They have a point.
I was active in the church from birth to age 40. I rarely missed any meetings: priesthood, sunday school, sacrament meeting, ward conferences, stake conferences, general conferences, mutual, early morning seminary, institute, etc. I went to BYU for 4 years and took religion classes as required there. I served an honorable full time mission in Bolivia. I taught early morning seminary for three years. I read all of the church's standard works multiple times as well as the missionary bookshelf, and many church books such as Doctrines of Salvation, Mormon Doctrine, Comprehensive History of the Church, etc. I literally have stacks of LDS books that I read over the years. Yet somehow I didn't know that
- Joseph Smith
had an affair withmarried Fanny Alger.
- Joseph Smith married a 14 year old girl
- Joseph Smith married other men's wives
- Joseph Smith arranged sham marriages to hide his polygamy
- Joseph Smith married sisters living in his house for whom he was the legal guardian while spending their inheritance
- Joseph Smith lied about his polygamy and hid it from his wife
- Joseph Smith destroyed the Nauvoo Expositor because it exposed his practice of polygamy
- Joseph Smith may have been tarred and feathered because he tried to have improper relations with a teenage girl living in the house where he was living as a guest. He later married this woman while she was married to another man.
- Joseph Smith ruined the reputation of the wife of an apostle who rejected his polygamous proposal and then threatened to expose him.
- Joseph Smith excommunicated his first counselor in the First Presidency when he tried to expose the polygamy.
Okay. You can go to FARMS and FAIR and apologetic web sites and find this information. But the only reason you can find it is because the apologists have been forced to respond to the critics and historians who have brought the facts to light. However, good luck finding this information over at lds.org. I invite you to go look.
I'm sorry, but I may be simple minded, but I had problem accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet once I had all of the facts.
This is just one topic. There are many others where after a lifetime of membership I was completely ignorant of the rest of the story. I suspect I'm not the only active member of the church that didn't know those things. I don't remember those facts ever being presented to me. I think I would have remembered.
So the question for Bushman and the apologists really needs to be: How can a lifelong, active member not know these things? I guess they would argue that it's really not important and that if I wanted to I could have found the answers.
So, I'll accept the criticism of the defenders of the faith. I was an ignorant dumbass. But I'm not ignorant any more and I suspect therein lies the rub. As soon as I discovered the truth my eyes were opened and Joseph Smith no longer seemed like such a swell guy and I saw the church for what it is. I suspect the reality is that the church doesn't want its members to have a complete knowledge of the facts. And, to me, that is fundamentally dishonest; witholding information because you know it will cause people to reach conclusions you don't want.
Oh, the other reason I'm a dumbass is for even trying to comment on that blog. The patronizing, insulting responses made my blood boil. What the heck do I have to be defensive about? As I pointed out above it's not like I wasn't trying to read and know my religion. My only problem is that I never ventured into the realm of anti-Mormon literature and apologetics where the real information comes out.