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Saints: The Standard of Truth Review Part 3, The First Vision

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
February 4, 2020 8:00 pm

Saints: The Standard of Truth Review Part 3, The First Vision

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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February 4, 2020 8:00 pm

In this first week of a six-week series, MRM’s Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson review different sections throughout the church’s new history book titled Saints: The Standard of Truth, that was published in 2018.

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

Mormonism 101 for teams is a valuable resource for anyone wanting a simplified view of the Mormon religion from a Christian perspective. Mormonism 101 for teens is available at the Utah lighthouse bookstore in Salt Lake City or .1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a respected 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. Thanks to bribing for that introduction welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson my colleague MRM to continue looking at a history book titled Saints the standard of truth.

It was published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 2018. It is also available for free and an electronic version and if you don't have this in your interested in Mormon history, by all means I would encourage you to get a copy of this because as we are going through this book are not going to go through every single chapter and it's not meant to be exhaustive, but we are looking at some of the more important aspects of Mormon history, as it's now being told in this new volume and this is only one volume of four that is scheduled to come out in 2020 volume 2 was supposed to come out, but we're going through volume 1 right now and then yesterday show.

We ended with chapter 1 titled ask in faith and at the very end of that chapter. It talks about Joseph Smith heard a minister quote from the first chapter of James in the New Testament that says if any of you lack wisdom, he said, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraid if not, why do I find that interesting.

Earlier in the chapter. Joseph Smith is commenting how pale these guys are reading the same Bible but they're all coming up with different explanations for those verses. How does Joseph Smith know that this particular minister is pointing to James 15 and that Joseph Smith is understanding that clearly what it means that I don't think he did.

I think Joseph Smith actually misuses James 15 because it specifically is talking about wisdom, yet Joseph Smith uses it to seek knowledge and I would find a problem with that. We have several articles on James 15 if you go to our website going off of what we just read at the end of chapter 1 regarding James 15.

It says the very first line says Joseph rose early on a spring morning in 1820, but what is the question that he's going to ask God when he gets to these woods to pray on the bottom page 14 it says that he asked for mercy and forgiveness and for wisdom to find the answers to his questions.

Oh Lord. He prayed what church. Shall I join that we should mention that in this chapter. It's going to give you an account of this alleged first vision that Joseph Smith claimed he had in the spring of 1820. What they do though is they conflate Joseph Smith's several accounts of this event and they put all these events into one event, whereas if you were to read them separately. You might pick out various contradictions, but the way they put it all together. Eric I have to admit was quite clever since you don't really have the individual accounts that you can compare side-by-side taking certain parts of the event and conflating them in one story kind of camouflages in my opinion, what many would see to be an outright contradiction. It talks about while he's praying that his tongue seem to swell until he could not speak.

How we heard footsteps behind him, but he saw no one. When he turned around. It talks about an unseen power that seizes him and he tries to speak his tone was still bound. A thick darkness closed in around him until he could no longer see the sunlight doubts and awful images flashed across his mind confusing and distracting him. He felt as if some terrible being real and immensely powerful wanted to destroy him. Bill this sounds almost like a demonic attack.

Does it bother you that as part of the first vision that he's having to deal with these demons. Apparently, before he then sees God the father and Jesus raise an excellent point Eric and this is what it's always bothered me about the story. Mormons will obviously tend to separate this dark part of this event from the apparent later part of the event were it talks about him seeing God the father and Jesus. My question is always been, how do we know that these two events are together that there actually part of the same story now I need to qualify that because personally I don't believe this even happened at all.

I just don't believe it. I think Joseph Smith made up this whole story to make his followers look at him as some special kind of an individual who was really looking for truth in this, of course, would be seen by them as the devil trying to get Joseph Smith to stop looking for the answers that he seeks which of course is going to vindicate the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as it would be later known, but it does strike me that Mormons are so quick to separate the two incidences. How do you know they work together if even happened at all nonspeaking as it is, as a critic. I admit that on and it's interesting because later on page 15. It talks about the pillar of light that appeared over his head and how the spirit of God took its place, filling him with peace and unspeakable joy.

What I find interesting. Even though this wasn't going to be an angel. This is going to be what the book says.

Joseph saw God the father standing above him in the air and he also is going to see Jesus is that Galatians 18 says that if even an angel of light comes and gives you a gospel other than what was originally preached is to be rejected.

So are we supposed to think that just because it's light. Therefore, it's a positive thing. The Bible doesn't seem to show that not only that we have the problem of Exodus 3320 exit is 3320, not only in our Bibles makes it very clear that no man can see the face of God and live.

But even the Joseph Smith translation says the very same thing but in an even harsher language, making it very clear that no sinful man will ever be able to see the face of God and live. So if Joseph Smith really saw God how did he live to tell about it. If his own version of the Bible the inspired version of the Joseph Smith translation would say that that is impossible. On page 16. The question that Joseph assess was reported in the Joseph Smith history chapter 1 in the probably great price, which church shall I join and the Savior told him join none of them. They teach for doctrines the commandments of men having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof but billet the very end of that page 16 this is what it says God the father and Jesus Christ had spoken to him and he had learned for himself how to find truth and forgiveness so are we to assume that the way to find truth in forgiveness is to have an experience of God the father and Jesus appearing to you because if that's the way you find truth in forgiveness, then no other latter-day St. could say that they have the truth or forgiveness. What did Joseph Smith receive in that encounter, where he let's say forgiveness. For instance, it seems like he merely asked and he was told he was forgiven will can't we ask those same things and know that we are forgiven, most certainly, because the answers are found in the New Testament. But what Joseph Smith reports and Joseph Smith history chapter 1 doesn't seem to show that there's any forgiveness. Basically he's just told that the churches are all wrong. Their creeds are an abomination in his sight. Professors are all corrupt and that's basically the message that's given this is really message of a great apostasy. It's not a message that appears to be given of forgiveness of sins yeah because when it does talk about Jesus forgiving him of his sins. We know that is found in the 1832 account. It's the only account written in Joseph Smith's own handwriting where he claims he was visited by only Jesus, the one who was crucified for the sins of mankind and that being is the one that told Joseph Smith that his sins were forgiven.

In the 1838 account that's not the conversation you're right, that's not really the issue. This is why we have to understand that the way it's being described in this book is merely a conflation or putting together of the various accounts to come up with one final account. What I find interesting in the last few pages of this chapter 2, titled here him is how he supposedly told a lot of people about this. Let me read on the middle of page 17 it says a few days later while talking to a preacher. Joseph told him about what he had seen in the words the preacher had been active in the recent religious revivals and Joseph expected him to take his vision seriously.

At first the preacher treated his words lightly. People claim to have heavenly visions from time to time but then he became angry and defensive and he told Joseph that his story was from the devil.

The days of visions and revelations had ceased long ago, he said, and they would never return. Joseph was surprised and he soon found that no one would believe his vision is what I find fascinating. We don't know who this preacher was that was allegedly active in the recent religious revivals and this is why the date become so important folks because we know that in the case of the pastors who were involved at least one of them didn't even get into the Palmyra area till around 1824 when the revival that Joseph Smith describes actually took place. He wouldn't of been there in 1820. It would've been nice if Joseph Smith had given us a proper name.

Isn't it suspicious that he doesn't. That's the trait of a good liar is to leave a lot of details out because then you don't have to remember them later on that on page 18. This is what it says in the book. Once Joseph discovered that sharing his vision only turned his neighbors against him.

He kept it mostly to himself content with the knowledge of God had given him though. I find it very interesting that they make it appear that Joseph Smith is really not telling anybody about this when you go to Joseph Smith history chapter 1, I encourage you to go, we don't have time to read both of these verses because there's so long but verses 22 and 23 it's very clear that Joseph Smith claims he's getting persecuted because of this by all of the church as it says in fact it says the most bitter persecution in reviling, but stranger not so it was, and was often the cause of great sorrow to myself.

So, according to Joseph Smith's own words. He's getting persecuted for telling the story to so many people and you're telling me that nobody reports this nobody writes it down. We have no evidence whatsoever will even Mormon historian James Allen in an article he wrote for dialogue. Journal of Mormon thought called the significance of Joseph Smith's first vision in Mormon thought admits no anti-Mormon publications or anti-Mormon individuals as they are described ever talks about the first vision you would think that if Joseph Smith was really telling people like this preacher that's mentioned in this book about this alleged first vision of encounter with God the father and Jesus, there would be some writing somewhere showing that people were criticizing Joseph Smith for saying he had such an event happened to him. But nobody does. In James Allen even admits this critics like Alexander Campbell. Allen says who had some reason to be especially bitter against the Mormons because of the conversion of Sydney Rigdon published one of the first scathing denunciations of Joseph Smith in 1832. It was entitled, delusions, and analysis of the book of Mormon. It contained no mention of the first vision and though I'm writing the book Mormonism unveiled its readily available online if you want to go look at it.

It was written in 1834 by a man by the name of Ebert D.

How not one mention of the first vision is ever made. In effect, nobody criticizes Joseph Smith's first vision in those early years, which gives us the impression that this was not a story he was telling that he was not talking to other people about it and as I conclude it never happened in the first place.

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