Faith

New Joseph Smith Papers volume reveals the prophet's humanity

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  • KevinSim Springville, UT
    May 20, 2017 1:25 p.m.

    Sharrona posted:

    =Because it is precisely contrary to common(Mormon) thinking today. We tend to
    =think that Scripture is confirmed by experience. Peter says, "No, experience is
    =confirmed by Scripture."

    Then if one cannot confirm Scripture by experience, how CAN one confirm Scripture?

    One response, I guess, might be that Scripture DOESN'T NEED confirmation. But why wouldn't Scripture need confirmation? Shouldn't we know that God wants us to treat a certain book as His Word before we treat it as His word?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 20, 2017 6:11 a.m.

    "The LDS Church says the way to find out whether God inspired it is to simply ask God if God inspired it. Are there methods of finding out if God inspired some other groups (like Islam, Scientology, etc.) that make more sense than that?"

    Kevin, Let me just suggest that you look up "confirmation bias".

  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 19, 2017 12:58 p.m.

    “KevinSim ."ask God if God inspired it"

    “The Holy Spirit Bears witness of Jesus and that Jesus sends the Holy Spirit (John 15:26). The Jesus of the Bible will send the Holy Spirit. If you don't have the right Jesus they can't have the true Holy Spirit, and your testimony is invalid.
    E.g John 1:1,14 God becomes man not man becomes God. That is, when we are in the presence of God, we are humbled and become most aware of ourselves as creatures. This is the opposite of Satan's original temptation, "You shall be as gods.

    In 2 Peter 1:16-21. He is speaking of his experience on the Mount of transfiguration where he saw and heard the testimony of God the Father to the majesty of Jesus Christ. Yet Peter does not leave us to trust his experience; he rather points us to Something "more sure" (verse 19). Scripture, he says, is given by God (verses 19-21), and so it is much more reliable than experience!

    Because it is precisely contrary to common(Mormon) thinking today. We tend to think that Scripture is confirmed by experience. Peter says, "No, experience is confirmed by Scripture."

  • KevinSim Springville, UT
    May 18, 2017 10:39 a.m.

    JoeBlow posted:

    =The point being is that Religion and belief are not about "credible". You know
    =your religion is the correct one, just like everyone else knows that theirs is
    ="the one".

    JB, you may have a point about one's belief that there exists a God. People have argued at length over whether or not it's credible to believe in a God, and I don't have a lot invested in such arguments. But if we go on the assumption that there is a God, then religion very much should be about which viewpoint is most credible in its reasoning that it represents the will of God. The LDS Church says the way to find out whether God inspired it is to simply ask God if God inspired it. Are there methods of finding out if God inspired some other groups (like Islam, Scientology, etc.) that make more sense than that?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 18, 2017 5:28 a.m.

    Kevin writes "If so, why do you find them more credible?"

    I never said any one was any more or less credible than the other.

    The point being is that Religion and belief are not about "credible". You know your religion is the correct one, just like everyone else knows that theirs is "the one".

  • KevinSim Springville, UT
    May 17, 2017 9:44 p.m.

    JoeBlow posted:

    =If Joseph Smith and the BOM bring you peace in your life, great for you.
    =
    =Many will tell you that they know the true wisdom is in the Koran. Others know
    =it is in the Torah. Still other know it came from L Ron Hubbard. This could be
    =a very very long list.

    JoeBlow, do you find Mohammed's explanation for why we should believe the Koran speaks for God more credible than Joseph Smith's? Or any Jew's explanation for the Torah? Or L Ron Hubbard's explanation of the Scientological books? Or any promoter of any of the other books in that long list? If so, why do you find them more credible?

  • KevinSim Springville, UT
    May 17, 2017 9:40 p.m.

    Asdfghjk posted:

    =Feel free to go proselytize yours, but remember you are only right in your
    =mind, don't project it on others.

    My entire goal in proselyting, if it can be called that, is to get the other person to ask God a question, ready to base her/his life on whatever answer God provides. Once that person has done that and has gotten an answer, then my work is done, regardless of what answer God gives her/him.

  • Asdfghjk Magna, UT
    May 17, 2017 1:58 p.m.

    RE: soutnative

    It's perfectly within your prerogative to laugh at us "anti-posters". The feeling can go both ways as we sometimes chuckle at the pro-posters. We should in all honesty do neither as the beliefs and opinions of others shouldn't be ridiculed. In this environment of Utah you will find vast numbers of devout and a vast number of "apostates". Yes, many of us apostates do think Joseph did those things for fame, fortune, and other reasons not appropriate here. Right or wrong, we base it on his history and his criminal and civil record. We differ in if it was illegally motivated religious persecution or just criminal persecution. Many viewed the church as a version of Islam and did rebel against that.

    I can no more prove I'm right then you can prove you are right, that's why it is faith. I can only speak for me, and for me, outside the church things are great despite the admonition I was given. Scripture has many answers for my happiness if you prescribe to them, but I'm happy. As was mentioned before people find truth in all sorts of books, people, and religions. Feel free to go proselytize yours, but remember you are only right in your mind, don't project it on others.

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    May 17, 2017 1:43 p.m.

    @strom "...Readers will find that of this event nothing was written or talked about for 2 years after it supposedly took place."

    Here is a little fact that people tend to forget, especially if they are bashing the LDS church...

    NONE of the four gospels in the New Testaments came from original transcripts. They came from Greek copies made many years after they were written.

    In fact, many parts of the New Testament books are from originals transcripts.

    So I am not sure what your point is...

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    May 17, 2017 1:30 p.m.

    @CMTM
    I still don't get the point your're trying to make with the Oath? People who hated Joseph Smith swore to destroy him and were former members of the church. That's a known fact. Why are you so insistent on a non debated fact?

    Of course they quoted the bible of their day. Using the language of their day. None of that changes the fact that language changes to reflect usage. If for the previous 800 years Elohim had been used exclusively to refer to a singular god when referencing the Hebrew religion of course they would consider it singular! That doesn't change the possibility of it previously having indicated a pantheon prior to their reformation after the rule of Ahaz. The Semitic religion was not always strictly monotheistic. Or at least it recognized the gods of other peoples as existing, though inferior to their own.

  • CMTM , 00
    May 17, 2017 10:59 a.m.

    RE: bass679. “a language developed centuries before"?

    Jesus and /the Apostles, quoted the Bible of their day, The Septuagint.

    Let me try another approach. There are five main forms or sects of Judaism . They are Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed, Reconstructionist, and Humanistic. A short list of the traditional beliefs of Judaism would include God is the creator of all that exists; He is one, incorporeal (without a body). E.g..,

    The Lord fills the immensity of space. What saith the Psalmist? [Psalm 139:7-10] “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there..” . (JoD V 1. P 49-50), God’s Omnipresence:

    1Tim 6:16. He alone is immortal and dwells in unapproachable light. No one has ever seen Him[God the Father], nor can anyone see Him.

    RE: Oath. “You solemnly swear before God and all holy angels ad these your brethren by whom you are surrounded ,that you that you will give your life, your liberty, your influence your all for the destruction of Joseph Smith and his part, so help you God!” Mormon High Council. Millennial Star. In 1884

  • Wally West Draper, UT
    May 17, 2017 10:58 a.m.

    re soutahnative on 5/16

    "You anti-posters in here make me laugh. Js was driven, persecuted his entire life. ..."

    No cognitive bias here? Seriously, why was Joe always demonized, hunted, etc...? Could it have been what & how he did what he did?

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    May 17, 2017 9:52 a.m.

    @CMTM
    Reposing the snippet doesn't actually constitute making an argument for your case. The case of Hezekiah forbidding the worship of other gods in the temple and cleaning it out anre found in 2 Chronicles if you're unfamiliar with Hezekiah's reforms. By the time of Jesus the Jews had been strict monotheists for over 700 years. It should come as no surprise that by that time everyone would associate God with the only God. but you're conflating Jesus time with a language developed centuries before.

    Re: Mormons being part of the mob that killed Joseph, yes we know. I don't get what point you're trying to make by agreeing with me and with Joseph Smith himself. this is the problem with copy/pasting snippets instead of actually entering into a discussion.

  • CMTM , 00
    May 17, 2017 8:52 a.m.

    RE: bass679 …” Hebrews were not strict monotheists until the reign of King Hezekiah”. They S/B:
    The *LORD our God=(Elohim) is one=(*echad )LORD: (Deut 6:4). *Yhovah = "the existing One" A. the proper name of the one true God of Israel.

    E.g…, The stick of Judah, and make them one=[*echad) stick. (Ezek 37:19) verse 22, explains the coming together of two nations, Judah and Israel
    ,
    ” In the very beginning the bible shows there is a plurality of Gods. Beyond the power of refutation”.(Hof C v. 6 p.476) JS did not rad Greek Genesis 1:1 Greek LXX In the beginning God (*o Theos, Grk. 2316). Clearly God. *Nominative singular article.

    In Mt 22:32 Jesus quotes Ex 3:6, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” In John 8:58, “(Jesus)”.., before Abraham was, I Am(Ego Eimi).” The Jews clearly understood Jesus to be calling Himself God because they took up stones to stone Him for committing blasphemy in equating Himself with God. ”

    RE: Many important Mormons wanted to by taking an *Oath to kill him. Do to his many marriages/Adultery. (The Oath upon request)

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    May 17, 2017 6:03 a.m.

    @CMTM
    Your post has literally nothing to do with what I wrote. And since you copy and paste that same snippet regularly it's also nothing new. Have you, perhaps, thought that by engaging in actual dialog you might be more effective at getting your point across?

    Regardless, it's not new information that there were Mormons or former Mormons in the mob that killed Joseph Smith. Additionally, the Hebrews were not strict monotheists until the reign of King Hezekiah. It is not unreasonable that Elohim is used to mean more than one god, particularly before Hezekiah's reign. Your statement basically boils down to, "even though Elohim is plural it indicates a singular entity except in cases where it does not".

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    May 16, 2017 10:40 p.m.

    A remarkable fact is that most of the most significant revelatory experiences Joseph Smith had were shared with other witnesses. Oliver Cowdery was with him when they received the priesthood from John the Baptist, Peter, James, and John, Moses and Elijah. Oliver, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris shared the vision of Moroni and the golden plates. Sydney Rigdon shared the vision in D&C 76.

  • soutahnative Cedar City, UT
    May 16, 2017 2:43 p.m.

    You anti-posters in here make me laugh. Js was driven, persecuted his entire life. Spending a huge amount of his life just trying to keep from being killed, until they finally did. A very young man almost penniless that restored the priesthood of God and suffered all the harm and persecutions that horrible men could perpetrate. At the same time accomplishing what would take ten ordinary men there lifetimes to do. And for what? Money? Fame? Why should he have done this? And you set on your computer and try to rationalize a supposed 2 year gap in information.

  • Manzanita Las Vegas, NV
    May 16, 2017 1:17 p.m.

    The Kirtland era is a fascinating period of Church history. Recently, I've enjoyed learning that the current owners of the Kirtland Temple - the Community of Christ (formerly RLDS) - came to own it after a series of conveyances by others who purchased it from judgment creditors of the Church. The judgment creditors initially took possession of the temple in order to satisfy restitution orders by the courts after Joseph Smith was convicted of banking fraud in Kirtland. What a fascinating history.

  • Surf is Up Miami, FL
    May 16, 2017 1:07 p.m.

    @strom "...Readers will find that of this event nothing was written or talked about for 2 years after it supposedly took place."

    While I doubt you will accept any answer due to the fact that your goal in posting here has been, at best, angst against LDS culture, I believe that the experience was so sacred and profound to Joseph that words to describe it were inadequate.

    The scriptures contain many accounts where individuals saw and beheld things wherein they said that they heard and saw unspeakable things that, even if lawful to write, could not be written.

    I know a man who had a profound near death experience. It changed his life so completely that he is a different person than he was before. But he never talked about it, even with his family, for several years after the event; although they (his family) noticed how radically he had changed for the better.

    Does it bother me that Joseph didn't speak or write of his experience for a couple of years? Not at all.

    Some day you may need need to defend or explain yourself using facts and information you chose not to divulge or talk about previously. Using your logic you should remain silent.

  • pcran84 South Jordan, UT
    May 16, 2017 11:49 a.m.

    Was olive Cowdery also the witness that never denied his testimony of the James Strang plates and how they were an ancient record of the native people in North America?

    So did the church hold onto these documents first in order to vet them?

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    May 16, 2017 11:22 a.m.

    In what DesNews censors apparently thought 'overly speculative' that I wrote that if Oliver Cowdery did not see the vision Joseph Smith claimed they had in April 1836, he may have likely disagreed if he didn't see these things, I apologize. That co.ment was denied.

    A friend of mine and I rode 10-speed bikes from the Salt Lake Valley to Yellowstone Park and all the way back in 1977.

    I don't know if I've written much about that anywhere. But I can tell you many things of that experience even know that happened several decades ago as clear as if they had happened yesterday.

    Big events we sometimes remember intricate details of even though they happened far in the distant past.

    Given the turmoil of things in Kirtland, it doesn't seem to me that the details of that important event would be easily forgotten by Joseph Smith two or even three years.

  • CMTM , 00
    May 16, 2017 10:46 a.m.

    bass679 ( H of C, 1844). “Eloheim is from the word Eloi, God is singular number; and by adding the word heim ,it renders it Gods.”

    In Hebrew the form of the word Elohim, with the ending -im, which normally indicates a masculine plural, but construction is usually grammatically ‘SINGULAR’, when used of pagan divinities. H # 430 Strong’s .

    RE: martyred. The death of JS I remember what Joseph said, a short time before he was slain in one of the last sermons I ever heard him preach. Said he, “Men are here today who are seeking my blood, and they are those who have held the*[Mormon} Priesthood and have received their washings and anointing’s; men who have received their endowments.”
    I saw the faces of those men at that time, and they had a hand in slaying the Prophet . (JoD v 4 p 149).
    .
    when you feel like killing me for so doing, as some of the people did who called themselves brethren in the days of Joseph Smith, look out for yourselves, for ‘false brethren’ were the cause of Joseph's death, and I am not a very righteous man”.(JoD v 3 p.49.)

    Whether Mormons killed JS or not is unimportant many important Mormons wanted to by taking an oath to kill him..

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 16, 2017 9:40 a.m.

    If Joseph Smith and the BOM bring you peace in your life, great for you.

    Many will tell you that they know the true wisdom is in the Koran. Others know it is in the Torah. Still other know it came from L Ron Hubbard. This could be a very very long list.

    The validity of your source doesn't really matter. If you think it is the truth, If you think it is the word from above, If you think it has the answers, I suggest that you live it.

    Just know that many others have a different truth.

    Perception is your reality.

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    May 16, 2017 9:31 a.m.

    I like reading stuff like this about Joseph Smith. I think sometimes we forget that he and our other leaders were human. Even reading Joseph Smith's own words you see such changes between the young man who tried to make money treasure hunting and the man who was martyred in Carthage.

    To Quote president McKay, "The purpose of the gospel is … to make bad men good and good men better." This applies to the Prophet just as much as to each of us.

  • CMTM , 00
    May 16, 2017 9:11 a.m.

    RE: ssev. From the school of prophets at Kirtland Ohio: Lectures On Faith - Q. What is the Father? A. He is a personage of glory and of power. (5:2.)Q. What is the Son? A. First, he is a personage of tabernacle. (5:2.)

    The Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit, pp 53-55. The LDS teach The Holy Ghost is a separate God from the Father and Son, different from the Holy Spirit Holy Ghost is a person, Holy Spirit is influence from the Father and not personal. Bible same Greek word used or Holy Ghost and Hoy Spirit. (1 Cor 3:16 &6:19) Mormons do not read Greek E.g…,

    @ JS,” In the very beginning the bible shows there is a plurality of Gods. Beyond the power of refutation”.(Hof C v. 6 p.476) Wrong, Genesis 1:1 Greek LXX In the beginning God (*o Theos, Grk. 2316). Clearly God. *Nominative singular article.

    RE: Cake “That seer… his name shall be called Joseph and it shall be after the name of his father”. ( Genesis 50:33 JST),

    JS adds prophecy about himself to his Inspired Version. But NOT found in Greek Septuagint(Apostles Bible) or dead sea scrolls..

  • cake new zealand, AL
    May 16, 2017 8:21 a.m.

    Joseph Smith was a man of understanding and wisdom. He understood the nature of God in its purest form. He understood the vital importance of obedience to the will of God. He understood the opposition and persecution to the will of God. Joseph understood the weight of responsibility entrusted to him, to translate scripture through perfect inspiration, revelation and divine visitation. He understood the suffering and torment inflicted by those who did not and could not understand.

    Joseph Smith was a man of Faith with a clear understanding of right and wrong, good and bad. He understood the consequences of his decisions.

    The First Vision, the translation of the Book of Mormon, the revelations, heavenly visitations, the organisation of Jesus Christ church, the restoration of the Holy Priesthood are contained in a capsule phase of perfection.

    You are free to choose to find these truths.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    May 16, 2017 7:42 a.m.

    Dilligent Dave.."The four Gospels found in the New Testament are believed by scholars to not have been written until many years, possibly even many decades after they happened.

    So What? Does that make them any less real? Does that put into question what was written?"

    Of course it puts into question the actual history of the books. The earliest any of the books was written was 50 AD, and some possibly as late as 130 AD.

    What is of equal concern for the veracity of the New Testament is the fact that the Jesus stories recorded in Bible are the only records of the man, in an era of rich recorded history. Here's supposedly a man going around in Roman controlled territory raising the dead, feeding thousands from a few, healing the sick etc. and no one makes a record of it.

    There's plenty of information about wandering "saviors" just not the biblical savior.

    So believe if you will but don't be fooled you are believing in a myth rich character, of which there is no contemporary account, only the writings of believers 50 to 100 years later.

  • ssev Maple Grove, MN
    May 16, 2017 7:27 a.m.

    There were no greater mortal men than the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum:

    "Joseph Smith ... sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated! ... The testators are now dead, and their testament is in force. ... [T]heir names will be classed among the martyrs of religion; and ... the Book of Mormon, and this book of Doctrine and Covenants of the church, cost the best blood of the nineteenth century to bring them forth for the salvation of a ruined world . ... They lived for glory; they died for glory; and glory is their eternal reward. From age to age shall their names go down to posterity as gems for the sanctified. [T]heir innocent blood, with the innocent blood of all the martyrs under the altar that John saw, will cry unto the Lord of Hosts till he avenges that blood on the earth." (See D&C 135; see also Without Disclosing My True Identity—The Authorized and Official Biography of the Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr.)

  • Bountiful Guy Bountiful, UT
    May 16, 2017 6:27 a.m.

    The fact that Oliver Cowdery never once in his life denied the events, even his his most opposing years offers great credibility to the story. If anyone had a reason to 'expose a fraud', Oliver did. But instead, he not only never denied these events, he stood up for them to his dying day. And his return to the church also speaks volumes as to the accuracy of these things.

    Those opposed to the church are quick to use Oliver in their narrative because he left, but they conveniently leave out the entire story of Oliver's life. He was a personal witness to so many things. His testimony stands strong today in my mind.

  • 1Reader Sunnyvale, CA
    May 15, 2017 9:17 p.m.

    Joseph was an amazing man, and prophet. The full history shows that increasingly clearly.

  • libertyflag universal city, TX
    May 15, 2017 4:19 p.m.

    2 years is nothing compared to how long it took to write some events of the American Revolution. Always those that try to make something out of nothing.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    May 15, 2017 2:58 p.m.

    @diligent dave,

    To answer your question. Yes, it makes all the difference in the world when something is written. If one writes something after the fact it is easy to shape it to ones wishes. If one writes something before the fact it is easy to prove them true or false. If someone wish to write the prophesies of god Thor today they can improvise many kinds of prophesies that Thor made that are now realities. Try it, you can tell people that you prophesied ten years ago where you would be sleeping today. No one can prove you wrong, and some will even believe you.

  • ute alumni SLC, UT
    May 15, 2017 1:35 p.m.

    So what?
    Believers believe and non believers don't.

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    May 15, 2017 12:46 p.m.

    Diligent,

    " The four Gospels found in the New Testament are believed by scholars to not have been written until many years, possibly even many decades after they happened.

    So What? Does that make them any less real? Does that put into question what was written?"

    No, and yes.

    The larger problem is Joseph Smith did not live 2000 years ago.

    He seems to have presented these new revelations years after the fact and when his leadership was being questioned.

    This was supposedly the crowning event of early Mormonism, establishing its authoritative prominence , and no one wrote or talked about it for 2 years?

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    May 15, 2017 12:23 p.m.

    The four Gospels found in the New Testament are believed by scholars to not have been written until many years, possibly even many decades after they happened.

    So What? Does that make them any less real? Does that put into question what was written?

  • strom thurmond taylorsville, UT
    May 15, 2017 11:45 a.m.

    "A week later, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery saw a vision of Jesus Christ and received visitations from ancient Biblical prophets."

    Is there anything recorded about this event which Richard Bushman was unaware of while writing Rough Stone Rolling?

    Readers will find that of this event nothing was written or talked about for 2 years after it supposedly took place.