And often times, we find out that we were mistaken in our admiration. Adultery, steroids, cheating, ego, drugs, gambling and worldly lifestyles seem to go hand in hand with the adulation. Even though some heroes manage to maintain their values and integrity, they are still adored and admired for excelling in things that are truly insignificant, if not ridiculous.
Can you imagine the entrance interview at the Pearly Gates...
"So, tell me, Brother, what did you accomplish in your time on earth."
"Well, I dedicated my life, and became the best in the world."
"Best in the world? That is fabulous. At what?"
"At knocking a little white ball into a cup with a metal stick."
"Wow! That is impressive! C'mon in! Top tier Celestial Kingdom for you!"
I will concede that some of the "Heroes" do successfully remain above the fray, and find purpose - but the dirt of the world seems to leap up to cling to those who seek fame and power in sports, politics, and entertainment.
Tomorrow is June 27. On June 27, 1844, my hero was murdered. And for 167 years, the world has been trying to throw dirt at his memory. It does not stick. It will never stick.
Those who make it their life's work to tarnish my hero have many tactics. One of the favorites is to focus on historical minutiae, whether fact or fiction. To strain at gnats and fabricate camels. To overlook the grandeur of what he did accomplish, and sling the mud at human foibles.
And now they point and mock. From the stage of a great and spacious building - with lights, with loud laughter, and with music. They applaud and award themselves for how clever they are. They attempt to mainstream the mockery as entertainment.
It sickens me.
They do not want to know what I know. They do not want anyone to know what I know: That Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.
I have very few heroes. He is one of them.
I cannot account for everything he said, and everything he did during his lifetime. No one can. But, I know through the witness of the Holy Ghost that Joseph was, indeed, a chosen Man of God. This knowledge was given to me early in life. It has never been shaken. I am well-versed in the world's tactics and claims, and I reject their arguments.
This testimony is reaffirmed often as I enjoy what came about through that prophetic calling. The Book of Mormon, the holy Priesthood, and the ordinances of salvation shout to my heart that my hero was truly what he claimed to be: A man, asked to bring about a marvelous work and a wonder.
Never has my faith in Brother Joseph been greater than after walking where his most significant moments took place. The peacefulness of the Sacred Grove, the serenity of the banks of the Susquehanna river, and the gravity of the upper room at Carthage. I have stood in all these holy places, and God has spoken to me at each of them. Every time the whispers have been the same:
"Joseph Smith was called of God to restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth."
Bring it on. The dirt will never stick to my hero.