I’ve heard somewhere a quote attributed to Joseph Smith along the lines of “Whenever I hear a new rumor about myself, I stop and examine my life for anything I might have done that could lead anyone to believe it might be true, and commit to change.” I adore the sentiment, but cannot find the quote anywhere. Is this something Joseph Smith or any Church leader has said?
The quote you’re looking for was from a publication citing a quote from one Jesse Crosby.
I went one day to the Prophet with a sister. She had a charge to make against one of the brethren for scandal. When her complaint had been heard the Prophet asked her if she was quite sure that what the brother had said of her was utterly untrue.
She was quite sure that it was.
He then told her to think no more about it, for it could not harm her. If untrue it could not live, but the truth will survive. Still she felt that she should have some redress. Then he offered her his method of dealing with such cases for himself. When an enemy had told a scandalous story about him, which had often been done, before he rendered judgment he paused and let his mind run back to the time and place and setting of the story to see if he had not by some unguarded word or act laid the block on which the story was built. If he found that he had done so, he said that in his heart he then forgave his enemy, and felt thankful that he had received warning of a weakness that he had not known he possessed.
Then he said to the sister that he would have her to do the same: search her memory thoroughly and see if she had not herself unconsciously laid the foundation for the scandal that annoyed her.
The sister thought deeply for a few moments and then confessed that she believed she had.
Then the Prophet told her that in her heart she could forgive that brother who had risked his own good name and her friendship to give her this clearer view of herself.
The sister thanked her advisor and went away in peace.
— Jesse Crosby. Cited in They Knew the Prophet, Hyrum Andrus, 162–63.