Mormon Dilemma 212

02 April

Joseph Smith a Lawyer

History of the Church 5:289-290; I am a lawyer; I am a big lawyer and comprehend heaven, earth and hell, to bring forth knowledge that shall cover up all lawyers, doctors and other big bodies. This is the doctrine of the Constitution, so help me God. The Constitution is not law to us, but it makes provision for us whereby we can make laws. Where it provides that no one shall be hindered from worshiping God according to his own conscience, is a law. No legislature can enact a law to prohibit it. The Constitution provides to regulate bodies of men and not individuals.”

James 4:26; “As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil”.

Jeremiah 9:23; “Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom let nt the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches…”

Proverbs 27:1; “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring”.

I recall sitting in Sacrament meetings and MIA or Sunday school classes and hearing quotes very similar to the one we’ve highlighted today. My teacher used to tell us the words of Joseph Smith should bring us comfort and I was always looking around at my fellow classmates wondering if his words had the same effect on them like they did me. 

Things like this always brought two strong emotions from me: embarrassment for Smith as well as wanting to be as far away from him as possible when Judgment Day comes rolling around. 

Why would a “man of God” say such a thing? It seems that Mr. Smith thought a lot of himself. I’ve been extraordinarily blessed in my life and have been good friends with some very well versed theologians, well known and successful doctors and attorneys and they’re some the most humble people I’ve ever met.  I just can’t imagine these people saying anything remotely similar to Smith’s comments here. 

The Constitution of the United States does not allow you to break the laws of the land in order for your personal interpretation of the First Amendment Rights can be invoked.  Having more than one wife was illegal in Illinois (still is) at the time Smith was practicing it.

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11 Responses to “Mormon Dilemma 212”

  1. YourKingdomInheritance April 2, 2012 at 3:31 am #

    Joseph Smith was a very prideful man. His boasting is contrary to what a true prophet of God should be. True prophets humble themselves and point the way to Jesus.

    • lifeafterministry April 2, 2012 at 3:54 am #

      AMEN SISTER!!! Where in his public love fest of self did he glorify God or Jesus or thank Him for what the Lord had given to him?

  2. shematwater April 2, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    Joseph Smith had less pride in his accomplishments than most people do in their humility.

    Never did Joseph Smith credit himself for anything that he had done, but was always mindful that it was through the grace of God and the power granted to him by Christ that enabled him to do what he did.
    On occassion he got frustrated with people who claimed great learning and wisdom in various things, and then he would speak of himself as he compared to them, which is why we get these statements made by him at times.
    And yet, in all this he never once denied the hand of God in all things, but praised him for all that he granted.

    Also note that when he says he is a lawyer, and uses the term doctor or big bodies he is using them in the sense of religion, just as the Bible does. He is not saying he is a lawyer of law, or a doctor of medicine, but that he is a lawyer of the gospel.

    • lifeafterministry April 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

      We’re praying for you Shem. Also – glad to see everything’s fine as we were wondering what happened to you. I’m praying the Lord will open your eyes to what Smith really meant in this very public comment he made about himself. If this man who only had a 3rd or 6th grade education (the story differs depending on which LDS author you read) how was he so learned in the things of the Bible and why would he go about flaunting the things God had given to him? Go back and read some of the bible verses I listed in this article and see if they coincide with Smith’s behavior even if God had “gifted” him in the things of the Bible.
      I pray you make these decisions for you personally and not for the Church’s sake and what they’ve told you it means.

  3. shematwater April 2, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    “Having more than one wife was illegal in Illinois (still is) at the time Smith was practicing it.”

    The question is not whether it was against the law, but whether it was against the Illinois constitution. The City Charter of Nauvoo was such that the residents of that city were not subject to Illinois laws, but only to its constitution.

    As such, unless the contitution of Illinois prohibited plural marriage it was perfectly legal for the saints to practice it while in the City of Nauvoo.

  4. shematwater April 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    I always make decisions personally.

    I have read the verses you quote, and I find Joseph Smith to be perfectly in line with them. Of course this is because I am not taking a few random statements made during times of extreme persecution, but am looking at the entirety of the man’s life.
    I prefer to judge a man based on all his life, not just his weakest moments.

  5. shematwater April 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    After a little research I have found the law that Illinois passed to outlaw bigamy.

    “”Bigamy consists in the having of two wives or two husbands at one and the same time, knowing that the former husband or wife is still alive. If any person or persons within the State, being married, or who shall hereafter marry, do at any time marry any person or persons, the former husband or wife being alive, the person so offended shall, on conviction thereof, be punished by a fine, not exceeding one thousand dollars, and imprisoned in the penitentiary, not exceeding two years.” (Revised Laws of Illinois, Vandalia: Greiner & Sherman, 1833, pg. 198-199).”

    As this was a law passed by the state legislature, as was not part of the Illinois Constitution, it was not binding on the residents of Nauvoo, who were subject, by virtue of their Charter, only to the laws innumerated in the Illinois and United States Constitutions.

    In other words, it was not illegal for Joseph Smith or any other man to practice plural marriage while a resident of Nauvoo.

  6. CamdenC April 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    It may not have been illegal in the state of Illinois, but it still is “an abomination before the Lord” and it is breaking God’s Law.
    But let’s not get back on the polygamy thing… I have my view, and you have yours.

    • shematwater April 5, 2012 at 6:45 am #

      I have no real desire to discuss Plural Marriage on these threads. My only point was to address the frequent accussation that Joseph Smith and others were illegal in practicing it, which is a false accusation.

      It is nice to see that someone is even entertaining the idea that this accusation could be wrong for a change.

  7. camdenc April 6, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    I was just trying to make the point that legal or not, it is wrong to practice polygamy. I don’t believe J.S. was talking about the Illinois Constitution, but was referring to the U.S. Constitution in reference to the “freedom of religion” issue and how someone worships God.

    On that note… “The Constitution provides to regulate bodies of men and not individuals.” (???)

    I am no constitutional scholar but the Constitution is all about the individual. We as individuals are endowed with rights from the Creator. Each individual makes up the “We the people”, but the laws are not directed at any certain “body of men”

    Freedom of religion can only be practiced by an individual within the confines of the law. If not restricted by the law, then “anything goes” under the guise of religous liberty…

    The Rastifari’s could smoke marijuana anywhere in public, the satan worshippers could perform human sacrifices, and the Muslims could carry out “honor killings”… all without the threat of retribution, incarceration, or death penalties.

    • shematwater April 6, 2012 at 2:04 pm #


      “I was just trying to make the point that legal or not, it is wrong to practice polygamy”

      And you know my views on this, so we can leave it at this.

      As to the Constitution, its purpose is to protect the rights of the individual. It does this by regulating bodies of men.

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