Is Joseph Smith trustworthy?

Hi. My 15 year old daughter is Mormon and completely committed to the Mormon church. I respect her choice, but as a concerned father, I also want to ensure that it is an informed choice. My information indicates that Joseph Smith was a false prophet and not a man worthy of trust. When I left the Mormon church, it was out of a conviction that Joseph Smith was not a trustworthy man and that if we thus cannot trust him, the entire Mormon house of cards crumbles. So my question in this forum is–what specific evidence can you provide that indicates Joseph Smith was not a trustworthy man? For example, the fact that he publicly lied about practicing polygamy while he practiced polygamy (with references, preferably Mormon references). And to ensure all sides are heard, what evidence can you provide to indicate that Joseph Smith WAS a trustworthy man?

You respect her choice? You should be horrified by her choice. We needn’t regurgitate the sins of Joseph Smith yet again. Do an advanced search on these fora (click “Search” above and choose “Advanced Search”. Enter “Joseph Smith”, then prepare to spend a couple of hours being horrified.

The man was a grifter, a con artist, a false prophet, a libertine (the old-fashioned word for a male slut), a traitor to his country and an all-around criminal. And the LDS revere him as a prophet and a god.

He extorted large sums of money from people. He encouraged his followers to steal from their non-Mormon neighbors. He formed a false “bank” in Kirtland where he showed would-be depositors chests full of gold coins which were, in fact, chests full of bricks with a layer of coins on top. Needless to say, his depositors lost all of their money.

He made prophecies that did not come true. According to the bible it only takes one false prophecy to make a man a false prophet.

He foisted false translations of Egyptian documents and passed them off as the Book of Abraham. Later, Egyptologists discovered that the papyri Joseph passed off as the Book of Abraham was a common Egyptian pagan funery text that was buried with all Egyptian mummies. Everything about the text and the illustrations he got wrong. Fraud.

He had sex with married women; he violated the rules of polygyny he wrote in D&C 132; he “married” two pairs of sisters and a mother and her daughter (both in violation of the Mosaic law). He offered exaltation to families as payment for sex with their young daughters (some as young as 14 years old - google Helen Mar Kimball and “The Wives of Joseph Smith”).

He was the Warren Jeffs of his day.

Evidence that Joseph Smith was trustworthy? Zip, zilch, nada.

If my daughter were involved with Mormonism I would be terrified. And I should know.

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic)


I know. I know. But my wife and daughter are trapped in the Mormon faith and I’m trying to respect that choice just as I expect them to respect my choice to be Catholic. My disrespect towards Mormonism, of which there is plenty, has only pushed them further into it. I am trying now to write a letter/essay that will at least explain my view at its most fundamental (the untrustworthiness of JS). I doubt they will hear me, but I feel moved to try. Mormonism has damaged my family so much, I’m just trying to repair it with the grace of god as best I can.

Please help your daughter to see the truth about Mormonism. It is very damaging, especially to women.

I agree that Mormonism stands or falls on the trustworthiness of Joseph Smith. He is absolutely untrustworthy!

I suggest you and she read “Rough Stone Rolling” and “In Sacred Loneliness” together and discuss them. Both books were written by members of the LDS church and are still in good standing. RSR was very important for me in that even though the author performs amazing mental gymnastics to justify Smith, he does bring up problems that I had never heard of at church (multiple versions of the First Vision, problems with the narrative of the restoration of the priesthood, polyandry, etc). It helped me to start thinking and look into other sources which included MormonThink. I suggest that you read through MormonThink and the CES letter ( and have your daughter read them too when she is willing.

Joseph’s money digging and treasure seeking really show how untrustworthy he was and it only goes downhill from there. He took money to look into a stone to fine hidden treasure. He was paid, but never managed to actually find treasure.

Your daughter is 15. Talk to her about Helen Mar Kimball’s story. That will probably hit home for her. How would she feel if her bishop approached you to exchange eternal salvation for your entire family for sex with her? Would she believe him or run away? How would she feel if you agreed to let him?

Look at time lines. JS got caught getting it on with Fanny Alger before he claimed Elijah appeared to him to restore the sealing power, which is necessary for the new and everlasting covenant of eternal, plural marriage. How can he be sealed to a plural wife without the sealing power?

Joseph married several women who were married to men JS had sent on missions. Smith supposedly restored the ancient church. Ask your daughter where in the Bible, God commanded a prophet to marry an already married woman.

Look at all Smith’s plural wives and his treatment of Emma. Is it consistent with the rules set out in D&C section 132? Not so much. Is the real story of Joseph and Emma’s troubled marriage told to her in Sunday School, Young Women’s or seminary?

You need to protect your daughter and do everything you can to get her out of Mormonism. You are her father and it is your job to protect her.

Thanks! I am still working on the content of the letter, trying to ensure it is well documented, as my daughter is quite academically astute. But the outline contains this:

  • Lying about polygamy
  • Adulterous affairs
  • Marrying young girls under duress
  • Violating bigamy laws
  • Domestic abuse (spiritual threats)
  • False prophecies
  • False translations
  • Anti-Christian bigotry
  • Destruction of the press (1st amendment violations)
  • Other law violations (alleged)

We’ll see how the rest goes… It’s a tricky game. A few months ago, my daughter heard me on the phone with a friend, a conversation in which I criticized JS and her Bishop, a bishop who’d told my wife that she’d need to marry someone else in order to reach the celestial kingdom. The next morning, my daughter advised my wife to divorce me. Sigh. What an evil religion, where drinking iced tea is unthinkable, but divorce is the first option that comes to their children’s minds. For a religion that talks so much about family, Mormonism seems intent on destroying my family. So far , it’s doing a pretty good job.

Will, said i haven’t heard of the FLDS and Warren Jeffs till breaking the faith came on UK TV, quite shocking what people will do. If my daughter who is only 6 now was a member of the JW or LDS i would be scared.

Your own daughter advised your wife to divorce you simply over religion? Wow. That is terrible. So she wants a broken home?

Does your wife even work? Does she not know how horribly divorced women are treated in the LDS church? She will become a third class citizen. Her chances of finding a “worthy priesthood holder” is rather slim. And for what, to become a martyr for Mormonism?

Has her bishop encouraged your wife to divorce you? It is not unheard of for bishops to do.

So much for the LDS church being about families.

Well, let me just say that if I had a daughter, I would treat this as a hostage situation. I would be a lot more than just “concerned!”:confused:

Prayers for you and your family!! God Bless, Memaw

Pray much to Our Lady to intercede for your daughter and your wife!

I thank the Lord for the gift of your conversion to the Truth.

So far, they don’t seem to be “hearing” what you are telling them.

Again, I suggest you pray to Our Blessed Mother for her intercession!

Agree. A novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots may be in order.

No, Joseph Smith was a false prophet, a heretic, a liar, and a conman. Nothing will ever tell you otherwise, because Joseph Smith was a false prophet, a heretic, a liar, and a conman. Period.

May God bless you and lead your wife and daughter to the Truths of Catholicism! :slight_smile:

I think he was also a drug addict and it was under the influence of drugs that he had his false visions.

A great novena! I just started day one this morning.

The Novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots can be found here:

How did this Smith fellow manage to convince so many fathers to give their daughters away in marriage to him? Isn’t this just further evidence that people can be quite gullible regarding religion? Am I just being cynical? :confused:

You are making a lot of sense!

Of course I didn’t mean that you should disrespect your wife and daughter. The idea of evidence for Joseph Smith’s trustworthiness just set me off on a rant. I’m sorry for your situation. You must be suffering greatly.

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic)

I would never weight my argument against a denomination primarily on the sins of an individual leader. This line of attack leaves your flank wide open. Instead, focus on the fruits of the tree. “For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.”

Is Joseph Trustworthy?

Absolutely not.

He was a convicted con man. He lied about being able to find treasure. He promised his father-in-law he would stop, but continued anyway.

He lied about his “First Vision”. Then, because lies are hard to remember, he had about 9 or 10 different versions of it.

He lied and tricked people into losing thousands in a bank sandal.

He was caught having adultery and to cover it up, he started polygamy.

He tried to convince William Law to wife trade. When William refused and went to the press, Joseph had the press destroyed.

He went to jail and had an illegal gun in jail. When he was shot at, he tried to abandon his friends and was killed.

And this is just the top of the iceberg.

Was he trustworthy?

Not even a little.

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