So far as Joseph’s own line was concerned, he was a friend and thrived on friendship. The stories in the “From the Life” portion of the lesson are telling. Richard Bushman gave a forum address a few years back entitled “The Character of Joseph Smith” that nicely fleshes out this subject. (It can be purchased in various formats here.) But I want to leave these experiences and general observations to the side so that I can deal directly with what Joseph has to say in the “Teachings” part of the lesson. There, I think we get a very interesting picture of what friendship meant for Joseph.
True friends ease one another’s sorrows and remain faithful even in times of adversity.
I think the contents of this first section of teachings more or less bears out the title assigned to it. The words that make up this section are taken from Joseph’s exilic reflections on his truest friends (the circumstances are described in the “From the Life” section and in the italicized heading for the first paragraph on page 461). But what strikes me the most in this first section is something that almost escapes one’s notice.