Posted by: Jay | May 25, 2007

Many accounts of the first vision

Detractors of the LDS Church have long pointed out that the official first vision account is not the version recorded in many of the historical records. They point to the fact that the earliest account Joseph Smith gives in his own hand states only that he saw Jesus Christ. They also point out that early converts to the Church probably never heard about the first vision at all, let alone as currently published by LDS sources. It wasn’t until later that Joseph claimed God the Father appeared to him at the same time as Christ. In total, there are 7-9 different accounts of the first vision. Many of these are second hand accounts written by members of the LDS faith after hearing it from Joseph Smith. However, even the first hand accounts of Joseph himself differ in the details offered or lack there of.

Critics of the LDS Church claim that there is no possible way that Joseph could have neglected to mention God the Father appearing to him. They also say that Joseph’s account of the vision “evolved” or became grander over time. In addition, detractors claim that if Joseph had really seen God he would have written down and publicized it widely among early converts (the first account was written nearly 12 years after the actual event). Supporters say that Joseph gave different accounts to different audiences and, while some are abbreviated or leave things out, none of them conflict with the standard version now accepted by the Church.

If you are LDS, did you know about the different accounts? How many members of the Church do you think are aware of this? What do you think about this? If non-LDS please give your perspective and explain why you think this is proof that Joseph’s vision did not occur as the LDS Church now presents it.

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Responses

  1. fyi-looks like you lost some content, or perhaps a link, at the end of the second paragraph

  2. I think it’s troubling if you are LDS. The central and most important event in Christianity is the resurrection. The first recorded explanation of the resurrection is found in I Corinthians 15. All subsequent versions elaborate on the details but they always stay consistent to the original details. If major details changed in the different accounts we should start to conclude that the story isn’t reliable. Particularly if the first hand witnesses to the event changed their story.

  3. I’m a Mormon, I have read the different stories, and I don’t have a problem with it. When Joseph Smith had his vision, he was 14. The first person he shared the story with outside his family was a preacher in whom he often confided. The preacher rebuffed Joseph and told him his vision was of the devil. He claims that others also reviled him for his story. Is it any wonder that this young man would be reluctant to publish a story that caused people to hate him? As he grew older and matured into his calling as prophet, he proclaimed more boldly his vision. Even as an adult, I have trouble telling stories that are close to my heart if I believe the person hearing the story will mock me. It is not hard to believe that the young Joseph Smith would be vague about his vision to a harsh and unbelieving public. I believe that it is more telling that he never denied he had a vision.

  4. What I find interesting is that Joseph’s first handwritten account (in 1832) sounds remarkably similar to the one the LDS Church accepts now. Although he doesn’t mention God the Father or that he is chosen to restore his gospel, but the rest is pretty similar (not contradictory).

  5. Thanks Brhnamin! I was going to include another link, but decided agianst it. I had forgotten to delete that sentence.

  6. I have no trouble with it. I tell people something really important that happened to me and leave out details all the time. I’ll say something later and they say, ‘You never told me that.’ and I’ll say, ‘Yes I did.’ I still remember new details about my conversion 20+ years ago that I myself had forgotten until something *sparks* that particular detail. That’s how the human mind works. Something that powerful can be somewhat overpowering to the human mind. And Joseph was very young and yes he did tell people and got persecuted immediately for it.

    I remember when I had my conversion experience (the original one, not the one 3 1/2 years ago to the Church) and I *knew* I had a Heavenly Mother… well I only told a couple of people that because both times I did I got fried by them telling me it was blasphemous, etc. So I learned really fast to keep my mouth shut about it. Doesn’t mean I didn’t experience it or stopped believing it. I just stopped talking about that part because of people’s reactions. I’m stronger now and can stand up a lot better for my beliefs and my testimony. But if I had written things down back then, I probably would have left that part out simply because I waan’t spiritually strong enough to stand up for it.

    Joseph was 14. It makes perfect sense to me that he would shut up about the vision until he was stronger and older and wiser and better able to deal with he persecution. He was probably painfully aware of what he would face each time he talked about it and that no doubt influenced what details he chose to reveal at the time.

    Looking for perfection from mere mortals is fruitless…

  7. Doesn’t bother me either. Faith is crucial in Mormonism as it is in Christianity. The fact that the Four Gospels tell the story of the Resurrectin doesn’t mean that non-believers are going to accept the divinity of Christ.

    So it is with Mormonism. You cannot prove JS wasn’t a prophet based on the various accounts. If you are an unbeliever, a consistent story isn’t going to make it true for you. That is where faith comes in. I have a hope in the belief that what he said happened, truly happened.

    I find it interesting how many non-believers in JS & Mormonism claim that he was a brilliant liar and deceiver. Certainly someone who was so brilliant at deceiving would’ve caught the error of inconsistency in story telling & the pending consequences.

    Since I believe, then JS can tell his story how, when, and where he wants.

  8. I think Austin’s comment points out two different apporaches to faith. If you believe faith to be believing something regardless of the evidence (blind faith or fideism), then he is right. It doesn’t matter what who the different first vision accounts say Joseph saw (an Angel, just Jesus, just the Father, a light, both Jesus and the Father).

    Personally I think a better modern word for how the Bible describes faith is trust. We put faith in all kinds of things (like bridges for example). We have good reason to believe that they are reliable and we trust them. I think this is what the Bible is calling us to by asking for faith, placing trust in something you find reliable.

    It’s not “faith” to believe the opposite of what the evidence shows to be fact.

  9. It keeps getting mentioned that JS was only 14. Didn’t someone say that the first account in JS’s own had was written 12 years after the event? That would make him 26. PLUS, it was WRITTEN, not spoken. Kind of hard to forget minor details like “God was there too”.

    I’m Mormon and it bothers me alot.

  10. 12 years isn’t really that long. Non-LDS critiques like to use accounts against the LDS church that weren’t written until 30+ years after the event.

    The only problem with this bothering you is that the New Testament fails under the same scrutiny. When you point out the differences accounts in the books of the NT of Judas’ death non-LDS Christians say, “Well, they are the same, this author just left some things out that this one put in”. They then go on to tell a story, which incorporates the details of all the accounts. The same thing is true with Paul’s vision.

  11. But Christianity doesn’t hang on Judas’ death or Paul’s conversion the way Mormonism hangs on the first vision.

  12. Dando, that is true, however, it does hang on the teachings of Jesus, which are found in the New Testament. If you use the above reasoning to discount the first vision you must also discount the accuracy of the New Testament or at least the accuracy of the authors of the accounts of Judas’ death and Paul’s vision. If the accuracy of the New Testament is shown to be shaky, how can you trust the rest of it? What else is did they record inaccurately?

  13. I might add that the NT testament was not written by Jesus. This first account of the First Vision was written by JS himself.

    It is one thing for a 3rd Party to leave out details, and an entirely different thing for the 1st party. Especially, when it is written and can easily be edited.

  14. I guess it doesn’t bother me that he didn’t mention God appearing to him in his first account. All he said was, “this is my beloved son, hear him.” The rest of the message, which was much more lengthy, was given to him by Jesus himself. If the two accounts that Joseph gives conflicted in any way, then there would be a major problem, but they don’t conflict. One just has more detail.

  15. I recently left the LDS Church. My wife and I have researched the Church for a few months now. We found reading LDS writings and LDS scripture were the most damaging to the Church, so many times they shoot themselves in the foot. A comparison of an 1830 Book of Mormon and 1833 Book of Commandments to the current versions was extremely key in our decision to dig deeper and really investigate the church as we thought we had previously done.

    First I would like to mention a couple verses in Doctrine and Covenents (which has been changed many times, used to be Book of Commandments). In section 84 of the current D&C, verses 21-22: “and without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; For without this no man can see the face of God and live.” Joseph Smith didn’t have the priesthood in 1820, when he reportedly had the “first vision,” and allegedly saw the face of God the Father and Jesus Christ, yet he lived! This contradicts those particular verses of LDS scripture. Maybe some light can be shed upon why he lived through the first vision by looking at different references to Joseph Smith’s first vision, from LDS church leaders who knew Joseph personally. Most of these quotes are from so-called prophets of God. Prophets of God are the key words here!

    Brigham Young – “The Lord did not come with the armies of heaven … but He did send his angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith jun., who afterwards became a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day, for they were all wrong” Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 171 (1855)

    Wilford Woodruff – “The same organization and Gospel that Christ died for … is again established in this generation. How did it come? By the ministering of an holy angel from God, out of heaven, who held converse with man, and revealed unto him the darkness that enveloped the world … He told him the Gospel was not among men, and that there was not a true organization of His kingdom in the world” Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 196 (1855)

    Orson Hyde – “Some one may say, ‘If this work of the last days be true, why did not the Saviour come himself to communicate this intelligence to the world?’ Because to the angels was committed the power of reaping the earth, and it was committed to none else.” Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 335 (1854)

    George A. Smith – “…he [Joseph Smith] went humbly before the Lord and inquired of Him, and the Lord answered his prayer, and revealed to Joseph, by the ministration of angels, the true condition of the religious world. When the holy angel appeared, Joseph inquired which of all these denominations was right and which he should join, and was told they were all wrong” Journal of Discourses, vol. 12, p. 334 (1863)

    John Taylor – “None of them was right, just as it was when the Prophet Joseph asked the angel which of the sects was right that he might join it. The answer was that none of them are right.” Journal of Discourses, vol. 20, p. 167 (1879)

    George Q. Cannon-“But suppose that the statement that Joseph Smith says the angel made to him should be true-that there was no church upon the face of the earth whom God recognized as His, and whose acts He acknowledged-suppose this were true…” Journal of Discourses, vol. 24, pg. 135 (1889)

    William Smith- “He accordingly went out into the woods and falling upon his knees called for a long time upon the Lord for wisdom and knowledge. While engaged in prayer a light appeared in the heavens, and descended until it rested upon the trees where he was. It appeared like fire. But to his great astonishment, did not burn the trees. An angel then appeared to him and conversed with him upon many things. He told him that none of the sects were right…” William Smith On Mormonism, By William Smith, Joseph Smith’s brother. pg. 5 (1883)

    Joseph Smith, Nov. 1835 – “…I received the first visitation of Angels when I was about 14 years old…” Personal writings of Joseph Smith, pg. 84 [It should be noted that this entry has been changed in the History of the Church, Vol. 2, pg. 312. It now reads “my first vision” instead of “visitation of Angels”]

    The words you may not have noticed missing in these references to what is now called the “first vision” are God/Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. See, Joseph’s first vision was recorded and told in early church history to have been of “an angel” and sometimes “angels.” He did not claim to have seen God the Father and Jesus Christ. That was embellished at some later point in time.

    Bearing in mind that the “first vision” was of an angel or angels, the following scripture sheds light upon a question that almost kept my wife in the church: Why is the church so fantastic today? Why are the people so great and why does it seem like such a great organization of people if it is false?

    2 Corinthians
    13: For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the aposles of Christ.
    14: And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
    15: Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

    Reading those verses gave me chills after learning the “first vision” was actually of an angel, not Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I do not question who that angel was that Joseph Smith saw and lived.

    The Book of Mormon and Book of Commandments (now D&C) have been changed way too many times in their 175 year history. They have been changed without a great apostacy to blame as well. The Bible has also been changed and books omitted from it, however, we understand who made those changes and omissions and do not choose to continue to call them prophets and do not continue to follow the chain of false priesthood they profess to possess. There is so much information regarding the items removed, changed, added to, etc… in the LDS scriptures, more than just “punctuation and clarification” as the church claims. A prophet of God needs no editing unless you believe God changes His word or His mind.

    Reading about the actual doctrines of the church that are not widely taught or discussed was extremely distressing. If one really wants to continue to blindly support false teachings and false prophets, maybe one can explain away things like blood atonement and Adam-God doctrine. Those are clearly blasphemous teachings of false prophets in my mind. The scary thing is that my wife was a member for 12 years (temple-going, always in a calling, active member) without realizing these “hidden” doctrines. A purchase of Bruce R. McConkie’s book, Mormon Doctrine, would have been a wise choice many years ago. She feels so stupid to have followed this for so long and just now realize how off-base are some of the doctrine coming from the early church although not openly taught today.

    There is just so much more information supporting the falseness of the church. We left the church for a few reasons and then found many, many more reasons to know it is false. It has been appalling. One thing that nearly brought my wife to tears, due to her love for President Hinckley and his leadership can be read at the following link: http://www.irr.org/MIT/hinckley.html
    It is regarding the Time Magazine interview of President Hinckley. My poor wife was so naive as to believe President Hinckley did not realize the church is false and did not realize the questionable history of the church, thinking he surely would not question it as LDS people are strongly encouraged not to go there. How disenchanting to realize he is deceitful right along with the early church leaders.

    I will post more information in the future. Surely this is not the first time you have read this material.

  16. Brian,

    Look at the dates of all your quotes.
    The current version of the First Vision would have to have been changed in or after 1889.

    What is the earliest date of the current version? You would have to throw out any quotes made after the first publishing of the current version.

  17. Brian,
    I agree with Rick. All of the quotes you bring up are after Joseph’s first hand written account in 1832. I’d say that is much more reliable than the quotes you used. In that account Joseph says nothing about an angel. He mentions seeing Christ.

    Blood atonement and Adam-God theory never were doctrine of the LDS Church. Brigham Young said a lot of crazy things. I regrettably must admit that, but it doesn’t mean everything he said was doctrine.

    I hope your leaving the Church was not based only on the things you mentioned above. I don’t fault you and your wife having doubts (I’ve had and have my own moments of crisis), but I’ve found many answers to those doubts as I talk with others and do research of my own. I wish you well on your search for truth and hope to see you (and your wife) comment again.

  18. Totally off topic Jay, but I must ask… what is your avitar a photo of? It looks like a fly on a leaf from either direction. Pretty cool. But I keep thinking I’m just seeing that because of all the bug and fly photos *I* take… LOL

  19. Jayleen,
    I’ve been waiting and waithing for someone to ask. It is a moth. Commonly known as a clearwing moth (notice the wings are not covered with scales). They fly during the day which is unsual among moths. They are also wasp mimics, so if you see one you will probably not get close for fear of being stung. The one I have for my avitar is called a dogwood boer.

  20. Blood atonement and Adam-God theory never were doctrine of the LDS Church.

    Well that’s not exactly true. Adam-God was part of the temple endowment ceremony. According to the latest press release that lays out the rubric for church doctrine it would qualify as formerly having been church doctrine.

  21. Dando,

    When was Adam-God part of the temple ceremony?
    Of the many times I have participated, it was never there.

  22. It was part of the ceremony when Brigham Young was prophet. It was taken out soon after.

  23. Brigham was a pretty powerful and imposing figure in his day. I wonder if he could have gotten the A/G theory thru correlation.

  24. I can’t believe I’m wasting my time again… but so anyone reading this won’t walk away with your twisted, distorted claim as LDS Doctrine, here is the correction. As always, you’ve taken things out of context… And no it wasn’t a part of the Temple Ceremony.

    1 Cor 15:45-47 refers to Christ as the ‘last Adam’ but doesn’t mean Adam was God any more than Brigham Young meant it that way.

    Brigham made many more statements that were contrary to the *Anti-Mormon* interpretation of his supposed Adam/God comments. So as with Scripture or anything else, you have to put the comments IN CONTEXT. You can’t separate them from everything else Brigham taught and twist them to fit what you want Dando.

    And it’s always important to realize that once again, the only perfect person to walk this earth was Jesus.

    Adam/God was NEVER part of the LDS Doctrine. NE-VER. The comments could be said to be a bit puzzling, but when viewed with everything else he taught and with the above Scripture, his comments can be understood. Antis simply don’t WANT to understand and look for ANYTHING they possibly can to tarnish the Church and speak evil of God’s Prophets.

  25. Jay, these are leaders of the church, prophets of God! They have changed the first vision many times. Any accounts in the writing of JS, and there are at least three, have NO mention of God the Father or Christ appearing. The reference is to “personages” or “angels”. The words, “This is my Son, Hear Him”. You guessed it. Those were not in the original writings either.

    “It was taken out of context”… lol…..you all are being decieved. That is the classic response. The more I learn, the more it is more damaging and I am investigating the writings from the church leaders, in context, in fullness, many of the original writings from Joseph Smith (which were changed many times, by him and others).

    These issues are not the sole reasons we chose to leave the church. But they would certainly be enough. False prophets are false prophets, no matter how you rewrite the history. We have so much more information. It is crazy!!! The LDS Church is hiding stuff from the members, trying to rewrite their own history to make it more palatable. The church has evolved from its early beginnings, which would be okay if the evolution were not so drastic in 175 years and was not damage control for major blasphemous teachings of early “prophets of the restoration.” Of course the church teaches great things and testifies of Christ. We would not have otherwise been involved in it for so long. The main stream teachings have evolved to be pretty close to Biblical, Christian teachings. However, you cannot erase history, although some make the attempt. If those men were prophets, they would not have come up with such blasphemous teachings, saying it was from God. God would remove the gift of prophecy from that prophet who clearly makes up his own teachings as he goes along, which leads to another great apostacy, if you believe the first one ever ended in the first place.

  26. We didn’t leave the church for these reasons only. If you truly do your research, you will see. But you have to stop making excusses for the obvious.

    Has anyone heard of the Book of Commandments? I believe it was 1833, then it was D and C, and changed I don’t know how many times at least once which is more then enough

    How about the 1830, 1835 Book of Mormon, I’m not even sure there probably are a few more that were changed. (it wasn’t all punctuation either) It was changed.

    But you have the right to believe what you want, we can debate all day but the fact is and it will never change, that the Book of Mormon, and D & C where changed more than once.

    I don’t know what else I would have to see not to believe this is a true religion.

    When people believe false stuff because someone is directing to beieve somthing is different or tell you it didn’t happen or delete wrongfull writings. That sounds like a cult to me! It’s hard to get out isnt it, you’ve vested so much into it, or that’s all you know. You will let down your family and friends. What ever it is, it’s not worth it to me.

  27. Brian – I’m sorry that these things have shaken your faith. If you’d like to read more about them, Jeff Lindsay has a great article concering these changes with the details of them.

    http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_changes.shtml#semitic

    These changes are not kept secret. The Church chooses not to focus on these things because there is work to be done and nothing but time is wasted when we focus on things of no eternal consequence.

    It draws our minds away from the work at hand and can end with the loss of our own salvation. It’s sad to think that people won’t cut modern day Prophets any slack, but claim to believe in Prophets of Old. Maybe because their humanity is long forgotten.

    But people have been rejecting true Prophets since time immemorial and maybe this is why. Because they see the faults and frailties of them and reject them for those reasons. Whereas the ones from long ago aren’t in the present for you to see the same in them. Same goes for the organized Chruch.

    I do wonder though, why people can’t seem to leave the Church alone. I left Evangelicalism but only comment about it when an Evangelical is attacking the LDS Church. I don’t start blogs to point out all the errors or persecute them. I don’t follow them around harping on all the error I found it that line of thinking. Even though I feel like I was deceived for 20 years.

    I’m too happy with what I now have to focus on that. I lived, I learned… I moved on.

    If you think Mormonism is wrong, just move on. Surely there is better ways to spend your days than attacking something you simply don’t agree with.

    I guess that is just another *proof* to me of the truthfulness of the Church… The vehemence that others attack it with. Like I said, there’s plenty I an say about Evangelicalism and Protestantism, but why bother? I do my best to focus on talking about the wonderful and positve things about the LDS Church. But unfortunately have to spend what seems an inordinant amount of time defending it against people who just can’t seem to leave it alone and tell twisted, distorted things about it.

    It reminds me so much of the Scribes and Pharisees who couldn’t leave Jesus alone or the Church after Jesus’ death.

    When I left the other churches, I never spent a moment running around attacking them on the internet or otherwise. Even though I felt deceived for 20 years. I can’t imagine why I would either.

    Maybe you could look into your heart and figure out why you want to attack the Church and tear down other peoples testimonies.

    Find out what you do believe and write about the wonder of it. Write about all the reasons it is good. How it makes you a better person. It would be far more productive than focusing on the negative you *think* exists in someone else’s faith.

  28. A work in progress? You mean Joseph Smith a prophet from God didn’t get it right when he translated the plates? Where are the brass plates?

    Sorry to affend you but I thought you might want to know you are being mislead and it’s right in front of everyone.

    What you have just said is, you don’t care if the Book of Commandments where changed and the Book of Mormon, changed (more then once, over 4000 changes). You are basically admiting that JS was wrong when he first wrote (translated?) the book but you don’t care you are going to believe it anyway?

  29. There is also a great Ensign article in the Dec 1984 edition entitled “The Story of the Doctrine and Covenants” by Robert J. Woodford. This gives quite a detailed description of the history of the D&C, the history of the name change, etc. These were nothing new and secret.

    I found it quite informative and not doomsaying that has been portrayed. It’s interesting that this answer was given in 1984 and the attacks continue on and on and on.

    A shorter article, by Stephen R. Gibson & found at lightplanet.com, points out that certainly a Prophet of God can make changes, corrections, additions, clarifications, etc. as necessary:

    “Can a true prophet of God add to a God-given revelation? if the answer is “yes,” then the fact that Joseph Smith expanded some of the revelations he received is evidence for, not against his prophetic calling. Since we don’t have the original manuscripts used for the books of the Bible, nor do we have records of their writing processes, critics cannot claim that Biblical prophets never revised nor added to their revelations–they have no proof. However, the Bible contains an example of the prophet Jeremiah adding to a previously written revelation:

    And Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book (Jer. 36:4).

    This revelation was read to King Jehoiakim, who didn’t like what he heard:

    And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he [King Jehoiakim) cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire . . . (Jer. 36:23).

    Jeremiah was then instructed by the Lord to rewrite the revelation, which he did. But he did more than simply recreate what Jehoia:kim had destroyed:

    Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words (Jer. 36:32).

    If Jeremiah’s additions to the destroyed revelation do not disqualify him as a true prophet of God, neither do Joseph Smith’s additions disqualify him. Conversely, if Joseph Smith is rejected as a true prophet of God because he added to previously given revelation, Jeremiah should be rejected for the same reason.”

    Interesting.

  30. I’ve read from this site, and things where deleted from the Book of Commandments because JS prophesis didn’t come true. There is over 4000 changes to the Book of Mormon. Some are here, there is more if you want to know them. I have ordered a book with the original Book of Commandments and original Book of Mormon. They are scanned from the originals. I couldn’t afford the originals they are $75,000 or so.

    1 Nephi 3, p. 25* And he said unto me, Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh
    [View the 1830 Book of Mormon text.]

    *The 1830 text did not have verse divisions.
    1 Nephi 11:18 And he said unto me, Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God.
    1 Nephi 3, p. 25 And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, even the Eternal Father!
    [View the 1830 Book of Mormon text.]
    1 Nephi 11:21 And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, even the Son of the Eternal Father!
    1 Nephi 3, p. 26 And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Everlasting God, was judged of the world.
    [View the 1830 Book of Mormon text.]
    1 Nephi 11:32 And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the Everlasting God, was judged of the world.
    1 Nephi 3, p. 32 These last records … shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Savior of the world.
    [View the 1830 Book of Mormon text.]
    1 Nephi 13:40 These last records … shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father and the Savior of the world.

    Other Changes to the Book of Mormon. A variety of other changes have been made that also alter the meaning of the text.

    Original 1830 Text
    Altered Text

    Alma 15, p. 303 yea, I know that he alloteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable,, according to their wills
    [View the 1830 Book of Mormon text.]
    Alma 29:4 yea, I know that he alloteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills
    NOTE: Later editions from at least 1840 to 1980 deleted without explanation these eight words. LDS leaders re-inserted the omitted words into all editions since 1981.
    It is possible Joseph Smith deleted this portion of the verse because it conflicted with a revelation he claimed to receive in 1831 found in Doctrine & Covenants 56:4,5 “Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all of this upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord. Wherefore, I revoke the commandment which was given unto my servants …”

    Mosiah 9, p. 200 … King Benjamin had a gift from God, whereby he could interpret such engravings …
    [View the 1830 Book of Mormon text.]
    Mosiah 21:28 … King Mosiah had a gift from God, whereby he could interpret such engravings …
    Ether 1, p. 546 … and for this cause did King Benjamin keep them …
    [View the 1830 Book of Mormon text.]
    Ether 4:1 … and for this cause did King Mosiah keep them …
    NOTE: According to Book of Mormon chronology, King Benjamin was already dead when these events took place. Apparently LDS leaders changed the name to Mosiah to eliminate the mistake.

    2 Nephi 8, p. 87 … and the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself not
    [View the 1830 Book of Mormon text.]
    2 Nephi 12:9 … and the mean man boweth not down, and the great man humbleth himself not …
    1 Nephi 5, p. 52 … O house of Jacob, which are called out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord …
    [View the 1830 Book of Mormon text.]
    1 Nephi 20:1 … O house of Jacob, which are called out of the waters of Judah, or out of the waters of baptism, which swear by the name of the Lord …
    2 Nephi 12, p. 117 … and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and a delightsome people.
    [View the 1830 Book of Mormon text.]
    2 Nephi 30:6 (1840 edition) … and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white pure and a delightsome people.
    (Later editions until 1981) … white and delightsome

    (1981 to current edition) pure and delightsome

    NOTE: Before 1978 dark-skinned males were not allowed to hold positions of priesthood authority within the Mormon church. Today Mormon scriptures continue to teach that dark skin is a curse from God and a sign of His displeasure (See 1 Nephi 12:23; 2 Nephi 5:21; Alma 3:6). Brigham Young, second president and prophet of the LDS church referred to those with dark skin as being “cursed with a s[k]in of blackness” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 272).

  31. Excellent commentary!

    There was one part in the Old Testament, that especially being a woman, always bothered me. The part where the angels come to Lot and the men of the city were trying to get to them and then the Bible claims Lot offered his daughters for them to rape and pillage instead of the angels.

    And Joseph Smith’s correction to that part is so beautiful. I cried the first time I read it and knew he had corrected what I had always felt was a grave error in translation.

    Thank you for this!

  32. Austin-M, sorry to tell you that JS was not a prophet of God.

  33. My comments were directed to Austin M… not Brian.

  34. Your welcome, if you reseach and really look in to it you will find a lot of wonderful things, the problem is that JS was not a prophet, he was a deciver or someone decieved him. I have more, if you want to read it, I am reading the good and the bad, the problem is the bad is overwelming

  35. Sorry, but you are right about finding a lot of wonderful things like I said but, just to many wrongs dont make a right.

  36. Brian – yes he was a Prophet of God, God told me so through the witness of the Holy Ghost. If you don’t believe it, that is your agency at work. And I don’t think you are *sorry* to tell Jay that at all. Quite gleeful actually.

    What I’d rather hear from you Brian, is what you DO believe that is positive and life changing and causes you to be a better person… instead of constant attacks on someone else’s beliefs… Your constant attacks don’t lead me to believe you have anything in your life that is positive.

  37. Book of commandment Versis D&C

    BC is Book of Commandments

    D & C Doctrine and Covenants

    BC 4:2, p. 10 — and he has a gift to translate the book [of Mormon], and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift.
    [Harmony, Pennsylvania March 1829]

    [View Book of Commandments text.]
    D&C 5:4 — And you have a gift to translate the plates; [and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you;] and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift [until my purpose is fulfilled in this;] for I will grant unto you no other gift [until it is finished].
    Note: The changes to this revelation were necessary for Joseph had already claimed the divine ability to do his own translation of the Bible. Later he would claim the gift to translate ancient Egyptian papyri. However, the evidence does not support these as authentic translations.2

    BC 28:6-7, p. 60 Behold this is wisdom in me, wherefore marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you, on the earth, and with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world:
    Wherefore lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins and be faithful until I come: even so. Amen.

    [Harmony, Pennsylvania September 4, 1830]

    [View Book of Commandments text.]

    D&C 27:5ff Behold this is wisdom in me, wherefore marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you, on the earth, and with [Moroni, whom I have sent unto you to reveal the Book of Mormon, containing the fulness of the everlasting gospel…]
    [Harmony, Pennsylvania first part August 1830, remainder September 1830]

    NOTE: At this point in the revelation over 300 words are added regarding the restoration of the Mormon priesthood by means of divine ordination. By making the account part of a revelation that is dated to 1830, it appears the story has been known since then. However, it is not a part of any revelation until the 1835 edition of the Doctrine & Covenants. Apparently Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, who were in charge of editing the 1835 D&C, inserted this material so that the concept of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods being restored and the office of high priest would appear to have been in place from the start and would appear to have been given directly by God. The revelation concludes with over 130 additional words, taken from the Bible copied almost verbatim from Ephesian 6:13-17. No explanation is given for the dating discrepancy.

    [click here to see document]

    BC 44:26, p. 92 If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments; and behold, thou shalt consecrate all thy properties, that which thou hast unto me, with a covenant and a deed which can not be broken; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church, and two of the elders, such as he shall appoint and set apart for that purpose.
    [Kirtland, Ohio February 1831]

    [View Book of Commandments text.]
    D&C 42:29-30 If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments; and behold, [thou wilt remember the poor, and] thou shalt consecrate [of] all thy properties [for their support] that which thou hast [to impart] unto me [them] with a covenant and a deed which can not be broken. [And inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me] and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church [and his counselors], two of the elders [or high priests], such as he shall appoint [or has appointed] and set apart for that purpose. (February 1831)
    NOTE: By 1835 when the D&C was printed Joseph Smith had given up on the idea of communalism. Therefore this revelation was changed so that Mormons were no longer told by God to consecrate all their properties, but instead the emphasis is shifted to a command to remember the poor and give “of your property”. Also, at the time the revelation was originally given there was no office of “counselor” or “high priest” in the Mormon church, so these also had to be added to the revelation retroactively, once again giving the appearance these offices were there from the beginning.
    BC 9:1, p. 22 Now, behold I say unto you, that because you delivered up so many writings, which you had power to translate, into the hands of a wicked man, you have lost them, and you also lost your gift at the same time …
    [Harmony, Pennsylvania May 1829]

    [View Book of Commandments text.]
    D&C 10:1 9:1 Now, behold I say unto you, that because you delivered up so many [those] writings, which you had power [given unto you] to translate [by the means of the Urim and Thummim], into the hands of a wicked man, you have lost them.
    (v.2) And you also lost your gift at the same time, [and your mind became darkened].

    NOTE: There is no mention of the Old Testament Urim and Thummim in the Book of Mormon nor is there any connection of the Urim and Thummim to the translation of the Book of Mormon until 1833, which is four years after this revelation was supposedly given.

    Another example of a revelation that has undergone hundreds of changes was first published in The Evening & Morning Star in October 1832. The revelation was said to have been received in November of 1831.
    [View document]
    This revelation is now D&C 68 and contains multiple references to the Melchizedek priesthood, high priests and the First Presidency. Once again the attempt is made to write later developments into previously given revelations to make them fit Joseph’s evolving church structure.
    [View document]

    Changes in the Pearl of Great Price

    As with the Doctrine and Covenants, LDS leaders have altered the revelations contained in the Pearl of Great Price.

    Original 1851 Pearl of Great Price
    Current, Altered Pearl of Great Price

    PGP Moses, p. 14 — And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And again, the Lord said unto the woman, I will greatly multiply your sorrow, and your conception.
    [View Pearl of Great Price text.]

    PGP Moses 4:19-22 — And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And again, [I] the Lord [God] said unto the [serpent: Because thou has done this thou shalt be cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon they belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life; And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed; and he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the] woman, [I the Lord God said],.I will greatly multiply [thy] your sorrow, and [thy] your conception.
    PGP Moses, p. 16 — And the Lord said unto Cain, why are you angry? Why is your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not well, sin lies at the door, and Satan desires to have you; and except you shall hearken unto my commandments, I will deliver you up, and it shall be unto you according to his desire.
    [View Pearl of Great Price text.]
    PGP Moses 5:22-31 — And the Lord said unto Cain, why are you angry [art thou wroth]? Why is your [thy] countenance fallen? If you do [thou doest] well, will you not be [thou shall be] [thou shall be] accepted?. And if you [thou] do[est] not well, sin lie[th] at the door, and Satan desire[th] to have you [thee]; and except you [thou] shall hearken unto my commandments, I will deliver you [thee] up, and it shall be unto you [thee] according to his desire. [And thou shalt rule over him; For from this time forth thou shalt be the father of his lies; thou shalt be called Perdition; for thou wast also before the world. For from this time forth thou shalt be …]
    Note: At this point there are an additional 200 words added to this passage including Cain making a pact directly with Satan to be able to kill his brother Abel.

    PGP JS History, p. 41 — He called me by name and said unto me, that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Nephi.
    [View Pearl of Great Price text.]
    PGP JS History, 1:33 — He called me by name and said unto me, that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni.
    Note: All evidence indicates this change was made after the death of Joseph Smith, and cannot be considered a clerical error. Both the handwritten manuscripts for the History of the Church, and the printed history in the Church newspaper Times and Seasons (of which Joseph Smith was editor) give the visiting personage’s name as “Nephi.”

  38. I can go on for a long time, I don’t know when it was that I said enough I can’t believe in this anymore. I really want people to know, not because I hate the LDS church. But because Jesus would want you to know!

  39. As I said before Brian. I have a witness from the Holy Ghost that is so powerful I could not deny it that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God and that the LDS Church is His Church Restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. None of your words will change my mind or sway me in any way.

    To the contrary, you build my testimony by the fervency with which you attack the Church. As I said in another post to you, you act much like the Scribes and Pharisees in your persecution. And your picking apart things that matter not.

    I can look at every single change you cited and see a good reason for clarification. And unlike you, I don’t expect perfection from a Prophet. Which is how I can accept all the Prophets from Adam through to the present one Gordon B. Hinkley.

    I hope you find something else to do with your time than attempting to tear down God’s Church.

  40. You’re wasting your breath and fighting against Him who you claim to believe. But it’s your breath to waste. Have a glorious day.

  41. One final comment…

    There is one other thing that I’m very sure of… that you, Brian, are definitely not a Prophet…

  42. You are so Brainwashed. That is why I couldn’t fully give myself to the Church, I seen it in others.

  43. You are not following Jesus’ teaching alone you are following the LDS Church teachings (Teachings of man not prophets). When convenent or when it is translated correctly (as the church says), unlike the Book of Mormon I would assume from all the changes, you learn some from the bible.

  44. I didn’t claim to be a prophet did I?

  45. “You are not following Jesus’ teaching alone you are following the LDS Church teachings (Teachings of man not prophets). When convenent or when it is translated correctly (as the church says), unlike the Book of Mormon I would assume from all the changes, you learn some from the bible.”

    This is almost completely incoherent.

    As to Brainwashing… good for me! I hope to be completely brainwashed by Jesus. 😉

  46. David Whitmer “Is it possible that the minds of men can be so blinded as to believe that God would give these revelations…and then afterwards command them to change and add to them some words which change the meaning entirely? Is it possible that a man who pretends to any spirituality would believe that God would work in any such manner?” (An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887)

  47. The fact that there are many Gods and that we too can become Gods is, in our opinion, directly violating the very first commandment and is one of the most blasphemous teachings of the church. (See Ex. 20: 3, Ex. 34: 14, Jer. 25: 6, John 17: 3, Deut. 6: 4, Matt. 19: 17, Mark 10: 18, Mark 12: 32, Luke 18: 19, Rom. 3: 30, 1 Cor. 8: 4, 1 Cor. 8: 6, Gal. 3: 20, Eph. 4: 6, 1 Tim. 2: 5, James 2: 19 and probably about a thousand more scriptures that we missed.)

  48. “As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become.” So, we were a little confused by Pres. Hinckley’s response when a reporter asked in 1997 “Just another related question that comes up is the statements in the King Follet discourse by the Prophet, about that, God the Father was once a man as we were. This is something that Christian writers are always addressing. Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?”. Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley responded by saying, “I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it. I haven’t heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I don’t know. I don’t know all the circumstances under which that statement was made. I understand the philosophical background behind it. But I don’t know a lot about it and I don’t know that others know a lot about it.”
    He doesn’t know much does he?

  49. Brian and others,
    Statements of past leaders have disturbed me. Some are stupid, some are disgusting, some are just plain outrageous, but then I realized something. They are men just like me. God doesn’t make them perfect when he calls them as prophets. They still have opinions, tempers, feelings, etc. Many times we want to demand perfection from a prophet when we don’t even demand it of ourselves. It is wrong to assume that every word they speak is doctrine from God himself.

    I have seen the interview you are speaking of. The reason Gordon B. Hinckley said we don’t emphasize it is because we don’t. Any comment made about how God became God is pure speculation. It doesn’t matter who said it (except if it was God, of course). President Hinckley is not going to say we teach something that we don’t (that would be a lie). I would feel perfectly comfortable correcting someone on this point in church, if it ever came up. It is like a lot of things, people repeat it because they think they have a juicy bit of knowledge that everyone must know. What they don’t realize is that it’s not doctrine of the LDS Church. It is simply not taught. If someone wants to believe it just because Joseph Smith said it then that’s their right, but the LDS members are not obligated to believe it.

    If I stood up in sacrament meeting and said, “I reject the statement of Joseph Smith that God was once a man like me!” guess what would happen to me. Absolutely nothing, because it is not a required belief, it is not doctrine. I would not be pulled aside by the Bishop or questioned by the Stake President. Okay, I admit I may get a few odd looks, oh well. Same goes with blood atonement, Adam-God, people living in the Sun or on the moon and every other weird “doctrine” that hasn’t been taught church wide since the person that said it died.

    There is an excellent article entitled “I don’t have a testimony of the history of the church” by David Bitton (you can google it) he spent a decade employed as an historian of the LDS Church. For anyone having problems with LDS history I highly recommend it. It helped me to change my expectations of what a prophet of God is.

    I no longer hang on every word that every prophet has said like a sheep. Our salvation is in our hands. It is our responsibility to find our way. We can’t be lazy! Don’t think that a prophet is going to tell you every step you must take each day. Don’t think that everything that falls from Hinckley’s lips is unquestionable. We should question something when it doesn’t sound right. We should research and study. I still have problems with some LDS history, but I’m willing to wait until I have all the facts.

    Dropping quotes from past leaders on someone like bombs doesn’t prove anything significant. People must go back to the source themselves, understand the context in which it was spoken and then make a judgment. This is an individual task. No one can do it for you. It’s hard and time consuming, but it must be done. Otherwise you aren’t thinking for yourself your letting someone else think for you.

    If someone does it for you then you must always wonder if you got all the information or only part. If you want something done right do it yourself. I question statements of LDS leaders. I question statements of anti-LDS and other critics of the LDS Church. You can’t let someone tell you what the facts are. You must study them yourself.

  50. Excellent response Jay!

    I like D&C 9:8 and that is how I gain a testimony of most things. It is also how I make most of my decisions.

    Although sometimes, l like at this point in my life I find that there are no decisions I can make and must simply accept where I am and make the best of it. But I always make it a point to study everything I can get my hands on and read and listen and pray about it all. I love this Church and the Gospel. And I love how I am always encouraged to receive my own testimony about any truth rather than just go along.

    But in things I know are Church Doctrine that I may not get right away, I do simply obey and then find I later get a testimony of that thing after my obedience to it.

  51. A testimony is not a reliable barameter.
    You can convince yourself of anything.
    A testimony is nothing more than a good feeling about something you have already convinced yourself of – whether consciously or not.

    There are millions of people that have a testimony of the Koran and will strap bombs to themselves to defend both the Koran and their testimony.

    You would have to be pretty convinced about something to do that. I would venture to say that habib has as strong a “testimony” about the truthfulness of the Koran and Islam as Jayleen has about the BofM and Mormanism.

    They can’t both be right.

    Having the same result about two opposing things using the same method of proof leads me to think the following:

    The are both right – This is impossible
    One is right – If this is true then the method of proof is flawed
    Both are wrong – This is the most likely scenario

    Just my observations

  52. If you’ve seen God and Jesus, why are you worried about people who make fun of you or mock you? Don’t you think at this point that God and Jesus kind of have your back at this point and will take care of you?

    Why would it be any more of less remarkable of a story to say, “hey, I saw God” or “hey, I saw God AND Jesus”, or “hey, I saw God, Jesus and a multitude of angels.” I thinking that if you’re bold enough to have said you’ve seen God, you’re bold enough to have said you’ve seen both. Unless, you’re trying later in life to explain certain points of doctrine and it makes sense to go back and change your story a little bit.

    I’m not saying that something remarkable didn’t happen to JS in the grove at some point in his youth. I just tend to believe that it probably wasn’t what we’re told today. The whole world can say “they know it to be true” but so can everyone else about their own belief system.

  53. Seers,
    I see where you are coming from, but I think some would argue that it has happened before. Peter denied Christ three times because he was afraid of the people. Keep in mind that at that point he knew Jesus was the Messiah.

  54. Well, I haven’t read the original greek version of the New Testament, but here’s the scripture:

    30 “And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.

    Jesus said “Thou shalt…” – kind of like a commandment to Peter, right? This is the same Peter who hours before grabbed a sword from a Roman and cut off his ear. I have a hard time believing that Peter wasn’t ready to die for the Lord, but JC needed him around for the benefit of those that JC was leaving behind. That’s my interpretation of that.

  55. You could be right, but I don’t think that’s how most people look at that scripture. I’m probably influenced by the living scriptures cartoon and other movies I saw:).

  56. Bro. Seers, that interpretation is flawed. Peter forgot that Christ said he would deny him until the cock crowed, then he was reminded, was angry with himself, and wept. see Matthew 26:74-75.


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