I am so confused. One of my best friends from college recently told me that she no longer believes that the Mormon Church is the true church. She told me some of the concerns she has about the church, mostly about Joseph Smith. I’ve started doing some research on the matter and there are a lot of things about him that don’t seem to add up. One example is that he married women that were already married when in D&C 132 it states that the woman should be a virgin, and not be vowed to another man. How can this be? I’ve had a testimony for as long as I can remember, but I am afraid that I am losing it now. What can I do?
The first thing that you need to do is to check your sources. Don’t you realize that in the days of Joseph Smith every possible attempt was made to discredit him and even to kill him? He evoked the rage of the ministers of the various nearby religions, who incited such rage in their parishioners. He was hounded by evil men all the days of his life. I would certainly challenge such detractors to verify their sources rather than accept them out-of-hand and judge the prophet of God by what his enemies had to say about him.
I happen to know that Joseph Smith was one of the most honorable and upright men who ever lived on the earth. I simply reject out-of-hand rather than accept out-of-hand all of the blasphemous, damning, accusatory articles that have been written about him. I would rather believe and go by the statements of the honorable, God-fearing men who were his companions, and who knew him intimately. He would never have generated such loyalty that an entire people, including a number of my own ancestors, were willing to undergo untold suffering and even death because of who they believed he was–a true prophet of God.
In addition to all that, it is very difficult to develop a completely informed picture of the full story of any event or series of events from the fragmentary evidences of that day. What we need to do is to trust in God. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s kingdom on the earth. He is in charge of it. He guides it by revelation to His prophets. The angelic visitors to Joseph Smith included not only both the Father and the Son, but many of the prophets of God and other angelic visitors from each of the gospel dispensations of the past. His spiritual powers were legendary.
So, do you want to lose your faith in God and His Kingdom over some damning article that you read about the Prophet of the Restoration? I will tell you this. If anyone ever loses the testimony given to him by the Holy Spirit that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of God, it is in every case because that person has deviated far enough from the truth to lose the witness of the Holy Spirit rather than because that righteous individual discovered something unsavory about God’s Prophet.