Elder Dallin H. Oaks: 'Joseph Smith was a remarkable man, a great American'

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  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 4, 2013 1:17 p.m.

    JSH v.33:

    "... 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."

    This comment board has been a small example of the proof of this prophecy.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Oct. 3, 2013 7:07 p.m.

    I've studied the life of Joseph Smith in considerable detail over the years. I own about everything ever published by the Church covering his life's adventures.
    I've also studied volumes of information concerning a less that favorable light.
    It's unfortunate that so much is swept under the rug.

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    Oct. 3, 2013 9:28 a.m.

    to: 1.96 standard deviations

    I think everyone agrees that there were people who knew Joseph who liked him, and thought he was a prophet of God (just like people today know Warren Jeffs and believe that he is also a prophet). I guess my point was, it would be advantageous for people to read the accounts of the people who didn't have good things to say about his character and his actions. So many believers won't even read those accounts, they call it "anti-mormon" and lies. If you are going to read and believe the accounts of the people who liked him you should also look into the other side of the equation as well.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Oct. 2, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    Here is another statement from someone who knew Joseph Smith personally. Let me introduce, Emmeline B. Wells, to you both -- Church Member and Hutterite:

    "In the Prophet Joseph Smith, I believed I recognized the great spiritual power that brought joy and comfort to the Saints. . . . He was beyond my comprehension. The power of God rested upon him to such a degree that on many occasions he seemed transfigured. His expression was mild and almost childlike in repose; and when addressing the people, who loved him it seemed to adoration, the glory of his countenance was beyond description. At other times the great power of his manner, more than of his voice (which was sublimely eloquent to me) seemed to shake the place on which we stood and penetrate the inmost soul of his hearers, and I am sure that then they would have laid down their lives to defend him. I always listened spell-bound to his every utterance—the chosen of God in this last dispensation."

    -Emmeline B. Wells

    Source: JosephSmith dot net

  • maclouie Falconer, NY
    Oct. 2, 2013 9:55 a.m.

    1.96 Standard Deviations

    Good quote! Compare that "fact" to the "feelings" expressed by the "naysayers".

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 2, 2013 8:24 a.m.

    EternalPerspective,cSeeking truth.

    A testimony of the Book of Mormon comes by the power of the Holy Ghost— Moroni’s words speak from the ‘dust’.

    Compare poor KJV translation to(Latin vulgate, Is 29:4), and thy speech shall whisper out of the ‘dust’. and thy voice shall be from the earth like that of the “*pythonis=(familiar spirit)”, and out of the earth thy speech shall mutter.

    . From, Acts 16:16 And it came to pass , as we went to prayer a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination= (*python/Gr,=4436) met us which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying .

    (Latin Vulgate 1 Sam 28:7) And Saul said to his servants: Seek me a woman that hath a divining spirit=( *pythonem/familiar spirit), and I will go to her, and enquire by her. And his servants said to him: There is a woman that hath a divining spirit=(*pythonem)[witch]at Endor.

    In Greek mythology, Pythian a serpent dwelt in the region of Pytho at Parnassus in Phocis, said to have guarded the oracle at Delphi and been slain by Apollo. 2. a spirit of divination.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Oct. 2, 2013 2:04 a.m.

    Church member

    Seeking truth is a valiant trait to desire what the world and humanity cannot give. Therein resides the greatest challenge to not esteem truth as solely what the physical senses can perceive. For the mysteries of God are only given by spiritual means to those who not only seek truth diligently, but are sufficiently humble, sincere, and strive with a purity of intent to receive His grace over the world and endure all things.

    This is the grand secret of faith that those who refuse to exercise it with full purpose of heart do not understand. One cannot set their heart upon the things of the world and expect the knowledge of God to descend upon them to discern the works of man from the works of God. This cannot be done exclusively through the scriptures as many claim of the Bible being the final word of God. Nor can one just "will" it so by good works. Man cannot invent what only God can give.

    One gains absolution concerning the correct nature, character, and plan of God by forsaking the world and submitting their will to Him just as Jesus did to the Father.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Oct. 1, 2013 11:48 p.m.

    Church member and Hutterite:

    How about we give you guys another statement from someone who knew Joseph Smith personally? You two ought to reconsider your opinion of Joseph Smith. Here is what Daniel D. McArthur said of the Prophet Joseph Smith:

    "To me he [Joseph Smith] seemed to possess more power and force of character than any ordinary man. I would look upon him when he was with hundreds of other men, then he would appear greater than ever.
    "My testimony is that he was a true Prophet of the living God; and the more I heard his sayings and saw his doings the more I was convinced that he had of a truth seen God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, as also the holy angels of God. I cannot call to mind that I ever had a doubt enter my heart, since I first heard the gospel preached . . . as to his being a true Prophet. It always seemed to me that if I ever did know anything on this earth I surely knew that he was a Prophet."

    Source: JosephSmith dot net

  • m.g. scott clearfield, UT
    Oct. 1, 2013 12:53 p.m.

    Well, let me comment. First of all you call yourself a Church member. Now you ask me to question everything and test it with facts and research. What facts and research as you know it would prove there is a God? Let's begin there. If you as a Church member have a belief in God, it comes from the same place as my faith. If you don't believe in God, then what Church are you a member of?

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    Oct. 1, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    To m.g. scott

    Question everything you have been taught. If something really is true then it will stand the test of facts and research. If it is not true then you won't have to waste your life following something that is not true. Don't ever be afraid to look at ALL the facts.

    By the way, is a feeling always accurate?? Could it ever be wrong??

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Oct. 1, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    m.g. scott

    Well said and a good direct point. We as Mormons are counseled to be Christ-like at all times and all places. Yet, if we only show restraint and fail to affirm truth by declaring our testimony of what God has revealed directly unto us by personal revelation because we fear offending others, then are we truly standing as witnesses we ought to be?

    Jesus exemplified love and service to others when in mortality. But, He was not afraid to rebuke the Pharisees and Sadducees for their evil thoughts and deeds that were hypocritical. There is also no mistaking the sternness of Jesus chasing out the money changers from "His Father's House" in the temple. In fact temples have always been a central part of God's authority when it has been on the earth.

    I digress, but needless to say, who today that denies the power of God on the earth with the same patterns that exist in the Bible, would in reality, have believed differently then the Pharisees and Sadducees when Jesus walked the earth in mortal form? Why does the world hate the pure truths of God when it "loveth its own"?

  • VMan22 Sandy, UT
    Oct. 1, 2013 9:36 a.m.

    Because someone has critical thoughts doesn't make them an evil naysayer. Quit using that word it rings of a lack of education. Debating over historical information and points of view is only good for you and the church. It is also silly to say "Sure Joseph wasn't perfect." Don't be afraid of the details of his life. He had major issues and likely some practices that many would consider horrible, at the same time he and his contemporaries were able to create and manage a narrative compelling enough to engage the the attention of devotion of someone like an educated like Oaks more than 150 years later. As more information is put forward about Smith and the Book of Mormon then our understanding will evolve...inevitable.

  • m.g. scott clearfield, UT
    Oct. 1, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    Dallin Oaks is an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. I take his words as having much more truth and validity than any of you naysayers. But I do read you people. Nothing any of you have ever said has in any way changed my mind or most importantly what I know to be the truth. When someone with the authority of an Apostle speaks, I'll listen. Ask yourselves if you would have listened to an Apostle in the days of Jesus. I'll bet many of you would say yes if it was back then, but not today because you don't believe in Apostles today. I suspect many wouldn't have believed then either, even though they think they would have.

  • maclouie Falconer, NY
    Oct. 1, 2013 8:54 a.m.


    14.7M is probably an accurate number.

    Your analysis is moot.

    Example: the number of amateur radio operators includes me even though I have not operated a radio in 30+ years and have forgotten much. I still have a license. I am still counted. They were baptized. They are still counted. BTW, my license will expire in 10 years unless I renew it. Their membership on earthly rolls will expire when they die (or ask to be removed). That's how it works.

  • Casey See FLOWER MOUND, TX
    Oct. 1, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    to the comments made by Huetterite

    Because someone who has enemies who choose to press libelous charges in court, doesn't mean he is guilty of those charges. It was just because of those activities, that it became illegal for law officials to arrest both national and state senators and representatives for misdemeanor charges. In the 17 and 1800s these actions were used to prevent government officials from getting to their legislature to vote on close bills.

    Also, look at others who have been pulled into court with trumped up charges and were not guilty. Jeremiah the prophet, Christ, and Moses are just a few that come to mind. During the reformation, nearly all of the reformists spent significant time in jail because their enemies brought up frivalous charges.

    Even in our day, it is not uncommon for someone to either threaten or actually press charges against people or organizations to either extract money from them or to get them to move or change direction; many times these charges have no basis but the charging party knows the accused can't, won't, or knows its is to costly to fight and therefore acquicse.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 1, 2013 8:13 a.m.

    RE: FT1/SSThe best source is to read his own words. It's obvious the skeptics on here hav'nt bothered. True,

    That seer… his name shall be called Joseph(Smith), and it shall be after the name of his father. ( Genesis 50:33 JST)

    Joseph Smith Jr.,” Joseph son of Jacob, prophesied of the future mission of the Prophet JS twenty-four hundred years before the LDS prophet was born…(50:33 JST ).(Religious truth defined by Joseph Fielding Smith, (p.256-257).

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 1, 2013 7:45 a.m.

    RE: That seer… his name shall be called Joseph(Smith), and it shall be after the name of his father. ( Genesis 50:33 JST)

    @EternalPerspective, He had to learn line upon line over the course of time and many trials just like the rest of us.
    Precept upon precept; line upon line, Isa 28:10 KJV is a mistranslated text of scripture.
    In the footnotes of most modern Bibles, the passage is really God’s sarcastic indictment against Israel’s leaders for turning His word into a list of rules, repeated endlessly to the people as if they were little children, barely able to understand. In Hebrew the passage is like a child’s rhyme.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Oct. 1, 2013 7:22 a.m.

    @Veritas Aequitas;

    The actual number is much less than the 14.7 reported. Outside of Utah, the LDS church is lucky, very lucky, to have a 35% attendance rate. In many foreign countries, the after baptism retention rate is much, much lower. You honestly can't consider someone a member if they've been baptized, went to church a couple dozen times and then never come back. You also can't honestly consider someone a member who has left the church but doesn't take their name from the rolls (the LDS church doesn't require new converts to submit a letter to their former congregation "resigning", so it really isn't necessary when leaving the LDS church for another either).

    In conclusion, 14.7 is way, way high.

  • FT1/SS Virginia Beach, VA
    Oct. 1, 2013 6:51 a.m.

    The best source is to read his own words. It's obvious the skeptics on here hav'nt bothered.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Oct. 1, 2013 4:59 a.m.

    How many great leaders in history have been tainted by biased views, propaganda, and rumors that end up going down in accounts as so called "fact"?

    Was Joseph Smith perfect because the Lord called him to be a prophet of the latter day dispensation of the fullness of times? Not remotely.

    Did Joseph Smith know all things at once because he was the prophet? Not at all. He had to learn line upon line over the course of time and many trials just like the rest of us. His sufferings were greater than any of us can imagine just like prophets of old.

    Why do so many people care about Joseph Smith who hate him, or was this not a fulfillment of the prophecy that his name would be had for good and evil in all the world?

    It's always interesting to me how many people fight against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and persecute the doctrine, people, and practices. Yet, they know very little of substance having depth, but repeat the same rumors that existed in the days of Joseph Smith. The world resides in darkness but the light of truth pentrates it all.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Sept. 30, 2013 5:29 p.m.

    The answer may still be blowing in the wind,but the truth isn't too far off as more information is exposed to the light o day.

  • Veritas Aequitas Fruit Heights, UT
    Sept. 30, 2013 2:42 p.m.

    Church member

    North Salt Lake, UT


    14.7 million people would agree...

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Sept. 30, 2013 2:33 p.m.

    Joseph Smith gave lip service to the Constitution in the cause of Mormon rights with regard to it clashes with other Americans. But his autocratic civic-leadership methods in Nauvoo raise questions about his basic understanding of the concept of constitutional government.

    Granted, a national understanding of the nature of our Federalism was still in a formative stage in the Age of Jackson. But I don’t see it crystalized in Joseph Smith’s ‘Views of the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States’ which he published when he ran for President in 1844. It offers insight into Joseph Smith’s understanding of American history under the Constitution. It also provides his ideas on such issues as slavery and territorial expansion. Overall, it reads more like a sustained diatribe than a well thought out and reasoned Presidential platform. The historian Bernard DeVoto described it as apocalytic. I concur.

    You can read the full text in the Documentary History of the Church and judge for yourself.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Sept. 30, 2013 2:18 p.m.

    Joseph was a spiritual man with a native brilliance. He didn't start out great but be became great due to perseverance and some great tutelage.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Sept. 30, 2013 1:53 p.m.

    With all due respect there seems to be a lot of information available, some of it dating back to the time of Smith, that portrays him in circumstances that would warrant different adjectives. I'm sure I'll be called down for it, but there had to be something to it.

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    Sept. 30, 2013 1:31 p.m.

    He was a great story teller. That is for sure.