Question: What did Joseph Smith's brother William Smith say regarding the persecution of the Smith family after the First Vision?

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Question: What did Joseph Smith's brother William Smith say regarding the persecution of the Smith family after the First Vision?

William Smith said that "We never knew we were bad folks until Joseph told his vision"

William Smith, Joseph's brother remembered:

We were all very much scoffed at and persecuted during all this time, while Joseph was receiving his visions and translating the plates. [1]

It has generally been stated that my father's family were lazy, shiftless and poor; but this was never said by their neighbors, or until after the angel appeared and the story of the golden Bible was told.... [2]

It is said that Joseph and the rest of the family were lazy and indolent. We never heard of such a thing until after Joseph told his vision, and not then by our friends. Whenever the neighbors wanted a good days work done they knew where they could get a good hand and they were not particular to take any of the other boys before Joseph either. We cleared sixty acres of the heaviest timber I ever saw. We had a good place, but it required a great deal of labor to make it a good place. We also had on it from twelve to fifteen hundred sugar trees, and to gather the sap and make sugar and molasses from that number of trees was no lazy job. We worked hard to clear our place and the neighbors were a little jealous. If you will figure up how much work it would take to clear sixty acres of heavy timber land, heavier than any here, trees you could not conveniently cut down, you can tell whether we were lazy or not, and Joseph did his share of the work with the rest of the boys.

["]We never knew we were bad folks until Joseph told his vision. We were considered respectable till then, but at once people began to circulate falsehoods and stories in a wonderful way." [3]

With William's accounts, we again see that the persecution was largely verbal, in the form of gossip and slander.

Notes

  1. William Smith, William Smith on Mormonism (Lamoni, Iowa: Herald Steam Book and Job Office, 1883), 5-19; reproduced in Vogel, Early Mormon Documents 1:493-502.
  2. "The Old Soldier's Testimony. Sermon preached by Bro. William B. Smith, in the Saints' Chapel, Detroit, Iowa, June 8th, 1884. Reported by C. E. Butterworth," Saints' Herald 31 (4 October 1884): 643-44; reproduced in Vogel, Early Mormon Documents 1:503-506.
  3. "W[illia]m. B. Smith's last Statement," [John W. Peterson to Editor], Zion's Ensign (Independence, Missouri) 5/3 (13 January 1894): 6. Reprinted in "Statement of William Smith, Concerning Joseph, the Prophet," Deseret Evening News 27 (20 January 1894): 11; and "The Testimony of William Smith," Millennial Star 61 (26 February 1894): 132-34; reproduced in Vogel, Early Mormon Documents 1:513.