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Radio Free Mormon: 147: Hiding in Plain Sight

RFM dissects the first talk in the most recent General Conference given by Elder M. Russell Ballard on the First Vision.  Is Elder Ballard hiding things in plain sight?  You decide!


18 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 147: Hiding in Plain Sight”

  1. A point of interest perhaps RFM…If I’m not mistaken, the word ‘Aha’ originated from none other than one of the biggest guru ‘know-it-alls’ of the modern age…yes…. Oprah Winfrey. The church has not been successful in mainstreaming its unique jargon so Im afraid the church can’t take credit for that one. LOL

    I am not surprised that you heard it around the church a lot. Its a bit of an arrogant, magical eureka kind of statement that fits well in Mormon attitudes…especially that of ‘knowing it all’

    Nothing against you, I just can’t stand using it myself, hahahahaha ( note, not aha)

    Im sure you noticed that Ballard called us ‘blessed’ to have 4 accounts instead of cursed, which is more like what that problem is for the keepers of the narrative, if truth be told. That statement further lulls it’s members into thinking that not only are there 4 accounts…. there is no problem , AND we are blessed!!!….egads, I can’t take it.

    Love you RFM!

    1. > the word ‘Aha’ originated from none other than one of the biggest guru ‘know-it-alls’ of the modern age…yes…. Oprah Winfrey

      Closely followed by Chaucer:

      “This seely widewe and hire doughtres two … cryden out “harrow!” and “weloway! A ha! þe fox!” and after him they ran”

      (From the Nun Priest’s Tale in Canturbury Tales. line 4570, “aha” here is sometimes translated “ha ha”)

      Sorry for being an obnoxious smart alec! 🙂

      1. hahaha…too funny. I wasn’t all that certain Oprah had originated it, I just knew the Mormon church hadn’t. She sure repopularized it though. I enjoyed getting the correction as it means Oprah doesn’t get the credit. LOL! Thanks Alec, oops,I mean Chris:)

        1. I will add along with Chris and Angie that the first time I heard this expression was back in the 1980s from a ward member and returned missionary named Frank. I don’t know when Oprah made it big, but maybe Frank was just following Chaucer’s lead. ;^)

    2. Great call on Elder Ballard calling us “blessed” for having the 4 FV accounts.

      I would bet he doesn’t really feel that “blessed” about it.

      Sort of like the LDS Church was blessed to have original fragments of the Joseph Smith papyri found in the New York Metropolitan Museum back in the 1960s.

      Blessed indeed!

          1. Radio Free Mormon


            I guess “The Last Revision” would have to apply to the 1842 account.

            But wait, I think Elder Ballard may have been giving us a more recent revision just ten days ago or so in conference.

            I guess there is no such thing as “The Last Revision,” then.

            Whatever the most recent revision is, it is always susceptible of being revised by church leadership.

            The Restoration Continues!

    3. Ballard calls the four accounts we are blessed with “primary accounts” as if that means something better than the same one person telling four (vastly different) stories. The gospels do vary, but they are at least each told by a different person. So, to me, that Easter egg is about as big as a soccer ball, and if you miss that you just don’t want to see it. And since I haven’t used my daily allotment of snark, I’ll say it takes cojones the size of soccer balls to weed out all the contradictions and create, as Ballard as done, a yet one more First Vision account.

      1. This is an important point, E Woo.

        As different as they may be in recounting Jesus’s life and ministry, at least the four gospel accounts are written by four different persons.

        Having four different accounts of the same event written by the same person, who allegedly personally experienced the event he is describing, is of an entirely different order of magnitude.

  2. Rasband’s talk includes an amusing easter egg as well. He seems to admit the the Sacred Grove is the only consistent part of the first vision stories.

    “My dear brothers and sisters, I am honored to speak at this historic general conference commemorating Joseph Smith’s First Vision of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, in what is, without question, a Sacred Grove.”

    1. That is too funny! Isn’t it great how the same words can be understood to convey such different messages? Nice find!

  3. Ballard is doing what George Lucas did with Star Wars. George took ideas and scenes from other movies and remixed them into a NEW story. Thus, Star Wars was born. Ballard is taking ideas and quotes from separate, singular accounts to create a NEW remixed first vision account.

    1. I think this is correct in a general sense, at least.

      Elder Ballard, on the other hand, is not taking elements and claiming to make a NEW story.

      Instead, he is picking and choosing elements from four accounts of contradictory versions of one story, putting them together, and claiming that the new story is in fact the same old story that was originally told by Joseph Smith.

      That is the main problem I have with it, at least.

      Thanks for listening!


  4. Now when I hear these guys speak, my skin crawls!
    But what I wanted to say was, I thought it wasn’t accidental at all that he began his talk with accounts of the “First Vision” that we are all familiar with. He’s repeating a story we’ve all heard a thousand times and it’s like a spell. By the time he adds anything new or unexpected, we’ve all been lulled into a bored conference daze.
    Because NOTHING is more dry bones than General Conference! Even at my most earnest and faithful, I could rarely force myself to pay attention for an entire talk. When a new speaker would come to the podium, I’d perk up and really conjure up all of my discipline and focus to really attend to what they were saying, but I’d normally only be able to maintain that level of attention for about the first quarter of the talk before drifting off.
    I thought Ballard lulled most people into a dreamy daze and then slipped in the other accounts where people wouldn’t notice.
    Especially as you said, RFM, that when you think you already know the story, hiding things in plain sight, becomes even easier to do.

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