Richard Bushman, author of Rough Stone Rolling, offered this view: “The closer you get to Joseph Smith in the sources, the stronger he will appear, rather than the reverse, as is so often assumed by the critics.”*
- Going to the primary sources is key in understanding the truth about Joseph Smith, rather than reading about the many caricatures that are found in books, blogs, comments, and videos by those who are hostile to him and the Church.
- Ronald Esplin, former Managing Director of the Joseph Smith Papers Project seems to agree:
Our work [in publishing Joseph Smith’s papers] is not designated to defend Joseph Smith so much as to understand him. . . . If we will do that, understand him, he will come off just fine. Since he is who he said he was, his life and works can withstand scrutiny. There is no need to distort the historical record, but a great need . . . to understand it. To the degree that we do our work well, all of us will, in the future, have tools for that which we don’t have now—and have never had before—the material that will allow us to know Brother Joseph again.