Little Known Propaganda: 13 – Joseph Smith Boasted (part 2)

12 Aug

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13a

Note: This is the second part to this one because it ended up being much longer than the others. Please read both to have a full understanding of my comments. I do this because I don’t like any article on my blog to be over 1,000 words. Thank You

FACT #13. Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, boasted of doing a greater “work” than the Lord Jesus.

Joseph Smith made this incredible boast:

“I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. . . . Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor JESUS ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of JESUS ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (History of the Church, vol. 6, pp. 408, 409)

No true Prophet of God ever spoke such words as these.

 

Now, let us look at what Joseph Smith said.

 

My object is to let you know that I am right here on the spot where I intend to stay.

First Joseph Smith tells his audience his purpose in speaking, which is to let the world know that would remain faithful to God and the gospel.

I, like Paul, have been in perils, and oftener than anyone in this generation. As Paul boasted…

Here he directly compares himself to Paul, which is something he does throughout this talk.

God is in the still small voice. In all these affidavits, indictments, it is all of the devil–all corruption. Come on! Ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last.

Just as Paul was speaking to answer the accusations of false teachers, so Joseph Smith is addressing the accusations of those who opposed him. Then, what follows is his very brief statement of boasting.

I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.

Note a few things. First, the author made the claim that Joseph Smith boasted of doing a greater work than Jesus. They even placed the word ‘work’ in quotations to emphasize their point. Clearly they want the reader to believe that Joseph made the claim that he did a greater work than the Atonement that was wrought by Christ. However, if we look at what Joseph Smith said we see clearly that he never said any such thing. He claimed only to have done a unique work, making no claim to superiority in any way. So, the only thing that one need ask is was his work unique in the history of the family of Adam?

The answer to this is clearly yes. Every prophet in the scriptures had trouble with dissenters and apostates that continually divided the church and led to wide spread rebellion. Even Jesus was abandoned by a great portion of His followers. However, Joseph Smith led a church that remained faithful through some of the greatest tribulation that man has ever experienced. The vast majority stayed faithful through it all. This is unique in human history, and thus the claim is true.

Now, to say that Joseph was foolish to have said this, especially as regards Christ, is perfectly true. But then, as we have seen, he is taking his lead from Paul, who stated directly that he was going to speak foolishly. If Paul may have the privilege of speaking foolishly and still be considered a prophet, than why not Joseph Smith?

 

Now, we have seen that Paul’s intent was to answer the accusations of false teachers, and the rest of Joseph Smith’s remarks are also directed to this main purpose, with just a few side notes.

You know my daily walk and conversation…For the last three years I have a record of all my acts and proceedings…therefore my enemies cannot charge me with any day, time, or place, but what I have written testimony to prove my actions; and my enemies cannot prove anything against me…

To preface this answer to the accusers Joseph Smith declares that he can produce proof against their accusations, showing them all to be liars. He then spends the next five paragraphs speaking of the accusations of a Mr. Simpson, then nine paragraphs addressing William Law and his conspirators. In all this he is still, to some extent, boasting that these men can prove nothing against him.

When I love the poor, I ask no favors of the rich. I can go to the cross–I can lay down my life; but don’t forsake me. I want the friendship of my brethren.–Let us teach the things of Jesus Christ…

Here he entreats the saints to not forsake him, but to join with him in teaching Christ and his gospel. For Joseph Smith, even after foolishly boasted, still saw himself as a follower of Christ, and sought only for the glory of God.

He then gives some counsel, which is not important to our purpose here, and then speaks again about William Law and his associates. Finally he closes with this statement.

As I grow older, my heart grows tenderer for you. I am at all times willing to give up everything that is wrong, for I wish this people to have a virtuous leader, I have set your minds at liberty by letting you know the things of Christ Jesus. When I shrink not from your defense will you throw me away for a new man who slanders you?…

He expresses his love for the saints, and his desire to be the virtuous man they deserve (though he does not claim to be perfect in any way). He then invokes Christ, declaring that it is Christ that has liberated the saints and brought them the joy and blessings they had received.

He finally says something similar to what Paul had said to the Corinthians. Don’t forsake him (even though he is foolish at times and has weakness), especially for a false teacher.

 

In all his words Joseph Smith spoke to address the concerns of the saints that had arisen because of the false accusations of some among them who were seeking to pull him down that they might lead the people instead. Just like Paul he spoke foolishly, boasting in his own works in order that the saints might see the truth of his prophetic calling, despite his faults. He gave the credit for his success to Christ, and entreated all to remain faithful, even though he was not perfect.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Little Known Propaganda: 13 – Joseph Smith Boasted (part 2)”

  1. shematwater August 12, 2017 at 9:14 pm #

    Response to CleanCut

    CleanCut makes two main points.

    First he says that the record of this talk was made after Joseph Smith’s death. While I believe this is true, and thus we cannot be completely certain as to his exact words, I don’t think it has direct bearing on the issue at hand. This is not simply a journal entry or summation, but a recording of the talk. Thus we can assume that what was recorded was very close to what Joseph said and at least accurate as to the basic meaning and intention of his words. Now, there are times when a person has given only a brief summary of what was clearly a lengthy discourse by Joseph Smith, that does not seem to be the case here.

    His second comment was basically the same as what I have said. Joseph Smith used Paul’s words as a hook to focus the minds of his audience that they might more fully understand the reason for his remarks. On this point I would say that again his answer is too brief, but he does make one point that I do not. He points out that, besides the basic argument that even prophets have faults, “true messengers from God are often persecuted by those who should listen, while the false and apostate are praised.” This is another good point to remember when considering Joseph’s words.

    The only problem with his comment is that he doesn’t actually address the claim being made. He explains Joseph Smith’s words very well, but does nothing to counter the claim that Joseph Smith said he was greater than Christ. As such his comment does not fully address the issue.

  2. shematwater August 12, 2017 at 9:16 pm #

    Response to DAMON

    Damon first resorts to insulting CleanCut. Without addressing anything said he expresses wonder at what he considers CleanCut’s attempt to justify things. Of course, this is done purposely to prejudice the mind of the reader, trying to lead them into the belief that nothing they read should be taken at face value, but should be considered a stretching of the truth made to blind their understanding.

    As to what he actually said in regards to CleanCut’s comments, let us take a look.

    He first addresses CleanCut’s second points. Here we see that because CleanCut did not address the accusation of Joseph Smith claiming himself to be greater than Christ he left himself wide open to the attacks of Damon. This is why I said that CleanCut had failed in this area.
    Now, the simple fact is, as I stated in my response, Joseph Smith never claimed he was greater than Christ. His words do not say this, and only by twisting them and overlaying their own skewed reasoning can anyone reasonably make that claim. Joseph did claim to have performed a unique work, and that claim is true. However, he never once claimed that he could bring anyone to salvation, nor did he ever place himself as being higher than Jesus. In everything he ever taught he always held Christ up as the name above all else and the only name by which men could be saved.
    The fact that Joseph did something that Christ did not should not be surprising to anyone with any intelligence. Noah could accurately boast that no one else, including Christ, had ever build an ark and saved all life from the flood. Adam could rightly boast that not even Christ had been the first man on the earth. Uniqueness in one’s life does not equate to superiority, but that is what Damon and others are claiming when they use this passage to accuse Joseph Smith.

    Damon only briefly comments on the first point that CleanCut makes. But he shows his own double standards that are so common to those who accuse Joseph Smith and the church. He asks “If the account is written after Joseph Smith’s death, then just who is speaking for Joe, wasn’t he dead already? Does the Mormon Church write in its leaders words after they are dead?”
    Well, the same could be said of Christ. The entire New Testament was written after the death of Christ, who was speaking for Christ? Did the early church write in Christ’s words after he died?
    What Damon doesn’t seem to understand is that many prophets do not have their words published to the word until after their deaths. So, while the record of this talk was made after Joseph’s death, it may have been recorded to some extent by those who heard the words, and was published to the world by them. If we can trust the words of Matthew and John and Luke (who was not a witness of Christ’s life), why can we not trust the words of those who were witnesses of Joseph Smith’s life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: