Imagination is right. They have the most fantastical theology (outside Scientology) which I must admit is very attractive for a Christian sect. I visited SLC two weeks ago and there's a chamber in their Temple Square that has the coolest statue of Jesus with cosmic (read: space art!) fresco around it. I'm beginning to like them.He has quite the imagination? He did think Jesus was an American or some other tripe... He's an ENFJ.
Nice explanation. He seemed more like that to me too than like some sort of xNFJ.Random thread resurrection. Unfortunately, I can't help myself... he was an ESFP.
So, what follows is half an effort to support my view of his type and half an apologist view of him as a person. I hope it's appropriate. I am definitely taking a pro-Joe stance here... mostly because I feel that most people will be viewing him from the opposite. Any true scholar on the subject would be forced to conclude the Joseph Smith is far too complex a figure to easily judge or categorize. I think he and his story are FASCINATING.
I am from Utah, raised down the street from a Mormon church in a town that was essentially 100% Mormon... though my family didn't really participate and were in many ways pariahs. I eventually got into it at 17-18 and went the whole 9 yards, as it were. I've read everything... been through every rite, ritual, ceremony, read pretty much every book - heard every story and rumor - and visited the historic sites. I've be Even spent my two years knocking on doors and got married in a Mormon temple. I feel pretty comfortable saying I can venture a type for Mr. Smith.
He was an ESFP if there ever was one. I've heard arguments for ESTP but I highly doubt any other type. I've asked fellow lay mormon history scholars who also know Jung and either ESFP (sometimes ESTP) is the quick response. He was a very interesting figure... and pretty much like all ESFP leaders (Bill Clinton, Kennedy(?)) he had his fair share of faults and skeletons (lady skeletons)... but he was actually pretty cool as far as people who claim to have seen God and create 'cult' religious movements go.
For example, he rejected a lot of fundamentalist teachings and abolished a lot of archaic religious practices. No paid clergy, and emphasized the importance of celebrations/revelry and not being making religion too solemn or severe. He loved dances and balls - he loved to joke and generally be audacious - he liked to hear laughter in church and a general feeling of good spirits. He was anti-fundamentalist, ironically, and anti-extremist in most ways. He wasn't racist or any sort of '-ist'. In fact, the idea of abolishing 'isms' and 'ists' is written into the very Book of Mormon.
He was essentially a pacifist and did not preach or act in a violent manner AT ALL. He didn't preach war or jihad or any of that. He always acted within the law - when they came to arrest him, he went in peace. A mob burst into his jail cell, shot his brother in the face and shot him in the back as he crawled out the window - falling to his death (age 38? I think). He was a very eloquent fellow, as you can imagine, and his writings during captivity are not angry or inciting. He wrote of love and forgiveness and how suffering should build empathy and love rather than hate. From all that I could see arguments for INFJ - but it's not true - he was definitely an ESFP.
He was very generous, gregarious, social, and 'down to earth'.... seriously, think Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton - he was very much like that.
He was actually a very unguarded person and many of the bad stories about him involve him being fooled or undermined by unscrupulous people. I guess you could say he was naive in ways? Too trusting? I know a few anecdotes of Kennedy that are in a similar vein. Granted, comparing Kennedy to a cult leader is troublesome, but you get the point.
He also was specifically antagonistic to 'end of the world' people and often cracked jokes about people who got followers using a doomsday message, offering tongue-in-cheek prophecies that "on X day of X year, I foresee that nothing whatsoever will occur!" (paraphrased, of course).
He sought to frame God in a much more 'human' and reachable way, and not so different from us. He rejected the idea of original sin, the idea of 'burning in hell', the idea that those who died without being 'saved' were damned, even the idea of being saved by grace was rejected - replaced with an emphasis that only through living a good life could one expect to come closer to God. He got rid of the tithing plate or any other high public (or peer pressured) donations. He sought to make religion a much more proactive and democratic institution. The church structure is not particularly democratic in reality, but most church leaders have 'term limits' and there is no 'preacher' in typical Protestant terms. He did introduce the idea of polygamy, as we know, and that was pretty controversial. That's obviously the most genuinely controversial thing he did.
Interestingly, while his history is absurd, and the dogma very ...uhm... unique!, his abstract theology is extremely intriguing and bizarrely compelling. I feel I can sum up Christian theology in a few minutes and find it pretty boring. Mormon theology is FASCINATING and, while it does obviously unravel pretty quickly in the details, it's actually been a profound help in developing my own philosophy. It really astounds me, actually, since I don't understand how that is possible. Joseph Smith was no philosopher, that's for sure.
I didn't verify these quotes, but I recognized more than half of them and I am sure most if not all are accurate. They definitely paint a good picture of the sorts of things he would say: