The First Vision Essay is Dishonest
Sarony May 2014
The First Vision essay by the church is fundamentally dishonest because it omits two official, published accounts.
http://www.lds.org/topics/first-vision- ... s?lang=eng
These two accounts are by Oliver Cowdery in 1835 and Brigham Young in 1855.
Cowdery's account covers three critical elements that, taken together, are contrary to the 1838 version.
First Element: Joseph was inquiring about true religion when he got the “first vision”.
Second Element: Joseph’s “first vision” was with an angel, named [Nephi] Moroni, and NOT with a god (Jesus and/or The Father).
Third Element: Joseph’s “first vision” would include information of an ancient, buried record (gold plates).
Oliver Cowdery's account was approved by Joseph Smith and it was published in The Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate 1 (Feb 1835) 77-80. That periodical was as official as today's 'Ensign' and lds.org.
Here is Oliver Cowdery’s account.
“… [t]his would bring us down to the year 1823 ….
… 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…
Comment: Joseph was obviously enquiring about true religion if he did not know in 1823 ” if a Supreme Being did exist ….” This also is a serious problem for any pre-1823 vision of Smith’s.
“On the evening of the 21st of September, 1823 … and in a moment a personage stood before him…
“… and also gave a history of the aborigines of this country, and said they were literal descendants of Abraham … this history was written and deposited not far from that place ….” (Oliver Cowdery to W. W. Phelps, published in the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate 1 (Feb 1835) 77-80).
Brigham Young's Account
On February 18, 1855, Young spoke of Smith’s prophetic call. Young emphatically asserts it was an angel and not God who visited first. This is consistent with Cowdery's account.
Here is an excerpt of what Young said, followed by the full text.
“The Lord … did send His angel to … Joseph Smith Jun. … and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day ….
“But as it was in the days of our Savior, so was it in the advent of this new dispensation. It was not in accordance with the notions, traditions, and pre-conceived ideas of the American people. The messenger did not come to an eminent divine of any of the so-called orthodoxy, he did not adopt their interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. 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, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 2: 171.)
Mother Smith, William Smith (Joseph's brother), and Oliver Cowdery were close to Joseph Smith in the early days before 1830. I believe it is safe to assume they received first-hand accounts of Smith’s earliest visions.
Mother Smith’s account (1845) is identical Cowdery's account (1835) and William Smith's account (1841), in these three significant elements.
Historians lend more credence to accounts that are independent, have diverse motivations to record them, are the earliest, and independently agree on key elements.
(1)Mother Smith, William Smith and Oliver Cowdery knew Joseph personally before 1829, because
(2)their accounts are independent and corroborate these three details, because
(3)they are from people who are friendly to Smith and to his reputation, and finally because
(4)the details are contrary to the 1838 Official Version of the First Vision,
the details are probably accurately recorded and in line with Smith’s stories at the time he told them.
Here is Mother Smith’s account, taken from Dan Vogel’s collection of Early Mormon Documents:
[1845 MS 1, CONT.]
About this The 3[rd] harvest time88 had now arrived since we opened our new farm and all the our sons were actively employed in assisting their Father to cut down the grain and storing it away in order, for winter One evening we were sitting till quite late conversing upon the subject of the diversity of churches that had risen up in the world and the many thousand opinions in exis=tence as to the truths contained in scripture[.] Joseph who never said many words upon any subject but always seemed to reflect more deeply than com=mon persons of his age upon everything of a religious nature
This After we ceased conversation he went to bed
The angel spoke[:] I perceive that you are enquiring in your mind which is the true church[.] there is not a true church on Earth[,] No not one[,] Nor
Joseph there is a record for you and you must get it one day get it There is a record for [p. 40] you and Joseph when you have learned to keep the com-mandments of God but you cannot get it untill you learn to keep the commandments ofGod[.]
Templar Re: The First Vision Essay is Dishonest Why would anyone expect to get honest information from a dishonest organization?
GNPE Re: The First Vision Essay is Dishonest Lies have a 'Nasty Habit' of catching up, 'eh?
mrtranquility Even if you cut JS some slack for not getting the details right... There are two kinds of memory: semantic and episodic. Semantic memory has to do with basic facts like generally who, where, and when. Overall, human semantic memory is not too bad, less than perfect, but not too bad. Episodic memory deals with what a person may have said during a certain occurrence. Human episodic memory is generally lousy. When you look at the multiple versions of the FV it contains gross errors in SEMANTIC memory. So if God, the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ appeared to you, how could you ever get that detail wrong!!!???!!! You may jumble what God told you, but how could you confuse the person(s) who told you, especially when they explicitly identified themselves??? The very start of my deconversion was that I had some doubts, so I did some research and bought Grant Palmer's book. I read the chapter on different versions of the FV and that was it, I was done - deconverted in 30 minutes. When someone tells very disparate versions of the same story they're obviously fibbing or delusional. That's something we learn in Kindergarten. There's really nothing to discuss or debate - it's end of story.
Sarony Re: Even if you cut JS some slack for not getting the details right... Interesting about Semantic memory. Interesting because three expressions using episodic memory are semantically harmonious. This would be the episodic accounts of Oliver Cowdery, Mother Smith, and William Smith. They get three critical elements semantically the same.
Wally Dauter Re: The First Vision Essay is Dishonest It certainly creates doubt as to the 1838 version. And it suggests the church will not change unless it is dragged, kicking and screaming, to a damaging factual disclosure. Therefore, people should insist all unofficial versions should be disclosed in the essay.
Wally Dauter Ahem! Ahem! "Official" not "unofficial."
Stray Mutt Re: The First Vision Essay is Dishonest Well, the whole 1st Vision thing is a lie itself, so...
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