Subject: The False [LDS] Joseph Smith and the Real [Historical Reality] Joseph Smith
Date: Aug 13, 2010
Author: Nightingale

Mormons consider that Joseph Smith was chosen by God to usher in the restored gospel. Non-Mormons view him as having founded a church. Big difference. Mormons can justify following JS despite his numerous obvious major character flaws by saying that they donít expect a prophet to be perfect and their church embodies the true gospel despite the human foibles of members and prophets alike. Non-Mormons ask how they justify following a leader who displayed such questionable integrity in his actions and words. How much does the personal character of your leader/s matter in any organization?

As much as the Mormon Church now seeks to deflect focus from JS, BY and various aspects of church history, the ethics and lives of their prophets formed and directed the church, influencing it still, perhaps more subtly but still extensively within the Mormon culture and faith. It is interesting to examine the different positions on JS; the favourable and reverential view that the Mormon Church upholds vs that held by non-Mormon analysts who see a fuller picture of JSís character and behaviour.

From an official LDS Church web site JS is described as follows:

*Latter-day Prophet
*Seeker of Truth
*Prophet of God
*Leader of Christís Church
*Devoted Husband and Father
*Martyr of the Restored Gospel

"He did God's work until the day his life was taken by a mob, and we honor him for his faith, humility, and devotion. We are grateful for the Church he helped establish, the scriptures he translated, the revelations he received and the things he taught that help us understand the ways of God."


Sounds good for the church. But is it a full and accurate picture of JS? I think the character of JS is crucial to whether he is a good role model to follow as prophet to an entire religious movement. If not, how does one reconcile continued involvement in the Mormon Church? Equal to the character question is a reasonable expectation of consistency and lack of hypocrisy both in the leaders and the teachings.

Also, are the stands taken by the 20/21 C Mormon Church wrt social issues such as homosexuality and marriage equality in line with original church teachings? If so, were JS, BY and other "prophets" faithful or hypocritical regarding them? Although change is perhaps inevitable, how much change is reasonable before the original product is no longer recognizable or the new product unfaithful at heart to the original?

As seen on the site referenced above, JS is lauded as prophet, seeker of truth (!), devoted husband (!) and faithful, humble, devoted martyr. Non-Mormons see a different Smith, as below.

From (exmo) Deconstructorís site, Mormon prophets on homosexuality:

Re JS in connection with abortion and prostitution, Decon excerpts:

"In Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven" it mentions that Joseph Smith visited houses of prostitution.

"From the book:

"I have told you that the prophet Joseph used to frequent houses of ill-fame. Mrs. White, a very pretty and attractive woman, once confessed to me that she made a business of it to be hospitable to the captains of the Mississippi steamboats. She told me that Joseph had made her acquaintance very soon after his arrival in Nauvoo, and that he had visited her dozens of times."

"My husband (Apostle Orson Pratt) could not be induced to believe such things of his prophet. Seeing his obstinate incredulity, Mrs. White proposed to Mr. Pratt and myself to put us in a position where we could observe what was going on between herself and Joseph the prophet. We, however, declined this proposition."

"Next door to my house was a house of bad reputation. One single woman lived there, not very attractive. She used to be visited by people from Carthage whenever they came to Nauvoo. Joseph used to come on horseback, ride up to the house and tie his horse to a tree, many of which stood before the house. Then he would enter the house of the woman from the back. I have seen him do this repeatedly."

"Joseph Smith, the son of the prophet, and president of the re-organized Mormon church, paid me a visit, and I had a long talk with him. I saw that he was not inclined to believe the truth about his father, so I said to him: 'You pretend to have revelations from the Lord. Why don't you ask the Lord to tell you what kind of a man your father really was?' He answered: 'If my father had so many connections with women, where is the progeny?' I said to him: 'Your father had mostly intercourse with married women, and as to single ones, Dr. Bennett was always on hand, when anything happened."


Deconstructor posted in June 2006:

"Wife of Apostle Orson Pratt isn't the only one who knew about abortions in Nauvoo."

"LDS Elder Ebenezer Robinson testified that Hyrum Smith:

"instructed me in Nov or Dec 1843 to make a selection of some young woman and he would seal her to me, and I should take her home," he recalled, "and if she should have an offspring give out word that she had a husband, an Elder, who had gone on a foreign mission." Possibly referring to a secluded birthplace, or conceivably to abortion, Robinson spoke of "a place appointed in Iowa, 12 or 18 miles from Nauvoo to send female victims to his polygamous births." - Ebenezer Robinson to Jason W. Briggs, Jan. 28, 1880, LDS archives.

"On December 29, 1873, Ebenezer and Angeline Robinson signed an affidavit saying that Hyrum Smith had come to their house in the fall of 1843 to teach them the doctrine of polygamy.

"Apostle Orson Pratt's wife testified...

"One day they came both, Joseph and [Doctor] Bennett, on horseback to my house. Bennett dismounted, Joseph remained outside. Bennett wanted me to return to him a book I had borrowed from him. It was a so-called doctor-book. I had a rapidly growing little family and wanted to inform myself about certain matters in regard to babies, etc., -- this explains my borrowing that book."

"While giving Bennett his book, I observed that he held something in the left sleeve of his coat. Bennett smiled and said: 'Oh, a little job for Joseph; one of his women is in trouble.' Saying this. he took the thing out of his left sleeve. It was a pretty long instrument of a kind I had never seen before. It seemed to be of steel and was crooked at one end."

"I heard afterwards that the operation had been performed; that the woman was very sick, and that Joseph was very much afraid that she might die, but she recovered." - Testimony of Apostle Orson Pratt's wife, Sarah Pratt from "Joseph Smith the Prophet: His Family and Friends"

"Joseph Smith's once close associate Doctor Bennett was also accused by Hyrum Smith of practicing abortions.

"Hyrum testified that Dr. Bennett was propositioning women in a similar fashion to Joseph Smith.

"[Dr. Bennett] endeavored to seduce them, and accomplished his designs by saying it was right; that it was one of the mysteries of God, which was to be revealed when the people was strong enough in faith to bear such mysteries, that it was perfectly right to have illicit intercourse with females, providing no one knew it but themselves, vehemently trying them from day to day, to yield to his passions, bringing witnesses of his own clan to testify that there were such revelations and such commandments, and that they were of God; also stating that he would be responsible for their sins, if there were any, and that he would give them medicine to produce abortions, provided they should become pregnant." - Affidavit of Hyrum Smith. Official History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.71"


More evidence (or allegations as some would opine):

From: Mormon Portraits I, von Wymetal, Wilhelm, SLC: Tribune Printing & Pub., 1886, page 59-62.

"Mrs. [Sarah Pratt].: "You hear often that Joseph had no polygamous offspring. The reason of this is very simple. Abortion was practiced on a large scale in Nauvoo. Dr. John C. Bennett, the evil genius of Joseph, brought this abomination into a scientific system. He showed to my husband and me the instruments with which he used to * operate for Joseph. ' There was a house in Nauvoo, 'right across the flat,' about a mile and a-half from the town, a kind of hospital. They sent the women there, when they showed signs of celestial consequences. Abortion was practiced regularly in this house."

Mrs. H.: "Many little bodies of new-born children floated down the Mississippi..."


Steve Bensonís informative post of today (August 13, 2010) adds to our body of knowledge about the character of JS:

In another thread, poster "1 and one" asks:

"[Was] Joseph Smith sealed to other men? [I] heard this as a rumor. Is it true? Are their any sources that mention it?"

(Subject; "Joseph Smith sealed to other men?," Date: 13 August 2010, 01:50, Author: "1 and one," Recovery from Mormonism bulletin board, at:

Historian D. Michael Quinn provides answers to that question--and so much more--in his explosively-detailed book, "Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example" (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1996, 477 pp.)

The devastating, documented detail that Quinn provides effectively knocks today's Latter-day Quaints off their high and hypocritical Mormon moralistic horse, as he lays out historicall-devastating facts concerning LDS Church founder Joseph Smith's(as well as other early high-ranking Mormon leaders') attitudes and actions on what are for today's homophotic Mormons an exceedingly awful array of same-sex topics, including:

--Mormon Temple Sealings of Men to Other Men

--Claims of Authorization of Sealings of Mormon Men to Mormon Men

--Claims of Mormon Temple Same-Sex Eternal Sealings

--Joseph Smith's "Revelations" of Eternal Friendship Covenants Between Men

--Joseph Smith on Same Sex-Marriage

--Joseph Smith's Toleration of Homoeroticism in the Mormon Church's Highest Leadership Circles

--Accusations Against Joseph Smith of "Immoral Acts" with Other Men

--Joseph Smith and "Homosocial" Relations Between Mormon Men

--Joseph Smith and Loving Same-Sex Bed Partners

--Joseph Smith and Same-Sex Kissing

--Joseph Smith's Intense Love of Young Men

Below are Quinn's findings in his own words--and better yet--in the words of Joseph Smith and Company:

--Mormon Temple Sealings of Men to Other Men--

"In 1954, the sociologist Kimball Young first suggested that Mormon marriage 'sealing' ceremonies (which began in 1843 and bind husband and wife for 'time and eternity') included same-sex marriage. For example, Brigham Young preached in 1862: 'I will here refer to a principle that has not bee named by me for years. With the introduction of the Priesthood upon the earth was also introduced the sealing ordinance.' Although modern readers would expect to hear next about eternal marriage, Young did not mention marriage or women. Instead, he said: 'By this power men will be sealed to men back to Adam.' In another sermon he preached that 'we can seal women to men [without a temple], but not men to men, without a Temple.'

"Such statements caused his sociologist grandson to observe, 'Here is evidence of deep, psychological Bruederschaft [brotherhood]. There are obviously latent homosexual features in this idea and its cultural aspect has many familiar parallels in other religions.' Kimball Young added that Mormonism 'had strong homosexual components' but acknowledged: 'Most Saints, including Brigham himself, would have been shocked by such an interpretation.' The grandson regarded homosexuality as unappealing as the Mormon practice of polygamy that was the topic of his book." (pp. 136-37)

--What Brigham Young Meant by the Phrase "Men Will Be Sealed to Men"--

". . . [S]ociologist [Kimball Young] misunderstood Brigham Young's statements about 'sealing men to men,' which referred to the nineteenth-century LDS practice of spiritual adoption. By this ordinance, a man (usually an apostle) became the spiritual father of the adopted man and of the adopted man's wife and children (if any). In social terms, this was an institutionalized form of mentor-protege' relationships between Mormon men. In its early stages under Brigham Young's direction, this adoptive sealing of men to men also involved obligations of financial support. One of Brigham Young's adopted sons was John D. Lee. As was customary in the first adoption ceremonies of 1846, Lee temporarily added the surname of his adopted father to his own. In these respects, this early Mormon ordinance is very similar to the celibate same-sex marriages of sub-Saharan Africa today." (p. 137)

--Mormon Men-to-Men Sealings vs. "Spiritual Adoption" Sealings--

". . . Brigham Young also indicated that some pioneer Mormon men had special covenants with each other, independent of the adoption ordinance. 'No man had a right to make a covenant to bind men together,' Young said in 1848. He added that 'God only had that right and by his commandment to the persona holding the keys of revelation could any man legally covenant & all covenants otherwise were null & of no effect.'" (p. 140)

--Claims That Joseph Smith Authorized Sealings of Mormon Men to Mormon Men--

"A generation after [Brigham Young's grandson and sociologist] Kimball Young, Antonio A. Feliz wrote: 'I found that Joseph [Smith] began a practice of sealing men to men during the last two years of his life in Nauvoo.' Feliz concluded that Joseph Smith secretly provided for a same-sex ordinance of companionship or sealing, which Brigham Young later changed to the father-son adoption ordinance. His evidence involves the funeral service for missionary Lorenzo D. Barnes in which all notetakers said Joseph Smith referred to an unidentified 'Lover' of Barnes, rather than to a wife. Feliz elaborated on this in a 1985 article in the newsletter of 'Affirmation,' the society of Mormon lesbians, gays, and bisexuals; in his 1988 autobiography 'Out of the Bishop's Closet;' in a 1992 story by the 'Salt Lake Tribune;' and in his 1999 paper at Salt Lake City's Stonewall Center, a community resource for lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.

"Barely two years after Barnes's death, Apostle Wilford Woodruff visited his English grave site and commented that Lorenzo's 'fidelity was stronger than death towards his Lover.' Woodruff added: 'I thought of his Lover, his Mother, his Father, his kindred & the Saints for they all loved him.' From this, Feliz concluded that 'we can only speculate on the identity of the person with whom he shared an intimate relationship in Nauvoo prior to his mission to England.'

"However, there are aspects of the Lorenzo Barnes case that undermine Feliz's assertions. Woodruff's diary also quoted from love poetry and love letters that Barnes wrote n January 1842 to Susan Conrad, 'his intended.' Sixteen years old when Barnes left her in Nauvoo for his English mission in 1841, Susan Conrad was 'the friend' and 'Lover' of whom Joseph Smith spoke in the 1843 funeral services for Barnes. She later married a man name Wilkinson and moved from Nauvoo to Utah, where Apostle Woodruff sometimes reminisced with her about Barnes. Even less known is that Barnes had returned to his hometown n Ohio while en route to his mission assignment. There in October 1841 another Mormon performed the civil marriage for Barnes and Amanda Wilson, who may have been one of his former students. Thus, Barnes was already married when he wrote the 1842 love poetry and letters to his sixteen-year-old 'Lover' Susan Conrad. Lorenzo D. Barnes may have been a polygamist at heart, but his experience had nothing to do with homoromantic attachments or a homomarital ceremony.

"Still, it is true that Joseph Smith's 1843 funeral sermon for Barnes never once mentioned husband-wife relationships. That was remarkable in a sermon on loving relationships in this life and in the Resurrection during which the prophet repeatedly spoke of 'brothers and friends,' fathers and sons, mothers, daughters, and sisters. Smith's silence concerning husbands and wives was deafening in this sermon about attachments of love. Feliz appropriately asked why. I do not agree that the answer involved same-sex ceremonies, but I do see this as the first Mormon expression of male bonding. George Q. Cannon forty years later called it 'greater than the love of a woman.'

"I know of no historical evidence that Mormonism's founding father ever said an officiator could perform a marriage-like ordinance for a same-sex couple. Nevertheless, I realize that some believing Mormons regard it as emotionally appealing or spiritually inspiring for there to be a priesthood ordinance to seal same-sex couples similar to Mormon's opposite-sex ordinance of marriage 'for time and all eternity.'" (pp. 138-39)

--Claims of Mormon Temple Same-Sex Eternal Sealings--

"Aside from the 1833 covenant of friendship in the School of the Prophets and Brigham Young's possible reference in 1848, I [Quinn] have no evidence that there were any same-sex covenants of eternal companionship among nineteenth-century Mormons. However, as previously indicated, nineteenth-century Mormon missionaries may have unknowingly baptized Aikane boys in Hawaii (or their equivalent in Tahiti) who had previously entered same-sex marriages. Also, tens of thousands of twentieth-century converts to the LDS Church in sub-Saharan Africa have come from areas in which celibate same-sex marriage ceremonies are common." (p. 140)

--Joseph Smith's "Revelations" of Eternal Friendship Covenants Between Men--

"[On 27 December 1832], Joseph Smith announced a revelation that included a covenant between men 'to be your friend . . . forever and ever. . . .

"[On 24 January 1833] [t]he male-only School of the Prophets commenced in accordance with [the] revelation on 27 December 1832." (p. 407)

--Joseph Smith on Same Sex-Marriage--

"Joseph Smith's published revelations contained no reference to same-sex marriage. . . .

"[However,] Joseph Smith . . . once referred figuratively to himself as married to a male friend. Beginning in 1840, twenty-nine-year-old Robert B. Thompson became the prophet's scribe and personal secretary. Their relationship was so close that Smith told his friend's wife: 'Sister Thompson, you must not feel bad towards me for keeping your husband away from you so much, for I am married to him.' She added that 'they truly love each other with fervent brotherly affection.' Concerning Thompson's death in 1841 Smith made this unusual explanation to his next secretary during a discussion of 'loose conduct' and sexual transgressions: 'He said [Robert B.] Thompson professed great friendship for him but he gave away to temptation and he had to die.'" (p. 136)

--Joseph Smith's Toleration of Homoeroticism in the Mormon Church's Highest Leadership Circles and Charges Against Smith of Committing "Immoral Acts" with Men--

"The first known instance of homoerotic behavior in the [Mormon Church] First Presidency involved John C. Bennett [who was] an assistant counselor . . . . They 27 July 1842 edition of the 'Wasp,' a church newspaper at Nauvoo, Illinois, claimed that Bennett had . . . engaged in sodomy.

"Second, it claimed that the Prophet Joseph Smith had tolerated Bennett's homoeroticism.

"Third, the church newspaper even printed one apostle's implication that Joseph Smith himself had also engaged in an 'immoral act' with a man.

"These are the actual words (written by Smith's brother William, an apostle): 'Gen. [Joseph] Smith was a great philanthropist [in the eyes of Bennett] as long as Bennett could practice adultery, fornication, and--we were going to say (Buggery,) without being exposed.' At that time the word 'buggery' was a slang word and legal term for 'sodomy,' or posterior [sexual relations] between men. Later statements by Brigham Young and Bennett himself indicate that this 1842 publication was not libeling Bennett.

"Previous actions and statements by Joseph Smith could also be construed as his toleration for Bennett's various sexual activities. On motion of John C. Bennett on 5 October 1840, the general conference (presided over by Smith) voted that no one could be judged guilty of a crime unless prove 'by two or three witnesses.' Such a burden of proof helped shield Bennett's sexual exploits. . . . This was Bennett's way of shielding his own sexual activities with both women and men."

"In January 1841, Smith also dictated a revelation about Bennett: 'his reward shall not fail, if he receive counsel; and for his love he shall be great, for he shall b e mine if he do this, saith the Lord' ('Doctrine and Covenants' 124:17)

"Later in 1841, the prophet further eroded the ability of anyone to investigate or punish Bennett's sexual conduct: 'If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you.' Then in words that must have warmed Bennett's heart, Smith continued his sermon by saying: 'If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours--for charity covereth a multitude of sins. What many people call sins is not sin.'

"It must have seemed to Bennett and others that the LDS president put those charitable words into action when he appointed John C. Bennett as assistant counselor to the First Presidency in April 1841. That was a month after one of the bishops of the church privately reported to Smith his investigation at Bennett's former residence: 'his wife left him under satisfactory evidence of his adulterous connections.' If Joseph Smith had not heard that his new counselor was practicing 'buggery,' he at least knew of Bennett's reputation for adultery.

"On the next page of the July 1842 'Wasp,' the church newspaper described Smith's reaction to Apostle Orson Pratt's vote against a resolution defending the prophet's chastity: 'Pres. Joseph Smith spoke in reply [on July 22]--Question to Elder Pratt, "Have you personally a knowledge of any immoral act in me toward the female sex, or in any other way?" Answer, by Elder Pratt, "Personally, toward the female sex, I have not."' Since this same issue of the 'Wasp' had already raised the topic of Bennett's 'buggery' and the prophet's alleged toleration of it, Smith's 'in any other way?' was an implicit challenge for Pratt to charge him with 'buggery' as well. Pratt declined to answer whether Joseph Smith had committed 'any immoral act' with someone other than a woman, but also declined to exonerate the prophet form such a charge. That indicates the depth of Pratt's disaffection,which resulted in his excommunication from the LDS Church within a month."

"Assistant [First Presidency] Counselor] John C. Bennett was 'disfellowshipped (denied church privileges) and later 'excommunicated' (removed from church membership). His homosexual activities were publicly revealed two months later."

"Two years later, Nauvoo's two LDS newspapers printed Apostle Brigham Young's reference to John C. Bennett's bisexual conduct: 'if he had let young men and women alone it would have been better for him.' One of Bennett's 'young men' was twenty-one-year-old Francis M. Higbee to whom Brigham's sermon specifically referred. . . .

"Joseph Smith forgave Higbee in 1842, and homoerotic activities were not among the specific charges for which the thirty-seven-year-old Bennett was dropped from office and excommunicated that year. . . . Mormonism's founding prophet also revised the common interpretation that God destroyed Sodom because its inhabitants preferred sex between men. According to Smith, God destroyed Sodom 'for rejecting the prophets.'" (pp. 266-68, 408-10, 412)

--Joseph Smith and "Homosocial" Relations Between Mormon Men--

"Throughout most of the nineteenth century, Mormon congregations were . . . segregated by gender. After he spoke to Nauvoo's citywide Sunday meeting in 1843, Mormon founder Joseph Smith criticized the fact that there were 'men among the women, and women among men' in the congregation. In 1859, Brigham Young proclaimed the Salt Lake Tabernacle's eating arrangement as the standard for all Mormon congregations: women sitting to the north (or right) of the center aisle, and men sitting to the south (or left), with children in the front benches. That seating pattern continued for decades in LDS congregations." (p. 67)

--Joseph Smith and Same-Sex Bed Partners--

"In fact, the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith enjoyed bedtime snuggling with male friends throughout his life. Early in 1826, the twenty-year-old bachelor board with the Knight family, whose eighteen-year-old son later wrote: 'Joseph and I worked together and slept together.' IN an 1843 sermon, Smith (then the husband of many wives) preached that 'two who were vary friends indeed should lie down upon the same bed at night locked in each other['s] embrace talking of their love & should awake in the morning together. They could immediately renew their conversation of love even while rising from their bed.'

"That was how Apostle Wilford Woodruff recorded his prophet's words. The official 'History of the Church' still renders Smith's words this way: 'it is pleasing for friends to lie down together, locked in the arms of love, to sleep and wake in each other's embrace an renew their conversation.' The night before he was murdered by a mob in 1844, Smith shared a bed with thirty-two-year-old Dan Jones, 'and lay himself by my side in a close embrace.'"

"Smith's successor, Brigham Young, even dreamed of sleeping with non-Mormon men as a way of resolving conflict. IN 1858 the church historian wrote: 'Prest. Young said he dreamed last night, of seeing Gov. [Alfred] Cumming. He appeared exceedingly friendly, and said to Prest. Young we must be united, we must act in concert; and commenced undressing himself to go to bed with him.'" (p.87)

"[While] . . . for the vast majority of Americans, such same-sex sleeping arrangements were nonerotic, . . . [n]evertheless . . . . true that the phrase 'sleeping with' had a sexual meaning for Mormons as early as the 1840s. . . . [D]ue to necessity [such as close quarters or lack of space] or personal preference, Mormon culture and LDS leaders both continued to encourage same-sex sleeping arrangements. . . .

" . . . Mormonism's founder . . . encouraged same-sex friends to sleep in 'the same bed at night locked in each other['s] embrace talking of their love' . . . ." (p. 89)

--Joseph Smith and Same-Sex Kissing--

"Some Mormon leaders . . . had ardent dreams of same-sex kissing. For example, in 1847 Brigham Young dreamed that he met the deceased Joseph Smith and 'kissed him many times.' In 1896 stake president Charles O. Card recorded: 'I dreamed that president Woodruff & I met & embraced each other & Kissed each other in a very affectionate manner & I remarked he was the sweetest man I ever kissed. It thought in our embrace it was from the pure love of the Gospel.' Despite the homotactile dimension of this dream, Card was a polygamist who had no known homoerotic experiences." (p. 92)

--Joseph Smith's Intense Love of Young Men--

" . . . [D]espite his well-earned reputation of emotional intimacy with women, Joseph Smith also shared love of similar intensity with young men. In the autumn of 1838, Smith stayed two weeks with the family of John W. Hess, who later wrote: 'I was a boy then about fourteen years old. He [Joseph Smith] used to take me up on his knee and caress me as he would a little child.' As a result, Hess wrote: 'I became very much attached to him, and learned to love him more dearly than any other person I ever met, my father and mother no excepted.'

"Even more profound was the lifelong effect of a three-week visit Smith made to the Taylor home in 1842, beginning on the nineteenth birthday of William Taylor (a younger brother of LDS president John Taylor). 'It is impossible for me to express my feelings in regard to this period of my life,' William Taylor began. 'I have never know the same joy and satisfaction in the companionship of any other person, man or woman, that I felt with him [Joseph Smith], the man who had conversed with the Almighty.' That was an extraordinary statement in view of Taylor's marriage at age twenty-two and his four subsequent plural marriages. Decades later, Taylor explained: 'Sometimes in our return home in the evening after we had been tramping around in the woods, he [Joseph Smith] would call out: "Here, mother, come David and Jonathan."'

"In that way Mormonism's founding prophet referred to the most famous male relationship in the Bible. David said of his boyhood mentor Jonathan: 'thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women' (2 Sam. 1:26). Jonathan and David already had wives when the two you men 'kissed one another and wept one with another' (20:41). Consistent with Smith's David-and-Jonathan reference to young Taylor, a Mormon woman described the Mormon prophet's last words to forty-two-year-old George W. Rosecrans as Smith was traveling to his certain death in Carthage Jail in June 1844: 'If I never see you again, or if I never come back, remember that I love you.'

"For more than a thousand years, David and Jonathan have been revered as sexual lovers by Jews and Christians who valued homoeroticism. However, because David was a teenage polygamist and Jonathan fathered at least one child, most Bible readers and scholars regard David and Jonathan as platonic (or nonerotic) lovers. Likewise, m any regard the Bible's Song of Solomon as spiritual allegory rather than sexual imagery.

"First Presidency counselor George Q. Cannon paraphrased David's expression of male-male love during a sermon on Utah Pioneer Day in 1881: 'Men may never have beheld each other's faces and yet they will love one another, and it is a love that is greater than the love of woman.' Cannon, like other nineteenth-century Americans, then emphasized the platonic dimension of this male-male love: 'It exceeds any sexual love that can be conceived of, and it is this love that has bound the [Mormon] people together.'" (pp. 112-13)


Now, what was the Mormon Church saying about the "evil" of homosexuality? Perhaps they ought not to ask Joseph Smith.


End of Steve's post. You can find it here (until it times out):


NG: I remember being completely gobsmacked when Decon first posted his historically factual essay about JS procuring abortions and frequenting prostitutes. Even as an ex-member I could not fathom such behaviour and I scarcely believed it at first. I felt even more outrage and compassion for the females caught up in his sphere.

Now today Steve posts about JS in bed with the boys, literally.

I donít necessarily care about men being with prostitutes (if both parties are willing and protected in all ways). I support freedom of choice in all arenas (subject to equality, justice, safety, etc). I uphold every citizenís right to equality in every area. I embrace the live and let live ideal. It wouldnít necessarily bother me if JS was gay or had homosexual relationships (if that is what Quinn is saying in the sources cited by Steve). What I do object to is the rampant inconsistency and hypocrisy evidenced in so much of JSís life. He took the approach of "do as I say, not as I do" to a new height. My appalled outrage is not about the abortions, prostitutes or male relationships, necessarily, but about the utter hypocrisy of the man. How does that not render his writings and his dogma and his church unworthy of respect and belief? The idea that God calls imperfect humans to be prophets doesnít cover the extent of Smithís despicable dealings.

I think it is vital that people continue to publicize the true character of the man. It surely must have a big impact on the church that he founded.

It still upsets me to read about the adultery, including with prostitutes, the nasty, painful, unsafe abortions, the lying, the cheating, the unfaithfulness, the oppression of women, manipulation of followers, breaking of laws and callous disregard for other peopleís lives, among other egregious behaviour over many years, by a so-called prophet of God who was "worthy" to apparently restore the so-called gospel. Sure, according to scripture God can work with imperfect people, but calling Joseph Smith imperfect is like saying bin Laden needs diplomacy lessons.

A post from November 2007 by lightfingerlouie (a poster I have enjoyed and greatly miss) says it all, as louie so often did in his eloquent and poignant style (and thanks, louie, for providing the sub line for my post):

lfl from 2007:
The post "I cried" made me profoundly sympathetic. I grew up with one Joseph Smith, and finally, after years of nonsense, discovered another.

My father was a great worshiper of Joseph Smith. "Worship" is the correct word. We heard about "the Prophet" endlessly---about all he suffered, all he did, all he "translated," and all he accomplished. He was second only to Jesus Christ, and if Jesus is not careful, old Joseph will knock him off his Celestial perch.

We visited Carthage Jail, Nauvoo, and, of course, the "Hill Cumorah." We walked in the footsteps of "the Prophet," and felt his presence. Well, my father felt his presence. I did not. I was too far gone, I guess.

When the first Christopher Reeve "Superman" movie came out, my wife and I went. The sense of nostalgia pulled me in. I told my father we had gone. He said "You should study and learn about a real "Superman," Joseph Smith."

Bullets bounced off of "Superman." Joseph was not so fortunate. "Superman" was pretty darned loyal to Lois Lane. Joseph was not so loyal to Emma.

Later, I got my hands on the Tanners' stuff, and my eyes were opened to Joseph. I could not believe what I read. The guy was a philandering fraud, a skirt chasing, rock peeping liar. The two men could not be reconciled. The false Joseph, and the real Joseph, do not have much in common. Funny, really, how the Church can project one image of the man, and the history books undercut him with a vengeance.

But it is not just Joseph. I recall when Harold B. Lee became Church President. My mother said "He is a GIANT, a true GIANT of a man."

Those who knew him thought otherwise. And if you read the David O. McKay biography, you get quite a different view of Harold B. He was a political figure, and used the church to his advantage. He was a collector of power pellets, and he could be remarkably vicious.

The dual images of church leaders will always be in conflict. The image machine works well for the church, but when people come in contact with reality, the fall is long and the landing is hard. Spin comes with a high price tag when people catch on to the fact they have been manipulated.

Looking at all the Joseph Smith stuff in stores, I can see the spin goes on. The calendars, the awful "art," the "movies," and the false image of Joseph and Emma continues in hyperdrive. If anything, it is much more intense. But it all comes with a huge price tag. They can't figure that out.


"Dual images of church leaders" Ė another great louieism. That is exactly what Iím pondering today. The church projects an image. Many outsiders, especially ex-members, see something different. Talk about your great divide.

Take that literally please. Talk about it! Some of these points could well get members thinking. Funny how few seem to consider that the character of their founding prophet is of such importance. The Mormon Church is great at deflecting that point. Thanks to all those who bring it back into focus.


Subject: I thought my opinion of JS couldn't get worse
Date: Aug 13 21:32
Author: knittermom

I was wrong! Thanks so much for your post, I had no idea about the prostitutes and abortion.


Subject: Re: The False Joseph Smith and the Real Joseph Smith
Date: Aug 13 21:49
Author: rwg

To the TOP!!!! Archive this!!!!


Subject: Thanks y'all
Date: Aug 14 22:14
Author: Nightingale

I added in the text of Steve Benson's great post about JS, which about doubled the length of mine (!) but I wanted to see this information all together in one place. There is a lot more of it too, as I hunt around the Net, but it's impossible to put it all in one post. This is a good overview though.

I think it's crucial for people to see who the founder of the Mormon Church is, compared to the image that is portrayed by the church. How many apologists would it take to explain all this away? An impossible task, I'd say.

Thanks for your interest! I hope more people get to know some of these facts.




Subject: I second the motion to archive this. Great post!
Date: Aug 14 23:07
Author: Colorado mom

I want to be able to find it someday when the time comes that my intelligent convert daughter and her intelligent BIC husband are ready to hear it.

So much real information in one place. Thanks, Nightingale!



Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church

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