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First vision accounts getting detailed attention in CES devotional


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2 minutes ago, Atheist Mormon said:

Okay, jk, are you looking to make sense of all this? What part of Gospels makes sense? what part of 5 books of Genesis make sense...

Yes I admit in my early skeptic years I did pile on Mormon History but I realized quickly the fish smelled from head, not the tail......

No, I'm not really trying to make sense of it. My personal conclusion is that the First Vision was back-filled in later for various reasons, as before around 1832 the first vision was always Moroni's visit. But I'm not claiming my conclusion is the "right" one, and I don't care to argue about it here. 

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14 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

You are a very compassionate person.

 

Fortunately, so is Christ.  

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2 hours ago, consiglieri said:

A strange thing to say from an adherent of a church built entirely on historical truth claims.

The First Vision is a historical claim.  But we shouldn't "rely on it inordinately."

Joseph Smith having the gold plates is a historical claim.  But we shouldn't "rely on it inordinately."

Angelic restoration of Priesthood is a historical claim.  But we shouldn't "rely on it inordinately."

Are you sure this is a road you want to go down, Scott?  ;)

 

 

They are primarily matters of religious faith. 

To the extent they can be corroborated by the historical record, that is a nice thing, but faithful adherents do not rely on historic corroboration to accept them, just as Christians in general do not rely on the historic record for their acceptance of the reality of the resurrection and atonement of Jesus. 

The only thing we would have to worry about would be if the historic record falsified them -- which hasn't happened. 

It is the antagonists and deniers who must rely on history to support their arguments, and they are thus in a nigh-on-impossible position. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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42 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

They are primarily matters of religious faith. 

To the extent they can be corroborated by the historical record, that is a nice thing, but faithful adherents do not rely on historic corroboration to accept them, just as Christians in general do not rely on the historic record for their acceptance of the resurrection and atonement of Jesus. 

The only thing we would have to worry about would be if the historic record falsified them -- which hasn't happened. 

It is the antagonists and deniers who must rely on history to support their arguments, and they are thus in nigh-on-impossible position. 

So religious adherents are not bound by history--only those who question.

Nice double standard, Scott.  ;)

 

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51 minutes ago, consiglieri said:

So religious adherents are not bound by history--only those who question.

Nice double standard, Scott.  ;)

 

It's not a double standard. It's the reality of the situation and it has to do with objectives.

Believers seek only to keep the question open so that seekers can feel free to go to God in prayer for spiritual confirmation.

As a detractor, though, your task is to prove through history or some other way that the religious message is false.

I think it's an insurmountable task. But it's yours; deal with it.

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9 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

It's not a double standard. It's the reality of the situation and it has to do with objectives.

Believers seek only to keep the question open so that seekers can feel free to go to God in prayer for spiritual confirmation.

As a detractor, though, your task is to prove through history or some other way that the religious message is false.

I think it's an insurmountable task. But it's yours; deal with it.

You're quite right that it's impossible to disprove a religious claim, or even a historical claim. Some historical claims are more likely or plausible than others. I think the point of apologetics is to maintain some level of plausibility, but I think we would disagree as to their success in doing so.

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19 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

You're quite right that it's impossible to disprove a religious claim, or even a historical claim. Some historical claims are more likely or plausible than others. I think the point of apologetics is to maintain some level of plausibility, but I think we would disagree as to their success in doing so.

So long as the plausibility remains intact, one can claim success.

To destroy the plausibility of Mormonism, you would have to disprove it physically, empircally, historically, whatever. You would have to persuasively falsify all the evidences for it that do exist. I think you are correct in acknowledging this is impossible.

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2 hours ago, california boy said:

Fortunately, so is Christ.  

To believe in God (and, by extension, Christ, who is a member of the Godhead) is to accept His justice as well as His mercy and compassion.

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4 hours ago, Atheist Mormon said:

Fine, by all means scrutinize........But if you are a Christian (atheists get a hall pass here, since they believe none of it), start from Gospels before jumping Joseph's "First Vision" Bandwagon, because they are ridiculed by historians on this matter (I'm not a historian).

Do you mind! We were happily talking about craving cake in heaven or something until you brought us back on topic...

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25 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

So long as the plausibility remains intact, one can claim success.

To destroy the plausibility of Mormonism, you would have to disprove it physically, empircally, historically, whatever. You would have to persuasively falsify all the evidences for it that do exist. I think you are correct in acknowledging this is impossible.

I think you just moved the goalposts, Scott. As I said, disproving something is quite different from showing something to be implausible. To "destroy the plausibility of Mormonism" (that seems oddly loaded), you would have to show that it was implausible physically, empirically, historically, whatever. Disproving never enters the equation.

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52 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

It's not a double standard. It's the reality of the situation and it has to do with objectives.

Believers seek only to keep the question open so that seekers can feel free to go to God in prayer for spiritual confirmation.

As a detractor, though, your task is to prove through history or some other way that the religious message is false.

I think it's an insurmountable task. But it's yours; deal with it.

Or they could go to the same source. 

If you need "plausibily true + spiritual witness" to believe the first vision to have happened the you could just as easily say that you can see it as "plausibly not true + spiritual witness" to be a detractor and say that the message of Mormonism is false.

 

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1 minute ago, canard78 said:

Or they could go to the same source. 

If you need "plausibily true + spiritual witness" to believe the first vision to have happened the you could just as easily say that you can see it as "plausibly not true + spiritual witness" to be a detractor and say that the message of Mormonism is false.

I'm in the latter group, but as I recall, bearing one's testimony is frowned upon here.

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4 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I think you just moved the goalposts, Scott. As I said, disproving something is quite different from showing something to be implausible. To "destroy the plausibility of Mormonism" (that seems oddly loaded), you would have to show that it was implausible physically, empirically, historically, whatever. Disproving never enters the equation.

Plausibility (defined by one online source as "seeming reasonable or believable") is such a subjective thing. What you declare to be implausible might be plausible to another person of average or better intelligence. In the end, it boils down to the receptiveness of the individual -- which is part and parcel of the message conveyed by the Church of Jesus Christ. And success comes each time a person in the face of doubts and pervasive criticisms is motivated to go to God in humble and sincere prayer and seek direct revelation from Him.

The fact that, year after year, there continue to be intelligent and wise individuals who embrace the message of the restored Church is indication that the detractors have not succeeded in bringing forth any definitive, absolute, compelling, universally applicable demonstration of implausibility. And, whether they like it or not, whether they admit to it or not, that is the daunting task they have set for themselves.

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Just now, Scott Lloyd said:

Plausibility (defined by one online source as "seeming reasonable or believable") is such a subjective thing. What you declare to be implausible might be plausible to another person of average or better intelligence. In the end, it boils down to the receptiveness of the individual -- which is part and parcel of the message conveyed by the Church of Jesus Christ. And success comes each time a person in the face of doubts and pervasive criticisms is motivated to go to God in humble and sincere prayer and seek direct revelation from Him.

The fact that, year after year, there continue to be intelligent and wise individuals who embrace the message of the restored Church is indication that the detractors have not succeeded in bringing forth any definitive, absolute, compelling, universally applicable demonstration of implausibility. And, whether they like it or not, whether they admit to it or not, that is the daunting task they have set for themselves.

I have no problem with that. What you said was that "destroying plausibility" involved disproving things. It doesn't. Do I think reasonable people can find Mormonism plausible? Sure. 

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4 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Plausibility (defined by one online source as "seeming reasonable or believable") is such a subjective thing. What you declare to be implausible might be plausible to another person of average or better intelligence. In the end, it boils down to the receptiveness of the individual -- which is part and parcel of the message conveyed by the Church of Jesus Christ. And success comes each time a person in the face of doubts and pervasive criticisms is motivated to go to God in humble and sincere prayer and seek direct revelation from Him.

The fact that, year after year, there continue to be intelligent and wise individuals who embrace the message of the restored Church is indication that the detractors have not succeeded in bringing forth any definitive, absolute, compelling, universally applicable demonstration of implausibility. And, whether they like it or not, whether they admit to it or not, that is the daunting task they have set for themselves.

No it isn't at all.

How can you define what the "task" is of detractors. I'm not part of those who are actively proselyting a "mormonism is wrong" message. I have, however, reached the conclusion that Mormonism that while Mormonism might contain some truths and elements of divinity, that it contains no more than any other religious organisation. I've comfortably reached the conclusion that while Mormon prophets have been inspired in their teaching that it is not not any more frequently or with any more clarity than other philosophers and religious teachers around the world. Mormonism is not "true" in the way I used to firmly believe it was true. 

So I agree with you that a religion at least needs a level of plausibility to also be considered something on which you can build an additional layer of spiritual witness and faith. When reading the first vision accounts, it should at least be plausible that those visions occurred in order to then seek a spiritual witness of its truth.

However, there are many religions that have adherents that might have religions foundations that are barely plausible. That fact that they at least have the thinnest sliver of plausibility means they still have people who layer on a spiritual conviction. 

A good example of this is the Uranthians. If you read their origins, it's almost as implausible an origin as the flying spaghetti monster, and yet it has followers who are fully convinced of its truth:
http://testimoniesofotherfaiths.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Urantian

So why is that I would need to demonstrate a definitive, compelling, universal implausibility of Uranthians (almost like shooting fish in a barrel) in order to be a detractor of a religion? Would same apply to the detractor of Hinduism? Or Catholicism? Are you not a member of all other religions because you have found them all to be implausible? 

Instead, as a Mormon detractor, I don't need to prove Mormonism is implausible. Instead I can say, in sincerity, that I need to establish that it is plausibly not true. It is plausible that all of the first vision accounts are figments of Joseph's imagination. It's plausible that he wrote the Book of Mormon either alone or with assistance.  It's also plausible that every Mormon prophet since Joseph has been a generally wellmeaning, but equally uninspired man. It could also be plausible that Mormon bans on black priesthood, mixed race marriage and gay relationships are all human inventions based on cultural influences.

The fact is that I or others could reach the conclusion in the previous paragraph through serious study and then could also pray about it and received a spiritual witness that it is true. The "rules of engagement" on Mormonism are the same for both "sides."

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6 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

To believe in God (and, by extension, Christ, who is a member of the Godhead) is to accept His justice as well as His mercy and compassion.

And fortunately I await the judgement of God and not the judgement of Scott Lloyd.

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5 hours ago, jkwilliams said:

I'm in the latter group, but as I recall, bearing one's testimony is frowned upon here.

Indeed. 

It's an interesting idea though. I've sometimes considered sharing some of the conclusions I've reached through prayer (ones that even included ones offered in the temple while still an active recommend holder) that led me out of Mormonism. 

But I agree that it's probably good form to avoid drawing on those personal experiences in these sorts of discussions because they add little. To tell someone "you are wrong because I prayed about it and reached the conclusion that contradicts yours" gets us nowhere and is a limited basis for discussion. 

Occasionally there are a few posters who get a bit over enthusiastic and "preach/witness" at me. I know it doesn't help me want to develop a conversation with them so I tend to think it only fair that I avoid doing the same. 

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17 hours ago, california boy said:

And fortunately I await the judgement of God and not the judgement of Scott Lloyd.

For the latter you would be waiting a very long time indeed.

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6 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

For the latter you would be waiting a very long time indeed.

Oh I am sure you will try and have the last say.  lol.  I'm ok with that.

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14 hours ago, VideoGameJunkie said:

I wish there was only 1 version of the First Vision. It's an important event to get right.

Why don't you just pick a favorite and hold to it -- preferably the canonized version that's in the Pearl of Great Price?

It's not as though the versions contradict one another, so I don't think it's a matter of Joseph getting it wrong.

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2 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Why don't you just pick a favorite and hold to it -- preferably the canonized version that's in the Pearl of Great Price?

It's not as though the versions contradict one another, so I don't think it's a matter of Joseph getting it wrong.

I thought they did contradict each other. One have God and Jesus together, another have only Jesus, another has just angels. All should have had God and Jesus. 

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21 minutes ago, VideoGameJunkie said:

I thought they did contradict each other. One have God and Jesus together, another have only Jesus, another has just angels. All should have had God and Jesus. 

There are contradictions. The new apologist strategy is to say, "see all these differences. Isn't it marvelous that they all harmonize."

Even though one states only the Lord (jesus) appeared, and another states there was an angel and multitudes of angels, and other later accounts claim it was Jesus and God, the strategy is to say there is nothing different even though the differences are obvious and right in front of your eyes.

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17 hours ago, canard78 said:

No it isn't at all.

How can you define what the "task" is of detractors. I'm not part of those who are actively proselyting a "mormonism is wrong" message.

If you are not in that category, then, of course, the task would not apply to you.

But my point still stands. The Church is not trying to talk people into joining by an appeal to science, history or whatever. It is only engaged in inviting and encouraging people to seek a spiritual communication from God. I repeat: To do that, we need only keep the question open.

To frustrate that effort, on the other hand, detractors must do the very thing they insist the Church must do: to prove their argument through physical evidence. I maintain that they have thus far failed to do that, and are destined to continue to fail.

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    • By blueglass
      A number of church historians recently published a book through Oxford entitled "Foundational Texts of Mormonism: Examining Major Early Sources” (Oxford University Press, $74, 448 pages.)
      In the last chapter (13) pg 390 the historian Ronald Barney quotes Donald Enders, the senior curator at the Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City where he states, "There is no evidence, that Joseph told his mother that he had talked face-to-face with God. Certainly his mother never claimed to have heard such a declaration."
      I knew that very few had heard about Joseph's first vision in the earliest days of the church, I didn't know his own mother was unaware. Then I was digging through the JSP where they have Lucy Mack's original 1844 - 1845 history draft, and I found a first vision account similar to the 1835 account in which the unnamed personage testifies that Jesus is the Christ in the 3rd person.  Also compare with Lucy Mack Smith's letter to her brother Solomon Mack, Waterloo, New York, 6 January 1831
      https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/lucy-mack-smith-history-1844-1845/40
      "our sons were actively employed in assisting their Father to cut down the grain and storing it away in order, for winter One evening we were sitting till quite late conversing upon the subject of the diversity of churches that had risen up in the world and the many thousand opinions in existence as to the truths contained in scripture Joseph who never said many words upon any subject but always seemed to reflect more deeply than common persons of his age upon everything of a religious nature This After we ceased conversation he went to bed <and was pondering in his mind which of the churches were the true one.> an but he had not laid there long till <he saw> a bright <light> entered the room where he lay he looked up and saw an angel of the Lord stood <standing> by him The angel spoke, "I perceive that you are enquiring in your mind which is the true church there is not a true church on Earth No not one Nor <and> has not been since Peter took the Keys <of the Melchesidec priesthood after the order of God> into the Kingdom of Heaven the churches that are now upon the Earth are all man made churches."
    • By mfbukowski
      There is a fascinating podcast recently published by Interpreter of an interview with Sharalyn D. Howcraft about early foundational documents of Mormonism in which the difference between "what really happened" and how history is recorded.
      For those like me who do not like podcasts, there is also a transcript which is a pretty short and totally fascinating read.
      I highly recommend both.
      "What really happened" as I have said forever is virtually unknowable, so all we are stuck with are historical accounts which may or may not be "true representations"
      I say this often to underscore the necessity of being guided by the Spirit in all matters, regarding virtually every document we read as "HIS-STORY" rather than necessarily "what really happened" which in a historical sense is unknowable in most cases.  Observed recorded events like the assassination of Lincoln of course are "facts" and those are another case.
      But when it comes to hearsay, questions of motivation, how ideas evolved or what ideas were developed by whomever, we just have to be cautious and in my opinion,  regard everything as a story written by a human being and all human beings have a point to make, prejudices to expose or hide, and in some cases the "truth" is simply impossible to know.
      So especially in religious matters, we must follow our "gut" or in more regular Mormon parlance, "follow the Spirit".
      This podcast and transcription illustrate these points extremely well.
      http://interpreterfoundation.org/a-closer-look-at-the-foundational-texts-of-mormonism-with-sharalyn-d-howcroft/
      This link goes directly to the transcript
      http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/6/d/c/6dcfab4b17c23c6a/LDSP_Sharalyn_D._Howcroft.pdf?c_id=20782383&expiration=1525899791&hwt=88c7d8ed9c3cfaf190629e1f5f8ac493
       
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