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First vision accounts getting detailed attention in CES devotional


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1 minute ago, jkwilliams said:

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. 

They are confusing.  I'm not suggesting otherwise. 

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19 hours 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 think it should at least be part of the discussion (that she did not write about the first vision in her detailed history).  It is obvious that the first vision was not known to the early church members as we know it today.  Iirc, Brigham Young never did specifically talk about Joseph going into the grove to pray or that God & Jesus appeared to him.  He talked generally of Joseph's visions and angels appearing which matches what Lucy wrote too.  But Brigham must have read the versions as they evolved too.

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22 minutes ago, ALarson said:

I think it should at least be part of the discussion (that she did not write about the first vision in her detailed history).  It is obvious that the first vision was not known to the early church members as we know it today.  Iirc, Brigham Young never did specifically talk about Joseph going into the grove to pray or that God & Jesus appeared to him.  He talked generally of Joseph's visions and angels appearing which matches what Lucy wrote too.  But Brigham must have read the versions as they evolved too.

Sure there was some odd development in all of this.

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I have a question.  After all that Joseph had been through from the prayer in grove to  the plates and translation, wouldn't his most fervent testimony after the organizing be that of the first vision?  What ever it may be, wouldn't that be the greatest and basic foundation to the Book of Mormon to conversion of members?  This is what is done today.  So..did Joseph talk at all about this vision..the first one?  I am so confused so I apologize.  I just can't imagine not getting that right and keeping true to what he actually saw.

Edited by Jeanne
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On 5 May 2016 at 5:54 PM, 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.

Uhh... reading. Not listening. :)

It's actually reasonable though. The notifications function sometimes means you can miss an entire page as you can jump to a third page to see the reply and then if you click on the "star" icon next to the topic on the index page it'll jump you to the latest post and mean you miss earlier posts. 

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16 hours ago, Jeanne said:

I have a question.  After all that Joseph had been through from the prayer in grove to  the plates and translation, wouldn't his most fervent testimony after the organizing be that of the first vision?  What ever it may be, wouldn't that be the greatest and basic foundation to the Book of Mormon to conversion of members?  This is what is done today.  So..did Joseph talk at all about this vision..the first one?  I am so confused so I apologize.  I just can't imagine not getting that right and keeping true to what he actually saw.

I think the faithful approach to this question is that it appears Joseph didn't see the First Vision as anything but a personal spiritual experience not meant to be shared widely nor not seen as the beginning of the restoration, as we tend to view it today.  If he shared it before the first recorded version in 1832, we don't know.  He said he did, at least to some extent, but no one seems to mention it.  I think it could happen, (he shared it privately to a few and no one recording it before 1832) so I don't worry about it too much. 

I think the opposite approach is to suggest since it was found to be shared so late and that there are discrepancies found in the versions, that means it was made up to support his religious claims after the fact, or is more evidence Joseph made up as he went along.

Either or both are possible.  Since there's not much we're going on here but guesswork, I've decided not to get too hung up on it, even though I acknowledge, readily, that people's issues with it can be eyebrow raising. 

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

I think the faithful approach to this question is that it appears Joseph didn't see the First Vision as anything but a personal spiritual experience not meant to be shared widely nor not seen as the beginning of the restoration, as we tend to view it today.  If he shared it before the first recorded version in 1832, we don't know.  He said he did, at least to some extent, but no one seems to mention it.  I think it could happen, (he shared it privately to a few and no one recording it before 1832) so I don't worry about it too much. 

I think the opposite approach is to suggest since it was found to be shared so late and that there are discrepancies found in the versions, that means it was made up to support his religious claims after the fact, or is more evidence Joseph made up as he went along.

Either or both are possible.  Since there's not much we're going on here but guesswork, I've decided not to get too hung up on it, even though I acknowledge, readily, that people's issues with it can be eyebrow raising. 

Thanks for your reply.  When being brought up that this was a foundation..it is hard to accept sometimes that it was just an "experience" or whatever.  That would explain the discrepancies though.  Seems like everything I thought I knew when I was a teen is gone now.  I will accept that we just do not know.  Although I am no longer in the church..I keep trying to find something that relates to my life.  I don't know why.  It meant so much to me.

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21 hours ago, canard78 said:

Uhh... reading. Not listening. :)

It's actually reasonable though. The notifications function sometimes means you can miss an entire page as you can jump to a third page to see the reply and then if you click on the "star" icon next to the topic on the index page it'll jump you to the latest post and mean you miss earlier posts. 

I can understand that; such a thing has happened to me.

In this case, though, a rebuttal to HJW's post did appear on the self same page, just a few posts prior to it.

And HJW has a history of this sort of thing. He and I have gone the rounds about his repeated assertion that there is no statement in the Church that homosexuality is a condition of mortality only. I have repeatedly contradicted his claim with documentation only to find him repeating it later as though there had been no rebuttal made.

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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I don't know about E. Maynes attempt at harmonization and whether it works. However, one can always say that, subjectively, memory of one is different than the memory of another. Historical accounts say that JS had an excellent memory. Truman Madsen cited JS'S knowledge of Sec. 132 for the proposition that JS had a dynamic memory. So, maybe JS had a blind spot for the first vision? Maybe it was such a fantastic experience that he couldn't remember everything with each telling. Nevertheless, each telling got more fantastical and seems to mirror his evolving view of God. So, to me, I have to believe that it definitely wasn't as the 1838 account says. Maybe he thought he saw something as a boy and maybe as a boy he embellished an occurrence? However, I can't believe that it was a real account. If it were, then the major details wouldn't have changed so much.

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35 minutes ago, James Tunney said:

I don't know about E. Maynes attempt at harmonization and whether it works. However, one can always say that, subjectively, memory of one is different than the memory of another. Historical accounts say that JS had an excellent memory. Truman Madsen cited JS'S knowledge of Sec. 132 for the proposition that JS had a dynamic memory. So, maybe JS had a blind spot for the first vision? Maybe it was such a fantastic experience that he couldn't remember everything with each telling. Nevertheless, each telling got more fantastical and seems to mirror his evolving view of God. So, to me, I have to believe that it definitely wasn't as the 1838 account says. Maybe he thought he saw something as a boy and maybe as a boy he embellished an occurrence? However, I can't believe that it was a real account. If it were, then the major details wouldn't have changed so much.

Why do you "have to believe" that? Why can't you entertain other reasonable theories or explanations?

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On 5/9/2016 at 7:16 AM, stemelbow said:

I think the faithful approach to this question is that it appears Joseph didn't see the First Vision as anything but a personal spiritual experience not meant to be shared widely nor not seen as the beginning of the restoration, as we tend to view it today.  If he shared it before the first recorded version in 1832, we don't know.  He said he did, at least to some extent, but no one seems to mention it.  I think it could happen, (he shared it privately to a few and no one recording it before 1832) so I don't worry about it too much. 

I think the opposite approach is to suggest since it was found to be shared so late and that there are discrepancies found in the versions, that means it was made up to support his religious claims after the fact, or is more evidence Joseph made up as he went along.

Either or both are possible.  Since there's not much we're going on here but guesswork, I've decided not to get too hung up on it, even though I acknowledge, readily, that people's issues with it can be eyebrow raising. 

I believe someone mentioned in 1829 that Joseph Smith claimed to have seen God.  I think overall this is correct.  The account suggest that when Joseph Smith did speak about it to people, he got stiff resistance early on.  He probably discovered quickly that it was not worth the effort to talk about it a lot and kept it to to just people he could trust.   What I have not seen is any indication from the saints in 1832 or afterwards of a big discussion or excitement of them just learning that Joseph Smith saw God in 1820.  This suggest to me that a lot of people were well aware of it and having Joseph write an account in 1832 or later was not some big revelation to the people.  They were familiar enough with it that they took it in stride.

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I can't believe it because JS'S story got more and more fantastical as time went on. In the 1832 account he only sees Jesus but by 1838 he has seen God as well. This tracks his evolving view of God from a trinitarian view of three in one to that of separate beings.

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1 hour ago, James Tunney said:

I don't know about E. Maynes attempt at harmonization and whether it works. However, one can always say that, subjectively, memory of one is different than the memory of another. Historical accounts say that JS had an excellent memory. Truman Madsen cited JS'S knowledge of Sec. 132 for the proposition that JS had a dynamic memory. So, maybe JS had a blind spot for the first vision? Maybe it was such a fantastic experience that he couldn't remember everything with each telling. Nevertheless, each telling got more fantastical and seems to mirror his evolving view of God. So, to me, I have to believe that it definitely wasn't as the 1838 account says. Maybe he thought he saw something as a boy and maybe as a boy he embellished an occurrence? However, I can't believe that it was a real account. If it were, then the major details wouldn't have changed so much.

I imagine he wouldn't use your language and doesn't appear to reach the same conclusions, but, FWIW, Bushman has expressed an apparent preference for the 1832 version and has made some pertinent points about the 1838 one:

(This was on a reddit AMA)

Dear Forum Members:

I have read through the imposing array of questions posed over the past week and hardly know how to begin. They are pointed, relevant, sincere, and deserve more of a reply than I can possibly manage. I will do what I can during our open chat hour on Monday, but for now I would like to say something about my beliefs as I have been currently voicing them.A few weeks ago during one of the seminars that Terryl and Fiona Givens and I have been offering for people working through their doubts and questions, an old friend sat me down during the lunch break, looked me in the eye and asked, “Richard, do you believe Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son in the grove?” I said of course and the moment passed, but his question lingered on and moved me to think again about what I do believe about the founding stories.

I am very much impressed by Joseph Smith’s 1832 History account of his early visions. This is the one partially written in his own hand and the rest dictated to Frederick G. Williams. I think it is more revealing than the official account presumably written in 1838 and contained in the Pearl of Great Price. We don’t know who wrote the 1838 account. Joseph’s journal indicates that he, Sidney Rigdon, and George Robinson collaborated on beginning the history in late April, but we don’t know who actually drafted the history. It is a polished narrative but unlike anything Joseph ever wrote himself. The 1832 history we know is his because of the handwriting. It comes rushing forth from Joseph’s mind in a gush of words that seem artless and uncalculated, a flood of raw experience. I think this account has the marks of an authentic visionary experience. There is the distance from God, the perplexity and yearning for answers, the perplexity, and then the experience itself which brings intense joy, followed by fear and anxiety. Can he deal with the powerful force he has encountered? Is he worthy and able? It is a classic announcement of a prophet’s call, and I find it entirely believable.

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I just finished listening to this. 

My "day job" is security officer. The observe-and-report guy, like in the advertisement where the bank robbers barge in, all the customers are forced to the floor, one of the customers pleads with the S/O to do something, and he stands there and says, "I'm only here to report if there's a robbery. Oh, by the way: there's a robbery".

(Actually, most security companies task their officers to 'DOAR'--Deter, Observe, Assist, Report. But that's off-point).

Anyhow, because I take a lot of reports, and execute a lot of reports, I have seen how things can change in a fairly quick period of time. Someone in a health crises leads me to think she's about to expire in the next several seconds, but by the time paramedics arrive, the 'condition' has downgraded to gastrointestinal distress.

People have a fender-bender in the parking lot and it starts off as all the other guy's fault: but, after looking at a couple of things they realize that their own actions may have contributed to the accident.

Most notably in the modern world, videorecording of things help people clarify and properly sequence how things happen.

And: because I kept a journal, briefly, as an LDS convert in the Army in the 1970's, I realize that how I frame and reference certain things today is different from how I saw them 40 or so years back.

Although the First Vision is not a personal reminiscence nor a parking-lot collision, the accounts of it have a bit more significance. But, my personal and professional life experience suggest to me that these differences, told under different circumstances to different people at widely different times to possibly underscore different points could still reflect the same basic experience.

I did find the last few moments of the broadcast more interesting insofar as they seem to dovetail with the little I have read of and can understand of Denver Snuffer's view of personal revelation as a highly democratized experience. This comes to the fore for me because it seems to be part of the message and appeal of the RLDS/Community of Christ.

My thoughts, anyhow. 

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6 minutes ago, flameburns623 said:

But, my personal and professional life experience suggest to me that these differences, told under different circumstances to different people at widely different times to possibly underscore different points could still reflect the same basic experience.

Exactly. I'm a professional historian whose research has frequently involved reading a single author's multiple accounts of events, and whenever I encounter someone's hand-wringing over the accounts of the First Vision -- and how they should be -- I always end up thinking, wow, do these people have any real-world experience with such things, or are they just pulling their 'would haves' and 'should haves' out of thin air?

'

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41 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Exactly. I'm a professional historian whose research has frequently involved reading a single author's multiple accounts of events, and whenever I encounter someone's hand-wringing over the accounts of the First Vision -- and how they should be -- I always end up thinking, wow, do these people have any real-world experience with such things, or are they just pulling their 'would haves' and 'should haves' out of thin air?

'

As a professional historian, if one account was written by the individual themselves, in a private recollection (1832) and another was written by, or in collaboration with, several other people, as an official declaration of authority and doctrine... which would you consider the most representative of what actually happened?

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1 hour ago, canard78 said:

As a professional historian, if one account was written by the individual themselves, in a private recollection (1832) and another was written by, or in collaboration with, several other people, as an official declaration of authority and doctrine... which would you consider the most representative of what actually happened?

Both. Why would you assume that accounts composed at different times, in different circumstances, and for different purposes aren't both 'representative'?

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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I was listening to a podcast on Mormon Matters (?) where a sympathetic LDS person made the following interesting comment:

 

First, Elder Maynes goes out of his way to explain why it is that we shouldn't expect all the different versions to line up exactly.

Then, Elder Maynes goes out of his way to explain why it is that all the different versions do line up exactly.

 

I thought this a fascinating observation.

What do I draw from this?

That Elder Maynes knows the accounts do not line up but doesn't really want to talk about it.

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6 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Both. Why would you assume that accounts composed at different times, in different circumstances, and for different purposes aren't both 'representative'?

Isn't there a preference for earliest first hand accounts over later ones? 

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On ‎5‎/‎9‎/‎2016 at 1:48 PM, Scott Lloyd said:

I can understand that; such a thing has happened to me.

In this case, though, a rebuttal to HJW's post did appear on the self same page, just a few posts prior to it.

And HJW has a history of this sort of thing. He and I have gone the rounds about his repeated assertion that there is no statement in the Church that homosexuality is a condition of mortality only. I have repeatedly contradicted his claim with documentation only to find him repeating it later as though there had been no rebuttal made.

CFR that I have a "history" of this. Provide examples that reflect this "history" or retract with an apology for your subtle ad hominem aimed at poisoning the well against my participation here. 

Unless you've never missed previous posts (which would be truly miraculous) maybe you should knock off the false accusations.

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40 minutes ago, Gray said:

Isn't there a preference for earliest first hand accounts over later ones? 

The other thing that is a little different about the first account is that it doesn't seem to have been prepared for an audience. It wasn't part of a sermon, or a letter to a newspaper, or part of an official church history. It was essentially a personal, journal-style account.

So we have the earliest record of the event which is a personal account written by JS's own hand versus later accounts written for specific audiences which were largely scribed by others.

FYI- there's an interesting Radio West podcast about the First Vision accounts with Professors Patrick Mason and John Turner. http://radiowest.kuer.org/post/first-vision

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Just started listening to this episode.  So far they've discussed how the First Vision account wasn't even mentioned in the 1830's or even in Joseph Smith's lifetime.  That seems odd to me.  Also, that the second most influential book in the 19th century, BOM being the first, "A Voice of Warning" by Parley P. Pratt, has no mention of the FV. And that even David Whitmer said he'd never heard of a FV.  And that no members knew about it in the 1830's or discussed it. And even as late as 1842, the anti Mormon's don't even mention the FV in their books, etc.  Anyway, I'll finish listening and add more to the thread for those that might be interested.

http://www.mormondiscussionpodcast.org/2016/05/premium-first-vision-founding-event-restoration/

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Just now, Tacenda said:

Just started listening to this episode.  So far they've discussed how the First Vision account wasn't even mentioned in the 1830's or even in Joseph Smith's lifetime.  That seems odd to me.  Also, that the second most influential book in the 19th century, BOM being the first, "A Voice of Warning" by Parley P. Pratt, has no mention of the FV. And that even David Whitmer said he'd never heard of a FV.  And that no members knew about it in the 1830's or discussed it. And even as late as 1842, the anti Mormon's don't even mention the FV in their books, etc.  Anyway, I'll finish listening and add more to the thread for those that might be interested.

http://www.mormondiscussionpodcast.org/2016/05/premium-first-vision-founding-event-restoration/

I think it's an interesting point that no critics mention it until much later. At the very least, it seems clear that the vision was not well known or mentioned by many until the 1840s

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On 5/17/2016 at 1:16 AM, Hamba Tuhan said:

Both. Why would you assume that accounts composed at different times, in different circumstances, and for different purposes aren't both 'representative'?

It's not just "different times, in different circumstances".

It's like this.

18 years ago, I worked at an electronics store in Los Angeles.  I sold a lot of TVs, VCRs and DVD players to different people, including some celebrities (and "celebrities").  Suppose you meet me in 2002 and we become friends.  I don't talk a lot about my time selling VCRs, but I have told you some stories, including the times I sold stuff to Bill Pullman and Sinbad the comedian.

Now, in 2016, I've changed interests and am applying for a prestigious job as a curator at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.  I'm nervous for my first interview, so I ask you to accompany me.  After the interview, you ask how it went, and I say "It went well.  I told them about the time Ronald Reagan came in to the electronics store and I sold him a DVD player.  They really liked that story."

You might be a little surprised that I had never mentioned it until that point.

The next day, I have a follow up interview with the head of the museum.  After the interview, you ask how it went.  I say, "Well, when I got to the president's office, I was surprised to see a bunch of Beatles memorabilia in their office.  It turns out they were a huge Beatles fan.  So I told them about that time I sold Paul McCartney a VCR back in the late 1990s and asked him some questions about what it was like to be in the Beatles.  Boy, the President of the museum really liked that story!"

You express further shock that not only had I never mentioned selling a DVD player to Ronald Reagan, I also had never mentioned Paul McCartney.  "Well,", I say, "It was a different story for a different audience.  If you were a Beatles fan, I might have mentioned it.  Also, it's only as time has gone on that I've been able to remember the stories about Ronald Reagan and Paul McCartney.  Back in the early 2000s, I would usually just tell the stories about Bill Pullman and Sinbad."

If this would make perfect sense to you, then fine.  On the other hand, if you would get a little suspicious about the timing of my recalling those stories, then you can understand why some people have reservations about the timing and details in the different versions of the First Vision stories.

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      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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