Was Joseph Smith a Convicted Fraudster?


I read an article in politicsusa written by an avowed anti-religious bigot. He mentions, casually, that Joseph Smith was, “a convicted fraudster”.

Well, this was news to me! I hadn’t heard of Joseph Smith being convicted of anything. In fact, it was in waiting for his trial in Missouri that he was freed by his captors. It was waiting for his trial in Illinois that he was murdered in cold blood by a mob of so-called Christians. If that is the faith the author wants to align himself with, then let the blood of Joseph Smith be on his hands. Let’s see what the angels in heaven will testify against him at the last day that he stands before his Maker.

There is a curious rumor floating around that Joseph Smith was convicted of being a “glass-looker” and using stones to find treasure in 1826. The sad truth is that there was no record of conviction, only a trial, for which we have no record of the verdict or even much testimony. The curious should read the article at SHIELDS if they would like an accurate look at what we have records of and what is most likely to have occurred.

If Joseph Smith committed fraud, then where are the deceived, and what was his prize? Was he so rich? Did he live a life of luxury? Did he take advantage of even the slightest weakness of any around him?

Those who study Joseph Smith honestly will come to the same conclusion as I have. Either he was a prophet of God of the same type and nature as Moses, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, or he is something else. What that something else could be, we cannot tell. He certainly wasn’t a fraudster. He certainly wasn’t a womanizer or a murderer or any of the other things he has been accused of being.

That he made extraordinary claims, we cannot argue. He claims to have walked with angels, spoken with God, and restored powers that left the earth with the passing of Peter, James and John long ago.

His most extraordinary claim of all was that a record was prepared for over three thousand years on golden plates to be translated by the power of God at the hands of Joseph Smith, and that this record would change the entire world preparatory to the Second Coming. We have the book, and it is freely available for anyone to read. Our invitation is simple: Read the book, ponder on its implications, and ask God, with real intent, whether it is true. If it is true, then you must join the same church the book comes from. If it is not, then you will know for yourself, from God Himself, that Joseph Smith was no prophet. The fact that so-called Christian leaders teach people not to pray to God about such an important matter should be alarming.

Those people who want to mix religion and politics, or rather, church and state, are playing with fire. They wouldn’t like to be judged by their beliefs, and yet judge others by theirs. Isn’t this what Jesus preached against? Isn’t that hypocrisy in its purest form?

Let me expound, for a few moments, the absurdity of your beliefs, if you will allow me to do so. Let me state first, that even though I believe these things about you, I do not think you any less human because of it. Indeed, I firmly believe that people are free and should be free and should choose for themselves what to believe. This is the only way to truth.

First, you believe that the God who created the universe cannot speak to a prophet.

Second, you believe that the God who created man as his crowning creation does not care to reveal himself to the same.

Third, you believe that the same God you call merciful and just does not intend to reward as many people as possible with the same blessings he enjoys for all eternity.

Fourth, you believe that the same God who calls himself Father does not think of us as Gods in embryo, or in other words, children of God, destined to become exactly like God.

Fifth, you believe that Jesus did not descend below all things to bring the world, as much as possible, back to God.

Sixth, you believe that man can live by his own devices, and that we need not rely on the supernatural or divine in the least bit, while failing to acknowledge the foundation for logic and reason and science itself is supernatural and divine in nature.

Seventh, you believe that the people around you are not connected by blood, spiritual and physical, and should inherit the same respect that the wisest and most noble among us deserve, regardless of their current situation, especially in light of their future possibility.

Eighth, you believe that God, who organizes all the celestial bodies in order, does not intend to organize the earth in like order, with prophets and apostles, teachers and priests and others, in organized religion administered from the mouth of God through His prophets and servants.

Ninth, you believe that man is not nothing compared to God, and that we can have a sane thought on our own accord.

Tenth, you believe that when the entire world rises up and murders someone in cold blood who was guilty of no crime, it must have been because that person was bad, not that he was a threat to all the evil institutions and practices of the world.

If you want to make this election about religion, let’s stick to the only religious topics that matter: Is man free? Should one person live off the labor of another? Should we protect individual rights or only group rights? I think on these points we, the vast majority of America agree, and should we let lesser beliefs divide us, then we won’t live to see any of our beliefs bear fruit.


3 Responses to “Was Joseph Smith a Convicted Fraudster?”

  1. Jim Says:

    Baloney. He was a con artist. Why would he even be known as a ‘glass-looker’ If it were not at least in part true? And yes, he was a womanizer. The mormon church itself says he was a polygamist.
    But the real killer to any plausibility Smith may have is the book of Mormon. Indians do NOT have hebrew DNA. That’s a proven scientific fact. If Nephi and the Jaredites were there ancestors, They would.

    Neither the smithsonian nor the national geographic has any respect at all for the book of Mormon.

    And worst of all, the BOM describes elephants and wheat in the new world at the time of Christ. They weren’t there.

    As if that isn’t enough, Smith bought an egyptian document, and translated it as some sort of record of abraham. Egyptologists of that time and egyptologists of modern times determined that the document was a funeral text.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      You have struck a chord. Your ignorance and pathetic interpretation of facts astound me. Only a close-minded imbecile would hold onto what you believe in given the actual historic facts as we know them today.

      Are you impugning the character of the patriarchs who walked and talked with God long before Israel was even formed? The patriarchs Abraham and Jacob,revered by my religion and many others to be just and holy men, would be womanizers, according to your doctrine, which simply isn’t true.

      My great grandfather (don’t know how many greats) had 12 wives. I assure you, he was no womanizer. He built, with his bare hands, entire communities that stand to this day. To imply that he took on the additional responsibility of 11 additional wives to satisfy his sexual lusts is, frankly, libel. I’ll set the character of my ancestor against any of yours. How many of your ancestors went hungry in wintertime, despite being the richest man in town, to see to it that no one else when hungry? Which one of your ancestors never had a moment’s rest in his aging years? Which one of your ancestors did anything close to what Archibald Gardner had done in a single day?

      I demand that you apologize this instant for impugning the character of men far nobler than any you have ever known in your life. Justice and reason and logic demand it. You say far more about your own character than Joseph Smith’s when you assault the institution of polygamy as ordained by God. Do you think God will hold you blameless for calling good evil?

      Joseph Smith was no con artist. If he was, he was the worst in history. Why would a con artist sacrifice his time, health, money, and life for his con? In the end, he had few friends, he was holed up in a jail cell for a crime he did not commit, and he was thrown to a mob who murdered him in cold blood. That is not how con artists are to be treated. That is how, unfortunately, true prophets and apostles and disciples of Christ are treated in this world.

      Can you even fathom the things Joseph Smith accomplished in his life? He founded not just three cities, all of which were destroyed by mobs, but established a religion that is the 4th largest in the US. This religion spans every continent, and counts almost 15 million members. It is also one of the fastest growing religions. Let’s measure the religion not by its numbers, but by its fruits. Mormons across the world are actively involved in education, welfare, and comforting a world in distress. We give more of our time and wealth than any other group, and not just by a small margin, but by a huge margin. Second place isn’t even close. We have a lay ministry of millions across the globe, all who serve without a penny in compensation. Yet our church is the best organized and the most consistent of any in the world. Our general leaders sacrifice their careers and wealth to serve the church. If any do get paid, it’s barely enough to feed and clothe them, despite the fact that they command resources measured in billions of dollars.

      I don’t know what people go on about the Jewish DNA stuff with. It’s hardly convincing evidence. The Jaredites have nothing to do with the Israelites; they were wiped out anyway, so good luck finding a survivor. The Nephites never claimed to have a drop of Judah’s blood in their heritage. They claimed to be from Joseph, namely, Ephraim and Manasseh. And whose to say God doesn’t change a man’s DNA anyway? Really, this argument has no weight whatsoever. I’m surprised people think that it can convince anyone.

      The animals mentioned in the Book of Mormon need not be the same species as the animals we describe with those words today. Anyone familiar with translation across cultures knows this. In the case of the Jaredite record (where elephants are mentioned twice), the word was translated at least twice, once from the language of the Jaredites into the language of the Nephites, and then again into English, if we suppose the record to be true.

      As a speaker of a foreign language, I am well aware that it is a common practice to mistranslate words intentionally, for the sake of accuracy and truth. Why? Oftentimes, the word doesn’t even exist in the target language. It would take a whole book documenting the cultural background and significance of a word just to convey the proper meaning of it. Other times, the target culture is unfamiliar with the culture and environment of the original people, and so adaptations must be made for the sake of communication.

      The record of Abraham evidence is hardly conclusive. (A) We don’t have all the documents Joseph Smith had; (B) Suppose he did have the Book of the Dead, whose to say that his version was the same as all the others? (C) Whose to say that Joseph Smith’s translation is any better or worse than other scholars? In short, trying to make a determination of Joseph Smith’s translation without all the facts, and then deciding important things based on the evidence we do have, is a logical error.

      Recall that Joseph Smith received the book of Moses as he began his translation of the Bible, long after the Book of Mormon was published. In those chapters is information that was lost and restored by a prophet who truly represented the Lord. If you’re stuck on the fact that Joseph Smith could translate papyri, and restore the original meaning and context,
      then your mind is truly blown by the fact that Joseph Smith could simply receive the will of God and write it down as restored scripture.

      I find your understanding of the LDS religion to be pathetic, really. Have you ever even listened to one of our missionaries preach? Have you read the Book of Mormon for yourself? Or do you buy into the lie your preachers feed you that the book is evil and should never be read under any circumstances? Yes, I say lie, because God would never deny a sincere seeker of truth from knowledge. “Seek and ye shall find” is hardly an unfamiliar phrase, along with its many variations.

      Joseph’s humble prayer, as a 14-year-old boy, in that spring grove, given at the behest of the Epistle of James: “If any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.” In that one prayer, all of the questions he had was answered by God, in direct correlation to the doctrines revealed in that passage. Tell me, when have you asked God, or have you simply relied on your five senses, like the blind leading the blind that the Savior spoke about so long ago? Seeing, you do not see; hearing, you do not hear.

  2. CP Says:

    Great article and reply to that comment. Knowledge is easily seen, easily interpreted, and yet hard to obtain and retain. Eloquently spoken and fervently stood for. Its refreshing to see wisdom

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