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Js And The Accounts Of The First Vision


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In this thread I have read numerous times that people can't think of any reason why Joseph would not mention seeing the Father in his 1832 version. . . . I hope that people can see the tenuousness of this argument. I also hope that they might go back and read the entire thread, so as to see a few very likely reasons Mormons have given for Joseph leaving this out.

1. Joseph felt it was too sacred to mention at that time.

2. Joseph was afraid of criticism.

3. Joseph wanted his story to match Paul's more closely.

4. Joseph wrote it so that only those with "eyes to see" would find that element.

..................................................................................................................................

From Hammer's end quote -

"Joseph Smith History

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."

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It seems to me that JS did deny what he saw.

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LOL! Do you think I was trying to imply that we should be creatively unlogical? I wasn't talking about making up answers out of thin air. :P I was talking about the fact that just because someone can't think of a logical answer that only means that that person lacks the ability to come up with one, not that there is no answer.

Yes, I did take you seriously. From my point of view, you explained exactly what I sincerely feel Mormons are doing when I read their arguments. I feel that they start out with their given fact of "Joseph Smith is a true prophet" and they must make everything work. Sometimes it sounds extremely creative to me. It is not logical to me. I also feel that Mormons (here and other places) skip over points they can't argue and just don't think about them. I am not saying non-Mormons don't do this, but I think it is unwise for anyone to do this. We all need to know what we believe and why. Though anyone can make mistakes and overlook things, I try very hard to address everything asked. If I don't have an answer I will say so, and I will think about it. For me, knowing Truth is more important than being right.

Sometimes there isn't a logical answer. Sometimes one can't come up with a logical answer because the answer doesn't exist. That either means the explanation is beyond your ability to comprehend, or that your thinking is wrong.

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Freedom in Truth said-

It seems to me that JS did deny what he saw.

I see no call to suggest that JS EVER denied seeing God the Father. To not emphasis His presence in a rough draft of his first vision is far different from denying His presence altogether.

I see no reason to slander JS on this point-it actually seems like a very cheap shot to me to even attempt to make his words denote such denial.

:P

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Sounds to me like you're saying... " :P in the details"

I'm not sure what you are saying here - can you explain? I sense you are still using Greek-thinking though.

Now I'm confused... Earlier... A Christian told me that Jesus taught everyone clearly and concisely so everyone could understand and not be confused, and now you're telling me just the opposite?

Not every Christian is going to have the same point of view. Since I have studied the Hebraic culture and way of thinking, that could mean that I have some different points of view from Christians who approach the Bible with only Greek-thought. However . . . I don't think you understood what I was saying. I was saying that noncrucial details - details that don't affect revelation or the message - were not important to the Hebrews like they are to Greco-Romans. I was also saying that one needs to read the Bible with the mind of Christ - I'm going to guess that any verse in the Bible can be interpreted in at least two ways! It is really crucial to know God. (If you had had a relationship with me for the last five years you would understand me much better, and I you.)

I would say that Jesus often taught clearly. I was speaking about his specific teachings using parables. Parables are a great teaching method used by the Jews, but they have to be interpreted. When interpretation is involved people can understand or misunderstand. Jesus' disciples knew Jesus and they asked questions. They wanted to be taught. Others did not want to be taught - sometimes they didn't want to hear and change their idea of Truth. They didn't want to learn from Jesus. God is looking for a relationship with us - that is the whole point. He didn't just give us a list of truths to memorize so we could go on our merry way without Him. God wants to walk with us every minute.

So we have to do something. Thanks.

I don't understand this comment either - what are you thinking here?

Hmm. Documentation please. All the changes I've seen where spelling and grammer in nature. Now the Bible on the other hand...

See Post #200 for starters . . . there are more examples as well.

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.

He "Wrote"? Hmmm... He got a Bible with a greek lexicon and dabbled around abit is closer to the truth.

I hope you don't mean that as it sounds because it sounds like he just messed around with Bible verses! The JST is JS's edition of the Bible. I'm hoping he was divinely inspired to correct the "corrupted" Bible text.

Hey, you still haven't told me how to do the nifty boxes! Can anyone clue me in? They make things clearer.

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His spoken accounts would have been to his family as William Smith attests (although he apparently remembered few details). Other non-Mormon sources also mention it in hindsight. There is no contemporary sources of what he said, unfortunately. Only people recounting in hindsight what he said. Typically, from what I've read, people just say that Joseph claimed to have seen God, which to me, suggests the Father. Brown says of outside sources, "Not all of them mention both the Father and the Son." I personally have only seen a couple of accounts.

Are you saying that there are no sources that prove JS orally recounted his first vision story as matching the 1838 account before 1838? There is no firm evidence that JS told his first vision account orally and that it matched the 1838 account? If I am understanding you correctly then the claim that JS's initial, oral, first vision accounts match the 1838 version seems to be wishful thinking.

The evidence that JS wanted to compare his experience with Paul's is in the format and order of the text. It parallels directly with Paul, according to Brown's essay and the other evidence is that Joseph Smith later specifically said, "I felt much like Paul."

But the format and order of the text can be evidence that JS created his fictional story according to Paul's story. That it parallels directly with Paul can be evidence that JS copied well. What would anyone think if I wrote about my vision of Jesus and my account directly paralleled Paul? Would it matter if I said I felt like Paul? And when did JS say he felt like Paul - before or after his 1832 account?

JS's 1832 account was not read by anyone until after the 1838 account, correct? So why did he feel the need to change it to escape persecution when it was never published? Was persecution less in 1838?

That oblique reference, when read in light of the 1838 account, seems to suggest that he did have the same introduction in mind. If Joseph Smith is such a grand con-artist to put the Book of Mormon together, why would he not have a story all together for the 1832 version of the first vision? The way I see it, even if I believed he were a con-artist, I would judge that his skill with putting the Book of Mormon together would suggest that he already had a story put together for the first vision. I would, even if I were not a believer, simply infer that the oblique reference to the Father was indicative of the story he had in mind. I don't see the whole picture as one that is of a man changing his story. It appears, looking at all the evidence, that he was a man with one story, who had motive to emphasize some aspects and veil others. In fact, for the 1832 account, he appears to have two motives to hide that he saw the Father. Lastly, let me add, that Joseph recounting the first vision later is not followed by any historical evidence that members of the Church were confused by a change in his story. Their silence on the matter, as Brown points out, suggests that him seeing the Father and Son was nothing new.

Actually, I don't consider JS a grand con-artist . . . I don't think he was excellent at it. Plus, I think Oliver Cowdery (maybe even others) had some influence over Mormon doctrine. I consider the BoM to be kind of messy, with ideas taken from a variety of places. And little Mormon doctrine is in the BoM, especially if you consider the 1830 edition.

Why would members of the church be confused by a change in JS's story when the story was never published? Also, I have been amazed at what Mormons are able to accept - many if not most seem able to believe whatever their leaders teach with no questions asked. I guess questions show a lack of faith, and no one wants to be seen as having a lack of faith. Has there been a time when a large group of LDS Mormons together have questioned their leaders?

I have never understood why the first vision story was not in the introduction of the BoM. It seems logical that it would be there, explaining how the BoM came about. It is odd to me that it was published 8 years later.

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Hey, you still haven't told me how to do the nifty boxes! Can anyone clue me in? They make things clearer.

When you are replying to someone-look up at the top of the box to the different icons.

There is one which looks like a thought bubble. That is the 'quote' button. There are two ways to use it. You can highlight the text you want quoted and then hit this button.

Or you can push the button once at the beginning of the text you want to quote and then click on the button again at the end of the text.

To do this inside of a reply from someone else-simply go through and highlight what you want quoted and click on the quote button-you can then put your own words underneigth the quoted text.

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Is the author of Acts, in describing Stephen's theophany at 7:55-56, also "anti-Trinity"?

edited to correct verses of passage

No. Trinity - three persons, one essence. There is also the example in Matthew 3:17 where we have Jesus, and God the Father's voice.

Mormons interpret the two personages of the first vision account as two separate personages (though united in purpose). That is anti-Trinity by definition.

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No. Trinity - three persons, one essence. There is also the example in Matthew 3:17 where we have Jesus, and God the Father's voice.

Mormons interpret the two personages of the first vision account as two separate personages (though united in purpose). That is anti-Trinity by definition.

See 'Stephen's Theophany And Trinitarian Understanding' for further discussion of this. I'd love to hear your thoughts. (Or 'read' them, as it were).

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No. Trinity - three persons, one essence. There is also the example in Matthew 3:17 where we have Jesus, and God the Father's voice.

This should probably be taken up in one of the threads on the Trinity, but I see nothing of the Trinity in Matthew 3:17 (NASB):

and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."

What am I missing?

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It seems to me that JS did deny what he saw.

You might have something there

if JSJr had actually published the 1832 draft.

He didn't.

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From the LDS point of view, you are correct. Baptism is not required for

salvation, but it is required for exaltation. On the other hand, it is a hot

issue among Christians, and this particular event is used by both sides

to support their causes, as the cited web pages attest. Are you suggesting

that Christian baptism is merely Jewish ceremonial washing? In counter

to your scriptural citations, I would give the conversion of Saul. (Acts 9:5-6,

17-19), and every other conversion story in Acts where both Jew

and Gentile became Christians.

Well, I am not LDS. And I probably don't hold typical Christian views either. Jesus asks that we be baptized, but that doesn't mean we absolutely have to be to receive salvation. Since Jesus thinks it is a good idea, one should be baptized if they can be . . . but there are reasons why some can't be baptized. I don't believe baptism is a ticket into heaven.

Merely Jewish ceremonial washing? I wouldn't put it that way. It is the Jewish mikveh, and it's really important - never to be taken lightly. It was not something created in the NT - it had been around for a long time (OT). Jesus was a Jew, and most of his early followers were Jews too. The mikveh represented a cleansing, a change. Your old self went into the water and "died" and you emerged as your new self - changed and newly "alive". It was used for repentance and also for a Gentile to become a proselyte (join the Jewish faith and people). It symbolized that people (Jew or Gentile) were committed in following Jesus as Savior and Lord. It helped the physical body understand the spiritual reality. But, yes, I am saying that baptism was nothing new - it symbolized a commitment or recommitment to God.

So, since it is an example of Biblical contradiction, let's remove it from

scripture, or at least refrain from its use in this matter.

I don't see it as a contradiction. A contradiction is two things that are mutually exclusive. John leaves the whole story out, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. Matthew and Mark never say that the two thieves never did anything but mock Jesus. We don't have enough details here. I was saying that I don't need this passage for any major doctrines because salvation by faith alone is found throughout the Bible.

I find it curious that you don't consider the state of the soul

between death and resurrection a major doctrine. It is unfortunate that you were not around during the Reformation. Perhaps the division between Protestant and Catholic could have been avoided.

I believe I am with God now and will always be with Him. I walk with Him now and will walk with Him after I die. So does it matter where I am? Salvation is being in relationship with God and it began when I repented and desired to follow God. I don't get salvation when I die - I have it now.

I actually have never heard that the Protestant Reformation was about Purgatory, or whatever. I thought it was about salvation by faith alone, not works . . . and not by the purchase of indulgences.

Bernard

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I see no call to suggest that JS EVER denied seeing God the Father. To not emphasis His presence in a rough draft of his first vision is far different from denying His presence altogether. I see no reason to slander JS on this point-it actually seems like a very cheap shot to me to even attempt to make his words denote such denial.

Sorry - I did not mean to make you angry. I was not attempting to make a cheap shot either. Specifically speaking, JS never stated (that we know of) "I deny seeing God the Father in my first vision." But, for reasons I have already stated, I cannot accept that he did see God the Father along with Jesus. It doesn't add up for me. We will have to agree to disagree.

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When you are replying to someone-look up at the top of the box to the different icons.

There is one which looks like a thought bubble. That is the 'quote' button. There are two ways to use it. You can highlight the text you want quoted and then hit this button.

That worked.

Or you can push the button once at the beginning of the text you want to quote and then click on the button again at the end of the text.

That worked too.

To do this inside of a reply from someone else-simply go through and highlight what you want quoted and click on the quote button-you can then put your own words underneigth the quoted text.

This I'm not sure I get. But I'm doing better - thanks.

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You might have something there

if JSJr had actually published the 1832 draft.

He didn't.

JS left out details because he knew it wasn't going to be published? Or he didn't include details in his first draft because . . . why? They were "integral parts of the story", as Brown said in his article Revised or Unatlered? Joseph Smith's Foundational Stories.

I'm not sure I am understanding you. Sorry.

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This should probably be taken up in one of the threads on the Trinity, but I see nothing of the Trinity in Matthew 3:17 (NASB):

What am I missing?

I thought you referenced Acts 7:55-56 to show your belief that Jesus and God were seen as separate beings. I brought up Matthew 3:17 as another possible example of Jesus and God as separate (your interpretation). I was saying that the Trinity holds anyway. Did I misunderstand why you brought up Acts 7?

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JS left out details because he knew it wasn't going to be published? Or he didn't include details in his first draft because . . . why? They were "integral parts of the story", as Brown said in his article Revised or Unatlered? Joseph Smith's Foundational Stories.

The issue I was addressing in my prior post was whether JSJr, in penning the 1832 account which does not expressly mention the Father, had indeed denied he had seen the Father. A denial requires that the denier publish his denial to an audience. JSJr never did, as he never published, or had published, the highly stylized and Saulian/Paulian 1832 version.

Why JSJr left the Father out (at least expressly) may well be accounted for by his use of the Saul/Paul story as a structure to tell his own -- Saul/Paul never saw G-d, but rather "only" the resurrected Master.

My own view is that JSJr grew frustrated with the 1832 version, since it wasn't quite working to tell the story like he wanted it told, and abandoned it. So all we now have from those days is a failed first draft. A highly stylized and poetic one, but failed neveretheless.

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Sorry - I did not mean to make you angry. I was not attempting to make a cheap shot either. Specifically speaking, JS never stated (that we know of) "I deny seeing God the Father in my first vision." But, for reasons I have already stated, I cannot accept that he did see God the Father along with Jesus. It doesn't add up for me. We will have to agree to disagree.

It's completely fine that you disagree (and it is expected). But saying that you don't believe he saw God and Christ is vastly different from saying that JS denied seeing God and then changed his story later.

Using that kind of misrepresentation to make a point look stronger than it is on it's own is a never right.

If you know that JS never denied it-i'm still left wondering why you said he did?

And i'm not so much angry as i am annoyed at this kind of 'reasoning'.

If it was an honest misunderstanding then that's fine as we all misunderstand and are misunderstood sometimes. That's what i'm hoping it was....

:P

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I thought you referenced Acts 7:55-56 to show your belief that Jesus and God were seen as separate beings. I brought up Matthew 3:17 as another possible example of Jesus and God as separate (your interpretation). I was saying that the Trinity holds anyway. Did I misunderstand why you brought up Acts 7?

No, you understand correctly, and this is precisely why I started the 'Stephen's Theophany' thread. You (and others) feel Smith's vision of two personages is anti-Trinitarian (and I would agree). The Acts passage (and Mt 3:17, if you like) seem to convey a similar idea, yet, as you say, 'the Trinity holds'.

While I understand the belief of the Father having a body being contrary to Trinitarian thought, I am confused as to how Smith's vision of two beings is contrary to your idea of the Trinity if Stephen's is not.

(I'm not trying to argue that Smith's vision is or should be compatible with a doctrine rejected by the LDS, I am just trying to understand how Trinitarians make sense out of these little things without compromising their belief in a doctrine that, to me, doesn't make sense).

BTW - The First Vision is not the source of LDS belief of the Father's body of flesh and bone, this is at D&C 130:22 which was received a good while after the First Vision (I want to say 1843, but I'm not sure).

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Freedom in Truth said-

I see no call to suggest that JS EVER denied seeing God the Father. To not emphasis His presence in a rough draft of his first vision is far different from denying His presence altogether.

I see no reason to slander JS on this point-it actually seems like a very cheap shot to me to even attempt to make his words denote such denial.

:P

I agree. To omit it is one thing, but He never ever made the statement of deniel of seeing them both. To say one is the same as the other is nuts.

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Freedom in Truth,

I don't see it as a contradiction. A contradiction is two things that are mutually exclusive. John leaves the whole story out, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. Matthew and Mark never say that the two thieves never did anything but mock Jesus.

If this rationale can harmonize the Gospels, could it not also harmonize the First Vision accounts? Are Smith's accounts so different as to be mutually exclusive?

If we can grant that John just did not mention the story, while Matthew and Mark never say that the two thieves never did anything but mock Jesus, could we not also grant that Smith just did not originally mention the Father, or never said he saw only Christ and none else?

I personally feel this approach is reaching, but it seems that if the Gospel writers can be let off the hook with such reasoning, consistency demands that so can Smith.

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The issue I was addressing in my prior post was whether JSJr, in penning the 1832 account which does not expressly mention the Father, had indeed denied he had seen the Father. A denial requires that the denier publish his denial to an audience. JSJr never did, as he never published, or had published, the highly stylized and Saulian/Paulian 1832 version.

I do not know if JS ever wrote anything denying he saw the Father, but it is possible he verbally denied seeing the Father. However, if someone told me they saw the Lord (Jesus) I probably wouldn't think of asking them, "Did you see the Father too?" It seems that no one knows much about JS's oral first vision accounts, so the oral accounts can't be used for evidence either way.

Why JSJr left the Father out (at least expressly) may well be accounted for by his use of the Saul/Paul story as a structure to tell his own -- Saul/Paul never saw G-d, but rather "only" the resurrected Master.

JS's account is like Paul's conversion account, but, again, this says to me that JS patterned his fictional account on Paul's writings. (Actually, I leave room for the possibility that JS had some sort of experience, but I do not believe it was of G-d unless JS really misinterpreted it.) Paul never saw G-d because no one in the Bible saw G-d. See Exodus 33:20, John 1:18, John 6:46, etc. Paul (as a Jew) believed G-d was spirit and that a human can't see G-d's Holy Essence and live. You use G-d as Jews do - Jews do this because even G-d's name is too Holy to write. If this is just G-d's name imagine seeing G-d!

Perhaps JS didn't see the Father because he did start out believing the Father is spirit and can't be seen. The BoM never says the Father has a body of flesh and bone - that is in the D&C (130:22, written in 1843). The BoM says God is spirit - Alma 18:24-28.

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Ex. 24: 10-11

10 And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

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It's completely fine that you disagree (and it is expected). But saying that you don't believe he saw God and Christ is vastly different from saying that JS denied seeing God and then changed his story later.

At the time I was thinking a denial is saying you saw one person when you saw two. That is not the accurate definition of denial, so I used the word wrong. See post #223 for more of my thoughts on this.

Using that kind of misrepresentation to make a point look stronger than it is on it's own is a never right.

I really wasn't trying to strengthen my point - I just wasn't thinking of the specific definition of "deny". Really, I was just being stupid, nothing else.

If you know that JS never denied it-i'm still left wondering why you said he did?

As I wrote in post #223, I don't think JS denied seeing two personages because I don't think he saw two personages. I think his first idea of the story (fictional or real experience) was that he saw only one personage - the Lord. I believe the story was altered by 1838. You believe JS didn't mention seeing two personages in the 1832 account (for various reasons). So you believe JS purposefully left out seeing the Father. If what you believe is true, then JS in 1832 wrote a false account (for whatever reason).

And i'm not so much angry as i am annoyed at this kind of 'reasoning'.

Again, I was not using the reasoning you understood me to be using . . . I just used a word wrongly. Actually, I am glad you care so much about meanings of words - so many people today don't seem to understand that words have specific meanings. Look at how we use awesome now - awesome means "expressing awe, inspiring awe", etc. Everything is awesome now . . . is a hamburger really awesome? Anyway, I do respect meanings of words - I just make mistakes sometimes.

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