One attribute of Joseph's discipleship was his ability to frankly forgive others. After he had been wronged by his friend William W. Phelps, he graciously accepted Phelps's sincere apology and wrote to him, "Come on, dear brother, since the war is past, For friends at first, are friends again at last" (History of the Church, 4:164). Brother Phelps later composed the lyrics of "Praise to the Man" (Hymns, , no. 27).
Joseph expressed warm feelings toward many, but none excelled his feelings for his older brother Hyrum. "I could pray in my heart that all my brethren were like unto my beloved brother Hyrum, who possesses the mildness of a lamb, and the integrity of a Job, and in short, the meekness and humility of Christ," reflected Joseph in 1835, "and I love him with that love that is stronger than death" (History of the Church, 2:338). Seven years later, Joseph's feelings had only increased: "Brother Hyrum, what a faithful heart you have got! Oh may the Eternal Jehovah crown eternal blessings upon your head, as a reward for the care you have had for my soul!" (History of the Church, 5:107–8).
One who commented on Joseph's discipleship, Eliza R. Snow, said: "In the cause of truth and righteousness—in all that would benefit his fellow man, his integrity was as firm as the pillars of Heaven. He knew that God had called him to the work, and all the powers of earth and hell combined, failed either to deter or divert him from his purpose. With the help of God and his brethren, he laid the foundation of the greatest work established by man—a work extending not only to all the living and to all the generations to come, but also to the dead" (Woman's Exponent, Jan. 1, 1874, 117).