Joseph Smith/Early Smith family history/Lazy Smiths/Further Reading

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Further reading

Further reading

FairMormon Answers articles

Joseph Smith, Jr.

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Early Smith family history

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Joseph Smith's character

Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith was a disreputable person.

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Joseph Smith's alleged narcissism

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Treasure seeking, money digging and Joseph Smith, Jr.

Summary: Was Joseph Smith's engagement in "money digging" or looking for buried treasure a blot on his character?

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The relationship between Joseph Smith's seer stone and the Urim and Thummim

Summary: Joseph Smith used the Nephite Interpreters as well as his own seer stone (both of which were later referred to as "Urim and Thummim") to translate the Book of Mormon.

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Joseph Smith's First Vision

Summary: 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.

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Joseph Smith and the "occult" or "magick"

Summary: 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.

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Joseph Smith as a translator

Summary: 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.

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The "Joseph Smith Translation" of the Bible

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Joseph Smith and miracles

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Joseph Smith and the priesthood

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Joseph Smith as a prophet

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Joseph Smith and legal issues

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Kirtland Safety Society

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Joseph Smith, politics and government

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Joseph Smith and polygamy

Summary: 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).

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Death of Joseph Smith

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Joseph Smith's status in Latter-day Saint belief

Summary: Do members worship Joseph Smith or treat him as more than a man? Critics charge that since Joseph claimed (or it was claimed in his behalf) the right to "approve whether or not someone gets into heaven," this arrogates to a mortal a right properly reserved for God and Jesus Christ. Some critics have even charged that "Mormons worship Joseph Smith."

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Joseph Smith and legal issues

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Joseph Smith: Alleged false prophecies

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Mormonism and prophets

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Mormonism and doctrine

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Official or "core" Mormon doctrine

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Establishing new Mormon doctrine

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Mormon doctrine of the past

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Statements made by past prophets as "scripture"

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.

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The Law of Adoption: The sealing of men and women as children to prominent Latter-day Saint leaders

Summary: Critics point to the early practice of sealing men and women as children to prominent LDS leaders as an example of changes in LDS belief.

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Repudiated concepts in Mormonism

Summary: Some teachings previously considered doctrinal have since been repudiated by the Church.

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Why would a current prophet repudiate the teachings of an earlier prophet?

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"Blood atonement"

Summary: It is claimed that during the administration of Brigham Young apostates were secretly put to death, and that the teachings of LDS leaders at the time were 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.

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Mormonism and the concept that some were "neutral" in the "war in heaven"

Summary: Is it true that LDS scripture states that those with lighter skin color "are favored because of what they did as spirits in a pre-earth life?" Is it true that some Church leaders taught that people who were born with dark skin were "neutral" in the pre-existence?

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Mormonism and the "curse of Cain"

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Brigham Young's Adam-God theory

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.

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Mormon views of various beliefs

Rapture and LDS theology

Summary: What is the "Rapture"? Do Latter-day Saints believe in this or a similar doctrine?

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The Law of Adoption: The sealing of men and women as children to prominent Latter-day Saint leaders

Summary: Critics point to the early practice of sealing men and women as children to prominent LDS leaders as an example of changes in LDS belief.

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Joseph Smith's First Vision

Summary: 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.

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FairMormon web site

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

  • George L. Mitton, "Editor's Introduction," FARMS Review 16/1 (2004): xi–xxxii. off-site

Oliver Cowdery to W. W. Phelps, "Letter VIII," Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate 2 no. 1 (October 1835), 195–196. off-site

Joseph Smith, Jr. on-line articles

Printed material

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)