Joseph Smith/Martyrdom/Nauvoo Legion to rescue Joseph/Further Reading

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Further reading

FairMormon Answers articles





It is claimed that Joseph Smith was a disreputable person. (Click here for full article)




  • Was Joseph Smith ego-maniacal, proud, and narcissistic?
    Brief Summary: Some quote Joseph Smith as saying such things as: "I am learned, and know more than all the world put together," "I combat the errors of ages; I meet the violence of mobs; I cope with illegal proceedings from executive authority; I cut the Gordian knot of powers, and I solve mathematical problems of universities, with truth . . . diamond truth; and God is my ‘right hand man.’” They use these quotes to portray Joseph as egomaniacal, proud, and narcissistic. (Click here for full article)
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  • Joseph as a "second Mohammad"
    Brief Summary: Joseph Smith is quoted as saying that he would be a "second Muhammad," threatening to spread his beliefs with the sword. (Click here for full article)
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  • Did Joseph Smith 'boast' of keeping the Church intact?
    Brief Summary: Joseph Smith is reported as saying: “I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam... Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (History of The Church, 6:408–409). This attitude strikes some as boastful, and unbecoming a prophet. (Click here for full article)
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Was Joseph Smith's engagement in "money digging" or looking for buried treasure a blot on his character? (Click here for full article)



Joseph Smith's claim that he saw the Father and the Son in 1820 has produced a wide variety of criticism. This set of articles addresses the various critical claims related to the First Vision. The linked articles below are designed to help readers to see some of the weaknesses that are found in arguments that are made against Joseph Smith's First Vision accounts. Some of these arguments are currently being advocated in anti-Mormon literature that is handed out near the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York. (Click here for full article)



Citing Joseph Smith's experiences with folk magic, treasure seeking and seer stones, it is claimed that Joseph Smith's spiritual experiences were originally products of magic and the occult. Some charge that only much later did Joseph retrofit his experiences in Christian, religious terms: speaking of God, angels, and prophethood rather than in terms of magic, treasure guardians and scrying. It is also claimed that a "vagabond fortune-teller" named Walters became popular in the Palmyra area, and that when Walters left the area, "his mantle fell upon" Joseph Smith. (Click here for full article)



It is claimed that Joseph Smith claimed to translate other texts or items, which can be checked against modern academic translations. They claim that this "cross-checking" proves that Joseph could not have translated the Book of Mormon or other ancient texts. (Click here for full article)

  • Joseph as seer and his use of seer stones
    Brief Summary: 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? (Click here for full article)
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  • Book of Abraham (Click here for full article)
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  • Joseph Smith and the Greek psalter
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that an ancient text of Greek psalms (a "psalter") was misidentified by Joseph Smith as a containing "reformed Egyptian" hieroglyphics. (Click here for full article)
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  • Kinderhook Plates
    Brief Summary: Given the evidence that the Kinderhook plates were fraudulent, how can one explain the following things: Why did William Clayton claim that Joseph Smith had translated a portion of the plates? Where did the translation described by Clayton come from if the plates were actually fake? By what means did Joseph attempt to translate the plates? (Click here for full article)
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  • The Joseph Smith "translation" of the Bible and its relationship to the Book of Mormon
    Brief Summary: Some passages from the Bible (parts of Isaiah, for example) were included in the Book of Mormon text. However, the same passages were later revised for the Joseph Smith Translation of the Holy Bible. In some cases these passages are not rendered identically. It is claimed that if the JST was an accurate translation, it would match the supposedly more 'pure' Isaiah text possessed by the Nephites. (Click here for full article)
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  • Joseph Smith's involvement with legal issues
    Brief Summary: How many times was Joseph involved with legal issues? (Click here for full article)
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  • Does D&C 98 teach the Saints to disobey the secular law?
    Brief Summary: According to historian D. Michael Quinn, Joseph received a revelation which "established the primacy of religious law over secular law...and not only authorized but commanded Mormons to disobey secular law and civil leaders not conforming to the commandments of God." This interpretation, however, is Quinn's own. The revelation is not telling the Saints to "disobey secular law and civil leaders"—it is telling them to "befriend" the law of the land, and seek to support "honest men and wise men" as leaders. (Click here for full article)
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  • Claimed mismanagement of the Lawrence estate
    Brief Summary: Joseph Smith was appointed the guardian of two daughters, Maria and Sarah Lawrence, and their inheritance. He later married them in plural marriage. The evidence shows that Joseph Smith faithfully discharged his legal duties, despite the claims made by some nineteeth-century and modern critics. (Click here for full article)
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  • Joseph Smith's presidential run
    Brief Summary: Some claim that Joseph Smith's decision to run for President of the United States in 1844 shows him to be either a megalomaniac bent on amassing ever more power, or a fanatic with delusions of grandeur. (Click here for full article)
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Joseph Smith is frequently criticized for his introduction and practice of polygamy. From a Christian perspective, these attacks usually focus on arguing that polygamy is unchristian or unbiblical, and that Joseph hid the truth from the world. From a secular perspective, it is asserted that the practice of polygamy sprung from Joseph's carnal desires to marry young women. Of particular interest is the fact that Joseph was sealed to women who were already married to other men (polyandry). (Click here for full article)








  • Joseph Smith's involvement with legal issues
    Brief Summary: How many times was Joseph involved with legal issues? (Click here for full article)
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  • Does D&C 98 teach the Saints to disobey the secular law?
    Brief Summary: According to historian D. Michael Quinn, Joseph received a revelation which "established the primacy of religious law over secular law...and not only authorized but commanded Mormons to disobey secular law and civil leaders not conforming to the commandments of God." This interpretation, however, is Quinn's own. The revelation is not telling the Saints to "disobey secular law and civil leaders"—it is telling them to "befriend" the law of the land, and seek to support "honest men and wise men" as leaders. (Click here for full article)
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  • Claimed mismanagement of the Lawrence estate
    Brief Summary: Joseph Smith was appointed the guardian of two daughters, Maria and Sarah Lawrence, and their inheritance. He later married them in plural marriage. The evidence shows that Joseph Smith faithfully discharged his legal duties, despite the claims made by some nineteeth-century and modern critics. (Click here for full article)
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Accusations of false prophecy

Specific accusations of Joseph Smith having uttered "false prophecy" are treated in the following wiki articles:

Fulfilled prophecies

Miscellaneous






If every President of the Church is a prophet, seer, and revelator, why have so few revelations after Joseph Smith been added to the Doctrine and Covenants? Revelations used to be printed in Church periodicals such as the Times and Seasons and the Evening and Morning Star. Why are revelations no longer published on an ongoing basis? (Click here for full article)







  • LDS prophets don't prophesy?
    Brief Summary: Some critics say that Latter-day Saint prophets aren't really "prophets" because they don't prophesy by foretelling unknown events. They commonly issue challenges such as, "If Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet, tell me one event that he's prophesied." Do LDS prophets "prophesy"? (Click here for full article)
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  • Prophetic inerrancy?
    Brief Summary: Critics sometimes impose absolutist assumptions on the Church by holding inerrantist beliefs about scriptures or prophets, and assuming that the LDS have similar views. Critics therefore insist, based upon these assumptions, that any statement by any LDS Church leader represents LDS doctrine and is thus something that is secretly believed, or that should be believed, by Latter-day Saints. (Click here for full article)
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  • David O. McKay liked to be lionized
    Brief Summary: Some authors distort a biography of President McKay to claim that he liked to be "lionized." (Click here for full article)
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  • Do Latter-day Saint prophets not address current issues?
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that General Authorities are very silent about some issues, and that academic or volunteer organizations take their place (Click here for full article)
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  • Church Public affairs does not represent the Church
    Brief Summary: Some people do not agree with statements issued by the Church's public affairs department. They claim that the public affairs department does not always reflect the beliefs or statements of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. This claim is both absurd and false. (Click here for full article)
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  • False revelation or private matters
    Brief Summary: Statements by leaders of the Church on the propriety of Church members teaching new doctrines, or publicizing personal revelations, dreams, visions, etc. (Click here for full article)
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It is claimed that Mormonism prides itself in having unpaid clergy as one proof of the Church's truthfulness. They then point to the fact that some General Authorities, mission presidents, and others do, in fact, receive a living stipend while serving the Church, and point to this as evidence of the “hypocrisy” of the Church. (Click here for full article)

  • No professional clergy
    Brief Summary: There can be no doubt that the Church does have an unpaid ministry. More precisely, it does not have a professional clergy. (Click here for full article)
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  • General Authorities living stipend
    Brief Summary: Some members of the Church are unaware that at least some General Authorities do receive a modest living stipend. While it is true that some Church leaders receive a living allowance while they serve in a given position, it cannot be said that the Church has a professional ministry in the traditional sense. (Click here for full article)
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  • Scriptural teachings about paid ministry
    Brief Summary: What do the scriptures say about a paid ministry? (Click here for full article)
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    • Priestcraft
      Brief Summary: Church members have a particular sensitivity to issues surrounding paid ministries particularly due to admonitions in the Book of Mormon relative to a practices known as priestcraft, which is "that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion." (Click here for full article)
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  • What constitutes official or "core" doctrine of the Church?
    Brief Summary: What constitutes official or "core" doctrine of the Church? Joseph Smith defined our fundamental core doctrine: "The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121.) (Click here for full article)
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  • How is new doctrine established in the Church?
    Brief Summary: How is new doctrine established in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? (Click here for full article)
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  • Changing doctrine
    Brief Summary: Is LDS doctrine constantly changing? It is claimed that Mormon doctrine is very elusive - very little is claimed to be official, which makes it easy to repudiate certain doctrines when they become unpleasant or unfashionable. (Click here for full article)
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  • Church publications as doctrine
    Brief Summary: Are Church publications considered doctrine? It is claimed that anything that is, or ever was, officially published by the Church at any time ought to represent doctrine, thus define what Latter-day Saints really believe. However, just as Brigham Young taught principles that applied to the 19th-century saints, modern prophets teach us what we need for our particular time. (Click here for full article)
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  • Official Church publications
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that some publications are official Church publications when in reality they are not. Conversely, some claim that some publications are not official Church publications when in reality they are. (Click here for full article)
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  • Statements by past prophets
    Brief Summary: Are statements of past prophets considered doctrine? It is claimed that anything that is, or ever was, officially published by the Church ought to represent doctrine. (Click here for full article)
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  • Prophets are not infallible
    Brief Summary: Are prophets considered infallible? Critics sometimes impose absolutist assumptions on the Church and hold inerrantist beliefs about scriptures or prophets. Critics therefore insist that any statement by any LDS Church leader represents LDS doctrine and is thus something that is secretly believed, or that should be believed, by Latter-day Saints. (Click here for full article)
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Some teachings previously considered doctrinal have since been repudiated by the Church. (Click here for full article)

  • Why were some early teachings or doctrines later repudiated by the Church?
    Brief Summary: Why would a current prophet invalidate the teachings of a previous prophet? (Click here for full article)
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  • Repudiated concepts: Blood atonement
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that during the administration of Brigham Young apostates were secretly put to death. They claim this is in line with the teachings of LDS leaders at the time that apostasy was the unforgivable sin, and that the only thing an apostate could do to redeem himself was to give his own life, willingly or unwillingly. (Click here for full article)
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  • Repudiated concepts: Priesthood ban on people of African descent
    Brief Summary: There exist previously taught ideas which have been repudiated by Church leaders since the ban. Among these are the notion that Blacks were somehow not as "valiant" in the pre-existence, and that interracial marriage is forbidden. (Click here for full article)
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  • Repudiated concepts: Adam-God theory
    Brief Summary: Brigham Young taught that Adam, the first man, was God the Father. Since this teaching runs counter to the story told in Genesis and commonly accepted by Christians, critics accuse Brigham of being a false prophet. Also, because modern Latter-day Saints do not believe Brigham's "Adam-God" teachings, critics accuse Mormons of either changing their teachings or rejecting teachings of prophets they find uncomfortable or unsupportable. (Click here for full article)
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Joseph Smith's claim that he saw the Father and the Son in 1820 has produced a wide variety of criticism. This set of articles addresses the various critical claims related to the First Vision. The linked articles below are designed to help readers to see some of the weaknesses that are found in arguments that are made against Joseph Smith's First Vision accounts. Some of these arguments are currently being advocated in anti-Mormon literature that is handed out near the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York. (Click here for full article)

FairMormon web site

  • FairMormon Topical Guide: Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith FairMormon link
Joseph Smith FairMormon articles on-line
  • Ron Barney, "Joseph Smith’s Visions: His Style and his Record" FairMormon link
Joseph Smith other visionary issues FairMormon links
  • Craig Ray, "Joseph Smith's History Confirmed," (Mesa, Arizona: FAIR, August 2002) FairMormon link

External links

Joseph Smith, Jr. on-line articles
  • Richard Lloyd Anderson, "Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reappraised," Brigham Young University Studies 10 no. 3 (1970), 285. GL direct link
  • Richard Lloyd Anderson, "Review of Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined by Rodger I. Anderson," FARMS Review of Books 3/1 (1991): 52–80. off-site
  • Richard Lloyd Anderson, "The Reliability of the Early History of Lucy and Joseph Smith," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 4 no. 2 (Summer 1969), 16, 19.
  • Leonard J. Arrington, "The Human Qualities of Joseph Smith, the Prophet," Ensign 1 (January 1971), 35ff. off-site
  • Richard L. Bushman, "Joseph Smith Miscellany," (Mesa, Arizona: FAIR, 2005 FAIR Conference). FairMormon link
  • Richard L. Bushman, Dean C. Jessee and Truman G. Madsen, "Smith, Joseph," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, (New York, Macmillan Publishing, 1992), 3:1331–1348. off-site
  • Donald L. Enders, "The Joseph Smith, Sr., Family: Farmers of the Genesee," in Joseph Smith, The Prophet, The Man, edited by Susan Easton Black and Charles D. Tate, Jr., (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1993), 213—25.
  • Alan Goff, "Dan Vogel's Family Romance and the Book of Mormon as Smith Family Allegory (Review of: Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet)," FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): 321–400. off-site
  • Alan Goff, "How Should We Then Read? Reading Mormon Scripture After the Fall," FARMS Review 21/1 (2009): 137–178. off-site wiki
  • Andrew H. Hedges and Dawson W. Hedges, "No, Dan, That's Still Not History (Review of: Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet, by Dan Vogel)," FARMS Review 17/1 (2005): 205–222. off-site
  • Louis Midgley, "Editor's Introduction: Knowing Brother Joseph Again," FARMS Review 18/1 (2006): xi–lxxiv. off-site wiki
  • Louis Midgley, "Two Stories—One Faith," FARMS Review 19/1 (2007): 55–79. off-site wiki
  • Larry E. Morris, "Joseph Smith and "Interpretive Biography", Review of Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet by Dan Vogel," FARMS Review 18/1 (2006): 321–374. off-site wiki
  • Daniel C. Peterson and Donald L. Enders, "Can the 1834 Affidavits Attacking the Smith Family Be Trusted?" in Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon: The FARMS Updates of the 1990s, ed. John W. Welch and Melvin J. Thorne (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1999), 286—87.

Printed material

  • Dallin H. Oaks and Marvin S. Hill, Carthage Conspiracy, the Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1979), 1. ISBN 025200762X(Key source)
Joseph Smith, Jr. printed materials
  • Richard L. Bushman, "Joseph Smith's Family Background," in The Prophet Joseph: Essays on the Life and Mission of Joseph Smith, ed. Larry C. Porter and Susan Easton Black (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988), 1–18. ISBN 0875791778. GL direct link
  • Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Knopf, 2005), 1.
  • Mark L. McConkie, Remembering Joseph: Personal Recollections of Those Who Knew the Prophet Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Company, 2003).(print version) ISBN 978-1570089633 GL direct link (Key source)

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