garybeac - Thank you for sharing your story. I agree with your comment that as
you think about things details can become clearer. I have not had the dream you
have, but I have experienced this evolving clarity in connection to other
experiences. No-one will be convinced about the church using logic.
No-one will retain or restore their testimonies using historical facts. We live
in a world of conflicting facts, some accurate, some not. That is why the first
principle of the gospel is faith. Everything else only takes us in circles. 1 Corinthians 13:12 "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but
then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am
So which Mormon splinter group that sprang to life after Joseph Smith's
death is the right one? That issue doesn't seem to be resolved by having
faith in the first vision and the Book of Mormon. The Community of Christ
(formerly RLDS) believed both. Many of today's fundamentalist polygamist
groups have strong testimonies of both. Unfortunately all else that follows
isn't exactly a clear path.
The beginning is and was true, which is only one Personage (Jesus Christ)
appeared to Joseph Smith, Jr. in early spring 1820.The subsequent
falsification of it by Joseph Smith himself and others (God the Father appeared
also in the top of the trees) never was true because it contradicts scripture
(KJV and BOM only).
@SharronaThe oldest known Biblical manuscript is a fragment of a
letter of John, drafted perhaps a century after Christ’s time. If that is
the oldest what does that tell us about the rest of the New Testament?
RE: zoar63, Thousands of mistakes can give a person an entirely different
meaning than what was originally intended.Although you read
thousands of variants or mistakes, keep in mind that they count the same error
in each of the 5,000 manuscripts. After careful examination, they have found
that only 40 lines (400 words) of the 20,000 lines are in question. We can be
sure that the New Testament is 99% pure. The Iliad by contrast has 5% corrupted
text. There is no ancient text that is more reliable than the N. T .The goal in Lower Criticism is to find the original 'father' text,
the autograph by comparing the different families of texts. Greek
Apparatus’s are available in Christian bookstores(Deseret?). Which contain
Greek MS with Nomina Sacra (100 AD - 300 AD)Papyrus.There are over
26,000 N.T. quotes from the(2nd c) disciples of the apostles and early church
fathers can reconstruct the N.T. less 11 verses. If the original triangle was
burned in a museum we have enough copies to reconstruct it. A of
F, original Edition, #8 We believe in the Word of God recorded in the Bible;
It seems to me that a lot of people spend a vast amount of time analyzing
anything and everything about the church then argue and nit pick about anything
and everything they find. Why do we have to make everything more complicated
than it should be? If you want to find out if this church is true or not just
read the Book of Mormon.
I don't think columnists in the paper choose their headlines. So maybe,
Zarathustra, you should try to figure out what Peterson was saying apart from
the headline. It seems perfectly logical to me, and I'm surprised that
several here seem to have missed his point just about completely.
@SharronaIt is true, of course, that the New Testament is abundantly
attested in the manuscripts produced through the ages, but most of these
manuscripts are many centuries removed from the originals, and none of them
perfectly accurate. They all contain mistakes - altogether many thousands of
mistakes. It is not an easy task to reconstruct the original words of the New
Testament textual evidence for the New Testament (From Wiki page New Testament
Manuscripts)Thousands of mistakes can give a person an entirely
different meaning than what was originally intended
Like lots of people, including Joseph Smith's grandfather, I had Father
Lehi's vision. Mine came when I was six, eight years before I met a Mormon.
My memory of it is different form all my other memories. It's like a rough
gem that, while it doesn't actually change, I have discovered new details
and features as I have examined it over the years. My first reaction to finding
it in the BoM was paranoia. I thought I'd been hypnotized as a child or
that the missionaries had somehow "implanted" the memory. It took me a
while to realize that, first, I'm not important enough to be the target of
such a plot and, second, most other converts hadn't had visions. (I meet a
sister who also had the vision before meeting any members.) So, my point is,
I've never had trouble with Joseph's evolving understanding of what he
saw and felt and experienced. It's just the nature of prophecy. The elect
will have their witnesses, others won't, but in the Lord's time, all
will come into their election. That liberating news came to us through Joseph
Brahambull: You write that I "choose to believe that it is all true in the
absence of any evidence at all. You think it more likely happened than not. That
is fine. That is like saying I believe in bigfoot. There is no evidence, but I
still think he more likely exists than not."I'm not sure
where you got the impression that I believe without evidence.Of
course, this discussion has happened before. I value evidence from the Holy
Ghost; you do not.Comparing belief in bigfoot to belief in such
things as God, Jesus Christ, and the Mormon Church shows a complete
misunderstanding and disregard for a number of things, not the least of which is
the Spirit. There are multiple witnesses of God, for example, over an extended
period of centuries--including eye witnesses. There are few witnesses of
bigfoot, and their witness is extended over a brief period of time. Further,
belief in bigfoot is of no lasting significance; belief in God is.You would be more precise to say, "There is evidence--I just don't
RE: zoar63, I would love for someone to show me any complete writings from the
period that the new testament references which corroborates what the N. T.
says. Ok,There are over 26,000 N.T. quotes from the(2nd c) disciples
of the apostles and early church fathers can reconstruct the N.T. less 11
verses. Also,It is not true that we do not possess the original
text of the Bible. What we do not possess are the original manuscripts. We
have accurate well-preserved Copies of the original text. There are some
5,700 early N.T. MS, and 2nd century papyrus that contain all or nearly all of
the original text. The original text can be reconstructed 99% accuracy. There
is a distinction between the text and the truth of the text. While we have 99%
of the original text,100% of the truth comes through.And the
Articles of Faith,the original Edition, #8 We believe in the Word of God
recorded in the Bible; we also believe the Word of God recorded in the Book of
Mormon, and in all other good books. Check #8 current edition.
It seems to me that historical Christianity itself is on rocky ground. The
Christian belief in God is based on just one book and that book itself arouse
from manuscripts which post dated the early Christian era circa 300 AD. If you
are a bible believing Christian than you have to take it on faith because there
is not much hard evidence to confirm it. I would love for someone to show me
any complete writings from the period that the new testament references which
corroborates what the new Testament says. The Roman persecutions destroyed a
lot of those documents. Maybe the new testament was really written by a group
of men living in and around 300 A.D. where is the evidence to disprove it? Say
what you want about the Mormon Church but they at least have a lot of documents
to verify their history and teachings even if some of them contradict.
Moontan - Yes I do get your point about Joseph being smart enough to write it,
he would have to be smart enough to get his story straight. Problem is that back
then, he didn't need to get his story straight. There was no internet for
comparing his different statements at different times. He could make statements,
then move on to the next group, not thinking about the differences in the same
stories. That is just my opinion.Jeff - The mormon church has
manuscripts from Joseph Smith's own hand. There is a reason they won't
publish those documents fully. Until then, secondary sources are all we have.
Still, you choose to believe that it is all true in the absence of any evidence
at all. You think it more likely happened than not. That is fine. That is like
saying I believe in bigfoot. There is no evidence, but I still think he more
likely exists than not.Bill - That is the whole point. Joseph Smith
first said he saw an angel. That was what he wrote. After that he retroactively
changed it to god and jesus after years of saying it was an angel
The headline is misleading and illogical. The skeptic's comment about the
saint was intended to show that if the beginning is false, all that follows is
false. The reverse is not so. I am surprised that Dr. Peterson can make such a
fundamental error in logic. I doubt that he would accept such logic if applied
by a Catholic to the origins of the Catholic church.
To: Bill in Nebraska, As for Nephi versus Moroni is laid at the fault of
the[rascally] scribes in 1838 and 1839, not Joseph Smith? What about:Version Edited. On May 24, 1844, Alexander Niebaur wrote the first vision in
his journal as Joseph Smith told it to him. Joseph was not told that all of the
Christian sects were wrong. Instead, he was specifically told that the
Methodists were not God's people. …[He] opened his Bible
of the first passage that struck him was [James 1:5.], "If any man lack
wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth
not." [He] went into the woods to pray, kneels himself down, his tongue was
closed, cleaving to his roof, could utter not a word, but felt easier after
awhile. [He] saw a fire toward heaven, came near and nearer. [He] saw a
personage in the fire, light complexion, blue eyes, a piece of white cloth drawn
over his shoulders, his right arm bare. After a while another person came to the
side of the first. Mr. [Joseph] Smith then asked, "Must I join the Methodist
Church?" No their not my people.
I wish it was so simple. The fact is, The Book of Mormon was
"translated" by a man and, so, must be interpreted by men. Men are prone
to misunderstanding, especially when they're certain of their
"The fundamental question is whether, after his beheading, St. Denis walked
at all. If he did, the rest is mere detail."as a boy, when we
beheaded chickens on my friend's farm--for food--they would sometimes fly a
short distance, without their heads, so daniel's logic fails.look at his logic in another way:if muhammad wrote some of the writings
of which now are known as the quran, whether or not other muslims wrote the rest
is immaterial.and why would some saint walking after he was dead
imply that the first vision and the rest of what joseph smith did after the
first vision was true?
I certainly hope, for poor Professor Peterson's sake, that the people here
who've plainly missed the simple point he was making aren't
representative of his audience overall.
@cappela"If Mormons got the beginning right, why did anyone leave
Joseph's organization? Why were there many splinter groups, why did Emma
leave and Never ascribe to polygamy? "Now I don't
believe the LDS church is correct, but I will point out that this is faulty
logic that assumes everyone is going to do the right thing. Goodness, we've
run studies that show that wealthier people are more likely to take candy from
babies. If we can't even get unanimity on candy thivery from babies how in
the world would unanimity on religion ever come about?
Well, it's definitely true that the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith's
bringing forth of it is the key detail in the LDS church that the church stands
on, but I don't think it necessarily means all else follows since churches
can go astray (of course I am aware that LDS doctrine seems to include the idea
that this current incarnation of the church won't go astray so I can see
why the issue I just brought up is untouched in the article).
Sorry, Brahmabull, but the page on "MormonThink" from which you're
cribbing your material isn't about the First Vision. It's attempting
to cast doubt on the vision of Moroni.
Brahmabull is incorrect in what he has said. Yes, in 1842 did write a story
relating that Nephi was used as a reference. However, not to the First Vision
but to the vision of Moroni. This story was then used as a reference for the
Millinieum Star, the first Pearl of Great Price, and Lucy Mack Smith's
biography. The Pearl of Great Price was first written in 1851 by Franklin
Richards in Britain, not the US. The Pearl of Great Price became part of the
Standard Works in October 1880, not before. The 1838 version of the first
vision was placed in the Pearl of Great Price in 1920.As for Nephi
versus Moroni is laid at the fault of the scribes in 1838 and 1839, not Joseph
Smith. All of the earlier versions of the vision with the angel refers to
Moroni not Nephi. This appears to be a complete honest mistake that was
perpetuated by so many using the Times and Season article as its source.Again one only needs to read the 1838, 1835 versions to see that it is
based on the audience. So yes Cats, Verdad and others are correct.
The article states : "If —... — Joseph Smith's account of
his First Vision is true, and if the Book of Mormon is genuine inspired
scripture, many other important conclusions follow"Well, not
necessarily. Jesus Christ established an organization that after few years
distorted the truth and according to LDS doctrine, apostasy reigned. I'm
sure that Christ and his apostles took several wonderful steps.Was
Joseph Smith and his companions more capable than Jesus and his Apostles? Mr. Peterson, I understand your motivation and respect your faith.
However, your premise is flawed. Babies are born pure but factors
and variants of life make them less pure. Organizations are no exception to the
effects of growth and external influences.If you state that the LDS
Church has made mistakes (and you mentioned several of them), that some
statements considered prophetic have been wrong.Yet, you believe and have Faith
that the Lord will correct and clarify the mistakes.I can accept and respect
that. But please, readers of this paper are mostly adults and we
deserve better than read from a scholar that two steps in the right direction
assure arrival at the proper destination.
Cappella: You want archaelogical discovery to prove your FAITH. You have faith
the Bible is true but not the Book of Mormon. I can list a few names of LDS
Scholars that do use the Book of Mormon as proof. There was one who was LDS who
did and lost faith. Then there is one who did and wasn't of our faith then
became LDS because of what they found.You want proof and you want
MAN to make that proof for you. You don't want that proof from the Lord
yet you seem to believe the Bible. The Book of Mormon states emphatically that
if you will believe the Bible as the word of God you will believe the Book of
Mormon. It also states that if you believe in Jesus Christ you will also
believe in the Book of Mormon. As Christ himself said, there are many that have
ears to hear and eyes to see but fail to see it when it stands before them.
Sharrona is completely honest as one who has left the faith. She no longer has
the gift of the Holy Ghost to strive with her.
Twin Lights,I have extensively followed and studied the Joseph Smith
papers. I wish I could say that they were objective. Unfortunatley, they are
not. The JSPP continues to protect and promote the "safe" version of
history, not the actual history. Search "polygamy," "Book of
Abraham" or "Book of Mormon Translation" (or any number of topics)
on the JSPP website and let me know if you feel like it adequately address
Joseph Smith's involvement in these issues.I don't want a
version of history with an agenda. I simply prefer the facts. Church
growth is slowing significantly and activity rates are declining in the Google
age where information is readily accessible. This trend will likely continue
until the Church is honest about the claims of the restoration.Do
what is right, let the consequence follow.............
I wish Dr. Petersen would address serious inquiries from serious investigators
who want more than a personal testimony for documentation. The poor
missionaries who show up on our doorstep cannot give any concrete manuscript or
historical documentation when we politely ask. They give sweet, sincere
testimonies. So do my Muslim friends and we cannot vett Mohammed any more than
we can vett Joseph Smith with the 19-year old boys.If Mormons got it
all right, why are the archives still unaccessible? Why has controversy never
ceased to surround the church? Why is archeological research never allowed at
the Hill of Cumorah? Why have no non-LDS scholars ever endorsed reformed
Egyptian or any aspect of the PoGP?There are many secular professors
who use Biblical records at Holy Land digs. None use the BoM as an archelogical
tool in South America or Mexico. You can discuss Hebraic chiasmus all you want.
There are no Hebrew inscriptions there from the pertinent time frame.Conversely, if the foundation is all wrong, try the Biblical record. It still
continues to disprove critics with new discoveries. If the truth wil set you
free, your search should be serious.
Ah, I forgot another favorite anti-Mormon tack, and Brahmabull illustrates it
well. He suggests that there are versions of the First Vision not available to
most lay researchers, but available to him. These are not easy to find, except
through anti-Mormon sources, and even more difficult to confirm.If
we are to look for confirmation through LDS sources, we are reminded that the
LDS Church cannot be trusted (which is, supposedly, why we must go to
anti-Mormons for the information), and the source information from any source
other than the anti-Mormon one cannot be trusted.Luckily, it is
relatively easy to evaluate Brahmabull's source material.1.
All but one of his sources is secondary at best. (The Church has the primary
sources against which to compare the secondary sources, but we are not to forget
that the Church is not to be trusted, right?)2. Mormon newspapers
are no more reliable in their editorial perfection than any other newspapers.
Several of BB's sources are newspapers.3. The 1851 edition of
the Pearl of Great Price is superseded by the more recent edition. Clearly, if
the Church discovered an error in the printing, it would correct it.
Wonthaggi,Please see the Joseph Smith Papers project. Should answer
your request. *Capella,He warned of false
prophets because we would have to distinguish the true from the false. If he
had meant to say that any coming thereafter would be false, then he would have.
No need for a test if they are all false.No issue with praying
unceasingly. Or with the struggle between good and evil being real. Or with
the power and protection of the Holy Spirit. I think we are in agreement on all
of these.As to Deut. and "wrong marital practices", surely
you are not saying that polygamy is not sanctioned in the Old Testament?Everyone did not leave Joseph's organization (if they did, who
crossed the plains and who did they follow?).As to splinter groups.
Look at early Christianity. Why was there a Nicene Council?I leave
Emma's actions to her. Hers was not an easy road.
@Capella ... We aren't robots. We're free to make decisions, good or
bad. @free thought ... If God presented to the world tomorrow
morning incontrovertible proof of His existence, the very next day critics would
being dismissing it as a mass hallucination. You can bet on that. @bramabull... Good point at first read, but I think you've missed mine,
which is that an uneducated writer smart enough to write the BoM on his own HAS
TO BE smart enough to know how to keep his story straight, lest he be revealed
as a fraud. That type of intelligence CAN'T NOT remember 'ok, I gotta
make sure I don't give conflicting information here or they'll be on
to me.' To the degree that apparent contradictions DO exist in his own
testimony of what happened during the First Vision, one must consider many other
factors affecting personal reports, such as audience addressed, psychological
status at that time, stress, dictation environment, and etc.
@Brahmabull,"Joseph couldn't have forgotten it if it
happened - we are talking about a visitation from god."He
didn't forget what happened. He forgot his story.
RE: Moontan: Contradictions often validate the truth of claims made, even before
Time has its way with memory? JS on four occasions named Nephi as the messenger
not Moroni. No attempt was made to correct the “mistake” while he
was alive.RE: Bill in Nebraska, One part of ACTs talks about a voice
but no light by those with him while others speak of a light but no voice. .Does Acts 9:7 contradicts Acts 22:9, concerning . The Greek word
“akouo” is used in both of these accounts, this word has different
meanings that vary depending on the context in which it is used. It can mean to
both understand and to hear. My companions saw the light, but they
‘did not understand’ the voice of him who was speaking to me. (Acts
22:9 NIV)Modern translations can be helpful.Joseph Smith on angels.
the angels which kept not their first estate…=(*archē
,746)…(Jude 1: 6 KJV& JST). And the angels who did not stay
within their own position of authority,..(Jude 1: 6 NIV) Refers to Fallen
Jeff said:"This is perhaps the only venue in the world I can confess
that I take a certain weird pleasure in seeing the anti-Mormons come out and
attack the Church. It makes me chuckle.There are certain patterns
followed by most critics of the Church. A common one is, "I believed in it
fully (there is usually some credential, like, 'I attended seminary
faithfully'), until ONE DAY (cue the ominous music) I DISCOVERED (fill in
the gaps with some esoteric detail that amy or may not be accurate)."Jeff, Please allow me to follow the pattern that you mentioned
(can't gurantee that it will make you chuckle): AP, EQ President,
Bishopric. My entire life has been built around the gospel and Church.
Researched a gospel topic related to a mutual activity that I had attended
earlier that night. This led to an in-depth 16 month study of the life of Joseph
Smith (a life I felt I already knew quite well). The conclusion of this is that
I can no longer accept the claims that came from JS. My hope and prayer is that
the Church will "come clean" with the accurate history of the Church.
According to God's Word, the beginning began in the garden. If
Petersen's analogy were Biblical, everything went south immediately
afterward and needed God's personsal intervention to redeem mankind.If the beginning is true, why did Noah narrowly escape the judgment?
Why did God warn of false prophets and wolves among the sheep? Why did Jesus
admonish believers to "pray unceasingly" because Satan desires to sift
you? Obviously the struggle between good and evil is real. The good news is
that He sent the Holy Spirit for power and protection. Just getting the
foundation right isn't the end of the story, or God wouldn't have
given the Israelites Deut. 17,18 to test false prophets and avoid wrong marital
practices.If Mormons got the beginning right, why did anyone leave
Joseph's organization? Why were there many splinter groups, why did Emma
leave and Never ascribe to polygamy? Dr. Petersen?...
I disagree with the original premise. Ultimately the foundational soundness of
ones' faith depends on the existense of the god of that faith. At 53 I have
yet to be introduced to any empiracal evidence of the Judeo/Christian god. I
therefore summarily reject Smiths' experience.
From the 1835 account:a personage appeard in the midst of this
pillar of flame which was spread all around, and yet nothing consumed, another
personage soon appeard like unto the first, he said unto me thy sins are
forgiven thee, he testified unto me that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; and I
saw many angels in this vision . . .The angels were IN ADDITION to
the two key personages. There is no mention of Nephi.
Verdad - If you think he didn't say he saw Nephi in a first vision then you
haven't done any study at all. It is mentioned in the 1842 times and
searons, also in 1842 in the Millennial star printed in england. Lucy Mack Smith
called the angel Nephi in 1853 in her biographical sketches. The last straw is
that it was written as NEPHI in the 1851 Pearl of Great Price, which is
cannonized scripture. Yeah, sure sounds like Joseph never said it was Nephi....
and you can't use the misprint arguement... Joseph had time to print a
retraction to that and never did. If it was a misprint it would have never made
it into the cannonized pearl of great price. Moontan - you are
right. We aren't talking about 10 different people witnessing the first
vision and giving the same account. We are talking about the SAME person,
talking about the same vision, giving different account as time goes on. If a
suspect in a crime gives 10 different stories in 10 different interviews, time
to be suspicious. Joseph couldn't have forgotten it if it happened - we are
talking about a visitation from god.
This is perhaps the only venue in the world I can confess that I take a certain
weird pleasure in seeing the anti-Mormons come out and attack the Church. It
makes me chuckle.There are certain patterns followed by most critics
of the Church. A common one is, "I believed in it fully (there is usually
some credential, like, 'I attended seminary faithfully'), until ONE
DAY (cue the ominous music) I DISCOVERED (fill in the gaps with some esoteric
detail that amy or may not be accurate)."Another common one is:
"Yes, Daniel Peterson (or some other speaker) has for his thesis that the
First Vision and the Book of Mormon are fundamental to the Church (or some other
thesis statement), but JOSEPH SMITH WAS A FARMER (or some other unrelated
point)." In this case, for example, the fact that there were various
accounts of the First Vision has nothing to do with Peterson's thesis.
Nor, in fact, does is prove or disprove the First Vision.Or: Daniel
Peterson's metaphor does not apply in every case, so the entire argument
must be false. (Matephors, identified as such, must be taken as metaphors, not
I sort of agree with Peterson's points, but of course he knows that the
foundational key points are not validated. Debating the First Vision in any kind
of intellectual way is sort of useless. Yes you the conflicting accounts, but
the contradictions can be rationalized. There is absolutely no way to prove or
disprove however, whether Joseph Smith had the Vision. I disbelieve it, but
recognize that I couldn't prove that. I also can't prove that my old
neighbor wasn't abducted by Aliens, a claim that he made. But again,
he's never provided any kind of meaningful evidence. Joseph Smith on the
other hand, at least provided the Book of Mormon. Of course Peterson recognizes
that the historical content has never been satisfied to any kind of a reasonable
standard. He can rationalize this away, but at least he knows where the current
body of evidence stacks up. Long story short, the implication behind
this article is all wrong while the rationality is quite logical. It of course
rests on the assumption assumptions that are not justified by the evidence. Even
if it is not completely invalidated (which is an unreasonable expectation
Here are the facts as laid out. Fact one the Gospels of the Bible if one reads
them carefully will see differences between what one says to what another says
of the Garden Tomb on the first Easter Morning. Each of the Gospels are written
to coincide with a particular audience in mind. The same can be said of Joseph
Smith and his first vision. It really depends on the audience.Fact
two: Paul's vision on the road to Dasmascus and those with him varies
between who is there and who isn't. One part of ACTs talks about a voice
but no light by those with him while others speak of a light but no voice. Paul
says a voice spoke to him, an angel. Later as you read of the account you find
where the angel asks, why persecutiest me, meaning the Lord Jesus Christ. So,
the Lord is speaking to Paul. The same can be said of each of the recorded
first vision accounts. Each was written by a different scribe except the first
one which we have from Joseph himself. This isn't to say that Joseph
didn't say the other vision accounts.
Any semi-literate backwoods kid brilliant enough to fabricate something as
intricate and detailed as the Book of Mormon in 90 days and present it as a gift
from God is also smart enough to realize he'd better cover his tracks and
get the First Vision story straight before his cover is blown. Contradictions often validate the truth of claims made, even before Time has
its way with memory. If 10 witness accounts of a murder match exactly, time to
be suspicious. Alleged contractions in the Gospel account of the Resurrection
all argue for the fact that there was indeed a Resurrection, regardless of who
witnessed what, whom Christ saw first, what happened to the Roman guards, etc.
Re multiple visions. The fact that many men claimed (and do so
today) to having visions doesn't mean that nobody had/has visions. "By
their fruits ye shall know them." If I tried to live
Joseph's life ... constant harassment and physical threats, worrying about
my wife and kids, public ridicule daily, fleeing one town after another,
worrying about the lives/welfare of people who trust me, etc., etc.,... I'd
be lucky to remember my middle name sometimes.
LOL. The usual critics seem to be unusually excited today!But
it's not true that there is any account from Joseph Smith saying that he
saw God the Father in the First Vision but not Jesus. Don't rely on your
memories of what somebody else has said about the accounts. Read them for
yourself. And it's not true that he said he saw Nephi in his First Vision.
One account does say that he saw angels, but that doesn't mean that he
didn't see the Father and the Son. Basic logic. If I say I saw Bob at
work today, that doesn't mean that I didn't see Frank.
So Dr. Petersen, which path does one take after Joseph's death? His
wife's, Brigham Young's, or the myriad of other splinter groups who
were just as sincere and adamant about their visions and convictions? Or should
everyone have listened to Joseph's personal friends who left him following
their knowledge of his affairs, calling him an imposter and false prophet?The FLDS follow Joseph's teaching more closely than the SLC
leaders. If size matters, then you should all be Catholic. If the Bible
matters, then evangelicals remained true to the text. If Joseph really
translated ancient documents, where's the Smithsonian documentary? Joseph
received more revelations and his followers more reversals than all the Biblical
prophets combined.Brigham Young challenged investigators of the
church to "compare our religion to the Bible". That's the best
advice and those who do will immediately get the answer.
Then you have the fact that the father and son version of the first vision
isn't mentioned until about 20 years after the fact. That simply can't
be explained. It is never mentioned in the 1833 Book of Commandments, or the
1835 Doctrine and Covenants/lectures on faith. Even the apostles after
Joseph's death were confused about the vision. George A. Smith
stated:"When Joseph Smith was about fourteen or fifteen years
old,...he went humbly before the Lord and inquired of Him, and the Lord answered
his prayer, and revealed to Joseph, by the ministration of angels, the true
condition of the religious world. When the holy angel appeared, Joseph inquired
which of all these denominations was right and which he should join, and was
told they were all wrong,..." (Journal of Discourses, Vol.12, pp.333-334)
So again, was it an angel that he asked, or was it 2 personages? It
seems impossible to think that the first mention of the father and the son
visiting him was 22 years after it happened.
As Brahmabull pointed out.Having visions in the early 1800s
wasn't that strange. The following individuals have also claimed seeing
God and angels: Asa Wild, 1823; Elias Smith, 1816; Norris Stearns, 1815. If
religious want to be unbiased they better investigate these other claims as
Cats,The 4 different first vision accounts that Joseph gave actually
contradict each other and are very different from each other.In one,
Joseph says that he saw Nephi and other angelsIn another, he says he
saw Jesus, but not God.
I think that it is true that it is the first step on which everything else
follows. The question shouldn't be if Joseph Smith's first vision
happened, but if ANY of the multiple and vastly different and contradicting
accounts happened. Like Mr. Peterson stated about the man walking miles after
being killed - I don't buy it. It doesn't make sense, and when
something doesn't make sense it usually isn't true. It would not have
been hard to have the original version correct and documented in a journal at
the time it happened. If it were true, that is the way it would have went down.
I find it odd that people are so quick to believe all of Joseph's stories
of visions and such, but are similarly quick to dismiss other visions of the
same time period from other people. Everybody else must be lying about their
visions in the 1820's and 1830's, but Joseph isn't lying. It
doesn't add up. Cats- if you think the different versions of
the first vision have no contraditions, then you simply have not read them.
Be careful what you ask for cuz you just might get it going down this path
Daniel. I believed it all and once I started to do some more digging, it all
While a prisoner in Liberty jail, the prophet Joseph Smith received this
revelation:1 The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and
fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee;2 While the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous,
shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under thy hand.
It's true. Even this article and the comments are a fulfillment of
prophecy. Joseph Smith wrote about a visitation from the angel Moroni: “He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent
from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a
work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all
nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken
of among all people” (JS—H 1:33).
The history of the beginnings of our church raises more doubt than certainty.
Morevover even uf a church start well, it doesn't mean it ends well. If it
did, the LDS church would never have claimed to be Christ's restored
It is easy to say that if the beginning is true the rest of it is just details -
but unfortunately, it is the details that make up every day life.Take the story of St. Denis - chickens frequently run around with their heads
cut off. Suppose for one minute that it was possible for the body of St. Denis
to take a step or two before falling over after his head was cut off - but
holding his head and talking and walking any distance more than a step or two
are embellishments. This begs the question, What was (is) the purpose of the
embellishments? Why take a true story and pervert it?When one is
walking towards a distant point, even if you start at the right place - even if
the first two or three steps are true and correct, if, at any point in that
journey you deviate from the route by even half an inch, at the end you will not
be where you were heading.For the end to be true, the beginning all
points in-between must be true.To say diversions don't matter
is to deny the importance of the journey's end.
While I do not particularly enjoy Dr. Peterson's comparisons here, his
point is well taken.Reference those asking about the four accounts
of the First Vision:There was an Ensign article about this in 1985
and I recall learning about these back in the 1970s (possibly during
Institute).Mormon Messages has a video talking about the four
accounts and notes that we would benefit by reading them all. See Joseph Smith
and the First Vision.
Joseph had several accounts of the First Vision because he was addressing
different people at difference times for different reasons and responding to
different questions. All the accounts are compatible and do not contradict each
other.Another great aricle, Dr. Petersen.
Why is there an official version of the first vision? Is it because one sounds
better than the rest?
Mr Petersen I would have been very interested to get your take on multiple first
vision accounts and BOM anacronisms. You let me down just now :(
Yes! Right on target !