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First vision accounts getting detailed attention in CES devotional


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4 minutes ago, JulieM said:

Ok (I was just teasing you anyway :) )

But, I do think at least for me, the notes or record I made closer to anything I'd witnessed would be more accurate than trying to compose something after very much time had passed.

But if you had already made one or more records closer to the event -- as Joseph had -- the later record might actually be better because you have the earlier accounts to jog your memory -- kind of like having made notes not long afterward which could then be used in crafting (sorry, I know that word unsettles you) the later account. At least the later account would be better than if you were writing it entirely from scratch.

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23 hours ago, CountryBoy said:

I am an attorney...I am used to dealing with various versions to a story.  I have no problems with the versions of the First Vision.

I am an attorney...I am used to dealing with various versions to a story.  I have a problem with the versions of the First Vision.

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15 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

But if you had already made one or more records closer to the event -- as Joseph had -- the later record might actually be better because you have the earlier accounts to jog your memory -- kind of like having made notes not long afterward which could then be used in crafting (sorry, I know that word unsettles you) the later account. At least the later account would be better than if you were writing it entirely from scratch.

True, I agree.  But, I would follow my notes carefully and not change or add new details (I'm not saying this was done for the first vision later versions, I'm just thinking how I would use my notes to record something I'd witnessed).

Edited by JulieM
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18 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

But the accounts do not contradict one another in any material way. The only difference is in the selection and extent of detail.

And believe me, that is quite common. A single person is apt to vary in how he tells a story without necessarily contradicting himself. That's why I say a good journalist will probe for clarification and greater detail, not to manipulate the account but to provide questions as a catalyst for a more complete telling.

This is actually not entirely true, Scott.

I have a story about something that happened to me of a visionary nature when I was 18, back in 1978.

It is every bit as complicated as the First Vision account(s), if not more so.

After recounting it based on my memory, I was able to go back and find an earlier version I had written much closer in time to the actual event.

Except for one detail, my retelling of the event based on memory was identical to the earlier recollection.  And the one detail I couldn't get right, I was aware at the time that I was having trouble remembering.  It did not have to do with the substance of what was said, but rather with who said it.

Here, I was trying to remember something that happened 38-years ago.  Even with the 1842 account of the First Vision (Joseph's last), it was only 22-years after the event it was describing.

I do not have an especially good memory.  But this event was striking and so I remembered it better than I would other more mundane occurrences.

I expect my experience is not unusual.

Which tends to make me wonder why Joseph Smith's accounts of his singular experience tend to vary so widely.

At least they vary much more than my recountings of my own experience over a greater period of time.

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8 hours ago, JAHS said:

Right. It's obvious that he saw two separate beings. The thing that bothers me sometimes is that people claim that because of the first vision Joseph discovered that both God the Father and Jesus had bodies of flesh and bone. All he did was see the two beings; he did not touch them nor did they tell him that they had tangible bodies. I believe Joseph learned this later on.

If the 1832 account were all we had, it would be far from "obvious that he saw two separate beings."

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6 minutes ago, JulieM said:

True, I agree.  But, I would follow my notes carefully and not change or add new details (I'm not saying this was done for the first vision later versions, I'm just thinking how I would use my notes to record something I'd witnessed).

What if you were certain the details you were adding had actually occurred and you knew you had made a conscious decision, for whatever reason, not to include them in your earlier account?

 

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6 minutes ago, JulieM said:

True, I agree.  But, I would follow my notes carefully and not change or add new details (I'm not saying this was done for the first vision later versions, I'm just thinking how I would use my notes to record something I'd witnessed).

What if you were certain the details you were adding had actually occurred and you knew you had made a conscious decision, for whatever reason, not to include them in your earlier account?

 

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6 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

But if you had already made one or more records closer to the event -- as Joseph had -- the later record might actually be better because you have the earlier accounts to jog your memory -- kind of like having made notes not long afterward which could then be used in crafting (sorry, I know that word unsettles you) the later account. At least the later account would be better than if you were writing it entirely from scratch.

I think that the canonized version was "crafted" specifically the purpose of giving the story of the vision wider distribution, and I think that Joseph deliberately omitted certain items that he may not have considered relevant.

The presence of "many angels", the mention of which was inserted between the lines as an afterthought in the 1835 journal account which already talked of the two personages, isn't really a necessary element of the story. Joseph did, however, call this the "first visitation of Angels," so one could conclude that he always acknowledged the presence of angels in the vision. However, there is at least one other detail that it appears that he omitted and apparently never discussed in Church, but told others about privately. That detail is that Jesus Christ had to touch Joseph's eyes before he could see them. This is the late account of Charles L. Walker:

"Br John Alger said while speaking of the Prophet Joseph, that when he, John, was a small boy he heard the Prophet Joseph relate his vision of seeing The Father and the Son, That God touched his eyes with his finger and said “Joseph this is my beloved Son hear him.” As soon as the Lord had touched his eyes with his finger he immediately saw the Savior. After meeting, a few of us questioned him about the matter and he told us at the bottom of the meeting house steps that he was in the House of Father Smith in Kirtland when Joseph made this declaration, and that Joseph while speaking of it put his finger to his right eye, suiting the action with the words so as to illustrate and at the same time impress the occurrence on the minds of those unto whom He was speaking. We enjoyed the conversation very much, as it was something that we had never seen in church history or heard of before." (Karl Larson and Katharine Miles Larson, eds., Diary of Charles Lowell Walker (Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 1980), 2:755–56 [recorded 2 February 1893])

So the Lord had to touch Joseph's eyes with his finger before he could fully perceive the personages. And, BTW, this happened at age 14, so it makes me wonder if we know when Joseph is reported to have actually obtained the ability to "see" things that others couldn't.

In any case, I would love to see a comprehensive account which includes all of the details that appear within the individual accounts. Joseph's vacillation on whether the pillar was more accurately described as "fire" or as "light". The touching of Joseph's eyes to allow him to "see," and the presence of an angelic host accompanying the two personages. The canonized version served its purpose of conveying only the important details for those who were hearing it for the first time, but I would consider it the "marketing" version.

Edit: Corrected date of journal account from 1832 to 1835.

Edited by Wiki Wonka
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Interestingly, the 1832 account tells us that Joseph had figured out from his study of the Bible that there were no true

 

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I pondered many things in my heart  concerning the sittuation of the world of mankind  the contentions and divi[si]ons the wicke[d]ness and  abominations and the darkness which pervaded  the of the minds of mankind my mind become  excedingly distressed for I become convicted of my  sins and by searching the scriptures I found  that mand <mankind> did not come unto the Lord but that  they had apostatised from the true and liveing  faith and there was no society or denomination  that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ as  recorded in the new testament9

http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/history-circa-summer-1832?p=1#!/paperSummary/history-circa-summer-1832&p=2

 

How does this relate to this claim in the 1838 version of the story?

 

 

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No sooner therefore did I get possession of myself so as to be able to speak, than I asked the personages who  stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right, (for at this time it had never  entered into my heart that all were wrong) and which I should join.

http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/history-circa-june-1839-circa-1841-draft-2?p=2#!/paperSummary/history-circa-june-1839-circa-1841-draft-2&p=3

 

 

Edited by cinepro
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11 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Interestingly, the 1832 account tells us that Joseph had figured out from his study of the Bible that there were no true

 

How does this relate to this claim in the 1838 version of the story?

 

 

 

easy...it is like, after many things and reading and studying, I discovered the Catholic Church was false....but it took Heavenly Father to verify that and lead me home

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6 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Interestingly, the 1832 account tells us that Joseph had figured out from his study of the Bible that there were no true

How does this relate to this claim in the 1838 version of the story?

I don't read Joseph's 1832 statement (written in Joseph's own hand and demonstrating his atrocious grammar and sentence structure) as being that he concluded that there was no true church upon the entire earth. He was only familiar with a few of them. He checked them out, and none of them seemed to conform to his understanding of the New Testament: so they were all " apostatized" in his opinion.

If I had the creator of the world standing in front of me, I'd ask the question of whether or not there was a true church somewhere on the earth, because the ones I was familiar with didn't seem to qualify. It would have never entered my heart that all of them were wrong.

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12 hours ago, JAHS said:

Right. It's obvious that he saw two separate beings.

But what did that mean? As I pointed out in the previous thread, the orthodox view of the Trinity has always been that it includes 'three persons', and as I attempted to show from Christian art, there was nothing revolutionary about seeing 'two separate beings'.

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12 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

It sounds to me like you are subscribing to the idea that ALL of the visitations happened.

'ALL of the visitations'? No, just one vision retold four times.

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IMO- taking each of the accounts and stating they all happened is merely a way of justifying the inconsistency and easing the cognitive dissonance because there is no other "faithful" possibility.

You're certainly welcome to your opinion, but to write off the harmonising of multiple accounts as an act of 'faith' reveals a significant lack of familiarity with the historical enterprise. As I pointed out earlier, multiple accounts of a single event by the same author have been common in my research, and harmonising such accounts is just what real historians do. I can only guess why you seem so much to want the existence of the four First Vision accounts to be seen as problematic.

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11 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
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What are some of the truths we can learn from the First Vision?

What we can learn from the First Vision in the context of all that followed is certainly different from what young Joseph might have learnt from the First Vision.

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10 hours ago, Ahab said:

The trinity is essentially the idea of 3 in unity.

By seeing 2 of those 3 as separate persons you would then see that they are not the same person, at least, although you could still wonder how they are in unity.

 

10 hours ago, JAHS said:

I suppose God being God, even as a trinity, could show himself as two separate beings; but why would He do that?

On this point, I may quote from a much earlier thread:

Taken directly from the Encyclopedia of Catholicism: 'The Trinity is the term employed to signify the central doctrine of the Christian religion — the truth that in the unity of the Godhead there are Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these Three Persons being truly distinct one from another' (emphasis added). How exactly did Joseph's experience of seeing two distinct Persons in the Grove challenge any aspect of creedal Christianity?

...

You may then be interested in considering how Stephen's vision of the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God has been repeatedly portrayed in traditional Christian art:

Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_The_Martyrdom_of_St_

 

StStephenMartyr.png

 

St_stephen.jpg

 

the-martyrdom-of-saint-stephen-1660.jpg!

 

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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29 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

But what did that mean? As I pointed out in the previous thread, the orthodox view of the Trinity has always been that it includes 'three persons', and as I attempted to show from Christian art, there was nothing revolutionary about seeing 'two separate beings'.

I have seen the art. I think it's the only way that they could express a depiction of God the Father  and Jesus that people could relate to; otherwise you can't draw a painting of the trinitarian God the way they describe him in their doctrine. The main difference of course is that they are physically two separate beings of flesh and bone which Joseph Smith learned later on.

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17 minutes ago, JAHS said:

You can't draw a painting of the trinitarian God the way they describe him in their doctrine.

Catholic Encyclopedia: 'these Three Persons being truly distinct one from another'. These paintings accurately depict God the way God is described in traditional Christian belief.

Look, I'm not trying to defend the doctrine of Trinity. It's complete nonsense. But it drives me mad when people lob bombs at the Restored Church when they don't really grasp our doctrine, and I'm therefore sensitive when we Saints do the same, even unknowingly. We have very good reasons for rejecting the Trinity, but they have nothing much to do with the number of persons described therein.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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I've been reading this thread with so many of you getting wrapped around the axle about the various versions or retellings of the First Vision, First Visitation, or whatever we should call it, and it's kind of interesting.

But when it comes right down to it, for me, it is well-established that Joseph did see what he said he saw, and received therewith a calling of a Prophet of the Lord.  Subsequent events enlarges this.  He was the Prophet, no doubt of it in my mind, and his calling was from God.  I've checked this out with the best authority available, namely God, and He has reliably confirmed it to me, that Joseph was His prophet.  That's my testimony and I am sticking to it.

Not that I don't appreciate your various expressions of doubt and of faith!  I definitely need to hear all of this, if only that I am better able to express myself to those who have open minds and are willing to consider this matter honestly.

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On 5/3/2016 at 10:36 AM, Scott Lloyd said:

I maintain that there is nothing uniquely or tellingly dissonant about the various First Vision accounts. Consider the following hypothetical (inspired by my own research):

  • In 1562 a Jesuit missionary reports that upon having visited a remote Pacific Island he met the ruler of the island in a palace set on 18 poles; the ruler told him that he was happy to have the priest in his island.
  • In 1565 the missionary reports that upon having visited this same Pacific Island he met first one and then another ruler of the island in a palace set on 18 poles; a number of local chiefs were also present during this audience.
  • In 1568 the missionary reports that upon having visited this same Pacific Island he met the queen and king of the island in a palace set on 18 poles; the king told him that he hadn't been particularly impressed with the Muslim traders who had been visiting his island.
  • In 1572 the missionary reports that upon having visited this same Pacific Island he met the rulers of the island in a palace set on 18 poles; the rulers told him that they hadn't been particularly impressed with the Muslim traders who had been visiting their island.

If I were to present the above in a seminar and express concern over the dissonance caused thereby, I would be met with quizzical, probably embarrassed looks. And yet these hypothetical accounts parallel the supposedly difficult-to-reconcile differences in the First Vision accounts.

Did this missionary visit the island once and then retell the story four different times? or did he visit the island four different times?

TBH, the Jesuit and European accounts I encounter in my research of Southeast Asian history drive me batty. Do you not struggle constantly trying to unravel the tangled mess of fantasy, reality and faith? My favorite is the explorer (Marignolli I think) who visited the East Indies in the 14th century and met the Queen of Sheba who gave him a golden girdle and told him that the Three Wise Men were living with Elijah at the top of a nearby mountain. Or the countless accounts of explorers like Marco Polo who claimed to have traveled through the hidden Christian Kingdom of Prester John. Are these multiple dissonant accounts true? Historians don't think so. Most likely they were attempts to convince the Pope to fund their missions. And then there are the Jesuit miracles:

"It was said that Francis Xavier was caught up in a storm as he was travelling to Malacca in the year 1546. With much faith, he threw his cross into the sea, asking God to make it an instrument to pacify the turbulent sea. God indeed came to his aid. The storm halted and the sea calmed down. But he lost his cross. According to the story, Francis Xavier, upon reaching the shores of Malacca, found a crab crawling towards him holding the missing cross in on of it's claws. This story was so important that it was depicted on the altar at the canonization ceremony and was one of four miracles represented on the banner that decorated St. Peter Church on that occasion."

Should we believe it? How do historians cut through the revisions to get at the truth? Which version of the Jesuit missionary story above do you believe is most accurate? 

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8 hours ago, consiglieri said:

If the 1832 account were all we had, it would be far from "obvious that he saw two separate beings."

Yes but the 1832 does not say that he only saw one being.  An omission of a fact is not a denial of the fact.  If I say to Joe that I saw Steve and Jack at the party and I say to Cindy I saw Jack at the party, the fact that I did not mention Steve to Cindy is not a claim that he was not there.  

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8 hours ago, consiglieri said:

This is actually not entirely true, Scott.

I have a story about something that happened to me of a visionary nature when I was 18, back in 1978.

It is every bit as complicated as the First Vision account(s), if not more so.

After recounting it based on my memory, I was able to go back and find an earlier version I had written much closer in time to the actual event.

Except for one detail, my retelling of the event based on memory was identical to the earlier recollection.  And the one detail I couldn't get right, I was aware at the time that I was having trouble remembering.  It did not have to do with the substance of what was said, but rather with who said it.

Here, I was trying to remember something that happened 38-years ago.  Even with the 1842 account of the First Vision (Joseph's last), it was only 22-years after the event it was describing.

I do not have an especially good memory.  But this event was striking and so I remembered it better than I would other more mundane occurrences.

I expect my experience is not unusual.

Which tends to make me wonder why Joseph Smith's accounts of his singular experience tend to vary so widely.

At least they vary much more than my recountings of my own experience over a greater period of time.

The problem with this is that you assume that what might be true for you would therefore be true for other people.  All of our minds work differently.  I know for myself that I recall facts differently regarding experiences I have had in the past based on the situation and how my mind remembers things.  I might focus on one point and forget another point or mix up a point or two.  Especially as time moves on I forget less important aspects of an event.  Perhaps as a lawyer you are good at nitpicking.  I like to look at the all the version and find common themes.  If there are problems, then look at them and see how important are they really to the overall story.  Keep in mind as well this experience happened to a 14 year old.  The fact that he remembers enough detail that he does many years after the fact to a time when he was just a young teenager I find impressive.  

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15 hours ago, ALarson said:

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

I have also read that Lucy Mack Smith's first version of the history of Joseph Smith and the church that she wrote, didn't even include or mention the first vision.  The title of her history was Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations  and it was published in 1853. Brigham Young ordered the members to destroy their copies of this history in 1865. 

Brother Brigham probably had it destroyed because it was a false version of Lucy Mack's history.  The only accurate version is the critical edition by Lavina Fielding Anderson, Lucy's Book (SLC: Signature Books, 2001).

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41 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Did this missionary visit the island once and then retell the story four different times? or did he visit the island four different times?

He visited the island once and then retold the story four different times.

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And then there are the Jesuit miracles:

"It was said that Francis Xavier was caught up in a storm as he was travelling to Malacca in the year 1546. With much faith, he threw his cross into the sea, asking God to make it an instrument to pacify the turbulent sea. God indeed came to his aid. The storm halted and the sea calmed down. But he lost his cross. According to the story, Francis Xavier, upon reaching the shores of Malacca, found a crab crawling towards him holding the missing cross in on of it's claws. This story was so important that it was depicted on the altar at the canonization ceremony and was one of four miracles represented on the banner that decorated St. Peter Church on that occasion."

...

Which version of the Jesuit missionary story above do you believe is most accurate? 

Xavier never recorded this event. You only find it in the chronicles, which engaged in embellishments that only got larger over time. Go straight to the source; you'll discover the missionary accounts are pretty straightforward, with stories of miracles you may find a bit more familiar.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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16 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

You may have missed what I wrote above?

I think your example is overly generous to what Joseph said in his accounts. Your version's a lot "cleaner" in the builds that come through. 

Also, I think when you layer on the suggestions of an evolution in Joseph's perspectives on God over time (moving from "one God"/trinitarianism to two separate beings) then the changing detail of the accounts is significant.

 

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14 minutes ago, canard78 said:

I think your example is overly generous to what Joseph said in his accounts. Your version's a lot "cleaner" in the builds that come through. 

Also, I think when you layer on the suggestions of an evolution in Joseph's perspectives on God over time (moving from "one God"/trinitarianism to two separate beings) then the changing detail of the accounts is significant.

Which only works if you've already assumed that Joseph was dishonest or mistaken in some aspect(s) of his reporting. Which is possible. It's also possible that he wasn't. The data fit either scenario, to be honest, but far too many critics insist they've got the 'true history' all figured out. Which is nonsense.

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        17. Which of the following shows the correct chronological order (first to last) of places the Saints were told to gather to? (1 mark}
      a) A stake in their homeland; Nauvoo, Illinois; Winter Quarters, Nebraska; Salt Lake City, Utah
      b) Nauvoo, Illinois; Winter Quarters, Nebraska; Salt Lake City, Utah; a stake in their homeland
      c) Winter Quarters, Nebraska; Nauvoo, Illinois; Salt Lake City, Utah; a stake in their homeland
        18. After the Savior visited the spirit world, what did righteous spirits there begin to do?
      a} They were all resurrected and began entering the highest kingdom of glory.
      b) They began performing ordinances for those who had not received them.
      c) They began teaching the gospel to those in spirit prison.
      (1 mark)
        19. According to Official Declaration 2, the Lord revealed that all worthy male Church members may ___ _ (1 mark)
      a) receive the ordinance of baptism
      b) serve a mission at age 18
      c) receive the priesthood and enjoy temple blessings
        20. What principle is emphasized in Doctrine and Covenants 121:36, 41-2? (1 mark)
      a) Priesthood holders can draw upon the powers of heaven only if they live righteously.
      b) lf we actively seek to learn through study and faith, our faith in Jesus Christ will increase.
      c) If we obey the Lord, He will always keep His promises to bless us.
        21. Which of the following accurately describes Heavenly Father? (1 mark)
      a) He is without feelings or emotions.
      b) He is a personage of Spirit and can dwell in us.
      c) He has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's.
        22. Which of the following is a requirement for receiving exaltation in the celestial kingdom? (1 mark)
      a) Bearing testimony of the Savior is all that is needed.
      b) Receiving a patriarchal blessing
      c) Receiving and being valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ
        23. Of the following groups, who will inherit the celestial kingdom? (1 mark)
      a) All children who die before they reach the age of accountability
      b) All members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
      c) All individuals who have been baptized
        24. Which eternal truth corrects the following worldly philosophy: "God doesn't care how marriage is defined"? (1 mark)
      a) Ever individual born into morality is a child of God, and God loves each of us.
      b) Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.
      c) God changes truth to meet the circumstances and needs of His children.
        25. Which eternal truth corrects the following worldly philosophy: "It isn't as important for couples to have children today as it used to
      a) Marriage between a man and a woman is the ideal setting for children to be born, reared, and nurtured.
      b) God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between a man and a woman who are
      lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
      c) God's commandment fr husbands and wives to have children remains in force today.
        26. Which eternal truth corrects the following worldly philosophy: "As long as two individuals love each other, physical intimacy is
      acceptable"? (1 mark)
      a) Marriage between a man and a woman is the ideal setting for children to be born, reared, and nurtured.
      b) Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.
      c) God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between a man and a woman who are
      lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
        27. Which eternal truth corrects the following worldly philosophy: "As governments continue to redefine marriage, God's definition of
      marriage will change to reflect the values of modern society"? (1 mark)
      a) Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.
      b) God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between a man and a woman who are
      lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
      c) Changes in the civil law do not change the moral law that God has established.
        28. Which eternal truth corrects the following worldly philosophy: "The only purpose of marriage is for adults to find fulfillment and
      happiness"? (1 mark)
      a) Marriage between a man and a woman is the ideal setting for children to be born, reared, and nurtured.
      b) Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.
      c) God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between a man and a woman who are
      lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
      Section name: Explain Doctrine _
      Instructions: Write your answer on a piece of paper. Compare your response with the correct answer received from your teacher. After self-grading the explain-doctrine question, bubble in your answer sheet.
      Self-grade your answer for each question:
      a. Yes, I explained this in my response.
      b. No, I left this out of my response.
        29. What is an example of a truth that was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith? Explain why the truth you chose can help you receive eternal life. (1 mark)
        30. What is an example of an ordinance that was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith? Explain why the ordinance you chose can help you receive eternal life. (1 mark)
        31. What is an example of priesthood authority that was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith? Explain why this authority of the priesthood can help you receive eternal life. (1 mark)
        32. Share your personal thoughts on the importance of the Prophet Joseph Smith. (1 mark)
    • By blueglass
      Really impressed with Kate Holbrook's interview with Terryl Givens.  She's thoughtful, candid, and inspiring as she speaks about her persistence to get a PhD and work full time for the church as a manger of church history.  She's working on a project with Lisa Tate on the history of the young women's organization.  
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2G7k1ggz7k&amp;feature=em-uploademail
      One thing I caught that I hadn't heard before was when Terryl asks her about whether she felt a sense of loss and a sense of jubilation when studying the history of the RS.  Joseph envisioned a more collaborative relationship with the male priesthood, more autonomy, abundance of spiritual gifts, authority to administer ordinances including healing by the laying of hands.  Kate responds that she understands the hyperfocus on this time period, but she feels there is a lost opportunity in recognizing the accomplishments of the women of the 20th century - she then backtracks a bit and says:
      "I don't want to say that their isn't a difference, between - a time when a woman was able to say I have this terrific idea she's say the General RS president and she goes and talks to the president of the church about it.  That is certainly different than now, when she goes and talks to someone in the presiding bishopric, and it has to go through several levels to even get to the president.  There is a loss, and there is a difference."
      I had no idea that the General RS president did not have direct access to the quorum of the 12, and first presidency?  Why in 3 heavens does the general RS president still have such an auxiliary level of access to the presiding apostolic quorum, access to financial influence through Pres Bishopric perhaps, but no real budget to work with?  No seat on the correlation committee?  
      Kate has a great story about how Ardeth Greene Kapp (General YW president 84-92') while receiving a downpour of revelation would use innovative, clever ways and technology to push the ideas upward through the hierarchy.  
    • 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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