Joseph Smith’s Reputation
September 1979

“Joseph Smith’s Reputation,” Ensign, Sept. 1979, 56

Joseph Smith’s Reputation

When Moroni appeared to young Joseph on 21 September 1823 to tell him about the Book of Mormon, he also warned the Prophet that his “name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues” (JS—H 1:33). Those who accepted him as a prophet have always revered his name; some of those who do not have vilified him. But in comparatively recent times, the supposedly neutral ground of scholarship has produced cautiously objective appraisals of Joseph Smith by students who respect him and his work without necessarily acknowledging him as a prophet. This survey by two outstanding Latter-day Saint scholars shows Moroni’s prophecy being fulfilled among two groups: historians and theologians.

Illustrated by Parry Merkley