Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Trying to Understand Joseph Smith, the Man: Not Your Typical Sunday School Description

Kimberly wrote an incredibly thought-provoking post on Feminist Mormon Housewives last year about how she has come to see Joseph Smith, the man.  It probably will be somewhat shocking to many LDS members, but, as someone who wants my prophets to be "real people", it resonated with me - especially since I have had similar thoughts and wondered along similar lines.  (not just about Joseph, but also about Nephi)

I am adding a rare disclaimer to this post prior to providing the link, because Kimberly's post is not standard Sunday School fare.  Although I have a very positive view of it, I understand fully that it probably won't be the view held by most members - and I honestly and sincerely don't want anyone to walk away from reading the post and question whether or not Joseph was a prophet of God.  Kimberly believes he was, and so do I.  We just believe he was a "real" person at the same time - and, more than that, an incredible, amazing, marvelous person, as well.  I just want to make that point crystal clear upfront: I love and admire Joseph Smith and accept him as a prophet of God - but I love him even more in seeing him as a truly complicated man who was not the two-dimensional caricature we too often portray him to have been.

 So, if you don't want to read a heterodox, somewhat controversial, speculative post about Joseph, please don't click the link.  Rather, simply leave a comment about how you have come to view the man whom I personally see as the modern American Moses (with Brigham Young being the modern American Joshua). 

Dealing with Joseph - Kimberly (Feminist Mormon Housewives)  [My own comments are #59 & #60.]


Anonymous said...

Ray, thanks for the link. I enjoyed the post and your comments in 59 and 60 have given me a great deal to think about. The Jedi/Sith idea really resonates. Thanks again

Anonymous said...

"So, if you don't want to read a heterodox, somewhat controversial, speculative post about Joseph, please don't click the link."

I haven't and I won't. Mormon Housewives have been banned from my reading list. A bunch of apostate women that need to be excommunicated.

Papa D said...

I respect others' opinions, but I was tempted to delete the last comment, due to the rules that are listed at the bottom of this blog's homepage. I will let it stand, with a simple statement that such a broad, sweeping condemnation is not in harmony with the rules or spirit of this site and inaccurately categorizes many of the people who write and comment at FMH - but any follow-up condemnation will be deleted.

Glenn Thigpen said...

What we all have to realize when looking at the history of the church and the its leaders is that we are looking "through a glass, darkly" and we do not see everything that was going on in and around those times. Maybe some of the supposed "warts" are warts because we lack enough correct information to make a righteous judgement.

I think that Kimberly is indeed able to see past the imperfections and retain her testimony that Joseph was a Prophet called of God. I believe Joseph when he tells us "In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature." (POGP,JS-H, 1:28)

When I am confronted with these suposedly great and sometimes loathsome mistakes that Joseph was supposedly guilty of, I am always brought back to the fact that I gained my testimony through the provenance of the Holy Ghost and not through the information gleaned from man.

I have never considered Joseph Smith, (at least not since I have gained cognitive abilities) to be a perfect being. He never helf himself up to be such, as he himself said, "I do not think there have been many good men on the earth since the days of Adam; but there was one good man and his name was Jesus. Many persons think a prophet must be a great deal better than anybody else....I do not want you to think that I am very righteous, for I am not." (History of the Church 5:401)

He also said “I do not dwell on your faults, and you shall not upon mine”—good counsel for us all. He said, “Charity, which is love, covereth a multitude of sins, and I have covered all the faults among you, but the prettiest thing in the world is to have not faults at all. We should cultivate a meek, quiet, and peaceable spirit” (Documentary History of the Church, 5:401).

Maybe we can all take a cue from his words.


Papa D said...

Amen, Glenn. Well said.

Anonymous said...

I agree with above poster who doesn't click on certain sites. I will not click on fmh any more. I am looking for something faith promoting and uplifting when I go to a blog. I have always felt safe with Papa D's blogs.

Papa D said...

I respect that - especially since there is no sweeping charge of apostasy directed at everyone at that site. That's why I included the disclaimer.