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Gospel Topics Chapter 5 Howlett Part 5

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
May 6, 2021 9:20 pm

Gospel Topics Chapter 5 Howlett Part 5

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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May 6, 2021 9:20 pm

In our ongoing series reviewing the book The LDS Gospel Topics Series, this week we consider chapter 5 (“the Cultural Work of the ‘First Vision Accounts’ Essay”) written by David J. Howlett and take a closer look at the First Vision.

Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever
Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever
Beacon Baptist
Gregory N. Barkman

One member is examining the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective view .1 limited sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect.

And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism. So glad you could join us for this additional viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson my colleague MRM will today we wrap up our look at chapter 5 in the book the LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement. Chapter 5 was written by a man who was a member of the community of Christ. His name is David J. Howlett.

Today were going to discuss what he brings up on page 142 of the book under the subheading of inclusions and exclusions in this section he wants to address three of the quote first vision, accounts, essay sections, which are memory embellishments in the essays faith promoting conclusions that he's correct in the gospel topics essay dealing with the first vision. They do have two subheadings, memory and embellishment. And then there is a conclusion.

So first of all, let's look at what he says under the subheading of memory on page 143 of this book, he writes in the section titled memory the essay. Authors note that some claim quote that historical evidence does not support Joseph Smith's description of religious revival in Palmyra, New York.

In this vicinity.

In 1820."

Such critics argue quote that this undermines both Joseph's claim of unusual religious fervor and the account of the vision itself." The authors do not name the critics who hold this view, but they probably refer to the late Wesley P. Walters, who first made this claim in 1967 and whose argument entered into the rounds of academic debate and religious polemic against the argument of the revivals absence. The authors claim Methodist revival activity occurred in the vicinity of Palmyra between 1818 and 18, 20, and they cite the diary of a Methodist itinerant as evidence of this needed the late historian Milton Backman the first to seriously challenge Walters nor the historian D. Michael Quinn, the author of 110 page treatment of the question are cited by the essay is to address the question I actually heard the Michael Quinn use this argument in a conference that I attended. He was speaking. I was sitting behind Dan Vogel who's written a number of books on Mormon history and when D. Michael Quinn brought up this Methodist Meeting argument and I've said it before on the show I'll never forget watching Dan Vogel's head drop in his head go from side to side as if you've gotta be kidding me, someone of the caliber of the D. Michael Quinn uses the Methodist camp meeting argument to try to support with Joseph Smith describes in his testimony. There is no comparison and I would agree, D Michael Quinn used a very bad argument and unfortunately that same type of argument is used in this gospel topics essay dealing with the first vision somebody who might not of heard the earlier shows.

Why is that a bad argument that it's a bad argument because Joseph Smith describes with a lot of details. The revival that took place at the time he claims to have this alleged first vision. He mentions how there were Baptists there were Methodist. There were Presbyterians that were involved. He mentioned some of the struggles towards the end of this revival and why it came to an end. In other words, he gives us enough details that we can precisely pinpoint the revival that he is referring to. And unfortunately for the cause of the latter-day Saints. The revival that Joseph Smith describes could not have taken place in 1820.

He mentions how multitudes were added to the churches. But that's not what the statistics show this to statistics of 1820 for the Baptist Methodists and Presbyterians in that area were very dismal. Some lost members, one gained a few members. One had no change whatsoever in their numbers. How does that fit the description of multitudes being added to the churches, but in 1824. We do find multitudes being added to the various churches. Why, because that's when the revival Joseph Smith describes happened.

That's why and you can bring up this Methodist camp meetings or multiple Methodist Meetings. If you choose the description of those Meeting do not compare or not similar, I should say to what Joseph Smith describes in his testimony, Joseph Smith history found in the pearl of great price going back to Wesley Walters booklet, which is now called the Palmyra revival of Mormon origins. I'm reading from the booklet and this is on page 19 and Walters writes the Methodist figures though referring to the entire circuit give the same results. Referring to the Baptist Church that had lost people. They show net losses of 23 for 1819 64 1820 and 44, 18, 21, so even if you have these Methodist camp meetings. There's nobody who's coming to that Methodists in fact they don't gain until later on.

Do you think perhaps build that Joseph Smith gave too much information that is now unraveling because were able to pin point is you're talking about what Joseph Smith does in giving the details of this account found in Mormon scripture, the pearl of great price, as he proves he's not a very good liar, though a liar.

Nonetheless, he's not very good at it. A good liar doesn't give a lot of details that can be fact checked later on in this is what I'm saying and this is why West Walters research is so invaluable. Walters went and got all the details and put them together in this booklet showing that's impossible for Joseph Smith to have this first vision as he claimed in the spring of 1820. He gets it wrong, that is that a memory problem.

That's the big question that the chapter is trying to address. Does he just have a memory problem. I think it's beyond just a memory problem. I think Joseph Smith is actually lying about this and this leads us to the next section that the essay talks about and that is embellishment. According to the essay. There are other, more consistent ways of seeing the evidence a basic harmony in the narrative across time must be acknowledged at the outset. My question would be why why do I have to acknowledge that at the outset that goes on to say, three of the four accounts clearly state that two personages appeared to Joseph Smith in the first vision, but is one of them.

God the father and why isn't that stated the big deal about Joseph Smith's first vision is the fact that God the father shows up visions of Jesus, even among a lot of religionists at the time really was that big of a deal, yet they make it sound like this is the first time the heavens opened was to speak to Joseph Smith will even in this chapter David Howlett shows that that's not true.

There were a lot of these type of religious experiences going on among professing religionist at the time so I don't think that we have to acknowledge this at the outset that that there's some kind of harmony being pretrade here in this account.

It's not a harmony.

There are specific differences between the 1832 account were Joseph Smith claims he's only visited by Jesus. He called the Lord and the Lord forgives him of his sins and the official account brought about in 1838 were God the father shows up and tells Joseph Smith along with Jesus that all the churches are wrong.

The creeds are an abomination and their professors are all corrupt. There are a lot of details between those two that cannot be overlooked. So do I think Joseph Smith makes it up and then embellishes the story of that position. I don't believe there was an 1820 revival and I challenge any latter-day St. to give good evidence to show that somehow the revival that Joseph Smith describes in the pearl of great price fits any of those Methodist camp meetings allegedly that took place around 18, 18, 18, 19, 18, 20, and so forth. I think we need to also look in this chapter where underneath the subheading of the way of knowing which I think is supposed to go along with the subheading called conclusion in the gospel topics essay Howlett says after refuting various criticisms of the first vision accounts. The authors conclude with us a series of assertions that recall the conclusion of an LDS Gen. authorities conference talk assertions that are devotional faith affirming and require orthodoxy and or the proxy on the part of the here first of all let me address the first line at the top of page 152 after refuting various criticisms. See, this is where I disagree with David Howlett. I don't think this essay refutes the criticisms I think it gives a lot of lame excuses, but it certainly doesn't refute the criticisms, at least not according my opinion and just because you bring up an argument doesn't mean that it's a good argument that it's a valid response to what you're trying to disprove the problem that I have with that line though is that that's really the second time he does something like this. He talks about these statements in the gospel topics essay as somehow effectively refuting the criticisms that were being raised at the time and I don't think that they actually accomplish that. It would've been better in this life.

For me, at least if he would've said after allegedly refuting various criticisms doesn't do that. I don't think that these anonymous scholars do in this essay accomplish what he says at the top of page 152 when he talks about this mixing of orthodoxy and ortho proxy on the part of the here and referring it to the LDS Gen. authorities conference talk, and I'm assuming he's talking about. Gordon B. Hinckley, who's mentioned at the beginning of the chapter he says. The authors declare the use of the truth of the first vision nor the arguments against it can be proven by historical research alone.

Knowing the truth of Joseph Smith's testimony requires each earnest seeker of truth to study the record and then exercise sufficient faith in Christ, ask God in sincere humble prayer whether the record is true that the seeker ask with the real intent to act upon the answer revealed by the Holy Ghost. The truthfulness of Joseph Smith's vision will be manifest. My response to that is why why we were discussing whether or not an actual historical event happened or did not happen. Why do we have to resort to this kind of a conclusion. In other words, were looking for a subjective feeling to tell us what that even though the evidence shows there was no revival in 1820, the Joseph Smith describes prayer is somehow going to override that historical fact that his silliness is out right silliness and anybody who engages in that type of truth seeking, I think has some real problems to begin with. Could that possibly be an admission that there just isn't a lot of good evidence to take away this problem of the 1832 account when you have 40 different plus scholars who are going against one man who has shown that there is no revival. I think that's a problem.

As we talked about yesterday show and then to say you have to pray about it to know it's true when the evidence comes together and it doesn't look true prayer is not going to be able to overtake the wrongness of the situation and I think that's a great point. Prayer was never meant override facts and that's exactly what these essayists are trying to are are trying to portray. If you have a problem with the actual history just pray about it. That'll make everything okay. Thank you for listening you would like more information regarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research.

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