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First Of A Series Of Tough Issues Tackled By Lds.org


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Talk about writing off someone who disagrees with you. They don't see things the way I do, so they must not be informed.

Look again at what you quoted from me. I didn't write anybody off. I was speaking theoretically.

And it's not writing someone off to express skepticism as to how rigorous or careful they have been in their study and analysis.

I reject your criticism.

I think the 1832 account only mentions him conversing with the Lord. That could bother people and can be seen as a contradiction.

"Bother people" or not, a reasonable and intelligent mind will grasp the fundamental difference between accounts varying in their content and degree of detail and accounts contradicting each other outright. An intellectually honest person will acknowledge that difference.

Also many of the acounts vary on age which is also a contradiction.

This has already been discussed here in this thread. As Wiki Wonka has pointed out, one account does not amount to "many." And it's apparently a trivial matter involving an error in mental arithmetic or a misguided insertion into existing text.

This has been raised repeatedly. If this quibbling is the best anyone can come up with as an example of contradiction, it strikes me as safe to say the accusation of contradiction is hardly substantive.

While I in no way see these as deal breakers I can understand why some might. I feel there are good explanations for this idea of a narrative that is not told the exact same way each time. But to say there are no contradictions and anyone who sees one is ill informed is nonsense

I stand by my statements. Edited by Scott Lloyd
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It is frustrating that in our desire to hold our truth we sometimes shut out the possibility that one can be informed and come to a different conclusion then oneself.  While I hold the gospel as true, I don't consider those who disagree as possibly uninformed simply because they disagree.  I truly believe more then one conclusion on the Church's truth claims are valid in that it is reasonable for two people, just as smart, just as knowledgeable, and just as spiritual to disagree on the truth claims of the Church... and too often it seems people on both sides see anyone who is on the opposite side of the discussion as ill-informed and not truth seeking.

 

Scott, I am sorry If I misread your comment.  I assumed you were insinuating that anyone who saw contradictions likely had not read the historical record.  If that is not what your saying, I would love for you to clarify

I just did.

 

And calmoriah had already nailed it before I got around to responding.

 

I don't consider those who disagree as possibly uninformed simply because they disagree.

 

So you reject the very possibility that that they are ill-informed.

 

And you are accusing me, of being absolutist?

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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I got about half way through the link before I had to take off for the evening so forgive me if it discusses these two questions. Where was his "sacred sensibility" in regards to Moroni's visit which he didn't seem to have a problem disclosing to others? Why did he lose this sensibility just a few years later when he published the First Vision account for all to see in The Times and Seasons?

Edit: I see he later discusses his reasonings for Times and Seasons publication.

I'll wait until you've had occasion to digest the entire piece before I respond.

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I don't think that the news spread at all. I think that Joseph told one or two ministers and was strongly rebuffed. I don't think he told his family about it.

 

I have five kids. It doesn't take much for a 14-year-old to feel persecuted.

As a father of four, including two teenagers, I hear you on this.

 

And yet, Joseph wrote of the persecution years later, when he was grown and, presumably, had had opportunity for more mature reflection.

 

Which leads me to believe it was more than just a matter of adolescent angst.

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i found an 1835 account, that seems more first visiony than moronis visity, am i totally wrong?

 

There are two 1835 accounts. I think that you may be referring to the second Joseph Smith journal entry, which refers to the "First Visitation of Angels." 

 

Joseph's first 1835 journal entry on the First Vision:

 

Joseph thoroughly described the visit of two personages in his 9 November 1835 journal entry, and he also noted the presence of angels. He then refers to Moroni's visit as "another vision of angels."

 

"I kneeled again my mouth was opened and my toung liberated, and I called on the Lord in mighty prayer, a pillar of fire appeared above my head, it presently rested down upon me head, and filled me with Joy unspeakable, a personage appeard in the midst of this pillar of flame which was spread all around, and yet nothing consumed, another personage soon appeard like unto the first, he said unto me thy sins are forgiven thee, he testified unto me that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; and I saw many angels in this vision I was about 14 years old when I received this first communication; When I was about 17 years old I saw another vision of angels..."

 

Joseph's second 1835 journal entry on the First Vision:

 

Then, only five days later on 14 November 1835, Joseph made another journal entry about his first vision. Rather than repeat all of the details, he simply referred to it as "the first visitation of angels."

 

"up to the time I received the first visitation of Angels which was when I was about 14. years old and also the visitations that I received afterward, concerning the book of Mormon." 

 

Once again, Joseph distinguished the First Vision ("first visitation of Angels") from Moroni's visit ("visitations that I received afterward").

 

Both of these 1835 journal entries can be read here: http://en.fairmormon.org/Primary_sources/Joseph_Smith,_Jr./First_Vision_accounts/1835

 

Or, if you would like to see the original documents, the Church has them here: http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/journal-1835-1836?p=24

Edited by Wiki Wonka
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As a father of four, including two teenagers, I hear you on this.

 

And yet, Joseph wrote of the persecution years later, when he was grown and, presumably, had had opportunity for more mature reflection.

 

Which leads me to believe it was more than just a matter of adolescent angst.

Even with mature reflection, one's memory can be tricky if one has inflated what was going on due to one's adolescent angst.  The question is whether or not he assumed his recollections were accurate or not and since he did not have the option of comparing his experience to others' with similar experiences, I don't know what he could have used as a 'reality check' save his family's memory and if he hadn't told them about his personal experiences at the time as teens often don't, they would not have been helpful.  Instead, I think he would likely compare his past experiences with his present ones which would tend to confirm any feelings of persecution or depending on the timing even inflate them more instead of downplaying them.

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Even with mature reflection, one's memory can be tricky if one has inflated what was going on due to one's adolescent angst.  The question is whether or not he assumed his recollections were accurate or not and since he did not have the option of comparing his experience to others' with similar experiences, I don't know what he could have used as a 'reality check' save his family's memory and if he hadn't told them about his personal experiences at the time as teens often don't, they would not have been helpful.  Instead, I think he would likely compare his past experiences with his present ones which would tend to confirm any feelings of persecution or depending on the timing even inflate them more instead of downplaying them.

 

I doubt that, with all due respect.

I'm sure his "reality check" was accurate. He wasn't an old man when he was murdered in cold blood; meaning by being old means one losing one's memory.

 

When he was 14, someone took a shot at him intent on killing him, when approaching the door of his home, as told by his Mother in her history of her son.

The account below is inserted just before the account of the First Vision, so whether this occurred before or after the FV, I couldn't say.

 

I don't know of too many teenagers who get shot at for no apparent reason.

Also note that Lucy Mack Smith considered this to be an attempt at murdering her 14-year old boy.

 

"At the age of fourteen an incident occurred which alarmed us much as we knew not the cause of it. Joseph being a remarkably quiet, well disposed child, we did not suspect that any one had aught against him. He was out one evening on an errand and on returning home as he was passing through the door yard a gun was fired across his pathway with the evident intention of shooting him. He sprang to the door much frightened. We immediately went in search of the assassin but could find no trace of him that evening. The next morning we found his tracks under a wagon where he lay when he fired; and the following day we found the balls which were discharged from the gun lodged in the head and neck of a cow that was standing opposite the wagon in a dark corner. We have not as yet discovered the man who made this attempt at murder neither can we discover the cause thereof."

 

GoogleBooks History of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Improvement ERA 1902  [edit] Page 72

(not all of the punctuation may have copied over)  Notice the plural "balls"

 

http://books.google.com/books?id=PkNOAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA72&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U0wq2RShLUgUEfHzuJtdAb5B1bBcQ&ci=191%2C759%2C692%2C423&edge=0

 

[edit - a link to the book]

http://books.google.com/books?id=PkNOAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=history+of+joseph+Smith&hl=en&sa=X&ei=EN6PUr7xFsieqQGL6IGQBw&ved=0CFQQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=history%20of%20joseph%20Smith

Edited by Tiki
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"Bother people" or not, a reasonable and intelligent mind will grasp the fundamental difference between accounts varying in their content and degree of detail and accounts contradicting each other outright. An intellectually honest person will acknowledge that difference.

 

So do you see the "content and degree of detail" in the accounts to be something that could cause a "reasonable and intelligent" person concern or not? Are you also saying that if someone sees a contradiction between the 1832 account and the 1838 account that they are neither reasonable nor intelligent? 

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So do you see the "content and degree of detail" in the accounts to be something that could cause a "reasonable and intelligent" person concern or not? Are you also saying that if someone sees a contradiction between the 1832 account and the 1838 account that they are neither reasonable nor intelligent? 

 

For those of you who are "reasonable and Intelligent", what is it about the accounts of the first vision that "bothers" you?

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It is frustrating that in our desire to hold our truth we sometimes shut out the possibility that one can be informed and come to a different conclusion then oneself.  While I hold the gospel as true, I don't consider those who disagree as possibly uninformed simply because they disagree.

Do you have a copy of RSR?

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You're right, there's nothing that says he directly told his family. That said, are you suggesting that he told a minister about it, resulting in persecution from professors of religion, and yet his family somehow never heard why he was being persecuted? I may have misspoken, but I don't see that it changes my concern.

I have to ask. Was Joseph Smith 12 or 16 when he had his First Vision? But either way what teen age kid tells his parents everything? I mean really I can't imagine divulging something like that to my family for months after it happened when I was that age. I'd be so spun out that I would have a hard time recalling a large percentage of it without further prayer and thought.

 

About 4 years ago I had a driving down the freeway knockout revelation concerning my wife's health. I was barely able to drive to the next off ramp. Even with the fact that it concerned her health it took me a few weeks before I discussed it with her. I couldn't recall the entire vision frame by frame but I got the main idea across and If I had a best friend in the Church I would have discussed it with him before going to my wife. (I have no family in the Church and we're transients) I can fully understand if Joseph Smith discussed his vision with a preacher  before his parents  and if his memory of it varies. It would be nice to have total recall but not many people do. What kind of persecution was Joseph to have suffered? verbal? Verbal persecution would be more traumatic as a young teen than as an adult. It would probably be the same with physical persecution. Where do you draw the line of the persecution of Joseph for his initial  First Vision and the persecution he received for subsequent visions and for starting the Church  which ultimately led to his death?

 

 

By the way at the end of my wife's medical treatment the oncologist said "It's a miracle we caught that cancer so soon, she won't need chemotherapy."

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So do you see the "content and degree of detail" in the accounts to be something that could cause a "reasonable and intelligent" person concern or not?

Possibly.

Are you also saying that if someone sees a contradiction between the 1832 account and the 1838 account that they are neither reasonable nor intelligent?

I don't see the conclusion that they are contradictory as being materially sustainable from a careful examination of the accounts.

Do they differ in content and detail? Yes. Do they contradict each other? No, not in any meaningful way (I'm bracketing here the trivial point about age, which has been raised and discussed on this thread.)

And if you reexamine my post, you'll note that what I said is that a reasonable and intelligent mind conceptually will grasp the fundamental distinction between accounts that differ in content and detail (and, I would add, emphasis) and accounts that contradict each other.

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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For those of you who are "reasonable and Intelligent", what is it about the accounts of the first vision that "bothers" you?

The jury's out on whether I'm "reasonable and Intelligent," but I still find elements bothersome.

Not so problematic that I'm lead to the conclusion that he made the whole thing up. I think Joseph probably did have some significant spiritual experiences in the 1820s. I'm just not certain that what happened is accurately captured in the 1838 version. I think 1838 is more a reflection of perspectives in 1838. A retelling based on a new paradigm.

The 1832 he mentions 3 beings, the spirit, The Lord and the Father. But he only says he saw The Lord.

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The jury's out on whether I'm "reasonable and Intelligent," but I still find elements bothersome.

Not so problematic that I'm lead to the conclusion that he made the whole thing up. I think Joseph probably did have some significant spiritual experiences in the 1820s. I'm just not certain that what happened is accurately captured in the 1838 version. I think 1838 is more a reflection of perspectives in 1838. A retelling based on a new paradigm.

The 1832 he mentions 3 beings, the spirit, The Lord and the Father. But he only says he saw The Lord.

To me, the 1832 reports seems more hasty and less well thought out.

The 1838 version seems like more thought was put in it, as well being more complete, which is why we emphasize it more, I would assume.

The 1832 seems more like an initial, or preliminary report

He kind of states in the 1838 version that he wanted to set the record straight, so to speak, partially because earlier accounts were not complete.

 

Joseph Smith, by most accounts, was not very literary, at least not in 1832 (although he seems to be better at expressing himself later)

 

I find that many times, later testimony, with more time to reflect is more accurate that initial reports.

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1832 seems more personal to me, the 1838 seems to be Joseph trying to make it more relevant to others rather than sharing a personal testimony kind of thing.

 

Isn't the 1838 dictated as well but the 1832 isn't.  That seems to make a big difference for Joseph so if my memory is right, that could contribute as well.

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Do you have a copy of RSR?

 

Yes, and believe it or not I read it

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I will here reiterate my observation that what the Church seems to be doing here is formalizing under its own imprimatur some of the best apologetics arguments that have been advanced over the years. In my mind, that vindicates some of the apologists who have been vilified by critics who say their work does more harm than good or drives people away from the Church. I think we owe a debt of gratitude to many apologists, including those under the auspices of FAIR/FairMormon and FARMS/Maxwell Institute (prior to the purge of 2012).

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 But either way what teen age kid tells his parents everything? I mean really I can't imagine divulging something like that to my family for months after it happened when I was that age.

 

My parents would be would the first I would go to. And I'm quite certain it would be rather immediate.

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I will here reiterate my observation that what the Church seems to be doing here is formalizing under its own imprimatur some of the best apologetics arguments that have been advanced over the years. In my mind, that vindicates some of the apologists who have been vilified by critics who say their work does more harm than good or drives people away from the Church. I think we owe a debt of gratitude to many apologists, including those under the auspices of FAIR/FairMormon and FARMS/Maxwell Institute (prior to the purge of 2012).

Questionable.

The Church will never accept their claim that Joseph Smith, 2 years before his martydrom, learned the location of the geography of The Book of Mormon from a book of travels written by John Lloyd Stephens, and everything Joseph Smith said or implied before about BoM geography indicated he "did not understand," which geography theory F.A.R.M.S. was founded upon.

Outside of that scope? possibly.

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    • By kiwi57
      In a now-defunct thread, I pointed out that the only evidence for the accusation that anyone had ever tried to "hide" the 1832 First Vision account was the mere fact that it hadn't been published. I argued from this that there was an implicit assumption on the part of the accusers that non-publication was always intentional, and that "hiding" was the intention that drove it.
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      I don't think it does, but I'd be interested to know what others think.
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