Many people embraced Joseph's words willingly, but some were stubborn. "There has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation," Joseph once said. "It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn-dodger [a piece of corn bread] for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle [a wooden mallet]. Even the Saints are slow to understand" (History of the Church, 6:184).
The next four Presidents of the Church each knew Joseph Smith and were deeply influenced by his teachings. "[He] opened up, in plainness and simplicity the things of God," recalled Brigham Young (Deseret News, Dec. 30, 1857, 340). John Taylor said Joseph "was ignorant of letters as the world has it, but the most profoundly learned and intelligent man that I ever met in my life" (Deseret News, June 2, 1880, 275). Wilford Woodruff remarked, "The people could not bear the flood of intelligence which God poured into [Joseph's] mind" (Deseret News, May 27, 1857, 91). Said Lorenzo Snow, "I heard the Prophet discourse upon the grandest of subjects. At times he was filled with the Holy Ghost, speaking as with the voice of an archangel and filled with the power of God" (Quoted in LeRoi C. Snow, "How Lorenzo Snow Found God," Improvement Era, Feb. 1937, 84).