Joseph F. Smith is known for many things. He was the son of Hyrum Smith and nephew of the Prophet Joseph. He served a legendary mission to Hawaii. And he received the vision of the redemption of the dead (D&C 138). The prophet’s life was also filled with lesser-known complexities that make him an especially fascinating figure. In this interview, Stephen C. Taysom elaborates on his new biography of Joseph F. Smith.
The poetic version of D&C 76 has been lauded since it was first published under Joseph Smith’s name in 1843. However, the latest scholarship suggests that it was ghostwritten by William W. Phelps. While some also think it may have resulted from coordination between the Prophet and Eliza R. Snow or Parley P. Pratt, most scholars agree that Joseph Smith wasn’t the sole author of “The Vision” in poetic form.
Susa Young Gates was one of the first members of the church to learn about the vision of the redemption of the dead. Joseph F. Smith told her about his revelatory experience before it was publicly known. In this interview, historian Lisa Olsen Tait tralks about the relationship between Susa Young Gates and the prophet—and what happened the night she learned about the vision.
Many believe that the Lord gave the Law of Tithing as a lesser commandment after pioneer Latter-day Saints failed to live the Law of Consecration. However, early church history reveals a different story. In this interview, historian Steven C. Harper explains that tithing is part of consecration—and that living both laws is a necessary prerequisite to building Zion.