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First vision accounts getting detailed attention in CES devotional


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8 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

The fact that Joseph recounted it the next day (or soon thereafter) to a minister indicates that did not initially think he had any particular reason to fear for his life.

And I repeat, I can't always fix a specific time frame to memorable events in my life -- I don't believe that everyone necessarily can.

But if you had a vision..wouldn't you write it down..specifically and with great detail?  Why change a truth? 

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5 minutes ago, Jeanne said:

For heaven's sakes..if I had a vision even at the age of twelve, I would remember that every day of my entire life!  I would fear for my life if there was any discrepancy at all in retelling.

I agree.

I don't care about date or age discrepancies because those seem very reasonable to me. Some error in detail is to be expected. It doesn't matter if he remembered the day being sunny or cloudy. It doesn't matter if he woke up tired or was full of vim...or whatever. Those are insignificant details that could easily be misstated because they are insignificant.

But concluding that other "details" like who was present (The Lord, God and Jesus, or angels), what his intent for going to pray, and what he experienced are more than just details. They are core components of the story.

It would be like me saying, "I remember my wedding day as one of the most important days of my life. It was a bright, sunshiny day when I took my wife, Joan, to the Salt Lake temple to be sealed. My parents were there and it was a beautiful occasion."

-Wedding day most important day of life- True

-Bright, sunshiny day- False. It was cold and snowy but that doesn't matter.

-My wife Joan- False, my wife's name is Christy- Whoops, but it's just a detail

-Salt Lake Temple- False, Bountiful temple. Not totally significant but important enough that I'd expect to get in trouble if I got that detail wrong

-Sealed- true

-Parents there,- true. But so were her parents, I just didn't mention it. That's an understandable omission. But if God and Jesus appeared at the temple that day you'd better believe I'd remember and mention that.

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9 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Well, at least you're addressing it now rather than ignoring it altogether, which seems to be a pattern with you -- to repeated arguments that have already been answered.

I disagree that it's not a strong rebuttal. I find it more than reasonable.

I don't believe hyperbole has anything to do with it. I think it's a matter of your misunderstanding a frame of reference.

Scott, what part of "I didn't see it" is hard for you to understand? Why continue to assert that I was "ignoring" it. So childish.

 

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7 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Scott, what part of "I didn't see it" is hard for you to understand? Why continue to assert that I was "ignoring" it. So childish.

 

Why didn't you see it? It was right here in the same thread, not more than a few posts above your own.

Seems like you need to do a bit less talking and a bit more listening.

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14 minutes ago, Jeanne said:

But if you had a vision..wouldn't you write it down..specifically and with great detail?   

At age 14? No, I can't guarantee I would have done that, especially if I had no other education at the time than the rudiments of writing and arithmetic.

I think I might have done what Joseph did: Go to a religious minister whom I thought I could trust and tell him about it.

Quote

Why change a truth?

Assumes facts not in evidence. You have not established that Joseph did "change a truth."

 

(I've been watching a lot of "LA Law" reruns lately)

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15 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I agree.

I don't care about date or age discrepancies because those seem very reasonable to me. Some error in detail is to be expected. It doesn't matter if he remembered the day being sunny or cloudy. It doesn't matter if he woke up tired or was full of vim...or whatever. Those are insignificant details that could easily be misstated because they are insignificant.

But concluding that other "details" like who was present (The Lord, God and Jesus, or angels), what his intent for going to pray, and what he experienced are more than just details. They are core components of the story.

It would be like me saying, "I remember my wedding day as one of the most important days of my life. It was a bright, sunshiny day when I took my wife, Joan, to the Salt Lake temple to be sealed. My parents were there and it was a beautiful occasion."

-Wedding day most important day of life- True

-Bright, sunshiny day- False. It was cold and snowy but that doesn't matter.

-My wife Joan- False, my wife's name is Christy- Whoops, but it's just a detail

-Salt Lake Temple- False, Bountiful temple. Not totally significant but important enough that I'd expect to get in trouble if I got that detail wrong

-Sealed- true

-Parents there,- true. But so were her parents, I just didn't mention it. That's an understandable omission. But if God and Jesus appeared at the temple that day you'd better believe I'd remember and mention that.

Already answered. It is not unreasonable that, depending on circumstances and occasion, a person would vary in his recounting of an experience. The important thing is that the differing accounts are not contradictory.

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4 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Why didn't you see it? It was right here in the same thread, not more than a few posts above your own.

Seems like you need to do a bit less talking and a bit more listening.

You're being childish. This coming from the same guy, who in another thread moments ago stated you haven't answered calls for CFR because the thread is moving so fast.

I think it's fair to realize that you will not see every single post just as I will not see every post. Doesn't that seem reasonable? Or is there a Scott rule that you can only comment if you've read every post on a thread? In which case you don't seem to be keeping your own rule. Chill a little.

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2 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

At age 14? No, I can't guarantee I would have done that, especially if I had no other education at the time than the rudiments of writing and arithmetic.

I think I might have done what Joseph did: Go to a religious minister whom I thought I could trust and tell him about it.

Assumes facts not in evidence. You have not established that Joseph did "change a truth."

 

(I've been watching a lot of "LA Law" reruns lately)

Bull..I call bull...yeah..go to a minister first..I would have done that.  But write  it down or in this case,how could possibly forget such an experience?  I sometimes can't remember what happened yesterday..but I can remember in detail things that happened 40 years ago..and I am just talking about regular life things.  Why would I change such a story??  Why did Joseph? 

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4 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Already answered. It is not unreasonable that, depending on circumstances and occasion, a person would vary in his recounting of an experience. The important thing is that the differing accounts are not contradictory.

And this is why "apologetics" has become a derisive term.

Ignore the examples of contradiction supplied on this thread and simply restate, "they are not contradictory." Well done.

 

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The bigger issue for this reprobate is that, until the 1830s, no one in Joseph's family or social circle (friends or enemies) seems to have heard anything about the First Vision. Until the early 1830s, Joseph's first vision was said to have been the visitation of Moroni in 1823. It seems odd to me that, if he had shared it with a minister, he would have shared it with his family, but apparently not. And, if telling the minister resulted in persecution, why doesn't anyone remember any such persecution or the story that is supposed to have spawned it?

I have no idea what he saw or didn't see, but it seems puzzling to me that no one else remembers any of this.

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I think Joseph's keeping track of time was different than ours.  No wristwatch, probably no calendar.  Did he go to school during that time?  There seems to be some elasticity in the time range he gives, especially years later.  I'm not saying this will satisfy everyone, but the concept of date and time was not as closely watched. I also think it was a personal experience and the thought that people were going to judge him and a church he would form based on him remembering the details wasn't in his mind.  The experience was also overwhelming for him.  

I don't know if it helps, but it did for me.  Milton Backmans book also was good, as was reading about Milton's biography.  Reading about his personal experience with all the versions was also helpful.  Can't remember where his biographical sketch was printed.  

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1 minute ago, readstoomuch said:

I think Joseph's keeping track of time was different than ours.  No wristwatch, probably no calendar.  Did he go to school during that time?  There seems to be some elasticity in the time range he gives, especially years later.  I'm not saying this will satisfy everyone, but the concept of date and time was not as closely watched. I also think it was a personal experience and the thought that people were going to judge him and a church he would form based on him remembering the details wasn't in his mind.  The experience was also overwhelming for him.  

I don't know if it helps, but it did for me.  Milton Backmans book also was good, as was reading about Milton's biography.  Reading about his personal experience with all the versions was also helpful.  Can't remember where his biographical sketch was printed.  

I agree with the issue of misremembering time. I do it all the time. It's hard to keep dates and times straight. That's a minor detail.

The problem with the underlined sentence is that the narrative of the church is that JS immediately told his family and local ministers after which he received great persecution. There's no evidence he told his family, and there's also no evidence he was widely persecuted by anyone at that time. Regardless, whether an experience is "personal" or not, a vision of that magnitude would be pretty well ingrained so that the important aspects, ie. who appeared to him, why he went to pray, and what he learned, should be consistent.

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Just now, HappyJackWagon said:

I agree with the issue of misremembering time. I do it all the time. It's hard to keep dates and times straight. That's a minor detail.

The problem with the underlined sentence is that the narrative of the church is that JS immediately told his family and local ministers after which he received great persecution. There's no evidence he told his family, and there's also no evidence he was widely persecuted by anyone at that time. Regardless, whether an experience is "personal" or not, a vision of that magnitude would be pretty well ingrained so that the important aspects, ie. who appeared to him, why he went to pray, and what he learned, should be consistent.

I really don't have an issue with time and the conflicting accounts. Again, I just have a hard time that such an earth-shattering experience and the persecution it provoked would have escaped the notice of everyone around Joseph Smith. If it happened, he must not have told anyone about it at the time. 

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19 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

The bigger issue for this reprobate is that, until the 1830s, no one in Joseph's family or social circle (friends or enemies) seems to have heard anything about the First Vision. Until the early 1830s, Joseph's first vision was said to have been the visitation of Moroni in 1823. It seems odd to me that, if he had shared it with a minister, he would have shared it with his family, but apparently not. And, if telling the minister resulted in persecution, why doesn't anyone remember any such persecution or the story that is supposed to have spawned it?

I have no idea what he saw or didn't see, but it seems puzzling to me that no one else remembers any of this.

This is why I brought up Lucy Mack Smith's detailed history (that she began writing and dictating upon Joseph's death).  She stated her purpose for doing this was to put in writing Joseph's experiences with angels and then does not mention him going into the grove to pray or that God and Jesus (and angels) appeared to him?  

Lucy wrote this regarding her purpose in writing this history:

Quote

People are often enquiring of me the particulars of Joseph’s getting the plates seeing the angels at first and many other thing which Joseph never wrote or published I have told over many things pertaining to these matters to different persons to gratify their curiosity indeed have almost destroyed my lungs giving these recitals to those who felt anxious to hear them I have now concluded to write down every particular as far as possible and if those who wish to read them will help me a little they can have it all in one piece to read at their leasure—"

But, then this history says nothing about Joseph's first vision experience (she only writes about the angel appearing to him in his bedroom for the first time.)

.

Edited by ALarson
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I must not have been rejected occasionally bullied during my teenaged years, because, if I had been, it would have been written up in the newspapers, cause that is the sort of thing that sells papers and brings advertisers.  Yup.  And if I have a profound experience, I'd write it up that day.  If I'd thought of it.  Or if I was a regular journal keeper or prolific letter writer.  Or kept such things, if they existed, from the ravages of time, and the disruptions of life.

Ralph Waldo Emerson's diary for the day he experienced the spiritual experience he discusses in detail in his 1836 "Nature" does not mention it.    I didn't write down my own 19 year old testimony experience till much later, and didn't tell anyone.  It was rather personal.  Not visionary, not earth shattering for the neighborhood, or upsetting for my family.  It was quiet, personal and simply mine.  I have had four people tell me almost identical stories of my more dramatic spiritual experiences, all four mountain top theophanies experienced in solitude: a mission companion, a friend from high school, a sister, and my wife.  None of them knew the others, or knew about the other's experiences.  None of them called the newspapers.  Only one wrote it down that day.   None of them told me their story immediately or even soon after, or under frivolous public circumstances, but only privately, after trust had been established, and when the spirit dictated the appropriateness of such sharing with me.

I'm much more skeptical of approaches to Joseph Smith based on the unstated foundation premise that "this or that is now how I would have arranged things if I were God," than I am of Joseph Smith, who, it must be admitted, managed to do some remarkable and uncommon things in the face or remarkable and uncommon opposition.

Part of the problem is labeling of things like "the First Vision" as such, and making all sorts of backward looking reads into the doctrinal or earth shattering nature experience is that Joseph is basically told, not that he is a prophet, but that later on, the true church will be made known to him. It has long been known, and written up an important Journal of Mormon History essay from around 1980, a Sunstone essay from Lawrence Foster, 

https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/041-39-43.pdf

and more recently by Richard Bushman in BYU Studies in "The Visionary World of Joseph Smith"

https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/BYUStudies/article/viewFile/6439/6088

that conversion theophanies were 1) relatively common, and 2) opposed by the Post Enlightenment Rationalism being manifest within most of the organized churches, Alexander Campbell Jr. being a representative.  Joseph's own account mentions him telling only a preacher about his vision, expressly mentions not telling his mother.  He simply told her that he had learned for himself that Presbyterianism was not true.  Bushman observes that many preachers dismissed conversion theophanies.  How would Joseph personally feel about that sort of comment, given his own personal experience, even if such words were not specifically targeting him? 

The point of Allen's essay in the Journal of Mormon History on "The Emergence of a Fundamental" is that the pedagogical use of the First Vision Story started around 1870.  Joseph Smith did not use his story the same way we do, so we ought not be disturbed when the record does not show such later use in the early record. 

https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/exploring-first-vision/6-emergence-fundamental-expanding-role-joseph-smith-s-first-vision

Also consider Tim Barker here:

http://lds-studies.blogspot.com/2011/07/first-vision-in-formative-years-of.html

The angel with the book, was something else again, and that vision comes with a direct statement that "God a work for me to do."  And that story, being far from common place, attracted far more public attention, created far more scandal  Particularly when the story led to a real book of the sort that no one expected or can comprehensively account for.   He did it "somehow" is now a particularly testable or useful explanation.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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Well, far be it for me to tell Joseph (or God) how he should have done things. I'm just saying that it seems very strange that this vision, and whatever persecution it aroused, seems to have gone completely unnoticed by anyone. Having been bullied rather often as an adolescent, I would be rather shocked if none of my parents or siblings would remember that time of my life. 

It seems a bit odd to dismiss the following as Joseph getting his feelings hurt by a few negative comments:

 

Quote

21 Some few days after I had this vision, I happened to be in company with one of the Methodist preachers, who was very active in the before mentioned religious excitement; and, conversing with him on the subject of religion, I took occasion to give him an account of the vision which I had had. I was greatly surprised at his behavior; he treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and that there would never be any more of them.

 22 I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects—all united to persecute me.

 

Edited by jkwilliams
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1 hour ago, ALarson said:

This is why I brought up Lucy Mack Smith's detailed history (that she began writing and dictating upon Joseph's death).  She stated her purpose for doing this was to put in writing Joseph's experiences with angels and then does not mention him going into the grove to pray or that God and Jesus (and angels) appeared to him?  

Lucy wrote this regarding her purpose in writing this history:

But, then this history says nothing about Joseph's first vision experience (she only writes about the angel appearing to him in his bedroom for the first time.)

.

I made it a mission to visit the Sacred Grove a few years ago at the beginning of my faith crisis.  When I entered the grove, I guess I was just a little disappointed that there was no designated spot that the First Vision occurred.  And I had to just walk through the grove turned forest, with large trees.  It was dark in spots with moss all over and kind of spooky.  The photo below is a photo I took, it shows more sunlight.   

To get to my point, I wonder if it had happened, wouldn't Joseph have marked the spot.  Maybe to return again and again?  

310526_2041171397936_527797889_n.jpg

Edited by Tacenda
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1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

The bigger issue for this reprobate is that, until the 1830s, no one in Joseph's family or social circle (friends or enemies) seems to have heard anything about the First Vision. Until the early 1830s, Joseph's first vision was said to have been the visitation of Moroni in 1823. It seems odd to me that, if he had shared it with a minister, he would have shared it with his family, but apparently not. And, if telling the minister resulted in persecution, why doesn't anyone remember any such persecution or the story that is supposed to have spawned it?

I have no idea what he saw or didn't see, but it seems puzzling to me that no one else remembers any of this.

I don't know, if you had asked each member of his family they might say they remember it, but they may never have felt like putting it on paper.  I get the complaint, but I also can see how it's possible no records have been found about it, Joseph mostly kept it quiet and as such so did those whom he told. 

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Just now, stemelbow said:

I don't know, if you had asked each member of his family they might say they remember it, but they may never have felt like putting it on paper.  I get the complaint, but I also can see how it's possible no records have been found about it, Joseph mostly kept it quiet and as such so did those whom he told. 

I'm more interested as to why, when his family did have a chance to lay out his history later in life, they all declined to mention the First Vision and instead spoke of Moroni's visit as being the first vision. I know it's not a big deal for other people, but I find it awfully difficult to explain. Maybe I just have a bad attitude. :)

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1 minute ago, jkwilliams said:

I'm more interested as to why, when his family did have a chance to lay out his history later in life, they all declined to mention the First Vision and instead spoke of Moroni's visit as being the first vision. I know it's not a big deal for other people, but I find it awfully difficult to explain. Maybe I just have a bad attitude. :)

Unless Lucy, for instance, didn't see it as important to Joseph's story.  It'd be odd, but its possible.  Perhaps to her his story of starting a religion started with Moroni's visit and the BoM. 

But, I also understand it's an issue.  I would just say since we don't know why, there's no reason to disbelieve he felt it genuinely happened or that nothing happened.

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3 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I'm more interested as to why, when his family did have a chance to lay out his history later in life, they all declined to mention the First Vision and instead spoke of Moroni's visit as being the first vision. I know it's not a big deal for other people, but I find it awfully difficult to explain. Maybe I just have a bad attitude. :)

Was that Moroni's visit or Nephi's.

Joseph often had problems identifying the subjects in his visions.

 

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Just now, HappyJackWagon said:

Was that Moroni's visit or Nephi's.

Joseph often had problems identifying the subjects in his visions.

 

To be fair, you get enough visions and it's easy to start mixing them up.  I'm sure I'd do it. 

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14 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

To be fair, you get enough visions and it's easy to start mixing them up.  I'm sure I'd do it. 

Maybe if the "Visions" were more of a hallucinatory or dream like experience versus a visitation while wide-awake.

Nephi/Moroni, Elijah/Elias, God/Jesus & God/Angels...whatever. You may be right. It probably would be very hard to keep that many stories straight.

Edited by HappyJackWagon
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1 minute ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Maybe if the "Visions" were more of a hallucinatory or dream like experience versus a visitation while wide-awake.

Nephi/Moroni, Elijah/Elias, God/Jesus & God/Angels...whatever. You may be right. It probably would be very hard to keep that many stories straight.

I love to sit back and listen to people's stories from their past.  But in nearly every case, there's no doubt the tellings have things mixed up, sometimes very major parts of the story.  I seriously doubt, that if someone had been visited by many angelic visitors over the course of years, that a person would keep all the details straight without mixing up who said what.  I do it all the time with people I converse with, with stories that happened the day before. 

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21 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Unless Lucy, for instance, didn't see it as important to Joseph's story.  It'd be odd, but its possible.  Perhaps to her his story of starting a religion started with Moroni's visit and the BoM. 

But, I also understand it's an issue.  I would just say since we don't know why, there's no reason to disbelieve he felt it genuinely happened or that nothing happened.

I would imagine you'd probably remember the first one. I think I would, anyway. Either way, it is impossible to objectively corroborate such a vision in the first place. My beliefs never rested on whether Joseph really did or didn't feel he'd had that vision. I just find the whole story a little confusing for the reasons I've given. 

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      a) Wen there are more women than men in the Church (1 mark)
      b) Whenever local laws and traditions allow members to practice it without breaking the law
      c) When the Lord authorizes it through the priesthood keys given to the President of the Church
        16. When the President of the Church dies, which quorum becomes the presiding quorum of the Church? (1 mark)
      a) The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
      b) The Quorum of the First Presidency
      c) The Presiding Bishopric
        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&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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