don't you.

More of the same. Cooper damns us for patting ourselves on the back and slamming anyone with a different opinon- but who is slamming who?

Clearly, the desire to convict and condemn lies with Cooper, rather than the posters here.

Indeed- his post does not address the OP, nor any of the arguments raised.

His missive has nothing to do with the discussion at hand, except to condemn those actively contributing.

Cooper condemns the opinions of others- slamming them for the simple sin of being contrary to his own- and yet never gives any reasons why those opinions deserve to be condemned.

It is clear that it is Cooper, not us, who is intolerant of others' opinions.

It is clear that it is Cooper, not us, who wishes feels an overweening sense of self-righteousness.

No one familiar with this board can accurately characterize it as "patting each other on the back and telling ourselves how righteous we are".

Cooper is simply projecting his own behavior onto us, faithful Mormon and critic alike.

This board has seen perhaps three hundred posts today. Perhaps half of those are either from critics or skeptics, and nearly all of them offer an independent opinion or contradiction.

A quick perusal of todays posts alone will demonstrate the falsity of his charges.

This place is not the echo-chamber Cooper pretends- as all and sundry have been allowed to post.

It is clear (given the inaccuracy and vapidity of his accusations) that Cooper's intent here is not to discussion, but bomb-throwing.

He is not here to learn or discuss, but to incite.

He was not here to discuss ideas, but to sneer.

He came not to discuss ideas, but to attack people- and that alone precludes the possibility of making a worthwhile contribution to the thread.

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You can't say that. You simply don't know what they have or haven't done.

Nor can you make your own claims in the post above.

You simply don't know what we have or haven't done.

In point of fact, no one here has ruled out the possibility that others might come to different conclusions- that was YOUR charge, not ours.

It might be very comforting for you to think that. The thought that yea, they gave JS the benefit of the doubt, and then some and still left is probably very scary to many here. So scary, that mentally, some cant even conceive of such a thing, yet I'm sure it has happened.
And you repeat your sin.

We did not assert that others could not come to a different opinion- YOU did.

And now you're attempting to ascribe motives to us for a position we do not hold.

You are imputing motives and emotions to us without any evidence to support your attempted mind-reading.

How is that any different than Deborah's statement above?

You cannot know our hearts and minds.....who then are you to tell us what they contain?

What would it mean to you if that were the case ? What would it mean to you, personally, if suddenly you ran into - say 5 different members from your own stake, who are leaving and who you know did give JS the benefit of the doubt ? What if they told you they did pray about it and got their answer and are still leaving ? How would that make you feel ? or would you just dismiss that possibility, put it out of your mind and go on your merry way ?
We confront this paradox on these boards every single day, Cooper.

In my own case (and in that of those whom I've actually spoken about this, instead of merely presuming) the general answer is sadness that we disagree, and the hope that they will one day come to understand as we do.

We understand and accept that agency includes the right to be wrong, and that our individual experiences with atonement and redemption means that we will not all walk the same path.

We accept the possibility of differnt interpretations and different conclusions- it is YOU, not we, who reject that possibility.

Your own stance has made it clear that there are only two possibilities: either we are unthinking dupes or we must agree with you.

Unfortunately for your dogmatism, this is not a binary solution set.

Would you be willing to try and walk in their shoes and see what it was that was driving their behavior ? Why they came to that conclusion ?
What makes you think we have not? Again, this is evidence of your binary mindset- we must either agree with you or be condemned as unthinking, myopic, and unsympathetic. Again, it is you who are rejecting the possibility that we might have come reasonably to a different conclusion.

Again, this is not a binary solution set, and again, it is you who is being close-minded and judgemental.

If an answer is so scary you can't really imagine the consequences - well, then it's time to look in the mirror and ask some hard questions of yourself.

And again, it is you who is presuming- smug in your own arrogance- that we have not looked at these things.

It is you who presumes that it must be your way or the highway- that the only people who could possibly disagree with you are those who cannot think for themselves.

In your arrogance, you have displayed the very same ignorant condescension and judgementalism for which you seek to damn us.

Verily, you HAVE your reward.

In any event, this thread is NOT about your bigoted assumptions about Mormons or about this board.

It is about the conviction of myself and others that the evidence- particularly his own writings and those of the people who knew him best- supports the idea that Joseph Smith was a good and decent man.

If you can provide any evidence to the contrary, please do so.

If not, stop derailing the thread.

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The thought that yea, they gave JS the benefit of the doubt, and then some and still left is probably very scary to many here. So scary, that mentally, some cant even conceive of such a thing, yet I'm sure it has happened.

Are you twelve? Why on earth would it be scary to a believer that someone else came to a different conclusion? How does that affect my conclusion? Considering that many of us are converts, we haven't had the benefit of brainwashing you all assume members have had. Therefore we were able to come to our own conclusions. :P

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The world is not so neatly divided into good versus evil.

I wasn't proposing a "neat" division into good versus evil. I simply said that, based upon a lot of careful reading of his personal writings, I regard Joseph Smith as having been an honorable and honest man. I was making no case for his moral perfection, nor was I arguing for a simplistic dichotomy between perfectly good men and perfectly bad men, but I think most of us can admit that there is a difference between generally honorable, honest people, on the one hand, and generally dishonorable, dishonest people on the other. I'm firmly convinced that Joseph Smith was among the former.

Most of us have some measure of both in us.

Having read a bit of history and a bit of literature and lived a few years, I'm aware of this.

I find it highly probable that Joseph Smith both cared deeply about religious issues with a genuine concern for his fellow saints

Not my point. My point is that he not only cared deeply about religious issues but that he was honest and sincere. And I agree, as I said, with Gordon Madsen's verdict, reached after years of immersion in the relevant business and legal documents, that Joseph was honest in the specific testable ways peculiar to business and legal transactions. This is something rather distinct from simply "caring deeply about religious issues." Jim Bakker cared deeply about religious issues, but he was a swindler. In my judgment, the evidence regarding Joseph Smith strongly suggests that he was not a swindler.

and yet had issues with pride

Possibly. Few people don't.

And, yet, I think of something I wrote quite a number of years ago:

On pages 366-67, Decker cites the Documentary History of the Church 6:408-9 as evidence that Joseph Smith was an arrogant boaster.53 But the History of the Church itself describes that passage as resting upon a "synopsis" by Thomas Bullock. Is it, therefore, a primary source? The date of the sermon is 26 May 1844. A month later, the Prophet was dead. Did he supervise this entry? No. The last years -- years! -- of his entries in the Documentary History of the Church were actually made by others, after his death, in an attempt, consistent with the historiographical practices of the day, to complete the narrative.54 They based their work on other eyewitness accounts and contemporary journals of other people, often transforming third-person narratives into the first person. This point is vitally important to keep in mind when trying to assess the character of Joseph Smith, his moral and spiritual quality, through the so-called "Documentary History."55

The impression I myself get of Joseph Smith from reading his authenticated statements is of a humble and sincere man, struggling to do the will of God as he understood it. However, even if a note of proud defiance had crept into Joseph's tone during a speech in Nauvoo when both city and Church were under pressure from gangs of unprincipled bigots, I for one would not have blamed him.

On the general reliability of the Documentary History of the Church, by the way, I think it worth saying that, in view of the way it was put together, it is not the overall thrust or narrative that is likely to be inaccurate, but the nuances, the tone, the details. This is precisely the opposite problem from that which anti-Mormons would have us see in it: They think the overall story of the History incorrect (e.g., divine intervention, revelation, Joseph Smith's prophetic calling, etc.), but want us to accept the details of tone and mood -- at least when those details seem to put the Prophet in a bad light. (Amusing, isn't it?, that the very same people who vehemently reject the Documentary History of the Church as an unreliable source when it seems to support the Latter-day Saint position clutch it to their bosoms as an unparalleled historical treasure when they think they can use it as a weapon against the alleged errors of Mormonism.)

53 On page 411, Decker -- the cover of whose book bears his name not merely once, but twice, and in large letters -- calls Joseph Smith "melodramatic" and "egomaniacal." Incidentally, for what it may be worth, the eminent New Testament scholar Krister Stendahl (former dean of Harvard Divinity School and Lutheran Bishop Emeritus of Stockholm) considers the Apostle Paul to have been "a terrible braggart," "egocentric," and "blatantly arrogant." See Krister Stendahl, Final Account: Paul's Letter to the Romans (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995), 3-5, 14. One need not agree with this judgment; I suspect that Decker would reject it on principle, while applying to Joseph Smith a standard that he would never apply to Paul.

54 On this, consult Dean C. Jessee, "The Reliability of Joseph Smith's History," The Journal of Mormon History 3 (1976): 23-46, and the following pamphlets: Dean C. Jessee, Has the History of the Church Been Deliberately Falsified? (Sandy: Mormon Miscellaneous, 1982), and Van Hale, Comparing the Writing of the History of the Church with the Writing of the New Testament Gospels (Sandy: Mormon Miscellaneous, 1989).

55 Dean C. Jessee's "Preface" to his collection of The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1984), xiii-xix, specifically addresses the issue of the seeming egotism that enters into Joseph's later statements as edited by well-meaning others, but which is apparently quite foreign to the man himself.

and womanizing.

I'm not at all convinced that Joseph was a womanizer.

That doesn't answer the question of whether or not he was an actual prophet.

By itself, no, it doesn't. As I said. But if he wasn't insincere, and he wasn't lying, and he wasn't hallucinating, that is strong reason to suppose that he was telling the truth. And I'm convinced that he was sincere, that he wasn't lying, and that he wasn't crazy.

I come to a different conclusion than Dr. Peterson and believe Mormonism springs from the mind of man, like any other religion, rather than from divine plan.

You're welcome to present the evidence and to analyze it any way you wish. I've explained what the evidence clearly seems to be saying, in my judgment.

Ain't this thread cute.

You must imagine that condescension is even cuter.

you have to want to understand. I doubt many who are deep into the Church really want to know. You have to be willing to walk in someone Else's shoes, and not in your own. It's scary, it really is at times. However that is how we humans learn to understand and grow. Pretend you are an actor playing a role. Then try to examine the issue from all sides, not just the safe one.

It must surely be wonderful to be a brave person who takes risks in quest of knowledge and understanding. You're an inspiration to us all.

It might be very comforting for you to think that. The thought that yea, they gave JS the benefit of the doubt, and then some and still left is probably very scary to many here. So scary, that mentally, some cant even conceive of such a thing

We're timid little creatures here.

If ya all really want to do the job of an apologist - first you need to understand where the other side is coming from. Know your audience if you will.

Got it. Thanks!

(I'm not clear what this has to do with my opening post, but, golly, I'm certainly grateful for the counsel.)

Now, I doubt the audience here are those from other religions. No, my guess is the apologists job is to help convince those who are on the fence. To give them just a little wiggle room to stay.

I'd love to have a look at The Apologist's Job Description sometime.

When everyone says "I can't see how anyone could come to a different conclusion" - well, you just pushed those on the fence off on the wrong side. Cause, that is closed minded, and judgmental all at the same time.

After reading here a long time - personally, if all you are going to do is pat each other on the back, and tell everyone else how righteous you are, then slam anyone with a different opinion (not that that happened in this thread, but it does happen a lot) - well, then you have your own reward don't you.

Does this have anything to do with my opening post?

.

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People who see any negative of the Church be it Joseph Smith or otherwise 99.999% of the time do so because they have quote mined something or many things at once seeming negative, then that thing is spinned more negative creating false conclusions. Thus the entire thing or things is taken out of context and then one BIG LIE is told about that thing or things. Truth is not the interest, but slander is. Not that there has been 100% perfection in the Church by it's people at every level, but NOT EVEN CLOSE to the level as promoted by anti-mormons, and as well not even close to the problems that have existed in the religions the religious anti-mormons come from, thus double standards are the rule to the anti-mormon.

Actually delving deep into the history without the quote mining one finds a very deep and profound work and people. I mean, just look at the latest on the KEP. Early mormons certainly were not dumb.

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Ain't this thread cute. Based on the rules here - I guess all anyone can do is agree with the OP. Otherwise they would be talking bad about Joseph and we all know we can not have that.

Seriously though - for those who say they can't understand how anyone come come to another opinion - I say try a little harder, really, it's easy if you try. However you have to want to understand. I doubt many who are deep into the Church really want to know. You have to be willing to walk in someone Else's shoes, and not in your own. It's scary, it really is at times. However that is how we humans learn to understand and grow. Pretend you are an actor playing a role. Then try to examine the issue from all sides, not just the safe one.

If ya all really want to do the job of an apologist - first you need to understand where the other side is coming from. Know your audience if you will. Now, I doubt the audience here are those from other religions. No, my guess is the apologists job is to help convince those who are on the fence. To give them just a little wiggle room to stay.

When everyone says "I can't see how anyone could come to a different conclusion" - well, you just pushed those on the fence off on the wrong side. Cause, that is closed minded, and judgmental all at the same time.

After reading here a long time - personally, if all you are going to do is pat each other on the back, and tell everyone else how righteous you are, then slam anyone with a different opinion (not that that happened in this thread, but it does happen a lot) - well, then you have your own reward don't you.

Sneer elsewhere.

Skylla

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Back at you. I doubt many who leave the church or were never part of it have even given the benefit of the doubt in the many areas we don't have extensive documentation or only second and third hand accounts.

Yeah, I agree. When you have a prophet and feel the spirit testify to you about that, you can and should give him the benefit of doubt concerning their integrity and sincerity. That is why I still consider myself a member of the Peoples Temple. I give my martyred prophet the benefit of doubt and so should Mormons do so with their prophet.

Take a break from the board.

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Here's my opening post. I stand by it:

I like this latest "Mormon Scholars Testify" entry, because its author, based on years of working with the legal and business documents associated with Joseph Smith, is firmly convinced that Joseph Smith was an honest and an honorable man, and a sincere one:

http://mormonscholarstestify.org/1477/gordon-a-madsen

That's my firm conviction, as well, based upon my own readings in published anthologies of his "personal writings." It's nothing that I can neatly prove, in the same way that I can construct a demonstrative syllogism, and others will, no doubt, dismiss my understanding of the man. But it's my very, very strong sense, after years of reading things that Joseph didn't write for publication: If I have any sense at all for genuineness in a fellow human being, any capacity to discern character in people, Joseph Smith was a sincere man.

Which, I think, is a very important thing to know.

The options seem to me, broadly, that he was either mad, or a liar, or a prophet. I'm convinced that he wasn't a liar, and I see no signs of insanity (and wouldn't regard madness as an adequate explanation anyway, if the Witnesses and his other associates are taken into account).

I followed the story of Jim Jones and his "People's Temple" fairly closely at the time, and have read somewhat about him since. I do not believe that he was an honest, honorable, or fully sane man, and, if seriously asked to justify my opinion of him, could quite easily do so. This has nothing whatever to do with any double standard on my part.

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I think mysteryman should sneer elsewhere, as well. :P

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While listening to one of the programs on The Joseph Smith Papers Documentary, the point was made that people who call Joseph names and accuse him of all kinds of nefarious behavior, are usually looking at the "history" (which as we all know is incomplete and only now being put in proper perspective by those who are studying his papers.) They fail however to look at him as a man. Joseph was the most charitable and forgiving of men. There are countless stories of his kindness and love of his people. For those who wronged him, and there were several who grievously wronged both him and the church, he was quick to forgive once they returned. He was often quick tempered but did not hold a grudge; his thoughtfulness toward others is well recorded in journals. It is this personal Joseph I can't reconcile with the historical Joseph of the critics.

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A person's level of investment in the LDS church is the most important determining factor for who will give Joseph Smith the benefit of the doubt.

And yet a person can not believe and still give the benefit of doubt for someone who lived so long ago, and whom, whatever you think of him, accomplished a great work against great odds. And if only because so many love and revere him one ought to pause before making judgments which insult others and show their, the critics', littleness of mind.

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That's what I'm trying to point out. If an answer is so scary you can't really imagine the consequences - well, then it's time to look in the mirror and ask some hard questions of yourself.

<------ (Runs and hides in closet because it is too scary to fathom)

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