Joseph Smith Jr. died on June 27, 1844.
I don't celebrate his death but I hear that in Utah (and other parts of the U.S.A.) June 27th is a day where it is hard to escape constant messages praising the man. Over here in Australia I am relatively sheltered from such messages but facebook does increase that phenomenon. This year a facebook event has been created encouraging ex-Mormons (and anyone else who would like to get involved) to Love Bomb facebook today with testimonies, quotes, videos and links sharing the truth about Mormon history.
The creator of this event states... "
RIP Joseph Smith Jr. (Died June 27, 1844) Even though I am very very mad at you I think maybe you were a bit screwed in the head and so I am trying to forgive you. Although I doubt there is a life after this one I do know that there is life after Mormonism ♥
...and now I realise how far I have come. I used to openly hate the man. I called him "bastard, scoundrel, villain, rogue, rascal, snake, jerk, swine, cad, knave.... " I regularly told him to "Fuck off" and so it was a welcome discovery today when I typed out RIP in front of his name... and actually meant it. Then I watched the youtube link of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing 'Praise to the Man' whilst doing some research for this post. Yes, some of the lyrics pissed me off but I felt moved by the music and even got a little teary. I think that I felt sad for the many people who have been hurt by Mormonism as well as thoughtful about the goodness that can spring from just about anywhere, even from a false prophet. I like the idea that I can enjoy listening to this song whilst disagreeing with the man and the religion. Progress? I think so. The people singing the song believe in Joseph as a prophet and they try to live good lives and to honour the good man that they think he was. Now, I may be on the path to forgiving the man but the things that he did and the people that he hurt are recorded in history and I will not forget their pain.
A couple of things about that 'Praise to the Man' youtube video (if you decide to watch it or if you already know it). The line - "Praise to his mem'ry, he died as a martyr;" gets the goat of ex-Mo's not so much because he had a gun with him, not so much because he shot it into the mob but because he had practised polygamy, kept it a secret (even from the husbands of women he married) and then burned down a printing press that dared to write about the truth of Mormon polygamy. This is why he found himself in prison!!! Whilst he did not deserve to be killed by a mob he was no saint and the church absolutely white-washes the story. As a child I heard and read the Mormon version of events many times. I was lead to believe that he was unarmed and that he was in jail because the law of the 'Wild Frontier' deemed his religion to be a nuisance, i.e. they were being discriminated against. AND I was taught that he was shot inside the jail-room and that the force of the bullet forced him out of the window where he fell to his death. In fact he had tried to jump out of the window to escape and was shot trying to do so. Again, still a sad story and I pity him but not the version of events that I was taught in Sunday School.
Another line - "Earth must atone for the blood of that man". Can anyone say 'Holy War'? Seriously don't go around saying shit like that! Someone might actually take you seriously and either start a Holy War on your behalf or against you. Either way I think the less people keen to throw us into some kind of thermo-nuclear armageddon the better!
Finally, did you see that final painting of Joseph Smith there in the video? Um, whilst I think Joseph might like this image of himself I don't think it is very realistic and uh, it kind of looks like the artist! Check out the jaw line, the artist seriously just painted a picture of Joseph Smith in his own likeness!
Aaaaaaanyhooo, I think that the idea behind this facebook event is a good one. Reading sickly sweet messages about a man who has had a negative impact on your life kinda tends to leave bile in your mouth so it helps to be able to respond with a Love Bomb. Check out LAM (Life After Mormonism) or the iamanexmormon website and rest assured that you are not alone!