The Iron Rod Podcast
Iron Rod 106 - 4 Accounts of the First Vision
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Joseph produced four separate accounts of his first vision: 1832 (while the fulness was on the earth), 1835 (while the church was being downgraded), 1838 (during the Missouri debacle) and 1842 (in the middle of the Nauvoo period). In this episode we discuss the similarities and differences between those accounts and how the time and context of their recording could explain those differences.

D&C 107:20

D&C 38:32

D&C 105:11

Alma 13:7-8

Matthew 16:18-19

D&C 65:2

D&C 81

JST Luke 10:22

Mosiah 15:2, 4

JST Psalm 14

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10 comments on “Iron Rod 106 – 4 Accounts of the First Vision

  1. I see a lot of the imagery in the different versions telling the story of the church’s decline during those years.

    It’s also interesting to me to track down the origin of many of our false doctrines. The first vision account is one of several that contribute to the false God the LDS worship today.

    It’s interesting how the timing of so many of these events line up. For example, according to Lorenzo Snow, his blasphemous couplet about God was written in 1840 – he claims to have shared it with Joseph Smith in 1843 where Joseph told Lorenzo it was true doctrine.

    Of course, Joseph then described just such a God in his 1844 King Follett sermon.

    If we look we can see these and other earlier seeds that were planted as the saints rejected God and were being turned over to Satan. The first vision accounts are some of them.

    Another is Section 121 given in March 1839. These verses:

    26 God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now;
    27 Which our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation to be revealed in the last times, which their minds were pointed to by the angels, as held in reserve for the fulness of their glory;
    28 A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest.

    Note the time in church history when this was given! It’s a true revelation and it’s really about the Divine Council, however think about what this would do to people like Lorenzo Snow. This revelation/prophecy is about what God will reveal in the future and it’s important. But in their day, it was not revealed to them and what they read into it was falsehoods. For God to tell them He will be telling them at some future date about whether there be one God or many gods is another way He was preparing them to be handed over to Satan.

    I’m sure there are many more, but as we study the history now, with the true understanding of what befell the church, it becomes easy to see how each little piece was part of the church embracing a false god.

    • Singer Dec 19, 2020

      Oh, I’d forgotten about Lorenzo’s couplet!
      He was the “prophet” of focus the year I returned to church after quite some time out.
      Good catch and analysis on the snippet from 121.
      I’ve thought the same thing: it’s true, but misinterpreted by the mainstreamers.
      My, my, how tangled the web…

  2. Thought-provoking information this week.
    So good.

    I admire the depth of your research,
    and particularly relished the bit about memory construction and recollection
    (neuroscience is fascinating, isn’t it?)
    and how Joseph’s accounts of his vision changed in relation to the passage of time and his own experiences,
    as well as the identity and beliefs of his audience.

    That’s wild about Joseph Fielding Smith excising those pages.
    Nothing whispers “agenda” quite like hiding discrepancy.

    The early 1920s seems to have been a critical cusp for the church as an organization:
    the removal of the Lectures, the establishment of the corporation sole,
    and wasn’t that also about when the Word of Wisdom really took hold as a necessary commandment?
    Coinciding with Prohibition?
    I remember once reading something somewhere about the institution using the teetotalism of the membership
    as a PR point to deflect from its troublesome history of polygamy.
    Is that right? Or was that a bit later? Earlier?
    There’s so much to keep track of.

  3. Janet Dec 27, 2020

    (I have placed this comment in the more appropriate episode, with updates.) Hello! I was just studying 3 Nephi 11:7 which reads, “Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.” I noticed similar language in Matthew 3:17, Matthew 17:5, Mark 1:11, 2 Peter 1:17, DC 45:4, and Joseph Smith History 1:17, which reads, “…I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”

    Would someone please clarify how these scriptures help us understand the nature of the godhead, especially how a united, single god might communicate to and about a distinct aspect of himself (Father, Son, Holy Ghost)? I find it difficult to comprehend. Perhaps it is simply a mystery? Thank you.

    Thank you!

    • GrassHopper Dec 30, 2020

      This is the path I followed in learning about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You have to exercise FAITH that the Holy Spirit will give you the answer. It has taken months and I’m into many pages of thoughts defining my personal interpretation and understanding of this matter. I approached it from what I would define as authorship of each writer. Meaning whoever wrote something: it is from their point of understanding or writing style. Plus I kind-of agree sometimes with these 2 bloggers concepts. Which has caused me some level of discomfort from the traditions of our fathers and those traditions that I passed down and now need to incorporate other ideas.
      So I needed to lay out some sort of foundation to progress up this fascinating path relating to your question. In this journey I went back to the writing of these authors in the scriptures. Or I also look at them as personal journals of connecting to GOD or whatever you want to call it.
      Study Lecture 5 and the specific details of it.
      For me it identifies two separate personages, GOD and his creation who is the Son of GOD. Then it explains who the Holy Spirit is. Hint, which is the mind of GOD. So is this Holy Spirit how the creation process happens? Another rabbit hole..
      Then Mosiah 15 comes into play. Always remember the authorship of the writers and how they identify each individual or the events from there prospective. They can describe the same individual with different names or titles. For me this defines who the (Son of GOD is, which is another name for Heavenly Father while in the spiritual realm) and how (Christ, the Son of GOD is defined in the earthly realm) and how they are the same individual.
      He is not talking about :GOD the creator:, who is a separate personage. This is who Christ was praying to or talking with as written in the scriptures.
      Ether 3 then describes this same concept. Remember how the author uses names and the locations they are at. (Heaven or Earth)
      Write how you understand each scripture in your own words. I did this under each one and then needed to revise some of them to understand the narrative of the author.
      Disclaimer: These are random thoughts or ideas that I have in this general area. It is your responsibility to define the course that you follow. I cause enough issues with connecting the dots that can sink a ship which is not my intent.

      • Janet Jan 1, 2021

        Thanks Grasshopper. I sometimes agree with these bloggers, too, especially when they agree with scripture! As plainly as God tends to communicate, my mortal mind struggles to wrap itself around the three in one concept. Is it one god with three roles (like mother, sister, aunt, daughter, etc.)? Is it the Father as spirit and the Son as flesh, similar to our own spirits and bodies? Is it the father as ocean and the son as a glass of water from that ocean?

        I took your advice and reviewed scripture once more, and may have had a breakthrough! Lecture 5 explains that the Holy Ghost is the mind that is shared by the Father and Son. One mind, two entities. It is equivalent to spirit, fulness, power, wisdom, glory, etc. A close reading reveals that this mind is the Fathers’ which is shared with the Son, as the Son is filled with the mind of the Father and not the reverse. We have long strayed from the Adamic tongue; language is often a course tool. But I pondered the meaning of the words spirit, mind, will, soul, brain, body, matter, etc. I continue to review the Book of Mormon concepts of the godhead, but could the mystery be as simple as the spirit body and spirit mind of the Father combine with the flesh of the Son, with the Holy Ghost or mind being the shared bridge between bodies spiritual and physical? We accept the notion of a spirit inside a body of flesh, but how many minds do we possess between them?

        Sometimes during physical effort, I will my body to do something and it seems like it is almost a separate entity, a servant performing the desire of my mind. Sometimes during emotional effort, I will my spirit to act or react in a certain manner and it almost seems like a separate entity performing the desire of my mind, though the separation here is less obvious. Might our god be similar? Have we been created in his image in part so that we can better understand him?

        • Don’t feel bad about not being able to completely wrap your mind around this. We’re not supposed to…yet.

          Mosiah 4:9
          Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man does not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.

          D&C 88:49-50
          The light shines in darkness, and the darkness comprehends it not; nevertheless, the day shall come when you shall comprehend even God, being quickened in him and by him. Then shall ye know that ye have seen me, that I am, and that I am the true light that is in you, and that you are in me.

          For the time being, I just try to detect and reject false notions that contradict what the scriptures teach and embrace the vagueness and mystery for the time being.

        • GrassHopper Jan 4, 2021

          The problem or what makes the “Godhood” difficult to understand and confusing is what I would define as authorship of each scriptural writer and how the deity names are interchanged. Each writer might use the same name like Heavenly Father, GOD, Father in Heaven, Eternal Father, Savior, Lord, etc. to indicate either or both of the personages in the discourse of the concept they want to teach. So you can pick your author to support your theoretical interpretation of the scripture definition of the Godhood. This then allows you to match your understanding to that author. As an example of conflicting names and doctrine, the following Lectures on Faith is where there is a conflict with what the Holy Spirit is and its purpose as you described. Then you compare that concept to D&C 130:22-23 and what the Holy Ghost is and how it is defined: things do not match up. So then you need to make a decision as to the authorship and if what is written is consistent with other authors. In the mouths of two or more witnesses shall all things will be known. Or better yet ask in faith as to what the answer really is.
          Do we truly understand this scripture? Ether 3:26 For he had said unto him in times before, that if he would believe in him that he could show unto him all things—it should be shown unto him; therefore the Lord could not withhold anything from him, for he knew that the Lord could show him all things.

  4. Jeff Platt Jan 20, 2021

    If your book is ready to purchase I would like to know how and where to purchase it.