Why Should I Have Faith In Joseph Smith?

I’m confused.

Why are LDS members so willing to accept Joseph Smith as the chosen, most important and amazing, honorable prophet of the entire last dispensation of time (out of all of the people on earth who could have been chosen) despite well-known facts; such as

1.  Purposefully deceiving his (39 yr. old) wife and the church members about “marrying” several women, including young girls, teenagers and previously married women. I use the word “marrying” loosely because the marriages were not legally recognized by anyone and he might not have had sex with all of them (but he is forgiven even if he did) and he didn’t support them financially or live with them. He was also publicly accused of sexual harassment on more than one occasion.

2. That he was known as a con- man and taken to trial as such on numerous occasions. That he used the same ordinary stone that he found outside in the dirt to “translate” the Book of Mormon also as a pretend tool to con people to pay him to find buried treasure and of course never finding the treasure.  He also prophesied that the Kirtland bank would never fail and then it did, bankrupting thousands of members. On January 12, 1838, he faced a warrant for his arrest on a charge of illegal banking.

3. That he wrote so many errors in the Book of Mormon such as: KJV errors, anachronisms, Lamanites (who are American Indians) are from Israel, dark-skinned people are dark because of a curse and they turn white when they are more righteous, etc

4. That most of his prophecies were never fulfilled.

5. That he translated parts of the forged Kinderhook plates and said they were real.

You can Google any of these things to read more about them.

If I bring any of these up to LDS members they say things like:

“God works with imperfect people”

“I’ve decided that prophets can be fallible”

“FAIR: Joseph Smith didn’t act in prophet’s role during translation of Kinderhook plates”

Yet – if a person lived today with this same track record we wouldn’t give that person the time of day- let alone dedicate our lives to whatever that person decided to preach to us. We also would not believe him if he said he talked with angels and God. We would not trust him with anything of importance to us. So why are so many people willing to today?

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7 Responses to Why Should I Have Faith In Joseph Smith?

  1. crazy says:

    You know in some senses you really do need to keep up with your history.
    Your number one has some issues with that infact. It was really common for an older man to marry a teenager. It was part of the times. Anymore not so much. Now days it is different that is for sure.
    Marring many times isn’t wrong either. IF you look at todays society we do it plenty. Yet it isn’t considered wrong. You can go through divorce all the time and it is publically accepted. Or even have friends with benifits and yet it isn’t wrong. Polygamy is interesting in the fact that yes, the man has multiple partners, but instead of leaving them at the flip of a dime he is ruted. God told man to spread his seed and commite. He told women to follow and obey those that they love. Both of which are the hard parts for both sex’s.

    • sarah says:

      It was actually pretty rare for a 38-year-old man to marry girls as young as 14-16. Marriage to young girls was mostly either the very rich and powerful making dynastic ties, or the very poor and rural (for economic reasons). However, it is true that it was more common then, then it is now. Similarly in the past it was more common to own slaves, have forced child labor, wipeout Native Americans and put them on reservations, etc. Married women had no control of their earnings, inheritance, property, and also could not appear in court as a witness nor vote. Their husbands, therefore, were responsible for all aspects of their wife including discipline.

      Just because something is common doesn’t make it right.

      Being a girl myself (so understanding how devastated and miserable they would feel) and reading the stories of the young girls who were manipulated into marrying a much older Joseph or Brigham because they were told it would “guarantee salvation for their entire family” is heartbreaking. The reasons you don’t see this kind of thing happening anymore is the same reason people can no longer own slaves – because it is abusive in almost all cases.

      Marrying many times may not be wrong, per say, but it is not ideal even today and hurts kids. Joseph Smith DID leave these women at the flip of a dime. He married them, slept with them and then for the most part went on to the next woman.

      Your last line takes the cake. “God told man to spread his seed and commit. He told women to follow and obey those that they love. Both of which are the hard parts for both sex’s.”

      God didn’t tell man anything about this. Corrupt, sexist, cheating, selfish men told women that men need to spread their seed to many women and women need to stay faithful to one man. A polygamist doesn’t have to ever stay faithful because at any time he can go out and get a new wife, yet all of the wives have to remain faithful to the one man. This is not hard for men. That is laughable. It takes away all that is important to women; however, which is to have the exclusive love and commitment of one man.

      • crazy says:

        You talk of polygamy as if you have lived it. As if you really do know what is going on. As if you have lived it and completly know ever situation. This intreges me. For you see not all is what you say it is. Infact most of what you have said is only true in part. Most of what you hear in the news is about abuse and crewel men. Yet what about thos still that you do not hear about? Then again is marrying another women really that easy? Does taking care of each of your wives seem like a skip in the park? How about the fights that go on beetween each of the wives.
        You base your self off of what you have heard and feel. Yet when it comes down to it you really don’t know. As far as i am concerned, in a true polygamy family, the husbands have the short end of the stick.
        As for salvation being garenteed. You really need to get your facts streight. I highly doubt that the majority if any really where told that.
        You set your self up to see these people as bad. As if them doing one thing, one action, one deed that you yourself can’t fathom the reason for condems them.
        To glorify is to place someone before god. That is true, and incorrect. To follow is another story though. Before you pass judgment upon a teaching or person, maybe you should really look into it. Find out for sure what youare saying is true. Even more so, look into each subject and find the truthes in them. If all you do is look for problems then that is all there is everywhere.
        I will say this, not one religion is perfect, the thing you look for is the one that contains the most truths and will lead you back to our lord in heavn.

      • sarah says:

        It sounds to me that you are the person who doesn’t know the real history. Why don’t you do some research, such as reading Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman or In Sacred Loneliness by Todd Compton or Emma Smith: Mormon Inigma. Once you do your own reading and understanding of this subject, come back and make an informed comment.

      • crazy says:

        Ah but as a person who lives around this on a regular basis (I am not one). One that actually has studded it out. I have found many things. I can make informed decisions. To read about it is one thing. It is a hole different ball park to have personal experience. For as you know well, books and documents can be changed, both in meaning, and in text.
        Just as well though, there are many things I have learned and can make a decision on. If you believe me or not that is your choice. I only wish to impart the truth’s that I have learned that I see it. At the end of this day it really matters not if you listen or not, for we are all in tiled to our opinion and beliefs.

  2. Pingback: Does Mormonism Rise Or Fall On Joseph Smith’s Character? | Sarah's Mormon Musings

  3. sarah says:

    I am going to comment on Elder Christofferson’s facebook public post.

    Elder Christofferson argues that he doesn’t know who is responsible for the increasing *attacks* on Joseph Smith, but recognises those *attacks* are increasing.

    I am truly amazed that he doesn’t appreciate that most good, honest, normal folk, when they have been raised with Joseph being a *pure hearted* young boy – come to find out through multiple first hand witnesses that he 1. Married women already married. 2. Married (possibly – the evidence is mixed) a young housemaid Fanny Alger without his wife’s approval or knowledge. 3. Married girls as young as 14 using religious manipulation. 4. Married his own foster daughters. 5. Was known as a confidence trickster who conned people out of money claiming to have powers he didn’t infact have (no treasures were ever found) 6. His translation of Egyptian papyri (The Book of Abraham) has been proven wrong by modern Egyptologists…the list goes on – then at some point one is going to have to integrate that knowledge with what one had believed and was convinced of based on a white washed and santised version of LDS origins.

    It’s hard. Really hard. Reactions differ and life paths change whether one stays or goes. (I walked)

    Who is responsible. My opinion..the responsibility lies in the hands of a system that systematically covered up it’s history and origins for a perceived greater good. Elder Christofferson, the leadership is responsible. Take responsibility. Say sorry for the deception. Sorry for the lies. Sorry for the whitewashing. Don’t blame the victims or some Satanic force. Blame yourself and those who perpetuated the whitewashing.

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