I am up a bit too late for this, but it just occurred to me just how much of a badass Joseph Smith was. Its a strange realization for me. It is almost as if my new found admiration of the man is the final signal that I am effectively a non-member. But if you look at Joseph’s life, you have to hand it to the dude, he kicked a lot of ass. Starting out as dirt poor white trash in Palmyra the guy parlayed a spiritual disposition and “visionary” character into an entire freaking city chock full of followers that were literally willing to walk across the plains for him. Its hard to think of anybody even close to that badass today. Religious leaders today are generally complete pussys compared to how he rolled. He doesn’t just know the stuff, preach the stuff in a cool way, he fucking produces the stuff! And not only is it brilliant, there are actually some cool-ass stories in there. It really seems like a freaking miracle to me that he whipped out the book of Moses in like two months, You can only realize how cool that is if you are not a believing member of the church. The amount of balls, and fantastic magic it takes to credibly take on the entire christian tradition, completely remake it into a religion that reshapes lives, nations, history, is quite difficult to fathom. To say nothing of the Book of Mormon. That book is so fucking brilliant that even though, by all appearances, I believe that its not literally true, its almost impossible for me to admit that without some shiver. Now that is captivating. I look at my dad, my mom, all kinds of others I have known and loved, and stand in awe how he started something that created this kind of people.
And the cool thing is that he was, on some level, partying the entire time. I mean he had hard times, trials and tribulations, tragedies, etc. . . but for a guy like him, you have to believe that he was having a great time. He was dictating a new set of scriptures, running around the country running from bad people like some sort of ecclesiastical James Bond, re-fucking-vising the Bible (person for person most sacred and inviolable religious work in history, with the “holy” equivalent to the middle finger up the entire time). He builds banks, cities, armies, temples, priesthood. starts businesses, taking on the government in armed conflict. It freaking turns me on to think how great that sounds.
And he’s got no regrets for all the turmoil, I think he really believes he is called by God, and who can fucking blame him??! He has people coming out of the woodwork funding his projects, thinking he is the next Moses, with so many women who are so head over heels in love with him that its hard to even keep track. Despite the fact that they know they are only one of many, nobody really rats him out or really uses their time with him to their advantage, even under pressure to do so long after he died. They were getting married to the guy, while married to other men. He had women and girls getting it on with him, right under his wife’s nose. And even then, with his wife knowing this, she STILL has her son build a religious community around his teachings and still worships him on some level. This makes me think that he was not just a pussy womanizer, he had to have been really into them on a deep level, and they had to really know it, for them to have that remained that loyal to him. You have to think he was worshipped on some level. And who doesn’t want that?
Really, I feel that from my girlfriend, and I feel that for her, and it is absolutely fantastic. And to imagine that he had literally dozens of women that into him on some level, you have to hand it to him. The level of ego and soul you have to have to pull that off is jaw dropping. [Disclaimer: I, of course, think that what I have with one woman is fantastically greater than what Joseph had with many. . .but we all can’t be as lucky as I am no matter how much game you have. ]
He was literally like a rock star, but orders of magnitude more awesome. And its hard to think of him otherwise. He did to religion what Zeppelin did to rock or Hank Williams did for country, or Ice Cube for rap. I have moments of pause when I think how much of a badass Jimmy page is, or Ice Cube, or Hank Williams not to mention guys like Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, so it is truly staggering when I think of Joseph’s virtuosity. Because music may be an art that captivates people and even shapes them, but religion is an art that creates a new kind of people. And in that art, Joseph was a Van Gogh.
And you can’t think he didn’t have a truly deep and epic sense of humor. He actually got an entire community of protestants to adopt fucking polygamy out of nowhere! They kept it up even when the pressure of the entire fucking US army was brought to bear on them. Again, fucking brilliant.
He was like a Usain Bolt, but in God rather than track. It’s only now that I realize how difficult it is to pull off a new religion. And he did it almost single handedly. You can see why millions of people think he is the greatest prophet since Jesus.
And the great thing about him is that he was not a wuss, a money grubbing con-man, a moralistic jackass, reactionary asshole, paranoid racist, or a complete douche unlike many religious types today. He seemed like cool guy to hang with, and had some panache and daring. He shakes the entire paradigm of deity. He seems progressive and forward thinking. . . opening minds, shaking belief systems of all around him. And even his “excesses” were fucking awesome. People trying to start some sort of insurrection against him with some renegade newspaper, what’s he do? Lawsuit?campaign from the pulpit? no. . . He’s gonna burn that shit down! You have to applaud that move, on some level. He doesn’t run when mobs of people are calling for his head, he packs his pistol and rolls into enemy territory. And you have to think he was a great guy to have such great friends to hang by him into that.
Before, when I thought of him as the prophet, the founder of our religion, I couldn’t really grasp how awesome he really was. When you are Mormon, the tendency is to downplay the man and credit it all to God. Joseph becomes a icon. But the more I realize he was “just” a man, you have to think that he was some sort of extraordinary human. In that sense, my “testimony” of Joseph has never been stronger. You have to think there was some sort of God behind that guy.