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  1. In the first vision (unlike your fictional lunch example), the personages didn't introduce themselves by name. However, it is certainly clear enough from the context who is speaking when the Father introduces the Son, and later on it's apparent that Joseph knew them to be God the Father and the Son. So it still comes down to Joseph being precise in reporting what transpired in the first vision. Why does he need to explain it any further?
  2. True witness reports are always intended to lay out just the facts, not an interpretations of the facts. As an example from a personal experience I had that has always annoyed me because of the way it was reported, I was one time visiting a company to install and implement some software. While I was in one of the offices that had a glass window with a view of the shop, we heard a commotion in the shop. It turned out that one of the employees was cleaning out a pickup truck, and he picked up a pistol that was in the truck and it fired, and the employee got shot (it turned out to not be life threatening). But when the owner of the company called 911 (as I was standing there watching) he reported to the 911 operator that "an employee in our shop tried to commit suicide and shot himself". The only fact in his report was that an employee was shot. The rest was pure speculation. So it's always good to stick with the facts as you know them instead of trying to put an interpretation on it. I see the gospel accounts describing only the voice from heaven as doing the same sort of thing. And I think Joseph Smith reporting of his first vision was intended to be completely in line with the way the gospel accounts reported similar events (I'm pretty sure Joseph had those in mind). I also think Joseph was being precise to alleviate persecution somewhat, given his prior experiences with telling of his vision to religious leaders when he was young.
  3. He referred to Moroni as a "personage" as well, that's part of the precise description. A true witness statement gives the actual events as they transpired.
  4. I think the answer is much simpler than that. In his 1838 account of the vision Joseph is simply being precise in his description of what happened. And, it's not unlike the gospels accounts of Jesus on the mount of transfiguration, with Peter, James, and John, where it is said, "a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." (Matthew 17:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35). Compare that to the baptism of Jesus, where it was said, "And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Mark 1:11, Matthew 3:17, Luke 3:22). None of those accounts include the identity of the voice from heaven, but it is obvious from the context it is the voice of a Father speaking to a Son, and the other individual (Jesus) is identified as the Son. The first vision account is very similar in that regard. Joseph wasn't being intentionally vague, he was just being precise. Edit to add: Incidentally, Peter later wrote about his experience on the mount of transfiguration in 2 Peter 1:17, where he identified the voice from heaven as "God the Father": "For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount." (2 Peter 1:17–18)
  5. Or, Joseph told others (including Oliver Cowdery) that he had seen God, and they were repeating what Joseph had told them.
  6. You were posting this at about the same time as I provided the reference. Yes, it's interesting that the same article in THE REFLECTOR mentions both Christ and the Holy Spirit as part of the ministry.
  7. At least one non-friendly account reports that Joseph Smith had seen God as early as February 14, 1831 (happy Valentine's Day). In Palmyra, THE REFLECTOR (newspaper) on that date, published that their "Painesville correspondent" had informed them of a visit to that area of Oliver Cowdery and "three others" in November 1830, saying of Joseph, "Smith (they affirmed) had seen God frequently and personally", and that "Cowdery and his friends had frequent interviews with angels". Obviously that doesn't say "God the Father and Jesus Christ", but at least it lets us know that Joseph Smith had told others that he had seen God.
  8. Does anyone know when and where we can obtain any notes and references related to this conference? I was fascinated by Morgan Deane's presentation on the Book of Mormon in the Debates on War and Peace, and I was unable to take notes while I was listening. I have had discussions with my Anabaptist friend on this very topic, as he has sometimes criticized the church's position on war (most Anabaptists either characterize themselves as pacifists or promoting nonresistance). So the topic has always been of interest to me.
  9. A series of earthquakes that shook the entire region is an accurate description. By saying "huge earthquake" I wasn't trying to limit it to a single earthquake. 3 Nephi 10:9 says that the "dreadful groanings" and "tumultuous noises" lasted as long as three days. This is not uncommon with volcanic eruptions. Several studies have provided Book of Mormon land size approximations based on travel times described in the text (but as John E. Clark explained, judging distances based on travel times is problematic, since in his personal experience with travel times it depends on if his dad was driving or if his mom was driving - see page 16 of Revisiting "A Key for Evaluating Book of Mormon Geographies" ). One study provides these distances as illustrated in this map, as proposed by John W. Welch and Greg Welch: As for how many, Jerry D. Grover, Jr. has documented as many as six volcanos that were active in the first century AD in the central Mexico and Guatemala regions (see pages 32-49 of Geology of the Book of Mormon). No. It just means that what was there before was changed drastically.
  10. Counting down now to Richard Bushman's presentation.... 27 more minutes!
  11. The beginning time specified for the period of darkness is bolded in the quote above: "even from the time that he shall suffer death, for the space of three days". Helaman 14 is a prophesy of the events that actually took place as depicted in 3 Nephi 8:5-23. Verses 19 and 20 say: "And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the earth did cease—for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater; nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours—and then behold, there was darkness upon the face of the land. And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness" (3 Nephi 8:19–20) So basically, there was a huge earthquake and then the darkness came after that. These conditions are common when there is a violent volcanic eruption:
  12. I have heard that view expressed by a few Protestants, believing that everything in the book of Revelation depicts end time events. But Jesus seems to dispute the idea that the fall of Satan is a future event by declaring that he beheld him fall as a past event: "And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." (Luke 10:18)
  13. I'm not sure if what you say above is completely accurate. First of all, there's good evidence that Joseph Smith didn't write the Lectures on Faith, Sydney Rigdon did. See The Case for Sidney Rigdon as Author of the Lectures on Faith, and LDS Perspectives Podcast Episode 44: Mystery Solved: Who Wrote the Lectures on Faith? with Noel Reynolds (or audio here). So I'm not sure the Lectures can be used to show absolutely what Joseph believed about God the Father. Furthermore, the Lectures on Faith portion of the 1835 D&C was the lesson manual of the day, and was distinguished from the revelation portion of the publication. This was simply a way to get some kind of lesson material published in 1835. Additional lesson material was published separately later on. So there was no longer a reason to include the Lectures along with the publication of the scriptures. The reason it was removed is stated in the preface to the 1921 Doctrine and Covenants: I think it's also possible that the doctrine of the Lectures was considered outdated or too confusing for the reasons you say, and that was another reason they were removed.
  14. From the Church Newsroom this morning: https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/200-years-angel-moroni-book-of-mormon The newsroom article has Instagram links to videos and other social media content.
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