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Gospel Topics Chapter 5 Howlett Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
May 3, 2021 9:14 pm

Gospel Topics Chapter 5 Howlett Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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May 3, 2021 9:14 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.

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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 so glad to be with us for this additional viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM.

The LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement.

A book printed in 2020. Edited by Matthew L. Harrison Newell G. Bringhurst brings to light some of the criticisms you might say of the original third team gospel topics essays that were released by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Beginning in late 2013 and going on through the year 2015.

We are looking at Chapter 5 titled the cultural work of the first vision accounts essay by David J. Howlett, as we mentioned in yesterday show David J. Howlett is a member of the community of Christ. So even that splinter group does have a connection he could say with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City. However, they do not officially view this first vision as being quite as important as the LDS church in Salt Lake City.

It's interesting that they chose Mr. Howlett to write this there is going to be some bias. You would assume that I think he brings out some interesting points that should be considered and in yesterday show as we introduce this chapter. He begins by talking about Mormon Pres. Gordon B.

Hinckley and the various statements that Hinckley made during his lifetime about the importance of the first vision, even to the point that if the first vision did not take place. The way Joseph Smith explains that that that would cast a huge shadow over the very existence of the LDS church in the first place.

And he notes that Hinckley Shirley raise the stakes held by LDS members vis--vis the first vision now in yesterday show we read the portion where Howlett correctly notes that for much of its history, the LDS church had what he says. By and large, acknowledge only one first vision account authored by Smith. However, this changes in the 1960s where he says in the mid-1960s, and LDS graduate student in his masters thesis included the text of an even earlier account of Smith's verse vision of account. Eventually dated to 1832 that we should mention because when you read that it was an LDS graduate student at BYU that makes you think of some young kid in his 20s, and that's not the case here, though he's not mentioned by name. This LDS graduate student is a man by the name of Paul Cheeseman. Now, at this time. Paul Cheeseman is teaching at BYU as well as seeking to get his masters degree so he's in his 40s at this time. He's not a young man, but it was Cheeseman who ran across what came to be known by Levi Edgar Jang who was a part of the 70s years ago back in the 1950s.

It was Levi Edgar Jang, who referred to what Mr. Cheeseman had discovered as being a strange account of the first vision now in yesterday show we read you a portion from the book Mormonism shadow or reality which was written by Gerald and Sandra Tanner on page 145. They talk about this strange account as described by Levi Edgar Yun but we want to continue what the tanners have to say about this because at the bottom of page 145. The tenors find out about this strange account and they tried to obtain a copy of it. What is it say on page 145 or we became interested in the strange account and wrote to Joseph Fielding Smith who was a church historian and closing one dollar and asking for a photocopy of it. Unfortunately this letter was never answered and we had almost given up hope of ever seen this document to our great surprise, however, to strange accounts of the first vision have now come to light.

The first appeared in the thesis and analysis of the counts relating Joseph Smith's early visions by Paul R Cheeseman, Mr. Cheeseman was a student at the Brigham Young University and he evidently wrote his thesis as a rebuttal to statements we had made concerning the first vision and some of our publications, although he tries to support the first vision story. He has reproduced a document written by Joseph Smith himself, which not only proves that he did not see the father the son in 1820, but also casts a shadow of doubt upon his entire story of the origin of the church.

This document was reproduced in appendix D of Paul R Cheeseman's thesis. Cheeseman states that it quote appears to be the earliest written account" of the first vision on page 64 of his thesis.

Mr. Cheeseman states quote this account was never published or referred to by any of the authorities of the church. As far as the writer has been able to determine instead of going back over and revising Joseph Smith evidently dictated the story. Later, as we have it in appendix A." It's interesting that the word dictated disease because when I read that you immediately think that Joseph Smith is actually saying this to someone else's writing it down, but later on those who are examining this document are convinced that this is in the handwriting of Joseph Smith. So what we have here is a hand written account of the first vision by Joseph Smith as early as 1832.

Now, what makes this so controversy ON what makes it something that church leaders do not want to get out into the public is it's clear that Joseph Smith gives an account that conflicts with what is later known to be the 1838 account. That's the difference between the two. Between the 1832 in the 1838 account.

Think of it this way, the 1832 account written by Joseph Smith himself is really the first account of this first vision, the 1838 account would be what we could say is the last account of this first vision. Compare the details between these two and we do see some glaring discrepancies now LDS church scholars and apologists have tried very hard to convince its membership that these two accounts really don't conflict they really harmonize.

But if that's really true, then why is it as we read yesterday when Lamar Peterson went and had an interview with Levi Edgar Young on February 3, 1953 in his notes. He said told to get higher permission obtained that permission examined the documents written. He thought about 1837 or 38. Now we know that not true. It was earlier than that, but this is within Lamar Peterson's notes was told not to copy or tell what they contained said it was a strange account of the first vision.

Now that would be Levi Edgar Young saying that was put back in vault remains unused on no. If this is supposed to be harmonizing you would think that the church at that time would have taken that out and printed on the front page of the desert retinues. I think it's very clear that they saw this as being problematic and that's why they didn't want it to get out.

Unfortunately, now polar Cheeseman is doing his masters thesis and he includes the document at the end of it in the tanners get a hold of this eventually and they publish it in 1965, it says at the bottom of page 145 of Mormonism shadow or reality.

In 1965 we publish this girly account of the first vision under the title Joseph Smith's strange account of the first vision. It continues and says because the document was so unusual. Some members of the Mormon church doubted its authenticity.

Although the Mormon leaders would make no public statement concerning the document James B. Allen associate Prof. of history at Brigham Young University admitted that the document was genuine. In an article published in 1966, Allen stated, quote one of the most significant documents of that. Yet discovered was brought to light in 1965 by Paul R Cheeseman, a graduate student at Brigham Young University. This is a handwritten manuscript apparently composed about 1833 and either written or dictated by Joseph Smith. It contains an account of the early experiences of the Mormon prophet and includes the story of the first vision not notice the word dictated is still being used at this time. However, the tanners also note on page 146. Upon more careful examination of this document Dean C Jesse has discovered that part of it is in the handwriting of Joseph Smith himself quote this six page account is the only history containing the actual handwriting of Joseph Smith of fact that was not detected when this account was previously analyzed. The pages their lives in ellipses contain his account of the first vision and this can be found in BYU studies summer of 1971, page 462 note number 78 Bill, I think we need to give kudos to Paul Cheeseman for writing this in the first place as a response as a rebuttal to Jerald and Sandra Tanner, and it actually helped the cause of what the tanners are trying to do and I think we need to throw out kudos that Jerald and Sandra, who in 1965, the same year that this master's thesis was written, they publish the strange account of the first vision. This is like being an archaeologist and finding something for the first time that nobody else had ever discovered and be able to release that to the public. And so what is service the tanners did in in the case of the first vision when I think is often not set enough is what we've been discussing in yesterday and today's program and that is the reaction from the church itself when it comes to this 1832 account today when you talk to most Latter Day Saints. They act like it's no big deal. So what if, in his 1832 account. He never mentions God the father. He only mentions the Lord he goes to inquire of the Lord about his sins being forgiven not because of the revival that was taking place in the area of Palmyra, New York as the 1838 account implies he's told in the 1838 account not to join any of the churches, for they were all wrong for the creeds were an abomination in God's sight. But even though Smith of the 1838 account acts as if that was news to him. 1832 account says that Smith already knows that the various denominations are problematic. So we do see some conflicts here but the way the essay tries to tell the story makes it sound like it's no problem at all, but yet that's not the way the church acted in the early years when the 1832 account was coming to light. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information is research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint is sharing your faith with the Latter Day Saints kit helps to know what their church is taught in several basic topics. For this reason as a research ministry has provided its crash course Mormonism crash course, Mormonism includes concise articles highlighting what LDS leaders and church manuals have taught on issues that will probably come up in a typical conversation. You can find these informative articles and crash course Mormonism.com that's crash course Mormonism.com


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