Jump to content

How do Lds Truth Claims Stand up to Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit?


Recommended Posts

6 minutes ago, Ahab said:

I was talking about the "God is no respecter of persons" kind of thing.  You and I have both received the same answers from God on many different issues, along with many other members of our Church, and even some non-members, and it wasn't because we collaborated with each other to come to an understanding with each other.  God provided the evidence and we simply accepted it, on those things that God told us.  So if others want the same kind of evidence that we have received then they need to get it from God.  All we do is tell others what he has told us..

What percent is the LDS compared to the other Christian world out there that have received the same thing. LDS are outnumbered Ahab, by a long ways.

Link to post
12 minutes ago, Ahab said:

I've had the same kind of thing happen to me before, too.  And whether you call that type of experience a coincidence or providence the experience is still the same kind of thing.  Do you know what I mean?  Do you understand me?  You and I are peers, my good buddy, and what we "call" or "name" that type of experience doesn't really matter all that much as long as we can both relate to the same types of experiences.

Totally agree when we are talking to each other.  Words often cause more problems than they remedy

But skeptics will find that talk irrelevant babble unless and until they feel it for themselves.  So in an attempt to reach them we need to use language they may understand.

And if they don't?   Who knows God's ways for each of us?   Maybe they need simply to "wake up dead" and talk to the missionaries on the other side to learn the truth.

  • Like 1
Link to post
On 9/23/2020 at 1:05 AM, Calm said:

It is nice to hear how much he loved his parents and enjoyed being with them. 

I was thinking using “Baloney” was highly disrespectful of religious beliefs (as I assumed he included them in that category) but maybe his book isn’t as bad as that led me to believe in its tone. 

I've sometimes wondered why atheists {EDIT TO ADD: some of them, anyway} go out of their way to express disrespect and contempt for religious beliefs.  I suppose it has some utility in shaming some religious people away from their faith.  Russell's Teapot and The Flying Spaghetti Monster address the same philosophical issue, but the latter is deliberately much more provocative, insulting, and contemptuous.

Ah, well.  A good lesson for me.  I am sometimes insufficiently prudent with my words.  I need to work on that.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
1 minute ago, Tacenda said:

What percent is the LDS compared to the other Christian world out there that have received the same thing. LDS are outnumbered Ahab, by a long ways.

Depends on what issues you are talking about, regarding what God has said and done.  LDS are pretty much the majority of those who accept what God has said about Joseph Smith being one of his prophets, and the fact that he inspired the Book of Mormon to be written, and authorized the establishment of his Church known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in these latter days.  And many other issues which most other Christians don't know or believe God did or inspired others to do.  Most Christians do know some of the things we know, but we know a lot more that other Christians don't know or believe God has done.

Link to post
4 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

What percent is the LDS compared to the other Christian world out there that have received the same thing. LDS are outnumbered Ahab, by a long ways.

God leads us to the easiest path for us to reach Him on an individual basis.

If we are alcoholics on skid row I am sure He could lead us to the Salvation Army, for example.    We are not doing much work in that area.

I believe that studying Buddhism was a necessary step for me personally in understanding personal revelation.   God knows that eventually all roads lead to Him and He uses them all, as needed.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
17 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Totally agree when we are talking to each other.  Words often cause more problems than they remedy

But skeptics will find that talk irrelevant babble unless and until they feel it for themselves.  So in an attempt to reach them we need to use language they may understand.

And if they don't?   Who knows God's ways for each of us?   Maybe they need simply to "wake up dead" and talk to the missionaries on the other side to learn the truth.

Yes, I think names and labels do mess up our communications with each other sometimes, so its important to focus on the content of our experiences and what we mean when we say something, or what others may mean when they say something, rather than focus only on the words we or others use.  Something I find challenging, personally, myself, when I sometimes misunderstand what someone is trying to say but uses some words which I think indicate they are saying something other than what they mean.  Like when you were talking about something that someone else might call a coincidence which you would rather refer to as providence, it may help others if you say that you believe God sometime causes coincidences and you refer to those experiences of coincidence as providence.  At least you would be getting your point across, and they would understand what you meant, even if they did not agree with you on that point.

 

Edited by Ahab
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Just now, katherine the great said:
Quote

I've sometimes wondered why atheists go out of their way to express disrespect and contempt for religious beliefs.

It works both ways. I've sometimes wondered why some religious people go out of their way to express disrespect and contempt for science.

That's a very fair point.  I painted atheists with too broad a brush.  My apologies.  And yes, some religious people harbor unreasonable hostility to some facets of "science."

Just now, katherine the great said:

The fact is, religion and science are both important and they answer different questions pertaining to the human experience. Science does a pretty good job at answering "what, when, where and how" questions while religion does a better job of answering questions such as "why" are we here? Religion does a better job of explaining purpose and helps us cope with the chaos that life can bring. IMHO

Good points.

Thanks,

-Smac

Link to post
On 9/21/2020 at 5:47 PM, Fair Dinkum said:

I didn't get to far into the thought experiment before I realized that I had to admit that the foundational claims of our religion would not pass this level of scrutiny. 

All religion is baloney according to Dr. Sagan. But Sagan was going from the point of view that God must be discoverable by scientific investigation. But I say that if God created the Universe, he could not have been IN the Universe at the moment of its creation, otherwise he would have been creating himself. Which is obviously absurd -- and God is not absurd. If God is, in effect, outside the Universe, no scientific tool ever invented could detect Him.  One way I put this is that He exists plenipotently outside and all the way through it. But being the creator, He clearly has access to his creation, including to the minds of those whom He placed here for His purposes. 

You could say all that is dogma, and is merely argument from authority. And of course you're entitled to believe that's all it is. But I don't need that authority to know that God lives. Because I've heard Him and recognize Him.

In April 1829, Joseph Smith received a revelation, part of which was directed at Oliver Cowdery, a small part of which I reference here:

22 Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might aknow concerning the truth of these things.
23 Did I not speak apeace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?
24 And now, behold, you have received a witness; for if I have told you things which no man knoweth have you not received a witness?  (DC 6:22-23)

I've received such witnesses. I cannot deny them. That is my thought experiment.

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 2
Link to post
3 hours ago, Ahab said:

  Like when you were talking about something that someone else might call a coincidence which you would rather refer to as providence, it may help others if you say that you believe God sometime causes coincidences and you refer to those experiences of coincidence as providence.  At least you would be getting your point across, and they would understand what you meant, even if they did not agree with you on that point.

Just for clarification, I would never ever say that I "believe God sometime causes coincidences and (I) you refer to those experiences of coincidence as providence."

God does not "cause" coincidences- many coincidences, I think are just that- genuine novelty brought into the system through human agency and random events of nature.  To believe that God "causes" coincidences implies that everything that happens is "caused" by God, and some might see that as a limit to human agency.

But I MIGHT say that sometimes we INTERPRET events to be "coincidences" when the event is also part of God's plan for us- like perhaps meeting your eternal companion through what appear to be random events.   Or in fact that could really happen as well AS a genuine random event.  The point is that we can never know what IS a "coincidence" OR what is "God's purpose" being enacted.

It is always up to us to interpret events either way.

I know that in a sense we are saying the "same thing" but THAT is exactly the problem of the bewitchment of language, and it took me training in the philosophy of Wittgenstein to figure out how that bewitchment works.

It is the "philosophies of men" mingled with ineffable, wordless, personal revelation that cause all the issues we TRY to explore here

It's like trying to describe colors to a person blind since birth- there simple ARE NO WORDS to get it "right".

Can't be done.  You have to experience it yourself to know red from blue.  And that is where we agree and "get it" wordlessly

But I am trying to learn how to phrase it for someone brainwashed by philosophy so that they might give it some notice and actually consider it as "reasonable".

In a sense I am speaking a different language, but trying to say the "same thing".   Red and blue all over again.

Link to post
48 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Just for clarification, I would never ever say that I "believe God sometime causes coincidences and (I) you refer to those experiences of coincidence as providence."

God does not "cause" coincidences- many coincidences, I think are just that- genuine novelty brought into the system through human agency and random events of nature.  To believe that God "causes" coincidences implies that everything that happens is "caused" by God, and some might see that as a limit to human agency.

But I MIGHT say that sometimes we INTERPRET events to be "coincidences" when the event is also part of God's plan for us- like perhaps meeting your eternal companion through what appear to be random events.   Or in fact that could really happen as well AS a genuine random event.  The point is that we can never know what IS a "coincidence" OR what is "God's purpose" being enacted.

It is always up to us to interpret events either way.

Okay, that's basically what I was talking about when saying that what some people call coincidences may be and at least sometimes are what you would call or describe as providence.  The main point of communication is to get a point across, and I think we are there or at least pretty close now.

Quote

I know that in a sense we are saying the "same thing" but THAT is exactly the problem of the bewitchment of language, and it took me training in the philosophy of Wittgenstein to figure out how that bewitchment works.

I think you may later discover if you don't know already that the problem isn't really with language but with getting people to think what you are thinking, or what someone else is thinking. Using words is the fun part of communicating, until yo see that those words you used did not do the magic trick of getting someone else to think what you were thinking because... TA DA!... they thought of something else that was not what you were trying to get them to think.  It seems almost as if everyone wants to be a magician, as well as a comedian, trying to get other people to do what they want them to do.  Satan, God, angels, other people, or other thoughts from that person's own mind that they decided to think about even while you were trying to get them to think of what you wanted them to think.  How rude!

Quote

It is the "philosophies of men" mingled with ineffable, wordless, personal revelation that cause all the issues we TRY to explore here

It's like trying to describe colors to a person blind since birth- there simple ARE NO WORDS to get it "right".

Can't be done.  You have to experience it yourself to know red from blue.  And that is where we agree and "get it" wordlessly

But I am trying to learn how to phrase it for someone brainwashed by philosophy so that they might give it some notice and actually consider it as "reasonable".

In a sense I am speaking a different language, but trying to say the "same thing".   Red and blue all over again.

Oh come on.  Surely you've had some experiences where it at least seems as if you did it.  If we were totally unsuccessful all of the time when trying to get people to think about something we would have already given up on all of these... words.

Edited by Ahab
Link to post

Recently saw this online. http://www.mormonhandbook.com/home/first-vision-plagiarized.html?fbclid=IwAR1GX-7oDAuQPwQI-J3JHmCQLK8S2lTquuMNwjSUJb3-e_E3ps6FT36urn4

Just wondering if Fair Mormon (I searched) or apologists have an answer to this? If the FV is thrown under the bus, what is left? The BoM, PoGP, D&C? Will that keep the boat afloat? I'm just concerned for members in the church. I know that may sound funny. But I know so many that would be devastated if the church were not true

Edited by Tacenda
Link to post
2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Recently saw this online. http://www.mormonhandbook.com/home/first-vision-plagiarized.html?fbclid=IwAR1GX-7oDAuQPwQI-J3JHmCQLK8S2lTquuMNwjSUJb3-e_E3ps6FT36urn4

Just wondering if Fair Mormon (I searched) or apologists have an answer to this? If the FV is thrown under the bus, what is left? The BoM, PoGP, D&C? Will that keep the boat afloat? I'm just concerned for members in the church. I know that may sound funny. But I know so many that would be devastated if the church were not true

I love how the critics overuse the word "plagiarized".  It always adds a more sinister and dishonest tone to throw in that word. :) 

This was explained rather well (I thought) in the First Vision Podcasts that were put out by the church, specifically Episode 5: “It Caused Me Great Reflection”, starting at 21:26 in the podcast, and in the transcript here.   Here's a quote of the relevant part of that podcast (emphasis mine):

Quote

Spencer: Another reason for the personal nature of Joseph Smith’s 1832 account has to do with the way Joseph was accustomed to hearing others speak of spiritual experiences.

In revival meetings, especially those held by the Methodists, attendees were encouraged to seek out spiritual confirmation of what was being preached. In attending these meetings, Joseph would have heard story after story of people finding a private space—often in the woods—and receiving answers to their prayers. It makes sense, then, that Joseph would intuitively model his first written account after these. In the religious culture of the time, it was how experiences were expressed. Christopher Jones, an assistant professor of history at Brigham Young University, explains.

Chris: When Joseph Smith first shares the account of his first vision, it reads very much like an evangelical conversion narrative that you would encounter either orally through someone sharing it with you, or that’s being published in one of these denominational newspapers, with the important distinction that God doesn’t tell Joseph Smith to join a particular church but rather tells him, “Don’t unite with any of them.”

Spencer: Yet, despite the similarities in format between Joseph’s accounts of the First Vision and evangelical conversion narratives, there is a significant difference between them.

Chris: One way in which Joseph Smith’s accounts differ, including especially that fullest one that we have in the 1838 [history], is very specific language he uses to describe the visionary experience.

So, in the case of somebody like Benjamin Abbott or in the case of hundreds of these other Methodist converts who are experiencing these visions, they’re always very, very, very careful in their language in the way that they describe the actual visionary experience. And what they’ll say is, “By faith I saw the Lord Jesus Christ,” or, tapping into the apostle Paul’s language from the Bible, “Whether in the body or out of the body, I could not tell.” They’re trying to make sense of what it means to actually experience a divine vision, and they’re very careful. They always stop short of saying, “God came and visited to me.” These are visions, not visitations. In Joseph’s 1838 account, he goes in directly the opposite direction.

Whether as an effort to distinguish his own account from those that are also circulating during the time or whether this reflects his more expanded understanding of the importance in that experience, he says, “I did in reality, see a vision. God the Father did in reality visit me. Jesus Christ did in reality speak to me.” He frames it much more as a visitation, as opposed to a vision that he can’t quite make sense of. The language of “by faith I saw,” or “in a dream state I saw,” is absent from Joseph Smith’s accounts. He’s adamant that this is something more real, that this is something more tangible. I think that’s significant in both understanding how his experience differs from others and how he understands his experience differing from others, and also, I think that’s important in helping us understand the response that his vision elicits.

So Joseph had heard these accounts and he used similar language to describe his experience. That would be the natural thing to do.  How many times have you heard members bear their testimony using similar language, "I know this church is true, I love my mommy and daddy...." (etc.)?  We are taught the language from our primary days.  It would have been no different for Joseph in his day.

Edit:  After posting this I kept thinking about all those poor primary kids that were plagiarizing the other children's testimonies.  I wonder if their parents know?  :) 

Edited by InCognitus
  • Like 3
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
3 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Recently saw this online. http://www.mormonhandbook.com/home/first-vision-plagiarized.html?fbclid=IwAR1GX-7oDAuQPwQI-J3JHmCQLK8S2lTquuMNwjSUJb3-e_E3ps6FT36urn4

Just wondering if Fair Mormon (I searched) or apologists have an answer to this? If the FV is thrown under the bus, what is left? The BoM, PoGP, D&C? Will that keep the boat afloat? I'm just concerned for members in the church. I know that may sound funny. But I know so many that would be devastated if the church were not true

It would seem that you want "the First Vision to be thrown under the bus."  That seems ... perverse ...  We should be surprised that you find what you look for?  And it's not as though members of, and apologists for, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day have never heard the argument "[X] predated [fill-in-the-blank here: the Book of Mormon, the First Vision, et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.]  Therefore, Joseph Smith must have used [X] to produce [fill-in-the-blank here.] 

The most that could ever be proven ... the most that ever has been proven ... is that [X] and [fill-in-the-blank here] coexisted ... not that one is the source for the other.  You live in a world in which access millions of reams of information virtually is instantaneous.  Not so Joseph Smith.  To hear the critics talk, it's as though he hopped on down to the Palmyra Public LIbrary, whence he accessed Ye Olde Internet, and Voila!

Your concern for members of the Church of Jesus Christ is ... touching.

Yeah.  Okay.  Whatever.

Edited by Kenngo1969
  • Like 1
Link to post

"Atheist thinks religion is bunk.  More at ten!"

This is news? :rolleyes: 

It's yet another in an endless stream of dog-bites-man stories, and yet, this one leads the news?  Ohhh-kay.

Oh no!  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doesn't pass muster under Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit ™  Oh, noes!  :shok: :blink: Say it isn't so!

:lazy: 

  • Haha 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
57 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

It would seem that you want "the First Vision to be thrown under the bus."  That seems ... perverse ...  We should be surprised that you find what you look for?  And it's not as though members of, and apologists for, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day have never heard the argument "[X] predated [fill-in-the-blank here: the Book of Mormon, the First Vision, et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.]  Therefore, Joseph Smith must have used [X] to produce [fill-in-the-blank here.] 

The most that could ever be proven ... the most that ever has been proven ... is that [X] and [fill-in-the-blank here] coexisted ... not that one is the source for the other.  You live in a world in which access millions of reams of information virtually is instantaneous.  Not so Joseph Smith.  To hear the critics talk, it's as though he hopped on down to the Palmyra Public LIbrary, whence he accessed Ye Olde Internet, and Voila!

Your concern for members of the Church of Jesus Christ is ... touching.

Yeah.  Okay.  Whatever.

I've seen marriages split up over someone losing their faith. And a whole host of other things. Just wanted the apologists view and not a rebuke from you for asking a question unless this is a sore spot for you. I like the thoughtful answer Incognitus gave. 

Link to post
4 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Recently saw this online. http://www.mormonhandbook.com/home/first-vision-plagiarized.html?fbclid=IwAR1GX-7oDAuQPwQI-J3JHmCQLK8S2lTquuMNwjSUJb3-e_E3ps6FT36urn4

Just wondering if Fair Mormon (I searched) or apologists have an answer to this? If the FV is thrown under the bus, what is left? The BoM, PoGP, D&C? Will that keep the boat afloat? I'm just concerned for members in the church. I know that may sound funny. But I know so many that would be devastated if the church were not true

Please provide some details rather than just link for those not interested in clicking on unfamiliar websites.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
52 minutes ago, Calm said:

Please provide some details rather than just link for those not interested in clicking on unfamiliar websites.

One of the quotes in the article mentioned Richard L. Bushman's paper on it on a BYU site. But I guess it's old news. https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3203&context=byusq

But below are the c/p from the article I first mentioned. 

Full Texts

Norris Stearns (1815) ^

At length, as I lay apparently upon the brink of eternal woe, seeing nothing but death before me, suddenly there came a sweet flow of the love of God to my soul, which gradually increased. At the same time, there appeared a small gleam of light in the room, above the brightness of the sun, then at his meridian, which grew brighter and brighter: As this light and love increased, my sins began to separate, and the Mountain removed towards the east. At length, being in an ecstasy of joy, I turned to the other side of the bed, (whether in the body or out I cannot tell, God knoweth) there I saw two spirits, which I knew at the first sight. But if I had the tongue of an Angel I could not describe their glory, for they brought the joys of heaven with them. One was God, my Maker, almost in bodily shape like a man. His face was, as it were a flame of Fire, and his body, as it had been a Pillar and a Cloud. In looking steadfastly to discern features, I could see none, but a small glimpse would appear in some other place. Below him stood Jesus Christ my Redeemer, in perfect shape like a man—His face was not ablaze, but had the countenance of fire, being bright and shining. His Father’s will appeared to be his! All was condescension, peace, and love!!

Norris Stearns
The Religious Experience
As quoted in The Visionary World of Joseph Smith [7MB PDF]


Elias Smith (1816) ^

Not long after these things passed through my mind, I went into the woods one morning after a stick of timber; after taking it on my shoulder to bring it to the house, as I walked along on large log that lay above the snow, my foot slipped and I fell partly under the log, the timber fell one end on the log and the other on the snow, and held me, as that I found it difficult at first to rise from the situation I was then in. While in this situation, a light appeared to shine from heaven, not only into my head, but into my heart. This was something very strange to me, and what I had never experienced before. My mind seemed to rise in that light to the throne of God and the Lamb, and while thus gloriously led, what appeared to my understanding was expressed in Rev. xiv. 1. "And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads." The Lamb once slain appeared to my understanding, and while viewing him, I felt such love to him as I never felt to any thing earthly. My mind was calm and t peace with God through the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. The view of the Lamb on mount Sion gave my joy unspeakable and full of glory. It is not possible for me to tell how long I remained in that situation, as every thing earthly was gone from me for some time.

 


Solomon Chamberlain (1816) ^

[I] found Hyrum walking the floor, As I entered the door, I said, peace be to this house. He looked at me as one astonished, and said, I hope it will be peace, I then said, Is there any one here that believes in visions or revelations and he said Yes, we are a visionary house. I said, Then I will give you one of my pamphlets, which was visionary, and of my own experience. They then called the people together, which consisted of five or six men who were out oat the door. Father Smith was one and some of the Whitmer’s. Then they sat down and read my pamphlet. Hyrum read first, but was so affected he could not read it. He then gave it to a man, which I learned was Christian Whitmer, he finished reading it. I then opened my mouth and began to preach to them, in the words that the angel had made known to me in the vision, that all Churches and Denominations on the earth had become corrupt, and no Church of God on the earth buy that he would shortly rise up a Church, that would never be confounded nor brought down and be like unto the Apostolic Church. They wondered greatly who had been telling me these things, for said they we have the same things wrote down in our house, taken from the Gold record, that you are preaching to us. I said, the Lord told me these things a number of years ago, I then said, If you are a visionary house, I wish you would make known some of your discoveries, for I think I can bear them.

Solomon Chamberlain
A Short Sketch of the Life of Solomon Chamberlain
As quoted in The Visionary World of Joseph Smith [7MB PDF]


Charles G. Finney (1821) ^

North of the village, and over a hill, lay a piece of woods, in which I was in the almost daily habit of walking, more or less, when it was pleasant weather. It was now October, and the time was past for my frequent walks there. Nevertheless, instead of going to the office, I turned and bent my course toward the woods, feeling that I must be alone, and away from all human eyes and ears, so that I could pour out my prayer to God.

But still my pride must show itself. As I went over the hill, it occurred to me that someone might see me and suppose that I was going away to pray. Yet probably there was not a person on earth that would have suspected such a thing, had he seen me going. But so great was my pride, and so much was I possessed with the fear of man, that I recollect that I skulked along under the fence, till I got so far out of sight that no one from the village could see me. I then penetrated into the woods, I should think, a quarter of a mile, went over on the other side of the hill, and found a place where some large trees had fallen across each other, leaving an open place between. There I saw I could make a kind of closet. I crept into this place and knelt down for prayer. As I turned to go up into the woods, I recollect to have said, "I will give my heart to God, or I never will come down from there." I recollect repeating this as I went up: ;"I will give my heart to God before I ever come down again."

But when I attempted to pray I found that my heart would not pray. I had supposed that if I could only be where I could speak aloud, without being overheard, I could pray freely. But lo! when I came to try, I was dumb; that is, I had nothing to say to God; or at least I could say but a few words, and those without heart. In attempting to pray I would hear a rustling in the leaves, as I thought, and would stop and look up to see if somebody were not coming. This I did several times.

Finally I found myself verging fast to despair. I said to myself, "I cannot pray. My heart is dead to God, and will not pray." I then reproached myself for having promised to give my heart to God before I left the woods. When I came to try, I found I could not give my heart to God. My inward soul hung back, and there was no going out of my heart to God. I began to feel deeply that it was too late; that it must be that I was given up of God and was past hope.

The thought was pressing me of the rashness of my promise, that I would give my heart to God that day or die in the attempt. It seemed to me as if that was binding upon my soul; and yet I was going to break my vow. A great sinking and discouragement came over me, and I felt almost too weak to stand upon my knees.

Just at this moment I again thought I heard someone approach me, and I opened my eyes to see whether it were so. But right there the revelation of my pride of heart, as the great difficulty that stood in the way, was distinctly shown to me. An overwhelming sense of my wickedness in being ashamed to have a human being see me on my knees before God, took such powerful possession of me, that I cried at the top of my voice, and exclaimed that I would not leave that place if all the men on earth and all the devils in hell surrounded me. "What!" I said, "such a degraded sinner I am, on my knees confessing my sins to the great and holy God; and ashamed to have any human being, and a sinner like myself, find me on my knees endeavoring to make my peace with my offended God!" The sin appeared awful, infinite. It broke me down before the Lord.

Just at that point this passage of Scripture seemed to drop into my mind with a flood of light: "Then shall ye go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. Then shall ye seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." I instantly seized hold of this with my heart. I had intellectually believed the Bible before; but never had the truth been in my mind that faith was a voluntary trust instead of an intellectual state. I was as conscious as I was of my existence, of trusting at that moment in God's veracity. Somehow I knew that that was a passage of Scripture, though I do not think I had ever read it. I knew that it was God's word, and God's voice, as it were, that spoke to me. I cried to Him, "Lord, I take Thee at Thy word. Now Thou knowest that I do search for Thee with all my heart, and that I have come here to pray to Thee; and Thou hast promised to hear me.


Asa Wild (1823) ^

 

Remarkable Vision and Revelation:
as seen and received by Asa Wild, of Amsterdam, (N. Y.)

Having a number of months enjoyed an unusual degree of the light of God's countenance, and having been much favoured of the Lord in many respects, and after having enjoyed the sweetest, and most ravishing communions with Him; the Lord in his boundless goodness was pleased to communicate the following Revelation, having in the first place presented me with a very glorious Vision, in which I saw the same things:

In the first place I observe that my mind had been brought into the most profound stillness, and awe; realizing in a remarkable manner the majesty, greatness and glory, of that Being before whom all nations are as the drop of the bucket. It seemed as if my mind, though active in its very nature, had lost all its activity, and was struck motionless, as well as into nothing, before the awful and glorious majesty of the Great Jehovah. He then spake to the following ourport; and in such a manner as I could not describe if I should attempt. -- He told me that the Millennium state of the world is about to take place; that in seven years literally, there would scarce a sinner be found on earth; that the earth itself, as well as the souls and bodies of its inhabitants, should be redeemed, as before the fall, and become as the garden of Eden. He told me that all of the most dreadful and terrible judgments spoken in the blessed scriptures were to be executed within that time, that more than two thirds of the inhabitants of the world would be destroyed by these judgments; some of which are the following -- wars, massacres, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, civil, political and ecclesiastical commotions; and above all, various and dreadful judgments executed immediately by God, through the instrumentality of the Ministers of the Millennial dispensation which is to exceed in glory every other dispensation; a short description of which may be seen in the last chapter of Isaiah, and in other places. He also told me, that every denomination of professing christians had become extremely corrupt; many of which had never had any true faith at all; but are guided only by depraved reason, refusing the teaching of the spirit [illegible lines]... which alone can teach us the true meaning [illegible lines]... He told me further, that he had raised up, and was now raising up, that class of persons signified by the angel mentioned by the Revelator XIV. 6, 7, which flew in the midst of heaven; having the everlasting gospel to preach, that these persons are of an inferior [social] class, and small learning; that they were rejected by every denomination as a body; but soon, God will open their way, by miracles, judgments, &c. that they will have higher authority, greater power, superior inspiration, and a greater degree of holiness than was ever experienced before [illegible lines] ... divine grace and glory

Furthermore he said that all the different denominations of professing christians constituted the New Testament Babylon; and that he should deal with them according to what is written of IT, in the book of Revelation: that he is about to call out all his sincere children who are mourning in Zion, from oppression and tyranny of the mother of harlots; and that the severest judgments will be inflicted on the professors of religion; which will immediately commence in Amsterdam, and has already commenced in different parts of the world, and even in this country. And though their operations at first are gradual, and under cover, yet it will soon be generally seen that it is the immediate execution of divine vengeance upon an ungodly world.

Much more the Lord revealed, but forbids my relating it in this way. But this, I have written and published, by the express and immediate command of God: the truth and reality of which, I know with the most absolute certainty. -- Though I have ever been the most backward to believe things of this nature; having been brought up in the Calvinistic system, and having had a thorough understanding of the same, and was fully established in the belief of it for several years after I experienced the love of God in my heart: but finding the Calvinists did not understand the glorious depths of holiness, and conformity to the divine character in heart and practice, which I saw was our privilege and duty I joined the Methodist Church, which I found had much clearer and more scriptural views on these and some other points than the Calvinists; though I soon saw that they as a body, were very corrupt, having departed much from their primitive purity and holiness. I also saw that their first founders did not travel into all that was their privilege; and that vastly greater depths of holiness might have been experienced even by them. Yet I thank God for what light I have received through their instrumentality, but know that much greater and more glorious light is about to burst upon the world."
Amsterdam, October, 1823.


James G. Marsh Vision (1838) ^

OBITUARY.

DIED on the 7th of May last, James G. Marsh, second son of Thomas B. Marsh, aged 14 years, 11 months and seven days.

From early infancy he manifested a love and reverence towards his Heavenly Father, while his parents diligently taught him the first principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And having a thirst for knowledge and a love of good principles, he eagerly embraced the gospel, and was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints, early in the spring of 1832, being between eight and nine years of age.

His great love of knowledge led him to take hold of every opportunity to read the most useful books, and as he was a lover of the gospel, he made himself well acquainted with the sacred writings, and even at this early age, he had become well skilled in profane as well as sacred history.

It seems that the Lord had respect unto this lover of righteousness, for when he was but about nine years of age, he had a remarkable vision, in which he talked with the Father and many of the ancient prophets face to face, and beheld the Son of God coming in his glory.


Joseph Smith's Official Vision (1842)

In accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.

After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being--just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—"This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"

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

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."

He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home.

Joseph Smith - Mormonism founder
LDS.org
Edited by Tacenda
Link to post
On 9/24/2020 at 10:46 AM, smac97 said:

I've sometimes wondered why atheists {EDIT TO ADD: some of them, anyway} go out of their way to express disrespect and contempt for religious beliefs.  I suppose it has some utility in shaming some religious people away from their faith.  Russell's Teapot and The Flying Spaghetti Monster address the same philosophical issue, but the latter is deliberately much more provocative, insulting, and contemptuous.

Ah, well.  A good lesson for me.  I am sometimes insufficiently prudent with my words.  I need to work on that.

Thanks,

-Smac

They are compelled to make fun of all those deplorables out there with their religion

Link to post
On 9/24/2020 at 11:01 AM, Ahab said:

Yes, I think names and labels do mess up our communications with each other sometimes, so its important to focus on the content of our experiences and what we mean when we say something, or what others may mean when they say something, rather than focus only on the words we or others use.  Something I find challenging, personally, myself, when I sometimes misunderstand what someone is trying to say but uses some words which I think indicate they are saying something other than what they mean.  Like when you were talking about something that someone else might call a coincidence which you would rather refer to as providence, it may help others if you say that you believe God sometime causes coincidences and you refer to those experiences of coincidence as providence.  At least you would be getting your point across, and they would understand what you meant, even if they did not agree with you on that point.

 

Thanks, by the way for the suggestion.

The way I think is perfectly reasonable to ME and so of course it should be perfectly clear to others.

{sarcasm}

Link to post
7 minutes ago, Calm said:

Tacenda, if we assume that others had similar visions, why would that make Joseph’s own vision less probable rather than more?  
 

As far as possible shared language, people who share experiences often pick up similar phasing...examples are testimonies or descriptions of feelings among people with the same disorders. 

I don't have a problem with others having visions, I knew of a couple of them long ago.  Today I read a thread about these links on a FB Mormon Stories group that will most likely reach my sons who both resigned recently. They share these with their believing friends occasionally, two of these friends recently went on a golf trip with my sons and one of my sons shared a Mormon Stories podcast with both. I just thought I would share the Fair Mormon or apologist's input if my sons share it on FB or ?. I tell my sons all the time to not share these things because I know the friends stalwart families. Both the friends are married and their wives would be devastated if they quit belief. My sons didn't get information from me, they found it on their own. I kept my beliefs silent for years. 

Link to post
1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

I don't have a problem with others having visions, I knew of a couple of them long ago.

Then what is the issue?  That others have problems because they made assumptions that Joseph was completely unique?  This was not a claim made by church leaders. 

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1
Link to post

I'm probably the only one, but I have to wonder, how fragile the flimsy reed of purported religious conversion and conviction if it can be incinerated by a single Facebook post, or even a series of them.  But, as I said, that's just me: I'm completely alone in that strangely-idiosyncratic stance, I'm sure. :unknw: :huh:  Why must I, the way the purveyors of Facebook doubt tell it, reevaluate my religious convictions in light of the purportedly faith-destroying information, rather than evaluating the purportedly faith-destroying information in light of my religious convictions?

'Tis a mystery, 'tis a mystery!

What to do, what to do?! :unknw: 

  • Like 3
  • Upvote 1
Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...