Tag Archives: Joseph Smith

9 Ways Anti-Mormons Want You to Mistrust the LDS Church (7-9)

3 Jul

A while ago I came across this video that purports to reveal to the public Nine things about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that the church doesn’t want people to know. I have seen many such lists, and this, like all the others, is largely inaccurate or fails to support what they claim to be doing.

At the time I had considered doing a response to the video, but things got away from me and it never happened. But this video has recently been put up in another blog post and thus was brought back to my attention. So, I have decided to make a few comments on it.

 

To be clear, I am addressing the claim that the church doesn’t want you to know what the video portrays. I will not be addressing the accuracy of any point except briefly, unless doing so is necessary to the main claim of the video. Also, since I don’t like my posts to be too long, I will be separating this into three posts, each addressing three points from the video.

 

Temple Worthy Members wear Sacred Temple Garments

Anyone who thinks the church is trying to conceal this is crazy. The Temple Garment is an integral part of the faith and anyone who has worked with a member of the church will learn about them eventually. The church itself has, on various occasions, published information regarding the Temple Garment. On lds.org there is a brief explanation of the Garment under the Gospel Topics section. In 1997 there was a lengthy essay published in the church magazine the Ensign, which was reprinted in the Liahona magazine for the youth in 1999. Every member learns of the garments in the church’s Temple Prep classes, and in the Mormon News Room was recently published this article and video.

 

Practice of Spiritism (Deuteronomy 18: 10-12)

First, the maker of the video makes an error in definitions. Spiritism claims to be a science that studies the relationship between spirits and humans. Spiritualism is a religion based around contacting the dead.

However, in either case it doesn’t apply to the church. The church does not engage in scientific studies of spirits, nor has any leader in the church, past or present, attempted to contact the dead.

Now, it is true that the dead have appeared to some in the past, and likely will continue to do so, but that does not mean it is spiritualism. When Joseph Smith was visited by Moroni he was not seeking contact with the dead, but was praying to God, who then sent Moroni in answer to the prayer.

The same is true of every angelic visitation, and is in perfect agreement with the Bible. After all, we read that Moses and Elijah appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration to Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17:1-3). We also read that after the resurrection many of the ancient saints rose from the grave and appeared to faithful members of the church (Matthew 27:52-53).

The church has always spoken against the use of mediums or other devices to contact the dead and seek knowledge. But they acknowledge that God at times sends the dead in answer to prayers.

So, no, the church does not want anyone to think that we believe or practice either Spiritism or Spiritualism, but neither is true and thus to believe this is to believe a lie.

 

Mormon – r = Moron

Of course this is just thrown in to be silly, but also as a personal attack and mockery. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together can make that deduction. But it has nothing to do with the church, except as a way to belittle and mock it. Honestly, this should show anyone who watches this video that it is all a bunch of hogwash.

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9 Ways Anti-Mormons Want You to Mistrust the LDS Church (4-6)

3 Jul

A while ago I came across this video that purports to reveal to the public Nine things about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that the church doesn’t want people to know. I have seen many such lists, and this, like all the others, is largely inaccurate or fails to support what they claim to be doing.

At the time I had considered doing a response to the video, but things got away from me and it never happened. But this video has recently been put up in another blog post and thus was brought back to my attention. So, I have decided to make a few comments on it.

 

To be clear, I am addressing the claim that the church doesn’t want you to know what the video portrays. I will not be addressing the accuracy of any point except briefly, unless doing so is necessary to the main claim of the video. Also, since I don’t like my posts to be too long, I will be separating this into three posts, each addressing three points from the video.

 

Life on the Moon and Sun.

I will be brief on this point, as it is an obscure idea that is based on a single quote from Brigham Young and a third hand claim of what Joseph Smith might have taught fifty years after he died.

I just don’t see the evidence that the Church is attempting to conceal anything. The Journal of Discourses, which is the source of the Brigham Young quote, is printed and is available online. It just isn’t that important, except as an interesting historical snippet.

 

Polygamy practiced for 40 years.

Again, there is no proof that the church is attempting to hide or conceal this fact. The practice is recorded in section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants, and is standard reading for all members and investigators. It was discussed in the institute manual Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual. Also, in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism we have a detailed essay on the matter. And, more recently the church has published four essays on the subject that can be found at lds.org. These essays deal with the practice in general, during Kirtland and Nauvoo, in Utah, and then the ending of the practice.

So, where is the attempt to conceal this information?

 

Joseph Smith will judge people.

Again, to be brief, there is no attempt to prevent people from learning this. It is also very misunderstood, but that is beside the point. Just like the concept of Life on the Moon, this idea is primarily mentioned in the Journal of Discourses, which is readily available and which the church acknowledges has benefits to reading and studying, but is not recognized as official doctrine. So again, there is no

 

9 Ways Anti-Mormons Want You to Mistrust the LDS Church (1-3)

3 Jul

A while ago I came across this video that purports to reveal to the public Nine things about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that the church doesn’t want people to know. I have seen many such lists, and this, like all the others, is largely inaccurate or fails to support what they claim to be doing.

At the time I had considered doing a response to the video, but things got away from me and it never happened. But this video has recently been put up in another blog post and thus was brought back to my attention. So, I have decided to make a few comments on it.

 

To be clear, I am addressing the claim that the church doesn’t want you to know what the video portrays. I will not be addressing the accuracy of any point except briefly, unless doing so is necessary to the main claim of the video. Also, since I don’t like my posts to be too long, I will be separating this into three posts, each addressing three points from the video.

 

Joseph Smith was a Mason.

Far from not wanting people to know that Joseph Smith was a mason, this little fact was included in the Institute manual for college students. The title of the manual is Church History in the Fullness of Times. In chapter 21 of this manual is the following quote:

As early as October 1841 some Masons who were members of the Church obtained permission to initiate a Masonic lodge in Nauvoo. Joseph Smith could see advantages in belonging to this fraternal order. Presumably it was felt that other Masons in the state and nation, many of whom held prominent positions, would look more kindly upon the Church. Joseph Smith and many others in Nauvoo were formally introduced into the order in March 1842.

It is also true that in 1938 the church published a book called Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith which is a collection of quotes from Joseph Smith. On page 255 there is a brief mention of him and other church members attending the formation of the Montrose, Iowa lodge.

As to the similarities, in 1991 the Encyclopedia of Mormonism was published. It was a joint venture initiated by MacMillan Publishing in New York, but was approved of by the First Presidency of the Church. The Encyclopedia contains an article titled Freemasonry and the Temple. It makes a thorough comparison between the two from a scholarly perspective.

 

The Book of Mormon is completely unreliable.

I think the author of the video does not quite understand the meaning of the word reliable. It means to consistently give the same result over several trials or tests. So it doesn’t matter if the result is wrong, as long as you get the same result over and over it is reliable.

So, is the Book of Mormon unreliable? To determine this you have to show that over a period of time it has given varying results rather than consistent results. The test of reliability would be different for different aspects of the books.

Now the author of the video claims it is unreliable for two reasons. First, the translation cannot be verified; second it is inconsistent with historical knowledge. But neither of these actually tests reliability, but rather accuracy. The real truth is that the Book of Mormon reliably conveys the same story and message no matter how many times you read it, and whether that story is accurate or not has no effect on its reliability.

Of course, the church actually offers a test of reliability regarding the Book of Mormon, which is found in Moroni 10: 4-5. This is a spiritual test that, if followed, will reliably render the same result each time.

 

Racism against Blacks.

Actually, the church has always been fairly open about its policies regarding the African race. And please note that it was African and not black that the policy affected. Other black races, notably the aborigine of Australia, were unaffected by it. About 3 months after this video was put up on YouTube the church published an essay that gives all the details about the churches policy and the various theories surrounding it. Note that they were theories and not doctrine, and the church does not, nor has it ever actually subscribed to any of them. We simply don’t know the details regarding it.

Now, there are many quotes from earlier church leaders that many members are not familiar with. But there is no evidence that the church is trying to hide them. Far from it, they have continued to make them available to those who seek them. The Journal of Discourses, the Discourses of Brigham Young, the Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, among other collections, have been published by the church for some time. More recently they have started the project called “The Joseph Smith Papers” as well as other initiatives to uncover as much as they can about the early church and its leaders.  While they have not paraded these things through the news, they have made no effort to conceal them either.

Little Known Propaganda: 17 – Life on the Moon

2 Apr

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. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10#11#12#13a#13b#14#15, 16

 

FACT #17. Joseph Smith taught the moon was inhabited by people who dressed like Quakers and lived to be about 1000 years old.

In the Mormon publication, The Young Woman’s Journal, pp. 263 & 264, O.B. Huntington gives this interesting information:

“As far back as 1837, I know that he [Joseph Smith] said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they lived to a greater age than we do – that they live generally to near the age of 1000 years. He [Smith] described the men as averaging near six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style.”

Now that man has walked on the Moon, there can be no doubt that there aren’t any 6 foot tall Quakers roaming its surface.

 

This one might have been little known before the age of the internet, and even in the early years of the internet. How well known it was when this list was first put together would be impossible to say, but of all the items on the list, it is likely the least well known. The reason for this is that it is stated in only two places, and both sources are fairly rare. The Young Woman’s Journal was printed from 1889 to 1896, when the New Era took its place. The fact that a single article from more than 100 years ago is not known to the general membership is hardly surprising. When you consider that it was an independent publication (meaning associated with but not published by the church) it is even less surprising. This journal did not, nor has it ever represented actually church doctrine, and anyone who says it does has no idea what they are talking about.

But, regardless of that, there is still the fair question of whether or not Joseph Actually said this. So, let us examine this from a historical perspective, rather than from a theological one.

 

First

Brother Huntington says that he knows Joseph taught this. He doesn’t say that he heard Joseph teach it. We know why this is by reading Brother Huntington’s journal. However, this journal was kept only during the years of 1880-1882. This means the entries in it for any period before that were recollections and not immediate accounts. Now, in these recollections Brother Huntington writes about the idea of life on the moon twice. The first time he says basically what is quoted here, without claiming to have heard Joseph say this himself. The second time he again gives the same details, but states that Joseph Smith had told a Philo Dibble the information, thus indicating that Brother Huntington received the information from Brother Dibble.

The acceptance that Brother Huntington got his information second hand is re-enforced when we look at his life and the life of Brother Dibble. Brother Huntington was 13 when he was baptized in 1836, and thus would have been only 14 in 1837; and only a member for a year. However, in this same year Philo Dibble would have been 31 years old and a member for 7 years. As this is the year that Brother Huntington claims the idea of life on the moon originated it is infinitely more likely that Joseph would have told an older and more established member of the church, who would relay the information years later to a younger member.

So what we have is the recollections of an older man (in 1880 he would have been 57) about something that another brother told him that Joseph Smith had once said nearly 45 years earlier. Regardless of what Brother Huntington believed, it is not compelling evidence to accept that Joseph Smith ever actually said this.

 

Second

If we accept that Joseph Smith did say this, then let us look at the historical context. Several decades earlier one William Herschel, a prominent astronomer and the discoverer of Uranus and infrared light on the sun, had published a paper in which he not only declared a belief in life on the moon but also the sun (see page 22 of the PDF document). Then, in 1835 a series of articles appeared in The Sun in New York purporting to give details of the life on the moon, and sited to John Herschel, William’s son, who was then a prominent astronomer as his father had been. These articles were revealed to be a hoax, but many people had already latched onto the idea and belief in life on the moon became strong and enduring, taking many decades to dispel.

It also seems that these articles were reprinted in a paper close to Kirtland, and thus it is perfectly reasonable to believe that the members of the LDS church in the area not only read them, but were also fooled into believing them as many others had been. The difference is that the saints had a prophet to whom they believed they could go to get the final answer. So it is also very likely that some of the saints asked Joseph Smith about this, including Brother Dibble.

We must also consider the personality of Joseph Smith. By all accounts he could be quite sarcastic when people were unwilling to listen and was willing to give people what they wanted (in a sarcastic way) if they persisted. For instance; when two sectarian preachers came to visit him in an attempt to trap him in his scriptural understanding he withstood their questions and trapped them with his. When they were about to leave in frustration he made a mark on the ground and took a leap, challenging them to a jumping contest. They went away insulted at such a challenge on the Sabbath, and yet Joseph had, in a sarcastic and mocking way, given them what they wanted; something to criticize.

Taking all this into account it is not unlikely that the members of the church had asked about life on the moon, to which Joseph Smith had not given an answer, or declared that he did not know. But, as he was the prophet, the members kept asking him, assuming (as many today assume) that as the prophet God had revealed everything to him. Getting tired of the constant questions he gave them the answer they were looking for, but with such sarcasm as to be rather ridiculous. But there were those in the church that took this sarcasm literally and chose to believe it to be a prophetic revelation.

 

So, we can reject that Joseph Smith ever actually said, as the historical evidence for it is not compelling; or we can accept that he did say it, but in the context of the time said it in sarcasm and some members foolishly took it as revealed truth. Either way it is at best an intriguing footnote on church history.

Little Known Propaganda: 15 – Shake a Messenger’s Hand

4 Sep

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. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13a, #13b, #14

 

FACT #15. Mormons are taught to “shake hands” with a messenger to determine if he is from God or if he is the devil.

The following information is found in Mormon scripture:

“When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you. If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand. . . . If it were the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him.” (Doctrine and Covenants 129:4, 5, 8)

Rather than trusting in “feelings” the Bible commands us to: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (I Thessalonians 5:21)

 

On this point I think a closer, and more thorough, look at the passages in question is in order. After all, this Fact quotes only three verses. Thus a little more context will shed light on the matter; and section 129 of the Doctrine and Covenants is only 9 verses long.

1-3. There are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely: Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones—For instance, Jesus said: Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.

Here we are taught that there are two types of heavenly beings. This is very significant. We are also taught what these two types are, and what the difference between them is. This is a radical idea, and shocking to some, for Joseph Smith is talking of heavenly beings as being men who once lived in mortality and have been glorified by God. It is a very new idea to many.

After this explanation of the types of heavenly beings, Joseph Smith then proceeds to tell us a means by which we may know which type they are, or if they are heavenly messengers at all.

4 When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you.

This is a very simple thing, and, like Naaman the Syrian, many people in the modern day are offended that such a simple, and obviously mortal act, could be used to discern heavenly messengers. But, as Naaman learned, it is by simple means that God does some of the greatest work.

5 If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand.

What could be more logical than the idea that it is possible to feel the hand of a being that has a physical body? If it is physical than surely it would be perceptible to the physical senses? So, what more natural way to determine if a messenger is an angel, who has a physical body?

6-7 If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his glory; for that is the only way he can appear—Ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is contrary to the order of heaven for a just man to deceive; but he will still deliver his message.

And here is how a ministering spirit is known. Just as it is logical to assume that a being with a physical body can be felt, it is just as logical that a being without a physical body cannot. Knowing this a ministering spirit from heaven will not shake hands.

Now, it says this because it is contrary to heaven for him to deceive you. But how would this be a deception? It would merely prove that he is not yet resurrected, wouldn’t it? But this is explained next.

8 If it be the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him.

Devils, ever seeking to deceiving, will try to convince a person they are an angel from heaven by shaking your hand. But, as they are spirits, never having the privilege of being born into physical bodies (Bible Dictionary: Devil), we cannot feel them. This is just as logical as everything else stated in this section.

The reason ministering spirits are forbidden to shake hands is because the devils do try to. Thus, if the ministering spirits did they would be causing confusion and strengthening the deception of the devils. After all, it would be much harder to discern between a devil and ministering spirit if they both shook your hand and you didn’t feel it.

As I said, this is a radical idea to many, and may very well shock those who are not acquainted with the church and what it teaches. But is very logical in how it is presented, and the means given cannot be easily dismissed.

 

The author seems to want to refer us back to Fact #9, and his objection to inner feelings as testimonies of truth. While I have, in that article, shown that such inner feelings are biblical, they have no bearing on the issue at hand. This teaching is talking of physical sensation, not an emotion reaction. It is an attempt on the author’s part to mislead the reader by making a false association.

However, the author does give a biblical quote in an attempt to show that the bible teaching things differently. He quote Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians where he exhorts them to “Prove all things.” So, I would ask “How do we prove all things?” After all, Paul doesn’t actually give us any processes whereby such proof can be obtained. He simply tells us to obtain it.

How do we prove things? Well, in the case of ministering angels and spirits, we prove them through a handshake. There is nothing contradictory here. Joseph Smith has merely provided the means by which we may do as Paul has exhorted us.

Little Known Propaganda: 14 – 56 Year Prophecy

25 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. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

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

 

FACT #14. In 1835 Joseph Smith prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord.

At a meeting called by Joseph Smith he instructed the Latter-day Saints that it was “the will of God” to go forth and “prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh-even fifty-six years should wind up the scene.” (History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 182) Eight years later he reinforced this by stating:

“I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written – the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till 1 am eighty-five years old.” (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 336)

These are obvious False Prophesies which would make Joseph Smith a False Prophet.

 

Before I address the full claims being made here, I would like to point out first that this fact is completely true, as it is stated initially. Joseph Smith did indeed prophesy concerning the coming of Christ. Of course, so did almost every other prophet who ever lived, so it should not be surprising that Joseph Smith would as well.

However, what the author is really trying to do is claim as fact his opinion that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. He doesn’t state that as part of the fact, of course, but that is the intention of including this in the list.

 

On this point, of Joseph being a false prophet, the author provides two different references to where Joseph Smith spoke concerning the coming of Christ. Let us look at each separately.

 

His first reference is from the second volume of the History of the church, and comes from the minutes of a meeting that Joseph Smith had called on February 14, 1835 in Kirtland. At this meeting all those “who journeyed last season to Zion for the purpose of laying the foundation of its redemption” were called together. After opening the meeting Joseph called the men together and addressed them regarding their service in Zion’s Camp. It was at this meeting, on the second day, that the first Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was chosen, and soon after that the first Quorum of the Seventies was called.

In the context of this meeting we are given a summary of what Joseph Smith said to the brother. The minutes were taken by a scribe and recorded in the History of the Church. In this record we read that Joseph

“gave a relation of some of the circumstances attending while journeying to Zion…and said God …had it in remembrance yet; and it was the will of God that those who went Zion…should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh—even fifty-six years should wind up the scene.”

What was being said here? It is clear that the subject was the calling of the men of Zion’s Camp to the ministry, in preparation of the coming of the Lord. However, the exact words are not known, and thus the exact meaning is not known.

If it is calculated 56 years from the year 1835, brings us to the year 1891. We know that Christ did not return in that year, but there is something else of note that did happen. By the year 1891, all of the original 12 apostles were dead. From all I have been able to discover, the seven presidents of the Quorum of the Seventy were also dead. A little extra research is needed, but it appears that all members of Zion’s Camp had died by the year 1891. So, it would appear that 56 years did, in fact, wind-up the scene of the ministry that these men were called to.

 

 

Now, the second reference seems even more damning, as it is in Joseph Smith’s own words. However, if you look at what he is saying, and look at the context, you will see that what he said did, in fact, come to pass. So, let us see the full quote.

I was once praying earnestly upon this subject, and a voice said unto me, “My son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years of age, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man.” I was left to draw my own conclusions concerning this; and I took the liberty to conclude that if I did live to that time, He would make His appearance. But I do not say whether He will make his appearance or I shall go where He is. I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written—the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till I am eighty-five years old.

So, the only definite thing that Joseph Smith prophesied was that Christ would not come before he was 85 years old. That would have been the year 1891 again, and we can all agree that Christ did not come before that year. As such, Joseph Smith’s statement was perfectly fulfilled.

Beyond this, Joseph Smith himself stated that he was unsure of what to make of the revelation given, and that it could have reference to Joseph’s death, and thus him seeing Christ beyond the veil.

Then, to take the reference even farther, we read the following from Joseph Smith in the next paragraph of the record.

Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed. …all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance. There will be wars and rumors of wars, signs in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, the sun turned into darkness and the moon to blood, earthquakes in divers places, the seas heaving beyond their bounds; then will appear one grand sign of the Son of Man in heaven…as the sign of the coming of the Son of Man, which will be as the light of the morning cometh out of the east.

So, far from saying that Christ would return in the year of 1891 (or the year Joseph would turn 85), Joseph made it clear that many things had to happen before the Lord would return, and that it would not happen until sometime after the year 1891, and not before.

None of this is in error, and thus Joseph Smith is once again shown to be a prophet.

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.