Question we have been asked: Do you still believe Joseph Smith was a prophet?
Answer: 100%, Yes. Where we likely differ is that we believe Joseph Smith told the Truth.
Joseph taught about the Holy Order of God.
He said: "It is the channel through which the Almighty commenced revealing His glory at the beginning of the creation of this earth, and through which He has continued to reveal Himself to the children of men to the present time, and through which He will make known His purposes to the end of time." (reference)So what kind of person would God trust with this channel? With His words, let alone His power? What kind of man would God call and elect into this order? Would He trust a murderer? Would He reveal Himself to a thief? Would He confer His power on an adulterer? Would He anoint a liar?
On May 25, 1844 in front of a large gathering of the saints, Joseph, one who claimed to have been a member of the Holy Order, stood (having been accused of practicing spiritual wifery) and made a lengthy and vigorous defense of himself said, "What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery and having seven wives when I can find only one."
Joseph denied the practice and doctrine of polygamy adamantly and with strong language. There is not a single instance of Joseph advocating polygamy. On the contrary, all of his recorded public and private statements renounced it. Arguably in the last three years of his life Jospeh spent more time and effort trying to eradicate the practice of spiritual wifery of polygamy than he did on almost anything else, with the exception of preparing the saints for the temple. One month after Joseph testified he had only one wife in front of thousands of saints in his speech, "Address of the Prophet -- His Testimony Against the Dissenters at Nauvoo," he was dead.
The Times and Seasons are full of his repudiation of the practice. The Nauvoo High Council minutes reveal his constant effort to excommunicate any instances of spiritual wifery (which is interesting behavior for one is reported to have married between 20 and 50 women). Of Jospeh's 1844 denial and his many public and private actions, Joseph's grandson, RLDS patriarch, Albert A. Smith III perhaps said it best, "There is no halfway ground. Either Joseph Smith was true and clean, open and above board...or else he was a hypocrite and a fraud through and through as his enemies claim."
It is a fundamental question of Mormonism and their offshoots: Did Joseph Smith tell the truth?
Joseph never had children with anyone but Emma (extensive DNA testing has been done with women who claim their children were from Joseph always coming up with zero connection to Joseph). There have been papers written about this perspective, one of which is linked at the bottom of this post if interested.
When Joseph Smith was Prophet - *blacks held the priesthood, *women gave blessings, *men and women were taught to have only one wife/husband, *people were re-baptized frequently, *members were sealed to ‘the fathers’ (i.e. those that had their calling and election made sure) and were not sealed through familial lines, to name a few. All these things, and more, were later altered. And Joseph was dead and unable to speak for himself, thereby taking the blame.
A lot to ponder on and ask the Lord about. Most people I talk to about this say, "The issue of Polygamy doesn't matter." To that I say... *the truth matters* and deserves its day. If you believe the Prophet of the restoration lied to his wife and to an entire church, what else could he have lied about? How can he be trusted at all? Why is it easier to say that Joseph, who spoke with God and angels and has no posterity but through Emma, lied repeatedly - but Brigham, who said he had never seen the Lord and had 55 wives, was perfectly honest?
Link: Joseph Monogamy Paper