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Gospel Topics Chapter 5 Howlett Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
May 4, 2021 9:16 pm

Gospel Topics Chapter 5 Howlett Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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May 4, 2021 9:16 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

When one examines 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.

What are some of the differences between Joseph Smith's 1832 first vision account and is 1838 first vision account. Welcome to this addition of viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson.

My colleague at MRM. As we look at chapter 5 in the book the LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement. We have a chapter written by a man by the name of David J. Howlett, who is a member of the community of Christ. A splinter group of Latter Day Saints, the second largest you might say of the various groups and he is discussing the gospel topics essay that has to deal with the first vision accounts. In fact, that's the title of the chapter.

The cultural work of the first vision account essay we been talking about the 1832 account which is discovered by a man by the name of Paul R. Cheeseman. Again, we assume that's how he's pronouncing that name and if we are doing it badly. Please accept our apologies, but Paul Cheeseman is the one who brought to light the 1832 account that was later said to be written in the handwriting of Joseph Smith himself. Why did this cause such a problem for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

What were going to talk about that today and were looking at page 132 of the book the LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement. It says unlike the canonized 1838 version. The 1832 version seem to include a vision of only one divine not to embodied divine beings by the 20th century. LDS members regularly use the 1838 account as a proof text about the nature of God's including the claim that heavenly father had a body of flesh and bone.

Let me stop you there because I don't think that the first vision as it's understood today by Latter Day Saints really proves that heavenly father has a body of flesh and bones. I know that's assumed by some, but how do they draw the conclusion we don't ever hear of Joseph Smith saying that during that experience that he touched the personages and concluded that they had the body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's as it describes in the doctrine and covenants, nor do we hear anywhere in this discussion that's going on. This dialogue that's going on between the two personages and Joseph Smith that they ever say they have bodies of flesh and bone so that seems to be an assumption that is been made by some Latter Day Saints but I don't think the first vision itself really gives us a clear indication of that. It continues the earlier account did not seem to support this assertion. Additionally, the 1832 account. Read more like an evangelical conversion narrative than the calling of a prophet and it was less detailed in 1838 version. In short, the 1960s LDS church faced doctrinal questions, not simply historical questions with the publication of a new earlier first vision account.

Mr. Howlett is acknowledging that this is causing some problems for the leadership in the church, which would tend to go along with what we read on Monday and Tuesday regarding the interview with a 70 by the name of Levi Edgar Young and it was Lamar Peterson who had that interview with this general authority and in his notes he claims that he was not supposed to copy this and he was not supposed to talk about it. Basically it was put back into the vault and hopefully forgotten.

You have to ask yourself why folks, why would this be problematic for them. Why did they assume that this would be problematic and they don't seem to be all that concerned now will.

It's now public chocolate, they can't put that genie back in the bottle.

Let's not going to happen so they have to come up with some kind of explanation to satisfy the questions of their people. On page 133. Mr. Howlett says evangelical counter cult ministries offered counter narratives to these explanations and question the validity of what had become the founding narrative of the LDS church and continues while evangelicals mainly publish their findings and expose style books and ministry newsletters want evangelical apologist presented his arguments about the first vision in an issue of dialogue that included a response by no less than bank craft prize-winning LDS historian Richard bushman. Now the footnote mentions that this was Wesley P.

Walters and this account that Wesley P. Walters gives shows that the 1820 date for Joseph Smith's first vision was tenuous. What makes it different though, is that Wes Walters as a Presbyterian ministers.

I would not put him in the category of being part of the counter cult. I know that sometimes is used as a pejorative by some, especially men like Richard Mao, and perhaps even by Craig Blomberg of Denver seminary, but I wouldn't put Wes Walters into that category. He was merely a Presbyterian minister who had a fascination with more than history and he just so happen to find some things that really walk in the LDS world when it came to their history and II wanted to stop their bill and just mention again, you said just a Presbyterian minister, but he was a very crafty man who was able to find his way into information that nobody else was getting and we talked about the Tanners the past couple of days they were in their 20s. This is just a couple who is doing this research.

These are people that I think the LDS church might have underestimated but they're coming up with information that is explosive and when it talks about an issue of dialogue. That's dialogue. The Journal of Mormon thought.

You don't know what that is. It's a publication that includes scholarly papers by a lot of very intelligent people, not only within the LDS church, but sometimes even outside of the LDS church so he gets this published in dialogue. Journal of Mormon thought, and it catches the attention. At least we see here of LDS historian Richard L. Bushman, the article's title that Walters wrote was new light on Mormon origins from the Palmyra revival that information is published today.

They'll tell us a little bit more about this will. It was originally known as as you say new light on Mormon origins from the Palmyra, New York revival it was published by the Utah Christian tract Society which is run by Arthur and Edna but force and they were good friends of mine, though they both passed away when the Utah Christian tract Society was dissolved and Helen Walters, Wes Walters, widow gave us exclusive permission to republish this booklet new light on Mormon origins we change the title. After a while because it wasn't really new light and the longer the 60s and were publishing this thing clear up close to the 21st century now, so the title was changed to the Palmyra revival and Mormon origins.

It says on the cover by Rev. Wesley Walters and at the bottom it says, originally titled new light on Mormon origins from the Palmyra, New York revival of this publication is still available. You can get it from the Utah lighthouse so if you're interested in that. I would strongly encourage you to read this account because what Wes Walters did was he showed that there could not have been a revival that Joseph Smith describes in the spring of 1820. There's no way this is what causes all sorts of problems for the LDS church and why this essay had to be written in the first place.

If you don't have a revival taking place in the spring of 1820, at least not one that's described by Joseph Smith in the official account that's found in the pearl of great price.

You got problems, and believe me, folks, ileus church had problems they had to do something about this.

What are they going to say you cannot change the date of that 1820 revival to the correct date and as Wes Walters points out in his piece the correct date would be 1824, or four years later. The reason why the church has to stick so tenaciously to that bogus 1820 date is because if they correct it and they put 1824 in their that means Monroe died becomes the first vision that's a problem that becomes a huge problem because Moron I supposedly appears in 1823 to Joseph Smith to tell him about these gold plates that contain what came to be known as the book of Mormon so you can understand why this would be a huge problem for the historians and the leadership of the LDS church working to get back to this story because it's mentioned again in this chapter. But as we look at page 134 talking about the essay.

Mr. Howlett says in only 1800 words.

The essays anonymous writers succinctly addressed various accounts authored by Smith or his contemporaries detailing the Palmyra prophets earliest theophany. It continues then they addressed to problems raised by critics. Smith's memory of revivals in his area in 1820, and Smith's alleged embellishments to his later accounts of the first vision in an argument that echoed the language in FS of the late Pres. Hinckley. They concluded that quote 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." Why would you have to do that.

I mean that very sincerely, why would you have to take what is supposed to be an actual event something that really happened in the life of Joseph Smith and set aside the historical aspects of it and then have to pray about it. Why would you have to do that. I don't understand that it would be like us just merely having to pray about the resurrection of Jesus. I think that there's sufficient evidence to show that the resurrection took place not granted, a lot of atheist don't want to believe that I get that I never found myself as a new Christian having to go well.

I'm just going to have to pray about the resurrection and get a good feeling about it for me to know it's true. You have some very qualified church historians that give very good evidence as to why we can believe this was an actual event. Apart from pricking about it, but with something like this. Hinckley says you have to be in earnest seeker of truth to study the record and then exercise sufficient faith in Christ to ask God in sincere humble prayer whether the record is true. We have to remember again that before the 1960s.

It seemed to be a common belief throughout Mormonism that there was only one version now since the 1960s. Things have been unraveling in the Internet does allow for people to hear about these different versions and so the church has to write this essay but to have that in there.

I agree with you I think that's problematic. Thank you for listening you would like more information regarding this research ministry.

We encourage you to visit our website you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint is as with most Christian organizations is a research ministry depends on the generous financial support of friends like you. If you like what we do and how we do it, would you consider helping a more immediate financial obligations really go to my website at the right you'll see in only click there and follow the instructions. MRM is a Christian nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and your gifts are tax-deductible, and only that they are greatly appreciated. Thank you for your support of this ministry

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