LDS, I know you revere Joseph Smith as your founding prophet, but have you ever really taken a deeper dive into his history? The LDS church presents a very romanticized, rosy picture of Joseph the man, but historians both inside and outside the church tell a much different story. If you knew, for example, that Joseph had adulterous affairs and married at least 33 women, many of whom were teenagers as young as 14 or already married to other men, how would that affect your belief in his credibility as a prophet? If you knew that he threatened some of these women if they refused his proposals, but promised salvation for their whole family if they accepted, would that change your mind about the man? If you knew that Joseph lied to his first wife, Emma, as well as to many others about his affairs and plural marriages, would that affect you in any way?
If you knew that Joseph conned people out of their money by claiming he could find buried treasure for them by looking at seer stones in a hat, and that he used the exact same method to translate the Book of Mormon, would that bother you? If you knew that he copied extensive portions from his copy of a 1769 edition of the King James Bible, including its translation errors, and put them right into the Book of Mormon, would that cause you to ask some questions? If you found out that Egyptologists have proven that Joseph completely mistranslated the papyrus scrolls to create the Book of Abraham, and that those scrolls have nothing whatsoever to do with Abraham at all, would you take a second look? If you learned that Joseph was conned by some locals who created fake ancient metal plates (the Kinderhook Plates) and then presented them to him for translation, would you still think he had the ability to translate anything?
I ask these questions because the historical evidence overwhelmingly shows that Joseph did all these things and many more just as bad or worse, yet most chapel going LDS have no idea and continue to believe that Joseph was a great man, husband, father, and prophet.
I don’t know whether it’s because you have been told not to look deeper into the history because it’s “anti-Mormon,” or whether the emotional connection simply trumps history, or if it’s because you just haven’t ever heard these things before, but I would simply challenge you to take a deeper look for yourselves. If Joseph was a good man and a true prophet, then you have absolutely nothing to lose by doing the research. Ultimately, it’s truth that matters and I would encourage you to not accept canned or evasive answers. The history is there. All you have to do is read it.