Hero worship is a dangerous thing. As a society, we tend to idolize people for their ability to do stupid things. For example, society pays a man millions of dollars in money and endorsements because he has the ability to knock a leather ball over a fence with a wooden stick, or ride a bicycle really fast. Or we anxiously await word of where a young man will earn millions of dollars for throwing an orange ball into a metal hoop. We wear their shoes and their jerseys, and drink what they suggest we drink.

Often times, we find out that we were mistaken in our admiration. Adultery, steroids, cheating, ego, drugs, gambling and worldly lifestyles seem to go hand in hand with the adulation. Even though some heroes manage to maintain their values and integrity, they are still adored and admired for excelling in things that are truly insignificant, if not ridiculous.?Can you imagine the entrance interview at the Pearly Gates…

“So, tell me, Brother, what did you accomplish in your time on earth.”

“Well, I dedicated my life, and became the best in the world.”

“Best in the world? That is fabulous. At what?”

“At knocking a little white ball into a cup with a metal stick.”

“Wow! That is impressive! C’mon in! Top tier Celestial Kingdom for you!”

I will concede that some of the “Heroes” do successfully remain above the fray, and find purpose – but the dirt of the world seems to leap up to cling to those who seek fame and power in sports, politics, and entertainment.

Today is December 23, 2012. On December 23, 1805, my hero was born. And for 207 years, the world has been trying to throw dirt at his memory. It does not stick. It will never stick.

JS portrait
Those who make it their life’s work to tarnish my hero have many tactics. One of the favorites is to focus on historical minutiae, whether fact or fiction. To strain at gnats and fabricate camels. To overlook the grandeur of what he did accomplish, and sling the mud at human foibles.

And now they point and mock. From the stage of a great and spacious building – with lights, with loud laughter, and with music. They applaud and award themselves for how clever they are. They attempt to mainstream the mockery as entertainment.

It sickens me.

They do not want to know what I know. They do not want anyone to know what I know: That Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.

I have very few heroes. He is one of them.

I cannot account for everything he said, and everything he did during his lifetime. No one can. But, I know through the witness of the Holy Ghost that Joseph was, indeed, a chosen Man of God. This knowledge was given to me early in life. It has never been shaken. I am well-versed in the world’s tactics and claims, and I reject their arguments.

This testimony is reaffirmed often as I enjoy the fruits what came about through that prophetic calling. The Book of Mormon, the holy Priesthood, and the ordinances of salvation shout to my heart that my hero was truly what he claimed to be: A man, asked by God to bring about a marvelous work and a wonder.

Never has my faith in Brother Joseph been greater than after walking where his most significant moments took place. The peacefulness of the Sacred Grove, the serenity of the banks of the Susquehanna river, and the gravity of the upper room at Carthage. I have stood in all these holy places, and God has spoken to me at each of them. Every time the whispers have been the same:

“Joseph Smith was called of God to restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth.”

Bring it on. The dirt will never stick to my hero.

About the author


  1. Joseph Smith truly was a prophet. His teachings and revelations have changed my life to bring me closer to God. It is interesting the similarities between opinions of Joseph Smith and the church and if God is real. There is so much “evidence” that anything not coming from the spirit will be swayed either way. God is real or God isn’t could go on forever. But someday the truth will be revealed and all shall know. My blog talks about knowing the church is true!

  2. How did I miss this post? I swear sometimes my reader picks and chooses when it will display your posts.

    Well done. I visited Carthage Jail as an young 10 year old girl. I would love to go back. I would love to visit the Sacred Grove. But even without visiting those places, I can and do still know he is a prophet.

  3. Yesterday my four year old brought home from church a small nativity her teacher had give her. She showed it to me with pride and said ” Look mom it’s Mary, Jesus, and Joseph Smith.” Such a proud mom moment.

  4. Had a lovely remembrance of Brother Joseph in Sunday School today.
    Thank goodness for an inspired teacher who went ex-manual.

  5. Yeah, digging the Gandalf Hat! Thanks for the reminder of the birthday that seems to slip by with little remembrance, even though he did so much for so many!

  6. I too love Joseph Smith. I know with all my heart that he saw God and Jesus Christ, that the gospel was restored through him, that he translated the Book of Mormon and was truly Christlike. Each year on this day our family celebrates his birthday. We have a family day. We tell a story of Joseph, sing his favorite song A Poor Wayfaring man of grief, and Praise to the Man (kind of like a FHE with opening and closing songs). Tonight we’re watching the movie Emma. Who’s last words were Joseph, Joseph I’m coming. When it’s a day other than Saturday we also do a fun winter sport together- ice skating or sledding etc. We’ll be doing that tomorrow instead. The kids favorite part is the presents. To make it feel like a birthday we give the kids each a present. Often it’s a CD of an LDS artist or talks by John Byetheway or a great book. This is one of our favorite family traditions and my kids are learning to love him too.

  7. The dirt will never stick to that man. We talked about him today in Sunday School, mostly about his relationship with his brother Hyrum. Both were men of God, human men, but ones who were doing as God called them. I am grateful for the example of humans doing God’s work. It gives me lots of hope for myself, that I can do the marvelous work God has called me to do.

    On a side note–I love the wizard hat. I liked the Moroni style horns, but I love, love, love the Gandalf hat. It’s a nice touch.

  8. Not that this has a lot to do with your blog, but the photo of Carthage Jail…
    Well, years ago my grandparents served a mission at the jail. We were granted permission to sleep in that very room while staying with my grandparents. We rolled our sleeping bags out onto the floor and settled in. As I was still a child, I honestly thought I would be in for a “haunted adventure.” Instead, exactly the opposite occurred. The overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility that was present in that very room was one that I still remember.
    Thank you for posting that picture.
    Cary on. 🙂

  9. He is my hero too, as much FOR the humanity he displayed as in spite of it. I feel, like Brigham Young, a fierce sense of protection and admiration for him. When I read how Brigham, when Joseph visited him in dreams, yearned after Joseph’s company, I know exactly what he means. If I had been privileged to live at the same time, I know I would have felt the same way. Having not had that privilege, I will stand where I am afar off and praise the man.

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