The First Vision

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The First Vision

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The purpose of this thread is to demonstrate a startling new concept (at least for me) in discovering HOW Joseph Smith developed his theology of the plurality of the Godhead as expressed in the First Vision account and that Smith’s beliefs evolved as he changed his story. In other words, the First Vision account has been tampered with by none other than Joseph Smith himself insomuch as he was the one making things up as he went along.

The 1832 handwritten account of the First Vision is the account that lends us to know that Joseph Smith had NOT yet developed his doctrine that the Father & Son were two separate Persons as revealed in the 1835 First Vision account and later in the official 1838 account. This understanding is fully expressed in doctrinal terms in the 1843 revelation stating that “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit.”

Here is the important clip of the 1832 account of the First Vision where we learn that Jesus appeared to Joseph Smith but nothing is said or implied that two Persons appeared to him, ONLY the Lord of glory who was crucified for the sins of the world.

Joseph Smith Handwritten Account of the 1832 First Vision wrote: Joseph Smith Papers

I cried unto the Lord for mercy for there was none else to whom I could go and to obtain mercy and the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness and while in the attitude of calling upon the Lord a piller of fire light above the brightness of the sun at noon day come down from above and rested upon me and I was filled with the spirit of god and the Lord opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying Joseph my son thy sins are forgiven thee. go thy way walk in my statutes and keep my commandments behold I am the Lord of glory I was crucifyed for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life

Three years later Joseph Smith would begin to change his story and I will demonstrate how that happened and provide proof from Joseph Smith’s own later admission when he accidently confessed that he had changed his original telling of the First Vision to include the plurality of Gods. In other words, this thread is going to provide the *proof* necessary to show that Joseph Smith made up the First Vision as he went along and that the testimony of “two Personages” was a later construct to meet his changing doctrinal beliefs.


I hope you are following along, RFM. You too, Philo.
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Re: The First Vision

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The following points are taken directly from the handwritten manuscript of an important address Joseph Smith gave to the saints in explaining how the Church came to know the doctrine of the Plurality of Gods. Smith claimed in the address that this doctrine was what he had always taught the Church since it was first organized and that was ever the doctrine that fell from his lips in all places and in all times. But was it? The 1832 account of the First Vision does not preach the plurality of Gods. It would be another three years before that was introduced in the 1835 account!

Please pay particular attention to the last bulleted items in RED because this is when Smith accidently tips his hand in revealing when he shifted his doctrinal views on the Godhead and embraced the Plurality of Gods -- and with that introduced the claim that TWO PERSONS appeared to him in the first Vision. Please note that it is the Egyptian Papyrus that was the catalyst to this new founded theology and his so-called translations of the Book of Abraham and dabbling with the Hebrew language in which Smith began to study when he received the papyrus.

In other words, it was the PAPYRI purchased by Smith in July of 1835 that acted as the catalyst in changing Smith’s beliefs of One God into MULTIPLE PERSONS in the November 1835 new First Vision account and TWO in the official 1838 story!

And yes, I will explain how this happened. But first, read the bulleted items and then carefully consider the ones in RED. (Sorry, Dr. Shades, I need a little red ink)

Joseph Smith, Discourse, 16 June 1844 wrote: Handwriting of Jonathan Grimshaw
  • President Joseph Smith read the 3rd Chap of Revelations, and took for his text 1st. Chap. 6th verse: ‘And hath made us Kings and Priests unto God and his Father
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; and they declare that the Prophet believes in a plurality of Gods
  • I’ll preach this doctrine, for the truth shall be preached. I will preach on the plurality of Gods.
  • I wish to declare I have always, and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods.
  • I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage, and a Spirit, and these three constitute three distinct personages, and three Gods.
  • If this is in accordance with the new testament lo and behold, we have three Gods any how, and they are plural; and who can contradict it.
  • My object was to preach the Scriptures, and preach the doctrine they contain, there being a God above the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • hence the doctrine of a plurality of Gods is as prominent in the Bible as any other doctrine; it is all over the face of the Bible
  • Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many
  • I will shew from the Hebrew Bible that I am correct; and the first word shews a plurality of Gods
  • An unlearned boy must give you a little Hebrew: Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeem vehau auraits
  • It read first, ‘In the beginning the head of the Gods brought forth the Gods’
  • ‘In the beginning the heads of the Gods organized the heavens and the earth.’
  • I once asked a learned Jew ‘if the Hebrew language compels us to render all words ending in heim in the plural, why not render the first Eloheim plural?’
  • In the very beginning the bible shews there is a plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation. It is a great subject I am dwelling on; the word Eloheim ought to be the plural all the way through— Gods
  • Many men say there is one God— the Father, the Son, and the Holy ghost, are only one God! I say, that is a strange God any how— three in one, and one in three!
  • everlasting burnings of the Gods; and then we shall see as we are seen, and be as our God, and he as his Father.
  • I want to reason a little on this subject; I learned it by translating the papyrus which is now in my house.
  • I learned a testimony concerning Abraham, and he reasoned concerning the God of Heaven
  • in order to do that said he,— ‘suppose we have two facts, that supposes another fact may exist; two men on the earth, one wiser than the other, would logically shew that another who is wiser than the wisest may exist. Intelligencies exist one above another, so that there is no end to them.’
  • If Abraham reasoned thus— if Jesus Christ was the son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that he had a Father also.


Compare also Bulock’s account of the same address:
Joseph Smith, Discourse, 16 June 1844 wrote: Handwriting of Thomas Bullock
Last edited by Shulem on Wed Nov 17, 2021 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The First Vision

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Joseph Smith, Discourse, 16 June 1844 wrote:
  • I want to reason a little on this subject; I learned it by translating the papyrus which is now in my house.

Indeed, that’s how he “learned it”!

It was the images on the papyrus that influenced Joseph Smith into transitioning into the idea that one God was three different Personages. Smith was ready to take Christianity into a whole new perspective wherein the belief in one God would shift into the Plurality of Gods. Smith confessed (tipped his hand) that he learned it by translating the papyrus, NOT by his First Vision account he recorded in 1832 when he reported to just see a single Person!


Oliver Cowdery, Second Elder of the Church & Assistant to the President, MESSENGER AND ADVOCATE, December 1835 wrote:
The evidence is apparent upon the face, that they were written by persons acquainted with the history of the creation, the fall of man, and more or less of the correct ideas of notions of the Deity. The representation of the god-head-three, yet in one, is curiously drawn to give simply, though impressively, the writers views of that exalted personage.

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Evolution of God in the Book of Mormon

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Pre-Papyrus w/Urim & Thummim, seer stone, and a hat:
1830 edition wrote:Behold, the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh.
1830 edition wrote:And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?
1830 edition wrote:And it came to pass the angel spake unto me again, saying, look! 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; and I saw and bear record.
Vs. Post-Papyrus Edits:
1837 edition wrote:Behold, the virgin whom thou seest, is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
1837 edition wrote:And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?
1837 edition wrote:And it came to pass the angel spake unto me again, saying, look! 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; and I saw and bear record.

The Church of the Latter-Day Saints taught and believed the ORIGINAL Godhead doctrine as expressed in the 1830 version of the Book of Mormon for many years. Joseph Smith changed that after he learned about the doctrine of the Plurality of God when translating the Book of Abraham and reading Hebrew. It was time to correct his doctrine and move on.

Many other changes were made to the Book of Mormon in order to separate the Father from the Son and make them appear as two Persons!
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Re: Evolution of God in the Book of Mormon

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Shulem wrote:
Tue Nov 16, 2021 2:06 am
Many other changes were made to the Book of Mormon in order to separate the Father from the Son and make them appear as two Persons!

Many of the original passages of the Book of Mormon that represent TRADITIONAL CHRISTIAN doctrine of the Godhead or Trinity were allowed to remain, as is, lest too many changes be made and it arouse suspicion that the original work was an uninspired translation.

For example:

Book of Mormon wrote:
  • Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen.
  • And because he said unto them that Christ was the God, the Father of all things, and said that he should take upon him the image of man, and it should be the image after which man was created in the beginning; or in other words, he said that man was created after the image of God, and that God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth upon the face of the earth.
  • Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father? And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last;

The Book of Mormon teaches that Christ *IS* God and Father of all things. Therefore, in accordance with that:

“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Hebrews 12:9)

JESUS IS THE FATHER OF SPIRITS!
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Re: The First Vision

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Pre-Papyrus w/Urim & Thummim, seer stone, and a hat:
1830 edition wrote:And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgement day, hath it given unto them to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which is one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end.

Vs. Post-Papyrus Edit:
1837 edition wrote:And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end.

Thus we see the papyrus which Smith began to translate in 1835 helped him move on from the doctrine of a singular God to that of a Plurality of Gods as taught by modern Mormonism today. Little wonder the 1832 account of the First Vision says nothing about more than ONE person appearing to Joseph Smith.
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Re: The First Vision

Post by Moksha »

Official Version of Joseph's Vision:

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Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace
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Re: The First Vision

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Image

This photo is an accurate depiction in portraying later versions of the First Vision with two Persons, both being male characters, the Father & Son. The difference between the original telling of the First Vision in the 1832 account as opposed to the others is in the use of the definite article, “THE”. In the first or earliest testimony given by the prophet, the testimony is that “the” Lord appeared. The definite article (the) is used purely in a singular sense, NOT plural as in the later versions that incorporated Smith’s changing theological views of the Godhead. The 1832 account best describes Smith’s statement given at that time based on how he recalled the incident. Later statements included additional information that described his alleged experience in the sacred grove.

Little wonder how Joseph Fielding Smith was so concerned when he found this testimony written in Joseph Smith’s letter book. He kept his mouth shut and hid it away so nobody could find out about it.

Here are a pair of interesting podcasts presented by Radio Free Mormon that detail important information about the 1832 testimony of the First Vision:

1) Daniel C. Peterson: The Artful Dodger of Mormon Apologetics
2) Was the 1835 First Vision Account Suppressed?
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Sermon by the Prophet

Post by Shulem »

I’m certain that Daniel C. Peterson, former professor at Brigham Young University is fully aware of the discourse given by Joseph Smith about the Plurality of Gods given in June of 1844, just prior to his martyrdom. Joseph Fielding Smith arranged the sermon taken from Church History and compiled it into a volume:

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

I would like to present that sermon here as Smith reasons on the subject he “learned” by translating the Book of Abraham from the papyrus. What was *that* subject and what did he learn in 1835 that he did not know previous to that? More than one God? Intelligences of varying degree? I feel confident that the doctrine of the Plurality of Gods intermingled with intelligence is the main focal point in which Smith reveals that he learned. Coupled with that is how man and God vary in intelligence. As man is a separate physical being apart from God, Smith reasoned that so also was Christ from his Father and in this he developed the doctrine that they were two Gods within the Godhead having one purpose but each having their own physical bodies. That is what he learned in 1835 and later, that he did not know in 1832 or as a result of his First Vision.

Enjoy!

Joseph Smith wrote:
Sermon by the Prophet—The Christian Godhead—Plurality of Gods

Meeting in the Grove, east of the Temple, June 16, 1844

* * *

President Joseph Smith read the 3rd chapter of Revelation, and took for his text 1st chapter, 6th verse—“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father: to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

It is altogether correct in the translation. Now, you know that of late some malicious and corrupt men have sprung up and apostatized from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they declare that the Prophet believes in a plurality of Gods, and, lo and behold! we have discovered a very great secret, they cry—“The Prophet says there are many Gods, and this proves that he has fallen.”

It has been my intention for a long time to take up this subject and lay it clearly before the people, and show what my faith is in relation to this interesting matter. I have contemplated the saying of Jesus (Luke 17th chapter, 26th verse)—“And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man.” And if it does rain, I’ll preach this doctrine, for the truth shall be preached.

Plurality of Gods

I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected this text for that express purpose. I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years.

I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods. If this is in accordance with the New Testament, lo and behold! we have three Gods anyhow, and they are plural; and who can contradict it?

Our text says, “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father.” The Apostles have discovered that there were Gods above, for Paul says God was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. My object was to preach the scriptures, and preach the doctrine they contain, there being a God above, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am bold to declare I have taught all the strong doctrines publicly, and always teach stronger doctrines in public than in private.

John was one of the men, and apostles declare they were made kings and priests unto God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It reads just so in the Revelation, Hence the doctrine of a plurality of Gods is as prominent in the Bible as any other doctrine. It is all over the face of the Bible. It stands beyond the power of controversy. A wayfaring man,14 though a fool, need not err therein.

Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many. I want to set it forth in a plain and simple manner; but to us there is but one God—that is pertaining to us; and he is in all and through all. But if Joseph Smith says there are Gods many and Lords many, they cry, “Away with him! Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Mankind verily say that the Scriptures are with them. Search the Scriptures, for they testify of things that these apostates would gravely pronounce blasphemy. Paul, if Joseph Smith is a blasphemer, you are. I say there are Gods many and Lords many, but to us only one, and we are to be in subjection to that one, and no man can limit the bounds or the eternal existence of eternal time. Hath he beheld the eternal world, and is he authorized to say that there is only one God? He makes himself a fool if he thinks or says so, and there is an end of his career or progress in knowledge. He cannot obtain all knowledge, for he has sealed up the gate to it.

Scriptural Interpretation

Some say I do not interpret the Scripture12 the same as they do. They say it means the heathen’s gods. Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many; and that makes a plurality of Gods, in spite of the whims of all men. Without a revelation, I am not going to give them the knowledge of the God of heaven. You know and I testify that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods. I have it from God, and get over it if you can. I have a witness of the Holy Ghost, and a testimony that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods in the text. I will show from the Hebrew Bible that I am correct, and the first word shows a plurality of Gods; and I want the apostates and learned men to come here and prove to the contrary, if they can. An unlearned boy must give you a little Hebrew. Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits, rendered by King James’ translators, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” I want to analyze the word Berosheit. Rosh, the head; Sheit, a grammatical termination; the Baith was not originally put there when the inspired man wrote it, but it has been since added by an old Jew. Baurau signifies to bring forth; Eloheim is from the word Eloi, God, in the singular number; and by adding the word heim, it renders it Gods. It read first, “In the beginning the head of the Gods brought forth the Gods,” or, as others have translated it, “The head of the Gods called the Gods together.” I want to show a little learning as well as other fools.

The head God organized the heavens and the earth. I defy all the world to refute me. In the beginning the heads of the Gods organized the heavens and the earth. Now the learned priests and the people rage, and the heathen imagine a vain thing. If we pursue the Hebrew text further, it reads, “Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits.”—“The head one of the Gods said, Let us make a man in our own image.” I once asked a learned Jew, “If the Hebrew language compels us to render all words ending in heim in the plural, why not render the first Eloheim plural?” He replied, “That is the rule with few exceptions; but in this case it would ruin the Bible.” He acknowledged I was right. I came here to investigate these things precisely as I believe them. Hear and judge for yourselves; and if you go away satisfied, well and good.

In the very beginning the Bible shows there is a plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation. It is a great subject I am dwelling on. The word Eloheim ought to be in the plural all the way through—Gods. The heads of the Gods appointed one God for us; and when you take [that] view of the subject, its sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of the Gods. All I want is to get the simple, naked truth, and the whole truth.

Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God! I say that is a strange God anyhow—three in one, and one in three! It is a curious organization. “Father, I pray not for the world, but I pray for them which thou hast given me.” “Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are.” All are to be crammed into one God, according to sectarianism. It would make the biggest God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God—he would be a giant or a monster. I want to read the text to you myself—“I am agreed with the Father and the Father is agreed with me, and we are agreed as one.” The Greek shows that it should be agreed. “Father, I pray for them which Thou hast given me out of the world, and not for those alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they all may be agreed, as Thou, Father, are with me, and I with Thee, that they also may be agreed with us,” and all come to dwell in unity, and in all the glory and everlasting burnings of the Gods; and then we shall see as we are seen, and be as our God and He as His Father. I want to reason a little on this subject. I learned it by translating the papyrus which is now in my house.

Abraham’s Reasoning

I learned a testimony concerning Abraham, and he reasoned concerning the God of heaven. “In order to do that,” said he, “suppose we have two facts: that supposes another fact may exist two men on the earth, one wiser than the other, would logically show that another who is wiser than the wisest may exist. Intelligences exist one above another, so that there is no end to them.”

If Abraham reasoned thus—If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way. Paul says that which is earthly is in the likeness of that which is heavenly, Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also? I despise the idea of being scared to death at such a doctrine, for the Bible is full of it.

I want you to pay particular attention to what I am saying. Jesus said that the Father wrought precisely in the same way as His Father had done before Him. As the Father had done before? He laid down His life, and took it up the same as His Father had done before. He did as He was sent, to lay down His life and take it up again; and then was committed unto Him the keys. I know it is good reasoning.
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QUESTIONS for Daniel C. Peterson

Post by Shulem »

Joseph Smith wrote:I want to reason a little on this subject. I learned it by translating the papyrus which is now in my house.

1) What subject is Smith reasoning about?
2) What specifically did Smith learn?

Daniel C. Peterson wrote:
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