All of us are both saints and sinners. It's that internal paradox that is inherent in ALL of us that I think is most critical to understanding not only Joseph Smith but also each other.
For example, when I tell someone that the key to finding peace is within herself, I'm not saying that she is the problem - or that nobody else played a part of her current situation - or anything else like that. I'm simply saying that the first step toward peace and happiness is to realize that there are at least two (and often many more than two) ways to view anyone and interpret anything - and peace relies often on being able to let go of one's former view and realize that SHE, HERSELF, INDEPENDENT OF OTHERS has the ability to choose which view (*or views*) she will accept as "legitimate" or "true".
The following is my own opinion, but it highlights why I am at peace with Joseph on an intellectual level - personally:
Was Joseph a ego-maniac? Sure, at times.
Was Joseph incredibly humble? Sure, at times.
Was Joseph a liar? Sure, at times.
Was Joseph honest to a fault? Sure, at times.
Was Joseph an opportunist? Sure, at times.
Was Joseph charitable and giving? Sure, at times.
Was Joseph a loyal friend - sometimes to a fault? Sure, at times (usually).
Was Joseph both incredibly tender and hot-tempered? Sure, usually and at times.
Was Joseph inspired? Sure, fairly regularly.
Was Joseph a fallen mortal? Sure, at all times.
Was Joseph a prophet? Sure, and he acted properly as one most of the time.
I've studied enough of him to see him as an incredibly complex person - a saint and a sinner - with the heavenly and hellish fighting inside him. He's me on steroids - so I honor the saint on steroids (the Prophet) and intentionally refuse to judge the sinner on steroids (the man). He usually was not on those steroids, however, and I really have come to love the steroid-less man - and Emma, who stayed with him through the entire roller-coaster ride.
I have a hard time explaining how much I admire that woman.
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