Episodes

Radio Free Mormon: 177: Abuse of Power

RFM compares a personal experience he had in 1985 with the way Joseph Smith practiced plural marriage.  It’s hard to escape the fact Joseph abused his power.  Badly.

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6 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 177: Abuse of Power

  1. We all abuse our power when we play the G card.

    I remember praying to God asking to know if it was acceptable for Joseph Smith to have taken multiple wives… and the distinct impression was that no one in his right might would marry +30 wives voluntarily, so the instruction must have come from God.

    So it’s funny how in my mind I found it somehow acceptable that God was above the rules and can let others partake of his Goodness. Perhaps I was hoping that if I was good enough that I could enjoy that same level of entitlement if not in this life the next one.

    Perhaps all that Joseph needed was a no harassment training, like the ones they roll out in most business’s today. Perhaps Joseph Smith explained it best in his famous “Happiness Letter”, something you might want to address a la RFM style.

    • It is the age-old question, isn’t it?

      Is God God because he is good?

      Or is God good because he is God?

      As with so many other things, Mormons tend to want it both ways.

  2. I really don’t know what to think about Joseph Smith. I’ve just listened to 9 of your defending the faith podcasts, and can imagine JS being a wonderful prophet. But then we hear of his escapades with ordering young women to be his bride — all the while Emma is clueless — and one has to conclude that he is a charlatan.

    I have listened to a couple of people who are “channel-ers” and I think perhaps JS may have channeled the whole BofM, because truly it has some amazing things written within its pages. That would be by the power and gift of God, and also account for his never losing his place when he resumed “translating”.

    But then all the other stuff he did after that, which was so underhanded, so deceptive, illegal, and immoral — just kind of makes you question your own sanity for believing the whole thing for all the years of faithful membership and service in the LDS church.

    Chapter IV of the Book of Commandments says of Joseph Smith, in verse 2: “He has a gift to translate the book, and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift.”

    My current opinion is that with dictating the BofM, he had a taste of “god-magic”, and then was led to believe that whatever came to his mind was from God. He went so far off the rails with all of his ideas: build a temple, bring in the Masonic rituals, plural marriage, run for US president, start a bank with no funds, etc., etc., etc.

    What to do with a problem like Joseph?

    • A few years ago, I heard a yogi talking about Joseph Smith.

      He thought Joseph was really in touch with something other than himself in his early years. Something possibly divine.

      But as time went by, Joseph got to the point where he couldn’t tell the difference between the “divine” he was in touch with from random thoughts going through his head.

      I felt that observation might have a lot of truth behind it.

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