In 1999, following a PBS documentary on Mormonism entitled "American Prophet," Richard Leiby of the Washington Post wrote his reaction. It's well worth reading http://www.lds-mormon.com/josephsmithpbs.shtml
Most interesting to me is that eight years after the creation of this new religion, Missouri's governor signed an order allowing the militia to exterminate or expel Mormons "for the public good."
I do not believe it was "of God" or even within the grey area of ethics that seventeen of Smith's followers were gunned down.
Yet I love Leiby's assessment: "But he (Joseph Smith) had God--and good looks--on his side." I'd venture to say that he still does. Despite the many wonderful things being taught by its missionaries, what is called simply polygamy is one that is difficult to explain away even though my own experience with some fine Mormon people is that they would be horrified to be associated with the practice of polygamy.
Just as many people in more traditional Christian faiths are horrified to admit that they and their church leaders may have colluded with clergy sexual abuse and misconduct. It's unthinkable. Yet very much alive this very day--my inbox evidences it frequently!
The general that Leiby refers to, who was apparently called on to arrest Smith was an eye witness to this man's foolishness: "I carried him into my house, a prisoner in chains, and in less than two hours my wife loved him better than she did me."
That's power beyond imagination! To the average citizen, anyway.