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What is the rationale behind the expectation, that I should testify to the veracity of the First Vision, despite there being only a single witness to that event?


Pneumos

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The Bible states that truth shall be established by the mouths of two or three witnesses.  Therefore, why am I expected to believe in the First Vision when nobody else but Joseph Smith witnessed it?  If someone wants to believe the story is true in all of its detail, that is fine; I have no problem with that.  But I think it is unfair for authorities to expect the Church as a whole to join together in believing such.  This was not the culture of the Apostles, following Jesus.  Let a man believe this-or-that, they said, but come together in the love of Christ. 

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Paul's vision was only seen and heard by him - a single person. Stephen looked into the heavens when he was stoned and saw Jesus on the right hand of God. Jonah was swallowed by a whale - no one else was there. Jesus bled from every pore - no one else was present. What culture of the Apostles and Jesus are you talking about? 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is taught and we either believe its truths or not. You can believe anything you want, but if you are not seeking to know truth or discover truth, what is the purpose?

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Jesus went into the desert alone.  Mary was visited by the angel alone.  Same with Zechariah.  Jacob wrestled with God alone.  Noah was told to build an ark when he was alone.  Moses saw the burning bush alone.  

One can study and pray and get one's own witness to God's divine truth...alone.

Edited by Calm
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[1]  Almost all of those examples are not firsthand accounts.

[2]  Core doctrines are not based solely upon any one of those accounts.  

And, 

[3]  “But it is the truth....” is a weak argument, in my humble opinion.  Any person can claim to have seen Christ and received instructions and revelation; and that person’s followers can then say, “Well, this is the true gospel of Christ.” 

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48 minutes ago, Pneumos said:

 

[1]  Almost all of those examples are not firsthand accounts.

 

So they told their experiences to others who then wrote them down.  That is similar to how most people in my experience speak of the the story of the First Vision.  What is your point?  Not seeing it.  If anything, it would make those stories less convincing, wouldn't it?

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Any person can claim to have seen Christ and received instructions and revelation; and that person’s followers can then say, “Well, this is the true gospel of Christ.” 

Indeed true.  But how would you establish spiritual truth?

Edited by Calm
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40 minutes ago, Pneumos said:

[1]  Almost all of those examples are not firsthand accounts.

[2]  Core doctrines are not based solely upon any one of those accounts.  

And, 

[3]  “But it is the truth....” is a weak argument, in my humble opinion.  Any person can claim to have seen Christ and received instructions and revelation; and that person’s followers can then say, “Well, this is the true gospel of Christ.” 

Are you saying that Paul did not record his experience? You know the Paul that carried the gospel of Christ to the gentiles, the individual that God used to almost single-handedly was spread Christianity?  You might want to rethink that position. 

Edited by Storm Rider
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He did say "almost all"...but given how Paul's teachings are seen as core doctrine by many denominations and iirc there are some that are unique to him***, not sure of that point either.

****He is seen as different enough by many that the term Pauline Christianity is used to describe his set of teachings.

Edited by Calm
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What is the rationale behind the expectation, that I should testify to the veracity of the First Vision,

The only reason you should testify to its truth is, in my opinion, if you believe God has witnessed to you that it happened and is true as described.

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2 minutes ago, Calm said:

He did say "almost all"...but given how Paul's teachings are seen as core doctrine by many denominations, not sure of that point either.

My point is that, the very thing that Paul had seen was not determined to be the basis for establishing core doctrines.  Paul never used his vision (in and of itself) to establish doctrines.

18 minutes ago, Calm said:

So they told their experiences to others who then wrote them down.  That is similar to how most people in my experience speak of the the story of the First Vision.  What is your point?  Not seeing it.  If anything, it would make those stories less convincing, wouldn't it?

Most of the accounts which you mention (that are related in the Bible) are legendary, and were passed down by oral tradition for  potentially thousands of years.  Historicity was not the concern there, but rather the moral of the story. 

The First Vision is in a completely different class.  For example, there is no clear moral to that story — It is simply meant to establish an empirical fact.  

30 minutes ago, Calm said:

Indeed true.  But how would you establish spiritual truth?

Simple question; very complicated answer.  Such would be a whole discussion unto itself. 

The Holy Spirit is the short answer.  Though I would say that misunderstanding the precise nature of the Holy Spirit will lead one to misunderstand the way in which the Holy Spirit establishes truth. 

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7 minutes ago, Calm said:

The only reason you should testify to its truth is, in my opinion, if you believe God has witnessed to you that it happened and is true as described.

What if God has witnessed to you that the Church is true, but that the First Vision is false?  I would be interested to see how such a testimony would go down at a sacrament meeting. 

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11 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Do you believe that it is unfair that our leaders expect us to lean on the revelation of the Holy Ghost, is that what you are saying?

I believe it is unfair that a person should tell me to ask the Holy Spirit about the truth of the matter, only to then deny the answer given to me by the Holy Spirit.  What is the point of asking the Holy Spirit when that person already has the answers?  Why not forsake the Holy Spirit and simply go straight to them, since they already know?  

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2 minutes ago, Pneumos said:

I believe it is unfair that a person should tell me to ask the Holy Spirit about the truth of the matter, only to then deny the answer given to me by the Holy Spirit.  What is the point of asking the Holy Spirit when that person already has the answers?  Why not forsake the Holy Spirit and simply go straight to them, since they already know?  

Well that's a different issue then.

You can't expect other people to believe that your revelations are from God if they contradict their own (and they can't expect you to do that either).  I don't know that fairness has anything to do with it.  And the reason that we don't forsake the Holy Ghost and believe whatever other people say is because we have a duty to find out for ourselves.

Sometimes our revelations are wrong, and we've misunderstood or something, but if we are sincere and continue to turn to God for guidance (obeying that guidance when it comes) then He'll get us straightened out eventually and get us back on the right track.  

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29 minutes ago, Pneumos said:

What if God has witnessed to you that the Church is true, but that the First Vision is false?  I would be interested to see how such a testimony would go down at a sacrament meeting. 

I would be concerned about such a witness, because it is contradictory.  Before I could rely on such a witness I would need the spirit to clarify how the church can be true if JS was lying about the First vision, since the restoration relies on the First Vision for it's existence?

 

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5 minutes ago, Calm said:

Can you explain how that could work?

God says to the believer:  “Yes, the Church is true, for I have formed it and given it a purpose.  However, that purpose has yet to be recognized by the Church.  It is not this doctrine or that ordinance which I am working to restore.  Rather I am working to restore...” yada yada.

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30 minutes ago, Pneumos said:

I believe it is unfair that a person should tell me to ask the Holy Spirit about the truth of the matter, only to then deny the answer given to me by the Holy Spirit.

I agree.  If we trust in the Spirit for ourselves, we must allow others the same ability.

30 minutes ago, Pneumos said:

What is the point of asking the Holy Spirit when that person already has the answers?  Why not forsake the Holy Spirit and simply go straight to them, since they already know?  

Because we can only know if they have the spiritual answers through the spirit.  Reasoning only provides possible answers because we may not be aware of all that is relevant and therefore needed for correct reasoning.

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6 minutes ago, Pneumos said:

God says to the believer:  “Yes, the Church is true, for I have formed it and given it a purpose.  However, that purpose has yet to be recognized by the Church.  It is not this doctrine or that ordinance which I am working to restore.  Rather I am working to restore...” yada yada.

How are you defining "true" here?  Is it the same way you are defining "true" when you speak of the First Vision?

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17 minutes ago, bluebell said:

You can't expect other people to believe that your revelations are from God if they contradict their own (and they can't expect you to do that either). 

I would never presume to expect others to accept my personal revelations.  I would only ever expect that others tolerate me and listen as I reveal them.  Also, I would never shut anyone down, and make them stop talking, simply because my personal beliefs differ from theirs.  Should they feel the need to reveal their personal revelations, I will listen.  I may not agree, but I will listen.  When it comes to thoughts and feelings about Christ and his glory, I will always listen.

23 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I would be concerned about such a witness, because it is contradictory.  Before I could rely on such a witness I would need the spirit to clarify how the church can be true if JS was lying about the First vision, since the restoration relies on the First Vision for it's existence?

I submit that the First Vision is not the essence of the restoration. 

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10 minutes ago, Calm said:

Because we can only know if they have the spiritual answers through the spirit. 

That is not how the Holy Spirit works, in my humble opinion.  That is merely intuition.  

Think about it....  A leader establishes a following.  Then she tells her following such-and-such is the truth.  And then she asks the members of her following to pray and ask God to know whether such-and-such is the truth.  How many members would you think will receive confirmation that it is the truth?  Most if not all, I suspect.  That is because of their intuition; not the Holy Spirit.  Let us embrace science and do an experiment of that nature, or observe the phenomenon in various communities.  They would tend to believe that they have received confirmation because they want to remain a part of the following and community.  Given this, I would say the Holy Spirit works in a different way.

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1 hour ago, Pneumos said:

What if God has witnessed to you that the Church is true, but that the First Vision is false?  I would be interested to see how such a testimony would go down at a sacrament meeting. 

We could endlessly debate all sorts of hypotheticals and "what if" ourselves to death.

 

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19 minutes ago, Pneumos said:

I would never presume to expect others to accept my personal revelations.  I would only ever expect that others tolerate me and listen as I reveal them.  Also, I would never shut anyone down, and make them stop talking, simply because my personal beliefs differ from theirs.  Should they feel the need to reveal their personal revelations, I will listen.  I may not agree, but I will listen.  When it comes to thoughts and feelings about Christ and his glory, I will always listen. 

Ok.

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I submit that the First Vision is not the essence of the restoration.

That's fine, but it's not what the church teaches or how most members view it.  From my perspective, your witness is a contradictory witness, which is why I would need further clarification from the Spirit before I could believe I was understanding correctly.  I understand that you see it differently.

"The First Vision marked the beginning of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in this last dispensation. Joseph Smith was chosen to be the Lord’s prophet in the latter days. Over time, the Lord restored His authority and Church through Joseph Smith. God’s children were again blessed with revelation through prophets called of God, just as they were in biblical times. Revelation continues to this day through each of God’s chosen prophets who have succeeded Joseph Smith."

(I should also add though that my beliefs about the First Vision come from a personal experience that I had visiting the sacred grove a couple of years ago, so there is no way for me to entertain the notion that the First Vision is false, though of course I support other's right to believe as they see fit.)

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11 minutes ago, Pneumos said:

That is not how the Holy Spirit works, in my humble opinion.  That is merely intuition.  

Think about it....  A leader establishes a following.  Then she tells her following such-and-such is the truth.  And then she asks the members of her following to pray and ask God to know whether such-and-such is the truth.  How many members would you think will receive confirmation that it is the truth?  Most if not all, I suspect.  That is because of their intuition; not the Holy Spirit.  Let us embrace science and do an experiment of that nature, or observe the phenomenon in various communities.  They would tend to believe that they have received confirmation because they want to remain a part of the following and community.  Given this, I would say the Holy Spirit works in a different way.

That is not how the Holy Ghost works, in my experience.

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Given that Joseph Smith in the early days often started the story of the Restoration with the angel Moroni visiting him and the subsequent receipt of the gold plates (with 11 additional witnesses for that) maybe he agreed that the First Vision was primarily just for him.

Witnesses were provided for plenty of other experiences and visions which retroactively support the First Vision account.

17 minutes ago, Pneumos said:

That is not how the Holy Spirit works, in my humble opinion.  That is merely intuition.  

Think about it....  A leader establishes a following.  Then she tells her following such-and-such is the truth.  And then she asks the members of her following to pray and ask God to know whether such-and-such is the truth.  How many members would you think will receive confirmation that it is the truth?  Most if not all, I suspect.  That is because of their intuition; not the Holy Spirit.  Let us embrace science and do an experiment of that nature, or observe the phenomenon in various communities.  They would tend to believe that they have received confirmation because they want to remain a part of the following and community.  Given this, I would say the Holy Spirit works in a different way.

But here you put the cart before the horse. They are already following for some reason. Why are they following without the witness?

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