Defending the Faith: Defending the Faith: The Prophet Joseph Smith was no double-dealing cynic

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  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    July 4, 2011 3:21 p.m.

    "In my view Joseph Smith was a religious humanist who believed in the unlimited power and potential of the human soul - that EVERYONE has a potential for great things. I don't understand those who waste their days - either in his time or now - trying to tear those ideals down. Take a good look at your motives..."

    There is a big difference between having perfect ideals, and being a perfect person. Joseph was a mediocre business man at best, but that doesn't mean his ideals weren't solid. We just tent to try to paint this image of Joseph was all one way, or all another, and the truth is that he was a man.... not perfect, that was good at some things, and others, not as much.

    The fact we acknowledge that he did some things wrong - like loose some sacred manuscripts - proof his own judgement got the best of him - doesn't diminish his significance. We just need to keep the story honest and accurate. The author tries to make it one way or another. No humans are all one way or another - none.

  • Rae M. Taylorsville, UT
    July 3, 2011 11:35 p.m.

    Enola, how do you know for sure your quote is true, and not just fabrication?

  • Rae M. Taylorsville, UT
    July 3, 2011 11:26 p.m.

    Krissy, thank you for your post. It was the one dissenting post I remember as being respectful.
    Brahmabull and Mormoncowboy, this is your moment to shine. Someday we will all kneel before our Creator to be judged. He will see inside us, whether we were sincere or otherwise in our actions, even our posts here. I leave it to Him to judge each of us, as He surely shall. And to all who read this, I have read the Book of Mormon and I know it is true. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet. I am most grateful. to him for bringing this book to my knowledge.
    Most of all, I am grateful for the knowledge given me by Joseph Smith, of the nature of my Savior. That I may be a recipient of His greatest gift (eternal life with Him and my Health enly Father) is my greatest desire.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    July 3, 2011 1:00 a.m.

    Joseph Smith was, and is, a true prophet of God.

    What more that is true can be said?


  • j0bi SALT LAKE CITY, Utah
    July 2, 2011 1:58 p.m.

    I'm LDS. Not born and raised, not perfect. I've got some pretty serious personal issues that I like to think I'm dealing with fairly well. I also have a very sturdy personal conviction/relationship with God. I feel his guidance, and I feel my own struggles against that guidance at times. He continues to guide as I continue to repent and correct course. I'm OK with the pattern because I feel like I'm progressing. If I can be guided by God in my own imperfections, why should I expect others should be perfect in order to be guided by God? JS was not perfect. Early members of the church were real human beings, including the witnesses of the Book of Mormon. I've been part of a founding organization before. All voices do not always agree. Sometimes to the point of separation. That's real life and that's OK. We all have our own path to walk in this world and should be sensitive to God's guidance. By our fruits we shall be known, and yet we'll always make mistakes. God's people will always be persecuted, not persecutors (Paul?). Repent, correct course. Maintain hope. Easy. :)

  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 2, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    Bill in Nebraska.
    JSwe have waded through an ocean of tribulation and mean abuse, practiced upon us by the ill bred and the ignorant, such as Hinkle, Corrill, Phelps, Avard, Reed Peck, Cleminson, and various others, who are so very ignorant that they cannot appear respectable in any decent and civilized society, and whose eyes are full of Adultery, and cannot cease from Sin. Such characters as McLellin, John Whitmer, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris, are too mean to mention; and we had liked to have forgotten them. Marsh and another, whose hearts are full of corruption, whose cloak of hypocrisy was not sufficient to shield them or to hold them up in the hour of trouble (History of the Church, 3:232)

    The three Book of Mormon witnesses ,The question is: Were they reliable witnesses.

  • Pentacone Batley, W.Yorkshire
    July 2, 2011 10:58 a.m.

    "Joseph Smith"

    Well let me take you through the experiences that I had, whilst reading Dr.Peterson's Column.

    "Joseph does Not talk like this!"

    I hold a Complete set of the "History of the Church", and have read it Twice - From Cover to Cover!

    It is indeed the Recollections of Events of Joseph, as he Noted in his Journal.

    So, I have taken the time to study the "Online" copies of Joseph's Papers (From where Dr.Peterson extracted the Quotations), and indeed they are written in Joseph's Hand, and are as Printed!!

    BUT, there are many Pages with a Line Scribed from Top Left to Bottom Right - Something has gone-on here!

    So, I looked to the Other Online Record, under the Title "RLDS History of the Church",

    "Please, Please Read For Yourselves, and you should see quite clearly what I am concerned about".

    Joseph does NOT continually repeat words such as "O Lord listen to thy Servant", and, "Lord God bless me in my Thoughts, for Christ's Sake!", etc..

    (He was Receiving Direct Revelations almost Daily, he knew that Our Lord Jesus was with him, ALWAYS!)

    With Kindest Regards,
    Joseph Peter Sheehan.

  • krissy Sterling, VA
    July 2, 2011 10:23 a.m.

    I don't believe there is enough evidence left after 150 years to say either way what kind of man Joseph Smith was. Brother Peterson's article did nothing but express his own opinion and "testimony". Many active LDS continue to desperately seek answers and understanding and will "know" he was a prophet. Many of us will still look at all the evidence remaining and still feel very uncomfortable with early church history and "know" in our hearts that something is amiss. Faith, prayer, and humble seeking may actually make those feelings more intense. I realize now that I am not alone. This does not make me a pawn of satan, nor does it make me anti-mormon or all that is insinuated with that. I have a strong sense of integrity, and I have answered honestly during the temple recommend interview how I feel about Joseph Smith.

    Apostate? In-active? Anti-Mormon? Excommunicated? How about, I was raised Mormon and I have a deep respect for many of them and how they live their lives, but I do not share their doctrinal beliefs. There is no hatred or antagoinism in that kind of honest and humble statement.

  • jeffcorry Orderville, Utah
    July 2, 2011 10:11 a.m.

    Thank you for this article. Praise to the Man.

  • Essence of the Eagle Provo, Utah
    July 1, 2011 11:00 p.m.


    While I, like others, don't understand why some early LDS Church leaders did and said the things they did I really appreciate your comment. While I do believe it is important for each of us to use our God given brains this world definitely needs more positive voices.

  • Craig Salt Lake City, UT
    July 1, 2011 10:21 p.m.

    @rpjense, you gave the clearest and insightful comment on this post. I read all these people tearing down the religion and have nothing better in its place. What Joseph brought forth expands and increases the faith of Christians and helps them become more Christ like. If they would spend more time reading the Book of Mormon and less time on dubious accounts of history, they would grow closer to Christ.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    July 1, 2011 7:47 p.m.

    Anti-mormon certainly is a pejorative term. I mean, anti-mormon has the prefix "anti" right in it! I don't have a problem with the label but with the connotation that what you are saying is misleading or untrue. Commenting is funnest when people stick defending or presenting arguements rather than resorting to name calling.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    July 1, 2011 4:38 p.m.

    @ Searching: Thanks for your questions.

    The inference of deceit, I think, comes often from people's web names. Some people label themselves as members of the Church or sympathetic to the Church, then wax negative about it.

    This is a newslink devoted to Latter-day Saints who want to read articles related to their faith. One would expect faith-affirming repetition from the site and those who support it. For someone to seek out the site and immediately begin to criticize its content and those who read it smacks of antagonism. When the repeatedly goes to the site and repeatedly attempts to address the same criticism in multiple contexts, there can be no doubt. That's what I meant by "criticism," and why I do not believe it applies to those for whom the site was designed in the first place.

    I agree that all should be welcome to contribute, but those who are "anti" need not be defensive when they are discovered.

    I was once invited by a friend to an online event supporting a cause I disagreed with. One poster on the site vocally objected to the site's politics and the supporters said pretty much what I'm saying here.

  • Zed Orem, UT
    July 1, 2011 3:45 p.m.

    This comment thread is a microcosm of one of the more profound statements made by Joseph Smith.

    "He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people." Joseph Smith History 1:33

    On a larger scale, the DNews published an article a few months back concerning the Top Ten most controversial topics on Wikipedia. Of the tens of millions of topics that site contains, spanning every imaginable subject on planet earth, what was THE most controversial topic of all?

    Joseph Smith.

    All of you who have commented for and against Joseph Smith's character can feel a sense of accomplishment in that you're part of a fulfillment of prophecy.

  • Searching . . . . Orem, UT
    July 1, 2011 2:18 p.m.


    Thank you. Yours is the first definition of "anti-mormon" that I've seen here, and it's well thought out. What I don't see is the inference of deceit that I sense many posters attach to it. That is what I find offensive when I hear the term. There are parts of you definition that I would question. You say "repetition suggests antagonism rather than honest inquiry." This definitely goes both ways; often neither side feels that their point was adequately rebutted to warrant a change of opinion. Case in point, "The Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham etc are proven miraculous, as are Joseph's other works. (JM)" If it had been proven, there would be no argument, so we keep addressing these issues "ad absurdum."

    "Constant declaration of one's apostacy betokens antagonism and self-justification." What frequency is "constant?" You and other posters contribute to these discussions as much as any critic. How are you not antagonizing and self-justifying to them?

    The last point is to other posters wanting to shoo away critics. When did the Deseret News become a Mormon-only newspaper? Comments are open to all who abide the rules.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 1, 2011 2:11 p.m.

    "one who leaves the Church can never leave it alone fits exactly what I have said."

    I left 12 days ago... most people in my life don't even know I've left. Funny thing is, I probably will still show up to my ward on occasion. One might ask why would I show up if I don't believe in it. I don't believe any church is 100% true, but I believe in God, and Christ. I believe spirituality (or some sort of introspection) is important to an individual's growth, and I like the social aspect of worshiping with others even despite differences in view. Should I never go to church because I don't believe any are 100% accurate? I don't think so. After all, Mormons are Christian; it's still worshiping the same God. If I believe (like the church does) that there's good in all churches, that means there's still good in the LDS church. I removed my name to be honest with myself about not believing what is required of members in the baptism interview. I mean no antagonism, heck I cried in the stake president's office because I didn't want to make his day disappointing.

  • rpjense West Jordan, UT
    July 1, 2011 1:05 p.m.

    During a visit to the Hill Cumorah Pageant some years ago, a friend went up to the Anti-Mormons standing across the street from the pageant. He said, "I've come a long way to attend this. I am a member of the LDS Church and it represents everything that is dear to me. I am willing to listen to what you have to say if you can offer anything better." The Anti-Mormons immediately launched into a tirade, cutting down anything and everything about the Church. My friend said, "I will give you one more chance; tell me what you can offer that is better." Well, as we all know, there is nothing they can offer. They were only there to tear down. They could not offer anything better because there is nothing better. Personally, I searched for years. I read the Bhagavadgita, the I-Ching, the Tibetan Book of the Dead and more. It was not until I read the Book of Mormon that I found what I was looking for. Personally, I would like to thank Joseph Smith for helping to bring it to me.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    July 1, 2011 1:04 p.m.

    The definition of the prefix "anti-" means "against." Certainly, it is possible to leave the Church without going "against" the Church. It's also possible to have questions or even doubts about the Church without going against it. What makes an honest doubter or questioner seem like an "anti-Mormon" is often the tone of the questions or remarks. To speak of the honest beliefs of any religion as a fairy tale, or a ghost story, or the delusion of clairvoyants would classify as being against that. To speak condescendingly, which is offensive, could classify as being "against" something. To assume or declare that believers are uneducated or ignorant, or that they just don't know their own history or beliefs is certainly offensive and "anti." To imply or even declare that believers are either deluded or liars is "anti."

    Related to tone is the constant repetition of the same doubts and questions. This repetition suggests antagonism rather than honest inquiry. We believe what we believe; we don't need someone to restate it ad absurdum or continue to tell us that our beliefs are wrong.

    Leaving any Church is appropriately labeled "apostacy." Constant declaration of one's apostacy betokens antagonism and self-justification.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    July 1, 2011 12:36 p.m.

    Alt134 and Brahmabull: Maybe you don't agree with my comments or my attitude. That is fine but I stand by what I have said. The scriptures and especially the Book of Mormon is very clear and justifies what I have said. Don't agree then you should actually read and study it more. Mormoncowboy is really much closer to Kohor than he will ever imagine. If my words offend then it is for you to decide where you stand. If you are here to belittle the membership then yes you are pawns. That is the bottom line.

    My opinion is mine and I know many of my own friends would never come here to belittle the membership just because they don't agree. You'll never find me saying this against a Catholic or a protestant but one who leaves the Church can never leave it alone fits exactly what I have said. Sharrona is a great example as are both of you.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 1, 2011 11:43 a.m.

    "Those who have left the church have always returned to admonish it members and to try to destroy it. This is because the HOLY GHOST no longer resides with them. They have become the pawns of Satan,"

    You know, I left the church not because I have a grudge against it, or because I have something against the members in it, but only because I just don't believe it and felt it'd be dishonest for me to be listed as someone with a covenant that I just cannot agree to. I was born into a Catholic family that converted to Methodism then drifted into inactivity then only myself ended up joining the LDS church. I don't have anything against my previous churches either. Apparently though you believe that I'm a pawn of Satan (or you mistyped and don't really mean that to describe everyone who left). I'm going to go out on a limb and say that attitude is part of what causes anger in some who have left the church. As for me... well my LDS friends don't think like you do, so I'm not going to hold your views against the church or its membership.

  • Aggielove Junction city, Oregon
    July 1, 2011 11:00 a.m.

    Bring on the nasty haters. Its so inspiring to see the negative commemts. It shows people care.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 1, 2011 10:47 a.m.

    Bill in Nebraska said,the HOLY GHOST(Spirit) no longer resides with them.
    JS taught, that there was a difference, The Holy Ghost is a personage in the Godhead. The Holy Spirit is an influence from the Father and not personal. Wrong,
    Dont you know that yourselves are Gods temple and that Gods Spirit lives in you(1Cor 3:16 NIV). And, Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit(Ghost), who is in you, whom you have received from God.(1Cor 6:19 NIV) . Holy Ghost(Pneuma 4151, Spirit) the same word in Greek. JS was unlearned in Greek.
    He was right about the communion service with the blessing of the wine and the bread though, See (D&C 17:22,23). I have the pre-edited D&C, do you?

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    July 1, 2011 9:53 a.m.

    I have read many books on Church history and discovered all sorts of "new" information about the church that isn't necessarily taught in Sunday School. I am not certain that I fully understand the context of events or all the aspects that went on back then as the church was formed.

    It is amazing that Joseph Smith was so strong as he persevered through all the trials he faced. I would like to think that I would have stood by him.

    All the information I have has not scared me away from the Church. I don't find fault with the facts. I accept them and wonder what the rest of the story was and move on.

    The greatest chance for happiness in this life is embracing the Gospel and following the Prophet.

    Good luck to you if you think there is a better path, but time has proven that the "fruits" of the Church are Awesome!!!

    July 1, 2011 9:38 a.m.

    I don't what else to do to get past the censors. If Joseph's own words are too inappropriate to be published, then I guess that speaks for itself.

    In response to the article's assertion that Joseph's private communications show him to be honest and sincere. A Handwritten letter from Joseph Smith:

    "... the only thing to be careful of; is to find out when Emma comes then you cannot be safe, but when she is not here, there is the most perfect safty. ... Only be careful to escape observation, as much as possible, I know it is a heroick undertakeing; but so much the greater friendship, and the more Joy, when I see you I will tell you all my plans, I cannot write them on paper, burn this letter as soon as you read it; keep all locked up in your breasts, my life depends upon it. ... I close my letter, I think Emma wont come tonight if she dont, dont fail to come to night, I subscribe myself your most obedient, and affectionate, companion, and friend. Joseph Smith."

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    July 1, 2011 9:22 a.m.

    Idaho Coug:

    I'm okay with that. Suggesting that it seems unlikely for the witnesses to persist in their "testimony" following their dissaffection from Mormonism, is a reasonable question. Saying that it proves they were honest however, is far more than what is warranted. The counter-argument that each maintained risk against their personal credibility for volunteering their involvement in religious fraud, likewise fails to satisfactorily "prove" anything other than there are several possible explanation for the witnesses documented behavior, that have yet to be reasonably deduced.

    I'm also okay with the argument that none of the men ever "denied" their testimony, so long as we qualify that they did "muddy" the water, as you say. Their ongoing statements, while thematically consistent, seem to get very confusing in the details, begging the question of what really was the alleged nature of the experience. Obviously arguing that each man shared in a collective vision is less compelling than arguing they were each participants in literal/physical experience.

    To all:

    David Whitmers didn't just leave the Church, but alleged Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet - and that is why his leaving is so important, and why you can't selectively parse his comments/actions.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    July 1, 2011 9:09 a.m.

    Bill - haha pawns of satan huh?? So anybody with an opposing view of yours who questions certain parts of mormonism is a pawn of satan? Wow, if that type of reasoning is what the church teaches then I am glad not to be a part of 21st century mormonism. Of course any church who claims to be the only true church on the face of the earth will have to defend its claims. Of course people have questions, some are bold and honest enough to share them despite being called apostate and anti mormon. Others hold in their questions, afraid of showing doubt in front of family, friends, associates etc. This type of mormon will die a mormon, but will have no answers to their questions. If you don't have any questions about the mormon church being the one true church then you haven't done the research. That is my opinion of course, as your posts are yours. I respect your opinion, I don't hold it against you. When people claim I, among others am a pawn of satan for sharing my opinion on the facts I have a problem with that.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    July 1, 2011 9:09 a.m.

    Kurt Matthia:

    Thank you for clarifying that:

    "LDS foundation is on the mantic, not the sophic."

    I couldn't have said it better. The LDS paradigm is to dismiss what can be rationally observed and probabilistically deduced, and instead favor an epistemology allegedly derived through clairvoyant communications. We should not demand empirical substantiation of The Book of Mormon by trying to observe the plates or verify the archaeology, rather we should just read the book and declare "there's no way Joseph Smith wrote this" (as though such a thing were obvious. I could likewise argue that Lord of the Rings was too intricate for mortal contrivance - it's a far better book(s)!) and then seek for the "sprit" to tell you. A ghost from the unseen world? This is the basis of Mormon thought, and cannot be understood "sophically", as you say.

    I agree with everything you have stated here. I don't believe in ghosts or clairvoyance, and so I disbelieve Mormon claims, which as you say, can only be verified according to your superstitious methods.

    Now we are beginning to understand each other. You accept mantic knowledge as superior to sophic knowledge, and I reject your premise.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    July 1, 2011 8:03 a.m.

    I agree that a correlated Joseph Smith certainly comes across like a real prophet.

  • full disclosure Providence, UT
    July 1, 2011 8:01 a.m.

    Why is it that if a person disagree's with comments or disagree's with this article that they are labeled "Anti" or "Apostate"? I would prefer that you just call us "Educated Mormons" for now on. There are an estimated 100,000 members a year leaving the church because they have read no not "anti-mormon" literature, but real church history. The church for many years through general conference, the Ensign, and local meetings was the source of all information for the Saints. With the internet and Church historians with integrity, there is another side that is being shown.The church to their credit has put committees and focus groups together to address how things have been presented to the members and are trying to figure out how to handle it. They know this is a problem. Those who are slamming comments that disagree with your own, please try to take the emotion out of it.

  • Lone Star Cougar Plano, TX
    July 1, 2011 7:15 a.m.

    Dear Thinkman,

    Please see my comments above.

  • Well Read SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 1, 2011 6:54 a.m.

    The only way to KNOW if Joseph Smith was a prophet is through the testimony one receives through sincerely reading, studying, and praying for an answer from the Holy Ghost.

    All other methods to prove or disprove Joseph a prophet will forever fall short. As they will to prove Jesus Christ the savior, Peter and Paul as the Saviors apostles etc.

    There will never be absolute proof of spiritual facts without going through the proven facts of sincerely reading, studying and praying to know the truth and receiving an answer from the Holy Ghost.

    Those who are not willing to follow the above steps to KNOW the truth will forever be the blind leading the blind.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    July 1, 2011 6:47 a.m.

    To Thinkman: I see no similarities between your relative and Joseph Smith. He was a man and was given a prophetic calling. You don't have to believe it nor do you have to believe your relative either. The fact is the Lord gives each man weaknesses to humble them before him. If we can recognize our faults and bring them to the Lord he will begin to make them strengths. Before trying to destroy your relative why don't you look at the good of the man/woman and then see what is right or wrong.

    You've already been his judge and jury, just as many of the critics here have already been the judge and jury of MORMONISM. Those who have left the church have always returned to admonish it members and to try to destroy it. This is because the HOLY GHOST no longer resides with them. They have become the pawns of Satan, whether they want to recognize it or not doesn't matter. You have told a story that is not uncommon but the person you talk about has no defense.

  • OnlyInUtah Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 1, 2011 6:29 a.m.

    Boy did the haters come out.. and for what purpose? Methinks it is to justify their own hatred towards men of faith.

    I am a firm believer that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He had his faults and weaknesses as all men do. But he was an instrument in the hands of God and served his master well. God bless you brother Joseph.

    If these haters had lived in the days of Moses they wouldn't have seen the truth until the waters of the Red Sea swept over them, and even then would have denied the facts that were all around them.

  • Theeng2 Holladay, UT
    July 1, 2011 3:03 a.m.

    Think of it this way... If it was indeed a conscious scam Joseph Smith sure did go above and beyond to "pull it all off" He was tarred and feathered, He and Emma lost a child because of it. His wife, family, and friends were persecuted non stop because of it. Early church members were killed. He sent off missionaries making them leave their families and friends for years. He convinced his parents to be "in on it." If it was a scam and early members were part of it you would think at some point someone would have said enough is enough. None of the Eight Witnesses ever denied what they had seen, or the church itself, and Emma had a chance after her husbands death to make the record clear or at least to her sons in private, but as we all know Joseph Smith the third became the leader of the reorganized church. I doubt she would have let that happen if she was sick of everything, even if only to protect her son from also being killed. No Emma truly believed in it. She sacrificed way too much.

  • Back to the Drawing board... Midvale, UT
    July 1, 2011 2:35 a.m.

    "By their fruits, ye shall know them." How can any church, organization or religion that encourages its members or participants to live better lives, strive for better families and give immense amounts of humanitarian aid be perceived as ill intended, or full of malice and fraud? Opposition in all things eh?

  • JM Lehi, UT
    July 1, 2011 1:21 a.m.

    Great article, yawn yawn on the anti-Mormons pretending to be everything but anti-Mormons, yet repeating the same old claims rebutted thousands of times....

    The Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham etc are proven miraculous, as are Joseph's other works...why try to stop us from knowing the truth ya'll haters that I love : ) Lift, enlighten, or at least let us explore the truths of Mormonism without darkening with repeats.... still luv ya though : )

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    June 30, 2011 11:52 p.m.

    Idaho Coug: Thank you for your kind words.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    June 30, 2011 11:37 p.m.

    I have a close relative who is a devoted LDS church member. He has served a mission, married in the temple, had 8 kids and a successful career. He served in church leadership positions with great fervor.

    He is often verbally and sometimes physically abusive to his family members and often speaks evil of other church leaders. He often claims he is guided "the spirit." He diligently keeps a journal and bears his testimony often in church meetings. Several of his family and friends see through his schizophrenic ways. He is very smart and a quick study and knows history and has a technical degree. He is often the center of attention in small and even in medium sized groups. Many people who used to believe he was pure as the wind driven snow now see he is anything but that!

    I see many similarities between him and Joseph Smith. Smith was smart, very cunning and an intelligent and charismatic leader. He was very creative and dynamic. He was very persuasive. It is clear after close scrutiny and seeing both sides of the story that Smith wasn't "called of God." It makes reason stare that he was.

  • Kurt Matthia Pleasant Grove, UT
    June 30, 2011 10:58 p.m.

    % skeptic | 9:02 p.m.

    I appreciate your position better from your comment. Unfortunately, intermittent chatter in these forums cannot help you or others really understand LDS beliefs. The original news article on which the comments are made remind me of the impressions the different blind men got by feeling an elephant. Latter-day Saints have unique definitions for many common religious words. Everything ties back to the foundational event of the first vision. Either there is a real tangible God who talks to men in all ages--or not. The LDS foundation is on the mantic, not the sophic. The Book of Mormon itself, not where the plates are or what the witnesses said and did is offered as an opportunity to have your personal mantic experience (Moroni 10). If you move ahead sincerely, you can know. If you keep pecking sophically at a detail here and there, your not understanding at all what Mormons are. If you have mantic knowledge that the BOM is not true, then bless you to go your own way. LDS believe you'll still go to a glorious resurrection through the Redeemer.

  • eagle651 Chino Valley, AZ
    June 30, 2011 10:57 p.m.

    I had a comment early on today, where I stated on how people who disagree with LDS Church use bits and pieces from Church history or articles to support their negative views. They are entitled to their opinions.
    But the people they are so critical about are dead and can't defend themselves.
    Most of the comments are just going around in circles or trying to impress others with their education.
    I since there is no Holy Spirit here, just mankind opinions.

    What happened to the thought God just might in control
    What happened to our faith in Christ
    What happened to the Spirit of Holy Ghost

    Very few have mentioned how great the Church is. It started small and has grown to a world wide Mission for Christ.
    Proud to be LDS

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    June 30, 2011 9:43 p.m.

    As has been mentioned above about the three witnesses one of the things that must be noted is that David Whitmer did say that he could have been a vary rich man several times over if he had denied his testimony.

    Three Witnesses -

    Oliver Cowdery - excommunicated - rejoined the Church and died as a member
    David Whitmer - excommunicated - Died still testifying of the Book of Mormon
    Martin Harris - excommunicated - rebaptized and died as a member

    8 Witnesses -

    Christian Whitmer - died a member of the Church
    Jacob Whitmer - died a member of the Church
    Peter Whitmer - died a member of the Church
    John Whitmer - excommunicated - never denied testimony
    Hiram Page - excommunicated - never denied testimony
    Joseph Smith Sr - died a member of the Church
    Hryum Smith - assassinated with the Prophet Joseph Smith
    Samuel Smith - died a member of the Church

    So where is the truth that most of the eleven left the church. Only David Whitmer, John Whitmer and Hyrum Page would never return to the Church. So once again the critics caught in a lie.

    Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris died before David Whitmer. Martin Harris is buried in Utah. Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer buried in Richmond, Missouri.

  • selway Paul, Idaho
    June 30, 2011 9:23 p.m.

    The editing of comment has to do with unbecoming and harsh or vulgur language with that word possibly not allowing this comment to be posted. It is computer generated and the reply comes in less than a minute from post. Illuminating for all the spelling errors in the prophets journals in his early twenties at the time the Book of Mormon was published. No person alive would ever be capable of writing such a book much less the uneducated Joseph Smith. How can any educated look at the complexities of this book not recognize the only plausible explanation being it had to be a translation. The veracity however can only be found through the process of Mor 10:4,5.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    June 30, 2011 9:02 p.m.

    % New Yorker 7:06 You write "I wonder if Brother Peterson enjoys baiting you anti's? I suspect so"

    I have different opinions than Mr Petersen, but I respect him as a good and honest man; and I doubt he plays games with sincere people as you imply. Also, I do not consider myself as an Anti, but rather some one who cares and likes Mormons enought to have an interest in them and to want to understand them and their believes and merits.

  • Lone Star Cougar Plano, TX
    June 30, 2011 8:24 p.m.

    I am with Utes Fan,

    I have visited Whitmer's grave on a hill in Missouri and have seen with my own eyes David Whitmer's testimony of the Book of Mormon and the gold plates, as I recall, on his headstone. He may have had issues with people in the church and whether they be his fault or others or both are immaterial. David Whitmer went to his grave never denying the authenticity of the plates or the Book of Mormon.

    Joseph was a prophet.

    He may have had faults, but he was a prophet and all those who rail against him or the church will break themselves against it. Picking out faults of people, real or imagined, will not change the fact that he was a prophet. Now, go and clean up your own lives and quit using the weakness of others, again real or imagined, to prop up your own weakness and sin.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    June 30, 2011 8:02 p.m.

    How about this DN censors?

    There are fascinating books out there that document the lives of Joseph Smith's plural wives. Their accouts give interesting insight into Joseph Smith's character. I hope that's benign enough :)

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    June 30, 2011 8:02 p.m.

    Mormoncowboy - I really enjoy most of the things you say on here. Thanks.

    To answer your question about whether or not the witnesses could financially benefit by recanting - it is just my hunch that they could. My reasoning is that there were many factions at that time that were going to any length to tear down or discredit the Church. I think it is reasonable that any number of people, church's, and even state governments would have paid handsomely for a hand written denial by one of the 11 witnesses.

    But you are right that would have to be balanced against the fact that they would then be branded liars for the rest of their lives. And most of them were very pious, religious men who probably held their reputations in high regard.

    At the end of the day we only have the facts regarding the witnesses. They did not deny. They did make statements that muddied the waters and most did leave the Church or were excommunicated. Many top leaders left the Church or were excommunicated back then. The early Church was anything but a smooth ride for anyone.

  • SimonSays Riverton, UT
    June 30, 2011 8:00 p.m.

    Praise to the man - no apologies!

  • selway Paul, Idaho
    June 30, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    Really good comments all around especially enjoyed portions of the King Follett discourse. The church is the way God wants it to be and because as is stated by Mormon as he abridges the record "I was about to write them... but the lord forbade it saying I will try the faith of my people" so also is the history of the church. Without the flaws there would be no reason to have faith. That record speaks for itself. Too those who mock at it read 2nd Nephi
    33:10-15. Thanks all.

  • Brett822 Bellevue, NE
    June 30, 2011 7:18 p.m.

    When defending the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, I love the thought of knowing that Joseph Smith had little education and he translated the golden plates. I'm sure that any other person would need to have many years of translation in order to even try to translate it, and it wouldn't be possible unless that person was the prophet.

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    June 30, 2011 7:06 p.m.

    I wonder if Brother Peterson enjoys baiting you anti's? I suspect so.

  • Svoboda West Valley City, UT
    June 30, 2011 5:37 p.m.

    To Brahma Bull

    The implication was that they by leaving they also rejected their early witness.

    Several witnesses left before Joseph died. Oliver Cowdery, for example. So your statement about how they were tied to Joseph is incorrect.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 30, 2011 5:34 p.m.

    For a critic wanting to reject Joseph's own account, there are, broadly speaking, only two logical alternatives for explaining him:

    We have imagined and supposed that God was from all eternity. I will refute that idea a take away the veil, so that you may see. (Teachings of the Prophet JS ,345.)
    He just refuted Moroni 8:18, For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity. ...He is the same God yesterday, today, and forever . Amen.

    ..we know there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God,(D&C 20:12 and 17).

    .from everlasting to everlasting thou art God. (Psalm 90:2)

    Possibility #3. He was very forgetful.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    June 30, 2011 5:12 p.m.


    "So either (Whitmer) had both voices from god, first telling him to join the church and then later a voice that told him to leave and both were true..."

    In a pamphlet called "An Address to All Believers in Christ", Whitmer mentions that he was told by God to "separate myself from among the Latter Day Saints". What is often left out by critics, is that in that pamphlet Whitmer strongly reiterates his testimony of the Book of Mormon and his experience seeing the angel as one of the three witnesses.

    Whitmer was instructed to leave Far West AFTER he was already excommunicated from the Church. He had some disagreements with the Church and leaders, and was excommunicated for it. Having a disagreement doesn't by any means prove the Church false. But, to "separate" from the saints is NOT a commandment to recant his testimony. It simply meant to physically locate elsewhere. This was arguably a wise choice since there were threats of violence. Whitmer remained true to his testimony of being a witness.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    June 30, 2011 5:11 p.m.

    With that I will conclude this with one final point.

    Building upon beliefs is not only a peaceful doctrine but an enjoyable one. Those seeking contention have every opportunity to seek others with the same goal in mind... but to try to arouse it in others is wrong and has no benefit.

    Build upon each other, edify, help each other... these are good. Fighting each other and contending with each other only breeds intolerance, fighting, and hatred amongst each other.

    We all have a simple choice before us. Be bold and stand for the true principle of peace or take the cowardly way out, the easy way, the way of fighting.

    Just because Joseph Smith, or Mormon, or any other label is in front of you... doesn't justify destroying what you don't like. Otherwise we all have just as much claim to fight each other, destroy all beliefs (right or wrong), and in the end we would self-annihilate.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    June 30, 2011 5:11 p.m.

    To argue or verbally fight people on their beliefs is simply absurd.

    Government is by the people to protect the people. If people want to argue about which doctrines or which beliefs make up that government then fine... do so. We all have an equal right to vote and influence the body which is the creation of all of us. But to argue with a man about his private affairs when they are unwelcome is wrong.

    The LDS Church does not support going to websites of different beliefs, whether they be Jewish, Gay rights, or any other doctrine- and fight with people. The LDS Church states it's belief and offers assistance to those who want it. What someone does in their own home is their right. They may belief as they will without interference. The Church does not interfere with the private beliefs of others, only internally and that which is of the community, in which it resides.

    With that, I claim that those who come here to fight the LDS Church or its members on their beliefs are wrong for doing so and I personally believe such unwelcome contention as provoking and not peaceful.


  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    June 30, 2011 5:11 p.m.

    Joseph Smith gave the King Follett Discourse, in which you will find this text- which can only be as accurate as the 4 men who transcribed it. However 4 men writing his words as opposed to one critic... I'll trust that this is fairly close to what came out of Joseph Smith's mouth.

    "No man is authorized to take away life in consequence of difference of religion, which all laws and governments ought to tolerate and protect, right or wrong. Every man has a natural, and, in our country, a constitutional right to be a false prophet, as well as a true prophet. If I show, verily, that I have the truth of God, and show that ninety-nine out of every hundred professing religious ministers are false teachers, having no authority, while they pretend to hold the keys of Gods kingdom on earth, and was to kill them because they are false teachers, it would deluge the whole world with blood."


  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    June 30, 2011 5:10 p.m.

    Jeff - I think you have a great outlook for a member of the Church who seems to know all the difficulties of history and doctrine. You don't seem to sugarcoat or dismiss but rather try to implement the reality of things into your testimony. I'm not sure how close to your's my testimony will eventually end up but I do appreciate and respect your comments.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    June 30, 2011 4:59 p.m.

    "On one hand there was probably financial incentive for them to deny their story and yet they did not."

    From who? Who was willing to pay any of the witnesses substantial sums that could compensate for the otherwise character suicide? Quite to the contrary, none of the witnesses would have been benefited for admitting complicity in a religious fraud. Sorry, but it just doesn't make sense regardless of how many times we say it.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    June 30, 2011 4:51 p.m.

    Wow, in two pages of comment, the thread has gone quickly from Petersen's idea that, though flawed, Joseph Smith was neither a con man nor delusional, to "I don't believe the Book of Abraham," "polygamy had a messy beginning," "the 11 witnesses said something that I don't like."

    The more I learn about Joseph Smith, the more I am certain of two things: 1. He was a fallible man, subject to many things that might embarrass a 21st Century American. 2. He was a prophet of God.

    Latter-day Saint culture has the same tendency to deify leaders that the broader culture does. Each generation has to be set straight. The early generations saw Joseph's faults up close and personal, and they accepted his prophetic calling. We learn about his faults through the voluminous records the Church keeps. I do not believe we "whitewash" our history, but I acknowledge that we sometimes need to step back and see things as they really were.

    By the way, I think the journals in Joseph's own handwriting are a magnificent witness of what he was really like without the influence of the Spirit--an uneducated backwoods country boy. With a limp.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    June 30, 2011 4:39 p.m.

    I don't have the exact information on each of the eleven witnesses. But many left and were excommunicated or were excommunicated and then left while JS was still alive. The witnesses are like most things relating to the origins of the Church - a mixed bag.

    On one hand there was probably financial incentive for them to deny their story and yet they did not. And yet on the other hand there is a lot that calls into question aspects of the story including some statements that they were pressured to sign or only saw with their spiritual eyes. It is an example of at least two-sides of the story as it is with almost all aspects of early Mormonism.

    I used to only focus on the faith promoting side of the story. But I am at a place where I have to honestly review my testimony given all the information. I appreciate those who assist in that here.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    June 30, 2011 3:47 p.m.

    Svoboda - No one said the witnesses refuted what they said. Only that they left the church. Whitmer said:

    "If you believe my testimony to the Book of Mormon; if you believe that God spake to us three witnesses by his own voice, then I tell you that in June, 1838, God spake to me again by his own voice from the heavens, and told me to 'separate myself from among the Latter-day Saints" [An Address to all believers in Christ, p27, 1887.]

    So this statement is that if you believe that god spoke to him as a witness with his own voice, that you must believe god also told him in 1838 to separate himself from the church. So either he had both voices from god, first telling him to join the church and then later a voice that told him to leave and both were true... Or he had neither. You can't give credit to the first one he had but simply dismiss the second one. Also - it doesn't matter that the witnesses left after Joseph died - that actually proves further that they had an attachment to Joseph - not to the gospel he claimed to restore.

  • Svoboda West Valley City, UT
    June 30, 2011 2:35 p.m.

    A lot of poor logic applied to some of the comments. secondly a lot of people stating as fact something that isn't fact.

    Would someone show one verified quote from any of the 11 witness, where they refuted what they said?

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    June 30, 2011 2:27 p.m.

    Great comments one and all!

    My hunch is that almost all those who are critical or doubtful in their comments either are or were LDS. It can be a very difficult process when you learn that you supported, loved and lived something that at a minimum had several different versions to the story you learned your whole life. I know many who are in that situation. I think members need to show empathy for that even toward those who seem to be reacting almost in anger toward the Church.

    I want the Church to be true as much as anyone. It has been my life for over 40 years. But many things about our doctrine and particularly about the early origins of the Church plain and simply are difficult. At a minimum the Lord must have wanted his people to really practice their faith because almost every aspect of the early origins (JS through BY) have some troubling aspects. It was not a seemless, simple restoration as I think we tend to be taught as we grow up in the Church. Even the most faithful member has to acknowledge that.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    June 30, 2011 2:20 p.m.

    By any measure, Joseph Smith was an extraordinary individual. The movement he began has done much good in the world and has had an impressive staying power.

    As Dr. Peterson has said before (in a different forum), there have always been reasons to believe, and there have always been reasons to disbelieve.

    As I've gotten older the sheer quantity of credible reasons to doubt has been magnified many times over. JS's behavior around early polygamy, the Book of Abraham translated in the 1960s, multiple versions of the first vision, Immanuel Swedenborg writing about the 3 kingdoms & Celestial Kingdom a hundred years before JS was born... the catalog of troubling issues is staggering.

    But as an organization & a people, the movement Joseph started is impressive. I don't wish to destroy anyone's faith, and just as I have respect for the religious stories of Native Americans or African tribes or Hindus in India, I respect the LDS ideology, though I don't believe, and admire the results.

  • dustman Nampa, ID
    June 30, 2011 1:48 p.m.

    I'm LDS. A lot of things in christianity are hard to believe: Walking on water, water to wine, rising after three days...angel moroni? Religions are not black and white, these things rely on faith and gaining a testimony. Why are some religious teachings harder to accept than others? I don't know.

    I do however tire of apologetic writings, white washing of histories, and half-truths. If full disclosure of an event is a problem, then don't bring it up to begin with. Yes the church had bars, yes they had tobacco fields, yes we practiced polygamy...own with it...why apologize? it is what it is.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 30, 2011 12:51 p.m.


    "What about the main text of the Book of Abraham - what do you think about that? It's an amazing piece of doctrine and narrative as well as the Book of Moses and all these texts bridge the Old and New Testaments and place Christ clearly at the center of all the Dispensations. Maybe the source doesn't line up but what about the end result?"

    If the end result does not match up with the original source then that suggests a few things...
    1. That the end result is not truth.
    2. If Joseph Smith is capable of making up those books (which is kinda necessarily the case since it's something entirely new if it doesn't match up with the original source) then that enhances the claim that Joseph Smith would be capable of having done the same with the Book of Mormon.
    3. It can still be a good, spiritual, and inspiring story... but if it doesn't match up with the original then it's just good religious fiction.

  • full disclosure Providence, UT
    June 30, 2011 12:48 p.m.

    EastCoast Cougar

    I don't sense anger in any of the comments. Here's a few questions for you:

    Is Satan the father of all Lies?

    Would God ever have anyone Lie?

    Have our leaders of our church ever lied including Joseph Smith?

    Is preparing and article as Mr. Peterson has done with half truths (example- we know that the witnesses of the book or mormon never really saw the plates with their physical eye's but with their spiritual eye's)
    Could it be that you might looking at things with emotion and not sound reasoning? From my experience-Everything that Mr. Peterson claims there is ALWAYS another side to the story.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    June 30, 2011 12:47 p.m.

    Most of the Witnesses of the Book of Mormon etc. left the church after Jospeh died.

    I believe Whitmer said he didn't leave the church the church left him.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    June 30, 2011 12:37 p.m.

    @eastcoastcoug, Perhaps you may find the answer to your question, in that while many find comfort at the table of good natured fairy tales they also have a hunger for the truth. The search for truth has never been a bad motive. As a matter of fact is there not something in the LDS church doctrine that counsels one to seek out the truth. In most believers thoughts, is god not truth. Is wanting to know god (truth) then a waste of time. To doubt is to discover, ( hopefully).

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    June 30, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    skeptic - continued from FAIR:
    "Emma would later give her permission for Joseph to marry two sisters who also lived in the Smith homeEmily and Eliza Partridge. Yet Emma was soon to change her mind and eventually compelled these wives to leave her home. It is thus consistent with her later behavior for her to have agreed (if only reluctantly) to a marriage with Fanny only to have second thoughts later."

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    June 30, 2011 12:13 p.m.

    skeptic - You can't get answers in this type of forum--not enough space or time! If you're sincere, go to the FAIR site. This is from there:

    "The facts seem to be that Emma became aware of the marriage at some point, probably involved Oliver and perhaps other church leaders, and was upset enough to eventually insist that Fanny leave her home. Todd Compton argues that these accounts can be harmonized since regardless of whether Emma saw her husband in the barn or discovered evidence of Fannys pregnancy, her reaction was the same. This stance glosses over a key pointit may well be that both the Webbs and McLellin are either mistaken or lying. That Emma was upset is certain. But the contradictions and problems with these two hostile accounts give us no reason to conclude that the truth must be that Emma discovered either Joseph and Fanny in the barn or a pregnancy. ...ones attitude toward Joseph, the church, and plural marriage will influence how such contradictory and biased testimony is interpreted."

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    June 30, 2011 11:47 a.m.

    It appears we have a lot of doubters (from across the US) who still read the D News. Some of you haven't quite left the church apparently. I don't see the connection between what Peterson wrote and what many of you are saying or the anger in which you seem to be expressing it.

    Peterson's article contains one paragraph about artifacts people claimed to see and the rest is about journal entries. Nothing about non-factual things or white-washing. You all seem to want to weigh in just to complain.

    What have you done with your lives? Are you trying to build others up and improve situations in the world? How are you lifting your spouses and families?? I suggest you do less to tear down and find some productive things to do.

    In my view Joseph Smith was a religious humanist who believed in the unlimited power and potential of the human soul - that EVERYONE has a potential for great things. I don't understand those who waste their days - either in his time or now - trying to tear those ideals down. Take a good look at your motives...

  • eagle651 Chino Valley, AZ
    June 30, 2011 11:41 a.m.

    Although the intent was to show the quality of the man [Joseph Smith], the article has once again opened door by a member of the church to non members that the church history may not be all that credible.
    Some quotes from the article can provide fuel for the professional anti authors to write new books.
    The 700 club and others will have a field day broadcasting around the world this kind of message.

    The Book of Mormon musical > Damage control
    Dr Peterson Article > Damage Control

    With this kind of message the Missionaries work may just get harder.

    I love the spirit of Christ in the Church; but just not very happy at the moment. "And I am a Mormon"

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    June 30, 2011 11:37 a.m.

    @Weber State Grad:

    What about the main text of the Book of Abraham - what do you think about that? It's an amazing piece of doctrine and narrative as well as the Book of Moses and all these texts bridge the Old and New Testaments and place Christ clearly at the center of all the Dispensations. Maybe the source doesn't line up but what about the end result?

    We have the Rosetta Stone which tells us what the Egyptians were saying. Are we certain that these heiroglyphics, which are some 4,000 years old, really make no reference to the things Joseph Smith was talking about? If you can believe in God and that He has been communicating since the beginning of time, why wouldn't we find earlier content that speaks of God and Christ?

    For me it's not that cut and dry...I've lived in several countries and have travelled in the Middle East. I see things that both confirm and don't confirm my belief. So for me, I see enough connection to make me think there is some substance to Jos. Smith's claims.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    June 30, 2011 11:23 a.m.

    BobP - So the witnesses leaving the church has no bearing on what you believe? You must admit that them leaving the church is something that speaks volumes. How could so many men - believers and followers of Joseph Smith and witnesses to the supposed restoration later leave the very organization they knew to be true? It doesn't make sense. It is not like one or two left. Most of them did. That is not a coincidence. So they saw the plates, and the angel, had a testimony strong enough to testify of it to others, then all of the sudden decided it wasn't for them? That is something that must be taken into consideration. That and Moroni couldn't deliver the plates to Joseph - yet was able to take them up to heaven. Oh and another thing, the plates were too sacred to be seen by others, but not too sacred to be stolen? That makes no sense either. If these are the facts you are putting your belief in then so be it - but remember they are facts.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    June 30, 2011 10:50 a.m.

    "All of the non believers are having fun. Peterson did not say Joseph Smith was perfect. He said that the evidence does not reveal a scam artist. Nor does it reveal a delusional fool. He was a prophet and he was a man who made mistakes.

    Some of the witnesses may have left the church, but none of them ever recanted their testimonies."

    The evidence??? What evidence are you referring to? Joseph Smith claims to have had gold plate, and a sword from a person mentioned in those plate, but that he had to give them back to an angel. Is that your evidence?

    The witnesses never maintained consistent testimonies, to the point that even today many are confused by exactly what the witnesses bore witness of.

    June 30, 2011 10:27 a.m.

    Joseph Smith, was a magnanimous man, whose heart and soul sparkled excitingly and he was attuned to the Will of God. As a leader he was far ahead in his thinking and his ideas exceeded the boundaries of his time. He was searching for tolerance of all men, whatever their station. He was a man immersed in the restoration of Ancient Covenants. His followers struggled to establish their freedom to worship God as they were taught and had exhausted all legal and rational resources seeking redress from a State out to exterminate them. His efforts met with failure. He was appalled by the lack of executive direction and felt that under the US Constitutional provisions, a man or a people, who are able to protect themselves can get along well enough; but those who have the misfortune to be weak or unpopular are left to the merciless rage of powerful mobs.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    June 30, 2011 10:19 a.m.

    Thank you DN for finally allowing me to post my question and concern about Joseph deceiving Emma with his involvment in plural marriages. My question is the same as many of todays concerns of how can you trust or believe someone who lies and cheats on their spouse: the person who is their best friend and who they have sworn to honor and obey, etc. If their spouse can't believe or trust them, then how can anyone else be expected to. It is a simple honest question that I would like Mr. Petersen to answer.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    June 30, 2011 10:09 a.m.

    All of the non believers are having fun. Peterson did not say Joseph Smith was perfect. He said that the evidence does not reveal a scam artist. Nor does it reveal a delusional fool. He was a prophet and he was a man who made mistakes.

    Some of the witnesses may have left the church, but none of them ever recanted their testimonies.

    June 30, 2011 9:54 a.m.

    "But mere subjective delusion within Joseph's mind cannot explain the material objects the sword of Laban, the Liahona, the plates, the breastplate and the "interpreters"."

    Yeah, but if you really believe what the witnesses said, then you believe that these objects are now in a cave in the Hill Cumorah, a cave with apparently magical power that opens up to allow people to enter. So why don't we go to the hill and verify whether or not there is a cave full of "material objects"?

    The answer is that not even Mormon scholars believe that those objects are there, or they believe that some supernatural power prevents their discovery, in which case I'm not sure we can call them "material objects."

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    June 30, 2011 9:26 a.m.

    "...he must have been either dishonest or delusional, or some hybrid of the two."

    Why is it that the DN censors every post that mentions Emma not knowing about Joseph's other wives. Is there a story here, please tell us DN. Is it that the DN is still harboring the past church feelings of Emma as pariah. I understand that Emma is now accepted as an elect lady. So why the censor.

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    June 30, 2011 9:21 a.m.

    UtahBlueDevil, I share your disgust at seeing Peterson argue that Joseph Smith and the other early Mormons were perfect, white-washing them to pretend that they were without any flaws or errors.

    I simply can't believe that he claims that! And when he goes on to maintain that they were all seven-foot-tall blonde Asians, I'm left literally SPEECHLESS.

    Come on, friend. He never made any such arguments.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    June 30, 2011 8:34 a.m.

    "...he must have been either dishonest or delusional, or some hybrid of the two."

    I have an extremely difficult time giving him the benefit-of-the-doubt with respect to the Book of Abraham. His "translation" of the three facsimiles are such a gross misrepresention that any Egyptian scholar involved in a similar blatant distortion would be exposed as a fraud and ostracized from the academic community.

    Understanding of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics during Joseph's time allowed the perpetuation of his translation to go unchallenged. As a result, I believe he felt he had nothing to fear regarding a credible challenge. As a result, it's simply too hard for me to believe that he wasnt either "dishonest or delusional" when it comes to this specific issue.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    June 30, 2011 8:28 a.m.

    This article points out one important thing to me. It says that if the whole thing was a fraud and many people were in on it so it wouldn't have worked because over time their motives change and they would have gone separate ways. Well, from what I see that is exactly what happened. Martin Harris went his own way. David Whitmer went his own way. Most of the eleven witnesses went their own ways. So strong was their visions of the plates and of god and of the seer stones that they left the church. Not one or two of them, but nearly all of them. That is a glaring fact.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    June 30, 2011 7:21 a.m.

    Dr. Peterson: Another excellent article and, as always, based on logic, reason and reality. Thanks for your efforts.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    June 30, 2011 6:40 a.m.

    As one whose family tree includes many of those actors in the early church, I am often discouraged by the constant white washing of our own history in this church. The men were just that, just men. They were not "saints", but people doing the best they knew how, and capable of mistakes, and poor judgement.

    Claiming that any accounts that put any of these men in a negative light have been deemed inaccurate is a total misrepresentation of fact. Each and every one of them had failings, as do we. But the sum was much greater then the individual failings each had.

    One of the most dishonest things we do to our youth is the impression that those that came before us were somehow able to live perfect lives, setting an unrealistic bar. We would do them much more favor if we showed our youth that these men had their own issues, but worked and fought to over come those. It is a message of hope and repentance.

    But so long as we have historians who present tainted images of the past, only harm can come when the full and accurate story is really presented.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    June 30, 2011 6:02 a.m.

    I'm sorry but many of the historical moments you're cherishing as faith promoting and actual "history" just are not factual. You can love Joseph all you want but at least make it based on facts, not fantasy.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    June 30, 2011 5:24 a.m.

    The Book of Mormon itself is a weighty, complex piece of evidence that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He accounts for more pages of scripture than Moses, Paul, Peter and John combined. He could have gone to FAR less trouble to establish himself as others have done in founding a religion. The Book of Mormon reads like a historical work with many characters, changing narrative and lengthy timeline. All with a powerful testimony of Christ as the common thread.

    The reaction to Joseph Smith has been very similar to reaction to Christ and His Apostles. The religious establishment considered Christ and Paul to be "devils", Christianity was a "cult". Non believers took them to be mad. Both groups persecuted them to death. The Reformers and others sought for a Restoration (see Roger Williams' statement) and each church has sought to restore one aspect or several (eg. Baptism, direct reading of Scripture). Each offshoot of Protestantism has been persecuted and then become persecutor as subsequent religions were founded.

    I wish all those who despise Mormonism and Joseph Smith would take Gamaliel's advice.