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Moroni's anniversary


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We are coming up on the 200th anniversary of Moroni's first visit to Joseph. While reading Joseph's narration of the event it suddenly raised questions as to what the experience was like. At the time I believe Joseph and his family were still in the log house on the farm. Correct me if i am wrong but that would mean Joseph did not have his own room. Moroni's appearances seemed to take the whole night so unless Joseph's brothers were very sound sleepers , they likely would have noticed the light and the conversations. This leads me to conclude the appearance was pure vision ( like a VR ). It is even noted as such in the story. I had not considered it that way before. Assumptions are powerful. 

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2 hours ago, blackstrap said:

This leads me to conclude the appearance was pure vision ( like a VR ). It is even noted as such in the story. I had not considered it that way before. Assumptions are powerful. 

Yep.  Same with the first vision.  There is a lot in the different accounts to suggest that it was a “vision” rather than physical visitation.

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17 minutes ago, rodheadlee said:

Does that make it any less valid?

Certainly not. Consider Paul's experience on the road to Damascus. Paul relates differing versions of it. Some saw a light others didn't. Some heard a sound others didn't. My point was that my assumption was there was a physical component to Moroni's visit. Perhaps there was and his siblings were fast asleep. Then again it may have been purely a vision for Joseph alone. It had not occurred to me that others were even in the room at the time. That's how stunned/unthinking I was all these years. Imagine what else I have been missing. 

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5 hours ago, InCognitus said:

Or, God used the same tranquillizer on them as he did on Adam when he had his rib removed. 

Wish he would send some of that my way….at the right time of the night.

Edited by Calm
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/4/2023 at 2:19 PM, blackstrap said:

Moroni's appearances seemed to take the whole night so unless Joseph's brothers were very sound sleepers , they likely would have noticed the light and the conversations.

I was reminded of your comment when I came across this talk by Elder Uchtdorf from the April 2014 General Conference:   Are You Sleeping through the Restoration?   Joseph's siblings should have read Elder Uchtdorf's talk!  :) 

I've been studying the history of this in preparation for a lesson, and the account of Moroni's visit as written by Oliver Cowdery in a series of letters published in the Messenger and Advocate give us an indication to how long Joseph  had been praying and preparing to receive an answer from God.  He was troubled about his standing with God (the Pearl of Great Price account elaborates on that too) and his place in the restoration.  The following quote comes from Messenger and Advocate, Volume 1 (February 1835), p.78-79:

Quote

 

On the evening of the 21st of September, 1823, previous to retiring to rest, our brother's mind was unusually wrought up on the subject which had so long agitated his mind—his heart was drawn out in fervent prayer, and his whole soul was so lost to every thing of a temporal nature, that earth, to him, had lost its claims, and all he desired was to be prepared in heart to commune with some kind messenger who could communicate to him the desired information of his acceptance with God.

At length the family retired, and he, as usual, bent his way, though in silence, where others might have rested their weary frames "locked fast in sleep's embrace;" but repose had fled, and accustomed slumber had spread her refreshing hand over others beside him—he continued still to pray—his heart, though once hard and obdurate, was softened, and that mind which had often flitted, like the "wild bird of passage," had settled upon a determined basis not to be decoyed or driven from its purpose.

In this situation hours passed unnumbered—how many or how few I know not, neither is he able to inform me; but supposes it must have been eleven or twelve, and perhaps later, as the noise and bustle of the family, in retiring, had long since ceased.—While continuing in prayer for a manifestation in some way that his sins were forgiven; endeavoring to exercise faith in the scriptures, on a sudden a light like that of day, only of a purer and far more glorious appearance and brightness, burst into the room.—Indeed, to use his own description, the first sight was a though the house was filled with consuming and unquenchable fire.

 

Chapter 3 of Saints gives us additional source material as well.

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On 9/4/2023 at 8:15 PM, rodheadlee said:
On 9/4/2023 at 7:09 PM, pogi said:

Yep.  Same with the first vision.  There is a lot in the different accounts to suggest that it was a “vision” rather than physical visitation.

Does that make it any less valid?

If not a physical visitation, it might make the drawing of certain inferences problematic.

For example:

Quote

...

Over his lifetime, Joseph had come to know the essential, tangible nature of the celestial bodies of God the Father and his Son. Joseph could have learned these things in several ways:

Most of all, he had likely learned this from his experience with the Father and the Son during his First Vision in 1820.

...

In addition, Joseph affirmed on April 2, 1843, that “the appearing of the father and of the Son,” as mentioned in John 14:23, “is a personal appearance.” It would seem that Joseph had in mind here a specific “personal appearance” of the Father and of the Son, and what appearance of the Father and the Son could have been more “personal,” “tangible,” and real to Joseph than his own First Vision?

https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/when-did-joseph-smith-know-the-father-and-the-son-have-tangible-bodies/#footnote-020-backlink

I don't see how a non-physical "vision" would allow the recipient to conclude that the personages who appeared were physical, and tangible.

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11 hours ago, Malc said:

If not a physical visitation, it might make the drawing of certain inferences problematic.

For example:

https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/when-did-joseph-smith-know-the-father-and-the-son-have-tangible-bodies/#footnote-020-backlink

I don't see how a non-physical "vision" would allow the recipient to conclude that the personages who appeared were physical, and tangible.

There is actually no strong evidence that Joseph could have known from the first "vision" that God had a physical and tangible body - I think any such inference is problematic, honestly.  How would he know?

Joseph learned about it through a revelation in 1843 (section 130), some 23 years after the first vision. 

Edited by pogi
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8 hours ago, pogi said:
20 hours ago, Malc said:

If not a physical visitation, it might make the drawing of certain inferences problematic.

For example:

https://byustudies.byu.edu/article/when-did-joseph-smith-know-the-father-and-the-son-have-tangible-bodies/#footnote-020-backlink

I don't see how a non-physical "vision" would allow the recipient to conclude that the personages who appeared were physical, and tangible.

There is actually no strong evidence that Joseph could have known from the first "vision" that God had a physical and tangible body - I think any such inference is problematic, honestly.  How would he know?

Joseph learned about it through a revelation in 1843 (section 130), some 23 years after the first vision. 

I'd like to know what strong evidence from the first vision told Joseph that the personages he saw were Jesus and God. The canonized JSH, as far as I can see, doesn't tell us.

One personage points to the other and calls the other his son, but as far as Joseph tell us, he did not identify either of them.

Joseph found out later that evil spirits could "impersonate" good ones. I wonder if he ever thought to apply that later knowledge to his first vision, and question who the personages really were.

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On 9/4/2023 at 9:19 PM, blackstrap said:

 appearance was pure vision ( like a VR ). It is even noted as such in the story. I had not considered it that way before. Assumptions are powerful. 

I don't understand? What was "pure vision?" You mean the whole narration of Joseph Smith and what he had experienced in the woods?

Edited by Dario_M
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8 hours ago, Dario_M said:

Sure?

If you are asking if I am sure that it doesn't change the validity - yes, I feel confident.  Whether God communicates through vision, dream, voice in our head, or personal visitation, it is all valid if it is genuinely from God.   

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15 hours ago, Malc said:

I'd like to know what strong evidence from the first vision told Joseph that the personages he saw were Jesus and God. The canonized JSH, as far as I can see, doesn't tell us.

One personage points to the other and calls the other his son, but as far as Joseph tell us, he did not identify either of them.

Joseph found out later that evil spirits could "impersonate" good ones. I wonder if he ever thought to apply that later knowledge to his first vision, and question who the personages really were.

I think that is a fair question.    

My best answer would be to suggest that one of the primary roles of the Holy Ghost is to testify of the Father and the Son.  Maybe that is why he was confident in who they were. But other than that, you are right, there is no strong evidence.  It doesn't sound like he used the handshake test to verify if they were resurrected heavenly beings, or devils impersonating angels of light.

It seems like a safe assumption that the Holy Ghost would have been present on such an occasion, testifying to Joseph about who he was communicating with.  It seems like a safe assumption that he knew through the Holy Ghost who they were.  Given the later revelation in 1843 about the tangible body of God, it doesn't seem like such a safe assumption that he had revealed to him, and knew, before then that they had tangible bodies, however.

Edited by pogi
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On 9/19/2023 at 4:11 PM, pogi said:

There is actually no strong evidence that Joseph could have known from the first "vision" that God had a physical and tangible body - I think any such inference is problematic, honestly.  How would he know?

Joseph learned about it through a revelation in 1843 (section 130), some 23 years after the first vision. 

I seem to recall that we used to teach investigators (and children of record) that the First Vision taught Joseph that God has a physical body, but I agree with you that it really didn't. It did teach him the Father and the Son were separate and distinct beings, which was important.

I've just skimmed through "Teach My Gospel," and I cannot find it where investigators are told that the First Vision taught Joseph about God's body. So perhaps we have abandoned this as a teaching tool.

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28 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

I seem to recall that we used to teach investigators (and children of record) that the First Vision taught Joseph that God has a physical body, but I agree with you that it really didn't. It did teach him the Father and the Son were separate and distinct beings, which was important.

And, given that the term "personage" didn't require further elaboration (other than their brightness and glory), it seems he was also saying they looked like humans in form.

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2 hours ago, InCognitus said:

And, given that the term "personage" didn't require further elaboration (other than their brightness and glory), it seems he was also saying they looked like humans in form.

Yup.

Although given the explicit text in Genesis, one would have expected this, if one were truly a Bible believer. 

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