Mormon studies, Joseph Smith
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 dont 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 dont blame you for not believing my history had I not experienced it [I] could not believe it myself."
Bushman, Richard Lyman
"The Character of Joseph Smith,"
BYU Studies Quarterly: Vol. 42:
2, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol42/iss2/2