Joseph prophet or not

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Joseph prophet or not

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 Dec 2009, 09:12

In that light, the final question in the original post seems to be the heart of the post:
Does questionable personal conduct nullify a prophetic calling?


My short answer would be:
Not if there have been ANY prophets in the history of the world.
Obviously, "questionable conduct" can mean LOTS of things, and there are levels of such conduct that are important to discuss. However, I think it is foundational to realize that this means we are engaged in a personally subjective decision when we tackle that question and understand that Jesus himself (not to mention Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Paul and Isaiah . . .) had some pretty serious questionable conduct that exclude ALL of them from acceptance as "prophets" by some people.

My slightly humorous answer would be:
If we can accept Samson as a prophet, we can accept pretty much anyone.
I think that example, more than any other perhaps, illustrates that it's all about the definitions and perspectives WE bring to the table - that "prophet" really can be defined in various ways in differing times.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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allquieton
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Re: Joseph prophet or not

Post by allquieton » 12 Dec 2009, 09:27

Mister Curie,

I am aware that none of these single facts proves their claim. But taken together, I find the evidence very convincing. I know there is evidence JS was a polygamist, but I think the evidence against is stronger. I also think people are generally unaware of it. I actually enjoy debating the matter, but also I think you would do better reading the book and debating it as you read. I did an awful lot of research as I read it. I honestly can't remember half of what was in the book, and I can't present their arguments as well as they did.

I looked up the DNA research a while ago. It's called the Joseph Smith DNA Project or something like that. I think it's funded by BYU, and it seemed to me that the guy doing it fully expects to find these descendants. I emailed the guy and he wrote me back--he seems like a regular Mormon with regular Mormon beliefs about polygamy.
INTP

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allquieton
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Re: Joseph prophet or not

Post by allquieton » 12 Dec 2009, 09:33

Sorry Ray, didn't mean to hijack the thread. Where is a good place to post about polygamy here?
INTP

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Joseph prophet or not

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 Dec 2009, 11:09

allquieton, check out these links:

D&C: Original Intent (viewtopic.php?f=6&t=764)

The Polygamy Problem (viewtopic.php?f=6&t=603)

OK, I'll say it: Polygamy (viewtopic.php?f=6&t=27)
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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MisterCurie
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Re: Joseph prophet or not

Post by MisterCurie » 12 Dec 2009, 12:28

allquieton wrote:Mister Curie,

I am aware that none of these single facts proves their claim. But taken together, I find the evidence very convincing. I know there is evidence JS was a polygamist, but I think the evidence against is stronger. I also think people are generally unaware of it. I actually enjoy debating the matter, but also I think you would do better reading the book and debating it as you read. I did an awful lot of research as I read it. I honestly can't remember half of what was in the book, and I can't present their arguments as well as they did.

I looked up the DNA research a while ago. It's called the Joseph Smith DNA Project or something like that. I think it's funded by BYU, and it seemed to me that the guy doing it fully expects to find these descendants. I emailed the guy and he wrote me back--he seems like a regular Mormon with regular Mormon beliefs about polygamy.
Perhaps I'll try to get the book through inter-library loan. It could be interesting to debate it's claims, particularly as I'm reading "In Sacred Loneliness" by Todd Compton.

Peaceandjoy
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Re: Joseph prophet or not

Post by Peaceandjoy » 12 Dec 2009, 18:43

Thanks Ray,
I appreciate what you said. We can agree to disagree and it's ok.

swimordie
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Re: Joseph prophet or not

Post by swimordie » 14 Dec 2009, 10:25

Ray Degraw wrote: I don't think Joseph would be a good apostle right now - but I also am convinced that Pres. Hinckley and Pres. Monson would have been even greater failures in Joseph's shoes. Those men as they are now would be totally inappropriate for the founding of a new religion. Founding a new religion, especially amid intense persecution in a wild, frontier environment, requires exactly the type of man Joseph was - and God has to use those who can do what needs to be done in the time it needs to be done. Likewise, Brigham Young couldn't have filled Joseph's role or Gordon's / Thomas' role, and not one of them could have filled Brigham's role.

I simply think we do each and every one of them a tremendous dis-service when we compare them to each other, because we generally miss their unique contributions in the focus on their weaknesses and over-estimate their abilities to be someone other than they are. Part of my "reconciliation" of Joseph (and Brigham) as a prophet is my recognition that he just might have been the ONLY person available at the time in that location who could have done what would be required - and my even deeper recognition that I need to thank God every single day that it wasn't me who was in that situation. I'm fairly certain I would have failed miserably - and, honestly, I'm not sure I know ANYONE closely in whom I am confident in their ability to succeed ANY better than Joseph and Brigham - and, by extension, even Pres. Hinckley and Pres. Monson.
I love this Ray! It is so Darwinian and I agree completely: this is the only way we could have gotten from there (20 yr. old JS) to here (2009 version of cojcolds)

I don't know if that defines JS as a prophet, but from an evolutionary organizational standpoint, he'd have to be (in a religious context, specifically a mormon theology context)

Of course, as someone else said, there would be a similarly strong argument for Oliver Cowdery (sp?) being a prophet.
Perfectionism hasn't served me. I think I am done with it. -Poppyseed

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Heber13
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Re: Joseph prophet or not

Post by Heber13 » 16 Dec 2009, 17:52

swimordie wrote: I don't know if that defines JS as a prophet, but from an evolutionary organizational standpoint, he'd have to be (in a religious context, specifically a mormon theology context)
good comments, swim.

I think this says something about these leaders of ours, because they desire to do God's will, which means what needs to be done in 1830 is different than 2009, and so Pres Monson doesn't need to try to be Pres Smith ... he just needs to do what needs to be done today, and appreciate more fully those who have gone before him.

There is a lesson there for me also, and how I want to live my life.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Re: Joseph prophet or not

Post by DevilsAdvocate » 01 Mar 2010, 18:02

Cadence wrote:Given what we have come to learn about the personal conduct of Joseph at times is it possible or more correctly can you still believe he was a prophet receiving revelation from God? Was he a prophet in the beginning but not in the end? Was he a prophet until he died? Was he ever a prophet? I want to believe on some level all that that he put forth has some truth in it. Does questionable personal conduct nullify a prophetic calling?
If Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet then he basically had to be a deliberate liar and possibly crazy as well. Seriously what other explanations are there? A demon-possessed occultist? One theory is that Joseph justified telling "pious" lies that he thought would increase people's faith and strenghthen the Church. To claim personal revelation or inspiration is one thing but the Book of Mormon is something else entirely. This story is so fantastic that if you don't believe it you can't just chalk it off as an honest mistake or misguided delusion.

Either Joseph Smith really found and translated the Book of Mormon with some supernatural assistance or he would have had to devise a fairly elaborate hoax. A hoax would require Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer to either be surprisingly loyal co-conspirators or they were somehow tricked/hypnotized into believing that they saw things they really didn't. Maybe they even fabricated some metal plates to trick other witnesses as well.

I think this is one reason many anti-Mormons and ex-Mormons are so opposed to the LDS Church because once you start to make assumptions of deliberate fraud it becomes really hard to sympathize with Joseph and claim that he was only human. Once you don't trust Joseph Smith in some cases then it's hard to trust him in other cases as well.

There's no way to know for sure what he was thinking or what his experiences were. All you can do is consider the evidence and make your own conclusions. Personally, I don't believe in the traditional Mormon idea of prophets as some kind of ultimate final authority where we should just trust them without question and consider all their words as literally God-given truth without fail. I'm not so sure that there have ever been any prophets like that whether Moses, Isaiah, etc.
"Truth is what works." - William James

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Re: Joseph prophet or not

Post by Gail » 01 Mar 2010, 18:17

"Does questionable personal conduct nullify a prophetic calling?"

If this were the case it would nullify all old testment prophetic callings and many of the new and BOM prophetic callings as well. And oviously and many modern prophets.

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