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August 7, 2020 7:45 pm
Point is to examine the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints viewpoint when Mormonism is 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 welcome of this additional viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM LDS Church history. It certainly can be confusing at times and it can even be very very controversy all this past week we've been talking about some articles that were found in the July 2020 issue of enzyme magazine. It's a monthly periodical that is published primarily for the use of adult members in the LDS church, but it deals with these various confusing and sometimes controversial aspects of LDS history and the thing that intrigues me the most is that some of the titles of these articles are questions that you would think have already been answered and perhaps even answered well by the mere fact that the church came out with these gospel topics, essays, beginning in 2013 but yet these questions seem to go along with what those essays were supposed to answer so I guess my question is Eric why is it that these questions keep on coming up. It makes me think that these essays are not really answering questions to the satisfaction of a lot of members. Otherwise, why is the church wasting so much space answering questions if they feel have already been answered.
You don't really see a whole lot of the church advertise in the gospel topics essays. We encourage people whenever were talking to Latter Day Saints who are asking questions about their history. We want them to go look at those we actually have on our website.
A whole section that deals with those 11 gospel topics essays with radio shows that we had done in the past and if you go to MRM.org/gospel topics essay intro with hyphens between gospel topics essay intro you'll find it, or you can just type in gospel topics essay intro and look at some of that but we encourage. If your Latter Day Saints check these out because while there could have been more said we think that that's a great start that the church is put those together to the people that we have been focusing on in this series are Kate Holbrook and Matt grow. They both work with the church history department and it's there articles we been focusing on today we want to look at an article that was written by Matt grow in his question is why are the accounts of Joseph Smith's first vision a little different and at the end of his small article. It's only a couple of paragraphs he mentions for people to go to read the four accounts of the first vision in the gospel topics essays. Doing so will deepen your appreciation of what happened that day that as you Curtis mentioned many times in this show. There are differences in the accounts that Joseph Smith gives but I'm not real enamored by the way Matt grow explains this. What is he saying there. Joseph Smith recorded her ass describes to record four different accounts of the first vision, the accounts tell a consistent story, but there are differences that shouldn't surprise us if there were complete uniformity among the accounts. That's when I as a historian would become suspicious because that's just not the way memory works, we see the same pattern in other accounts in history or in the Scriptures, and then he says, see acts nine, seven and acts 22, nine let's go back to what he said. Joseph Smith recorded or asked describes to record for different accounts of the first vision I don't think it was Joseph Smith's intention to say hey I want you to write down four different accounts know he's telling the story to these individuals and they are writing it down and he is well had written one down in his 1832 diary, but he says the accounts tell a consistent story, but there are differences. See, this is where I would challenge that conclusion. I've heard many Latter Day Saints say that they always want to say well it's it it's a consistent story.
There are a few nuances to it that are different, but basically it's not as if Joseph Smith is lying about this or is not making it up. I would challenge that conclusion. I think he made it up and there's a lot of reasons why myself and others have drawn that conclusion while we were talking off air and we could spend a whole show. A whole week of shows on the first vision, but three main discrepancies number one bill. The purpose of why Joseph Smith went the first in the first place to pray and ask God for an answer, of course, in his 1832 account.
He's concerned about the forgiveness of his sins. That's not even an issue in the official account that most Mormons are familiar with, and the reason there was.
He was confused as to which church was true. Not that he was concerned about the forgiveness of his sins, but he tells the story about a revival or religious excitement that took place in the area where he lived in Palmyra, New York, in upstate New York and because of what he thought were the different messages being preached by the ministers in this revival. He claims he was confused as to which church was true.
What makes this account so different as far as I am concerned, is in his 1832 account. He mentions only Jesus showing up. But of course most Mormons know that it wasn't just Jesus. It was Jesus and God the father who shows up. I would think, leaving out God the father is a big deal, and in several accounts they mention angels while the LDS church does not teach that the father in the center, angels, and so that seems to be a major problem. Let's also look at one of the contradictions in this story as it is 1832 account.
He says that by reading the Scriptures.
He came to the conclusion that the sex were not true but yet in his 1838 account. When he asked the person is which of all the churches are true he's told that none of the churches are true. They're all wrong. Their creeds are an abomination in the professors are corrupt in the 1838 account. He acts as if this is news to him that he never knew this, but that's not what he said in 1832, so this is in the detail.
That's merely added to the narrative. It's a flat out contradiction and I think that needs to be taken into account. One other issue that we were talking about is how old was Joseph Smith.
While the official count says he was 14, but several of the accounts that were taken directly from Joseph Smith said that he was 17, 18, 22, and also were supposed to believe that he is going to the woods to pray as to which church was true according to the official account was because of, as I mentioned, that revival when did the revival take place.
Joseph Smith claims it took place in 1820, there was no revival that he describes that took place in 1820, the revival he describes actually took place in 1924 which would mean it took place after Joseph Smith allegedly was visited by the angel Moroni I and was told about the gold plates. Matt grow also says that these different accounts shouldn't surprise us if there were complete uniformity among the accounts. That's when I as a historian would become suspicious because that's just not the way memory works. I can't help but think how would a detective or police officer view that statement that he made there. I can understand how different eyewitnesses might see something happen from a different perspective and give details that might be a little different, but this is Joseph Smith were talking about. He is the one telling the story and if you are interrogating a suspect of an alleged crime and they give you different accounts. I would think that would make you suspicious.
Not from a suspect who gives the same account over and over again. I think you're exactly right because a good detective will find out as much information initially when a suspect is being interrogated and then later they'll ask the same questions and see how the story is changed that kind of information will convict the person is being charged with those crimes. He goes on in that last part of the first paragraph to say that we see the same pattern in other accounts in history or in the Scriptures. Any gives as examples, acts nine, seven, and as you mentioned Eric acts 22, nine. Personally I don't think that those are two good examples to make his case, at least in this context and explained to her listeners why that is.
We have the two accounts that Paul gives when he has a vision on the road to Damascus, and the word ecu oh is used. This is what John Wolford and Roy B. Sachs say in the Bible knowledge commentary to explain that hearing the sound and not hearing the sound of the voice of Jesus. It says literally that clause and 22 nine may be translated. They did not hear the sound the NIV correctly translates the verse because the verb to hear the genitive case may mean to hear a sound, and with the accusative case to hear with understanding the genitive case is employed in 97 and the accusative is used in 22, nine so the travelers with Paul heard the sound but did not understand what Christ said in Britain, 22, nine now that might be kind of over the heads of some of the listeners, but let me just say what he saying that the word depending on how it was used can mean different things when I say bill that my wife calls out to me and I say what I didn't hear you. Obviously I heard a sound, but I did not understand what she was saying. And in that same kind away. That's how you can actually understand the difference in the two accounts using though the same word but use different ways, so it's not really Paul telling different story if the language barrier the Greek to English at the language barrier we have to understand the language that Paul is using in this account and the way he's using a certain word in that language explains what Paul is trying to get across to us.
I don't think that example has anything to do with what we find with Joseph Smith. I think maybe a better example would be to do what many skeptics do with the resurrection of Jesus. We have four different Gospels point, we have different takes on what the gospel authors are trying to communicate.
So we have one gospel that says that there was an angel at the tomb. Another said there were two angels that the tomb many critics have pointed to that and say well what do you have it's either one angel or two angels and so if there's one euro to contradict the other account and so therefore we have a contradiction. I'll do that with a lot of things that are said in the gospel accounts. But Bill, how many angels were at the tomb answer is quite simple.
There were two angels that the Tim, the one gospel writer was just emphasizing the one that was having the conversation. If I said I went to the store with Joe and my wife says no you went with Joe and Bill will bill wasn't part of the conversation I was talking to Joe and that's what my story is about. Then I'm going to mention Joe only I'm not contradicting myself and I think if that was the case with Joseph Smith. We would give them a pass, but I don't think that is the case with Joseph Smith. I think he's making up this information as it goes along were finally it culminates in the 1838 account refrozen God the father because I'll tell you Eric for the life of me I don't know how you can miss God the father being a part of that first vision and yet he doesn't really become a part until 1838, which tells me something's wrong here and it's not just as Matt grow says that this is just a different account, but that is still consistent. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information we guarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request our free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint is have you ever wondered what life is like for women and children who are attracting polygamy. If so, you're invited to hear from ministries aimed at reaching those in polygamy, as well as testimonies of former polygamist were now Christians.
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