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Js And The Accounts Of The First Vision


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After translating the BOM, JS and OC went out and purchased a Bible that had all the foot notes and greek and hebrew alternate readings etc. This is the Bible they used for the Bible "translation" project... many (not all) of the alternate readings JS gives in the JST are attested to by original hebrew and greek as presented in the footnotes of this Bible. We find a lot of these footnotes in our LDS bound Quads as well.

All Im suggesting is that we check some of the alternate readings with this Bible.

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Your definition of "christian experience" is not agreed upon by Mormons or non-Mormons.

So what? The private interpretation of this phrase by anti-Mormons is not in agreement with the available non-LDS historical sources.

from irr.org/mit - "Joseph Smith could give Bauder no 'christian experience', ie. no conversion experience or manifestation of saving grace in his life ".

Of course he couldn't give a "conversion" experience - he never converted to any particular Christian sect before seeing the angel who revealed the Book of Mormon plates. But to claim that before the angel appeared Joseph Smith could give "no . . . manifestation of saving grace in his life" is ridiculously lame. Right in the 1832 history Joseph Smith states that BEFORE the First Vision took place his parents "spared no pains to instructing [him] in <the> Christian religion". And then he goes on in the same document to state that between the time he was about 12 years old and the time of the First Vision he became "seriously impressed" about the welfare of his immortal soul. He believed that God existed; he believed that the Bible contained the word of God; he read the Bible diligently; he felt sorrow for his own sins and the sins of the world; he desired to worship God "in Spirit and in truth"; he desired to obtain God's mercy.

In the 1827 account given to Willard Chase the word "spirit" is used, not "angel". In the 1827 account given by Harris to Clark, the word "angel" is used, but the account has a money-digging context with occult elements. This last account is not definitely Christian.

Wow, I guess if you don't like the evidence staring you right in the face you can just ignore it and go on your merry way. Here's that link again for anybody who wants to take an honest look at the evidence that Joseph Smith was claiming to be dealing with an angel of God. The anamolous "spirit/money-digging" 2nd and 3rd hand accounts have to be weighed against a lot of other accounts that call their accuracy and validity into question.

ANGEL OF GOD REFERENCES

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All over the Newspaper... just visit Uncle Dales sight. All the libel that was being thown in the newspaper is what JS is refering to. The one report... that has already been posted speaks of God in a 3 personage nature even. And this is before 1832.

I realize that people were criticizing JS. I think this would be natural since he was against Traditional Christianity. I believe they also criticized his character and behaviors (treasure-seeking, clairvoyance, etc). I would expect Mormons to criticize someone who used to be Mormon who is now teaching anti-Mormon doctrines, etc. too. We care when we feel someone is leading people astray.

But what I was looking for was specific evidence that JS had a specific first vision.

And, speaking of God in a 3 personage nature could be Trinitarian, right? (Unless "personage" has a definition that doesn't fit with the Trinity)

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From the previously cited Quinn article:

"As a historian who has analyzed original narratives and revised documents that anachronistically changed Mormon developments, I have another perspective about the fact (and it is a fact) that Smith's official narrative about 1820 included circumstances which occurred during Palmyra's revivals of 1824-25. Merging (conflating) circumstances from similar events that happened years apart will certainly confuse the historical record and will perplex anyone trying to sort out basic chronology. Nonetheless, conflation of actual circumstances is not the same as fraudulent invention of events that never occurred. Conflation also is not the combination of an actual event with a fictional event. Instead, it is very common for memoirs and autobiographies to merge similar events that actually occurred, due to the narrator's memory lapses or his/her intentional streamlining of the narrative to avoid repeating similar occurrences."

(emphasis in original; also, see original for Quinn's examples of others making a similar 'conflation')

I addressed this in Post # 372. The problem I have is the 1838 account is pretty orderly - the time sequence is pretty good. The only thing that doesn't fit is the first vision (praying in the woods). How could JS in 1820 be struggling about which sect is correct when his family hadn't joined a church yet? Also, the height of the revival seems to be 1823ish -1825 . . . wouldn't this be when denominations are competing? Why would there be competition when what is happening is Methodist camp-meetings? (Also, some time after 1822 JS went to Methodist class meetings - would he have done this after being told not to join any sect?)

Are you saying that JS used conflation for only the first vision (praying in the woods) part of the account? Does that make sense to you?

The setting of JS's family members joining a church is vital to the context of JS's first vision. Conflation to me would be â??Susie got her very long hair cut to her ears during WWIIâ?. Actually, Susie really got her hair cut in 1940, but America was in a pre-war mentality so Susieâ??s memory is a little off. However, this would not be conflation to me - â??Susie got her very long hair cut to her ears during WWII because she met a girl from England who had been recently adopted by Susieâ??s neighbor. The English girl lost her whole family during the London Blitz and the English girlâ??s head had been badly burned. Susie got her hair cut to provide a wig for the girl.â? If Susie remembers this setting for her haircut, then how can it be conflation? WWII is no longer the background of the event (haircut) - it is the reason for the event (haircut).

And, what if a fictional event is real to the person who remembers the event? (though I have already explained that an event like the first vision might have happened)

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I have no problem accepting that Methodist meetings/events were happening between 1817 and 1824. I donâ??t know if I would call them a revival though. But, I donâ??t recall JS using the word â??revivalâ? either.

So what was all the fuss about a 'revival' then?

The setting for the first vision account (1838) is during the revival, but there was no revival in 1820.

Moving the first vision account to 1820 makes the setting of the revival not work.

Another account was by Oliver Cowdery (with Joseph Smith) - published in the LDS Messenger and Advocate, Dec. 1834-Jan. 1835. The setting is the area revival (about 1824-25).

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some time after 1822 [Joseph Smith] went to Methodist class meetings

Where is your evidence?

How could JS in 1820 be struggling about which sect is correct when his family hadn't joined a church yet?

You are totally ignoring a statement by William Smith that says Lucy Mack Smith and some of her children were members of the Presbyterian church in 1820. And you are taking a MEGA-LEAP over the reality gulch in claiming that Lucy Mack Smith's autobiography says she joined the Presbyterian church after Alvin died. SHE DOES NOT SAY THAT. READ IT CLOSELY (try the original manuscript).

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He joined a Debate club held at the local Methodist Church. My mom used to go to Chruch in the same building she had school in too. Like in little house on the prairie. Does that make my mom a Methodist?

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So what was all the fuss about a 'revival' then?

Sorry I was confusing, TCM. I didnâ??t want to make that post any longer.

As I was studying the first vision accounts I noticed the word â??revivalâ? was never used. However, the setting description is a revival, and both Mormons and non-Mormons use the word. We know there was a revival around 1823-25. (I have seen two dates used for the beginning - 1823 and 1824.)

What I was saying is that I didnâ??t think the religious activity before 1823-24 was a revival, though the activity at this time paved the way for a revival. And I didnâ??t think Quinn had to argue so strongly that it was a revival because the account doesnâ??t use the word. I think Quinn needed 1820 to be a revival because of the revival description used and so he could say both events (praying in woods and later seeing an angel) happened during revivals - therefore JS just combined the revivals and spoke of them as one (conflation). Since this is not my theory I donâ??t need the activity before 1823 to be a â??revivalâ?. I think JS was stirred by camp-meetings around 1820 and he possibly did pray as he spoke about in the 1832 account. Since JS indicated that he was not changed after praying it seems that he did not experience a conversion - he did not experience renewal. By 1838 this possible early experience was modified to fit with more current issues at hand (which sect to join).

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Does it change the story... Yes... it shows me that Pauls story was changed to impress a King.

But do the discrepancies change the actual story? Which details do you feel change the basic story? And, what do you think Paul said that was meant to impress a king? I have never heard this "impress a king" idea - is this your idea or was it taught to you?

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After translating the BOM, JS and OC went out and purchased a Bible that had all the foot notes and greek and hebrew alternate readings etc. This is the Bible they used for the Bible "translation" project... many (not all) of the alternate readings JS gives in the JST are attested to by original hebrew and greek as presented in the footnotes of this Bible. We find a lot of these footnotes in our LDS bound Quads as well.

All Im suggesting is that we check some of the alternate readings with this Bible.

Are you saying that what JS and OC mostly did was choose alternate readings from the original Greek and Hebrew?

Look at Genesis 50:24-38 (KJV ends at v. 26). http://scriptures.lds.org/en/jst/10

How about Genesis 3:1-5 (JST)? (Verse 5 somewhat compares with the KJV verse 1 - there are many other changes in the chapter)

Gen. 3:1-5 (JST) - 1 And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying, That Satan whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning; 2 And he came before me, saying, Behold I, send me, I will be thy Son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore, give me thine honor. 3 But behold, my beloved Son, which was my beloved and chosen from the beginning, said unto me: Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever. 4 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him; and also that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten I caused that he should be cast down; and he became Satan. 5 Yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive, and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.

These are big changes . . . where did they come from?

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Duet 32:8 was changed to make the Bible appear more monotheistic. Thats a humongous Doctrinal shift.

Could you give more detail here? I have never heard this and I would like to look into it.

This is old, but I don't remember anyone ever filling you in on this. Dr. Heiser addresses the controversy in his paper, Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God, though I think he takes the position opposite Zakuska's. That paper with Monotheism, Polytheism, Monolatry, or Henotheism? Toward an Assessment of Divine Plurality in the Hebrew Bible make for interesting reading indeed.

Tangential to this thread, but Dr. Heiser's work is the topic of discussion here and here.

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Of course he couldn't give a "conversion" experience - he never converted to any particular Christian sect before seeing the angel who revealed the Book of Mormon plates. But to claim that before the angel appeared Joseph Smith could give "no . . . manifestation of saving grace in his life" is ridiculously lame. Right in the 1832 history Joseph Smith states that BEFORE the First Vision took place his parents "spared no pains to instructing [him] in <the> Christian religion". . . He believed that God existed; he believed that the Bible contained the word of God; he read the Bible diligently; he felt sorrow for his own sins and the sins of the world; he desired to worship God "in Spirit and in truth"; he desired to obtain God's mercy.

Biblical knowledge is not necessarily the manifestation of saving grace. Anyone can know the Bible.

In the 1832 account JS also said he fell into transgression and sinned. Was he changed by his experience? Was he a "new creation"?

Mormonism: Its Origin, Rise, and Progress by Pomeroy Tucker - â??His [JS] interpretations of scriptural passages were always original and unique, and his deductions and conclusions often disgustingly blasphemous, according to the common apprehensions of Christian people.â? (p. 17)

â??At one time he joined the probationary class of the Methodist church in Palmyra, and made some active demonstrations of engagedness, though his assumed convictions were insufficiently grounded or abiding to carry him along to the saving point of conversion, and he soon withdrew from the class. the final conclusion announced by him was, that all sectarianism was fallacious, all the churches on a false foundation, and the Bible a fable.â? (p. 18)

It doesnâ??t sound like JS believed that the Bible contained the word of God. If he believed the Bible contained the word of God in 1820-21 then he did some changing by the time of the Methodist class.

There is also evidence that JS joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1828, which is really confusing since he was told not to join any sect.

â??. . . while he, Smith, was in Harmony, Pa., translating his book, . . . he joined the M. E. church. He presented himself in a very serious and humble manner, and the minister, not suspecting evil, put his name on the class book, in the absence of some of the official members, among whom was the undersigned Joseph Lewis, who, when he learned what was done, took with him Joshua McKune, and had a talk with Smith. They told him plainly that such a character as he was a disgrace to the church, that he could not be a member of the church unless he broke off his sins by repentance, made public confession, renounced his fraudulent and hypocritical practices, and gave some evidence that he intended to reform and conduct himself somewhat nearer like a christian than he had done. They gave him his choice, to go before the class, and publicly ask to have his name stricken from the class book, or stand a disciplinary investigation. He chose the former, and immediately withdrew his name.â? (Statement of Joseph and Hiel Lewis, Amboy Journal, Apr. 30, 1879) (also Amboy Journal, June 11, 1879)

The above account speaks of problems of JSâ??s character and that he was asked to repent. Apparently JS would not.

Here's that link again for anybody who wants to take an honest look at the evidence that Joseph Smith was claiming to be dealing with an angel of God. The anamolous "spirit/money-digging" 2nd and 3rd hand accounts have to be weighed against a lot of other accounts that call their accuracy and validity into question.

I have read Mormon articles that discuss JSâ??s family and their money-digging/treasure-seeking activities, so I didnâ??t think this was disputed. Therefore I didnâ??t think anyone would have a problem with the â??money-diggingâ? accounts of 1827. Scholars usually consider early accounts most accurate. The sources of these accounts were JS himself, his father, and his close business partner Harris (though accounts given to others). Turner, in his 1851 History of Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham's Purchase, also speaks of money-digging. Turner knew JS. Money-digging is also mentioned in Uncle Daleâ??s papers. In fact, money-digging is in many early accounts I have read.

ANGEL OF GOD REFERENCES

Did I inspire this article? Anyway, the article missed my point. I have been looking for evidence that the first vision account happened (the account of JS praying in the woods). (I know it is confusing because this â??first visionâ? account got combined with the account of the angel visiting and telling of the golden plates.) I was not talking about the account of the angel and golden plates - this account is repeated many times in various sources and is surprisingly consistent with the dates 1823 and 1827 (on the day of the fall equinox). The account (angel and golden plates) was told to Bauder and he still said JS could give no Christian experience. Apparently an angel wasnâ??t enough for Bauder to consider the experience Christian. Itâ??s not enough for me either.

Does claiming â??authority from Godâ? give one â??authority from Godâ??? No. Anyone can claim they have authority from God. Anyone can claim they have been visited by an angel of God.

By the way, the entry â??April 1830â? should be â??April 1832â?.

I couldnâ??t find the 1828 quote by Hezekiah McKune - is this it? â??Hezekiah McKune stated that, â??in conversation with Joseph Smith, Jr., he (Smith) said he was nearly equal to Jesus Christ; that he was a prophet sent by God to bring in the Jews, and that he was the greatest prophet that had ever arisen.â??â? This quote I think is from 1834 though so I donâ??t know if I have the right one. http://olivercowdery.com/smithhome/1873Susq.htm

As far as â??NOT friendly sourcesâ? in the article - all the evidences are from friendly sources or are reporting or quoting JS. I do not see an unfriendly source giving his own opinion.

Why isnâ??t any account like the first vision account (including traditional Christian vocabulary - praying, seeking God, asking for mercy, burdened with sins, etc.) found before 1832? The more I research the more accounts I find of the angel and the golden plates, but this first account is mysteriously absent.

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There is also evidence that JS joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1828, which is really confusing since he was told not to join any sect.

This is sorry case of selective use of evidence. In the Amboy Journal, vol. 24, no. 8, 21 May 1879 you can read where the leader of the Methodist class attended by Joseph Smith - Michael Morse - said unequivocally that the Prophet "did not seek to become a full member"!!! :P

money-digging/treasure-seeking activities . . . I didnâ??t think this was disputed

Obviously you have got a lot to learn.

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Where is your evidence?

Evidence for JS attending Methodist class meetings - see Post #389, quotes from Tucker. Also -

â?? . . . and subsequently, after catching a spark of Methodism in the camp meeting, away down in the woods, on the Vienna road, he was a very passable exhorter in evening meetings. â?? from Turnerâ??s 1851 History of Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham's Purchase, p. 214.

Uncle Dale speaks of the Methodist class as well. And, in Dale Morgan on Early Mormonism, chapter 5 - â??For all his declaiming before the Palmyra debating society and his leading out in the Methodist class-meetings . . .â?

Evidence in Post #309 as well. Post #389 discusses the possibility of JS joining a Methodist Episcopal Church in PA as well.

You are totally ignoring a statement by William Smith that says Lucy Mack Smith and some of her children were members of the Presbyterian church in 1820. And you are taking a MEGA-LEAP over the reality gulch in claiming that Lucy Mack Smith's autobiography says she joined the Presbyterian church after Alvin died. SHE DOES NOT SAY THAT. READ IT CLOSELY (try the original manuscript).

I was not familiar with a statement by William Smith. Is it this?

â??It is here in this part of my history of this strange vision as related by my brother, that I will mention the circumstances that took place at the time the brother told his story of the angel's visit to his father's family. . . . It was in this manner that Joseph related his vision of the angel's appearing to him before his father's family . . . My mother, Lucy Smith, and my brothers Hyrum and Samuel and my sister Sophronia were members of the Presbyterian church situated in the town of Palmyra, state of New York, said church at the time of this vision shown to my brother, Joseph, was presided over by a clergyman by the name of Stockton.â? (Zionâ??s Ensign Aug. 27, 1892, Sermon by Elder Wm. B. Smith)

â??The Reverend Stockton was installed as pastor of the Presbyterian church in Palmyra on February 18, 1824, succeeding Reverend Daniel C. Hopkins.â? http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/dalem...alechapter3.htm

I have not read Lucy Mack Smithâ??s autobiography. I cannot find it online - do you have a link? But, Lucy Mack Smith NOT saying something doesnâ??t mean it didnâ??t happen. It could only mean that she didnâ??t include the information.

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He joined a Debate club held at the local Methodist Church. My mom used to go to Chruch in the same building she had school in too. Like in little house on the prairie. Does that make my mom a Methodist?

The Debate club was in the "old red school house on Dufee Street."

Mormonism: Its Origin, Rise, and Progress by Pomeroy Tucker - â??At one time he joined the probationary class of the Methodist church in Palmyraâ? (p. 18) Full quote in Post #389.

Here is Turnerâ??s full quote - â??But Joseph had a little ambition; and some very laudable aspirations; the mother's intellect occasionally shone out in him feebly, especially when he used to help us solve some portentous questions of moral or political ethics, in our juvenile debating club, which we moved down to the old red school house on Durfee street, to get rid of the annoyance of critics that used to drop in upon us in the village; and subsequently, after catching a spark of Methodism in the camp meeting, away down in the woods, on the Vienna road, he was a very passable exhorter in evening meetings.â? (p. 214)

Turner is saying that â??the motherâ??s intellect occasionally shone out in him feeblyâ? especially in â??our juvenile debating clubâ? and subsequently, â??after catching a spark of Methodism in the camp meeting . . . he was a very passable exhorter in evening meetings.â?

Western Farmer, 1/23/1822 - NOTICE. -- The young people of the village of Palmyra and its vicinity are requested to attend a Debating school at the school house near Mr. Billings' on Friday next.

Note: In the dead of winter, with little agricultural work to be done, the "young people of the village of Palmyra" were free to attend a few weeks of school, visit with their friends, or even emulate their elders in carrying on some public debate. (Uncle Dale)

Why would the Debating school be at night? Uncle Dale and many other writers I have read understand the â??evening meetingsâ? to be the Methodist camp meetings.

Dale Morgan on Early Mormonism, chapter 5 - â??For all his declaiming before the Palmyra debating society and his leading out in the Methodist class-meetings . . .â?

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Yup - D&C 84:21-22! :P

Explanation?

I suppose an explanation could be found from verse 75 of the same section. That seems to be the highlight of this response to the question.

BTY - God DOES NOT hate you. That's ridiculous! (No, I haven't looked at the link . . . yet.)

Yes, it is ridiculous what some people take from reading the Good Book. Check out the links. They're amusing. <_<

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This is sorry case of selective use of evidence. In the Amboy Journal, vol. 24, no. 8, 21 May 1879 you can read where the leader of the Methodist class attended by Joseph Smith - Michael Morse - said unequivocally that the Prophet "did not seek to become a full member"!!! :P

The information you speak of is from Edwin Cadwell, Pres. Elder L.D.S. It is not directly from Michael Morse. And, yes, this information has to be weighed against the testimony of Joseph and Hiel Lewis.

But Cadwell says Morse says JS went to the class, which was a class for those interested in becoming members of the church. Why did JS go to this class at all?

Obviously you have got a lot to learn.

http://www.fairlds.org/Mormonism_201/m20117b.html - under "money-diggingâ??. It seems that JSâ??s money-digging activities are acknowledged.

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But do the discrepancies change the actual story? Which details do you feel change the basic story? And, what do you think Paul said that was meant to impress a king? I have never heard this "impress a king" idea - is this your idea or was it taught to you?

When Luke first retails the story Paul is the only one who falls to the Ground. (Men with me stood speachless) Still in the Second retelling, Paul still seems to be the only one Laying on the ground. But in the 3rd Retelling Paul takes extra pains to make good and sure he gets everyone laying on the ground. Its my perception that this story changed to impress king Agrippa. Does not the whole world bow before a King? Without that added power that everyone was bowing before a heavenly majesty why would this king even consider listening to waht Paul had to say?

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Are you saying that what JS and OC mostly did was choose alternate readings from the original Greek and Hebrew?

Look at Genesis 50:24-38 (KJV ends at v. 26). http://scriptures.lds.org/en/jst/10

How about Genesis 3:1-5 (JST)? (Verse 5 somewhat compares with the KJV verse 1 - there are many other changes in the chapter)

These are big changes . . . where did they come from?

No Im not suggresting that at all. I know of the heavy revisions to Genesis. He changed the verse orders in Rev 12 too.

But from the footnotes in the quad we can see that the vast majority of changes only involved one or two words.

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