I'm reading a book called The Story of the Book of Abraham. It's pretty fascinating, although it moves pretty slowly. Once in a while you come across a gem.
The following is an article from the New York Herald dated April 3, 1842.
This Joe Smith is undoubtedly one of the greatest characters of the age. He indicates as much talent, originality, and moral courage as Mahomet, Odin, or any of the great spirits that present infidel, irreligious, material, ideal, geological, animalmagnetic age of the world, some such singular prophet as Joe Smith is required to preserve the principle of faith, and to plant some new germs of civiliation that may come to maturity in a thousand years. While modern philosophy, which belives in nothing but that what you can touch, is overspreading the Atlantic States, Joe Smith is creating a spiritual system, destiny of the race.--Joe believes himself divinely inspired and a worker of miracles. He cures the sick of diseases-- so it is said--and although Joe is not aware of the fact, we have been informed by a medical man that his influence over nervous disorders, arises from a powerful magnetic influence--that Joe is a magnet in a large way, which he calls a power or spirit from heaven. In other respects Joe is a mighty man of God-- possessing large stores of human nature--great shrewdness, and as he has taken the management of the Mormon newspaper organ, the "Times and Seasons" into is hand, we look for many revelations, and some curious ones too, pretty soon.
We certainly want some such prophet to start up, take a big hold of the public mind--and stop the torrent of materialism that is hurrying the world into infidelity, immorality, licentiousness, and crime. Professor Lyell, Richard Adams Locke, Dr. Brisband, Master Emmerson, Prophet Brownson, Horance Greely, and all the materialists of the age, ought to take a leaf of common sense out of Joe's book.
How awesome is that?! To see someone back then that wasn't a member of the church, but still recognized something good.. that gives me so much hope!
The following is a very similar article from the Dollar Weekly Bostonian that Joseph Smith quoted in the aforementioned "Mormon paper" called the Times and Seasons.
Joe is decidedly the greatest original of the present day. He carries all before him when he undertakes an enterprise--knows no impediment--and never halts in his course till he has accomplished his object. His post, at the head of the Mormons, is a conspicuous one, and in a few years of such advancement as he has met with for the past year, will give him a numberless host of followers. We should not be surprised if Joe should become as omnipotent as ever the Pope was in his pamliest days. He is a genius--and a rare one--and all the armies of Satan, should they confront him in a solid phalanx, would be sure to meet with sore discomfiture, if not with complete annihilation. The true philiosoply of goaheadity--the quintessence of concentrated moral and spiritual energy--fears no combat--and although we cannot say it exactly courts danger, it never flies from the post of duty on its approach.--We have so high an opinion of Joe Smith that we intend to open a correspondence with him in order to acquaint ourself with all his secret springs of action, and thus get all the secrets of his success, public and private, worldly and ecclesiatical.
The chapter from the recently recovered Book of Abraham, and the unique cut which illustrates it, on our outside, has occasioned us some expense; but we care not for that so long as we please out patrons, which we mean to do at all hazards, trusting to the good sense of the most enlightened public in this, or any other universe, for suitable remuneration.
Yep. That's awesome.