Criticism of Mormonism/Websites/FutureMissionary.com/The Prophet Joseph Smith



A FairMormon Analysis of: FutureMissionary.com
A work by author: Anonymous

A FairMormon Analysis of FutureMissionary page "The Prophet Joseph Smith"

FAIRMORMON'S VIEW OF THE CRITICS' CONCLUSIONS


The positions that the FutureMissionary article "The Prophet Joseph Smith" appears to take are the following:

  • That Joseph Smith was a Freemason.
  • That Joseph was taken to Carthage after ordering the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor because it was going to reveal Joseph's involvement with polygamy.
  • That Joseph Smith had many wives.
  • That Joseph used a "peep stone" which he had previously used to find treasure and the translation instrument for the Book of Mormon.
  • That Joseph translated the Book of Mormon by placing his seer stone in his hat and dictating text.
  • That Joseph fired a gun at his attackers in Carthage, wounding three people.
  • That Joseph was not a racist.

FAIRMORMON'S RESPONSE AND SUPPORTING DATA


FutureMissionary says...
The website states that Joseph Smith was a Freemason and then refers the reader to the Wikipedia article on the subject.


FAIR commentary

  • Joseph Smith and a number of other Church leaders were Freemasons. In fact, the restored Masonic Lodge is one of the tour sites in Nauvoo, Illinois.



Additional information

  • Mormonism and Freemasonry—This summary page contains bibliographic references for various electronic and print items that discuss -- or are related to -- the 'Mormonism and Freemasonry' issue. The materials that are listed here represent a variety of opinions that are held by Latter-day Saints on this topic. They also represent differing levels of review and publication processes and divergent degrees of documentation. (Link)


FutureMissionary says...
The website poses the question "Why was Joseph Smith imprisoned at Carthage?" The response is that it was because Joseph destroyed the press for the Nauvoo Expositor, which was going to expose Joseph's involvement in polygamy.


FAIR commentary

  • The Expositor incident led directly to the murder of Joseph and Hyrum, but it was preceeded by a long period of non-Mormon distrust of Joseph Smith, and attempts to extradite him on questionable basis.
  • The destruction of the Expositor issue was legal; it was not legal to have destroyed the type, but this was a civil matter, not a criminal one, and one for which Joseph was willing to pay a fine if imposed.
  • Joseph seems to have believed—or, his followers believed after his death—that the decision, while 'unwise' for Joseph, may have been in the Saints' interest to have Joseph killed. For a time, this diffused much of the tension and may have prevented an outbreak of generalized violence against the Saints, as occurred in Missouri.



Additional information

  • Nauvoo Expositor—What can you tell me about the Nauvoo Expositor? Did Joseph violate the law by ordering it destroyed? Some claim that Joseph "could not allow the Expositor to publish the secret international negotiations masterminded by Mormonism’s earthly king." (Link)


FutureMissionary says...
The website states that Joseph had many wives.


FAIR commentary

  • It is correct that Joseph initiated the practice of polygamy within the Church.



Additional information


FutureMissionary says...
The website asks the question "What was the peep or seer stone?"


FAIR commentary

  • Joseph was given a set of Nephite interpreters along with the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was produced. In addition, Joseph already possessed and utilized several seer stones. Although Joseph began translating the Book of Mormon using the Nephite interpreters, he later switched to using one of his seer stones to complete the translation. Critics (typically those who reject Mormonism but still believe in God) reject the idea that God would approve the use of an instrument for translation that had previously been used for "money digging."


Quotes to consider

  • The January 2013 Ensign clarifies that Joseph used multiple revelatory instruments, and that they all were classified under the name Urim and Thummim.

Those who believed that Joseph Smith’s revelations contained the voice of the Lord speaking to them also accepted the miraculous ways in which the revelations were received. Some of the Prophet Joseph’s earliest revelations came through the same means by which he translated the Book of Mormon from the gold plates. In the stone box containing the gold plates, Joseph found what Book of Mormon prophets referred to as “interpreters,” or a “stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light” (Alma 37:23–24). He described the instrument as “spectacles” and referred to it using an Old Testament term, Urim and Thummim (see Exodus 28:30).

He also sometimes applied the term to other stones he possessed, called “seer stones” because they aided him in receiving revelations as a seer. The Prophet received some early revelations through the use of these seer stones.

Gerrit Dirkmaat, “Great and Marvelous Are the Revelations of God,” Ensign, January 2013, 45–46. off-site.


Additional information

  • Joseph as seer and his use of seer stones—What do we know about Joseph's seer stone? What is its relation to the "Urim and Thummim"? Did Joseph place his seer stone in his hat while he was translating the Book of Mormon? (Link)


FutureMissionary says...
The website poses the question "How did Joseph Translate?" The website notes that Joseph used a stone and a hat, and states that Church art "has led many members to believe that Joseph was reading directly from the Golden Plates."


FAIR commentary

  • Members are taught that Joseph translated using the Urim and Thummim. Some Church art portrays Joseph looking directly at the plates, even though members know that this is not the way it was done.



Additional information

  • Accuracy of Church art—Critics charge that the Church knowingly "lies" or distorts the historical record in its artwork in order to whitewash the past, or for propaganda purposes. A commonly used example is the inaccuracy of any Church art representing the translation process of the Book of Mormon. (Link)


FutureMissionary says...
The website poses the question "Did Joseph kill anyone?" The website notes that Joseph " pulled the trigger 6 times in self defense, though only 3 bullets fired, injuring 3."


FAIR commentary

  • Cyrus Wheelock smuggled in a six-shooter pepperbox pistol into Carthage Jail, which Joseph attempted to fire six times as his attackers attempted to break through the door. The pistol misfired three times, and three people were wounded. John Taylor initially assumed that these three had died of their wounds, however, evidence indicates that all three survived. Joseph's pistol is currently on display at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City.



Additional information

  • Joseph fired a gun—Some claim that Joseph could not have been a "martyr" because he had and used a gun at Carthage Jail. (Link)


FutureMissionary says...
The website poses the question "Was Joseph a racist?" The website answers "no."


FAIR commentary

  • As the website notes, Joseph conferred the priesthood on at least one black man, and ran for President on an abolitionist platform.


Quotes to consider

  • From VIEWS OF U.S. GOVERNMENT, BY JOSEPH SMITH, FEBRUARY 7, 1844 off-site (Displayed on the FutureMissionary website)

Petition, also, ye goodly inhabitants of the slave States, your legislators to abolish slavery by the year 1850, or now, and save the abolitionist from reproach and ruin, infamy and shame.

Pray Congress to pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus revenue arising from the sale of public lands, and from the deduction of pay from the members of Congress.

Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire him to labor like other human beings; for "an hour of virtuous liberty on earth is worth a whole eternity of bondage."