Done & Done
Date: October 05, 2019 11:00AM
I don't know of any books that answer the big WHY of Joseph. They would all be conjecture anyway, so here's mine:
He did it because he could. It was his talent.
You can argue nurture over nature if you choose, but you can't rule nature out. Everyone is born with their own set of genes and a propensity for a personality type. Your environment and the way you are raised may hone the natural self a bit, but it's pretty damn hard to fight your genes--both those that control the physical and the mental and the emotional.
Lucy Mack Smith bragged about Joseph's gift for story telling from a very young age. He was very imaginative and extremely creative. Those two traits need not be based on reason or morality. They do require intellect which he had.
Lucy's words: "During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of travelings, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them."
Joseph had no great plan. He wasn't clever in that way. He made it up as he went along. He bit off more than he could chew and then he chewed it anyway. His fertile mind honed into everything around him and utilized it. Any author does this. Every thing you read, every thing you notice about human interactions, names on a map, history, anything at all, stays in the library of your mind and is exhumed when it becomes useful to write a book, or, even start a cult following.
So this creative mind could have been used for good or evil. But Joseph chose neither. He just used it for his own purpose as he went along.
So why did he do what he did? Why not? Who doesn't take the easy way out, the fun way out, if they can? Who doesn't want the free prize and the high life? Joey didn't want to be another farmer or have some mind numbing job. He wanted easy luxury. That is why the glass looking became attractive as his first option. Didn't work though, so, what's next?
Charisma. That was what was next. He was exceptionally charming, naturally. He was the sort you like even if you don't want to. The bad boy. Men and women alike were drawn to him because he presented himself as a winner. That is intoxicating for those who didn't have his gifts. We like people for what they bring to the party and Joseph was the host, the entertainment, and the spark that made you want to stay til dawn. And he had sexual magnetism. You hang with those types because you want to share in what they have.
Joe realized he could get whatever he wanted just by being him and the more he flexed his ego, the more it grew. The more of a winner he seemed and the more anything that he wanted fell into his hands. But again, he was always just flying by the seat of his pants and looking for the next ego boost "fix." But sooner or later, the talent to be Joseph Smith could not be enough because he did not understand that you can only rob Peter to pay Paul for so long before Peter comes after your ass.
He didn't design or plan or even design a church. He copied, borrowed, and took advantage. And his ace was always coming up with a plan B when things went South. The last plan B---calling out the Masonic distress signal--doubled as his Swan Song.