I have never thought of past world or religious leaders as handsome or beautiful. As a general rule, my interest in these types of folks has nothing to do with whether or not their bone structure is rugged or if their hair is on fleek (or whatever the kids these days are saying). Apparently, not everyone is like me in this regard.
I found this out after a trip to McDonald’s where my 14-year-old daughter and her friend were talking about the cuteness level of Joseph Smith. Yes, that Joseph Smith. According to them, the founder of Mormonism was cute.
This revelation led to an interesting exchange:
Me: “You really think Joseph Smith was cute?”
My daughter: “Yes. And do you know who else thought he was cute?”
My daughter: “His 40 wives.”
I laughed way harder than anyone ever should in a McDonald’s. Usually that kind of laughter is reserved for someplace fancy, like Chick-fil-A.
And she might be right. According to this article from the New York Times, after denying it for many years Mormon leaders in 2014 finally admitted that “Joseph Smith, portrayed in church materials as a loyal partner to his loving spouse Emma, took as many as 40 wives, some already married and one only 14 years old.”
Of course there no way to know for sure that they all thought Joseph was cute, but it’s certainly possible.
What is absolutely certain is that Joseph Smith and the religion he founded have led people into error and away from God.
To spare those of you who agree with time, I won’t go into the details of why I believe this way here. However, if you disagree with me, a good place for you to find a little of why I believe this way is this 2012 post by Joe Carter.
Really, though, it should come as no surprise that Joseph Smith is seen as handsome. Satan has a way of making that which is wrong look not only right, but appealing. Adultery, gossip, pride, an insatiable thirst for power – all of these things and so many more are indeed as wrong, even evil. But to so many they can be made to look so good.
Being aware of this tactic of our enemy is a good start. Setting up safeguards to prevent us from falling into his crafty hands is also important.
Perhaps the best strategy, though, is seeking to look at things through God’s eyes. Then we might be able to see that Joseph Smith wasn’t handsome; he was wrong.
And so is so much else of what our world sees as right. Or handsome.