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More Jesus, Less Joseph: Changes in Mormon General Conference

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On 10/5/2017 at 6:59 AM, ALarson said:

This is an interesting topic for me.   I read just recently that Joseph never quoted the Book of Mormon in any of his sermons or writings (that we have a record of).  I kind of went "Hmmmm, hadn't thought about that before!".  But, I have not had the time to look into this to see if it's true.

When I see you state there are "plenty" and are "not hard to find",  I'm hoping you can supply the quotes or references.  Do you mind posting them?

If I have some time today, I'll search too.  (Thanks in advance for any you know of that you can post.)  

Please read the part of the article to which I objected. The authors did not say Joseph never "quoted from it." They said Joseph never referred to the Book of Mormon after it was published. There is a difference. I gave several examples where he referred to it. There are more. 

A bit of circumstantial evidence that Joseph "preached" the Book of Mormon....

http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-circa-june-october-1839-draft-1/16?highlight=Book of Mormon

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We had appointed a meeting on the evening of the same day, for the purpose of confirmations, the time appointed had arrived and our friends had nearly all collected together, when to my surprise I was visited by a constable, and arrested by him, on <a> warrant on a charge of being a disorderly person, of setting the country in an uproar by preaching the Book of Mormon, and various other such like charges. 

Maybe he didn't quote the Book of Mormon so much in order not to cause uproars that got him arrested.  :P[Edit] 

We would have to include in our search any oblique, veiled,  or implied references to passages from or doctrines taught in the Book of Mormon. That would be quite a task. 

 

In a meeting with Indian representatives, Joseph "preached" the Book of Mormon.....

http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/journal-december-1842-june-1844-book-4-1-march-22-june-1844/131

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Great spirit wants you to be united & live in peac[e]— fou[n]d a book. (pentig [presenting] the Book of Mormon) which told me about your fathers.— &. Great spi[r]it told me.— you must send to all the tribes you can. & tell them to live in peace. & when any of our people come to see you treat them as we treat you.

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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The same morning after Hyrum had made ready to go—shall it be said to the slaugeter? Yes, for so it was—he read the following paragraph near the close of the fifth chapter of Ether, in the Book of Mormon, and turned down the leaf upon it:
5 “And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity. And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me, if they have not charity, it mattereth not unto you, thou hast been faithful; wherefore thy garments are clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness, thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father. And now I —— bid farewell unto the Gentiles; yea, and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood.” The testators are now dead and their testament is in force.

http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/doctrine-and-covenants-1844/447

 

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The faith and religion of the Latter Day Saints are founded upon the old scriptures, the Book of mormon, and direct revelation from God, and while every event that transpires around us, is evidence of the truth of them, and an index that the great and terrible day of the Lord is near, we intreat the philanthropist, the Moralist, and the honorable men of all creeds, and sects, to read our publications, to examine the Bible, the book of Mormon and the commandments and listen to the fullness of the gospel, and judge whether we are entitled to the credit of the world, for honest motives, and pure principles.

http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1838-1856-volume-a-1-23-december-1805-30-august-1834/529

 

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We would say to the brethren, seek to know God in your closets, call upon him in the fields; follow the directions of the Book of Mormon, and pray over, and for, your families, your cattle, your flocks, your herds, your corn, and all things that you possess; ask the blessing of God upon all your labors, and every thing that you engage in; be virtuous, and pure, be men of integrity and truth, keep the commandments of God, and then you will be able more perfectly to understand the difference between right and wrong, between the things of God, and the things of men; and your path will be like that of the just, “which shineth brighter and brighter, unto the perfect day.”

http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1838-1856-volume-c-1-addenda/70

Edited by Bernard Gui
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The Book of Mormon is a reccord of the forefathers of our western Tribes of Indians, having been found through the ministration of an holy Angel, translated into our own Language by the gift and power of God, after having been hid up in the earth for the last fourteen hundred years, containing the word of God, which was delivered unto them, By it we learn that our western tribes of Indians are desendants from that Joseph that was sold into Egypt, and that the Land of America is a promised land unto them, and unto it all the tribes of Israel will come. with as many of the Gentiles as shall comply with the requesitions of the new co[v]enant. But the tribe of Judah will return to old Jerusalem,

The City, of Zion, spoken of by David in the 102 Psalm will be built upon the Land of America and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to it with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads, and then they will be delivered from the overflowing scourge that shall pass through the Land.

http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/letter-to-noah-c-saxton-4-january-1833/4

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It has been said by many of the learned, and wise men, or historians, that the Indians, or aboriginees of this continent, are of the scattered tribes of Israel. It has been conjectured by many others, that the aboriginees of this continent, are not of the tribes of Israel; but the ten tribes have been led away into some unknown regions of the north. Let this be as it may, the prophesy I have just quoted, “will fetch them” in the last days, and place them, in the land which their fathers possessed: and you will find in the 7th verse of the 30th chapt. quoted:—“And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.”
Many may say that this scripture is fulfilled, but let them mark carefully what the prophet says: “If any are driven out unto the utmost parts of heaven;” (which must mean the breadths of the earth.) Now this promise is good to any, if there should be such, that are driven out, even in the last days: therefore, the children of the fathers have claim unto this day: and if these curses are to be laid over on the heads of their enemies, wo be unto the Gentiles: See book of Mormon, page 487, Wo unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles, saith the Father. Again see book of Mormon, page 497, which says: “Behold this people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which I made with your father Jacob: and it shall be a New Jerusalem." Now we learn from the book of Mormon, the very identical continent and spot of land upon which the New Jerusalem is to stand, and it must be caught up according to the vision of John upon the isle of Patmos. Now many will be disposed to say, that this New Jerusalem spoken of, is the Jerusalem that was built by the Jews on the eastern continent: but you will see from Revelations, 21:2, there was a New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, adorned as a bride for her husband. That after this the Revelator was caught away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and saw the great and holy city descending out of heaven from God. Now there are two cities spoken of here, and as every thing cannot be had in so narrow a compass as a letter, I shall say with brevity, that there is a New Jerusalem to be established on this continent.— And also the Jerusalem shall be rebuilt on the eastern continent. See book of Mormon, page 566. Behold, Ether saw the days of Christ, and he spake also concerning the house of Israel, and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come: after it should be destroyed it should be built up again, a holy city unto the Lord: wherefore, it could not be a New Jerusalem, for it had been in a time of old. This may suffice upon the subject of gathering until my next.

http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/letter-to-the-elders-of-the-church-16-november-1835/2

 

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so one of their noble champions by the name of C. Davy, a Methodist minister, challenged us for a discussion on the subject of the Book of Mormon, and said that he could prove it false from the writings contained therein and the scriptures. I accepted the challenge, the time was then appointed that the discussion should commence, which was Monday the 23d of May at 10 o’clock A. M. in the town of Royal Oak, Oakland co., great excitement prevailed amongst the people, and at the appointed time, there was an assembly of between 400, and 500 people: the question for discussion was to prove the Book of Mormon to be of divine origin, and that it came forth, according to the predictions of the prophets—decision to be given according to the weight of argument advanced, the limited time for each to speak was 20 minutes at a time. We each of us chose a man, and they chose the third, who were to sit as judges; the congregation was then called to order, and I opened the discussion. We then spoke three times on each side, there was given an intermission of half an hour, we then continued the discussion and spoke four times each and then submitted the question for decision, the judges then gave the decision in favor of the Book of Mormon; the congregation was then dismissed and I heard many of the Methodists say they wanted no more to do with Methodism, and many others that came that morning expecting to hear the Book proved false and Mormonism fall to rise no more because their teachers had thus flattered them it would be the case, but they had to return to their homes in despair, and their priests quit the field with shame and anguish of heart, because they had not gained their points, and thus the little stone cut out of the mountain without hands, rolls forth propelled by the power of Israel’s God and will continue to roll until it becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth.

http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/times-and-seasons-1-july-1842/9

Edited by Bernard Gui
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Thanks Bernard for looking that up and for posting all of the references.  They were interesting to read and I appreciate you doing that!

7 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Maybe he didn't quote the Book of Mormon so much in order not to cause uproars that got him arrested.

Possibly in the beginning, but I'd imagine he would have been free to quote from it to a congregation of the members of the church in later years.  I tend to think that JLHPROF is probably correct with the reasons:

Joseph may have referred to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon but he virtually never quoted it in his sermons or teachings.  He certainly quoted the New Testament, but not the Book of Mormon.

....

There are many possible reasons.
No matter which we subscribe to the change is evident.
In the 19th Century speakers focused the restoration and Joseph and quoted more from the New Testament.
In the 20th Century speakers focused on plan of salvation and Christ and quoted more from the Book of Mormon.
Kind of interesting pairings.  The restoration prophet and the traditional scripture or the biblical savior and the restored scripture.

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8 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Please read the part of the article to which I objected. The authors did not say Joseph never "quoted from it." They said Joseph never referred to the Book of Mormon after it was published. There is a difference. I gave several examples where he referred to it. There are more. 

Agreed.  Joseph referred to the Book of Mormon often.  He quoted it rarely in sermons.

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A bit of circumstantial evidence that Joseph "preached" the Book of Mormon....
Maybe he didn't quote the Book of Mormon so much in order not to cause uproars that got him arrested.
We would have to include in our search any oblique, veiled,  or implied references to passages from or doctrines taught in the Book of Mormon. That would be quite a task.

There are many possible reasons that Joseph quoted far more extensively from the New Testament and only rarely quoted Book of Mormon text.
It's not an insult to Joseph to recognize this.  Yes, he did on rare occasion quote the Book of Mormon.  However, his doctrinal teachings and sermons generally were connected to New Testament or the new revelations he had received.  He gave many discourses on the writings of Peter and Paul.
It may simply be that he had spent his whole life growing up with the New Testament, and the Book of Mormon was only completed and printed in 1830.

Again, this says little about either Joseph or the Book of Mormon.  It really is just an interesting observation concerning the length of time it takes for a new revelation/scripture to enter common usage among believers.

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44 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

Agreed.  Joseph referred to the Book of Mormon often.  He quoted it rarely in sermons.

There are many possible reasons that Joseph quoted far more extensively from the New Testament and only rarely quoted Book of Mormon text.
It's not an insult to Joseph to recognize this.  Yes, he did on rare occasion quote the Book of Mormon.  However, his doctrinal teachings and sermons generally were connected to New Testament or the new revelations he had received.  He gave many discourses on the writings of Peter and Paul.
It may simply be that he had spent his whole life growing up with the New Testament, and the Book of Mormon was only completed and printed in 1830.

Again, this says little about either Joseph or the Book of Mormon.  It really is just an interesting observation concerning the length of time it takes for a new revelation/scripture to enter common usage among believers.

Thank you.

Of course. I agree, but that is not what I was addressing. Once again, I was responding to their statement that he never referred to the Book of Mormon after it was published. 

Side note: Joseph's mastery of the Bible (as evidenced in its ubiquitous presence in his spoken and written discourse) is nothing short of phenomenal. We should talk about that. How did he do it, given that his mother said he barely read it as a youth and that he was always up to his neck in alligators as an adult. Given all the things he did, when did he obtain this command of the Bible?

What percentage of Joseph's discourses have been preserved word for word, for example, compared with other early Church leaders?

Edited by Bernard Gui

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1 hour ago, ALarson said:

Thanks Bernard for looking that up and for posting all of the references.  They were interesting to read and I appreciate you doing that!

9 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Maybe he didn't quote the Book of Mormon so much in order not to cause uproars that got him arrested.

Possibly in the beginning, but I'd imagine he would have been free to quote from it to a congregation of the members of the church in later years.  I tend to think that JLHPROF is probably correct with the reasons:

Sorry...I should have put a smiley face on that. It was facetious.

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Isn't Elder Oaks on record saying something similar about topics in General Conferences?

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Brigham Young explained that "The Book of Mormon contains the same plan of salvation that the Lord requires the world to listen to, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants is given for the Latter-day Saints expressly for their everyday walk and actions" (Journal of Discourses 16:188. September 4, 1873 --- I think). 

This was by way of explaining relative usage, and why. I think it's clear that the first two generations of the Church regarded the Book of Mormon as an important witness of the divine call of Joseph Smith and of the Restoration, but not nearly as important as the OT (for inspiring stories), the NT (proof-texting, justification, and doctrine), and the D&C (for daily "walk and conversation," or counsel on how to live life). This might be part of the curse in section 84, and highlighted by President Benson: that we had taken the BoM lightly, and overlooked the treasure of doctrine and gems in it. 

The meeting I was at with two members of the seventy included easily over 50 quotations from the Book of Mormon. They were clearly modeling how they want priesthood leaders to use the BoM directly to answer questions and concerns. 

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Posted (edited)

Resurrecting an old thread, but not expecting a whole lot of discussion, but chime in if you wish....

From the article in the OP, highlights added. The first highlight refers to how many times certain doctrines or beliefs were listed as the topics of talks.The second bolding is more general.

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RNS: You also point out something that surprised me, that the Book of Mormon has only appeared among the top twenty topics in a single decade in all of church history [the 1980s]. And even then it barely squeaked onto the list.

Gordon: The Book of Mormon as a specific conference topic correlated very closely with the presidency of Ezra Taft Benson. He personally crusaded for emphasizing it in every way he could think of, and after his presidency was over it just dropped out.

Gary: And throughout the nineteenth century, there’s very little mention of the Book of Mormon. Both Gordon and I found it very interesting that Joseph Smith himself virtually never referred to the Book of Mormon after it was published. It didn’t emerge as a topic of interest in his speeches or writings, nor those of his associates in the earliest times of Mormon history.

I had some extra time (lots more now that I'm retired), so I did a simple word search of the lds conference corpus. Searching Conference talks by decade for the terms Book of Mormon, Lehi, Nephi, Lamanites, Nephites, Alma, and Moroni I came up with these results. Of course they are unrefined raw data, but I wanted to post it as a response to the above bolded quote...."throughout the nineteenth century, there's very little mention of the Book of Mormon" in LDS Conference talks. (This is not about Joseph Smith's use of the Book of Mormon.) Each decade had about 1.5 million words in the talks, but that is counting all the ifs, ands, and buts, etc.

  Total Talks BoM Lehi Nephi Lamanites Nephites Alma Moroni TOTAL
                   
1850s 411 313 5 19 79 41 8 8 884
1860s 381 205 16 18 34 33 1 5 693
1870s 380 540 32 55 75 151 18 59 1310
1880s 307 235 27 56 34 43 20 43 765
1890s 441 271 47 86 33 45 18 33 974
1900s  636 324 29 103 36 38 24 32 1222
                  5848
Edited by Bernard Gui
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Any idea why the big bump in the 1870's ?

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, strappinglad said:

Any idea why the big bump in the 1870's ?

I was thinking the same thing...plus there were fewer talks than some years.

By way of comparison, during the same time there were around 550 references to the term Word of Wisdom and about 250 references to tobacco (but not necessarily in the context of the WoW.).

Edited by Bernard Gui

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On 3/4/2016 at 9:37 PM, sunstoned said:

Well, according to the study, Jesus wasn't the main topic like Joseph Smith was.  I'm glad that trend has started to be reversed.  

sorry to disappoint you but I was very happy to take a break and learn about Joseph....In my faithful days....you can feed only so much of the same thing before we get tired of it.As I said it was refreshing in my conversion days.

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2 hours ago, Atheist Mormon said:

sorry to disappoint you but I was very happy to take a break and learn about Joseph....In my faithful days....you can feed only so much of the same thing before we get tired of it.As I said it was refreshing in my conversion days.

Why the Debbie Downer negativity? Besides, that post was from 2016.

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8 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Why the Debbie Downer negativity? Besides, that post was from 2016.

Who is  DebbyDowner? Being neg or pos was irrelevant, I stated what was the reality from my perspective. I hope I didn't offend you.

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4 hours ago, Atheist Mormon said:

Who is  DebbyDowner? Being neg or pos was irrelevant, I stated what was the reality from my perspective. I hope I didn't offend you.

No, I'm not offended, just wondering what that had to do with frequency of appearance of Book of Mormon in 19th century conference talks.

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Etymology: From the Saturday Night Live character Debbie Downer, played by Rachel Dratch 
Function: Noun 
a: a person who says something terribly depressing (a downer), typically only tangentially related to the present circumstance or topic of conversation, and thereby destroys the positive atmosphere. b: a statement that is charactaristic of Debbie Downer 

Usage note: In the skit, following each downer Debbie voices, a trombone plays a "wah waaah" (sad trombone) sound effect and the camera zooms in on Debbie Downer's face, which is twisted in comic despair.

 

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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

No, I'm not offended, just wondering what that had to do with frequency of appearance of Book of Mormon in 19th century conference talks.

 

I'm so disappointed for not remembering Debbie,  SNL is one of the  few shows I  follow every year.

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Sorry to piggyback on JAHS's thread, if he minds, I hope he lets me know and I'll delete.

Below is a video I came across. This EV is giving some good answers to this LDS guy that is questioning things about the church. He is stuck on wondering if we need latter day prophets. And the preacher is giving him very reasonable feedback and quoting Paul. Just wondering what any of you think. 

 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Sorry to piggyback on JAHS's thread, if he minds, I hope he lets me know and I'll delete.

Below is a video I came across. This EV is giving some good answers to this LDS guy that is questioning things about the church. He is stuck on wondering if we need latter day prophets. And the preacher is giving him very reasonable feedback and quoting Paul. Just wondering what any of you think. 

Hi Tacenda-- I believe a fantastic story that is based on the greatest miracle in the world, that Jesus Christ died, rose from the dead and that through Him we can live forever.  While there are many who testify this is true, many find their testimonies unconvincing.  Paul said, in 1 Cor. 2:14 "14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."  In other words, this knowledge comes from God speaking directly to man.  That is how I know God lives, and Jesus took my sins and sorrows upon Himself when I repented, and replaced them with joy.

The Bible shows a pattern of God speaking to man through prophets on matters of doctrine that apply to everyone.  In this complex day and age, there is a greater need for a prophet than ever before, and we have one, Russell M. Nelson.  The evidence us unconvincing to many or most.  But Alma the Younger, a prophet in the Book of Mormon, described exactly how I came to know the LDS Church is true in Alma chapter 5:

"11 Behold, I can tell you—did not my father Alma believe in the words which were delivered by the mouth of Abinadi? And was he not a holy prophet? Did he not speak the words of God, and my father Alma believe them?
            12 And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true.
            13 And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.
            14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
            15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?"

That's how I know it's true.  And that's how anyone can know.  It is a matter of faith, believing AND being faithful to the end, doing the deeds of Christ in our own lives.  That is how Jesus also said we can know: "17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."  John 7:17

This has been God's pattern since days of old: "19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
            20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
            21 But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord God."  Ezekiel 11:19-21.

This knowledge is a gift, yes.  But work and effort is required.  "...do His will" and know His doctrine.  Following the prophets leads to personal revelation, a personal communication between God and His child.  You are His child, as am I.  Just because Christ has always spoken to mankind through prophets doesn't overcome the importance of a personal relationship with God in this day of modern day prophets, any more than it did in the days of ancient prophets.  "the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.
            5 And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.
            6 Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
            7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered."  2 Nephi 2:4-7.

The Church us true.  Do the thing.  Know the doctrine.  Believe it.  Live it.  The difference between us and others is that we preach the Gospel, not of belief only, but the Gospel of changed behavior.

Edited by Meerkat
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5 hours ago, Meerkat said:

Hi Tacenda-- I believe a fantastic story that is based on the greatest miracle in the world, that Jesus Christ died, rose from the dead and that through Him we can live forever.  While there are many who testify this is true, many find their testimonies unconvincing.  Paul said, in 1 Cor. 2:14 "14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."  In other words, this knowledge comes from God speaking directly to man.  That is how I know God lives, and Jesus took my sins and sorrows upon Himself when I repented, and replaced them with joy.

The Bible shows a pattern of God speaking to man through prophets on matters of doctrine that applies to everyone.  In this complex day and age, there is a greater need for a prophet than ever before, and we have one, Russell M. Nelson.  The evidence us unconvincing to many or most.  But Alma the Younger, a prophet in the Book of Mormon, described exactly how I came to know the LDS Church is true in Alma chapter 5:

"11 Behold, I can tell you—did not my father Alma believe in the words which were delivered by the mouth of Abinadi? And was he not a holy prophet? Did he not speak the words of God, and my father Alma believe them?
            12 And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true.
            13 And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God. And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.
            14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
            15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?"

That's how I know it's true.  And that's how anyone can know.  It is a matter of faith, believing AND being faithful to the end, doing the deeds of Christ in our own lives.  That is how Jesus also said we can know: "17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."  John 7:17

This has been God's pattern since days of old: "19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
            20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
            21 But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord God."  Ezekiel 11:19-21.

This knowledge is a gift, yes.  But work and effort is required.  "...do His will" and know His doctrine.  Following the prophets leads to personal revelation, a personal communication between God and His child.  You are His child, as am I.  Just because Christ has always spoken to mankind through prophets doesn't overcome the importance of a personal relationship with God in this day of modern day prophets, any more than it did in the days of ancient prophets.  "the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.
            5 And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.
            6 Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
            7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered."  2 Nephi 2:4-7.

The Church us true.  Do the thing.  Know the doctrine.  Believe it.  Live it.  The difference between us and others is that we preach the Gospel, not of belief only, but the Gospel of changed behavior.

Meerkat, thanks for the feedback, I believe you! Or I believe you believe or know this, how nice that would be to know/believe like that. I just need to get around the fact that there are a few other books that men have either came up with or been revealed to that surpass the Bible. And if each are right and the Bible is right too, where does that leave me? 

Once again, that was very kind to give me a response. And I absolutely love your quotes at the bottom of every post. That's why I need to not speak most of the time, lol! 

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How many of those “Joseph Smith talks” fixated on the First Vision?

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