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Would we expect the man responsible for the biggest fraud in history to preach a sermon on forgiveness after being tarred and feathered?

Jerry C. Roundy recounts one example of Joseph Smith’s character:

When the twins were 11 months old, they became very ill with measles, causing many sleepless nights in the Smith household. One night the Prophet told his wife to go into the back bedroom and try to get some rest while he sat up in the living room with the sicker of the two children. As the night passed, Joseph lay down upon a trundle bed and dozed off. The next thing he knew, he was being carried bodily through the front door by an angry mob who were shouting among themselves, “Don’t let his feet touch the floor, or he will take us all.” They realized what a tremendously powerful man he was physically as well as spiritually.

They carried him out through the orchard, and as they did so, he saw Sidney Rigdon lying on the ground, presumably dead. The mob had also dragged Brother Rigdon from his house by the heels, bumping his head on the frozen ground until it had knocked him insensible.

After coming to a halt, the mob deliberated as to whether or not they should kill the Prophet but decided against it. Finally one of them said, “Let’s tar up his mouth.” With that they tried to force the tar paddle into his mouth. Next they tried to force a phial of poison between his teeth, but he kept them clenched so tightly that the bottle broke, along with the corner of one of his front teeth. Failing to tar up his mouth or poison him, one of the members of the mob fell on him, and after the others had torn off all Joseph’s clothes except his shirt collar, began scratching him like a mad cat, muttering: “… that’s the way the Holy Ghost falls on folks.” They then poured hot tar on his body, rolled him in a feather tick and left him for dead.

After regaining consciousness the Prophet made his way to the house. When his wife, Emma, saw him coming to the door with his body covered with tar and feathers, she fainted. The rest of the night was spent removing the tar from his body. The tender hands of Dr. Frederick G. Williams, a physician and also a counselor to the Prophet in the First Presidency, performed the heartbreaking task. Sometimes large pieces of skin came off with the tar. The next day was the Sabbath, and the Prophet, in great discomfort, was at the service where he spoke.

Jerry C. Roundy – The Greatness of Joseph Smith and His Remarkable Visions

Why does this not sound like someone who knew his life’s work was a fraud?


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