Mormon History: 9 Historical Problems I Wish I Had Known About

Disclaimer: This post is my first post that outlines many Mormon History issues. If that offends you or you simply don’t want to hear about these issues, please skip this post. For those also knowledgeable about these things, please correct me if I am ever wrong.

There is some amount of shame in finding out about your own church’s history from an outsider. I remember people in high school telling me crazy stuff about my church and just telling them, “Look, I’ve been a member my entire life. If that was true, I would have heard it by now.” It turns out some of the stuff my not Mormon friends were telling me was true and crazy, some of it was just crazy.

So, here’s my take on it. The LDS church demands absolute honesty from its members, and it promotes honesty very much. I think growing up as a Mormon made me a more honest person (not that I have any way of testing that theory, but I certainly was taught to be an honest person at church). I remember hearing a talk in one of my student wards about not lying in the small things, and realizing that I hadn’t been accurately declaring my tips I earned as a waitress since I had just been rounding the number (and magically always rounding down). The talk changed my stance and from that day forward I declared my tips with complete honesty. In my book, being Mormon made me a more honest person. So…I can’t lie that I was disappointed and shocked when I realized there was so much of Mormon history that I didn’t know about after 24 years in the church, 24 years that included seminary and religion classes at BYU. Some things I did hear…my seminary teacher my Freshman year of High School talked about Joseph Smith’s polygamy (I already knew about that since it was talked about in my home). At BYU I heard a few other details of Mormon history that I hadn’t heard before. These details were mentioned briefly and then not talked about again, but at least I heard about a few of these things prior to my husband leaving the church.

Ultimately, there were just a lot of things I felt like I should have been told. So, instead of skirting around it more, here’s a brief list of a few of those things, in no particular order.

I wish someone had told me…

  1. Joseph Smith married some women who were already married to other men.
  2. Much of the temple ceremony is nearly identical to the ceremony used by Masons. Joseph Smith and many of the first church leaders were also Masons.
  3. J.S. was very secretive about polygamy, to the point he had a role in burning down a printing press that was going to out him as a polygamist (it would be a tough position if God was commanding you to do something that people largely despised…but it also looks an
  4. awful lot like someone trying to hide their mistakes).
  5. People, including (maybe especially) the prophets and apostles continued drinking alcohol long after the Word of Wisdom and continued marrying multiple wives after the Manifesto was given. The story of Joseph Smith keeping his teeth clenched closed so he wouldn’t ingest the alcohol the mob was trying to poor down his throat probably needs to go (him clenching his teeth so he wouldn’t ingest what he suspected was poison does make more sense, but doesn’t promote the WoW as much), since Joseph Smith (and basically everyone back then) drank alcohol his whole life.
  6. Joseph Smith translated the majority of the BoM with a stone in a hat.
  7. The Mountain Meadows Massacre happened. That Danites existed and did some bad things. That Mormons persecution was a two-way street–Mormons did horrible things too.
  8. There is lots of evidence that contradicts the historicity of the Book of Abraham and the Book of Mormon. There is also some evidence to suggest certain things about the Book of Abraham or the Book of Mormon could be historically accurate. I think members should be given some understanding of both sides–or at least not be criticized for trying to find out what the historical problems are.
  9. Prophets said and taught some things that are no longer said and taught. Things like Brigham Young teaching that murders’ blood must be shed to atone for their sins, or that Adam was God the Father.
  10. Prophets sometimes contradict each other. Some early prophets taught polygamy as necessary for exaltation, some modern prophets say this is not true, etc.

Those are some of the things I wish I had been taught. Not all of those things are faith shaking for me. Probably the hardest things for me to find out about were the evidences against the BoM and the Book of Abraham, the myriad evidences that call Joseph and Brigham’s character into question, and just how similar the temple ceremony was to the Masonic ceremony. A lot of the other stuff I mentioned wasn’t particularly faith shaking for me, but I still wish I had known the whole, absolutely honest truth.

There are some other things I never would have expected to have been told growing up, that also shook my faith. For example, I never would have expected the church to play devil’s advocate and talk about how revelation–prophetic and personal–could just be something akin to “horoscope syndrome” (I made that phrase up), where revelation is general enough that it could apply to anyone, any time–and therefore will always be true. Nor would I have expected the church to tell me stories about how religions and cultures from all over the world have similar spiritual experiences to the experiences had by members of my church. There are lots of things that I have thought about since beginning to question my faith, that have further shaken my faith, that I really wouldn’t expect the church to have told me.

So, what would happen to the church if it actually taught these 9 things? It’s a tricky situation for sure. But I have to believe that honesty is the better policy here. I can imagine a tradition of faith being built around most of these things. The idea that prophets don’t have all the answers, that they can even be wrong, may actually be a healthier way to believe. I like the idea of listening to the prophet but ultimately relying on the spirit to tell me what is true and what is false (and to tell me if something a prophet is saying is false). Sure the idea that a prophet will never lead you astray is nice, but putting that much trust in any human can be dangerous. I guess I see people taking the prophets words literally–even when that prophet is racist, sexist, etc.–as more problematic than having a congregation that ignores some of the prophets counsel which they felt was wrong.  I think lots of these issues could be talked about without too many problems. Maybe that’s overly optimistic. For me, the things that have shaken my own faith–especially the historical issues with the BoM and the BoA–are the most problematic. If the Book of Mormon is actually just a book, and not a historically accurate book, Mormonism does seem to be left as a bit of a deflated balloon–not necessarily bad, but also not overly special. There are some people who feel strongly that the evidences that support the BoM and BoA are profound enough that that they are sufficient. I guess I would say the church should at least talk a little bit about some of the problems in the BoM and give the best answers to those problems that are currently available and then emphasize the evidences for the BoM. This issue is particularly tricky, but overall I think the church is doing itself a disservice to avoid talking about the historical issues of these two books, since members are then blindsided when confronted with contradicting information. From a practical position, I think a method of inoculation by exposure to these historical problems and then giving what possible answers there are, is a better method than ignoring the problem altogether.

At the very least, telling members about these things, would allow members to build their faith around things that are, in fact, true.

I’ll follow this up with a summary of my beliefs, given this information I just talked about.

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8 Responses to Mormon History: 9 Historical Problems I Wish I Had Known About

  1. I do believe that if they came out with the truth, they’d have the same outcome as the community of christ (the other branch of lds that didn’t move to utah). They’d lose about 80% of members and remain anonymous but again, the likelihood of they coming clean is close to 0. I don’t see it happening anytime soon due to the circle the wagons mentality that mormons have.

  2. Pingback: Various Interpretations of Historical Issues | MyModernMormonism

  3. Jennifer says:

    My opinion is that you’re right Alicia, that these things could be talked about in a faithful and more honest way though I have to say with the Joseph Smith papers and lots of other stuff it’s all out there. Telling the complete honest truth and not just trying to give it a pedagogical spin for good (telling things in a way to teach principles etc) is a new concept really. We’ve had to adjust to it in our stories about our countries leaders etc. too.

  4. Pingback: A Reply to a Friend | MyModernMormonism

  5. Shana says:

    I know there was an article published in the Ensign a few years back that discussed the Mountain Meadows Massacre. I thought it was interesting that in councils (or a group) the answers that came were right. It was when a church leader on his own made a decision that it turned out terribly for everyone..LDS, himself, and especially those killed and their children. I don’t remember all the details right now, maybe you’ve read the article. I remember having the thought that it was interesting that the church acknowledged it in the Ensign. Another thought…..because of the age change, there are so many more missionaries (especially sisters) serving, and they will get to face these topics on a regular basis….having the opportunity to decide what they really believe much earlier in life. My mission was my greatest blessing for me that way. Even if everything above is true…I would believe in the gospel for the things that I have really come to know and understand that have sustained me and my family. I cannot deny some things. Just my point of view. 🙂

    • crooks14 says:

      Hey Shana,

      Thanks so much for reading 🙂 You are wonderful and I appreciate your input 🙂 I have not read that ensign article. It does make me happy that the church has occasionally mentioned some of these hard facts 🙂

  6. silvia stubbs says:

    Hi Alicia, This is Uncle Brian, having read your recent questions about church history, and you’re right, they deserve answers, especially since the questions are troubling to you and some close to you, which are family to me too. I’ll go in reverse order, starting with the shorter and easier, to lengthier answers.

    One, prophets contradicting statements; whether polygamy necessary for exaltation or not, etc. Two things: one, different times/circumstances, different answers, and second, one needs to realize that the church and areas of the church and families in the church all develop various cultures among themselves; it’s impossible not to, without ceasing to exist, and the culture’s teachings can sometimes stray from or develop in absence of a definite position on hundreds of matters of daily life. And nobody knows everything. The reason a prophet is a prophet is because neither he nor anyone else has all the answers, only God. So prophets must necessarily have a lot of personal opinions. As Joseph and Brigham both said, a prophet is acting as such only when he speaks the Lord’s words as moved by the Spirit. The rest of the time, maybe most of the time, he uses his best judgement, often according to what he received in the past. You may have heard of Brigham coming to the afternoon session of a conference and telling the people, “in the morning Brigham the man spoke, but now Brigham the prophet speaks.” Though understandably not the # 1 fan of the US govmt after being driven from 4 places in the United States, he perceived, after the morning session, that the will of the Lord was different. I have heard that when the apostles discuss matters, they often have different views, has been the case since 1834 or whenever the quorum was organized, but as they discuss in humility and prayer, they usually receive clarity from Him. Nevertheless, they all have their personal opinions on thousands of things about which no revelation has yet commented on. In fact, Brigham also said like, when I receive not an answer, then I must conclude that it means God figures my best judgment is good enough to figure it out. On polygamy, I’ve heard the presumed exaltation mandate was said in the first half century, but I haven’t heard that a prophet said it. And even if one did, it was for that time. Different requirements for different times are common in history. But even that may have been a cultural answer or extension based on some individual’s (mis)understanding, because only a minority of men had plural wives.

    As for things taught in Sunday School classes or passed on as if from prophets, incorrect teachings are tossed around in most wards perhaps more Sundays than not, if one kept careful track. But hey, for us low level teachers to have an incorrect opinion or two, tho it should be corrected when noticed, but not be judged too harshly, in light of the Savior’s words on being judged as we judge.

    To give a close-to-home example, go ahead and read in my life history of my experience at Joseph’s death. They were not statements of prophets, but two different opinions of two different apostles, one, that suicide is same a murder. I had heard that all my life. It was a deeply engrained cultural teaching in the church, but had been corrected by another apostle a half century later, but I had not read the later opinion yet at the time. So I was heavily weighed down, and it was not until I prayed that if it was true, that he had forfeited his exaltation, I prayed that he be given mine, if I earn such, and at that very moment the Spirit swept into me so strongly and powerfully that it felt like I was lifted off my feet and the feeling was incredibly powerful and consuming and overwhelmingly comforting, assuring that I did not need to worry about that at all, that to God this is small compared to His power. I had a sure witness that the one apostle’s opinion was wrong, and only later read of the later apostle’s opinion that agreed with what I had experienced. Furthermore, we can get answers directly from God too, if we live such and seek such. It’s not necessarily easy, for we must do our best with what we know for some time, but that should only give us compassion for the prophets too. Why should we judge them for not having all the answers when with a little experience, we too can find out how tricky it is to get answers.

    Two, prophets talk about different things at different times relevant to the times, like dads teach kids what is relevant to their stage of life and times and circumstances. Blood atonement is hardly understood by any, but is not applicable to the present especially in our being subject to the laws of the land instead of the laws of God. As for Adam-God theory, I had thought it was that God was Adam’s father, not that God and Adam were the same person. The former is understandable. Whether fact or not, I don’t know. But if so, it doesn’t seem unreasonable that Adam be loved and develop in a womb? I suppose God could assemble the dust into flesh any way He wanted, but we know so little about most things, that there seems little reason to be too concerned until in spheres where understanding is greatly increased. Our lowly levels of understanding to God’s thoughts are like asking a nuclear physicist trying to explain in detail to a kindergarten class how the theory of relativity works. We’re not ready for most knowledge and therefore we are not given it. When a prophet reaches higher levels than we can and is given knowledge hard for us to understand and then says a sentence on it, and then the generations berate and critique for generations afterwards, why should we worry too much about either the critiques or what he said or whether it was passed on correctly or not, or whether it was an opinion based on what he experienced or whatever? We will know soon enough. Life flies by so fast, in a few more days we’ll all be on the other side and know the answers. The question is, in looking back at that future time, will we be glad or sad about our doings relative to what knowledge we did have or was available to us.

    Next, more discussion and information on the Book of Abraham and Book of Mormon—I agree with you wholeheartedly. We/all should learn more—get into the details. Most are not interested enough, but for those who are, there is much available. The two are quite different matters. The anti’s love harping on the fact that the available Egyptian sheets say nothing like the Book of Abraham. True, so what is their point? Many or most of the manuscripts are lost or were burned in Chicago fire, who knows what happened to them. So the few surviving all the losings and misplacements happen to be not the ones we wish they were. At the beginning the descriptions say there was lots of stuff. We just don’t have the originals. So we know little, but I cannot imagine any mortal man coming up with the wisdom that is in Moses 6 and 7.

    The Book of Mormon is quite a different matter. We have lots of info on that. The Lord took back the plates, so we do not have the original record, or not yet anyway—because even if we did, academics would claim hoax or fraudulent production. But we’ll have it soon enough, and similar records even sooner, I’d guess. In fact, just as the Dead Sea scrolls came forth and as one scholar put it, this is simply ancient Mormonism (read Nibley’s books). How could Joseph guess so well as to make it all up and have it agree so well with things now coming to light, things no religionists would ever have thought were the religious culture of the times. Another scholar, a Coptic scholar, considered Joseph to be brilliant. How did he figure out the ancient Christianity so amazingly? the other scholar asked. The scholar would not believe Joseph was a prophet, but is amazed that Joseph figured out so much so correctly. Really? Joseph was an uneducated farm boy of the early 1800s. He didn’t figure out anything academically—he was a prophet, such things being revealed to him from God.

    Returning to the book of Mormon—the usuals—horses, etc, have explanations. Teryl Givens in his book on the Book of Mormon explains horses very well—that in the area of the best known horse culture of 1000 years ago in western Asia—they can’t find any archeological evidence of horses, though the historical record says they did everything on horses—traveled, fought, etc. they were the horse masters for centuries, yet now arch’sts can find no evidence of horses. Similarly, arch’sts can find no evidence of Athapaskans predating 500 years ago in Alaska either, tho we know they were there for a millennium or two before that and the whole time to the present. Many things simply haven’t been found yet. Nevertheless, horses have been found in ancient America, not many, but a few.

    Some say there is no archeological evidence of the book of Mormon. Not true. There is. Nahom has been found in western Arabia exactly where it would have to have been. As Lehi traveled down western Arabia, he names most places, but then at Nahom (1 N 16:37, I think) they stop at a place already called Nahom where Ishmael is buried and turn east. So, right where it would have to be, they have found a people living from before Lehi until after Christ, a people at a place/community called Nahom. There cemetery with writings on stone declares it as Nahom, exactly as in the Book of Mormon: so and so from Nahom, written in the Old/Epigraphic South Arabian script. Maxwell Institute has articles as well as others and books that document it. That was not known in Joseph’s day. Another fantastic guess. The Anti’s criticized Joseph’s choice of the name Alma (Latin and feminine) until the Dead Sea Scrolls produced a man named Alma also. Another fantastic guess. Many wordings in the original text that show a translation from a Semitic language, plus chiasmus and other things not known in Joseph’s day, amount to several more fantastic guesses. These details will be in my book—Language and the Book of Mormon—to be written after I finish The Egyptian and Semitic in Uto-Aztecdan. 1500 similarities. Most language ties are established with 100, 200, or 500 similarities, so 1500 is a very strong case. Even the non-lds linguists that I’ve shown it to have their jaws drop at the quantity and quality of similarities. David Kelly, a non-lds scholar, Uto-Aztecanist, one involved in cracking the Mayan writings and who had studied UA and Egyptian, Hebrew, etc—well what he said of my research is in my life history too—was very impressed and convinced of the case. Read it there and I don’t have to rewrite so much. In summary, as time passes the list of critiques against the BofM shrinks and the list of evidences for the BofM grows. In fact, if one were to look deeply into all things, all arguments against and for, it is so imbalanced even now that I cannot understand how anyone could conclude that the Book of Mormon is not true, even by the material evidence.

    Joseph said that eventually the evidences would prove him a prophet. That is happening, but is just starting. The language thing should be a significant factor, especially as these Lehite infusions are found in the dozen other language families that they exist in besides UA, tho one must realize that groups did come across the Bering Strait and the Asian DNA is prevalent in the Americas and that a dozen lang fams is less than 10% of the 150plus lang fams in the Americas. But after the language evidence comes out (UA soon, other lang fams in future decades), by that we can figure out much about Lehi’s language before written records are found. Then some records may well be discovered, that reflect that language that we figured out by comparative research. The archaeology will eventually be made clearer also, but who knows when, whether sooner or later. But until then, do we want to risk raising families outside of the gospel until all the evidence is in and made crystal clear (when it’s already pretty clear), because testimonies are available to sincere seekers now, whenever.

    True, the Danites existed and the Mtn Meadows Massacre happened. Mormons do bad things sometimes, toss in a serial murderer or two as well. One of Christ’s apostles assented to His murder, the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel contemplated killing their brother, and did sell him into slavery. However, as for modern Mormons, the ratios are important. Mormons, due to lies and false propaganda, were driven out of 4 different states, hundreds killed, thousands robbed of all they had. As for the other way, after some taunting, a few Mormons did do very bad to organize the mtn meadows massacre, indeed an awful tragedy as Pres Hinckley said when he participated in the event recently with the descendants of the victims at the site. But percentages and ratios have most of us being pretty decent people most of the time. Anyone denying those tragedies simply does not know the facts, and I heard of them in SS classes, but should we be speaking of them frequently when the church’s purpose is to lift, edify, and help us do better? The church does and Joseph did cut people off from the church as soon as it is/was known that they did something bad enough to warrant it. Because Jonah ran away from God, do we blame God? Or because church members do bad things sometimes, do we blame God’s church? Christ’s church 2000 years ago had at least as many problems and wolves in sheep’s clothing. The purpose of the church is to help those to come unto Christ who really want to come unto Him. Because some in the church are not interested in coming unto Him or are selfish, seek power, do bad, or whatever, does not negate the good in it any more than Cain’s murdering of Able put God or Adam or Eve at fault, the murderer’s parents. If anyone should conclude that the LDS church is not the way to God, then they should be very diligently seeking, and strongly desiring what then really is the way to God? Usually people who fight the church are simply interested in fighting the church, but not in great concern in frantically hoping, desiring then to find the real way to Christ and God. If one is very thirsty in search for life sustaining waters, and finds a dry canyon, one simply turns to desparately look for another potential water source, but not throw rocks at the dry canyon. Yet notice that most who like throwing rocks at the church are not in a humble attitude of sincerely seeking God and His truths, with a strong thirst and desire for the truth, but mostly like to throw rocks.

    Translating Book of Mormon with a stone in a hat. Yes, partially. And? Maybe I missed the concern here. The Urim and Thummim is mentioned in the Old Testament. That Joseph used the Urim and thumim to translate the BofM is what is the account, no doubt. What I find interesting is that Joseph had the plates for two years, with little progress, then after two years of studying the stuff, he translates the whole BofM in 3 months. Well, 2 years is how long missionaries spend learning the new language before getting proficient in it. And we know in DC that study was part of the process, not just asking. He had good tutoring from Moroni who wrote it and who was fluent in the language, etc. The details of How it was translated are unknown, but whether the book is true or not can be known either by witnesses of the spirit or by weighing aaaaallllll the evidence carefully—either one, tho I recommend the former not being left out if one is going to go with only one, but best if both. I agree and not sweeping under the carpet the good questions or concerns.

    Temple ceremony similarities to Mason ceremonies. Yes, no doubt. But I find it interesting that the anti’s use this to try to discredit Joseph Smith, when the bigger picture behind the similarities is yet another evidence of his prophethood. The Hopi in their ceremonies have similarities too. Hugh Nibley has written much on this: that many cultures all over the world have residual hand-me-downs of the temple ceremony, as apostate left-overs from the truth. Just like the hundreds of Christian religions today have chunks of the left-overs of truth trickled down since the more whole and perfect truth sprang into history 2000 years ago. The ancient Egyptians have in writing many parts of the temple ceremony too, and Egyptian had not yet been deciphered in Joseph’s day. The decipherment began about the time he was translating the Book of Mormon, but it took a few decades before Egyptologists could really read Egyptian, so Joseph again was way ahead of his time. As the Israelites especially Ephraimites spread into Europe from before Christ’s time but after captivity of the Northern Kingdom, this covenant that God intended to be a “standard for the nations” (Isaiah something) to help His children be the good and kind of people He would that they be– should we be surprised that such an important center of God’s plan for man be found in various changed and diluted forms in various cultures? And there is much more in the temple than the masons have. Plus, the mason stuff has been messed up some too, like all the other apostate versions of it or like all the cultural hand-us-downs.

    First and third items go together, both on polygamy. Third item, yes, they kept polygamy secret understandably, because they knew how the culture of the time would react. In fact, that is why an angel had to come to Joseph with a drawn sword saying he would be replaced if he did not establish it, because he delayed a decade plus knowing how much against the culture it would be. Some 17 sources report joseph’s account of that visit. Prophets are often caught between a rock and a hard spot. In fact, he realized that bringing it forth would cost him his life and he wept at the realization, but did as commanded, preferring to die obeying God than die disobeying God. Why should they not be careful? Even in the New Testament, Christ and the apostles speak of milk before meat. Should meat be given to a babe unprepared for it and cause the death of the child? Or should various levels of knowledge be saved for when ready for them. The Lord does the same with us: many times in the DC and other scripture the Lord talks about line upon line precept upon precept, meaning He gives us bits at times, as we are ready for each level. Knowledge is God can distribute individually as each is prepared, but practice of some things must be as a church, when God decides.

    First item, regarding the reports that Joseph also married a woman who was already married to someone else, so what? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. But even if he did, have those criticizers not read the Doctrine and Covenants? Section 132 basically says that plural marriage is not just one way in favor of men, but that women in God’s ways and times (but not now) will have plural husbands also. So what if Joseph also married an already married woman! I find it amusing that so often humans in their puny understandings think to state how God should run His kingdom and the eternities. Read DC 132 the last verse 132:66. The Lord says like, I’ll give you more hereafter, but this is enough for now. Well, He never gave us more, so we know there is more. And part of that more is quite clearly hinted at in verses 41 and 42 where God distinguishes women married by earthly authority vs. those married in the new and everlasting covenant, by the phrase “if she be with another man, AND I HAVE NOT APPOINTED UNTO HER (that other/second/third or whatever number of man). Notice the difference of those two verses. It seems clear that in God’s ways and times or in yonder post-resurrection spheres that women will have plural husbands, and would have on earth too if the church were ready for it and govments permitted, etc, but not now. In fact, is not our quickness to judge God’s ways evidence of our not being ready for God’s ways? Of course, now is not the time for that. This life is the test. Present limits are to love and take good care of one, the most basic of tests. But over the years, as I watched many young widows marry a 2nd husband and have most or all of her children by the 2nd husband, and then the 2nd husband sorrows through life in the church culture’s answer that she and the children will be the first husband’s and not his—of course, he would be sad and distraught, thinking his wife and children will be someone else’s. And as I watch even older widows marry a 2nd and 3rd husband if she lives long enough, and thinking they’ll only have one in eternity, I often thought, that doesn’t make sense. If she loves him enough to marry him in this life to express and grow in that love, does love go backwards so that she’ll love him less in the next life? Love increases in celestial spheres, not decreases. So it didn’t make sense. Then one day in scripture reading, I noticed the above verses in DC 132, and it answered the question. DC 132 made sense, while the cultural answers did not. The woman can have more than one husband, so the 2nd does not need to think he will not have her—she’ll be wife of both, etc. So if Joseph was required to live what he was expected to introduce as the prophet of the dispensation of the restoration of ALL things, what should anyone have against that? Or who are we to judge God’s workings? In a nutshell, I’m saying, don’t worry too much. The answers will come; we just need to do as well as we can until we know all things, not the other way around, that is, don’t decide not to obey until we know all things. And the next life’s knowledge is not far away. A short 90-year life whizzes by so fast, that we’ll all be over there in no time. And it’s better to do well in the meantime.

    To those who claim that Joseph brought in plural marriage because of lust instead of God’s command, or those inclined to judge Joseph Smith (are misjudging) and should consider the following. While many called him a fallen prophet after the Book of Mormon and a flurry of revelations, when the pace slowed they thought he lost his gift. But those who knew him best (eg Lorenzo Snow) knew that he had the spirit with him ever more strongly his last years of his life after the Liberty Jail experience. The last two years of his life, as Wilford Woodruff and many others said, when he was instructing the apostles those last months before the martyrdom, his countenance literally glowed, shined brightly, his skin transparent through brightness, for 3 hours at a time. God does not pour out His Spirit so profusely and powerfully upon a servant He is not pleased with. So no one need judge Joseph of serious wrong. Is Wilford Woodruff lying as a witness of Joseph’s prophethood? Or Lorenzo Snow? I’ll believe Lorenzo and Wilford over the judgers of joseph.

    As for many derogatory things said about joseph Smith, I wonder why some give the bad reports more credibility than Joseph’s own words stating that many lies and falsehoods were made up about him. Even the Savior told his apostles in his day that one way the devil works against the kingdom is to spread lies about it, as he told the apostles: the people shall speak falsely of you, as of the prophets of old, for His sake (because they are doing His work). Satan was an accuser of the righteous in the preexistence, a primary reason he got kicked out. (Revelations 12:10: “the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”) As for Joesph—a more righteous man has not lived on the earth in the last 2000 years since Jesus, and the witnesses of those who knew Joseph best are powerful evidence supporting that, and so I would pay little attention to anyone who tries to discount the greatness of his heart, life, and mission as the prophet called to introduce the dispensation of the fullness of times and restoration of all things. Read some good books on him. I have about 13 books on Joseph Smith but have had time to read only 3 or 4, but the more I read (and they discuss his weaknesses too) the more overwhelmingly and humbly impressed I am with a heart that could swell as wide as eternity, as Enoch’s. Like Joseph said, when God weighs all in the scales at judgment, only then will people know who he is. So I would be leery of any too judgmental of Joseph.

    Any might want to re-read (as if or assuming anyone read once already), read the last 4 pages of my life history on what I know from experience, much of it based on math and empirical evidence, besides the Spirit. Good luck to all in their searches. And feel free to ask any other questions. Uncle b

    Click here t

    • crooks14 says:

      Hey Uncle Brian,

      I am really glad you read my concerns and took the time to write a detailed response. Thanks! I think you are wonderful and I have always found your work very interesting 🙂 It fascinates me how two people can read about the issues people struggle with in the church and come to two different conclusions, and conclude that most people come to their conclusion 🙂 I don’t honestly know quite what to make of that, other than I find it interesting. I will take your thoughts and views you have shared into consideration as I continue my journey. Some of the things you said I disagreed with and other things you said gave me hope 🙂 Overall, I will just say that I will keep thinking about it, but I really appreciate your input! Feel free to read and respond whenever! I enjoy reading your comments 🙂

      Much Love!

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