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Joseph Smith/Caráter/Ele era uma pessoa de má reputação
Pergunta: Foi Joseph Smith, Jr. conhecido como uma "pessoa de má reputação?"
Joseph was only seen as lacking character in the opinion of those that misunderstood him and opposed his efforts in restoring the Church
In many—if not most—critical treatments of the Church, Joseph is made out to be "one of the basest men that ever lived." A Boston Bee reporter wrote after interviewing Joseph:
I could not help noticing that he dressed, talked and acted like other men, and in every respect appeared exactly the opposite of what I had conjured up in my imagination a prophet [to be].
Clearly, Joseph is not what the critics imagine a prophet to be either. Was Joseph perfect? No; he never said he was. What he did say of himself was, "Although I do wrong, I do not the wrongs that I am charged with doing; the wrong that I do is through the frailty of human nature, like other men. No man lives without fault."
Joseph was only seen as lacking character in the opinion of those that misunderstood him and opposed his efforts in restoring the Church. The recorded details and testimonies from firsthand accounts as to Joseph's good character cannot be ignored and certainly must be looked at by anyone serious in their study of Mormonism. The critics often avoid portraying the simple man who recognized the saving grace of Christ for his errors and sought to further the cause of righteousness.
Sectarian critics in particular ought to be careful, since the standard they apply to Joseph Smith might easily disqualify various biblical prophets. Paul for example, would not have been called to be an Apostle after his participation in the persecution of Christians and role in the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 8:1-3).
Ultimately, however, attacks, on Joseph's character are classic ad hominem—the man is attacked instead of the message.
Brigham Young (1855): "he was an honorable man and dealt justly, we know his true character. But let his enemies give his character, and they will make him out one of the basest men that ever lived"
The history of Joseph and Mary is given to us by their best friends, and precisely as we will give the history of the Prophet Joseph. We know him to have been a good man, we know that he performed his mission, we know that he was an honorable man and dealt justly, we know his true character. But let his enemies give his character, and they will make him out one of the basest men that ever lived. Let the enemies of Joseph and Mary give their characters to us, and you would be strongly tempted to believe as the Jews believe. Let the enemies of Jesus give his character to us, and, in the absence of the testimony of his friends, I do not know but that the present Christian world would all be Jews, so far as their belief that Jesus Christ was an impostor and one of the most degraded men that ever lived.
B.H. Roberts: "Joseph Smith was a man of like passions with other men; struggling with the same weaknesses; subjected to the same temptations"
[Joseph Smith] claimed for himself no special sanctity, no faultless life, no perfection of character, no inerrancy for every word spoken by him. And as he did not claim these things for himself, so can they not be claimed for him by others; for to claim perfection for him, or even unusual sanctity, would be to repudiate the revelations themselves which supply the evidence of his imperfections, whereof, in them, he is frequently reproved.
Joseph Smith was a man of like passions with other men; struggling with the same weaknesses; subjected to the same temptations; under the same moral law, and humiliated at times, like others, by occasionally, in word and conduct, falling below the high ideals presented in the perfect life and faultless character of the Man of Nazareth.
But though a man of like passions with other men, yet to Joseph Smith was given access to the mind of Deity, through the revelations of God to him; and likewise to him was given a divine authority to declare that mind of God to the world.
Joseph Smith: "caí frequentemente em muitos erros tolos, exibindo as fraquezas da juventude e as debilidades da natureza humana"
Joseph was open and direct about his weaknesses, saying to his accusers:
...sendo ainda muito jovem e perseguido por aqueles que deveriam ter sido meus amigos e me tratado com bondade — e se supunham eles que eu estava iludido, deveriam ter procurado, de maneira apropriada e afetuosa, reconquistar-me — fui abandonado a toda sorte de tentações; e, misturando-me a todo tipo de gente, caí frequentemente em muitos erros tolos, exibindo as fraquezas da juventude e as debilidades da natureza humana; o que, sinto dizer, levou-me a tentações diversas, ofensivas à vista de Deus. Ao fazer esta confissão, ninguém deve crer-me culpado de quaisquer pecados grandes ou malignos. Jamais existiu em minha natureza disposição para tal. Mas fui culpado de leviandades e, às vezes, andava com companhias joviais, etc., o que não condizia com a conduta que devia ser mantida por uma pessoa que fora chamada por Deus, como eu. Isso, porém, não parecerá estranho para quem se recorda de minha juventude e conhece meu temperamento naturalmente alegre.
Joseph Smith (1834): "during this time, as is common to most, or all youths, I fell into many vices and follies"
- ...during this time, as is common to most, or all youths, I fell into many vices and follies; but as my accusers are, and have been forward to accuse me of being guilty of gross and outrageous violations of the peace and good order of the community, I take the occasion to remark that, though as I have said above, 'as is common to most, or all youths, I fell into many vices and follies,' I have not, neither can it be sustained, in truth, been guilty of wronging or injuring any man or society of men; and those imperfections to which I allude, and for which I have often had occasion to lament, were a light, and too often, vain mind, exhibiting a foolish and trifling conversation. This being all, and the worst, that my accusers can substantiate against my moral character, I wish to add that it is not without a deep feeling of regret that I am thus called upon in answer to my own conscience, to fulfil a duty I owe to myself, as well as to the cause of truth, in making this public confession of my former uncircumspect walk, and trifling conversation and more particularly, as I often acted in violation of those holy precepts which I knew came from God. But as the 'Articles and Covenants,' of this Church are plain upon this particular point, I do not deem it important to proceed further. I only add, that I do not, nor never have, pretended to be any other than a man 'subject to passion,' and liable, without the assisting grace of the Savior, to deviate from that perfect path in which all men are commanded to walk.
Walker: In 1819 "Under New York law, being just thirteen, Joseph's testimony about the work he had performed was admissible only after the court found him competent"
In 1819, a year prior to the First Vision, Joseph Smith was thirteen years old. His family sued a neighboring farmer over a dispute regarding some horses they had purchased. One author explained that Joseph's use as a witness indicates that the trial judge and jury found him both trustworthy and competent to give evidence:
Under New York law, being just thirteen, Joseph's testimony about the work he had performed was admissible only after the court found him competent. His testimony proved credible and the court record indicates that every item that he testified about was included in the damages awarded to the Smiths. Although Hurlbut [the farmer they were suing] appealed the case, no records have survived noting the final disposition of that case; perhaps it was settled out of court. The significance of this case is not limited to the fact that a New York judge found the young Joseph, just a year prior to his First Vision, to be competent and credible as a witness....
The trial was held on February 6, 1819. Twelve jurors were impaneled, all men and property owners. The Smiths called five witnesses, Hurlbut seven. Both Joseph Jr. and Hyrum were called to testify. This appears to be young Joseph's first direct interaction with the judicial process. He had turned thirteen years old a month and a half previously. New York law and local practice permitted the use of child testimony, subject to the court's discretion to determine the witness' competency. The test for competency required a determination that the witness was of 'sound mind and memory.' A New York 1803 summary of the law for justices of the peace notes that 'all persons of sound mind and memory, and who have arrived at years of discretion, except such as are legally interested, or have been rendered infamous, may be improved as witnesses.' This determination of competency rested within the discretion of the judge....
From the record it appears that Judge Spear found Joseph Jr. competent, and he indeed did testify during the trial. This is evident in a review of the List of Services that was part of the court file. Joseph Jr.'s testimony would have been required to admit those services he personally performed. His testimony was certainly combined with Hyrum's. Hyrum was born February 11, 1800, and was therefore nineteen years old at the time this case was tried.
- "Mormonism," Boston Bee (24 March 1843); cited in "From the Boston Bee," Times and Seasons 4 no. 13 (15 May 1843), 119–120. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
- Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 5:140. BYU Studies link
- Brigham Young, (6 October 1855) Journal of Discourses 3:366.
- Brigham H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1965), 2:360–361. GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
- Joseph Smith, History (1838), 3–4; cited in Dean C. Jessee, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, [original edition] (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1984), 9–11. ISBN 0877479747. Rev. ed. off-site
- Letter to Oliver Cowdery [December 1834]; cited in Jessee, 336–337.
- Predefinição:Periodical:Walker:Joseph Smith's Introduction to the Law