De-Cantankerizing Descriptions of Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith remains a “character” in the American national historical discussion. Objectivity about “how to study Joseph Smith” is a growing field of research and focus. This paper focuses on the application of both contemporary business and traditional psychological communication models to the “personality” of Joseph Smith. Principally, the presentation will provide a road map for getting past the “Persecution Perceptions” that many (if not most) of the Joseph Smith scholars grapple with. Piercing the Paradigm of Persecution when it is part of one’s DNA is extremely difficult…and that need compellingly still exists in the constantly expanding field of Joseph Smith scholarship. Emotionally mature discussions of business behavior often fall into the simple 4-factor models dating from the Greeks. These models are reduced to the Four Key Questions of Behavior: Why? What? How? And Who? This paper will apply those dimensions to the emerging Joseph Smith Papers Persona of Joseph Smith and invite discussion of a simpler, more objective treatment of the apparent contradictions in the evolving “picture” of Joseph Smith.

Russ Osmond