Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Did Joseph Smith have Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Disclaimer: Joseph Smith is many things to many people. For some in the restoration movement, who believe in the Book of Mormon but reject the leadership of Brigham Young, Smith was an inspired but “fallen” prophet. To Utah Mormons, Smith was a noble man and worthy of constant praise and adoration. When I was a missionary there was one family who had a huge mural of Joseph Smith in their living room, with a smaller painting of Jesus consigned to the kitchen area. Growing up Mormon I only heard of Smith’s strengths and talents, never his flaws and foibles. My analysis below is no doubt an incomplete portrait of Joseph Smith, for I am focusing on one aspect of his character; but my focus balances out the white washed squeaky clean image of Smith produced by the LDS church. We are all multifaceted individuals and full of complexity and profound mystery. Nevertheless, this is an attempt to uncover at least one aspect of Smith’s personality and how it likely influenced his new religion of Mormonism. I encourage the reader to reach a balanced view of Smith by not only reading this blog post but also reading what active Mormon scholars have to say about Smith. While this post will focus on his flaws and vices, he no doubt had his virtues.

After reading the book No Man Knows My History by Faun Brodie, I actually came to appreciate Joseph Smith, the man, as someone with the same human frailties we all have. Brodie gave Smith a real personality. I realized that there was more to the man than what the LDS Church is officially disclosing to the membership in their publications. Since reading Brodie's book and many other books on Smith, by both Mormon and non-Mormon scholars (including Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman), I have come to view Smith (at the start of his career) in the same light as does Dan Vogel. In his essay, Prophet Puzzle" Revisited (1996), Vogel writes that the best theory to explain Smith's faults, combined with his religiosity in the early stages of his leadership (1829 - 1835), is that he could be termed a pious fraud: that is someone who deceived people in order to achieve religious objectives. Based on the research I have done on the man, this is a good summation of Joseph Smith in the early 1830s. Dan Vogel sums up his essay by saying:

"I would suggest that Smith really believed he was called of God to preach repentance to a sinful world but that he felt justified in using deception to more fully accomplish his mission. Like the faith healer who uses plants or confederates in his congregation to create a faith-promoting atmosphere in which the true miracles can occur, Smith assumed the role of prophet, produced the Book of Mormon, and issued revelations to create a setting in which true conversion experiences could take place. It is the true healings and conversions that not only justify deception but also convince the pious frauds that they are perhaps after all real healers or real prophets" (pg. 10).

However, after Smith produced the Book of Mormon and took on several, all encompassing leadership roles in the mid 1830s and 1840s, it appears that absolute power corrupted him and corrupted him nearly absolutely as we shall see.

It was after reading Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith: Psychobiography and the Book of Mormon by Robert D. Anderson, that I realized that Joseph Smith probably suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD for short).

Note: NPD falls along a spectrum. In other words, not every person with NPD is the same, some have more symptoms than others, and some have a mild form of NPD; and some have more severe forms of NPD. I believe Joseph Smith had severe NPD. Sometimes those writing about Smith have referred to him as an Egoist or Egomaniacal, this is another way of referring to his severe NPD.

Also note that by saying Smith likely suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) I am in no way using this psychological diagnosis as a “put down.” For there are self-aware people with NPD who overcome a lot of their self grandiosity and their struggle with a lack of empathy to become caring and well adjusted individuals. In fact, some psychologists would argue that we are all narcissistic to some degree. A recent book out by the Harvard Medical School psychologist Craig Malkin, argues that narcissism should be viewed along a spectrum:



In this post I am merely pointing out Smith’s apparent lack of management of, and lack of help for, his NPD; which I believe led to his extremist religious claims; for his narcissism reached the point that he elevated himself to the most learned man on earth, a prophet, king, general of an army, aspiring US President, husband to numerous wives, and soon to be a God in the afterlife.

Robert Anderson is not the only psychologist who thinks Smith had NPD. For example Wes Cauthers states:

As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, I would bet my entire life savings that Joseph Smith had Narcissistic Personality Disorder. There's just too much evidence against him on so many levels for me to believe he was called by God to restore anything, let alone the supposedly lost gospel of Jesus, which has been preserved just fine in the New Testament. ...

Here are the criteria for NPD:

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements) 
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love 
- Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions) 
- Requires excessive admiration 
- Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations 
- Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends 
- Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others 
- Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her 
- Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

… From everything I have read about the life and times of [Joseph Smith], he fits the description very well, ….
Source: http://mormonexpression.com/2011/01/18/104-poelman-conference-talk/ (Retrieved Aug. 2012).

For more information on NPD see psychdaily.com

Smith’s NPD may have been the result of trauma in his childhood. One website describes a possible cause of NPD being “an infantile, defensive personality structure in response to … trauma, usually developing in early childhood or early adolescence. … Narcissistic personality disorder may be a maladaptive defense of the … child's or adolescent's emotional splitting, [with] resultant cognitive distortions,  ..."

Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/diseases-and-conditions-articles/narcissistic-personality-disorder-causes-symptoms-information-with-treatment-241809.html  

So if Smith had NPD it may have resulted from one or several traumas in his childhood; or it may have been something he inherited genetically, or both.

To begin, this short video summarizes the case of Smith having severe NPD.

Source: Joseph Smith: Prophet of God or Egomaniac ??? Uploaded by Kurt843 on Jun 6, 2011 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_obY9mfx7M.

Note: there is one error in this video, at six minutes into the video the author makes one minor mistake by saying Kolob is the residence of God in Mormonism. Actually, Kolob is  the star or planet nearest to God’s domain in LDS theology.

Joseph Smith mastered, what author Robert Green calls The 48 Laws of Power, which is an amoral history lesson on, and guide to, gaining power:



Evidence of Smith's rise to power is documented on the webpage of Paul C. Graham, who lists Joseph's many titles and accomplishments:

"Joseph Smith, Junior: Founder of the Mormon church, translator of the Book of Mormon, and self- proclaimed prophet, seer & revelator. Also served in various secular capacities, e.g., as Lieutenant General of the Nauvoo Legion, Mayor of Nauvoo, [and even ran for president of the United States]...Smith was made a Mason "at sight" by Grand Master Abraham Jonas, being initiated as an Entered Apprentice on March 15, 1842 and, on the following day, passed to the degree of a Fellow Craft& raised the sublime degree of a Master Mason..."(http://www.masonicmoroni.com/Images1.htm).


Smith not only gained great power over those around him in his lifetime, but his legacy continues to echo the power of his person. For Smith gained such confidence in his followers, that their conviction of his work spread from generation to generation, so that his work of persuasion and psychological power has convinced masses of people up to this day: as generations later people continue to believe that the Book of Mormon is a literal history despite every non-Mormon historian considering it to be a pure work of fiction about the American Indians; while Smith's ability to sell the idea that some Egyptian funeral scrolls are the alleged writings of Abraham, continues to be believed today despite clear evidence to the contrary.


Right from the start Joseph Smith was a highly ambitious young man of intelligence. He was not a dumb farm boy as some Mormons teach without knowing all the facts. His father for example was a teacher and Smith had access to many good books.

I believe Smith’s pathological narcissism began early. In his youth Joseph Smith pretended he had the power to unearth hidden treasure with a seer stone, gathering around him believers as he arrogantly claimed to have occult powers of scrying via the stone. When the people he duped into digging for lost treasure came up empty he’d often make up a story that the treasures moved beneath the earth (see The Changing World of Mormonism, chapter 4). 

The author of the book, The Early Days of Mormonism By James H. Kennedy (1888), states:

"An even less pleasing picture has been drawn by another, who perhaps studied the boy at closer range and from a more intimate personal acquaintance. Between twelve and thirteen years of age he is remembered by this witness as 'a dull-eyed, flaxen-haired, prevaricating boy, noted only for his indolent and vagabondish character, and his habits of exaggeration and untruthfulness. He seldom spoke to any one outside of his intimate associates, except when first addressed by another, and then, by reason of his extravagances of statement, his word was received with the least confidence by those who knew him best. He could utter the most palpable exaggeration or marvellous absurdity with the utmost apparent gravity. He nevertheless evidenced the rapid development of a thinking, plodding, evil-brewing mental composition -- largely given to inventions of low cunning, schemes of mischief and deception, and false and mysterious pretensions.... He was, however, proverbially good-natured, very rarely, if ever, indulging in any combative spirit toward any one, whatever might be the provocation."
Source: http://thedigitalvoice.com/enigma/1888KenB.htm

This is what we would expect to hear about a burgeoning pathological narcissist, someone prone to exaggerate and be cunning yet charming enough to be considered of good nature.

If we pick individual phrases from a lot of different physical descriptions of Smith by people who knew him as a man, we end up with the following list below:

a little over six feet tall;
considered good looking and dignified;
athletic and strong with long legs and large feet.
He had:
an oval-shaped face;
a prominent nose, long and straight;
a rather long upper lip;
a light complexion;
deep-set hazel or blue eyes;
thick eyebrows;
long eyelashes;
fine, straight, light brown or dark blond hair.
Source: What Did Joseph Smith Really Look Like? By Janet Thomas 

As we can see Smith was not a small and insecure man but a man of great stature as described by all those who knew him.
All throughout his life, Smith was constantly boasting that everything he produced was the best of everything. He claimed  that the Book of Mormon was the most correct book on earth, saying quote:

"I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book"
(B.H. Roberts, History of the Church 4:461. Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith,_Jr).

He claimed that God told him that all Christian creeds were an abomination. Smith said that when he was visited by God the Father and Christ that they answered his question as to which church to join with:

"I was answered that I must join none of them [the Christian churches], for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: [']they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.['] He again forbade me to join with any of them; ... [I] said to my mother, [']I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.[']" (Source: Joseph Smith History 1: 19-20).

Joseph Smith didn't just claim to speak to Jesus, he also claimed that he was the only man on earth who could channel the voice of Jesus! Smith begins his book Doctrine and Covenants with an alleged revelation from Jesus, who says that the Mormon Church is "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, ..." (D&C 1:30).

So Smith claims to speak for Jesus who (Smith claims) said that all Christian churches are false, and only the church that Smith leads is true. So basically, Joseph Smith claimed to do what no one else on earth could do, that is restore true Christianity and channel the actual voice of Jesus which is what much of the LDS Doctrine and Covenants is. Smith had thus executed a major power play by side-stepping the traditional route of my interpretation is better than yours, by raising himself above the other ministers of his day as one like unto Moses and the apostle Paul: as one with a direct line to God and God's mouthpiece on earth. Think about the confidence it takes to make such claims.

Smith also made the power-play of seeking to rhetorically destroy his opposition. We saw above how he claimed that God found the creeds of his theological competitors to be an abomination. Smith goes on to say things like the following:

"But meddle not with any man for his religion: all governments ought to permit every man to enjoy his religion unmolested. No man is authorized to take away life in consequence of difference of religion, which all laws and governments ought to tolerate and protect, right or wrong. Every man has a natural, and, in our country, a constitutional right to be a false prophet, as well as a true prophet. If I show, verily, that I have the truth of God, and show that ninety-nine out of every hundred professing religious ministers are false teachers, having no authority, while they pretend to hold the keys of God's kingdom on earth, and was to kill them because they are false teachers, it would deluge the whole world with blood" (History of the Church 6:304; Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith,_Jr.). 

As the video above covers, Smith also bolstered his power status by claiming to be visited by angels, and several persons found in the Old and New Testament. Ironically, his extravagant claims and over the top confidence (which I believe were a hallmark of his severe narcissism), only served him well in gaining more and more followers; which likely fueled his need for more admiration and power.

When Charlotte Haven visited Nauvoo in 1843 she wrote about her numerous encounters with the Mormon prophet, and said that:

Joseph Smith is a large, stout man, youthful in his appearance, with light complexion and hair, and blue eyes set far back in the head, and expressing great shrewdness, or I should say, cunning… He is evidently a great egotist and boaster, for he frequently remarked that at every place he stopped going to and from Springfield people crowded around him, and expressed surprise that he was so "handsome and good looking."… I could not but with wonder and pity look upon that motley and eager crowd that surrounded me, as 1 thought, "Can it be possible that so many of my poor fellow mortals are satisfied with such food for their immortal souls?"… his whole two hours' discourse had rather a tendency to corrupt the morals and spread vice…

[upon meeting with the Smith’s on another occasion, Charlotte remarked that]

Emma, for by that name Mrs. S. is known, is very plain in her personal appearance, though we hear she is very intelligent and benevolent, has great influence with her husband, and is generally beloved. She said very little to us, her whole attention being absorbed in what Joseph was saying. He talked incessantly about himself, what he had done and could do more than other mortals, and remarked that he was "a giant, physically and mentally." In fact, he seemed to forget that he was a man. I did not change my opinion about him, but suppose he has good traits. They say he is very kind hearted, and always ready to give shelter and help to the needy… Mrs. Smith was pleasant and social, more so than we had ever seen her before, and we were quite pleased with her; while her husband is the greatest egotist I ever met.

Source: Overland Monthly, December 1890, page 621, 623, and 631. Online at www.olivercowdery.com/smithhome/1880s-1890s/havn1890.htm

Inventing Scripture

After discussing in his essay, how Smith claimed to translate the ancient writings of Abraham in the LDS Book of Abraham as a reinterpretation and a retelling of the Old Testament, author Mike Furness states:

"The translating Smith undertook was an imaginative attempt to change history. This is a brilliant idea, and it was not the only time he did this. Also found in the Pearl of Great Price is the Book of Moses, wherein Smith rewrote parts of Moses’ life story, therefore changing this pivotal character’s story from the way it was originally described in the Bible.

Controversial artist duo Jake and Dinos Chapman commonly do something similar: They purchase famous artists’ paintings and drawings and add something of their own onto them. Most, if not all, of these works appreciate in value after the Chapman brothers’ alteration. These artistic adaptations are seen by some as an improvement and, by others, as simply vandalism.

Whichever stance is taken, it cannot be denied that reworking someone else’s art is a bold act of vanity. Smith rewrote the character of another author’s book, which can be seen as a better or a corrupted version of the original.

VANITY & UNDOING

Vanity is a quality found in many artists. One of the most famously narcissistic artists was Salvador Dali, who had this to say of great artists: “The two things you need to be a great artist is 1. Be Spanish, and 2. Be named Salvador Dali.”

Smith’s vanity is evident in his self-fulfilling prophecies that he wrote for the Book of Mormon and in his translation of the Bible. According to the Book of Mormon, “plain and precious things” would be lost from the Bible; Smith then found and translated those missing portions. His translation of missing Genesis verses speak of God choosing a blessed seer to be brought forth in the latter days whose name would be Joseph.

Smith’s vanity was indeed an artistic strength, but unfortunately, it was also the single most detrimental aspect of his disposition, largely contributing to the events leading to his death.

Source: The Mormon Masterpiece: Joseph Smith Was Prophet, Seer And Artist By Mike Furness

Joseph Smith as Egotistical Warmonger

In the Tanner’s section on a fighting prophet in chapter 17 of The Changing World of Mormonism, we learn of Smith constantly boasting how strong he is over other men, how they are no match for him, and he is far superior to them in strength and skill.

As the video above covers, Joseph Smith was a man who sought to be above the crowd. He declared self-proclaimed himself to be a prophet, seer, and revelator.  Even going so far to say within the pages of his Book of Mormon (that he composed with his seer stone), in regards to himself, that he was predestined by God to be a "choice seer" (that is seer stone gazer) and who'd be "esteemed highly," and would "be great like unto Moses" (2 Nephi 3: 6-9). He also became the Mayor of Nauvoo, and was even a general of his own army. His quest for power did not end there as he also ran for President of the United States. Below is a picture of Lieutenant General, Joseph Smith Jr., of the Nauvoo Legion. Smith’s campaign poster read: General Joseph Smith for President of the United States of America.


File:GeneralJosephSmithAddress-JohnHafen.jpg                         
Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GeneralJosephSmithAddress-JohnHafen.jpg

Grant Palmer begins his article Did Joseph Smith Commit Treason in His Quest for Political Empire in 1844? with the following summary: “Joseph Smith was a very audacious and ambitious individual. In 1844, in Central Illinois at Nauvoo, he established a theocratic/political kingdom on the Mississippi. He envisioned himself as a King presiding over an empire that eventually would include not only America, but the entire world. He organized a council of fifty men to help him realize his goal. Under his direction, this secretive body appears to have been given the responsibility of setting up satellite cells for this theocratic kingdom throughout the United States and the world. In this article, I will explore the evidence for this idea.”
At one point Smith also claimed that he would be a second Mohammed to his generation. See the web links below:
www.mrm.org/second-muhammad
and
Joseph Smith was no pacifist. He embraced violence and self-defense and taking up weapons. As previously mentioned be became Lieutenant General in command of the Nauvoo Legion: a group of independent military men, with artillery in its arsenal and swords and guns at his perusal. (History of the Church, Vol. 4, pp. 244, 326).
Further evidence of his aggressive and violent alpha male nature is in 1843, when Joseph Smith said in a debate, “George A. Smith said imprisonment was better than hanging. I replied, I was opposed to hanging, even if a man kills another, I will shoot him, or cut off his head, spill his blood on the ground, and let the smoke thereof ascend up to God; and if ever I have the privilege of making a law on that subject, I will have it so.” (History of the Church, Vol. 5, p. 296).
Guns, Power, & Spectacle 

According to an online pamphlet:
Thomas Ford, the Governor of Illinois, shortly after Smith’s death said, ‘It was asserted that Joseph Smith, the founder and head of the Mormon Church, had caused himself to be crowned and anointed king of the Mormons.’ Smith had a penchant for dressing up in military uniform. He organised the Mormons into his private army. Mormon historian Fawn Brodie, who was excommunicated for her pains at being honest and objective, wrote in her defining biography of the prophet:

‘Joseph Smith requested and received from Governor Carlin the commission of Lieutenant General and thereafter frequently jested about his outranking every military officer in the United States. He came to prefer the title General even to President and used it in much of his correspondence. His uniform was smartly designed… on his hip he carried a sword and two big horse pistols. Delighting in the pomp and splendour of parades, he called out the legion on every possible occasion…’ No Man Knows my History, pp. 270-271.

One of the prophet’s devotees, Lyman L. Woods, recalled one of these parades with these words:

‘I have seen him on a white horse wearing the uniform of a general… he was leading a parade of the legion and looked like a god.’ Smith’s aspirations knew no limits. He was elected Mayor of Nauvoo with a grand design of eventually standing for the Presidency of the US, which was thwarted only by his assassination. In the original version of Joseph Smith’s own history, he speaks thus of himself: ‘I am a lawgiver; I am a big lawyer and comprehend heaven, earth and hell, to bring forth knowledge that shall cover up all lawyers, doctors and other big bodies.’ The History of the Church, Vol. 5, p. 289. ‘I know more than they all.’ ibid. Vol. 5, p. 467. ‘I solve mathematical problems of universities with truth - diamond truth; and God is my right hand man.’ ibid. Vol. 6, p. 78. ...


 
General Joseph Smith 

Image Source: http://mtpleasantpioneerofthemonth.blogspot.com/2009/12/moses-martin-sanders-and-amanda.html

For more information on Smith’s warmongering see the book, The Mormon Hierarchy : Origins of Power by Mike Quinn. To read a summary of the details that led to “The [Mormon] theocracy in Nauvoo [that] ran both religious, civil and military affairs. [With information on the] Mormon army [that] grew to a third the size of the United States Army,” see The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power--A Review by Garn LeBaron. Also see page 114 of, The Theory and Practice of the Political Kingdom of God in Mormon History, 1829-1890. Masters Thesis, Klaus J. Hansen of Brigham Young University.

Joseph Smith The Charmer & Seducer

Many pathological narcissists display a charisma and charm that is attractive to many. Smith apparently displayed great charm even among non-members:

"[When] Josiah Quincy [commented] to Smith that, 'General, it seems to me that you have too much power to be safely trusted to one man,' in reference to Smith being President of the Church, mayor of Nauvoo and lieutenant-general of the Nauvoo Legion. [Smith responded, 'In your hands or the hands of any other person, so much power would no doubt be dangerous. I am the only man in the world whom it would be safe to trust with it. Remember, I am a prophet!'] [B.H.] Roberts notes that this was spoken by Smith 'in a rich, comical aside, as if in recognition of the ridiculous sound they might have in the ears of a Gentile." (B.H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol. 2, Footnotes. Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith,_Jr.).

When his closest followers began leaving the church at Nauvoo over his doctrine of polygamous Gods and other issues, on Sunday May 26, 1844, Smith responded to them with defensive bravado and re-framing the losses with boasting, saying:

"Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet...When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go" (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408-409). 

Mormon apologists argue that this statement is excused because it was made after Smith read 1 Corinthians 11 to the congregation. This would only have given Smith a pretext to boast about what he already thought of himself. Smith was well versed in the Bible, and thus we would expect a pathological narcissist, who is in the role of a preacher, to use scripture in order to fulfill his ego needs. We see this everywhere, most notably when Smith quotes extensively from the Bible to justify polygamy and satisfy his own needs in D&C Section 132. In a last ditch effort, LDS apologists say this quote may not be accurate; demonstrating yet again how some LDS apologists will endorse a quote that makes the church look good (saying it is reliable), but when it makes the church or its leaders look bad, it is, of course, unreliable.

Joseph Smith boasted on paper as well as out loud, and his theology matched his political ambitions. Did Joseph Smith’s delusions of grandeur affect LDS theology? I believe it did. Especially when we realize that from 1830 to 1838 Mormonism was officially a monotheistic religion and only followed traditional Christian doctrines of theosis or deification in in the Seventh Lecture on Faith; this began to change around the time Joseph Smith studied Hebrew, and was caught cheating on his wife with his maid, and was being accused of adultery by Oliver Cowdery. During this time Smith’s theology changed from preaching a belief in one God in the early 1830s to rejecting the existence of one Supreme Being, as he instead began teaching a plurality of Gods in the 1840s. 

Did Joseph Smith project his lust and desire for more and more power and glory into dreams of his future status in the heavens? Was Smith’s doctrine of a plurality of Gods that procreate with polygamous wives like humans, a way for Smith to justify his own sexual liaisons and delusions of grandeur? I believe it was. Mormonism in the 1840s can be summed up as Smith wanting all power on earth as a king, and to make himself a God surrounded by wives and concubines in the afterlife. Smith's new doctrine of becoming an all-powerful polygamous God matched his libido and his ego; and there is tons of evidence to support this conclusion (see my forthcoming blog post: Polygamous Sex, Procreating Gods, & the Ego of Joseph Smith: The Short Story of How the Mormon Godhead Changed Over Time).

When Smith’s wife, who probably knew him better than anyone (and likely realized he was prone to delusions of grandeur) rejected the practice of polygamy and challenged his rise to power and ego fulfillment, Smith threatened her with destruction in D&C 132: 51-55. In this same revelation Smith wrote that in the afterlife he and the Mormon men and women who follow him:

"shall pass by the angels, and the Gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fullness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be Gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be Gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them" (1891 D&C 132: 19-20).

Note that today's LDS Doctrine and Covenants does not capitalize the term God in D&C 132 and elsewhere, when referring to Mormons who gain their exaltation. However the 1891 D&C capitalizes all references to Mormons becoming Gods. I believe the change was made in today’s edition of the D&C to appear less radical to Protestant and Catholic Christian investigators. For most Christians believe that there is only one God, the First Cause, or Ultimate Source of all Being. Joseph Smith taught that there are many Gods, or exalted men, who are caught up in an evolutionary cycle of cosmic sex and eternal progression. The LDS church has no answer to the questions: from what source did this cycle of evolving Gods originate? Where did all matter and energy come from? Who or what is the ultimate Source of all Being? 

Smith also said, “The soul, the mind of man, the immortal spirit. All men say God created it in the beginning. The very idea lessens man in my estimation; I do not believe the doctrine, I know better…The mind of man is as immortal as God himself…God never did have power to create the spirit of man at all” (Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 615). For Smith turned God into "the Gods" that evolved from men who have eternal souls (this is actually made scripture in The Book of Abraham 3:18). In Mormonism, God evolved from man, and man's soul is eternal and self-created. Thus Smith had found a way to exalt himself to the status of a God.

This is what we would expect if Smith was a pathological narcissist: a man driven to expand his ego by not only claiming to become a God, but claiming his very soul was eternal and un-created by a God; and then, with excessive vanity, he extended his ego needs by continuing his self-image into the eternities through producing millions of eternal children that in turn would worship him as God over his own world.

In Smith's scheme of things man could become God and God was once a man before earth. Man was to perfect himself (and the means of this perfecting was controlled by Smith) until he turned himself into a God. Smith explained:

"You have to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one: from grace to grace FROM EXALTATION TO EXALTATION until you ATTAIN THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD." (History of the Church; Vol. 6 Pg. 306; Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith,_Jr).

Today, most Mormons are unaware that they are reenacting Smith’s sexual theology that crowns men king of celestial wives, children, and worlds without end. For the Mormon temple has the following fertility rite, where members parrot the incantation sounding phrase: "… strength in the loins and in the sinews, power in the Priesthood be upon me and upon my posterity through all generations of time and throughout all eternity." You can watch a video clip on the internet of this ritual reenacted in the HBO cable series Big Love.

These secret passwords at the veil in the temple reveal Smith’s sexual theology. For Smith talked of the priesthood as the power and authority to enact polygamous marriages and the power to become Gods and reproduce into the eternities; thus continuing one’s “posterity through all generations of time and throughout all eternity.” Smith was able to cloak his adultery in the robes of piety. He was able to avoid dissent by joining his closest members of leadership into the practice of polygamy. With the temple penalties, those who learned about polygamy were simultaneously bound to an oath of secrecy; swearing to keep the secrets of the temple lest they suffer their throats to be cut from ear to ear. An act which temple goers pantomimed in the temple in Smith’ day. In 1990 the enactment of the penalties were removed but members still make penal oaths.

Smith was apparently not satisfied with exalting man to the seat of Godhood but man would save the dead as well. Smith said, "The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us, is to seek after our dead...They without us cannot be made perfect" (Times and Seasons 5:616; Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 147; History of the Church 6:313; Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith,_Jr.).

Psychologists say that two of the main motives that drive nearly every thing we do is the sex urge and the desire to be important. Joseph Smith’s Mormonism would fulfill those two desires with a theology that makes men Gods who extend their vitality eternally by producing spirit children that they create by having relations with numerous celestial wives and concubines (see the 1891 D&C 132: 63 footnote 3p).

Mormon apologists are always saying that Smith was a normal human being with the same fallible nature as all of us, and so we should give him a break and accept his foibles. But it stands to reason that if he was human, and subject to human instincts and impulses, that he would be subject to the same drives for sex and gaining feelings of importance that we all experience. If we add to that the probability that Smith suffered from narcissistic personality disorder, then his life and his religion begin to make a lot of sense.

Smith himself said, "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"
(History of the Church 5:140; Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 29;Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 258; Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith,_Jr.).

Keep in mind, that when Smith wrote a private letter to Nancy Rigdon after she turned down his request for her to be another one of his plural wives; he was not claiming to channel the voice of Jesus this time but was writing as himself. And his motives appear to be quite clear in his letter as he tries to persuade Nancy to marry him; for he equates happiness with sexual pleasure as he attempts to woo Nancy with scriptural references and romantic prose. In the letter Smith writes the following [words in bold added for emphasis]:

"Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof .. we cannot keep all the commandments without first knowing them, and we cannot expect to know all, or more than we now know unless we comply with or keep those we have already received. That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another."

"God said, "Thou shalt not kill;" at another time He said "Thou shalt utterly destroy." This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted—by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire. If we seek first the kingdom of God, all good things will be added. So with Solomon: first he asked wisdom, and God gave it him, and with it every desire of his hearteven things which might be considered abominable to all who understand the order of heaven only in part, but which in reality were right because God gave and sanctioned by special revelation."

God has designed our happiness—and the happiness of all His creatures, he never has—He never will institute an ordinance or give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness which He has designed, and which will not end in the greatest amount of good and glory to those who become the recipients of his law and ordinances. Blessings offered, but rejected, are no longer blessings, but become like the talent hid in the earth by the wicked and slothful servant; the proffered good returns to the giver; the blessing is bestowed on those who will receive and occupy; for unto him that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundantly, but unto him that hath not or will not receive, shall be taken away that which he hath, or might have had."
Be wise today; 'tis madness to defer:
Next day the fatal precedent may plead.
Thus on till wisdom is pushed out of time
Into eternity.

"Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive; and, at the same time, is more terrible to the workers of iniquity, more awful in the executions of His punishments, and more ready to detect every false way, than we are apt to suppose Him to be. He will be inquired of by His children. He says: "Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find;" but, if you will take that which is not your own, or which I have not given you, you shall be rewarded according to your deeds; but no good thing will I withhold from them who walk uprightly before me, and do my will in all things—who will listen to my voice and to the voice of my servant whom I have sent; for I delight in those who seek diligently to know my precepts, and abide by the law of my kingdom; for all things shall be made known unto them in mine own due time, and in the end they shall have joy." 

Source: Official History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.134-136, See also "The Letter of the Prophet, Joseph Smith to Miss Nancy Rigdon," Joseph Smith Collection, LDS archives; Web Source: http://www.i4m.com/think/history/smith_letter.htm

Smith nearly sounds Shakespearean when he writes, “Be wise to-day, 'tis madness to defer. Next day the fatal precedent may plead; Thus on till wisdom is pushed out of time.” It’s amazing what a man is capable of writing when a woman arouses his interest. Smith is attempting to persuade her to be his mistress or God will punish her since she’s not using her “talents,” isn't taking advantage of God’s “blessings,” and is disobeying God’s commands. Joseph's references to "Solomon," God’s “liberal views,” and God warning to her listen “to the voice of my servant whom I have sent” did not convince Nancy. Perhaps she’s in the Mormon version of hell now (D&C 132: 15-20; D&C 76: 30-49, 81–113) for remaining chaste? Joseph Smith's desire for more women even went so far as telling some of the women he approached, who were reluctant to become another one of his plural wives, that if they didn't consent an angel with a sword would kill him. Joseph Smith may have started out as a pious fraud with good intentions but he ended up becoming a religious con man and womanizer. For a list of all of his wives click here.

When attempting to seduce Nancy Rigdon he did so under the guise of her becoming his next plural wife. He allegedly first received the revelation on plural marriage sometime before or after having sex with his sixteen year old maid Fanny Alger; for according to the introduction to D&C 132, “it is evident from the historical records that the doctrines and principles involved in this revelation [about polygamy] had been known by the Prophet since 1831” (it is assumed he knew of some revelation because we he was having sex with someone other than his wife).
Smith used his prose to try and suppress Nancy’s own sense of morals by saying basically that I speak for God and what God says is right, no matter what it is. Smith effectively took seducing women to a whole new level by attempting to sanction fornication with holy sanctification. Joseph Smith was not exempt from human foibles. He was a man, and like all men he had carnal desires. When his wife objected to his extramarital affairs, Smith wrote D&C section 132 in order to coerce his wife into accepting his polygamous relationships with teenagers and other men's wives. In D&C 132: 52 – 54, Smith claims to channel Jesus and threatens his wife Emma saying, “let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those [plural wives] that have been given unto my servant Joseph ... I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law..." Smith had his brother Hyrum deliver this alleged “revelation” to Emma and she rebuked him and threw the document in the fire. She never accepted polygamy and after Smith died she left the LDS church that was then led by Brigham Young.
Growing up Mormon I was given a white-washed picture of Joseph Smith. I didn’t realize that he practiced polygamy until on my LDS mission. I believe that the sanitized version of Smith in church publications is a distortion of reality. The real Smith had sexual relations with numerous women; once again, some being teenagers, and some were the wives of other men. For documented evidence of this from official LDS sources go to familysearch.org and the new LDS church essay on the subject titled, Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo, as well as here for evidence. Smith coerced these women into having sex with him (as his plural wives) by promising them eternal glory (D&C 132: 19-21) and threatening them with eternal damnation if they refused (see D&C 132: 1-4, 15-18, 63-64).

In order to carry out his polygamous affairs, Smith not only lied to his wife Emma but he was, fitting Wes Cauthers’ criteria of narcissistic personality disorder above, “interpersonally exploitative, i.e., [taking] advantage of others to achieve his … own ends. [Also, he was lacking in] empathy: … unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.” Just read In Sacred Loneliness by Todd Compton to see the misery he caused his plural wives. 


Also, besides threatening his wife Emma with destruction, Smith manipulated young women by saying that if they did not join him in plural matrimony then the young girl's family wouldn't make it to the highest heaven; as previously mentioned, at one point he even said that if the girl didn’t give in and marry him that an angel with a sword would destroy him. After the girl was burdened with the thought of being responsible for the death of her family’s leader, she gave in. For a very raw critique of Smith’s methodology for luring young women into "his bed," see the short (approximately six minute) video below of Sandra Tanner calling Smith’s practices the acts of a sexual predator:



For further evidence of Smith lying and harming the women involved in his polygamous agenda, see the sections numbered as examples 17 to 35, in Ken Clark’s article, Lying for the Lord. There, Ken Clark points out how Smith repeatedly lied to his wife Emma, and how Smith slandered those who refused his sexual advances and spoke out against him. For example, according to Clark, when “Martha Brotherton, an 18 year old convert from England” denied Smith's proposal, and spoke out about Smith trying to seduce her, Smith called “Martha not only a liar, but also an apostate and ‘mean harlot.’ Smith used character assassination when he thought the situation warranted it; no matter how young his victim was.” Also see the following data on D&C 132 at: http://www.mormonthink.com/d&c.htm#polygamy

Smith's Boasting 

As previously mentioned, in their book The Changing World of Mormonism, the Tanners discuss Smith’s fighting ways, his egotism, and desire for unlimited power in chapter 17. Read this chapter to get a fuller understanding of Smith’s big ego.

In his King Follet Discourse, Smith’s self inflation reached its peak when he called all Christian scholars wrong and he was smarter than them all because the Holy Ghost is inspiring him, and presumably not the rest of Christianity over the centuries:

“I will prove that the world is wrong, by showing what God is...God himself was once as we are now and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret...I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see …

I will transpose and simplify it in the English language. Oh, ye lawyers, ye doctors, and ye priests, who have persecuted me, I want to let you know that the Holy Ghost knows something as well as you do. The head God called together the Gods and sat in grand council  ... Now, I ask all who hear me, why the learned men who are preaching salvation, say that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing? The reason is, that they are unlearned in the things of God, and have not the gift of the Holy Ghost; they account it blasphemy in any one to contradict their idea. If you tell them that God made the world out of something, they will call you a fool. But I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow, and he is within me, and comprehends more than all the world; and I will associate myself with him. …

Source: The King Follett Sermon at http://www.lds.org/ensign/1971/04/the-king-follett-sermon

Some Mormon apologists believe that Smith, couching these statements with a nod to the Holy Ghost as his inspiration, excuses his boasting. But this is what we’d expect from Smith in the role of preacher who, of course would justify the boasting, by couching it in theology. Smith saying that the Holy Ghost is "within him," and that makes him know more than all the world, is still boasting; especially when Smith is claiming in the sermon to be able to interpret the scriptures with his intellect better than all the other scholars of his day. Keep in mind that Smith took Hebrew lessons and was thus probably feeling proud that his ideas were the best.

This quote is also part of a larger context in which Smith often boasted that he was privileged with special knowledge no one else was privy to. Smith said on another occasion:

"Paul ascended into the third heavens and he could understand the THREE PRINCIPLE ROUNDS of Jacobs ladder - the telestial, the terrestrial, and the celestial glories or kingdoms, when Paul saw and heard things which were not lawful to utter. I COULD EXPLAIN A HUNDREDFOLD MORE THAN I EVER HAVE of the glories of the kingdoms manifested to me in the vision were I permitted and were the people ready to receive them." (DHC 5:402 Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith,_Jr.).

"If I revealed all that has been made known to me, scarcely a man on this stand would stay with me"? (“The Prophet said to me [Brigham Young] about sixteen years ago [at Kirtland], 'If I was to show the Latter-day Saints all the revelations that the Lord has shown unto me, there is scarce a man that would stay with me, they could not bear it'" (MS 13 [September 1, 1851]: 257); Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith,_Jr.).

Another time Smith said:

"God made Aaron to be the mouthpiece for the children of Israel, and He will make me be god to you in His stead...and if you don't like it, you must lump it!" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 363). To read this passage in context see here.

Smith not only exalted man to the position of potential Godhood, and claimed to have the authority to perfect the dead; but he even went so far as to reject the central New Testament message in the  Book of Hebrews in the Bible, with an eventual return to sacrifices, as Smith said:

"There will be an eventual restoration of [animal] sacrifices as part of the restitution of all things. Those who say that sacrifice was entirely done away with by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ ‘are certainly not acquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the priesthood, or with the Prophets" (Source: History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 211-212 (1840). To read this passage in context see here.

Smith seemed obsessed with sacrificial rites, and in his letter to Emma, while trying to persuade her to accept polygamy, he writes as Jesus and says, “for I did it, [told Joseph to have sex with other women outside of marriage] saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice” (D&C 132: 51). Smith goes on to say that women are to be treated as concubines, “for their [the Mormon godmen’s] exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men [create spirit babies for the male gods]; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified” (D&C 132: 63; words in brackets are supported by the 1891 footnotes for this verse).

These statements found in official church sources match those non-Mormons like Charlotte Haven (quoted above) who have commented on Smith’s self aggrandizement and boasting.

So far we see that Smith exalted man to Godhood, claimed to be able to perfect the dead, and said animal sacrifices would return in the future. Smith also said in the King Follet Discourse, quoted above, that matter precedes the God of this earth and man's spirit was not created by God but is eternal matter, which is contrary to what most Christians believe. Smith said:

"You ask the learned doctors why they say the world was made out of nothing; and they will answer, 'Doesn't the Bible say He created the world?' And they infer, from the word create, that it must have been made out of nothing. Now, the word create came from the word baurau which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence, we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos—chaotic matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time he had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and re-organized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning, and can have no end. . . . [T]he mind of man—the immortal spirit. Where did it come from? All learned men and doctors of divinity say that God created it in the beginning; but it is not so: the very idea lessens man in my estimation. I do not believe the doctrine; I know better. Hear it, all ye ends of the world; for God has told me so . . . We say that God himself is a self-existent being. Who told you so? It is correct enough; but how did it get into your heads? Who told you that man did not exist in like manner upon the same principles? Man does exist upon the same principles. God made a tabernacle and put a spirit into it, and it became a living soul. . . . How does it read in the Hebrew? It does not say in the Hebrew that God created the spirit of man. It says 'God made man out of the earth and put into him Adam's spirit, and so became a living body.' The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is [co-eternal] with God himself. I know that my testimony is true . . . Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it had a beginning? The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end. That is good logic. That which has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are [co-eternal] with our Father in heaven. . . . I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man—the immortal part, because it has no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man. As the Lord liveth, if it had a beginning, it will have an end. All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation, who say that the spirit of man had a beginning, prove that it must have an end; and if that doctrine is true, then the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house-tops that God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself." (History of the Church 6:308-309; Source: 
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith,_Jr.)

What Smith is essentially saying here is that God is not the ground of all being, the source of ALL, but man's spirit and matter is. The God of this earth is merely one of many eternal spirits composed of matter that evolved to Godhood, and his spiritual nature is equal with man's spiritual nature. Smith believed the God of this earth had perfected himself to become a God, just as Smith would do as well. In fact, in D&C 132: 49 Smith speaks in the voice of Jesus and says, "For I am the Lord thy God, ... I seal upon you [Joseph Smith] your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father, with Abraham your father." A few verses later Smith threatens Emma with destruction if she doesn't accept Smith's many wives. What does all this do for Smith's ego? It makes him eternal with the Gods and a future God. It makes him grand beyond all measure.

After Smith voted to have the Navau Newspaper destroyed he went into hiding after he was threatened with arrest. Smith "had crossed the Mississippi when word came from his wife Emma, 'The Saints think you are a coward. They are charging that you are running away.' From Joseph came these famous words: 'If my life is of no value to my friends, it is of no value to me. Hyrum, we are going back.” (See Essentials in Church History, p. 374.) Source: https://www.lds.org/liahona/1978/01/joseph-smith-five-qualities-of-leadership?lang=eng

This statement by Smith may have been a sign of Smith's NPD, for those with NPD will become attached to their narcissistic supply,  sometimes at any cost. When his narcissistic supply was threatened with his followers seeking to remove their affection and adoration, he was willing to risk his life to sustain their approval of him. This is merely a hypothesis but it seems plausible in the context of the rest of this blog post. For more on Narcissistic Supply see http://samvak.tripod.com/faq28.html

Throughout this blog post we have seen how Smith claimed to speak for Jesus. When Smith decided to head back and be arrested, according to "the testimony of John Taylor, Smith commented, 'I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer's morning. I have a conscience void of offence towards God, and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me. 'He was murdered in cold blood'" (D&C 135:4)." (Source: http://www.mrm.org/death-of-joseph-smith). If Smith was comparing himself to Jesus by saying he was going "like a lamb to the slaughter" this is one more self inflated statement by Smith, one of many where he compares himself to Jesus in some manner. For evidence that the LDS church believes this is what Smith meant by the statement see http://www.mrm.org/death-of-joseph-smith.
Growing up Mormon I was taught that Joseph went to his death like “a lamb to the slaughter,” which Smith said of himself before he was assassinated; which is a clear reference to Jesus. In reality, Smith was no pacifist like Gandhi or Martin Luther King. After the mob broke in and shot his brother he took the gun someone smuggled into his jail cell and shot back in self defense, wounding some and killing others (See History of the Church, 6:616-618). Granted, I probably would have done the same thing (that is defend myself), but then again I wouldn't say of myself that I was going to my death like a “lamb to the slaughter,” and then accept a gun given to me and later shoot at people. After all, Jesus certainly didn't attack the Romans. 

Closing Thoughts

One wonders why Smith would take such chances with his polygamy when he knew it was illegal, which contradicted his own 2nd article of faith; his lying and deceptiveness had caused pain for his wife Emma; and he lost many leaders close to him over it. Mormon apologists will invoke the idea that he really was told by God to have sex with teenagers and other men’s wives or an angel with a sword would kill him. The reader can decide how reasonable that sounds. A more reasonable theory I think is that his inflated ego and libido affected his theology. There is some speculation that toward the end of his life he was considering giving up on the practice of polygamy. If he did decide to recant his testimony of polygamy it would have proven difficult to untie the tapestry of deceit he had interwoven into Mormonism. If he had lived long enough to recant, Smith may have tried to say “some revelations are from devil" as he did on another occasion.

I believe the reason Smith started up polygamy is simple; like many men who acquire power, he likely got a boost in testosterone which according to scientists increases your sex drive. Thus without a preset moral code one chooses to abide by or empathy that motivates one to control their urges, some men in positions of power sometimes cheat on their spouses. Since Smith had NPD he likely had difficulty feeling empathy for his victims, and probably felt he was entitled to the women of his fold. 

In the book, Killing Kennedy (2012) the authors make an interesting comment on page 83-84 about former president Kennedy’s constant philandering in the White House, which was risky for his presidency. They state that, “some believe that John Kennedy’s personal tragedies – the death of his brother and of his infant child, and his own brushes with death – [had] given him a fatalistic attitude. All the sex [was] his carpe diem way of living life to the utmost.” Joseph Smith also had a brush with death with his leg surgery in his youth, his older brother Alvin had died, and six of Emma and Smith's infant children had died. Did Smith have a fatalistic attitude? Did this contribute to his NPD? I think it possibly did.

Joseph Smith’s narcissistic personality apparently made such an impact that even after his death his grandiose persona lived on in the minds of those like Brigham Young, who proclaimed:

"...no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom without the consent of Joseph Smith. Every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, Junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are...I cannot go there without his consent. He reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling, as God does in heaven." Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, p. 289

Today the Mormon Church continues this legacy of celebrating Smith's narcissism by plastering his picture all over church walls; and singing the hymn, Praise to the Man, which enthusiastically praises Joseph Smith with great reverence, a rising musical melody, and exalting lyrics.

Suggested Reading Online:
Recommended Books on Joseph Smith
The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power by D. Michael Quinn

No Man Knows My History : The Life of Joseph Smith by Fawn M. Brodie (niece of David O' McKay).

Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith by Linda King Newell, Valeen Tippetts Avery (for another review of this book see here).

In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith by Todd Compton (a Mormon):
(for a review of the book click here). For a summary of Compton's book click here. For Todd Compton’s response to LDS apologists click here.

Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman (a Mormon)

Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism by Richard Lyman Bushman (a Mormon).

Early Mormonism and the Magic World View by D. Michael Quinn

Satan Made me Do It, Done Made me Think

In the future I will be writing about some of the positive aspects of Mormonism. Today I am going to talk about this video clip of an LDS le...