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Js And The Accounts Of The First Vision


bluebell

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The topic came up in another thread of some of the biggest reasons that people have to NOT believe JS was a prophet of God.

One of those reasons that came up a few times was the different accounts he gave of the First Vision.

I've always wondered why people who believe the bible to be the word of God (and therefore believe that paul was called of him and spoke for him) have issues with the different accounts of the first vision but have NO issues with the different accounts of paul's vision of Christ.

So-for those of you who fall under this category (such as pantsman-who's idea it was to start this thread) explain away...

:P

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The topic came up in another thread of some of the biggest reasons that people have to NOT believe JS was a prophet of God.

One of those reasons that came up a few times was the different accounts he gave of the First Vision.

I've always wondered why people who believe the bible to be the word of God (and therefore believe that paul was called of him and spoke for him) have issues with the different accounts of the first vision but have NO issues with the different accounts of paul's vision of Christ.

So-for those of you who fall under this category (such as pantsman-who's idea it was to start this thread) explain away...

:P

I believe the Bible to be full of "the word of God," in both its Hebrew and Greek sections --

however, I have many times said that I have "issues with the different accounts of the first vision"

of BOTH Saul AND of JS.

If the Christians wish to elevate Saul to the position of a super-apostle, I do not see why they

deny JS the same questionable honor. Add to that the suppressed accounts of the so-called

Jewish-Christians' problematic views regarding Saul/Paul, and we have even a better analogy

with the professions of Joseph Smith, Jr.

Then again, to question Paul is to question God (or so I once heard in a Lutheran sermon).

Uncle "read the pseudo-Clementine texts for a different, very early opinion of Saul" Dale

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I believe the Bible to be full of "the word of God," in both its Hebrew and Greek sections --

however, I have many times said that I have "issues with the different accounts of the first vision"

of BOTH Saul AND of JS.

If the Christians wish to elevate Saul to the position of a super-apostle, I do not see why they

deny JS the same questionable honor. Add to that the suppressed accounts of the so-called

Jewish-Christians' problematic views regarding Saul/Paul, and we have even a better analogy

with the professions of Joseph Smith, Jr.

Then again, to question Paul is to question God (or so I once heard in a Lutheran sermon).

Uncle "read the pseudo-Clementine texts for a different, very early opinion of Saul" Dale

Hard to argue with such logic. :P

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Short answer?

Simply I believe that Paul's first vision account is a lot more congruent than contradictory than Joseph Smith's first vision which appears to me to have been completely re-written.

The major contradiction in Paul's account is in one version those traveling hear it, in another they don't hear it. But I believe in the original Greek it can be interpreted that they didn't understand not necessarily didn't hear a sound, but bothe accounts attest to seeing the bright light, what wa said to Paul, and Paul's conversion. What the versions agree on:

1. Paul was a persecutor of the Jews

2. the words spoken to Paul

3. Paul being struck with a bright light

4. Paul converting shortly after and becoming a champion of the Christians

Like I said I can accept a little deviation in the story that's an honest translation error, or another author not getting the story right. But to have the first vision go from an Angel, and later transform to God almighty Himself bodily incarnate and Jesus Christ also bodily is more than just a "little deviation", that's completely seperate accounts.

Joseph Smith's contradictions are far more apparent IMO, essentially they contradict themselves in every area of the vision. In the Bible you have congruence on when the event happened, where it happened, and who appeared to Paul. Those are three areas in complete contradiction with Joseph Smith's first vision, not to mention Paul had zero motivation as he hated and persecuted Christians.

That's the long short, this is off the cuff and I'm sure this turns into a 400 post thread full of endless cut and pastes at which point I'll have to bow out since I don't have time to do it.

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While I don't bet the farm on Biblical innerancy, I can speak to the damage done Joseph Smith by his different retellings of the story:

- Details added over time. Typically, we would expect a story to become less detailed, and less reliable, over time. Yet, the 1838 account contains much more detail than previous accounts, and is canonized as 100% reliable.

- The actions of Joseph and his family members between 1820 and 1830. They seem to be more consistent with Joseph having been told only that his "sins were forgiven", as opposed to "all other religions are corrupt and their creeds are an abomination".

- Added details in response to contemporary events. The added details could have been in response to contemporary pressures being felt by Joseph at the time of the revision.

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A few years back, I had an institute teacher that gave us a packet with every single documented first vision account, but I lost it :P

I remember being impressed by the fact that though each is different not one of them contradicted the other. Am I wrong?

If so, could someone be so kind as to post a link which has every single documented first vision account, in their entiity?

If the JoD is online then these should be.

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Short answer?

Simply I believe that Paul's first vision account is a lot more congruent than contradictory than Joseph Smith's which appears to me to have been completely re-written.

Paul's account seems a bit more contradictory than you suggest-

"Paul relates this story three times in the Bible (Acts chapters 9, 22, and 26), and each time there appear to be differences, even contradictions. There are many details that differ between the three accounts. A well-known problem concerns the other witnesses who were with Paul. Look at the three accounts:

-- Acts 9:7 --

And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

-- Acts 22:9 --

And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.

--Acts 26:14 --

And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me. . .

Did the others hear the voice or not? Did they fall or remain standing? Does it really matter? Anti-Mormon critics would revel in an apparent contradiction of this magnitude in the Book of Mormon or in the history of Joseph Smith, but they are quick to gloss over such problems in the Bible. I think we need to be generous with Paul and recognize that the peripheral details are not essential for his message. Perhaps the apparent contradictions just relate different aspects of a single story, with others who may have heard the voice and may have been standing initially, but then later fell and did not hear part of the message. Frankly, it looks like a minor contradiction, perhaps resulting from a lapse in memory concerning details of the event, but it does not bother me because I do not require the Bible to be infallible in minor details to still be scripture from God.

For your information, there are several more differences in the three accounts of Paul's vision worth noting. Some of the differences seem minor and easily compatible. For example, Acts 9 and 22 simply say the light that Paul saw appeared around him, while Acts 26 say the light was around him and those that were with him. All three agree that the Lord said, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" and that Paul said, "Who art thou, Lord?". However, in Acts 9, the Lord says "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks" before Paul responds, while Acts 26 has the Lord say that after Paul responds, and Acts 22 makes no mention of that statement from the Lord.

....the accounts in Acts 9 and 22 conclude by telling of how Paul regained his sight and make no mention of statements from the Lord about Paul's future mission. Later, though, in Acts 26, Paul does not even mention his blindness and his miraculous recovery, but says instead that the Lord prophesied to him of his future mission among the Gentiles."

Like I said I can accept a little deviation in the story that's an honest translation error, or another author not getting the story right. But to have the first vision go from an Angel, and later transform to God almighty Himself bodily incarnate and Jesus Christ also bodily is more than just a "little deviation", that's completely seperate accounts.

Could it be less 'separate accounts' and more separate parts of the same vision being emphasised?

Joseph Smith's contradictions are far more apparent IMO, essentially they contradict themselves in every area of the vision. In the Bible you have congruence on when the event happened, where it happened, and who appeared to Paul. Those are three areas in complete contradiction with Joseph Smith's first vision, not to mention Paul had zero motivation as he hated and persecuted Christians.

Paul first wrote of his vision quite a few years after it happened (12, i believe?) and at the time, he had some very good reasons for telling it. His authority in the church stemmed from him saying that he was called of God in this vision. Without this vision, why would any of the people he was teaching give his words such high status? That seems to be motivation to me.

That's the long short, this is off the cuff and I'm sure this turns into a 400 post thread full of endless cut and pastes at which point I'll have to bow out sicne I don't have time to do it.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that...

:P

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A few years back, I had an institute teacher that gave us a packet with every single documented first vision account, but I lost it :P

I remember being impressed by the fact that though each is different not one of them contradicted the other. Am I wrong?

If so, could someone be so kind as to post a link which has every single documented first vision account, in their entiity?

If the JoD is online then these should be.

I would be interested in seeing them as well.

From what i've read so far-there are nine accounts that hold any authenticity-most by JS himself but not all. So far, i haven't seen anything contradictory in them. Does anyone have a more complete list available?

<_<

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I would be interested in seeing them as well.

From what i've read so far-there are nine accounts that hold any authenticity-most by JS himself but not all. So far, i haven't seen anything contradictory in them. Does anyone have a more complete list available?

:P

Donâ??t know if this helps but...

http://eldenwatson.net/harmony.htm

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I think to try and validate the contradictions of the first vision or at least drastically different tellings of the story ~170 years to the much less troublesome contradictions of Pauls account ~2,000 years isn't helping the cause.

To me the where, when, who, what, and why are all consistent in Paul's telling, they aren't even close in Joseph Smith's, that's the difference maker to me.

Anyway I'm sure most of us have read our apologetics on it, I have my interpretation you have yours, I don't need to beat my chest and shove apologetics down peoples throats that most have read 1,000 times anyway.

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>Yet, the 1838 account contains much more detail than previous accounts, and is canonized as 100% reliable.

I do not find it puzzling at all, considering that the previous accounts were "off the cuff" , whilst the 1838 account was written specifically to include in the official church history. Think of an artist making sketches of his final artistic achievement.

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I think to try and validate the contradictions of the first vision or at least drastically different tellings of the story ~170 years to the much less troublesome contradictions of Pauls account ~2,000 years isn't helping the cause.

That could be true-Paul's re-telling of his vision may have been way worse than the bible actually depicts. We just don't have enough info after so long to really say. :P

To me the where, when, who, what, and why are all consistent in Paul's telling, they aren't even close in Joseph Smith's, that's the difference maker to me.

Honestly, after looking at the evidence provided so far-i have not been able to see any major contradictions-

Anyway I'm sure most of us have read our apologetics on it, I have my interpretation you have yours, I don't need to beat my chest and shove apologetics down peoples throats that most have read 1,000 times anyway.

I completely understand if you don't want to talk about this (there are subjects i don't care to talk about because my interest in them isn't that high). But i see that this is one of MANY topics that get re-hashed over and over and again (Catholic vs Mormon seems to be another popular one) and i don't see that as a bad thing.

Thanks for your thoughts, anyway...

<_<

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One other factor which would probably provide some difficulties in comparing the two might be the fact that Paul's vision accounts are not from Paul, but from Luke, the author of Acts. I haven't really delved into the JS accounts, but I think they all originated from JS himself. I can understand someone else retelling a story that they heard from someone else and getting some details wrong; telling your own story with major differences is a bit suspect.

Just my thoughts. Take care, everyone :P

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One other factor which would probably provide some difficulties in comparing the two might be the fact that Paul's vision accounts are not from Paul, but from Luke, the author of Acts. I haven't really delved into the JS accounts, but I think they all originated from JS himself. I can understand someone else retelling a story that they heard from someone else and getting some details wrong; telling your own story with major differences is a bit suspect.

Just my thoughts. Take care, everyone :P

Actually, Paul makes some allusions to the experience in one of

his epistles also -- as any carefully footnoted report on the tpoic

will no doubt document.

We also have very early texts to consult -- see Eusebius, but more

than that, the pseudo-Clemintine texts I previously cited.

UD

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One other factor which would probably provide some difficulties in comparing the two might be the fact that Paul's vision accounts are not from Paul, but from Luke, the author of Acts.

You're just talking about the ones in Acts, right? They aren't the only source of the Saul/Paul "What, me lie?" story. You do know that to Jews Saul/Paul is the great liar, the one who, more than anybody else in the unhappy history of Jewish/Christian interaction, created the rift? True or no, Saul/Paul, just like JSJr, was, both in his own time and to this day, a lightening rod of controversy.

JSJr definitely saw himself and his experience in the Saul/Paul events reported in Acts and elsewhere:

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. 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.
I haven't really delved into the JS accounts, but I think they all originated from JS himself. I can understand someone else retelling a story that they heard from someone else and getting some details wrong; telling your own story with major differences is a bit suspect.

It would be a good idea for you to read up on this issue. The documents are extant and available, as well as the secondary literature discussing them. Best not to commit yourself to a position, no matter how it fits with your preconceptions, unless you have first at least looked at the primary materials.

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I haven't really delved into the JS accounts, but I think they all originated from JS himself.

No-they aren't all from him personally, quite a number of them are from other people telling about the vision as they heard if from another.

:P

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Best not to commit yourself to a position, no matter how it fits with your preconceptions, unless you have first at least looked at the primary materials.

Always good advice. I haven't really developed a position yet, as the issue is something of a non-starter with me. But I will look into it further.

Take care, everyone :P

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Joseph Smith's contradictions are far more apparent IMO, essentially they contradict themselves in every area of the vision.

Really? Please demonstrate the validity of your accusation in excruciating detail (with footnotes, of course).

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The most recent FAIR Journal has an excellent article by Matthew B. Brown about the First Vision. Any of you wanting to have questions answered should read it. And a "charitable" word to the wise. Any of you making assertions of revisionism about the First Vision have to read it so you won't sound ignorant in the future when you talk abou it.

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The most recent FAIR Journal has an excellent article by Matthew B. Brown about the First Vision. Any of you wanting to have questions answered should read it. And a "charitable" word to the wise. Any of you making assertions of revisionism about the First Vision have to read it so you won't sound ignorant in the future when you talk abou it.

I would be most happy to see you here summarize the main points of that learned article

in a paragraph or two. Unlike many people I know, I take seriously the recommendations

that I read one thing or another -- and have thus accumulated a reading list over 100

titles long. I have finally managed to get to chapter two in the Bushman biography and

actually have now read all the Deseret News articles clipped and sent to me by a well-meaning

lady in Ogden, one year ago this month.

Some of us are trying -- and we only "get by with a little help from our friends."

UD

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I could not do justice to the presentation by Matthew Brown in a summary. But here are two small items that may whet your appetite.

1. Several elements of the account of the First Vision which did not appear in the earliest written version were known in non-LDS circles prior to 1832, and those elements were included in the 1838 account. This completely shoots down the argument that certain elements were only added much later.

2. The earliest written account does refer to Heavenly Father. Certain phrases taken in context definitately include Him, although not by name in the earliest account.

There are also other interesting responses to critics. One of the criticisms, that Joseph Smith had joined other churches after being specifically instructed not to do so, is countered with a number of non-LDS witnesses that Joseph claimed no other religious affiliation.

Another is that Joseph Smith did not speak about the First Vision until many years after it occurred.

These are all dcoumented with original sources.

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Donâ??t know if this helps but...

http://eldenwatson.net/harmony.htm

wow, that shoulde be the end of this thread. For example:

12/30/06

I had fun on the 30th with my family. UFc, pizza, coke what more can one ask for?

1/1/06

On the 30th I watched TV with my folks, we ate, drank soda and talked.

1/2/06

On 12/30th, my family and I watched UFC66. It was pretty fun; we ate pizza, drank Coke and afterwards just hung around talking.

My accounts of what happened on the 30th "contradict" each other just like JS's accounts of the first vision. That settles it, my family and I didnt watch UFC66 on the 30th.

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These are all dcoumented with original sources.

Sounds interesting. Brown is one of the more careful scholars around today.

I do not always end up with the same results as he, but must admit he's good

at documenting his sources.

UD

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