Why would Joseph Smith continue a hoax under such persecution? Why wouldn’t he abandon what he knew was simply untrue? Wouldn’t we expect him to have given up early on?
Joseph had injuries for the rest of his life from the persecutions he experienced and was eventually killed by a mob. Joseph also experienced: persecution after the first vision, a mob coming to his house, being scratched with nails like “a mad cat”, being tarred and feathered, an attempted poisoning, being beaten with guns in a wagon, 46 lawsuits, his children dying from exposure to the cold when mobs entered his house, and unjust imprisonment.
Many people suffer persecution for what they think to be true, but Joseph would have known the true origin of the Book of Mormon. So if he knew it was a fraud it seems odd he would have continued to live the way he did under such persecution.
Doesn’t the evidence of his life suggest that Joseph thought the Book of Mormon was true? Wouldn’t he be the best person to know if it was true or not?