Richard Bushman, author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, discusses the issues that loomed in his mind as he wrote his books on Joseph Smith. One conclusion he has reached is that “we will not always be able to give satisfactory answers to our critics. We will never placate our critics completely and we should not seek to do so. If we placate them completely we are making our gospel, our history, conform to their sense of what life should be and what the path should be. In a sense, we’re caving in if we become too pleasing to those around them. We have to state it as we see it and recognize that there will be differences from what our critics expect of us and of what actually happened to our people.”
Richard Bushman is the and Gouverneur Morris Professor of History emeritus at Columbia University. He is currently the Howard W. Hunter Visiting Professor in Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University. He also serves as one of three general editors of the Joseph Smith Papers.
The opinions expressed in this address do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or of FAIR.