B. H. Roberts teaches that Joseph and other prophets are not to be considered infallible or impeccable.

B. H. Roberts

B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1930), 2:356-358

Deseret News Press
Joseph Smith, Jr., B. H. Roberts
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It is but just also to the Prophet to say that he made no claim for himself of either impeccability or infallibility. "Where is the man that is free from vanity?" he asked on one occasion. "None ever was perfect but Jesus," he continued; "and why was he perfect? Because he was the Son of God, and had the fulness of the Spirit, and was greater than any man."

Referring to this subject upon another occasion he said:

"I do not think there have been many good men on the earth since the days of Adam; but there was one good man, and his name was Jesus. Many persons think a prophet must be a great deal better than any one else. Suppose I would condescend--yes, I will call it condescend!--to be a great deal better than any one of you, I would be raised up to the highest heaven; and who should I have to accompany me? I love that man better who swears a stream as long as my arm yet deals justice to his neighbors, and mercifully deals his substance to the poor, than the long, smooth-faced hypocrite. I do not want you to think that I am very righteous, for I am not."

The sentence "many persons think a prophet must be a great deal better than anybody else," will bear further consideration. President Smith relates that once when he was in conversation with a brother and sister from Michigan, who thought that "a prophet is always a prophet," he told them to the contrary. "But I told them," are his words, "that a prophet was only a prophet when acting as such."

These two remarks linked together, disclaim for the Prophet impeccability; and limit his words and actions to which sanctity and inerrancy are to be attributed, to his official or ex cathedra actions and utterances.

Again in disclaiming perfection for himself, the Prophet said:

"Although I was called of my Heavenly Father to lay the foundation of this great work and kingdom in this dispensation, and testify of his revealed will to scattered Israel, I am subject to like passions as other men, like the prophets of olden times." [History of the Church, Period I, vol. v, p. 516.]

Not only in these personal disclaimers of perfection, and of unusual sanctity or inerrancy may we see the admitted defects of deportment and character in the Prophet, but in the revelations he proclaimed are frequent reproofs of the Prophet. In these revelations he is never shielded, never justified when he steps aside from the path direct; reproof, chastisement, and warnings are administered to him. God in these revelations deals with him indeed as with a son whom he loves, if it be true--and we have warrant of holy writ that it is--that "God chasteneth whom he loveth, and scourgeth every son he receiveth."

Because of these reproofs and corrections of the Prophet in the revelations, however, or because of the disclaimers of unusual sanctity made by himself, it must not be thought that there was any act of great unrighteousness, or deed outrageously wicked in his life; much less that any habit of sinfulness is here admitted. None of these things can be successfully maintained against him. His defects, such as they were, may be gathered from the reproving revelations themselves, and from the facts set forth in this History.

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