There are 11 thoughts on “Joseph Smith’s Education and Intellect as Described in Documentary Sources”.

  1. Thank you, Brian, for your thorough and thoughtful research on this topic.

    I always thought that the impression of the prophet on Josiah Quincy was important. Quincy, a Harvard graduate and then its president, was perhaps the last person to assess the prophet’s education before the martyrdom. Quincy stated that Joseph was “without book-learning” based on his visit to Nauvoo in May of 1844. Certainly, to the educated man, Joseph’s education was not impressive

  2. Excellent and comprehensive work! Further evidence that there is no other plausible explanation for the existence of The Book of Mormon other than the one given by Joseph Smith Jr.

    I’m also pleased that you acknowledge that the Nephites rode on animals. 🙂

    • Hi Theodore,

      Thanks for the kind words, and I apologize for not being clear. Lucy Mack Smith remembered her son Joseph talking about early American inhabitants riding on animals. But as I’ve discussed elsewhere, there is little or no evidence in the Book of Mormon for people riding on any animal or vehicle.

      Thanks again,


        • While it is most often true that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, we need to be careful when using the statement. As Brian has pointed out, horses have modified culture where ever they have been found. Those changes don’t happen in the New World (regardless of your favorite geography). That means that there wasn’t horse culture. However, it doesn’t mean that an animal wasn’t ridden, just that the reasons for riding them were different. We do have artistic representations of a man riding a deer. There is no indication that it was a common thing and was more likely a ritual–but there is someone riding an animal. It just wasn’t a horse and whatever the Book of Mormon “horse” was, it did not modify culture in the way that horses have everywhere else, including after their introduction into the New World.

          As an Old World example of the absence being the evidence, the absence of pig bones in possible early Hebrew sites compared with their presence elsewhere serves as a good indicator of Hebrew settlement.

            • If you are asking how Mesoamerican armies carried their tents, there are a couple of important answers. One is that they may have used available materials for temporary shelter. Second answer is that there was a second “army” of porters carrying food and supplies–maybe tents. They managed massive military operations and supplied them–without horses.

              When I was a Boy Scout we went on a long multiple-day hike. I had to carry my own tent.

            • No, I was asking about how the Nephites carried their large family tents to pitch around the Temple (Mosiah 2:5-6).

            • If I remember correctly, the US Army Corps and the Chinese government collaborated to build the Burma Road. The US used heavy equipment. The Chinese used unaided manpower–but lots of it. They arrived at the meeting place about the same time. Humanity has managed to find ways to do remarkable things and move remarkable things, without animal aid.

              Of course, your question also depends heavily on what you think a tent must have been.

            • Heavily is the operative word. Family tents before synthetic fabrics were too heavy to be carried without pack animals.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

All comments are moderated to ensure respectful discourse. It is assumed that it is possible to disagree agreeably and intelligently and comments that intend to increase overall understanding are particularly encouraged. Individual authors are given the option to disallow commenting or end commenting after a certain period at their discretion.

Close this window

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This