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Joseph Smith’s New York Reputation Reappraised
TitleJoseph Smith’s New York Reputation Reappraised
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1970
AuthorsAnderson, Richard Lloyd
JournalBYU Studies Quarterly
KeywordsJoseph Smith; New York; Restoration; Treasure Seeking

The biographer of Joseph Smith’s early life will know his subject when he relies on sources that know their subject. This truism is more obvious in statement than application, for non-Mormon biography has not faced the severe limitations of the uniformly hostile affidavits taken by a sworn enemy of the Mormon Prophet. The image thus obtained is sharply discordant from the Joseph Smith documented in the 1830’s: a leader of physical prowess and vigorous manhood, a profound idealist with spontaneous humor and warmth,who displayed personal courage under tremendous odds. A similar youth in the 1820’s is discovered, not by editing out non-Mormon sources, but finding those non-Mormon sources that reflect definite contact with Joseph Smith. Such a study shows that collecting informed statements about the Prophet will produce a substantial favorable judgment.

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