Notes for my writing

This blog is made up of notes on the gospel as found in the only true and living church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes notes that are either excerpts from or ideas for books I either have in draft or may yet write.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Getting Joseph Smith's history from his enemies as seen in the Book of Mormon

There has been a major recent trend that we can fill in all sorts of things we don't know about Joseph Smith by going to his enemies to learn things we don't find out from his friends. The book Rough Stone Rolling is a primary example of this, but so are the annotations in the recent series of books detailing Joseph Smith's writings. The current topics articles now go to sources that rely heavily on Joseph Smith's enemies.

We get an example of what this means in practice in the Book of Mormon.

Mosiah 10:12 They [the Lamanites] were a wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, believing in the tradition of their fathers, which is this—Believing that they were driven out of the land of Jerusalem because of the iniquities of their fathers, and that they were wronged in the wilderness by their brethren, and they were also wronged while crossing the sea;
 13 And again, that they were wronged while in the land of their first inheritance, after they had crossed the sea ....

In this account Lehi and Nephi were driven out of Jerusalem because they were so wicked. Laman and Lemuel were outrageously rebellious. But here their rebellions are transformed and they are the victims of Lehi and Nephi instead.

And that is what we are doing to our beloved prophet.

Every member alive to day owes all the light and truth we enjoy in the gospel today to Joseph Smith. There are no exceptions.

But we have betrayed him in this matter. His blood stains the floor of carthage jail for our sakes, and we have turned to his enemies to learn "the real truth" about him.

Men with faces painted black have slain him, and we have, as it were, turned to them as he lay dead and inquired for their point of view so we can fully understand our dear prophet.

Rather than mourning our loss and bearing the dead prophet with honor and weeping to his grave we want to hang around and gather what the murderers have to say about him, carefully collect their thoughts, words, insights, and  recollections, and then bind them up in beautiful print in a book with the prophet's picture on the front.

We cannot take such a treacherous course and not pay a due price. The price will be paid in the testimonies of our children and our children's children. They will get their account of the prophet from a perspective mingled with poison, and many of them will die of it.

When I meet him in the spirit world I want to look him in the eye and be able to say that I never went to his enemies to learn who he was and what sort of work he did.

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