Document Type



Religion (CGU)

Publication Date



Arts and Humanities | History of Religions of Western Origin | Other Religion | Religion


The title of this essay, "The Character of Joseph Smith," may promise more than can ever be fulfilled. Joseph warned the Saints of the difficulty in trying to understand him. In the King Follett discourse given two months before his death, he told them, "You don't know me--you never will." Another version of the same speech says, "You never knew my heart. No man knows my hist[ory]." He seems to say that what we want to know most--his heart and his history--are not to be found out. No matter how much we study him, we must be cautious about believing we have comprehended him. There is too much there, and much of it is far beyond the ordinary. As he continues, "I don't blame you for not believing my history had I not expected it [I] could not believe it myself."

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© 2003 Brigham Young University Press