13 Replies to “Radio Free Mormon: 115: Arguing Against the Evidence”

  1. The corporation basically memory holed the Lectures on Faith for the same reason. The Fifth Lecture contradicts the official First Vision account as well as what became the current Section 131 (IIRC).

    1. Yup, and just stand-alone the 1838 vision version slaughters it’s own credibility, proving itself nothing short of an outright lie and fraud.

  2. I still have some questions about Joseph Fielding Smith. I have no doubt that Joseph Fielding Smith (or someone at his direction) cut out the 1832 account and put the account in Joseph Fielding Smith’s safe.

    I have no doubt that Joseph Fielding Smith knew the contents of the 1832 at the time JFS made the decision to cut out the 1832 account and put it in his safe.

    I have no doubt that Joseph Fielding Smith did so with the intent to prevent the public (and everyone who failed to get permission from a higher ranked general authority) from learning its contents.

    The questions I have are as follows (1) Was JFS aware of the contents of the 1960 New Era article? That is, was the article ghost written with little oversight, ghost written with substantial JFS oversight, or wholly written by JFS? and (2) By the time the Joseph Fielding Smith church magazine article was written and published in 1960, which was decades after the removal and placement in the safe, was JFS’s memory such that JFS was still aware that the 1832 account contradicted the 1960 article?

    My understanding is that negligence would not be a defense under Brady caselaw. Thus, the 1832 account would **still** be Brady material. But JFS still could be negligent and not deliberately withholding it.

    1. To your questions:

      1) Though it is possible that JFS wasn’t “aware” of the contents, it seems highly unlikely considering at the time this article was written he was the Church Historian. It is usually the case that church leaders defer to the Church Historians for questions regarding church history, such as the one that was the basis for this article. Anything less than an answer from one who was not only the Church Historian but one of the 12, would be inadequate.

      2) It is surely the case that in 1960 JFS was still aware of the contents of the first vision account that was cut out and in his personal safe. I think that this backed up by the fact that JFS was still denying access to this account all the way until 1965 when it was approved to be used in Paul Cheesman’s BYU article in 1965.

      Should also add that this first vision account was only found because JFS approved Lamar Peterson (who told the tanners of the accounts existence in 1963) to see the first vision account in 1953. Surely JFS knew what he was approving Peterson to view only 7 years before he wrote the Improvement Era article.

      JFS was also certainly aware of the contents due to the fact that in 1963, the Tanners were specifically writing to JFS to request access to this account and were denied, I believe, directly from JFS. The Tanner’s knowledge of this account is what prompted the re-insertion of the FV account back into JS’s ~ 1832 letterbook around 1964 and the approval of its use in Cheesman’s 1965 article.

    2. To answer your question whether JFS was aware of the contents of the 1960 article: JFS taught this same idea to the entirety of the church in his April 1960 General Conference address, “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer”:

      “I want to thank this choir for giving me a text, “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer.” I wonder, brethren, particularly you brethren, and our sisters, too, if we have fully realized the importance of that First Vision, the coming of the Father and the Son to the Prophet Joseph Smith, just a boy.”

      “The world has not realized it, or they would repent of their sins. For some fifteen hundred years or more, perhaps, the world had lost the truth in relation to the Father and the Son and in the year 325, at a conclave that was held, they adopted a new idea entirely in regard to God and confused the Father and the Son, and the Christian world, from that day down until now, has looked upon the Father and the Son as being mysterious—I cannot say individuals, nor can I say substance, but some sort of spirit without separation and the idea of the separate individuals, Father and Son, from that day on ceased to exist.”

      “Now, if the Prophet was telling a falsehood when he went into the woods to pray, he never would have come out and said that he had seen a vision of the Father and the Son and that they were separate Personages, and that the Father introduced the son and then told the Prophet to address his question to the Son, who would give him the answer (JS—H 1:14-20). The Prophet never would have thought of such a thing as that, had it been a fraud.”

      “If he had come out of the woods saying he had seen a vision, had it been untrue never would he have thought of separating Father and Son, nor would he have ever thought of having the Father introduce the Son and for him to put his question to the Son to receive his answer. He never could have thought of it; for that was the farthest thing from the ideas existing in the world in the year 1820.”

      “The very fact that the Prophet made that statement that he saw the Father and the Son and they were glorious Personages, and that the Father spoke to him and introduced the Son but did not ask him what he wanted, is one of the most significant things that ever occurred in the history of this world. The Prophet, if he had been telling an untruth, even if he had thought that the Father and the Son were separate Personages, would have made another very serious error, if he had lied about it. More than likely he would have said he saw the Father and the Son and the Father asked him what he wanted, and the Father gave him the answer. If Joseph Smith had said a thing like that, it would have been fatal to his story. He did not make a mistake. It was Jesus who answered his question, and the Father introduced his Son, just as he did at the baptism of the Savior (Matt. 3:17), and just as he did to the three, Peter, James, and John, on the Mount (Matt. 17:5), and the Savior gave the answer, as all answers have come from our Father in heaven from the beginning, since Adam was driven out of the Garden of Eden, down to this day. They have all come through the Son.”

      “Now, the Prophet made no mistake, and a boy of his age would not have known; he would have fallen into a trap, just as sure as we live, if it were untrue.”

      “Do I believe that the Prophet saw the Father and the Son? I certainly do. I know it. I do not need a vision. Reason teaches that to me. And then I have that knowledge also by the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord. The Lord has made it known to me. So I thanked the choir, as I sat here wondering what I would say.”

      Source: https://www.instituteofreligion.org/talk.php?&mob=1&d=1960-04-04&s=6

  3. Can you provide references for the two Joseph Fielding Smith articles mentioned in the podcast? Are they available online? I can’t find them.

  4. I guess I shouldn’t be as shocked and disheartened as I am by now at this level of dishonesty from the top leaders. But these are the same people who made it so the rank and file level members can’t get a temple recommend unless they are honest in all their dealings!!!!!. So there is the hypocrisy in addition to the dishonesty. Ugh

    1. Too bad the members fail to realize that the temple recommend itself has no doctrinal or scriptural basis. It was instituted by the leadership as an obedience test not to the church, but to the leadership.

      For as many mistakes as Joseph Smith made, one thing he got right was not turning temples into elitist clubs.

  5. RFM, I love you but I think you’re not being entirely fair here. First, Joseph Smith did not write that he “only” saw the Lord. It is true that he only mentions the Lord, but that is not the same. Joseph may have been somewhat guarded about what details he included, since it was not yet time to go public with the experience and there was a real risk of anything Joseph wrote down getting into the wrong hands. Second, JFS’s argument centers around what Joseph Smith was willing to publicly state, when it was time to go public, so Joseph’s personal journal was not relevant to the argument JFS was making.

  6. I don’t care as much about “the light being green or red” as I care about the 1838 first vision version single-handedly proving itself a fraud – contradicting the hell out of just itself and early doctrine, journals, and no witness of JS telling anyone or family about it at all, nor any enemy of the church using it against the church. Not one single witness of the contradictory dogmatic “vision” proving itself impossible without the other very contradictory accounts nipping at it’s heels. Dogma Crap. Amen.

  7. Happy 200th anniversary of the first vision fraud, next year, LDS church! Leaders are justified to lie a little, cheat a little, dig dig their own pit a little bit deeper.

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