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 explained;
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.
- John Taylor penned:
Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord's anointed in ancient time, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated! (D&C 135:3.)
Best of Fair 7: The Joseph Smith Papers, Ron Esplin, 1:00:05
FAIR Conversations, Episode 3: Richard L. Bushman p.1, Richard L. Bushman, 1:01:16
FAIR Conversations, Episode 4: Richard L. Bushman p.2, Richard L. Bushman, 0:47:51
Faith and Reason 3: A Prophet’s Birth from Noble Heritage, Michael R. Ash, 0:07:54
Faith and Reason 4: A Miracle Operation, Michael R. Ash, 0:08:46
Faith and Reason 5: Joseph Smith’s Name Known Worldwide, Michael R. Ash, 0:05:19
pt 1, The Trial of 1826
“Without a Cause” What this Phrase Means with Mike Ash