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New First Vision Video


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https://history.lds.org/story/first-vision?lang=eng

I'm sure some have seen this already, but the church released a new first vision video (see link above).  


A few questions came up after I watched this video:

- How do you reconcile the differences between the 1832 account and the 1838 account?  (i.e. JS seeing just Christ in 1832; and seeing both Christ and God in 1838)?  


- Why would JS wait 12 years to record such an important event, along with so many varying accounts (the church admits to nine)?  


- Did JS join and/or attend a Methodist church following the 1st vision when he was commanded not to (as stated below)?  

Joseph Smith History 
Chapter 1:

 "19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith's_First_Vision/Joseph_Smith_joined_other_churches

Finally, the article below, IMO, highlights many of the problems with the first vision accounts.  How do you make the different accounts harmonize, given the many inconsistencies?  


https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V34N0102_47.pdf

 

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In answer to your questions, you might want to consult the following:

Steven C. Harper, “The First Vision: A Narrative from Joseph Smith’s Accounts,” LDS Church History, April 27, 2016, online at https://history.lds.org/article/first-vision-accounts-synthesis?lang=eng .

Doug Fabrizio,  “The First Vision,” Radio West (KUER-FM), podcast, May 16, 2016, online at http://radiowest.kuer.org/people/doug-fabrizio  (email radiowest@kuer.org ); interview with John Turner (George Mason Univ.), and Patrick Mason (Claremont Grad. Univ.). 

If you want citations to discussions of it on this board and elsewhere, I can provide those as well.

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40 minutes ago, Ouagadougou said:


A few questions came up after I watched this video:

- How do you reconcile the differences between the 1832 account and the 1838 account?  (i.e. JS seeing just Christ in 1832; and seeing both Christ and God in 1838)?  


- Why would JS wait 12 years to record such an important event, along with so many varying accounts (the church admits to nine)?  

 

 

Why would the authors of the gospels wait 30 or more years to write their testimonies? Why WOULD Joseph have written it right away. Do you keep a journal? very few people do and Joseph was clearly not much of a journal keeper. The concern of him only mentioning Christ in one and mentioning both the Son and the Father in another does not create a contradiction. He also did not mention the type of trees that surrounded him; does this pose a contradiction? Not mentioning something is not the same as stating that thing did not occur. I saw and Uncle when attending a funeral. If I were to later comment that I met one of my cousins for the first time at this same funeral, such a statement would not contradict my early reference to my uncle. Joseph wrote down what impressed him the most, or what he felt was most important when he recorded a particular account. I would suggest you recall a significant event in your past and write 300 words about it. Put this away and a year later write about this same event. I am quite certain each account will mention different aspects, and exclude certain points. 

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Have to say, the woman narrator's ever-so-slightly metallic/robotic voice at the beginning of the video was interesting & unexpected.  Dark Horse Comics is hosting a convention this weekend in downtown Seattle.  Nothing on the scale of Comicon, but saw a few folks in costume as we took our kids to swimming lessons at the WAC this morning.  I'm sure DH would be grateful for any sponsorship/cost-sharing.  An opportunity for LDS, perhaps?

;0) 

--Erik

_______________________________

Sometimes someone gets upset
Doesn't hear the laughter
Takes it as a threat
But it's different after
After the event
Looks like someone's smiling
Happy to be here
Blue skies heaven-sent

--Pet Shop Boys, 2009

Edited by Five Solas
Needed some PSB
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4 minutes ago, Freedom said:

The concern of him only mentioning Christ in one and mentioning both the Son and the Father in another does not create a contradiction

Maybe for you...but for me and many others I know, this creates a very large contradiction.  This isn't like seeing (or not seeing) somebody at the store or at a funeral -- this is speaking with God and Jesus and receiving instruction from them. 

If I did keep a journal (I have in the past), I am 100 % confidence that I wouldn't wait 12 years to mention that I just spoke face-to-face with God and Jesus Christ; I would write it down as fast as I could.  

  

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29 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

In answer to your questions, you might want to consult the following:

Steven C. Harper, “The First Vision: A Narrative from Joseph Smith’s Accounts,” LDS Church History, April 27, 2016, online at https://history.lds.org/article/first-vision-accounts-synthesis?lang=eng .

Doug Fabrizio,  “The First Vision,” Radio West (KUER-FM), podcast, May 16, 2016, online at http://radiowest.kuer.org/people/doug-fabrizio  (email radiowest@kuer.org ); interview with John Turner (George Mason Univ.), and Patrick Mason (Claremont Grad. Univ.). 

If you want citations to discussions of it on this board and elsewhere, I can provide those as well.

Thanks.  I've read some on the first link, but I'll have to check out the Doug Fabrizio podcast.  

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1 hour ago, Ouagadougou said:

Did JS join and/or attend a Methodist church following the 1st vision when he was commanded not to (as stated below)? 

The Lord commanded that he should not join the churches or in other words, don't accept them or formally become a part of them.   That does not mean he could not attend or have some sort of casual relationship with churches or members of churches.  It is pretty clear that whatever relationship that Joseph had with these churches was not rooted in anything meaningful.  One does not see a conflict by Joseph of accepting the restoration and what the Methodists taught.  We see that in our church also in part member families.  Sometimes non-member spouses come to attend meetings of the spouse who is a member on occasion but this does not mean they are wanting to be a member.

Edited by carbon dioxide
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1 hour ago, Ouagadougou said:

Why would JS wait 12 years to record such an important event, along with so many varying accounts (the church admits to nine)? 

Why did Paul wait many years before he wrote of his experience with Christ on the road to Damascus and why the 3 different accounts?  Perhaps Joseph was more comfortable just telling individuals personally about the event and did not want it to be spread around that much during those years as people would perhaps alter his words or it would drive even more problems against him. 

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27 minutes ago, Ouagadougou said:

Maybe for you...but for me and many others I know, this creates a very large contradiction.  This isn't like seeing (or not seeing) somebody at the store or at a funeral -- this is speaking with God and Jesus and receiving instruction from them. 

If I did keep a journal (I have in the past), I am 100 % confidence that I wouldn't wait 12 years to mention that I just spoke face-to-face with God and Jesus Christ; I would write it down as fast as I could.  

  

If I tell Jack that I saw Tom and Frank today and I was told the party is at 5 and then later I tell Mary that I saw Tom and was told the party is at 5 there is no contradiction in my statements to either Jack or Mary.  The fact that I did not mention the presence of Frank to Mary does not mean he was not there. If you want it to be a contradiction that is up to you but it does not have to be a contradiction.  The only instruction that God the Father gives to Joseph is to listen to Jesus.  After that, his presence really is secondary.  The rest of what happens in the First Vision is between Jesus and Joseph.  God the Father could have left at that point and it changes nothing in what was said afterwards.

Edited by carbon dioxide
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29 minutes ago, Ouagadougou said:

Maybe for you...but for me and many others I know, this creates a very large contradiction.  This isn't like seeing (or not seeing) somebody at the store or at a funeral -- this is speaking with God and Jesus and receiving instruction from them. 

If I did keep a journal (I have in the past), I am 100 % confidence that I wouldn't wait 12 years to mention that I just spoke face-to-face with God and Jesus Christ; I would write it down as fast as I could.  

  

You're expecting Joseph Smith to do things the same way that you would.  I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed in a large number of people throughout your life if you're expecting people to behave this way.

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3 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

You're expecting Joseph Smith to do things the same way that you would.  I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed in a large number of people throughout your life if you're expecting people to behave this way.

I think it's pretty reasonable that many people (many members included) share my same doubts concerning the 1st vision.  At least this is based on my interaction with them outside of church.  

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12 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

You're expecting Joseph Smith to do things the same way that you would.  I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed in a large number of people throughout your life if you're expecting people to behave this way.

If Joseph Smith was even 50% like me, there would be less written by him that what we have now.  My entire journal that I kept on my mission if typed out would probably be about 10-20 pages long.  I am just not a big writer.  Even less later in my life.  If a person was to write a biography on my life, they probably would have less than 500 words from me written down about my life over the past 10-15 years.  It would be a VERY short biography.

Edited by carbon dioxide
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1 hour ago, Ouagadougou said:

https://history.lds.org/story/first-vision?lang=eng

I'm sure some have seen this already, but the church released a new first vision video (see link above).  


A few questions came up after I watched this video:

- How do you reconcile the differences between the 1832 account and the 1838 account?  (i.e. JS seeing just Christ in 1832; and seeing both Christ and God in 1838)?  


- Why would JS wait 12 years to record such an important event, along with so many varying accounts (the church admits to nine)?  


- Did JS join and/or attend a Methodist church following the 1st vision when he was commanded not to (as stated below)?  

Joseph Smith History 
Chapter 1:

 "19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith's_First_Vision/Joseph_Smith_joined_other_churches

Finally, the article below, IMO, highlights many of the problems with the first vision accounts.  How do you make the different accounts harmonize, given the many inconsistencies?  


https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V34N0102_47.pdf

 

Although I find the accounts interesting enough--I believe there might be some reasons for the delay of the accounts--and the variance in them--which the space allowed does not permit to investigate all the possibilities in a way that would do justice.

But I do have a take on what appears to have some validity.

As Joseph Smith testified to--after his vision, he related what he saw in a subdued manner--which brought about some immediate repercussions of persecution and ridicule. It seemed as though it caused a stir in the immediate afterthought--and then--silence. There as not much of anything printed to the public's eye for nearly two decades afterward, concerning the first vision. Some of the most notable anti-LDS books printed of the day--nothing. Not hardly one word about the first vision.

Personally--I believe the Lord instructed Joseph to quell that testimony--as it caused quite a stir, and would detract away, and possible smother what the Lord wanted Joseph to do--translate, and bring forth the Book of Mormon--and the significance of that record might be lost in the turmoil caused by Joseph's recounting the vision.

Personally--seeing the people's prejudice on the subject--I would have revealed it a little all along, and then, cautiously--which seems to be just what Joseph did. I still do not believe we have the full account of the vision, and never will, in this life. And that--I am thankful for.

 

 

 

 

 

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Perhaps he did write it down and it got lost.  

We have very little in his own handwriting.  That could be because he was uncomfortable writing or because he was awful at keeping the records safe.

So while you who have been writing pretty constantly since you were in kindergarten finds it so unlikely that he didn't have a journal, it probably doesn't seem unlikely to someone who grew up without the habit of writing because of poverty, dyslexia, illerate parents, or whatever.

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2 hours ago, Ouagadougou said:

I think it's pretty reasonable that many people (many members included) share my same doubts concerning the 1st vision.  At least this is based on my interaction with them outside of church.  

Of course they do.  The First Vision is something that one has to take on faith, as Joseph Smith is the only mortal witness to the event.  But applying the logic of since I would do X everyone else who has the same experience, if they are telling the truth about their experience, would do X also, is a formula for much disappointment in life.

Edited by ksfisher
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16 minutes ago, Calm said:

Perhaps he did write it down and it got lost.  

We have very little in his own handwriting.  That could be because he was uncomfortable writing or because he was awful at keeping the records safe.

So while you who have been writing pretty constantly since you were in kindergarten finds it so unlikely that he didn't have a journal, it probably doesn't seem unlikely to someone who grew up without the habit of writing because of poverty, dyslexia, illerate parents, or whatever.

Some people like to write and some people do not.  I don't mind typing a 500 word project but if I have to hand write forget it.  Its one of the reasons my mission journal is so pathetic.  If I had access to a typewriter or computer there would be a lot more but handwriting to me is like chewing on nails.  When I do have to hand write, I keep it very brief and to the point and nothing beyond that.   Perhaps Joseph was not big into writing a lot especially during those years.  In my perspective what he did nor in this case did not do make sense to me. I probably would have done the same thing.  To me, I get it,.

Edited by carbon dioxide
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1 hour ago, Ouagadougou said:

Maybe for you...but for me and many others I know, this creates a very large contradiction.  This isn't like seeing (or not seeing) somebody at the store or at a funeral -- this is speaking with God and Jesus and receiving instruction from them. 

If I did keep a journal (I have in the past), I am 100 % confidence that I wouldn't wait 12 years to mention that I just spoke face-to-face with God and Jesus Christ; I would write it down as fast as I could.  

  

Then I would suggest you consider that Joseph was not you. I am not a journal keeper. Other than my mission, I have recorded perhaps 1,000 words over my life. You see contradiction, historians see normal journal writing. You may be 100% confident that you would not wait 12 years, but you are not the standard. Joseph is. But please explain why the gospels were written so many years later? And why do they 'contradict' according to your standard? Have you read journals of other historical figures? You are setting an impossible standard has not credible value. You would expect someone to record every detail of every event, every time they write about it. I challenge you to find a qualified historian that would agree with you. 

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1 hour ago, Ouagadougou said:

Maybe for you...but for me and many others I know, this creates a very large contradiction.  This isn't like seeing (or not seeing) somebody at the store or at a funeral -- this is speaking with God and Jesus and receiving instruction from them. 

If I did keep a journal (I have in the past), I am 100 % confidence that I wouldn't wait 12 years to mention that I just spoke face-to-face with God and Jesus Christ; I would write it down as fast as I could.   

That is the problem with presentism -- it assumes (with 100% confidence) that historical events must proceed the way we in modern times want them to, which is contrary to fact.

The example of the Gospels was given to you here:  What do you do with the major contradictions among the 4 Gospels?  Not only are they quite late, even though they were likely preceded by some sort of original documents or notes, which we do not have today, but they were written down from about 40 - 60 years after the life of Jesus.  This is the same problem we frequently have with prominent people who are viewed somewhat differently by their various students -- Socrates, for example.  In real life, people just do not tell the same story twice.  It always differs. depending upon the purpose and occasion in which it is told.  Time constraints can also prevent all details to be provided.  Excellent personal examples of this have been given on this board in past discussions of the First Vision.

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5 hours ago, Ouagadougou said:

https://history.lds.org/story/first-vision?lang=eng

I'm sure some have seen this already, but the church released a new first vision video (see link above).  


A few questions came up after I watched this video:

- How do you reconcile the differences between the 1832 account and the 1838 account?  (i.e. JS seeing just Christ in 1832; and seeing both Christ and God in 1838)?  


- Why would JS wait 12 years to record such an important event, along with so many varying accounts (the church admits to nine)?  


- Did JS join and/or attend a Methodist church following the 1st vision when he was commanded not to (as stated below)?  

Joseph Smith History 
Chapter 1:

 "19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith's_First_Vision/Joseph_Smith_joined_other_churches

Finally, the article below, IMO, highlights many of the problems with the first vision accounts.  How do you make the different accounts harmonize, given the many inconsistencies?  


https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V34N0102_47.pdf

 

In a recent thread I offered some evidence that JS did hold a belief that the Godhead consisted of distinct beings early in life, and that the 1832 omission of two distinct beings in the first vision was due to the controversial nature of the doctrine of separate beings in contrast to traditional trinity doctrine. You can read the argument here: http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/68389-a-new-defense-of-the-1832-first-vision-account/

Some good points are discussed throughout the thread, so I'd suggest reading the whole thing. The earliest evidence that JS indeed had some significant spiritual experience is the autobiographical information in Mormon, which I think someone else already brought up in this thread. I also address it in the thread I linked to, I think.

Another possibility, of course, is that the original experience, assuming there was one, was closer to the 1832 account and later versions represent embellishments. 

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22 minutes ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

In a recent thread I offered some evidence that JS did hold a belief that the Godhead consisted of distinct beings early in life, and that the 1832 omission of two distinct beings in the first vision was due to the controversial nature of the doctrine of separate beings in contrast to traditional trinity doctrine. You can read the argument here: http://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/68389-a-new-defense-of-the-1832-first-vision-account/

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

The 1830 Book of Mormon itself already contains a Gottheit of distinct, anthropomorphic beings.   Nephi, for example, beholds the Holy Spirit (Athe Spirit of the Lord@) Ain the form of a man@ who could speak Aas a man@ (1 Nephi 11:11), while the Brother of Jared saw the Lord/Jesus with a spiritual but anthropomorphic body (Ether 3:4-20).

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3 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

That is the problem with presentism -- it assumes (with 100% confidence) that historical events must proceed the way we in modern times want them to, which is contrary to fact.

The example of the Gospels was given to you here:  What do you do with the major contradictions among the 4 Gospels?  Not only are they quite late, even though they were likely preceded by some sort of original documents or notes, which we do not have today, but they were written down from about 40 - 60 years after the life of Jesus.  This is the same problem we frequently have with prominent people who are viewed somewhat differently by their various students -- Socrates, for example.  In real life, people just do not tell the same story twice.  It always differs. depending upon the purpose and occasion in which it is told.  Time constraints can also prevent all details to be provided.  Excellent personal examples of this have been given on this board in past discussions of the First Vision.

But Joseph's family were journal writers. His aunt had a near death experience and shared it with others and it was recorded.  It is reasonable to expect a trail more close to when the first vision occured and it is reasonable to expect a certain degree of accuracy in any account. 

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11 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

But Joseph's family were journal writers. His aunt had a near death experience and shared it with others and it was recorded.  It is reasonable to expect a trail more close to when the first vision occured and it is reasonable to expect a certain degree of accuracy in any account. 

My relatives do things that I don't do.  We are our own individuals.  Perhaps Joseph did not want anyone to write down his personal experience of the First Vision during those years for a variety of reasons. 

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1 hour ago, Meadowchik said:

But Joseph's family were journal writers. His aunt had a near death experience and shared it with others and it was recorded.  It is reasonable to expect a trail more close to when the first vision occured and it is reasonable to expect a certain degree of accuracy in any account. 

People are complex, predicting an individual's behaviour by others' behaviour is usually quite worthless.

All my parents and siblings got up at 6 AM and went running for an hour...and swore by it.

Dad would come into my room where I was oblivious to the alarm swaddled in my blankets and rip them off...thinking he was helming to toughen me up rather than weaken the sad excuse for an immune system his genetics doomed me with.  I not only didn't run, I didn't jog and I got back after the obligatory 1/2 hour sick as a dog.

And even though this happened daily for many years, not once did I share with my parents the reason why it was hell and that is I rarely got to sleep before midnight even though they would send us to bed at 7 and 8 once in high school.  My mom didn't know I wasn't sleeping at age 10 and would get up and walk around the house at least until I was married with kids.  My siblings probably didnot learn until I was diagnosed in my early 40s.  The most life affecting thing that was happening to me from my childhood and I never told anyone until I had to.  At the time it made me feel special and it wasn't a problem and I didn't want it to be a problem.  It was the only time I really had control of my life.  Lots of reasons I wanted to keep the knowledge my own.

There are many uniqueness among my siblings even though Mom and Dad were very consistent bringing us up save for the first year of the oldest when Dad was in Korea, and just that year impacted his relationship with the rest of the family once we started showing up to distract Mom.

My mother, my sister, and myself write tons of materials...yet none of us have ever been able to create journals.  I have never written anything about the most memorable days of my life, the birth of my children, my marriage, the puppy almost dying in my lap as I willed her to live, the three  days that changed our family completely when my daughter was diagnosed with diabetes and she and her father both plunged into depression in the next month.  I have written about some minor spiritual experiences, even given talks about them...they are all in some landfill by now.

My dad is the only one who wrote an autobiography of the family.  If someone reads it to discover what my childhood was like, they will get the completely wrong idea, though Dad really thought he got most of it right.  He got nothing right once I started thinking for myself because he never understood it took time to understand a person, we were not broken machines needing to be fixed (he was a mechanical engineer, that was his world view).  I wouldn't be surprised if my siblings feel the same way, but I can't tell because they don't talk about what happened between him and them.  We aren't interested in it.  So even though Dad was consistent over time with the stories he told and he documented it all, his history of the family is the most inaccurate out there.

where are all his siblings' journals from that time period?  His father's writings?

People are complex, Occam's Razor is more wrong then right when it comes to individual group behaviour.  A person's behaviour can predict his own future behaviour to some extent, but not much more.

Edited by Calm
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6 hours ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

In a recent thread I offered some evidence that JS did hold a belief that the Godhead consisted of distinct beings early in life, and that the 1832 omission of two distinct beings in the first vision was due to the controversial nature of the doctrine of separate beings in contrast to traditional trinity doctrine. 

Hi Benjamin:

Joseph Smith, as recounted in the 1838 account we have today--stated he saw two personages in the vision. That, IMO--violates nothing in Trinitarian doctrine. That they were two separate Gods does--but that doctrine was not really associated with the first vision during Joseph Smith's mortality. Neither did Joseph Smith associate the flesh and bone doctrine during his life--to the first vision--in a definitive manner.

Personally--I don't see anything in the first vision which violated Trinitarian doctrine, in appearance--and I believe Joseph Smith walked in the grove a Trinitarian, and walked out of the grove a Trinitarian.

In the Lectures on Faith, in 1834(printed with the D&C in 1835, I believe)--Joseph Smith testified God the Father was a Personage of Spirit, Jesus Christ a Personage of flesh and bone--which was one of the reasons Talmage suggested they remove it from the D&C, and not canonize it, as it would cause confusion within the membership.

As for me--I believe the events happened just like I would expect them to--line upon line, precept upon precept--here a little, there a little. What we now associate with the first vision is a redaction, not what was commonly held during the two decades following the first vision. The art and music following 1880 era is usually associated with the prominence placed on the first vision, following that era.

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    • By MDalby
      I was reading the various versions of hte First Vision and I had a question about Joseph's experience.
       
      Satan did not have a body, what was causing the apparent noise of walking that Joseph was hearing?
      Joseph says he heard a sound "like" someone walking.  A noise of walking that "seemed" be come nearer.  Joseph saw nothing that he could see "to produce the noise of walking."
      Thoughts?
       
       
       
    • By CMZ
      https://history.lds.org/article/first-vision-accounts-synthesis?lang=eng
       
      It seems like it leaves out where Joseph Smith said that there was a multitude of angels present and also that he was told many more things, and I think there was also an account where he specifically identified the visitors as the Father and the Son.
    • By Benjamin Seeker
      One of the common criticisms leveled against the first vision is that the 1832 First Vision account only has Jesus Christ present in the theophany, and considering that it is the earliest account and it being in JS's own hand, it makes the later accounts (with two personages) look like the First Vision developed over time. Many people find validity in this criticism, and some leave the church over this. Apologists have done a good job of pointing out that God and Jesus Christ are separate and coexistant in the book of Moses, a text predating the 1832 account, which demonstrates that Mormon doctrine posited that God and Jesus were separate and distinct as early as 1830. They have also pointed to passages in the BOM, which I find somewhat less convincing. I propose that the doctrine of Jesus and God the Father being separate beings was possibly a sacred and guarded (read secret) doctrine in early Mormonism, likely due to its controversial nature. If the doctrine was indeed a secret, that could account for the 1832 account's omission of two personages.  
      Keeping controversial items secret was not foreign to Mormonism. Polygamy was kept a secret from the early 1830s. Knowledge of how the Book of Mormon translation occurred was more or less kept within the bounds of a select few. In Nauvoo, the endowment was kept secret. All of these items were controversial in their own ways, and engendered criticism from various corners. The separate nature of the Father and Son had enormous potential for controversy, and comments by JS in 1844 indicate JS' frustration with prevailing notions and possibly with criticism of his teachings.
      Evidence that God the Father and Jesus being separate beings was not only controversial but also a secret doctrine comes from JS' revelations and an account of the school of the prophets given by Zebedee Coltrin. According to Coltrin and another witness, the men experienced a vision of God the Father and Christ, likely in 1832 or 1833. First they saw Christ walk through the room, and following that, they saw God the Father walk through the room. After the vision, Joseph Smith told the men there, "Brethren, now you are prepared to be the apostles of Jesus Christ, for you have seen both the Father and the Son and know that They exist and that They are two separate personages." His comments place emphasis on God and Christ's separate nature and makes it a qualifier for apostleship. Further, intimate knowledge of God's existence can be considered a divinely granted privilege reserved for apostles or others who qualify through great faith, according to JS' revelations. JS' comments to the school of the prophets infer a type of categorical equivalence between intimate knowledge of God's existence and the knowledge that the Father and the Son are separate beings. This makes knowledge of the Father and Son's separate nature a sacred mystery revealed by God to the privileged and prepared. 
      As noted earlier, the Book of Moses gives fairly clear accounts of God the Father and Jesus being separate beings present at the same time (ie. council in heaven and the creation). Notably, this revelation contains two statements that prescribe that the text only be shared with true believers.
       
      It's also worth noting that the council in Heaven and account of Satan's casting out, which is one of the places the separate nature of the Father and the Son is clear, is found in chapter 4.
      The above are the earliest instances of the doctrine being clearly delineated (as far as I've identified), and both the school of prophets vision and the Moses revelation can be interpreted as sacred secrets.
      Another supporting evidence is the public nature of the Book of Mormon text and its sometimes trinitarian-like portrayal of God (ex. Abinadi's comments about God/Christ), which dates to just a year before the Book of Moses. Even in the BOM's grandest theophany, the Brother of Jared's vision, only the preexistant Christ is seen. I would argue that the 1832 account, like the Book of Mormon, was meant to be a public document. The exaggerated language (mighty acts which he doeth in the name of Jesus Christ), the Book of Mormon like summary at the beginning, and it's inclusion in a letter book instead of a private journal suggest that it may have been intended for public use, and for this reason the theophany account was limited to a a manifestation of Christ, similar to the Brother of Jared's theophany.
      An edited 1832 vision is also consistent with how Joseph would later edit or be complicit to editing controversial items from his 1838 history. For example, the seer stone is not mentioned, and the history simply gives a description of the Urim and Thummim and breastplate and states that it was by this means that the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph's treasure digging was also minimized in the history. Essentially, editing controversial material along with sacred secrets are consistent with early Mormonism and provide a compelling explanation for the omission of two personages from the 1832 account of the First Vision.
      That's the gist of the argument. Comments? 
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