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The Mormon Church relies and heavily uses what is referred to as the "First Vision." The First Vision is an account of Joseph Smith, a 14 year old boy, who puzzled over which church to join, knelt in a grove of trees in 1820 and prayed for an answer. According to the Mormon Church First Vision, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and told him that all churches were corrupt and that Joseph would be called to bring forth the "True Church Of God."
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The First Vision - A Look At The Problems
Saturday, Apr 8, 2006, at 08:09 AM
Original Author(s): Infymus
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
The Mormon Church relies and heavily uses what is referred to as the "First Vision." The First Vision is an account of Joseph Smith, a 14 year old boy, who puzzled over which church to join, knelt in a grove of trees in 1820 and prayed for an answer. According to the Mormon Church First Vision, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and told him that all churches were corrupt and that Joseph would be called to bring forth the "True Church Of God." The Mormon Church continues to publish and preach this version of the First Vision to current membership and to potential converts.

Gordon B. Hinckley - the current Prophet of the Mormon Church stated the following: "We declare without equivocation that God the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, appeared in person to the boy Joseph Smith. When I was interviewed by Mike Wallace on the 60 Minutes program, he asked me if I actually believed that. I replied, "Yes, sir. That's the miracle of it." That is the way I feel about it. Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud. If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens." (General Conference Oct. 2002)

There are many problems associated with the First Vision. While Joseph Smith had his First Vision in 1820, there is no documented proof of the First Vision until 1835. This includes newspaper accounts, journals, diaries, affidavits, letters or any other account of record prior to 1835. It was not until 1842 that the account of the First Vision was actually published. For fifteen years not a single document contains anything concerning the First Vision. According to Mormon Church History, Joseph Smith repeatedly told his story of the First Vision, first to his parents, and then to clergy in "apostate" churches. As detailed in Mormon Church History, Joseph Smith received severe persecution from these clergy for his "outlandish" story. Regardless, not a single piece of evidence exists concerning Joseph's First Vision prior to 1835, fifteen years after receiving it.

In the Mormon book, "The Pear Of Great Price", Joseph Smith writes "I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution;" proving that he indeed told many people about his First Vision.

In 1835, Joseph Smith wrote the History of the Church yet he failed to make any mention of the First Vision.

Joseph Smith's mother Lucy Mack Smith carefully documented Joseph Smith's early visions as well as Joseph Smith Sr.'s dreams and visions. In all of the documents prior to 1835, Lucy Mack Smith makes no mention at all of the first Vision. In a book published by Lucky Mack Smith an account is given of the First Vision, however, this was added in later by Orson Pratt and the original manuscript of the book does not contain it.

In the Journal of Discourses - a group of heavy sermons by Brigham Young - Brigham was very aware of the official version of the First Vision, however, Brigham never mentions that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ in a grove in 1820. The closest that Brigham Young comes to even mentioning the First Vision is here: "The Lord did not come with the armies of heaven, in power and great glory, nor send His messengers panoplied with aught else than the truth of heaven, to communicate to the meek, the lowly, the youth of humble origin, the sincere enquirer after the knowlege of God. But He did send His angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith jun., who afterwards became a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day, for they were all wrong; that they were following the precepts of men instead of the Lord Jesus; that He had a work for him to perform, inasmuch as he should prove faithful before Him" (Journal of Discourses, Volume 2, Page 171)
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Multiple First Visions
Monday, Jan 24, 2005, at 09:35 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
The Mormon Church claims the First Vision event is "unique, singular, and remarkable event is the pivotal substance of our faith" as quoted by the Mormon Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley. The First Vision told to modern day Mormons is that Joseph Smith, as a boy, knelt in a sacred grove of trees in upstate New-York to pray concerning the validity of the churches of his time. During his prayer the heavens opened and God and Jesus Christ appeared to him. This is the story that is told to all new converts or prospective converts of the church. What church members don't know, and what the church won't tell, is that there were multiple versions of the first vision. The first vision continued to change again and again through the 1800's until the version told today.
"A testimony begins with the acceptance by faith of the divine mission of Jesus Christ, the head of this Church; and the prophet of the Restoration, Joseph Smith. The gospel as restored by Joseph Smith is either true or it is not."

"No one was with the boy Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York, when God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared. Yet even those who do not believe it happened may find it difficult to explain away. Too much has happened since it occurred to deny that it ever took place."
- Elder James E. Faust, General Conference, October 2003 Saturday Morning Session
Has the church ever denied the "First Vision" story that modern church members know today?

In 1834

"You will recollect that I mentioned the time of a religious excitement, in Palmyra and vicinity to have been in the 15th year of our brother J. Smith Jr.'s age - that was an error in the type - it should have been in the 17th. - You will please remember this correction, as it will be necessary for the full understanding of what will follow in time. This would bring the date down to the year 1823... while this (religious) excitement continued, he continued to call upon the Lord in secret for a full manifestation of divine approbation, and for, to him, the all important information, if a Supreme being did exist, to have an assurance that he was accepted of him."

"On the evening of the 21st of September, 1823, previous to retiring to rest, our brother's mind was unusually wrought up on the subject which had so long agitated his mind, all he desired was to be prepared in heart to commune with some kind of messenger who could communicate to him the desired information of his acceptance with God. While continuing in prayer for a manifestation in some way that his sins were forgiven; endeavoring to exercise faith in the scriptures, on a sudden a light like that of day, only of a purer and far more glorious appearance and brightness burst into the room. It is no easy task to describe the appearance of a messenger from the skies. But it may be well to relate the particulars as far as given - The stature of this personage was a little above the common size of men in this age; his garment was perfectly white, and had the appearance of being without seam. Though fear was banished from his heart, yet his surprise was no less when he heard him declare himself to be a messenger sent by commandment of the Lord, to deliver a special message, and to witness to him that his sins were forgiven, and that his prayers were heard;" - Oliver Cowdery with Joseph Smith's help, Messenger and Advocate, Kirtland, Ohio, Dec. 1834, vol.1, no.3

In 1854

"Some one may say, 'If this work of the last days be true, why did not the Saviour come himself to communicate this intelligence to the world?' Because to the angels was committed the power of reaping the earth, and it was committed to none else." - Apostle Orson Hyde, General Conference Address, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p.335

In 1855

Church President and Prophet Brigham Young taught on Feb. 18, 1855: "...so it was in the advent of this new dispensation... The messenger did not come to an eminent divine...The Lord did not come with the armies of heaven,...But He did send His angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith jun., who afterwards became a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day,..." ( Journal of Discourses, vol.2, p.171)

(It is certain Young is speaking of the First Vision for he says the angel told Smith to join no church for they were all wrong. This is the very question the official version of the story states Smith asked of the Father and the Son in the Sacred Grove.)

A few days later Apostle Wilford Woodruff declared: "That same organization and Gospel that Christ died for, and the Apostles spilled their blood to vindicate, is again established in this generation. How did it come? By the ministering of an holy angel from God,... The angel taught Joseph Smith those principles which are necessary for the salvation of the world;... He told him the Gospel was not among men, and that there was not a true organization of His kingdom in the world,... This man to whom the angel appeared obeyed the Gospel;..." (Journal of Discourses, Vol.2, pp.196-197)

In 1857

Church Apostle Heber C. Kimball, speaking Nov. 8th, 1857, seemed to be oblivious to any vision where Smith saw God and Christ: "Do you suppose that God in person called upon Joseph Smith, our Prophet? God called upon him; but God did not come himself and call, but he sent Peter to do it. Do you not see? He sent Peter and sent Moroni to Joseph, and told him that he had got the plates." (Journal of Discourses, vol.6, p.29)

In 1863

Church Apostle John Taylor explained in a sermon March 1, 1863: "How did this state of things called Mormonism originate? We read that an angel came down and revealed himself to Joseph Smith and manifested unto him in vision the true position of the world in a religious point of view." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p.127)

Church Apostle George A. Smith, Nov. 15th, 1863, preached: "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)

In 1869

Five years later Apostle Smith again referred to Smith's first vision: "He sought the Lord by day and by night, and was enlightened by the vision of an holy angel. When this personage appeared to him, of his first inquiries was, 'Which of the denominations of Christians in the vicinity was right?' " (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p.77-78 June 20, 1869 )

Nowdays the church insists that the validity of the church rests on the latest First Vision story being literally true

"Our entire case as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the validity of this glorious First Vision. ... Nothing on which we base our doctrine, nothing we teach, nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God the Father and His Beloved Son, then all else of which he spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life." - Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign Mag., Nov. 1998, pp.70-71

"As I see it, there are four great foundation stones on which this Church stands, irremovable. The first, the great First Vision, the visit of the Father and the Son to the boy Joseph Smith, the opening of the heavens in this the dispensation of the fulness of times, the great bringing together of all of the work of God in all the past dispensations throughout the history of the world. The curtain was parted with that First Vision, and it stands as an absolute fundamental in the Church and its history and its well-being. - Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Aug. 1998, 72

- "A believing boy took one small step and prayed. A loving Father in Heaven listened and responded. What has resulted could rightfully be referred to as one giant leap for mankind. All the towers ever built and all the spaceships ever launched pale in comparison to Joseph Smith's first vision. Though men fly higher and higher into the heavens, they will not find God or see his face unless they humble themselves, pray, and heed the truths revealed through the Prophet of the Restoration (Joseph Smith)."

"Some have foolishly said, 'Take away Joseph Smith and his prayer in the grove and the First Vision, and we can accept your message.' Such people would have us bury the treasure of saving truths already cited, and many more, and turn our backs on the most important event that has taken place in all world history from the day of Christ's ministry to the glorious hour when the First Vision occurred." - Elder Carlos E. Asay, "One Small Step for a Man; One Giant Leap for Mankind," Ensign, May 1990, page 62

"We declare without equivocation that God the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, appeared in person to the boy Joseph Smith. When I was interviewed by Mike Wallace on the 60 Minutes program, he asked me if I actually believed that. I replied, "Yes, sir. That's the miracle of it." That is the way I feel about it. Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud. If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens."

"Good men and women, not a few-really great and wonderful people-tried to correct, strengthen, and improve their systems of worship and their body of doctrine. To them I pay honor and respect. How much better the world is because of their bold action. While I believe their work was inspired, it was not favored with the opening of the heavens, with the appearance of Deity."

"Then in 1820 came that glorious manifestation in answer to the prayer of a boy who had read in his family Bible the words of James: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5)."

"Upon that unique and wonderful experience stands the validity of this Church."

In all of recorded religious history there is nothing to compare with it. The New Testament recounts the baptism of Jesus when the voice of God was heard and the Holy Ghost descended in the form of a dove. At the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John saw the Lord transfigured before them. They heard the voice of the Father, but they did not see Him.

"Why did both the Father and the Son come to a boy, a mere lad? For one thing, they came to usher in the greatest gospel dispensation of all time, when all of previous dispensations should be gathered and brought together in one."

It is easy to see why people do not accept this account. It is almost beyond comprehension. And yet it is so reasonable... Can they legitimately deny the need for an appearance of the God of heaven and His resurrected Son in this very complex period of the world's history?"

"That They came, both of Them, that Joseph saw Them in Their resplendent glory, that They spoke to him and that he heard and recorded Their words-of these remarkable things we testify. I knew a so-called intellectual who said the Church was trapped by its history. My response was that without that history we have nothing. The truth of that unique, singular, and remarkable event is the pivotal substance of our faith." - Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith," October 2002 General Conference
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Church Leader Makes Another Do-or-die First Vision Declaration
Friday, Apr 8, 2005, at 08:58 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
Here we go again.

Church leader and Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, has said the same thing several times before. Now he said it again in the latest General Conference:

"Permit me to name a few of many doctrines and practices which distinguish us from all other churches, and all of which have come of revelation to the youthful Prophet. They are familiar to you, but they are worth repeating and reflecting on. The first of these, of course, is the manifestation of God Himself and His Beloved Son, the risen Lord Jesus Christ. This grand theophany is, in my judgment, the greatest such event since the birth, life, death, and Resurrection of our Lord in the meridian of time. We have no record of any other event to equal it."

"And upon the reality and truth of this vision rests the validity of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Great Things Which God Has Revealed" Spring Conference 2005

In response, I would ask the church and anyone with a sane mind, these simple questions:

If the official First Vision story was so important, why did it go unpublished until 1842?

Smith supposedly had his vision in 1820. Yet it took over seven private revisions and another 22 years to have it first published.

Why didn't Joseph Smith write the "official" version of the First Vision?

In fact, the Joseph Smith History in the Pearl of Great Price was written by a scribe, James Mulholland, and went unpublished for years. There are earlier versions of the First Vision story in Joseph Smith's own handwriting, but they are not considered "official" and are relatively ignored by the church.

If Joseph Smith saw and heard God in 1820, why did he pray in his room in 1823 to find out "if a Supreme being did exist?"

In the first history of Mormonism in the LDS periodical Messenger and Advocate, Kirtland, Ohio, Feb. 1835, Joseph Smith says that in September 1823 he began praying in his bed to learn "the all important information, if a Supreme being did exist." How could that possibly make sense if Smith had already seen God face-to-face some three years earlier in 1820?
See: http://www.irr.org/mit/First-Vision-Scans/first-vision-1834-35.html

Why does the "official" First Vision story contradict Joseph Smith's own handwritten testimony?

In Joseph Smith's first handwritten testimony of the first vision in 1832, he says he already knew all other churches were false before he prayed. Smith testified: "by searching the scriptures I found that mankind did not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatised from the true and living faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ."
See: http://www.irr.org/mit/First-Vision-Scans/first-vision-1832.html

Yet in the "official" story written years later by a scribe has Joseph Smith saying: "I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong) and which I should join."

In fact, looking at all the versions of the first vision story, you see a pattern of contradictions and evolution, not a pattern of mere elaboration on a single original experience.

If Jesus Christ and God the Father really told Joseph Smith in 1820 that all churches were an abomination, then why did he try joining the Methodist church in June of 1828?

Records show that in June of 1828, Joseph Smith applied for membership in his wife's Methodist Church. He also joined Methodist classes taught there. (The Amboy Journal, Amboy, IL, details Smith's activity in the Methodist Church in 1828. April 30, 1879 p. 1; May 21, 1879 p.1; June 11, 1879, p.1; July 2, 1879 p.1.)

If Joseph Smith could not deny that he saw God, then why did his own handwritten accounts deny it?

In the other First Vision accounts, including one handwritten by Joseph Smith himself, he does not say that he saw God the Father. Instead, his earlier accounts refer to an angel, a spirit, many angels, or the Son. Yet in the "official" account, it says Joseph Smith saw God and knew God knew it, and therefore despite persecution, he dared not deny or change his story.
See: http://www.irr.org/mit/First-Vision-Scans/first-vision-1832.html

Why did Joseph Smith fail to mention his First Vision when he first wrote a church history in 1835?

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery wrote and published a history of the church that supposedly covered all of the important points related to its beginnings. However, Joseph Smith records a different story than the "official" one later published in 1842. In Joseph Smith's own 1835 published history of the church, he says that his first spiritual experience was in 1823 after a religious revival in Palmyra that same year. Smith testified that he prayed while in bed in order to discover if God existed, when he was visited by an angelic messenger (Nephi/Moroni) that forgave him his sins. Elements of this narrative are similar to the later "official" version except the "official" version has different dates, locations, visitors and purposes for Smith's first spiritual experience.
See: http://www.irr.org/mit/First-Vision-Scans/first-vision-1834-35.html

If Joseph Smith's First Vision was the most important historical event since the atonement, then why didn't early church members know about it?

The early church all but ignored this "greatestest event since the birth, life, death, and Resurrectionon" of Jesus Christ:

"As far as Mormon literature is concerned, there was apparently no reference to Joseph Smith's first vision in any published material in the 1830's. Joseph Smith's history, which was begun in 1838, was not published until it ran serially in the Times and Seasons in 1842. The famous "Wentworth Letter," which contained a much less detailed account of the vision, appeared March 1, 1842, in the same periodical. Introductory material to the Book of Mormon, as well as publicity about it, told of Joseph Smith's obtaining the gold plates and of angelic visitations, but nothing was printed that remotely suggested earlier visitations."

"In 1833 the Church published the Book of Commandments, forerunner to the present Doctrine and Covenants, and again no reference was made to Joseph's first vision, although several references were made to the Book of Mormon and the circumstances of its origin."

"The first regular periodical to be published by the Church was The Evening and Morning Star, but its pages reveal no effort to tell the story of the first vision to its readers. Nor do the pages of the Latter-day Saints Messenger and Advocate, printed in Kirtland, Ohio, from October, 1834, to September, 1836. In this newspaper Oliver Cowdery, who was second only to Joseph Smith in the early organization of the Church, published a series of letters dealing with the origin of the Church. These letters were written with the approval of Joseph Smith, but they contained no mention of any vision prior to those connected with the Book of Mormon."

"In 1835 the Doctrine and Covenants was printed at Kirtland, Ohio, and its preface declared that it contained "the leading items of religion which we have professed to believe." Included in the book were the "Lectures on Faith," a series of seven lectures which had been prepared for the School of the Prophets in Kirtland in 1834-35. It is interesting to note that, in demonstrating the doctrine that the Godhead consists of two separate personages, no mention was made of Joseph Smith having seen them, nor was any reference made to the first vision in any part of the publication."

"The first important missionary pamphlet of the Church was the Voice of Warning, published in 1837 by Parley P. Pratt. The book contains long sections on items important to missionaries of the 1830's, such as fulfillment of prophecy, the Book of Mormon, external evidence of the book's authenticity, the resurrection, and the nature of revelation, but nothing, again, on the first vision."

"The Times and Seasons began publication in 1839, but, as indicated above, the story of the vision was not told in its pages until 1842. From all this it would appear that the general church membership did not receive information about the first vision until the 1840's and that the story certainly did not hold the prominent place in Mormon thought that it does today."
- Dialogue, Vol.1, No.3, p.31 - p.32

If it really happened, why couldn't Joseph Smith tell a consistent story about such a powerful experience as meeting with God and Jesus Christ face-to-face?

How many people forget their first sexual experience, even decades after the event? How many forget who they were with and what happened? If teenagers can remember details such as year, circumstance and partners involved in their first sexual experience, why couldn't Joseph Smith consistently recall his incredible First Vision?

Why did Joseph Smith's own mother, in the extensive history of her son's life, not mention Joseph ever having a vision from God and Jesus Christ, or that he was persecuted for it?

According to the official story, Joseph Smith told his mother about his first vision story. Although Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of Joseph Smith Jr., wrote a lot of details about her son during the early 1820s, in her history of Joseph's life she did not mention Joseph ever having a visitation from God and Jesus Christ. Nor does she mention any persecution.

You would think that Lucy would mention such an astounding event in her son's life. This was a bigger event than a big foot sighting; this was a visit from God and Jesus Christ! But apparently despite Joseph telling his mother, it was not significant enough for her to mention it in the extensive biography she wrote about her son.

The only element of the first vision story that Lucy mentions is religious revivals around Palmyra, yet she dates them to 1823, not 1820. Historical records of the time corroborate Lucky Mack Smith's dating of revivals in 1823 and none in Palmyra during 1820. See: http://www.irr.org/mit/fvision.html


Here's a list of repeated church declarations that the entire validty of the church rests on the Pearl of Great Price version of the First Vision story:

http://www.i4m.com/think/intro/must_believe_vision.htm
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$1000 And $100 Dollar First Vision Challenge
Tuesday, May 3, 2005, at 08:49 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
The $1000 Challenge:

(A) Find ANY mention of the current official version of the First Vision in any document written or published before 1835. This could include newspaper accounts, journals, diaries, affidavits by Joseph's neighbore (there were many) Church proselyting material, sermons etc. Remember, it has to mention both God the Father and Jesus Christ appearing to JS and telling him to join no other churches. Remind your TBM brother that JS said that he kept telling this story and that it cause a lot of commotion and persecution towards him but he kept telling it anyway. Surely someone must have mentioned it somewhere in print before 1835.

(B) Find any indication that Brigham Young knew of the current version of the first vision. They can use the Journal of Discourses, Newspaper accounts, journals, church magazines, proselyting materials etc. Since BY preached many sermons on the nature of the Godhead this should be a piece of cake. After all the First Vision shows that God the Father and Jesus Christ were separate, distinct personages. Surely Brigham Young would mention this. To win the money they must show directly that BY knew of the details of the first vision. No fair saying "well, BY was a big mucky-muck in the church and knew JS personally so OF COURSE he knew about the first vision." They have to actually show that BY knew about it directly.

The $100 Challenge:

Tell your bishop that you will give him $100 if he can give you any evidence of the "official version" of the first vision. To count it must mention both God the Father and Jesus Christ appearing to JS and telling him to join none of the sects in answer to his question of which sect to join.

Now here's the kicker, they are limited to material that was in existence on or before 1835. That's 15 years AFTER the supposed event. There were diaries kept by many Church members. There were articles about Joseph Smith and the Mormons in various newspapers. There were affidavits sworn to by his neighbors who told what they knew about the Smith family and about Joseph in particular. The Mormons were publishing newspapers and various books and tracts then too. In NONE of these was the first vision (in anything close to the current "official" version) mentioned. In the PoGP JS says he kept telling about the first vision and was persecuted by the powers that be for saying it:

"22 I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects?all united to persecute me....

"24 However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise.

"25 So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation." (History of Joseph Smith, Pearl of Great Price)

Point out that in 1820 The historical record shows that there was no revival in Palmyra and that the revival that is described in the PoGP best fits the revival of 1824.

Point out that all evidence available is completely consistent with Joseph making up the whole story at least a decade after it supposedly happened and the evidence is NOT consistent with it having happened the way that JS claimed it did in the "official" version.

Don't argue with him, just give the $100 challenge. But point out that to win he must show ANY evidence that existed before 1835 that
  1. Joseph saw God the Father and Jesus Christ as separate personages.
  2. He asked which church to join.
  3. They instructed him to join none of them.
If he can show that these three aspects of the first vision were ever mentioned by anyone before 1835 then he gets $100 free and clear.

Oh, and point out that Joseph Smith's own Mother who carefully documented all of Joseph Smith's early visions as well as Joseph Smith Sr's dreams and visions makes no mention at all of the supposed first vision. If and when your bishop notes that Lucy Mack Smith's book has the first vision in Joseph's own words you can point out that the original manuscript that Mother Smith dictated had NO mention of the first vision at all but the book that was published by Orson Pratt added it in.

Second $100 challenge. Offer him a second $100 if he can show any direct evidence that Brigham Young was aware of the official version of the first vision. BY gave a gazillion sermons, the JoD is full of them. In none of them does he mention God the Father and Jesus Christ appearing to Joseph Smith in the grove in 1820. In fact, the closest BY comes to even mentioning any such thing is:

"The Lord did not come with the armies of heaven, in power and great glory, nor send His messengers panoplied with aught else than the truth of heaven, to communicate to the meek, the lowly, the youth of humble origin, the sincere enquirer after the knowlege of God. But He did send His angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith jun., who afterwards became a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day, for they were all wrong; that they were following the precepts of men instead of the Lord Jesus; that He had a work for him to perform, inasmuch as he should prove faithful before Him.<.i>" (Journal of Discourses, vol 2, p 171)

Note that this is talking about the "first vision" and not Moroni's (Nephi's?) visit as he was "informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day, for they were all wrong"

You can see the actual page from the JoD at:

http://www.irr.org/mit/WDIST/wdist-fv-jdv2p171.html

If that's not enough you can show him the various times JS forcefully declared that he wasn't practicing polygamy and that no such practice was happening in Nauvoo. This was done while JS had multiple wives and well after DandC 132.

So (1) we KNOW that JS had no problem lying publically about polygamy. (2) We have NO evidence that he even claimed the first vision happened until at least a decade after 1820. (3) Even the members of his own family had no recollection of him even claiming to have had the first vision. (4) The historical record of revivals in the area is not consistent with the claims of the first vision. (5) Even Brigham Young was not aware of the details of the first vision.

Given all this one can conclude "beyond reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty" that the first vision never happened and JS was just lying about it. Point out that many people have been sentenced to death on less conclusive evidence.

He gets $100 if he can prove you wrong.

Oh and one final thing. After you point out that the First Vision has been proven bogus quote Gordon B. Hinckley to him:

"We declare without equivocation that God the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, appeared in person to the boy Joseph Smith. When I was interviewed by Mike Wallace on the 60 Minutes program, he asked me if I actually believed that. I replied, "Yes, sir. That's the miracle of it." That is the way I feel about it. Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud. If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens." --GBH in October 2002 General Conference.
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Lucy Mack Smith's Book Is Strong Evidence Against The First Vision
Monday, Jul 11, 2005, at 09:37 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph Smith's mother, dictated her memories to a scribe. That resulted in a hand-written manuscript which was eventually massaged into a book by others, most notably Orson Pratt.

In Lucy's original manuscript she carefully documents her husband's dreams and visions (one of which is a dead ringer for the "Lehi Tree-Of-Life" dream in the Book of Mormon). She carefully describes Joseph's story of encountering Moroni and the whole story of the plates etc.

However in her original manuscript there is not even a hint of the First Vision. There is no mention of a revival in 1820, no talk of Joseph seeing the two Gods--nothing.

By the time the book made it to a publisher (with the help of Orson Pratt--who himself had recently published a book containing the "official account" of the First Vision) Joseph's word-for-word version (in Joseph's previously published words--not Lucy Mack Smith's words) was inserted into the text.

Given the amount of detail Lucy Mack Smith spends on all the other visions, dreams etc. in her book it is unthinkable that she would have overlooked the First Vision if it had actually been part of the family lore.

And remember, Joseph's story in the Pearl of Great Price talks of how he told the story and aroused great persecution against himself but he still could not deny it. If it had actually happened that way it would have been a red-letter, brass-plated, standout event in the Smith household. It would have been given a special place in Lucy's dictated memories. But in the original manuscript that she dictated there is nothing, zip, nada. Not even a hint.

Tell your FIL about my $1000 challenge. I will pay $1000 for proof of the existence of any document that mentions the first vision. The document can be a newspaper article, letter to the editor, diary or journal entry, published pamphlet, recorded sermon, affidavit from a neighbor--anything. It can be written by a Mormon, an anti-Mormon or a disinterested reporter. There are only two criteria it must meet to get the money:

(1) It must mention Joseph praying around 1820 to find which church is true and both God the Father and Jesus Christ appear and tell him none are true.

(2) The document must be in existence before 1835. This gives over 14 years since the supposed event. A time during which the church published newspapers, books and many pamphlets. A time when letters were written and diary entries made. A time when sermons were recorded and affidavits taken of testimony of Joseph's neighbors. A time when court cases were heard and testimony taken. In none of these that has ever been found to date is the First Vision mentioned with the details in criterion (1).

Furthermore I will also give $1000 for any proof that Brigham Young knew of the First Vision. Hundreds of letters, sermons, etc. of Youngs have been preserved. He often spoke on the character of God and how God and Jesus were separate beings. Of how God the Father had a body of flesh and bone. The evidence of Joseph actually seeing the bodies of the Father and the Son as separate beings would be the perfect "proof text" for Brigham Young to use on such an occasion.

The closest thing that exists is a passage in a sermon by Brigham Young in which Joseph wants to know which church is true and, according to Brigham Young, God did NOT appear to Joseph but sent his angel instead:

"The Lord did not come with the armies of heaven, in power and great glory, nor send His messengers panoplied with aught else than the truth of heaven, to communicate to the meek, the lowly, the youth of humble origin, the sincere enquirer after the knowlege of God. But He did send His angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith jun., who afterwards became a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day, for they were all wrong; that they were following the precepts of men instead of the Lord Jesus; that He had a work for him to perform, inasmuch as he should prove faithful before Him." (Brigham Young, Feb. 18, 1855, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, p.171)

Notice that Brigham is talking about the "angel" telling Joseph to join none of the sects and not of the angel telling Joseph about the plates.

Joseph's brother William Smith, an apostle, said basically the same thing in an interview.

Joseph's cousin, Apostle George Albert Smith, also gave the angel story about how Joseph found out all the churches were wrong. Those who knew Joseph the longest and best seemed to not know of the First Vision story even though it was published in a church periodical April 1, 1842. (a fitting date, don'tcha think?)

The historical and documentary record (including Lucy Mack Smith's book) is not consistent with Joseph's story of the First Vision, in the Pearl of Great Price, being true. The historical and documentary record is very consistant with Joseph making up the whole story at a later date.
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No Joke: TBMS Use Maple Sugar Production To Prove Date Of First Vision
Monday, Feb 13, 2006, at 07:31 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
I know it sounds ridiculous, but LDS periodical Meridian Magazine cites maple sugar production cycles as "evidence pointing toward a date for the First Vision."

See:
http://www.meridianmagazine.com/sci_rel/021009maple.html

Here are the REAL facts regarding a "date" for the First Vision:

Official Joseph Smith History, 1832, Joseph Smith Letterbook 1, pp.2,3, in the handwriting of Joseph Smith:

"I cried unto the Lord for mercy for there was none else to whom I could go and to obtain mercy and the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness and while in (the) attitude of calling upon the Lord (in the 16th year of my age) a piller of fire light above the brightness of the sun at noon day come down from above and rested upon me and I was filled with the spirit of god and the (Lord) opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying Joseph (my son) thy sins are forgiven thee." See: http://www.irr.org/mit/First-Vision-Scans/first-vision-1832.html

Joseph Smith was "in his 16th year" (age 15) in the spring of 1821, not 1820.

Official History of Mormonism written by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, published in the Messenger and Advocate, Kirtland, Ohio, Dec. 1834, vol.1, no.3:

“You will recollect that I mentioned the time of a religious excitement, in Palmyra and vicinity to have been in the 15th year of our brother J. Smith Jr.’s age – that was an error in the type – it should have been in the 17th. – You will please remember this correction, as it will be necessary for the full understanding of what will follow in time. This would bring the date down to the year 1823. “I do not deem it necessary to write further on the subject of this excitement. … “And it is only necessary for me to say, that while this excitement continued, he continued to call upon the Lord in secret for a full manifestation of divine approbation, and for, to him, the all important information, if a Supreme being did exist, to have an assurance that he was accepted of him." See: http://www.irr.org/mit/First-Vision-Scans/first-vision-1834-35.html

Joseph Smith was "in his 17th year" (age 16) in the spring of 1822, not 1820.

Joseph Smith's Diary, Nov. 9, 1835:

"I called on the Lord in mightly prayer, a pillar of fire appeared above my head, it presently rested down upon me, and filled me with Joy unspeakable, 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. I was about 14 years old when I received this first communication." See: http://www.irr.org/mit/First-Vision-Scans/first-vision-1835A.html

Saying "about 14 years old" is the same as saying "about 1820" which does not fix the date by any means.

Another account written by Joseph Smith found in History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 312:

"I gave him a brief relation of my experience while in my juvenile years, say from six years old up to the time I received the first visitation of angels, which was when I was about fourteen years old." See: http://www.irr.org/mit/First-Vision-Scans/first-vision-1835B.html

Again, Smith says "about fourteen years old" but also says the experience was a "visitation of angels," not the lone visit of God the Father and Jesus Christ.

Official version, written by a scribe (not Smith) in 1838 but not published until 1842:

"So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally." See: http://www.irr.org/mit/First-Vision-Scans/first-vision-1838.html

This scribe made the story sound more real by adding clear descriptions of the time. But was this really the first time Joseph Smith had ever prayed outloud, as the story asserts?

Joseph Smith's own mother dated the first vision story to revivals that occurred after the death of Alvin Smith in late 1823.

There was no revival in or around Palmyra in 1820. Even the Church came close to admitting this fact in the Ensign Magazine. From "Joseph Smith’s Testimony of the First Vision," Ensign, Apr. 1996, page 10:

"Contemporary newspapers completely support Lucy Smith’s history here, recording a community revival around Palmyra, New York, that centered in late 1824 and early 1825. ... Some discredit the 1820 visitation by claiming that Joseph was unreliable in memory, loosely recalling the 1824–1825 revivals that are so easily documented. ... Were there local revivals in the early spring of 1820? This is a loaded question because it narrows geography as well as the Prophet’s own time limits. ... He turned twelve on 23 December 1817, and that year a major revival was reported in Palmyra, with 150 people displaying “the triumphs of grace.” So religious awakenings in the vicinity reached scores in 1817 and hundreds in 1824, as indicated above."

The official church publication does not provide any evidence of any revival in 1820, but suggests that because there were documented revivals in 1817 and 1824, that maybe there was a revival in 1820. But there is absolutely no evidence of it! See: http://www.irr.org/mit/fvision.html

Instead of looking at weather reports and maple sugar production, Mormons should be looking at the hard facts available in the historical record.

And what is the most reasonable conclusion based on the real facts?
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The Power Of Narration: Joseph Smith Didn't Write The First Vision Story
Monday, Feb 13, 2006, at 07:32 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
In an earlier thread, I pointed out that the official version of the "First Vision" story was not written by Joseph Smith, but by a scribe. See that original post here: http://www.i4m.com/think/history/first_vision.htm

Some have asked why it matters that Joseph Smith didn't write it.

It's important because the church has a history of denying things because they were not written by Joseph Smith. For example, in the case of the Kinderhook Plates fraud, the church completely absolves Smith of any wrongdoing because his scribes wrote in the first-person to pretend Joseph Smith translated the plates.

As far as the church is concerned, the fact that Joseph Smith's scribes wrote that he translated the Kinderhook plates and pretended Smith wrote it, completely discredits the claim.

In the official History of the Church, Joseph Smith is recorded as saying he translated the Kinderhook Plates, along with this description:

“May 1, 1843: I insert facsimiles of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook, in Pike county, Illinois, on April 23, by Mr. R. Wiley and others, while excavating a large mound. They found a skeleton about six feet from the surface of the earth, which must have stood nine feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the skeleton, and were covered on both sides with ancient characters. I [Joseph Smith] have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth.
- Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.372, also published as Joseph Smith's writing in Millenial Star, Vol. XXI., p. 40.

Yet despite this first-person account attributed to Joseph Smith, the church now absolves Smith of any involvement with the Kinderhook plates because this journal entry was not really written by Joseph Smith, but his faithful personal secretary William Clayton.

In the Church's official publication, Ensign Magazine, the church explains:

"Although this [first-person] account appears to be the writing of Joseph Smith, it is actually an excerpt from a journal of William Clayton. It has been well known that the serialized “History of Joseph Smith” consists largely of items from other persons’ personal journals and other sources, collected during Joseph Smith’s lifetime and continued after the Saints were in Utah, then edited and pieced together to form a history of the Prophet’s life “in his own words.” It was not uncommon in the nineteenth century for biographers to put the narrative in the first person when compiling a biographical work, even though the subject of the biography did not actually say or write all the words attributed to him; thus the narrative would represent a faithful report of what others felt would be helpful to print. The Clayton journal excerpt was one item used in this way. For example, the words “I have translated a portion” originally read “President J. has translated a portion."

"Where the ideas written by William Clayton originated is unknown. However, as will be pointed out later, speculation about the plates and their possible content was apparently quite unrestrained in Nauvoo when the plates first appeared. In any case, this altered version of the extract from William Clayton’s journal was reprinted in the Millennial Star of 15 January 1859, and, unfortunately, was finally carried over into official Church history when the “History of Joseph Smith” was edited into book form as the History of the Church in 1909."

"That other members may have been less judicious and not guided in the same way cannot be laid at the Prophet’s feet. Many people, now as well as then, have an appetite for hearsay and a hope for “easy evidence” to bolster or even substitute for personal spirituality and hard-won faith that comes from close familiarity with truth and communion with God."
- Excerpts from Stanley B. Kimball, “Kinderhook Plates Brought to Joseph Smith Appear to Be a Nineteenth-Century Hoax,” Ensign, Aug. 1981, page 66

What the church now says about these fake Joseph Smith journal entries should be equally applied to the official First Vision story, which also pretends to be written by Joseph Smith but was written by a scribe.

Applying the church's standard, here's how the official First Vision story should accurately read:

"But, exerting all his powers to call upon God to deliver him out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon him, and at the very moment when he was ready to sink into despair and abandon himself to destruction–not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as he had never before felt in any being–just at this moment of great alarm, he saw a pillar of light exactly over his head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon him."

"It no sooner appeared than he found himself delivered from the enemy which held him bound. When the light rested upon him he saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above him in the air. One of them spake unto him, calling him by name and said, pointing to the other–This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"

Reading this story in its true third-person form reveals that it is not an eye-witness account or a personal testimony, but an embellished story written by someone else nearly twenty years after the alleged occurrence.

The scribe who wrote the First vision story was not there, but was writing a story to "represent a faithful report of what others felt would be helpful to print" as the church describes other things it has falsely attributed to Joseph Smith.

If the church is willing to come clean on Smith's Kinderhook plates translation journal entries, why not the First Vision narrative?
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History Of Denial: LDS Prophets And The First Vision
Monday, Feb 13, 2006, at 07:35 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
"A testimony begins with the acceptance by faith of the divine mission of Jesus Christ, the head of this Church; and the prophet of the Restoration, Joseph Smith. The gospel as restored by Joseph Smith is either true or it is not."

"No one was with the boy Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York, when God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared. Yet even those who do not believe it happened may find it difficult to explain away. Too much has happened since it occurred to deny that it ever took place."
- Elder James E. Faust, General Conference, October 2003 Saturday Morning Session

Has the church ever denied the "First Vision" story that modern church members know today?

In 1834

"You will recollect that I mentioned the time of a religious excitement, in Palmyra and vicinity to have been in the 15th year of our brother J. Smith Jr.’s age – that was an error in the type – it should have been in the 17th. – You will please remember this correction, as it will be necessary for the full understanding of what will follow in time. This would bring the date down to the year 1823... while this (religious) excitement continued, he continued to call upon the Lord in secret for a full manifestation of divine approbation, and for, to him, the all important information, if a Supreme being did exist, to have an assurance that he was accepted of him."

"On the evening of the 21st of September, 1823, previous to retiring to rest, our brother’s mind was unusually wrought up on the subject which had so long agitated his mind, all he desired was to be prepared in heart to commune with some kind of messenger who could communicate to him the desired information of his acceptance with God. While continuing in prayer for a manifestation in some way that his sins were forgiven; endeavoring to exercise faith in the scriptures, on a sudden a light like that of day, only of a purer and far more glorious appearance and brightness burst into the room. It is no easy task to describe the appearance of a messenger from the skies. But it may be well to relate the particulars as far as given – The stature of this personage was a little above the common size of men in this age; his garment was perfectly white, and had the appearance of being without seam. Though fear was banished from his heart, yet his surprise was no less when he heard him declare himself to be a messenger sent by commandment of the Lord, to deliver a special message, and to witness to him that his sins were forgiven, and that his prayers were heard;"
- Oliver Cowdery with Joseph Smith's help, Messenger and Advocate, Kirtland, Ohio, Dec. 1834, vol.1, no.3

In 1854

"Some one may say, 'If this work of the last days be true, why did not the Saviour come himself to communicate this intelligence to the world?' Because to the angels was committed the power of reaping the earth, and it was committed to none else."
- Apostle Orson Hyde, General Conference Address, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p.335

In 1855

Church President and Prophet Brigham Young taught on Feb. 18, 1855: "...so it was in the advent of thi new dispensation....The messenger did not come to an eminent divine...The Lord did not come with the armies of heaven,...But He did send His angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith jun., who afterwards became a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day,..." ( Journal of Discourses, vol.2, p.171)

(It is certain Young is speaking of the First Vision for he says the angel told Smith to join no church for they were all wrong. This is the very question the official version of the story states Smith asked of the Father and the Son in the Sacred Grove.)

A few days later Apostle Wilford Woodruff declared: "That same organization and Gospel that Christ died for, and the Apostles spilled their blood to vindicate, is again established in this generation. How did it come? By the ministering of an holy angel from God,... The angel taught Joseph Smith those principles which are necessary for the salvation of the world;... He told him the Gospel was not among men, and that there was not a true organization of His kingdom in the world,... This man to whom the angel appeared obeyed the Gospel;..." (Journal of Discourses, Vol.2, pp.196-197)

In 1857

Church Apostle Heber C. Kimball, speaking Nov. 8th, 1857, seemed to be oblivious to any vision where Smith saw God and Christ: "Do you suppose that God in person called upon Joseph Smith, our Prophet? God called upon him; but God did not come himself and call, but he sent Peter to do it. Do you not see? He sent Peter and sent Moroni to Joseph, and told him that he had got the plates." (Journal of Discourses, vol.6, p.29)

In 1863

Church Apostle John Taylor explained in a sermon March 1, 1863: "How did this state of things called Mormonism originate? We read that an angel came down and revealed himself to Joseph Smith and manifested unto him in vision the true position of the world in a religious point of view." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p.127)

Church Apostle George A. Smith, Nov. 15th, 1863, preached: "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)

In 1869

Five years later Apostle Smith again referred to Smith's first vision: "He sought the Lord by day and by night, and was enlightened by the vision of an holy angel. When this personage appeared to him, of his first inquiries was, 'Which of the denominations of Christians in the vicinity was right?' " (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p.77-78 June 20, 1869 )

Nowdays the church insists that the validity of the church rests on the latest First Vision story being literally true

"Our entire case as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the validity of this glorious First Vision. ... Nothing on which we base our doctrine, nothing we teach, nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God the Father and His Beloved Son, then all else of which he spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life."
- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign Mag., Nov. 1998, pp.70-71

As I see it, there are four great foundation stones on which this Church stands, irremovable. The first, the great First Vision, the visit of the Father and the Son to the boy Joseph Smith, the opening of the heavens in this the dispensation of the fulness of times, the great bringing together of all of the work of God in all the past dispensations throughout the history of the world. The curtain was parted with that First Vision, and it stands as an absolute fundamental in the Church and its history and its well-being.
- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Aug. 1998, 72

"Some have foolishly said, 'Take away Joseph Smith and his prayer in the grove and the First Vision, and we can accept your message.' Such people would have us bury the treasure of saving truths already cited, and many more, and turn our backs on the most important event that has taken place in all world history from the day of Christ’s ministry to the glorious hour when the First Vision occurred.
- Elder Carlos E. Asay, “One Small Step for a Man; One Giant Leap for Mankind,” Ensign, May 1990, page 62

"We declare without equivocation that God the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, appeared in person to the boy Joseph Smith. When I was interviewed by Mike Wallace on the 60 Minutes program, he asked me if I actually believed that. I replied, "Yes, sir. That's the miracle of it." That is the way I feel about it. Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud. If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens."

"Upon that unique and wonderful experience stands the validity of this Church."

"That They came, both of Them, that Joseph saw Them in Their resplendent glory, that They spoke to him and that he heard and recorded Their words–of these remarkable things we testify. I knew a so-called intellectual who said the Church was trapped by its history. My response was that without that history we have nothing. The truth of that unique, singular, and remarkable event is the pivotal substance of our faith."
- Mormon Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith," October 2002 General Conference Address

More holes in the First Vision story:
http://www.i4m.com/think/lists/mormon_questions.htm
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Mormon Magazine Cites "Evidence" For Setting Date Of First Vision
Thursday, Dec 21, 2006, at 09:46 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
I know it sounds ridiculous, but LDS periodical Meridian Magazine cites maple sugar production cycles as "evidence pointing toward a date for the First Vision."

See: http://www.meridianmagazine.com/sci_r...

Inspired by this "evidence," there's even a First Vision maple syrup now!

See: http://timesandseasons.net/history.ht...

Here are the REAL facts regarding a "date" for the First Vision:

Official Joseph Smith History, 1832, Joseph Smith Letterbook 1, pp.2,3, in the handwriting of Joseph Smith:

"I cried unto the Lord for mercy for there was none else to whom I could go and to obtain mercy and the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness and while in (the) attitude of calling upon the Lord (in the 16th year of my age) a piller of fire light above the brightness of the sun at noon day come down from above and rested upon me and I was filled with the spirit of god and the (Lord) opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying Joseph (my son) thy sins are forgiven thee." See: http://www.irr.org/mit/First-Vision-S...

Joseph Smith was "in his 16th year" (age 15) in the spring of 1821, not 1820.

Official History of Mormonism written by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, published in the Messenger and Advocate, Kirtland, Ohio, Dec. 1834, vol.1, no.3:

“You will recollect that I mentioned the time of a religious excitement, in Palmyra and vicinity to have been in the 15th year of our brother J. Smith Jr.’s age – that was an error in the type – it should have been in the 17th. – You will please remember this correction, as it will be necessary for the full understanding of what will follow in time. This would bring the date down to the year 1823. “I do not deem it necessary to write further on the subject of this excitement. … “And it is only necessary for me to say, that while this excitement continued, he continued to call upon the Lord in secret for a full manifestation of divine approbation, and for, to him, the all important information, if a Supreme being did exist, to have an assurance that he was accepted of him." See: http://www.irr.org/mit/First-Vision-S...

Joseph Smith was "in his 17th year" (age 16) in the spring of 1822, not 1820.

Joseph Smith's Diary, Nov. 9, 1835:

"I called on the Lord in mightly prayer, a pillar of fire appeared above my head, it presently rested down upon me, and filled me with Joy unspeakable, 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. I was about 14 years old when I received this first communication." See: http://www.irr.org/mit/First-Vision-S...

Saying "about 14 years old" is the same as saying "about 1820" which does not fix the date by any means.

Another account written by Joseph Smith found in History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 312:

"I gave him a brief relation of my experience while in my juvenile years, say from six years old up to the time I received the first visitation of angels, which was when I was about fourteen years old." See: http://www.irr.org/mit/First-Vision-S...

Again, Smith says "about fourteen years old" but also says the experience was a "visitation of angels," not the lone visit of God the Father and Jesus Christ.

Official version, written by a scribe (not Smith) in 1838 but not published until 1842:

"So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally." See: http://www.irr.org/mit/First-Vision-S...

This scribe made the story sound more real by adding clear descriptions of the time. But was this really the first time Joseph Smith had ever prayed out loud, as the story asserts?

Joseph Smith's own mother dated the first vision story to revivals that occurred after the death of Alvin Smith in late 1823.

There was no revival in or around Palmyra in 1820. Even the Church came close to admitting this fact in the Ensign Magazine. From "Joseph Smith’s Testimony of the First Vision," Ensign, Apr. 1996, page 10:

"Contemporary newspapers completely support Lucy Smith’s history here, recording a community revival around Palmyra, New York, that centered in late 1824 and early 1825. ... Some discredit the 1820 visitation by claiming that Joseph was unreliable in memory, loosely recalling the 1824–1825 revivals that are so easily documented. ... Were there local revivals in the early spring of 1820? This is a loaded question because it narrows geography as well as the Prophet’s own time limits. ... He turned twelve on 23 December 1817, and that year a major revival was reported in Palmyra, with 150 people displaying “the triumphs of grace.” So religious awakenings in the vicinity reached scores in 1817 and hundreds in 1824, as indicated above."

The official church publication does not provide any evidence of any revival in 1820, but suggests that because there were documented revivals in 1817 and 1824, that maybe there was a revival in 1820. But there is absolutely no evidence of it! See: http://www.irr.org/mit/fvision.html

Instead of looking at weather reports and maple sugar production, Mormons should be looking at the hard facts available in the historical record.

Here is a list of top 10 questions regarding the First Vision:

http://www.i4m.com/think/lists/mormon...
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Any Body Home?: Forget Joseph Smith's First Vision Fable. Smith Actually Taught That God The Father Did Not Have A Tangible, Physical Body
Monday, Feb 19, 2007, at 09:18 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Benson
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
WOULD THE REAL MORMON HEAVENLY FATHER PLEASE STAND UP (THAT IS, IF YOU CAN STAND)?

Joseph Smith, the proclaimed Mormon prophet of the Restoration who supposedly was visited by the physical personages of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, apparently couldn't keep his memories and teachings straight on the body of evidence, so to speak, when it came to deciding whether God the Father actually had a body.

On the one hand, Smith taught unequivocably, (and as every good Mormon knows), that God the Father possesses a body of genuine flesh and bones.

On the other, Smith also emphatically preached that the Mormon Heavenly Father has no physical body.

As Jumpin' Joe declared and as reported in "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith:"

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. . . . I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form-like yourselves in all the person, image and very form as a man. . . . (p. 345)

Likewise, Smith declared in presently canonized LDS scripture, found in the Doctrine and Covenants, that "[t]he Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's. . . ." (Section 130:22)

Indeed,in the Mormon Church's presently official version of Smith's First Vision, God is described as one of the two "Personages" Smith reportedly saw in the grove of trees, the other one being God's son, Jesus Christ ("Joseph Smith--History," in Pearl of Great Price 1:17-19).

ABOUT-FACING ON GOD'S FACE

Yet, 15 years after supposedly seeing God in the flesh in Palymra, New York, Smith was blatantly contradicting his own teachings on the alleged physical nature of God's body--instead declaring by that time (and as official Mormon Church doctrine) that God the Father did NOT possess a physical, tangible tabernacle of a body.

Mormon historian Thomas Alexandar, in his essay, "The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine," admits that Joseph Smith did a complete about-face on God's face, writing:

" . . . [T]he doctrine of God preached and believed before 1835 was essentially trinitarian, with God the Father seen as an absolute personage of Spirit, Jesus Christ as a personage of tabernacle, and the Holy Ghost as an impersonal spiritual member of the Godhead. . . .

"The 'Lectures on Faith' differentiated between the Father and Son somewhat more explicitly, but even they did not define a materialistic, tritheistic Godhead.

"In announcing the publication of the Doctrine and Covenants which included the 'Lectures on Faith,' the 'Messenger and Advocate' commented editorially that it trusted the volume would give 'the churches abroad . . . . a perfect understanding of the doctrine believed by this society.'

"The Lectures declared that 'there are two personages who constitute the great matchless, governing and supreme power over all things-by whom all things were created and made.' They are 'the Father being a personage of spirit,' and 'the Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man, or being in the form and likeness of man, or, rather, man war, formed after his likeness, and in his image.'"

http://lds-mormon.com/changod.shtml

Any body home?

I first read this astounding contradiction in Jerald and Sandra Tanner's "The Changing World of Mormonism," when I was seriously re-examining my faith in the LDS cult.

What I discovered in the empirical record on this matter had a profound impact on my view of the Mormon Church's lack of credibility, in terms of it harboring neither consistent doctrine or honest history.

Below is what the Tanners' reported:

"In 1835 the 'Lectures on Faith,' which were originally delivered before a class of the Elders, in Kirtland, Ohio, were printed in the Doctrine and Covenants.

"In these Lectures it was definitely stated that God the Father was a personage of spirit. In the Fifth Lecture we find this statement about the Godhead:

"' . . . [T]he Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power, possessing all perfection and fulness, the Son, ... a personage of tabernacle . . ." (Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 Edition, p. 53) . . .

"President Joseph Fielding Smith admits that Joseph Smith helped prepare these Lectures:

"'Now the Prophet did know something about these 'Lectures on Faith,' because he helped to prepare them, and he helped also to revise these lectures before they were published . . .'(Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, page 195)

"These 'Lectures on Faith' were printed in all of the early editions of the Doctrine and Covenants, but they have been removed from recent editions.

"John William Fitzgerald, in his thesis, 'A Study of the Doctrine and Covenants,' states as follows:

"'The reasons for the omission of these Lectures from the Doctrine and Covenants beginning in the 1921 edition and all the subsequent editions as given to the writer by Elder Joseph Fielding Smith were as follows:

"'(a) They were not received as revelations by the prophet Joseph Smith.

"'(b) They are instructions relative to the general subject of faith. They are explanations of this principle but not doctrine.

"'(c) They are not complete as to their teachings regarding the Godhead. More complete instructions on the point of doctrine are given in section 130 of the 1876 and all subsequent editions of the Doctrine and Covenants.

"'(d) It was thought by Elder James E. Talmage, chairman, and other members of the committee who were responsible for their omission that to avoid confusion and contention on this vital point of belief, it would be better not to have them bound in the same volume as the commandments or revelations which make up the Doctrine and Covenants.' ("A Study of the Doctrine and Covenants," M.A. Thesis, Brigham Young University, p. 344)

"The reasons Joseph Fielding Smith gave John William Fitzgerald as to why the 'Lectures on Faith' were removed from the Doctrine and Covenants are very interesting. Reason (a), that they 'were not received as revelations,' could hardly be considered at all.

"If every section that is not a revelation was removed from the Doctrine and Covenants, it would be a much shorter book. There are a least nine, if not more, sections from the Doctrine and Covenants that are not revelations; they are sections 102, 113, 121, 123, 128, 131, 134 and 135.

"Reason (b), that they were not doctrine does not agree with the statement on page 256 of the 1835 Edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.

"This statement reads as follows:

"'. . . that the lectures were judiciously arranged and compiled, and were profitable for doctrine . . . '

"Joseph Smith himself signed a statement which was printed in the Preface to the 1835 Edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. In this statement we read:

"'The first part of the book will be found to contain a series of Lectures as delivered before a Theological class in this place, and in consequence of their embracing the important DOCTRINE OF SALVATION, we have arranged them into the following work.'

"Reason (c) 'that they are not complete as to their teachings regarding the Godhead' is getting much closer to the truth than the first two reasons.

"A more correct way of wording this, however, might be, 'they contradict what is now taught concerning the Godhead in the Mormon Church.'

"Actually, these Lectures were considered complete with regard to their teachings concerning the Godhead at the time they were given.

"On page 58 of the 1835 Edition of the Doctrine and Covenants the following question and answer appear:

"'Q. Does the foregoing account of the Godhead lay a sure foundation for the exercise of faith in him unto life and salvation?

"'A. IT DOES.'

"Now that the Mormon Church teaches a plurality of Gods and that men become Gods, these Lectures are considered 'not complete' as to their teachings on the Godhead.

"Actually, they contradict what is presently taught by the Church leaders with regard to this subject.

"Reason (d), that to avoid 'confusion and contention on this vital point of belief, it would be better not to have them bound in the same volume,' is probably the true reason they were left out.

"Certainly it would cause confusion and contention in the Mormon Church if one of the elders started to teach that God is a personage of spirit . . . as the 'Lectures on Faith' taught.

"To avoid 'confusion and contention' the Mormon leaders slyly removed the 'Lectures on Faith' from the Doctrine and Covenants, even though Joseph Smith had thought them important enough to be included.

"John William Fitzgerald states as follows on page 345 of his thesis, 'A Study of the Doctrine and Covenants':

"'The "Lectures on Faith" were voted on unanimously by the conference assembled August 17, 1835 to be included in the forthcoming book of doctrine and covenants. The writer could find no documentary evidence that they were voted on by the general conference of the Church to be omitted in the 1921 and all subsequent editions of the Doctrine [and] Covenants.'

http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/l...

FACING THE TRUTH: THE MORMON GOD DOESN"T HAVE A PHYSICAL LEG TO STAND ON

What we have here is stunning evidence that Joseph Smith either did not see what he claimed to have seen in the First Vision--namely, God and Jesus Christ as personages/tabernacles of physical tangibleness--or that what he supposedly saw as a physical God the Father he later drastically altered in his official teachings on Mormon Church doctrine, so that God ended up being a spirit only, with no corporeal body.

In any event, Smith's problematic "Lectures on Faith" have now been removed from the official canon of the LDS faith--and for good reason:

To leave them standing as official Mormon teaching serves only to expose the utter lies of Mormon history and doctrine.
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The First Vision Wasn't Even Known By Church Members Until 1842
Monday, Apr 2, 2007, at 07:49 AM
Original Author(s): Deconstructor
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
In response to the Joseph Smith DVD distributed by Concerned Christians, FAIR defends here: http://en.fairmormon.org/index.php/Se... And they mention the references below.

FAIR states:
The DVD fails to mention a substantial number of additional First Vision recitals given during the Prophet's lifetime:

1831 sermon by the Prophet reported by Lorenzo Snow
1833 remarks by the Prophet reported by John Alger
1834 sermon by the Prophet reported by Joseph Curtis and Edward Stevenson
1835 missionary statements reported by Samuel Richards
1837 sermon by the Prophet reported by Mary Horne
1839 interview with the Prophet's parents reported by Wandle Mace
1840 missionary pamphlet published by Orson Pratt
1842 missionary pamphlet published by Orson Hyde
1843 sermon by the Prophet reported by Levi Richards
1843 interview with Joseph Smith published in the Pittsburgh Gazette
1844 interview with the Prophet reported by Alexander Neibaur"
Has anyone checked these out? Are they more obscurantism?

From Dialog Magazine:

"As far as Mormon literature is concerned, there was apparently no reference to Joseph Smith's first vision in any published material in the 1830's. Joseph Smith's history, which was begun in 1838, was not published until it ran serially in the Times and Seasons in 1842. The famous "Wentworth Letter," which contained a much less detailed account of the vision, appeared March 1, 1842, in the same periodical. Introductory material to the Book of Mormon, as well as publicity about it, told of Joseph Smith's obtaining the gold plates and of angelic visitations, but nothing was printed that remotely suggested earlier visitations."

"In 1833 the Church published the Book of Commandments, forerunner to the present Doctrine and Covenants, and again no reference was made to Joseph's first vision, although several references were made to the Book of Mormon and the circumstances of its origin."

"The first regular periodical to be published by the Church was The Evening and Morning Star, but its pages reveal no effort to tell the story of the first vision to its readers. Nor do the pages of the Latter-day Saints Messenger and Advocate, printed in Kirtland, Ohio, from October, 1834, to September, 1836. In this newspaper Oliver Cowdery, who was second only to Joseph Smith in the early organization of the Church, published a series of letters dealing with the origin of the Church. These letters were written with the approval of Joseph Smith, but they contained no mention of any vision prior to those connected with the Book of Mormon."

"In 1835 the Doctrine and Covenants was printed at Kirtland, Ohio, and its preface declared that it contained "the leading items of religion which we have professed to believe." Included in the book were the "Lectures on Faith," a series of seven lectures which had been prepared for the School of the Prophets in Kirtland in 1834-35. It is interesting to note that, in demonstrating the doctrine that the Godhead consists of two separate personages, no mention was made of Joseph Smith having seen them, nor was any reference made to the first vision in any part of the publication."

"The first important missionary pamphlet of the Church was the Voice of Warning, published in 1837 by Parley P. Pratt. The book contains long sections on items important to missionaries of the 1830's, such as fulfillment of prophecy, the Book of Mormon, external evidence of the book's authenticity, the resurrection, and the nature of revelation, but nothing, again, on the first vision."

"The Times and Seasons began publication in 1839, but, as indicated above, the story of the vision was not told in its pages until 1842. From all this it would appear that the general church membership did not receive information about the first vision until the 1840's and that the story certainly did not hold the prominent place in Mormon thought that it does today." - Dialogue, Vol.1, No.3, p.31 - p.32

In 1854

"Some one may say, 'If this work of the last days be true, why did not the Saviour come himself to communicate this intelligence to the world?' Because to the angels was committed the power of reaping the earth, and it was committed to none else." - Apostle Orson Hyde, General Conference Address, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p.335

In 1855

Church President and Prophet Brigham Young taught on Feb. 18, 1855:

"...so it was in the advent of thi new dispensation....The messenger did not come to an eminent divine...The Lord did not come with the armies of heaven,...But He did send His angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith jun., who afterwards became a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day,..." - Journal of Discourses, vol.2, p.171

(It is certain Young is speaking of the First Vision for he says the angel told Smith to join no church for they were all wrong. This is the very question the official version of the story states Smith asked of the Father and the Son in the Sacred Grove.)

A few days later Apostle Wilford Woodruff declared:

"That same organization and Gospel that Christ died for, and the Apostles spilled their blood to vindicate, is again established in this generation. How did it come? By the ministering of an holy angel from God,... The angel taught Joseph Smith those principles which are necessary for the salvation of the world;... He told him the Gospel was not among men, and that there was not a true organization of His kingdom in the world,... This man to whom the angel appeared obeyed the Gospel;..." - Journal of Discourses, Vol.2, pp.196-197

In 1857

Church Apostle Heber C. Kimball, speaking Nov. 8th, 1857, seemed to be oblivious to any vision where Smith saw God and Christ:

"Do you suppose that God in person called upon Joseph Smith, our Prophet? God called upon him; but God did not come himself and call, but he sent Peter to do it. Do you not see? He sent Peter and sent Moroni to Joseph, and told him that he had got the plates." - Journal of Discourses, vol.6, p.29

In 1863

Church Apostle John Taylor explained in a sermon March 1, 1863:

"How did this state of things called Mormonism originate? We read that an angel came down and revealed himself to Joseph Smith and manifested unto him in vision the true position of the world in a religious point of view." - Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p.127

Church Apostle George A. Smith, Nov. 15th, 1863, preached:

"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

In 1869

Five years later Apostle Smith again referred to Smith's first vision:

"He sought the Lord by day and by night, and was enlightened by the vision of an holy angel. When this personage appeared to him, of his first inquiries was, 'Which of the denominations of Christians in the vicinity was right?'" - Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p.77-78 June 20, 1869

Yet today, Mormons MUST believe the First Vision story, says Gordon B. Hinckley:

http://www.i4m.com/think/intro/must_b...
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First Installment By The Church News Testimony Cavalry
Saturday, Jun 2, 2007, at 09:45 AM
Original Author(s): Feeling Henry Jacobs
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
The Church News (Scott Lloyd) is embarking on a crusade to shore up member testimonies in the wake of the PBS documentary, which I think had a more damaging effect than anyone in the church predicted.

Here are some tidbits from the 1st installment which addresses the varying accounts of the First Vision. The fact that the Church News even prints the words "varying accounts of the First Vision" tells me the church has conceded that the information horse is way out of the barn at this point. The strategy now is to force the FAIR type spin into the consciousness of the average members and hope they swallow it.

The article tries hard, using all the usual apologetic wordsmithing, to assure readers that the only problem here is that THERE IS NO PROBLEM HERE. The critics(antagonists) are just fussing over nothing as usual.

The article's basic defense is that Joseph fashioned his story to his different circumstances and audiences.

According to James B. Allen, "Why would we not expect some differences to occur – after all, which of us tells a story exactly the same way every time?" "Although each narrative emphasizes different ideas and events, none is incompatible with other accounts," "There is a striking consistency throughout all the narratives"

THE ARTICLE INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING POINT/COUNTERPOINT

Criticism: The 1832 account mentions only one heavenly visitor, not two.

Response: Nothing in the account claims there was only one personage. Writing in the April 1996 Ensign, Richard Lloyd Anderson, BYU professor of ancient scripture, noted: "The Prophet writes poignantly about seeking God and adds: 'And the Lord opened the heavens upon me, and I saw the Lord,' Then follow the words of the Savior... . Possibly the term Lord referred to the Father in the first instance, while afterward referring to the Son, who declared (H)is atonement for the sins of all. This is the most personalized of all the vision accounts, and Joseph Smith is preoccupied with Christ's assurance, evidently only hinting at the presence of the Father."

Criticism: The 1838-39 account describes a religious revival, yet no such movement can be documented in the town of Palmyra, N.Y., in the spring of 1820.

Response: The account doesn't mention Palmyra specifically, but rather, refers to "the place where we lived" (Manchester township) and the "whole district of country," which could be interpreted broadly. And it says the religious excitement took place "in the second year after our removal to Manchester," which could have been in 1819 or 1820. "Professor Milton Backman has demonstrated conclusively that there was considerable religious excitement in the general area of the Burned-over District of western New York in 1819 and 1820, and that 'spiritual quickenings' were particularly intense in 1819," Brother Allen wrote in his 1970 article.

Criticism: Some have pointed to a possible discrepancy between the 1832 account and later versions. In 1832, Joseph said he had decided after studying the scriptures that no denomination was built upon the New Testament gospel. Yet in the original 1838 account is the parenthetical statement that "at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong."

Response: In a January 1985 Ensign article, Milton V. Backman, BYU professor of Church history, reasoned: "Perhaps the statements are not contradictory. Through a study of the Bible (an intellectual analysis) Joseph Smith may have decided that all the churches he knew of were wrong. At the time he entered the grove, however, and at other times, he may have believed in his heart that God's true church existed somewhere – he just didn't know where." Viewed in another way, the foregoing may have fit what young Joseph came to learn – and what Church members have been taught through the years – is the pattern for receiving personal revelation: First, study and ponder the problem in one's mind; then arrive at a tentative conclusion; finally seek confirmation from the Lord in prayer (see Doctrine and Covenants 9:8-9). In this case, such confirmation came in a very dramatic fashion, one that has eternally blessed mankind.
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Deseret News, May 29, 1852 - Joseph Smith Stating He Saw Angels In The First Vision
Monday, Jul 9, 2007, at 06:44 AM
Original Author(s): Infymus
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-

This is a photograph of the Deseret News, May 29, 1852. Notice that Joseph Smith stated that "angels" appeared to him in the First Vision. The word "angels" has been removed in the current version of the "History Of The Church".
"I received the first visitation of angels, which was when I was about fourteen years old; also the revelations that I received afterwards concerning the Book of Mormon, and a short account of the rise and progress of the church up to this date."
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Quinn Says Smith Did Not Go To Pray In Early Spring 1820
Tuesday, Jul 17, 2007, at 12:58 PM
Original Author(s): Jimmy Rainbow
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
I promised myself I was not doing any more of this type of post, but…

Following my post on 8th July on Quinn lying in chapter 6 of the Magic World View (which, following my correcting a typo, after only a day on the board, is still in cyberspace as despite emails to Eric, admin still haven’t put it back up on the board yet) I had an email from Richard Packham, in which he wondered if I had read Quinn’s recent Dialogue article on an 1820 revival. I hadn’t, located it and was determined not to write any more concerning his work but it is so silly, I just can’t believe he wrote it. A page to mention the facts maybe but…

Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. (Dialogue Paperless: E-Paper #3, Expanded Version (Definitive) December 20, 2006).

Joseph Smith’s Experience of a Methodist “Camp Meeting” in 1820.

By Michael D. Quinn.

Quinn somehow manages to write 54 pages (and even more pages of references) total 110 pages in the html version) just to evidence a June “camp meeting” of the Methodists in 1820, (they had no chapel until 1822) thus claiming that there was at least some minor revival in 1820. As Smith remembers his vision being “early spring of 1820” it won’t fit with his new “discovery” so… (Are you ready for this?) Quinn suggests Smith forgot the exact time of year and even goes to the extent of fully analysing the weather to show it was too cold for the poor boy to spend an hour or so, on his knees in the woods that spring. Give me strength.

Despite Quinn’s efforts to plug the gaping hole of a missing major revival, he seems to forget that it doesn’t much matter whether there was a revival that year or not. Smith made up his First Vision in 1838 after several earlier different versions and backdated it to 1820. It may have perhaps better served the Church to make it 1824 but whatever the case, it does not make any difference, it was still all fiction made up by Smith eighteen years later.

I cannot believe Quinn blames Smith’s memory AND the weather so he can make it June before he goes to the woods, to accommodate the “revival.” Give me more strength.

This is just some (believe it or not - there is more) of what he says about the weather:

“But if the crucial revival "in the place where we lived" actually commenced in the late spring of 1820, then Joseph Smith's First Vision occurred no earlier. Why did he specify "early in the spring" while giving his most detailed account in 1838? First, "early" or "late spring" might have seemed a distinction without a difference as he related events that happened eighteen years earlier in his tumultuous life. Second, and more to the point, "early spring" of 1820 was too cold for a New York farm boy to visit "the woods" in "the morning of a beautiful clear day" for the motionless activity of solitary prayer. During that year, an official of the U.S. Weather Service recorded temperatures for western New York at 7 AM, 2 PM, and 6 PM daily. After the technical arrival of spring, temperatures were under 50 degrees Fahrenheit even at two in the afternoon for all but two days during the rest of March 1820. Those relatively warmer days of 25-26 March reached no higher than 64 degrees at 2 PM, after the mornings started at 54 degrees and 56 degrees, respectively. It was snowing on 31 March, 5 April, and 7 April 1820. The first two weeks of April 1820 were chilly, reaching no higher than 58 degrees at two in the afternoon on the fifteenth, which began with a temperature of forty degrees at 7 AM. The last two weeks of April were not much better, and when the temperatures finally reached 72 degrees at 2 PM on April 21st, the morning commenced at 50 degrees. The next day was a bit warmer, but then the month cooled again until morning temperatures were in the low-fifties. The last two days of April 1820 reached only 62 degrees by 2 PM. Although such weather conditions can occur on "the morning of a beautiful clear day," those frigid temperatures would not encourage any teenager to think of kneeling in a shaded grove of trees, which would be even colder than temperatures recorded by the weather service in the open air…”

“He remembered it was warm enough to kneel in the wooded grove for an hour or so. This seemed like "early spring" in retrospect, especially because he began dictating this official narrative to clerk George W. Robinson on 27 April 1838 in Missouri, a southerly latitude where early spring was much warmer.”

pdf version:

http://www.dialoguejournal.com/excerp...

html version:

http://216.239.59.104/search?q=cache:...

If anyone can honestly read the entire essay without falling asleep, they deserve a medal. Some of Quinn’s earlier work was so useful. I think he has now just lost the plot.

On the one hand, he wants us to accept that Smith's memory was so bad that he didn't remember what time of year it was eighteen years later (just to suit his otherwise wild and impossible idea) and yet no doubt also expects us to accept that as Smith wrote the Moroni (well Nephi really of course) visions at the same time in 1838, which included a meticulous record of word for word scriptures including complex changes to the original, his memory was good enough for that. The memory of the time of year is more plausible than the memory of complex scripture changes. All of which incidentally were completely meaningless. Quinn cannot have it both ways.

Quinn, so tied up in his attempt to “prove” that a camp meeting = a revival, perhaps he forgot to review what Smith actually said happened that year in his original account.

Joseph Smith History says:

7. I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My father's family was proselyted to the Presbyterian faith, and four of them joined that church, namely, my mother, Lucy; my brothers Hyrum and Samuel Harrison; and my sister Sophronia.

8. … I attended their several meetings… … so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations…

9. … the cry and tumult were so great and incessant…

11. While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James…

14. So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty...

Whatever year or season it was, Quinn knows Smith’s family joined the Presbyterians in 1824, the same year Joseph Smith heard Methodist minister Elder George Lane speak on “What Church Shall I Join” recommending James 1:5 which Smith unashamedly plagiarised as his own idea in his later vision story, pretending that he just came across it himself.

Quinn also knows Smith said there were several meetings, there was confusion and strife among the denominations that year, the cry and tumult were great and incessant and there were contests between these parties of religionists. A June camp meeting hardly fits Smith’s description of events. For Quinn it will again all be down to Smith’s memory no doubt. One paragraph of an idea = 100 pages for Quinn.

Smith never said whether it was warm or cold, he just said he went. Cold days can be crisp as well as clear and beautiful. If he really had been overcome with the desire to pray in solitude, I doubt he would have minded the cold. He was a farm boy and they worked outdoors all the time, in all weather. We know he had a hat as he used it to put his stone into it, to pretend to see treasure, so I guess he had a coat too. Nevertheless, he said it was early spring. If we doubt that, we can doubt everything else he said and say what we like. Maybe he forgot that he actually climbed one of the trees to keep warm, fell out of it and banged his head, had concussion which included a vision and hey presto, we got Mormonism… That absurdity is equally as plausible as suggesting he wouldn’t have gone to the woods because every day before the one that suited Quinn, was cold. Give me even more strength!!!

Quinn is so intent on blaming Smith’s memory for getting early spring wrong, in order to accommodate his own needs to justify a supposed “evidence” for the Church position, that he still seems in denial of the fact that he himself has previously provided ample evidence that Smith was a fraud. Smith made up the first vision idea after several attempts and only wrote the final version after he had changed his theology from monotheism to polytheism. What date he backdated it to doesn’t much matter. Neither does it matter whether it felt too cold, too warm or just right for him. The three bear’s story is still fiction as is Smith’s vision. Quinn was excommunicated for his previous efforts. How can he still try (in vain) to clutch at so slender straws, and worse, almost write a book on it? They are not going to let him back in to the Church for it.

Finally may I simply give, in a singe sentence, the true explanation concerning Smith’s visit to the woods in reply to Quinn’s 110 pages of rubbish that needed his explanation that:

…"early spring" of 1820 was too cold for a New York farm boy to visit "the woods" in "the morning of a beautiful clear day" for the motionless activity of solitary prayer.

DID IT NEVER OCCUR TO QUINN THAT HE IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT; IT WAS TOO COLD, HE STAYED IN BED; HE NEVER WENT TO THE WOODS TO PRAY THEN OR EVER. HE MADE IT UP, JUST LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE!
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The First Vision Was Not Taught Until 22 Years After It Occurred
Sunday, Dec 28, 2008, at 09:19 AM
Original Author(s): Spongebob Squaregarments
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
The First Vision wasn't even known by church members until 1842, and even then it wasn't very important. Joseph said that he was persecuted for telling people that he had seen a vision. There is simply no evidence that Joseph told anyone about the vision until many years later and not until after the Book of Mormon was published. There are no accounts in the newspapers, by neighbors, preachers or even by the members of Joseph's own family. There is much evidence to indicate that the First Vision either never really happened or was very different than we've been taught.

James B. Allen, who served as assistant church historian, frankly admitted that the story of the first vision "was not given general circulation in the 1830's." (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1966, p.33). Dr. Allen makes some startling concessions in this article. He admits, for instance, that "none of the available contemporary writings about Joseph Smith in the 1830's, none of the publications of the Church in that decade, and no contemporary journal or correspondence yet discovered mentions the story of the first vision...." Dr. Allen goes on to state that in the 1830's "the general membership of the Church knew little, if anything, about it." Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1966, pages 29-45.

"As far as Mormon literature is concerned, there was apparently no reference to Joseph Smith's first vision in any published material in the 1830's. Joseph Smith's history, which was begun in 1838, was not published until it ran serially in the Times and Seasons in 1842. The famous "Wentworth Letter," which contained a much less detailed account of the vision, appeared March 1, 1842, in the same periodical. Introductory material to the Book of Mormon, as well as publicity about it, told of Joseph Smith's obtaining the gold plates and of angelic visitations, but nothing was printed that remotely suggested earlier visitations."

"In 1833 the Church published the Book of Commandments, forerunner to the present Doctrine and Covenants, and again no reference was made to Joseph's first vision, although several references were made to the Book of Mormon and the circumstances of its origin."

"The first regular periodical to be published by the Church was The Evening and Morning Star, but its pages reveal no effort to tell the story of the first vision to its readers. Nor do the pages of the Latter-day Saints Messenger and Advocate, printed in Kirtland, Ohio, from October, 1834, to September, 1836. In this newspaper Oliver Cowdery, who was second only to Joseph Smith in the early organization of the Church, published a series of letters dealing with the origin of the Church. These letters were written with the approval of Joseph Smith, but they contained no mention of any vision prior to those connected with the Book of Mormon."

"In 1835 the Doctrine and Covenants was printed at Kirtland, Ohio, and its preface declared that it contained "the leading items of religion which we have professed to believe." Included in the book were the "Lectures on Faith," a series of seven lectures which had been prepared for the School of the Prophets in Kirtland in 1834-35. It is interesting to note that, in demonstrating the doctrine that the Godhead consists of two separate personages, no mention was made of Joseph Smith having seen them, nor was any reference made to the first vision in any part of the publication."

"The first important missionary pamphlet of the Church was the Voice of Warning, published in 1837 by Parley P. Pratt. The book contains long sections on items important to missionaries of the 1830's, such as fulfillment of prophecy, the Book of Mormon, external evidence of the book's authenticity, the resurrection, and the nature of revelation, but nothing, again, on the first vision."

"The Times and Seasons began publication in 1839, but, as indicated above, the story of the vision was not told in its pages until 1842. From all this it would appear that the general church membership did not receive information about the first vision until the 1840's and that the story certainly did not hold the prominent place in Mormon thought that it does today." - Dialogue, Vol.1, No.3, p.31 - p.32

Why did Joseph Smith fail to mention his First Vision when he first wrote the church history in 1835?

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery wrote and published a history of the church that supposedly covered all of the important points related to its beginnings. However, Joseph Smith records a different story than the "official" one later published in 1842. In Joseph Smith's own 1835 published history of the church, he says that his first spiritual experience was in 1823 after a religious revival in Palmyra that same year. Smith testified that he prayed while in bed to discover if God existed when he was visited by an angelic messenger (Moroni) that forgave him his sins.

Elements of this narrative are similar to the later "official" version except the "official" version has different dates, locations, visitors and purposes for Smith's first spiritual experience. See: http://www.irr.org/mit/first-vision/1...

Some quotes by early church leaders that seem to contradict Joseph's First Vision account:

In 1854 "Some one may say, 'If this work of the last days be true, why did not the Saviour come himself to communicate this intelligence to the world?' Because to the angels was committed the power of reaping the earth, and it was committed to none else." - Apostle Orson Hyde, General Conference Address, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p.335

In 1855 The Lord did not come with the armies of heaven, in power and great glory, nor send His messengers panoplied with aught else than the truth of heaven, to communicate to the meek the lowly, the youth of humble origin, the sincere enquirer after the knowledge of God. But He did send His angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith Jun., who afterwards became a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day, for they were all wrong; that they were following the precepts of men instead of the Lord Jesus; that He had a work for him to perform, inasmuch as he should prove faithful before Him." (Journal of Discourses 2:170-171) (It is certain Young is speaking of the First Vision for he says the angel told Smith to join no church for they were all wrong. This is the very question the official version of the story states Smith asked of the Father and the Son in the Sacred Grove.)

A few days later Apostle Wilford Woodruff declared: "That same organization and Gospel that Christ died for, and the Apostles spilled their blood to vindicate, is again established in this generation. How did it come? By the ministering of an holy angel from God,... The angel taught Joseph Smith those principles which are necessary for the salvation of the world;... He told him the Gospel was not among men, and that there was not a true organization of His kingdom in the world,... This man to whom the angel appeared obeyed the Gospel;..." (Journal of Discourses, Vol.2, pp.196-197)

In 1857 Church Apostle Heber C. Kimball, speaking Nov. 8th, 1857, seemed to be oblivious to any vision where Smith saw God and Christ: "Do you suppose that God in person called upon Joseph Smith, our Prophet? God called upon him; but God did not come himself and call, but he sent Peter to do it. Do you not see? He sent Peter and sent Moroni to Joseph, and told him that he had got the plates." (Journal of Discourses, vol.6, p.29)

In 1863 Church Apostle John Taylor explained in a sermon March 1, 1863: "How did this state of things called Mormonism originate? We read that an angel came down and revealed himself to Joseph Smith and manifested unto him in vision the true position of the world in a religious point of view." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p.127) Church Apostle George A. Smith, Nov. 15th, 1863, preached: "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)

In 1869 Five years later Apostle Smith again referred to Smith's first vision: "He sought the Lord by day and by night, and was enlightened by the vision of an holy angel. When this personage appeared to him, of his first inquiries was, 'Which of the denominations of Christians in the vicinity was right?' " (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p.77-78 June 20, 1869 )

It seems that in the first 50 years since the first vision was supposed to have happened, that whenever the church leaders referred to the first vision, they were actually referring to the visit of the angel Moroni and not the first vision by God the Father and Jesus.

Fawn M. Brodie was one of the first to cast serious doubt upon the authenticity of Joseph Smith's story of the first vision:

The description of the vision was first published by Orson Pratt in his Remarkable Visions in 1840, twenty years after it was supposed to have occurred. Between 1820 and 1840 Joseph's friends were writing long panegyrics; his enemies were defaming him in an unceasing stream of affidavits and pamphlets, and Joseph himself was dictating several volumes of Bible-flavored prose. But no one in this long period even intimated that he had heard the story of the two gods. At least, no such intimation has survived in print or manuscript.... The first published Mormon history, begun with Joseph's collaboration in 1834 by Oliver Cowdery, ignored it altogether ... Joseph's own description of the first vision was not published until 1842, twenty-two years after the memorable event....

If something happened that spring morning in 1820, it passed totally unnoticed in Joseph's home town, and apparently did not even fix itself in the minds of members of his own family. The awesome vision he described in later years may have been the elaboration of some half-remembered dream stimulated by the early revival excitement and reinforced by the rich folklore of visions circulating in his neighborhood. Or it may have been sheer invention, created some time after 1834 when the need arose for a magnificent tradition to cancel out the stories of his fortune-telling and money-digging (No Man Knows My History, New York, 1957, pp.24-25).

The Book of Commandments emphasizes that it was the Book of Mormon - not the first vision known to the church today - that constituted Joseph's "call . to his holy work" (24:7-11/DandC 20:6-11). Consistent with this passage are Joseph's 1832 and Oliver Cowdery's 1835 reports that cite an angel, later identified as Moroni, who called Joseph to the work, rather than Jesus in the first vision. An Insider's View of Mormon Origins pp. 239.

Why doesn't the First Vision play an important role in Mormon history until the 1860s? No one seems to really mention it before then even though it is now deemed by Latter-day Saints to be the most important event in almost 2,000 years.

To learn about more problems with the First Vision: http://www.mormonthink.com/firstvisio...
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A Question Never Asked About The "First Vision"
Tuesday, Apr 7, 2009, at 07:45 AM
Original Author(s): Richard Packham
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
Why did Joseph Smith (assuming that his report of the FV in the Pearl of Great Price is accurate) simply assume that the personages he saw were God and Christ?

They did NOT identify themselves! The one only identified the other as "my Beloved Son." Did he think that God is the only supernatural being that has a "beloved son"?

Did he apply any of the tests to identify a messenger from God? Did he offer to shake hands? (DandC 129:8) Did he check the color of his hair? (Teachings of the PJS p 214)

NO!

Those beings could just have easily (and more likely?) been the Devil or servants of the Devil. Here's what the scriptures say about Satan's abilities to deceive:
  • He can appear as an angel of light. 2 Cor 11:14 (see also DandC 128:20, 129:8)
  • He will seem to be like God. 2 Thess 2:4
  • He will not be exposed as the devil until the end of time. 2 Thess 2:8
  • He will be able to deceive even the "elect" (i.e., the righteous and the saved). Matt 24:24, Mark 13:22
Even more telling are the characteristics of the church that was founded by Smith after that "vision" - all are scriptural descriptions of the Devil and his followers:
  • He (and his followers?) believe that they will be like God. Isaiah 14:13-14
  • The devil's followers are whoever sins (the righteous - the followers of God - do not sin). 1 John 3:6-9
  • Feelings are the imaginations of the heart (and are deceptive; thus they may come from Satan) Jer 17:9 (also 3:17, 7:24, 9:14, 11:8, 16:12)
  • Every man thinks that he is right (implicitly, this includes even those who are deceived; thus, even though you may think you are right, you may still be deceived). Prov 21:2
  • Those who think they are standing (i.e. correct) will fall. 1 Cor 10:12
  • His followers will seem (and claim) to be apostles of Christ. 2 Cor 11:13-14, Matt 24:4-5, 24:23-26, Mark 13:21-22
  • His followers will be able to do miracles and wonders. Matt 24:24, Mark 13:22
  • He will tempt with the promise of dominion and power. Matt 4:8-9, Luke 4:5-7
  • The devil's false prophets lie; true prophets of God do not. Deut 13:1-3, 18:20-22, Isa 9:15, Jer 5:31, 14:14, 1 John 2:21, many other passages
  • But sometimes the devil will tell a truth (Mark 1:24, Luke 4:33-34, 41, Gen 2:4-5)
These are all characteristics of Mormons and the Mormon church.

Do the "prophets" of the Mormon church LIE? Even though they sometimes tell a truth?

Definitely YES!

That's your Conference Weekend counter-sermon.

Pass it on!
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The First Vision - Eight Conflicting Accounts. The Evolution Of A Blockbuster Tale
Monday, May 11, 2009, at 07:42 AM
Original Author(s): Grey
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
I first learned of the many, conflicting re-inventions of the first vision story when I was getting ready to serve a mission in the late 1970's. My source material back then was an article written by James B. Allen, which appeared in the April 1970 Improvement Era.

Incidentally, FARMS, in their usual impeccable way, refer incorrently to this article as appearing in the "Ensign (April 1970)". See the footnotes in the following FARMS publication. The Enisgn didn't exist until 1971, January I think.

http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Brochures/The_First_Vision.pdf

I'm not certain why FARMS would wish for people's attention not to be drawn to the Improvement Era. Any suggestions?

Anyway, the so-called first vision story told by Jospeh Smith, evolved from a simple epiphany into dramatic earth-shattering blockbuster of a tale.

In all, there were at least eight tellings of the tale. Nine, according to Richard L. Anderson's April 1996 Ensign Article, "Joseph Smith’s [so-called] Testimony of the First Vision". Some of these were written by Joseph Smith himself. Some written by others.

1832 - Written by Joseph Smith

1833 - Written by Joseph Smith

1835 - Recorded by Warren Cowdery in Joseph's diary. Warren was a scribe of Joseph Smith.

1838 - The so-called official version. Written by James Mullholland, who became Joseph's scribe in 1839.

1840 - Written by Orson Prat

1842 - Written by Joseph Smith. It is part of what is caleld the Wentworth Letter.

1842 - Written by Orson Hyde

1844 - Written by Alexander Neibaur

I think these are the eight versions. No doubt, somebone will correct me if I'm wrong.

So, from the wide menu of evolving and competing tales on offer, the mormon church chose one particar story, to fit with its self-appopinted glorious place in the history of man-made religions, and called it the official version. This was the 1938 tale.

One of the many deceits of FARMS is the lie that information on the conflicting first-vision tales is freely available in church literature. The problem with this Lie, for FARMS, is that it is so easy to expose. You will not find a single document, article, book, lesson, pamplet or anything else authored by the mormon church which publishes these eight contemporary accounts. There is the article about eight acounts in the 1970 Improvement Era, and the later April 1996 Ensign article, and then an a meagre reference in another Ensign (can't remember which one, offhand). But you will absolutely not find any mormon church authored publication that prints the differing tales in full. Furthermore, in any of these places, including FARMS, you will only find the extracts from the eight accounts that help fit the author's arguement. FARMS and the Cult does not want you to read the eight acounts of the co-called first vision, neither do they want you to draw you own conculsions if you happen to read them. The Cult willdo the thinking for you, if that's okay. They will control how you think and what you read.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many conflicting accounts of the tale?

The most reliable exaplanation for why there are so many conflicting first-vision stories can be found in Grant H. Palmer's "An Insiders View of Mormon Origins".

I thoroughly reccomend Palmer's book to any seeker of the truth. If you read it with an open mind and heart, and with a little curiosity, the whole mormon fabric will unravel very, very quickly. I advise any devoted mormons, who value honesty over loyalty, that they will experience a false-faith shattering event, when the facts are discovered, and part of that process will include the greatest release of their lives. They will be forever set free. "The truth will set you free." The whole mormon fakery then becomes completely exposed. It is seen for what it is.
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Did Joseph Smith Borrow His First Vision From These People?
Thursday, Oct 1, 2009, at 07:59 AM
Original Author(s): Spongebob Squaregarments
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
Having visions in the early 1800s wasn’t that strange.

In modern times if someone said they had a vision it would seem extraordinary, or more likely not believable. However in the early 1800s having visions wasn’t perceived to be all that uncommon. Even Joseph Smith’s father claimed to have had a vision – namely the Tree of Life vision. People believed in magic, seer stones, divining rods, etc. and people claiming to have visions weren’t seen as all that strange. Like much of Joseph’s work, the first vision is strikingly similar to someone else's story. The following are accounts of visions similar to Joseph’s First Vision. Note: All of these accounts appeared in print before Joseph’s First Vision was published.

NORRIS STEARNS, 1815

"I saw two spirits, which I knew at the first sight. But if I had the tongue of an Angel I could not describe their glory, for they brought the joys of heaven with them. One was God, my Maker, almost in bodily shape like a man. His face was, as it were a flame of Fire, and his body, as it had been a Pillar and a cloud. In looking steadfastly to discern features, I could see none, but a small glimpse would appear in some other place. Below him stood Jesus Christ my Redeemer, in perfect shape like a man---His face was not ablaze, but had the countenance of fire, being bright and shining. His Father's will appeared to be his! All was condescension, peace, and love."

Was this a previously unpublished version of Joseph Smith's "first vision," one might ask? No. It was the claim of one Norris Stearns, published in 1815, in Greenfield, Massachusetts---not far from where the Joseph Smith Senior family lived in Vermont.

The most intriguing aspect of Stearns' "vision," is how he described the Father and the Son as two separate, distinct, human personages. LDS faithful, of course, have long asserted that that was one of the "truths" that had been lost from the world until Joseph Smith's First Vision. It was a major point in the late apostle Hugh B. Brown's 1950's sermon "Profile of a Prophet." But Joseph may have merely been inspired by Stearns, or some other contemporary source. Reference: http://nowscape.com/mormon/vision.htm

Pro-LDS historian Richard Bushman’s comments Even pro-LDS historian Richard Bushman, is intrigued by the similarities between Joseph’s account of the First Vision and Norris Stearns’ vision saying that Joseph ‘adopted it as his own’ in referring to the written account of Stearns’ vision. http://books.google.com/books?id=l5Km...

Critic’s Comment: Bushman is basically saying that Joseph liked the words Norris Stearns used when he described the vision that Norris had. Joseph liked them so much that he used the same phrases to describe his own First Vision experience. While we applaud Professor Bushman’s acknowledgment that the similarities of the Stearns’ vision and Joseph’s First Vision are too serious to ignore, we believe that it is more probable that Joseph simply borrowed the whole vision story from Stearns, not just the description.

ELIAS SMITH, 1816

In 1816 a minister by the name of Elias Smith published a book in which he told of his conversion. Notice how similar it is to Joseph Smith's first account: "... I went into the woods ... a light appeared from heaven.... My mind seemed to rise in that light to the throne of God and the Lamb.... The Lamb once slain appeared to my understanding, and while viewing him, I felt such love to him as I never felt to any thing earthly.... It is not possible for me to tell how long I remained in that situation ..." (The Life, Conversion, Preaching, Travels, and Sufferings of Elias Smith, Portsmouth, N.H., 1816, pp.58-59).

Alexander Campbell wrote the following on March 1, 1824, concerning a "revival in the state of New York": "Enthusiasm flourishes.... This man was regenerated when asleep, by a vision of the night. That man heard a voice in the woods, saying, 'Thy sins be forgiven thee.' A third saw his Savior descending to the tops of the trees at noon day" (The Christian Baptist, Vol. 1, pp.148-49). Reference: http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/chang...

ASA WILD, 1823

Asa Wild claimed to have a revelation which is very similar to the story Joseph Smith published. It was published in the Wayne Sentinel (the paper to which the family of Joseph Smith apparently subscribed) on October 22, 1823: "It seemed as if my mind ... was struck motionless, as well as into nothing, before the awful and glorious majesty of the Great Jehovah. He then spake ... He also told me, that every denomination of professing christians had become extremely corrupt...." Reference: http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/chang...

SOLOMON CHAMBERLAIN, 1816 An Account by LDS Historian Richard Bushman

Meridian Magazine has recently published an article by famed LDS historian Richard Bushman giving another person’s account of a vision which is remarkably similar to Joseph’s First Vision but preceded Joseph’s First Vision by four years. The article, abridged by Meridian but with a link to the full article, is here: http://www.ldsmag.com/byustudies/0508...

As per this article, one Solomon Chamberlain was on a quest for the true religion and gave the following account

QUOTE (Meridian Magazine @ )

Dissatisfied with the religions he had tried, Chamberlin prayed for further guidance, and in 1816, according to his account, “the Lord revealed to me in a vision of the night an angel,” whom Chamberlin asked about the right way. The angel told him that the churches were corrupt and that God would soon raise up an apostolic church. Chamberlin printed up an account of his visions and was still distributing them and looking for the apostolic church when he stopped in Palmyra.

Now there are known to have been several accounts by Joseph Smith of his first vision, one in which it was an 'angel' who communicated with Joseph, another in which it was Christ alone, and the official canonized version, which included both the Father and the Son. All of these accounts were recorded some time after the establishment of the Church. The account of Solomon Chamberlain, as recounted by Bushman above, is so similar to that of Joseph’s own account, particular his earliest version, that one is left to wonder if Joseph did not appropriate this vision for himself.

JAMES G. MARSH, 1828

Michael Quinn, in his book "The Mormon Hierarchy : Origins of Power" mentions that in 1838 a 14 year-old Mormon boy had a vision of God and Jesus and talked to them "face to face."

"7 May, 1838. James G. Marsh, 14-year-old son of the president of the Quorum of Twelve, dies. The Elder's Journal issue of July notes that at age nine this boy "had a remarkable vision, in which he talked with the Father and many of the ancient prophets face to face, and beheld the Son of God coming in his glory." No publication at this time had yet referred to Smith's vision of the Father and the Son." (D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p.628)

It's interesting to note that this boy's first vision-type story was published just before Joseph Smith's secretary wrote the "official" first vision story with the Father and the Son.

Joseph Smith was the editor of the Elders Journal when the boy's obituary appeared:

Elder's Journal of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Far West, Missouri, July 1828

Vol.1, No.3, p.48

OBITUARY.

DIED on the 7th of May last, James G. Marsh, second son of Thomas B. Marsh, aged 14 years, 11 months and seven days.

From early infancy he manifested a love and reverence towards his Heavenly Father, while his parents diligently taught him the first principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And having a thirst for knowledge and a love of good principles, he eagerly embraced the gospel, and was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints, early in the spring of 1832, being between eight and nine years of age.

His great love of knowledge led him to take hold of every opportunity to read the most useful books, and as he was a lover of the gospel, he made himself well acquainted with the sacred writings, and even at this early age, he had become well skilled in profane as well as sacred history.

It seems that the Lord had respect unto this lover of righteousness, for when he was but about nine years of age, he had a remarkable vision, in which he talked with the Father and many of the ancient prophets face to face, and beheld the Son of God coming in his glory.

Is it just a coincidence that shortly after the above was published, Joseph Smith's secretary first penned the Father and Son apparition version of the "first vision" story? Smith's first vision story wasn't published until five years later in 1842, but it was written just after this obituary in the summer of 1838. Reference: http://www.i4m.com/think/history/firs...

CHARLES G. FINNEY, 1821

The following is an interesting article on the First Vision which is remarkably similar to the account of an evangelist, Charles G. Finney.

Piecing Together the First Vision

by Paul Derengowski

Anyone familiar with the beginnings of Mormonism is aware of the great importance that Mormons place upon the foundational experiences of their first president and prophet Joseph Smith. In fact, the whole Mormon belief structure rises or falls on his testimony: one's salvation hinges upon the reception or rejection of it. There is no middle ground. The question arises, however, about whether Joseph Smith's spiritual experience, known as his "First Vision," was truly that unique. The unusual religious experiences common in his day convinces objective readers of the non-originality of his story. This is especially true when one examines the striking parallels between Smith's First Vision and the conversion experience of the well-known lawyer-turned-evangelist, Charles G. Finney.

Parallel #1: Spiritual Straits

Joseph Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont in 1805. Later, his family moved to Palmyra, New York, in the western part of that state. "Central and Western New York in the early nineteenth century was a 'boom' country with all the characteristics of the recently settled and rapidly expanding community." With that expansion of new settlements the atmosphere was fertile for religious revival. Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists, and Presbyterians were only a few of the more established denominations vying for the souls of men during the excitement of settling the new territory.

It was during the religious fervor of the day that Joseph Smith became perplexed concerning his spiritual destiny. Viewing all the religious competition of the day confused him. He did not know which denomination to join. Therefore, upon reading James 1:5 he set out to ask God which denomination was correct and with which one he should align himself. This supposedly occurred in the spring of 1820. H. Michael Marquardt and Wesley p. Walters, however, report that newspaper accounts, religious periodicals, church records, and personal narratives show no signs of a revival in Palmyra in 1820; the closest date for a revival was 1824-25. This greatly increases the likelihood that Smith's story was modeled after Finney's.

Charles G. Finney, on the other hand, was born in Litchfield County, Connecticut in 1792. As a youth his parents also moved to Central New York where he grew to maturity. Although he spent time in service in the local Presbyterian Church as a choir director, Finney did not trust ministerial advice, much less God Himself. In fact, he often scoffed at the dogmas and practices of those who claimed to be Christians. However, at the age of 29 he began to experience serious spiritual despair that culminated in a need to personally seek the face of God. This occurred in October of 1821, while he was serving his apprenticeship in Adams, New York.

Parallel #2: graphic Groves

One clear, spring morning, Joseph Smith journeyed west of his parents' farm into a "beautiful grove" to petition God regarding his dilemma. After "having looked around...and finding [himself] alone, [he] kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of [his] heart to God." It was supposedly the first time in young Joseph's life that he had ever endeavored to "attempt to pray vocally."

Similarly, Charles Finney knew of a "grove of woods" that lay north of Adams. He set forth one morning for work and was compelled that he must accept God or die. He "turned and bent [his] course for that grove of woods, feeling that [he] must be alone and away from all human eyes, so that [he] could pour out [his] prayer to God."

Parallel #3: Paralyzed Prayers

Not long after Joseph began his petition "the enemy" subdued him. He could not speak, for his tongue had been bound. Hearing noises in the woods near him, Smith assumed that other persons were walking around in his presence. He tried several times to make his requests known to God, but without success. The young inquirer despairingly supposed that he was "doomed to destruction." He had never before encountered such supernatural strength.

In like manner, Charles Finney determined to give his heart to God, but upon making his petition he found that he could not pray. When he attempted to pray he became "dumb," having "nothing to say to God." Rustling of leaves nearby led him to believe that other individuals were in his presence. Ultimately that thought led him to such a sense of conviction of personal wickedness that it took possession of him. Charles attempted to pray several times without success, leading him to the verge of despair. He recollected that "a great sinking and discouragement came over me at this point, and I felt almost too weak to stand upon my knees."

Parallel #4: Lofty Luminaries

Upon deliverance from the clutches of the enemy, Joseph witnessed a pillar of light descending upon him until it enveloped him. He became filled with the "spirit of God," causing him also to be "filled...with unspeakable joy." At this time both God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him, of which Joseph petitioned them "which of all sects were right – and which I should join." He was admonished that he should join none of them, for they were all wrong! The experience lasted "one brief hour."

Charles envisioned a light also, but it was scripturally caused. Reflecting upon Jeremiah 29:12–13, the passage "seemed to drop into [his] mind with a flood of light." With that he was convinced that he could perform his vow of accepting God that day. In the midst of such spiritual ecstasy he left the woods and returned to the village. After dinner Charles wished to "pour out [his] whole soul to God." He retired to the Counsel room of his law practice, where it was dark, but "it appeared to [him] as if it was perfectly light." In that "lighted" room he came face to face [emphasis his] with Jesus Christ. No words were exchanged, but Finney "fell down at his feet and poured out [his] soul to him." Shortly thereafter, Charles received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost, which he characterized as a "wave of electricity" or "waves of love." The event lasted until late in the evening.

Parallel #5: Rejected Reports

Joseph shared his visionary experience with those whom God had previously denounced as "wrong" and "corrupt." To his surprise he was treated lightly and with great contempt. Although only a boy of young age, he soon found that his visions and revelations were not welcomed, and that "men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against [him]," creating "bitter persecution." Being satisfied in mind that he had seen a vision, however, Smith endured, thereafter translating the Book of Mormon and starting the Mormon Church.

Charles, too, endured persecution for sharing his experience. Certain young men in his neighborhood had been warned to avoid him, for he "was a very careless young man about religion." To associate with Finney was tantamount to diverting oneself away from conversion. The neighborhood's opinions caused him to doubt his own eternal security. He perceived that others thought of him as possibly delusional or even "crazy." Nevertheless, after falling asleep the day of his conversion, and then awaking, he experienced "the great flow of the love of God" in his heart. Finney even visited Joseph Smith's community in 1831.

Conclusion of the Finney Comparison

The role that Joseph Smith plays in Mormonism cannot be underestimated. His character is central to the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the salvation of its members. Important is his testimony regarding what he saw on a spring, New York morning in 1820. At first glance his experience seems extraordinary. However, upon further review, similar experiences shared by others of his the day, coupled with chronological problems, seem to negate the uniqueness of Joseph Smith's testimony. More important, the parallelism between Smith's testimony and Charles G. Finney's prior written declaration seems also to negate Smith's story as original.

Did Joseph Smith really see anything? Only God knows for sure. Yet, based on the above, one conclusion at which readers could arrive is that Joseph Smith did not see anything at all. More than likely, he culled from the experiences of others, Charles Finney specifically, editing and reshaping them to form his own First Vision. Reference: http://www.watchman.org/lds/firstvsn....

SUMMARY: It is plain to see, then, that the story Joseph Smith penned in the early 1830s is not much different than the visions related by others. It was only when he added the part about the Father appearing with the Son that the story began to sound somewhat unique.

For more problems on the First Vision: http://www.mormonthink.com/firstvisio...

So, do you think ole Joe borrowed some aspects of his FV tale from these folks or what?

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The First Vision
Monday, Oct 11, 2010, at 08:33 AM
Original Author(s): Eddie
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
When I was first learning of the historical problems with Mormonism the multiple accounts of the first vision were very enlightening. It is not possible for someone to remember such an emotional and significant experience in such extremely different ways as time progresses.

So the first...first vision was as follows:

"Principle elements of the account:

* Several years before obtaining the plates, a spirit appeared to Joseph in a vision telling him of a record on gold plates.

* When Joseph went to get the plates the spirit, transforming from toad to man, struck Joseph twice and gave him instructions to come back again in a year, a command repeated several years in a row.

* Approximate age 17 (1823) when spirit first appears.

* Joseph obtains gold book using the seer stone he found in the well of Willard Chase.

* Gold book found in the context of money-digging

* Age 21 (1827) when Joseph retrieves plates

* No mention of a revival

* Joseph retrieves plates while out with his wife but hides them in the woods

* Joseph approaches Martin Harris, a man with money, to say that God has given Joseph a commandment that Harris is the one God wants to assist [financially] in producing the Book of Mormon.

The Account

"In the month of June, 1827, Joseph Smith, Sen. related to me the following story: ‘That some years ago, a spirit had appeared to Joseph his son, in a vision, and informed him that in a certain place there was a record on plates of gold, and that he was the person that must obtain them, and this he must do in the following manner: On the 22nd of September, he must repair to the place where was deposited this manuscript, dressed in black clothes, and riding a black horse with a switch tail, and demand the book in a certain name, and after obtaining it, he must go directly away, and neither lay it down nor look behind him. They accordingly fitted out Joseph with the suit of black clothes, and borrowed a black horse. He repaired to the place of deposit and demanded the book, which was in a stone box, unsealed, and so near the top of the ground that he could see one end of it, and raising it up, took out the book of gold; but fearing some one might discover where he got it, he laid it down to place back the top stone, as he found it; and turning around, to his surprise there was no book in sight. He again opened the box, and in it saw the book, and attempted to take it out, but was hindered. He saw in the box something like toad, which soon assumed the appearance of a man, and struck him on the side of his head. - Not being discouraged at trifles, he again stooped down and strove to take the book, when the spirit struck him again, and knocked him three or four rods, and hurt him prodigiously. After recovering from his fright, he inquired why he could not obtain the plates; to which the spirit made reply, because you have not obeyed your orders.

"... In the fore part of September, (I believe,) 1827, the Prophet [Joseph Smith] requested me to make him a chest, informing me that he designed to move back to Pennsylvania, and expecting soon to get his gold book, he wanted a chest to lock it up, giving me to understand at the same time, that if I would make the chest he would give me a share in the book. ... "A few weeks after this conversation, he came to my house and related the following story: That on the 22nd of September, he arose early in the morning, and took a one horse wagon, of someone that had stayed over night at their house, without leave or license; and, together with his wife, repaired to the hill which contained the book. He left his wife in the wagon, by the road, and went alone to the hill, a distance of thirty or forty rods from the road; he said he took the book out of the ground and hid it in a tree top, and returned home. ... He then observed that if it had not been for that stone [Joseph's money-digging seer stone], (which he acknowledged belonged to me,) he would not have obtained the book. A few days afterwards, he told one of my neighbors that he had not got any such book, nor never had such an one; but that he had told the story to deceive the d-d fool, (meaning me,) to get him to make a chest. His neighbors having become disgusted with his foolish stories, he determined to go back to Pennsylvania, to avoid what he called persecution. His wits were now put to the task to contrive how he should get money to bear his expenses. He met one day in the streets of Palmyra, a rich man, whose name was Martin Harris, and addressed him thus; ‘I have a commandment from God to ask the first man I meet in the street to give me fifty dollars, to assist me in doing the work of the Lord by translating the Golden Bible.' Martin being naturally a credulous man, hands Joseph the money."

http://www.irr.org/mit/first-vision/f...

Then there were nine ensuing and very divergent accounts. As with most things surrounding Mormonism outright lies and inconsistencies swirled around the first vision accounts. The final first vision account that we hear in church also presents a further serious historical problems including:

1. The first vision story did not appear until 22 years after it supposedly happened

2. Joseph Smith was not persecuted as he claims

3. There was no religious fervor in his area during the time he claimed

See also: http://www.mormonthink.com/firstvisio...
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Does Everything Rest On The First Vision, Or The Book Of Mormon?
Tuesday, Mar 22, 2011, at 07:47 AM
Original Author(s): Jod3:360
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
Supposedly, everything stands or falls on the Book of Mormon.

Likewise, everything stands or falls on the [1820]First Vision.

The Book of Mormon does not teach that God and Jesus were seperate beings. It teaches that they are the same. The BoM teaches that Jesus is the very Father.

Mosiah 3:8, 15:1-5,

Ether 4:7, 12

Alma 18:26-28

At the time that the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants was printed, it included the Lectures on Faith which essentially mirrored the Book of Mormon idea of God.

In 1830 Joseph Smith created the Book of Moses which again portrays God and Jesus as the same beings as described in the Book of Mormon- one a personage of Glory, the other the Only begotten Son in the flesh.

In todays LDS Bible Luke 10:22, the footnote refers to the JST again indicating that Jesus is the very Father.

The current Doctrine and Covenants also held this view of an almost interchangeable role as God and creator, prior to section 130. 130 is the first instance where God the Father now has a body of flesh and bone, and included in the Utah 1876 DandC.

If, as the church declares today, Joseph Smith had a vision of God and Jesus standing side by side as physical beings, he made no effort to correct the Book of Mormon, and he proceeded to deny that vision by incorporating the Book of Mormon view into subsequent scriptures. The Mormon church says that scripture is what is written by the prophet when moved upon by the Holy Ghost.

It also declares that the Holy Ghosts prime mission is to testify of truth, and of Jesus Christ.

If the Holy Ghost witnessed to Joseph Smith during those formative years when the scriptures were produced, then it stands to reason that in later years Joseph (being guilty of adultery, and of other crimes) had lost the spirit when he proclaimed his famous King Follett Discourse. This discourse was also given only a couple years after the first tellings of the First Vision story.

And because the church subscribes to Josephs later speculation as revealed in the King Follet Discourse, then the church has fallen from the truth as well. Providing of course, that the Book of Mormon is true...

Only by dismissing the Book of Mormon, The Book of Moses, The sections of the Doctrine and Covenants prior to 130, as well as the JST, can the church justifiably adhere to its present theology.

But by doing so, it is necessarily false.

Only by admitting that the church was wrong to follow the King Follett Discourse and all related Man-God teachings, can the church claim that it is true according to the scriptures, but by doing so reveals that the Utah brand of Mormonism is again false.
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The First Vision, Did It Happen?
Thursday, Apr 7, 2011, at 07:08 AM
Original Author(s): Stumbling
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
'I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other–This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!'

Is this experience important to the Church and it's members?

"Our entire case as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the validity of this glorious First Vision. ... Nothing on which we base our doctrine, nothing we teach, nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God the Father and His Beloved Son, then all else of which he spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life." - Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign Mag., Nov. 1998, pp.70-71

So it would be a bit of a battleship sinker were it not to be the case...

It would appear that Joseph did not initially believe that God and Christ were different people, even after the date given for the First Vision 1820.

'...a piller of fire light above the brightness of the sun at noon day come down from above and rested upon me and I was filled with the spirit of god and the (Lord) opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying Joseph (my son) thy sins are forgiven thee.'

This is the description that Joseph wrote himself in his notebook in 1832 (12 years after the date of when it is stated that he saw God and Christ).

How do you explain that Jospeh initially only wrote about seeing one personage? Did he forget that he saw God?

This is how Milton V, Backman Jnr answers the question on LDS.org (Joseph Smith’s Recitals of the First Vision)

'This does not mean that in 1832 Joseph said that only one personage appeared or in any way disclaimed the appearance of two personages. In fact, Joseph Smith may have referred to the Father in his 1832 account when he declared that he “cried unto the Lord” and the “Lord opened the heavens,” even though Joseph was referring to the Son when he wrote that the Lord spoke to him. The Prophet (and other early General Authorities) used the word God, meaning the Father, and Lord interchangeably'

Not convinced? No, neither am I...

Some more torpedoes for that old 'two personage' battleship:

Some verses within the Book of Mormon have been changed since it's original publication. In fact lots have been changed but let's stick to the subject in hand.

1st Nephi 13:40

original 1830 - '...the lamb of God is the Eternal Father...'
currently - '...the lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father...'

1st Nephi 11:21

original 1830 - '...Behold the lamb of God, yea even the Eternal Father...'
currently - '...Behold the lamb of God, yea even the Son of the Eternal Father...'

1st Nephi 11:32

original 1830 - '...and beheld the lamb of God...yea the Everlasting Father...'
currently - '...and beheld the lamb of God...yea the Son of the Everlasting Father...'

It is worth bearing in mind that, according to the Church, the Book of Mormon was given through divine inspiration, word for word.

Even after these alterations the current Book of Mormon is still conflicted on the subject.

Mosiah 15: 1-4

'...God himself shall come down among the children of men...'
'...being the Father and the Son...'
'...they are one God, yea the very Eternal Father of Heaven and Earth...'

And before we run away with thinking that this is just the fault of bad dictation or typesetting or other 'human error' let us consider Joseph Smiths inspired translation of the Bible.

Luke 10:22

original KJV - '...no man knoweth who the Son is but the Father and who the Father is but the Son and he to whom the Son will reveal him...'
JST - '...no man knoweth that the Son is the Father and the Father is the Son but him to whom the Son will reveal it...'

This is perhaps the most compelling as it is a conscious retranslation that happened AFTER the date that Joseph is reported to have seen God and Jesus are completely seperate beings.

To repeat the main question: The First Vision, did it happen...?
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Joseph Smith Plagiarized His First Vision Account! 12 Possible Sources
Monday, Dec 12, 2011, at 09:31 AM
Original Author(s): Captainmoroni
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
Mormons like to teach that Joseph Smith was radically different than the rest of the people at his time in claiming to have seen angels or Jesus Christ. They say that his community mercilessly persecuted him for his great vision. However, this is extremely unlikely.

First of all, neither Joseph Smith or his family even mention his First Vision until 12 years after it supposedly happened. There is absolutely no evidence of widespread persecution.

Secondly, almost everyone was claiming to have their own visions of angels and God. Pastors and their flock regularly published and told such accounts of childhood visions. Joseph Smith was not special. In fact, his account is suspiciously similar to several other popular accounts of visions in Upstate New York. Here are possible sources for his plagiarism.

1. Norris Stearns in 1815 published his own vision. "There appeared a small gleam of light in the room, above the brightness of the sun..." Norris saw two beings. "One was God, my Maker, almost in bodily shape like a man. His face was , as it were a flame of fire ... Below him stood Jesus Christ my Redeemer, in a perfect shape like a man-- His face was not ablaze, but had the countenance of fire, being bright and shining."

2. Lorenzo Dow dreamed, "he was taken up by a whirlwind" He saw God sitting upon an ivory throne (apparently God is no environmentalist) and Jesus Christ was at his right hand. In fact, Brigham Young's brother was named after this man.

3. Elias Smith reported that he had a morning vision in the woods in 1816. He said that, "While in this situation, a light appeared to shine from heaven.... My mind seemed to rise in that light to the throne of God and the Lamb.... The lamb once slain appeared to my understanding, and while viewing him, I felt such love to him as I never felt to any thing earthly."

4. Benjamin Putnam from Vermont reported in 1821 that, "I instantly had a view as I thought , of the Lord Jesus Christ with his arms extended in an inviting posture."

5. An unnamed universalist minister published an account saying, "I dreamed Christ descended from the firmament, in a glare of brightness, exceeding ten fold the brilliancy of the meridian Sun, and he came to me saying, 'I commission you to go and tell mankind that I am come; and bid every man to shout victory." This man went on to teach in Palmyra in 1825.

6.Asa Wild of Amsterdam NY was reported to have had a remarkable vision and revelation by the Palmyra newspaper.

7. Emanuel Swedenborg, who authored one of the most widely read occult works of the period, wrote, "On a certain night, a man appeared to him in the midst of a strong shining light, and said, 'I am God the Lord, the Creator and Redeemer." Swedenborg went on to converse with angels and spirits as if they were men after the vision.

8. Catharine Hummer, the founder of an American occult religion known as the Ephrata commune, claimed to have had several visions. In once she saw, "the Savior and the Father... These two, that Father and the Son stood together."

9. Billy Hibbard claimed that he had a vision when he was just 11 years old in the late 1700s. He said, "When I came to the place of prayer , had kneeled down, and closed my eyes, with my hands uplifted toward the heavens, I saw Jesus Christ at the right hand of God, looking down upon me, and God the Father looking upon him." He published his accounts all around Upstate New York where Joseph lived.

10. Benjamin Abbott had a popular account of his 1772 vision where the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him with his arms extended and said, "I died for you." Abbot continues, "I then looked up and by faith I saaw the Ancient of Days, and he said to me, 'I freely forgive thee for what Christ has done.'"

11. Richard Brothers published accounts of visions he had in the 1790s in New York and Pennsylvania. He claimed that "I was in a vision, and being carried up to heaven, the Lord God spoke to me from the middle of a large white cloud."

12. David Brainerd's conversion account was so popular between 1748 and 1835 that he published 25 editions. He said, "My soul rejoiced with joy unspeakable to see such a God, such a glorious divine Being."

My source is Early Mormonism and the Magic Worldview by D Michael Quinn.
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Mormon Apostle Woodruff Told Church Members That Joseph Smith's First Vision Happened "In The Year 1827" And Involved "An Angel Of God Flying"
Monday, Sep 23, 2013, at 08:02 AM
Original Author(s): Cdnxmo
Topic: FIRST VISION   -Link To MC Article-
19th-century Mormon apostle Wilford Woodruff, who became the Latter-day Saint Church's president in 1889, gave a discourse in 1869 that contained information that significantly conflicted with the official First Vision story that millions of Latter-day Saints were subsequently indoctrinated to believe happened. Here's what Woodruff said:
"Well, brethren and sisters, you and I have lived to see the dawn of the great day thus referred to by the prophets, in which the God of heaven has set His hand for the last time to establish His kingdom upon the earth; a kingdom not to be overthrown, but to remain until sin, Satan and the power of the devil are banished from the face thereof, and until, as the prophets have said, the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and His Christ.

"This day we have lived to see. This tabernacle, this congregation, and the multitudes through the valleys of the mountains are the fruits of this work. How did it commence? It commenced by an angel of God flying through the midst of heaven and visiting a young man named Joseph Smith, in the year 1827. That was the time of a great awakenening among the sectarians of the day - a day of revivals and protracted meetings, when the people were called upon to join themselves to the sectarian churches. This young man looked around amid the confusion among the different sects, each proclaiming the plan of salvation differently, and each claiming it was right and that all others were wrong; in the midst of this contention he did not know which to join. While in this state of uncertainty he turned to the Bible, and there saw that passage in the epistle of James which directs him that lacks wisdom to ask of God. He went into his secret chamber and asked the Lord what he must do to be saved. The Lord heard his prayer andsent His angel to him, who informed him that all the sects were wrong, and that the God of heaven was about to establish His work upon the earth. This angel quoted many of the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and told this young man that they were about to be fulfilled among the nations of the earth; and he also told him that if he would listen and render obedience to the commands of God, he should be an instrument in the hands of the Lord in establishing His kingdom upon the earth."
(Ref. The Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 324 - the page is listed under "On the Death of Elder Ezra T. Benson" on the right side of the webpage at http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/...)

The First Vision "in the year 1827" would make JS 21 years old, going on 22 (on Dec. 23 of that year), not 14, per the official, 'true' FV story.

Of course, "an angel of God flying through the midst of heaven and visiting a young man named Joseph Smith" contradicts what JS wrote in his personal history, namely, "When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air."

And JS "went into his secret chamber and asked the Lord what he must do to be saved"? What about the belief-bolstering story penned by him about having a "determination to ask of God" about religious sects (to learn which was correct) and going "to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty", again per the LDS Church's "Joseph Smith - History" in the Pearl of Great Price? (See: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js...)

BTW, Woodruff joined the Mormon Church in Dec. 1833.

Now, here's what Grant Palmer, Mormon history researcher, author, and retired LDS Church Eductional System Director, wrote in his 2003 book, "An Insider's View of Mormon Origins":
"Neither Joseph nor anyone else prior to 1838 referred to the [First] vision as the source of his authority to act as God's agent of the Restoration. Ironically, it is during a later time of persecution in 1838, when some church leaders begin doubting his mission as a prophet, that it becomes important to connect his prophetic call to this vision."

"A leadership crisis began in Kirtland [in Ohio] on 7 November 1837. Frederick G. Williams, a counselor in the First Presidency, left the church. During the last week of December 1837, Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses [of the Book of Mormon], was excommunicated. On 10 March 1838, John Whitmer, one of the eight witnesses to the Book of Mormon, was excommunicated. On 25 March, Martin Harris told a public meeting that none of the witnesses had physically seen or handled the [gold] plates, that they had not seen the plates with their 'natural eyes.' His testimony triggered a discussion led by Warren Parrish. As a result, Apostles John F. Boynton, Luke Johnson, and other church members 'renounced the Book of Mormon.'"

"Within a month of Harris' comments, three of the apostles no longer believed in the Book of Mormon and two more were out of favor with the church. All three witnesses to the Book of Mormon and three of the eight [witnesses] had defected. The entire Whitmer clan had left the church. All this must have caused considerable anxiety and cognitive dissonance within the community."

"Fearing the possible unraveling of the church, Joseph Smith took to re[-]establishing his authority. During this week of 7-13 April [1838], he contemplated rewriting his history. On April 26, he renamed the church. The next day he started dictating the new first vision narrative. He began by attacking those who were circulating unsavory 'reports' regarding 'the rise and progress of the Church', then told a revised and more impressive version of his epiphany. He announced that his initial calling had not come from an angel in 1823, as he had said for over a decade, but from God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820. This earlier date established his mission independent of the troubling questions and former witnesses associated with the Book of Mormon. Like the 1834-35 priesthood restoration recitals, the first vision version of April 1838 added significant material that bolstered his authority during a time of crisis."
Quoted from pp. 246, 246, 248, and 251 of "An Insider's View of Mormon Origins", which Deseret Books (owned by the LDS Church) sold for two years! (See: http://signaturebooks.com/2010/02/an-...)

My favourite First Vision tale is the one involving the "something like [a] toad, which soon assumed the appearance of a man, and struck him [JS] on the side of his head" (go here (http://mit.irr.org/joseph-smiths-chan...) for more info.).

It's important for Latter-day Saints, in particular, to understand the timeline of Joseph Smith's 'morphing' First Vision tales:

1. The first known First Vision Narrative (http://mit.irr.org/changing-first-vis...) was occultic/Halloween-ish, with JS dressed in black and riding a black horse during the astrologically-important autumn equinox to meet up with the "something like [a] toad, which soon assumed the appearance of a man, and struck him on the side of his head."

In that First Vision story, JS reportedly learned about "a record on plates of gold", which he also mentioned in 1830 during his lengthy interview with writer Peter Bauder.

2. Bauder wrote:
"I will name some of the particular discoveries which through Divine Providence I was favored with in an interview with Joseph Smith, Jr. at the house of Peter Whitmer [an associate of JS], in the town of Fayette, Seneca County, state of New York, in October, 1830. I called at P. Whitmer's house, for the purpose of seeing Smith, and searching into the mystery of his system of religion, and had the privilege of conversing with him alone, several hours, and of investigating his writings, church records, c. I improved [spent] near four and twenty hours in close application [meeting] with Smith and his followers: he could give me no christian experience, but told me that an angel told him he must go to a certain place in the town of Manchester, Ontario County [in northwestern New York State], where was a secret treasure concealed, which he must reveal to the human family. He went, and after the third or fourth time, which was repeated once a year, he obtained a parcel of plate resemblinggold, on which were engraved what he did not understand, only by the aid of a glass [JS' peep/seer stone] which he also obtained with the plate, by which means he was enabled to translate the characters on the plate into English. He says he was not allowed to let the plate be seen only by a few individuals named by the angel, and after he had a part translated, the angel commanded him to carry the plate into a certain piece of woods, which he did: - the angel took them and carried them to parts unknown to him. The part translated he had published, and it is before the public, entitled the Book of Mormon."
See: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Peter_B...

For lurking Latter-day Saints, in particular, JS' seer stone ("glass") is mentioned in an Ensign article (See: https://www.lds.org/ensign/1993/07/a-...) and an article in The Friend (See: https://www.lds.org/friend/1974/09/a-...) as well as on the LDS Church's Joseph Smith Papers (See: http://josephsmithpapers.org/topic/tr...) website.

3. By 1832, JS had radically changed his First Vision story, making it suitably Christian so it would potentially appeal to a broader audience (See: http://mit.irr.org/changing-first-vis...). Contrary to his 'true' FV narrative written in early 1838, in the 1832 account of his supposed theophany (vision of God), JS wrote that he had determined that all churches were wrong.

Also, JS penned nothing in 1832 about "unusual excitement on the subject of religion" in his area (or anything similiar), which he added to his FV tale of 1838.

However, JS did write that he was "in the 16th year of my age" (i.e., he was 15), which meant the First Vision happened not "on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty", per his 1838 narrative, but the following year (and in a location that he didn't bother to mention!).

The 1832 FV myth had JS describing himself as being "filled with the spirit of God and the Lord opened the heavens unto me and I saw the and he spake unto me saying Joseph thy sins are forgiven thee. go thy walk in my statutes and keep my commandments behold I am the Lord of glory I was crucifyed for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life[.]"

Not too shabby for a court-convicted young adult "Glass Looker" trying to expand his religious scam!
 
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Archived Blogs:
The First Vision - A Look At The Problems
Multiple First Visions
Church Leader Makes Another Do-or-die First Vision Declaration
$1000 And $100 Dollar First Vision Challenge
Lucy Mack Smith's Book Is Strong Evidence Against The First Vision
No Joke: TBMS Use Maple Sugar Production To Prove Date Of First Vision
The Power Of Narration: Joseph Smith Didn't Write The First Vision Story
History Of Denial: LDS Prophets And The First Vision
Mormon Magazine Cites "Evidence" For Setting Date Of First Vision
Any Body Home?: Forget Joseph Smith's First Vision Fable. Smith Actually Taught That God The Father Did Not Have A Tangible, Physical Body
The First Vision Wasn't Even Known By Church Members Until 1842
First Installment By The Church News Testimony Cavalry
Deseret News, May 29, 1852 - Joseph Smith Stating He Saw Angels In The First Vision
Quinn Says Smith Did Not Go To Pray In Early Spring 1820
The First Vision Was Not Taught Until 22 Years After It Occurred
A Question Never Asked About The "First Vision"
The First Vision - Eight Conflicting Accounts. The Evolution Of A Blockbuster Tale
Did Joseph Smith Borrow His First Vision From These People?
The First Vision
Does Everything Rest On The First Vision, Or The Book Of Mormon?
The First Vision, Did It Happen?
Joseph Smith Plagiarized His First Vision Account! 12 Possible Sources
Mormon Apostle Woodruff Told Church Members That Joseph Smith's First Vision Happened "In The Year 1827" And Involved "An Angel Of God Flying"
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  · BRIAN C. HALES (1)
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  · CATHOLIC CHURCH (5)
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  · CHURCH PUBLISHED MAGAZINES (51)
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  · CHURCH VAULTS (4)
  · CITY CREEK CENTER (23)
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  · CLEON SKOUSEN (3)
  · COGNITIVE DISSONANCE (2)
  · COMEDY (128)
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  · D. MICHAEL QUINN (1)
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  · DALLIN H. OAKS (101)
  · DANIEL C. PETERSON (88)
  · DANITES (4)
  · DAVID A. BEDNAR (23)
  · DAVID O. MCKAY (8)
  · DAVID R. STONE (1)
  · DAVID WHITMER (1)
  · DELBERT L. STAPLEY (1)
  · DESERET NEWS (3)
  · DIETER F. UCHTDORF (13)
  · DNA (23)
  · DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS (8)
  · DON JESSE (2)
  · ELAINE S. DALTON (5)
  · EMMA SMITH (5)
  · ENSIGN PEAK (1)
  · ERICH W. KOPISCHKE (1)
  · EX-MORMON FOUNDATION (33)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 1 (35)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 10 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 11 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 12 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 13 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 14 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 15 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 16 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 17 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 18 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 19 (26)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 2 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 20 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 21 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 22 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 23 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 24 (28)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 3 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 4 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 5 (23)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 6 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 7 (25)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 8 (24)
  · EX-MORMON OPINION - SECTION 9 (26)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 1 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 10 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 11 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 12 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 13 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 14 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 15 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 16 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 17 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 18 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 19 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 2 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 20 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 21 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 22 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 23 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 24 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 25 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 26 (61)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 3 (21)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 4 (22)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 5 (24)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 6 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 7 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 8 (25)
  · EX-MORMONISM SECTION 9 (26)
  · EXCOMMUNICATION AND COURTS OF LOVE (19)
  · EZRA TAFT BENSON (30)
  · FACIAL HAIR (6)
  · FAIR / MADD - APOLOGETICS (70)
  · FAITH PROMOTING RUMORS (11)
  · FARMS (30)
  · FIRST VISION (23)
  · FOOD STORAGE (3)
  · FUNDAMENTALIST LDS (17)
  · GENERAL AUTHORITIES (29)
  · GENERAL CONFERENCE (14)
  · GENERAL NEWS (5)
  · GEORGE P. LEE (1)
  · GORDON B. HINCKLEY (68)
  · GRANT PALMER (8)
  · GREGORY L. SMITH (9)
  · GUNNISON MASSACRE (1)
  · H. DAVID BURTON (2)
  · HAROLD B. LEE (1)
  · HATE MAIL I RECEIVE (23)
  · HAUNS MILL (2)
  · HBO BIG LOVE (12)
  · HEBER C. KIMBALL (4)
  · HELEN RADKEY (17)
  · HELLEN MAR KIMBALL (4)
  · HENRY B. EYRING (5)
  · HOLIDAYS (13)
  · HOME AND VISITING TEACHING (9)
  · HOWARD W. HUNTER (1)
  · HUGH NIBLEY (13)
  · HYMNS (7)
  · INTERVIEWS IN MORMONISM (18)
  · J REUBEN CLARK (1)
  · JAMES E. FAUST (7)
  · JEFF LINDSAY (6)
  · JEFFREY MELDRUM (1)
  · JEFFREY R. HOLLAND (32)
  · JEFFREY S. NIELSEN (11)
  · JOHN GEE (3)
  · JOHN L. LUND (3)
  · JOHN L. SORENSON (4)
  · JOHN TAYLOR (1)
  · JOSEPH B. WIRTHLIN (1)
  · JOSEPH F. SMITH (1)
  · JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH (8)
  · JOSEPH SITATI (1)
  · JOSEPH SMITH (101)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - POLYGAMY (43)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - PROPHECY (8)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - SEER STONES (7)
  · JOSEPH SMITH - WORSHIP (13)
  · JUDAISM (3)
  · JULIE B. BECK (6)
  · KEITH B. MCMULLIN (1)
  · KERRY MUHLESTEIN (9)
  · KERRY SHIRTS (6)
  · KINDERHOOK PLATES (6)
  · KIRTLAND BANK (6)
  · KIRTLAND EGYPTIAN PAPERS (17)
  · L. TOM PERRY (5)
  · LAMANITE PLACEMENT PROGRAM (3)
  · LAMANITES (36)
  · LANCE B. WICKMAN (1)
  · LARRY ECHO HAWK (1)
  · LDS CHURCH (19)
  · LDS CHURCH OFFICE BUILDING (9)
  · LDS OFFICIAL ESSAYS (22)
  · LDS SOCIAL SERVICES (3)
  · LGBT - AND MORMONISM (44)
  · LORENZO SNOW (1)
  · LOUIS C. MIDGLEY (6)
  · LYNN A. MICKELSEN (2)
  · LYNN G. ROBBINS (1)
  · M. RUSSELL BALLARD (13)
  · MARK E. PETERSON (7)
  · MARK HOFFMAN (12)
  · MARLIN K. JENSEN (3)
  · MARRIOTT (2)
  · MARTIN HARRIS (5)
  · MASONS (16)
  · MELCHIZEDEK/AARONIC PRIESTHOOD (9)
  · MERRILL J. BATEMAN (3)
  · MICHAEL D. WILLIAMS (1)
  · MICHAEL OTTERSON (1)
  · MICHAEL R. ASH (26)
  · MITT ROMNEY (71)
  · MORE GOOD FOUNDATION (4)
  · MORMON CELEBRITIES (14)
  · MORMON CHURCH HISTORY (8)
  · MORMON CHURCH PR (13)
  · MORMON CHURCH PROPAGANDA (5)
  · MORMON CLASSES (1)
  · MORMON DOCTRINE (35)
  · MORMON FUNERALS (12)
  · MORMON GARMENTS (20)
  · MORMON HANDCARTS (12)
  · MORMON INTERPRETER (4)
  · MORMON MARRIAGE EXCLUSIONS (1)
  · MORMON MEMBERSHIP (38)
  · MORMON MISSIONARIES (142)
  · MORMON MONEY (73)
  · MORMON NEWSROOM (5)
  · MORMON POLITICAL ISSUES (5)
  · MORMON RACISM (18)
  · MORMON TEMPLE CEREMONIES (38)
  · MORMON TEMPLE CHANGES (15)
  · MORMON TEMPLES (116)
  · MORMON VISITOR CENTERS (10)
  · MORMON WARDS AND STAKE CENTERS (1)
  · MORMONTHINK (13)
  · MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE (21)
  · MURPHY TRANSCRIPT (1)
  · NATALIE R. COLLINS (11)
  · NAUVOO (3)
  · NAUVOO EXPOSITOR (2)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL (1)
  · NEAL A. MAXWELL INSTITUTE (1)
  · NEIL L. ANDERSEN - SECTION 1 (3)
  · NEW ORDER MORMON (8)
  · OBEDIENCE - PAY, PRAY, OBEY (15)
  · OBJECT LESSONS (15)
  · OLIVER COWDREY (6)
  · ORRIN HATCH (10)
  · PARLEY P. PRATT (11)
  · PATRIARCHAL BLESSING (5)
  · PAUL H. DUNN (5)
  · PBS DOCUMENTARY THE MORMONS (20)
  · PERSECUTION (9)
  · PIONEER DAY (3)
  · PLAN OF SALVATION (5)
  · POLYGAMY (60)
  · PRIESTHOOD BLESSINGS (1)
  · PRIESTHOOD EXECUTIVE MEETING (0)
  · PRIMARY (1)
  · PROCLAMATIONS (1)
  · PROPOSITION 8 (21)
  · PROPOSITION 8 COMMENTS (11)
  · QUENTIN L. COOK (11)
  · RELIEF SOCIETY (14)
  · RESIGNATION PROCESS (31)
  · RICHARD E. TURLEY, JR. (6)
  · RICHARD G. HINCKLEY (2)
  · RICHARD G. SCOTT (7)
  · RICHARD LYMAN BUSHMAN (11)
  · ROBERT D. HALES (5)
  · ROBERT L. MILLET (7)
  · RODNEY L. MELDRUM (15)
  · ROYAL SKOUSEN (2)
  · RUNTU'S RINCON (78)
  · RUSSELL M. NELSON (14)
  · SACRAMENT MEETING (11)
  · SALT LAKE TRIBUNE (1)
  · SCOTT D. WHITING (1)
  · SCOTT GORDON (5)
  · SEMINARY (5)
  · SERVICE AND CHARITY (24)
  · SHERI L. DEW (3)
  · SHIELDS RESEARCH - MORMON APOLOGETICS (4)
  · SIDNEY RIGDON (7)
  · SIMON SOUTHERTON (34)
  · SPAULDING MANUSCRIPT (8)
  · SPENCER W. KIMBALL (12)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 1 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 10 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 11 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 12 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 13 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 14 (17)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 15 (12)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 2 (21)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 3 (18)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 4 (25)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 5 (22)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 6 (19)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 7 (15)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 8 (13)
  · STEVE BENSON - SECTION 9 (19)
  · STORIES (1)
  · SUNSTONE FOUNDATION (2)
  · SURVEILLANCE (SCMC) (12)
  · TAD R. CALLISTER (3)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 1 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 2 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 3 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 4 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 5 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 6 (25)
  · TAL BACHMAN - SECTION 7 (9)
  · TALKS - SECTION 1 (1)
  · TEMPLE WEDDINGS (6)
  · TEMPLES - NAMES (1)
  · TERRYL GIVENS (1)
  · THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE (1)
  · THE SINGLE WARDS (5)
  · THE WORLD TABLE (3)
  · THOMAS PHILLIPS (18)
  · THOMAS S. MONSON (33)
  · TIME (4)
  · TITHING (63)
  · UGO PEREGO (5)
  · UK COURTS (7)
  · UNNANOUNCED, UNINVITED AND UNWELCOME (36)
  · UTAH LIGHTHOUSE MINISTRY (3)
  · VALERIE HUDSON (3)
  · VAN HALE (16)
  · VAUGHN J. FEATHERSTONE (1)
  · VIDEOS (30)
  · WARD CLEANING (4)
  · WARREN SNOW (1)
  · WELFARE (0)
  · WENDY L. WATSON (7)
  · WHITE AND DELIGHTSOME (11)
  · WILFORD WOODRUFF (6)
  · WILLIAM HAMBLIN (11)
  · WILLIAM LAW (1)
  · WILLIAM SCHRYVER (5)
  · WILLIAM WINES PHELPS (3)
  · WOMEN AND MORMONISM (86)
  · WORD OF WISDOM (7)
  · WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES (1)
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