Joseph Smith/Status in LDS belief/Brigham Young applied 1 John 4:3 to Joseph Smith

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    Brigham Young applied 1 John 4:3 to Joseph Smith

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Joseph Smith, Jr.
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QUESTIONS


It is claimed that Joseph's place in LDS theology is blasphemous and even idolatrous. As evidence for this, they cite Brigham Young's application of 1 John 4:3 to Joseph.


To see citations to the critical sources for these claims, click here

CONCLUSION


The scripture in 1 John applies to Joseph because Joseph is a prophet—and prophets testify of Christ. To reject Christ's prophets is to reject him. One can no more, in Brigham's mind, reject Joseph Smith and claim to obey Christ than one could reject Peter, James, John, Paul, or Matthew and consider oneself a faithful Christian. The application of 1 John to Joseph Smith applies only insofar as Joseph is an apostle and witness of Christ.

DETAILED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Brigham Young said:

For unbelievers we will quote from the Scriptures—"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." Again—"Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God." I will now give my scripture—"Whosoever confesseth that Joseph Smith was sent of God to reveal the holy Gospel to the children of men, and lay the foundation for gathering Israel, and building up the kingdom of God on the earth, that spirit is of God; and every spirit that does not confess that God has sent Joseph Smith, and revealed the everlasting Gospel to and through him, is of Antichrist....

Brigham does apply 1 John to Joseph—but interestingly insists that to deny Joseph is to "Antichrist." That is, to reject Joseph is to reject Christ. Critics rarely provide this perspective, which Brigham makes more clear as he continues:

They may say that they acknowledge Him [Jesus and His Father] until doomsday, and he will never own them, nor bestow the Holy Spirit upon them, and they will never have visions of eternity opened to them, unless they acknowledge that Joseph Smith is sent of God. Such people I call unbelievers. They tell about believing in Jesus Christ, but they might as well talk about birds understanding the Hebrew language. This statement is no more positive than true. All whom I call unbelievers, if they will repent of their sins, obey the requirements in the New Testament, be baptized for the remission of sins by a man who holds the key and authority to lead them into the waters of baptism, and receive the laying on of hands for the Holy Ghost, shall receive a witness that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, and that he was sent of God to build up his kingdom in this last dispensation. You will receive a Spirit that will bring all things to your remembrance, past present, and to come, teaching you all things necessary for you to understand. There are but a few in this generation who will do this.[1]

Brigham makes it clear that a belief in Joseph's prophetic mission springs from a willingness to accept God in faith, repent, "obey...the New Testament," be baptized for the remission of sins, and receive the Holy Ghost.

Endnotes

  1. [note]  Brigham Young, "LIGHT OF THE SPIRIT—COURSE OF MISSIONARIES," (9 September 1860) Journal of Discourses 8:176-177.

Further reading

FairMormon Answers articles





It is claimed that Joseph Smith was a disreputable person. (Click here for full article)

    • Claimed mismanagement of the Lawrence estate
      Brief Summary: Joseph Smith was appointed the guardian of two daughters, Maria and Sarah Lawrence, and their inheritance. He later married them in plural marriage. The evidence shows that Joseph Smith faithfully discharged his legal duties, despite the claims made by some nineteeth-century and modern critics. (Click here for full article)
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  • Con man
    Brief Summary: Some claim that Joseph was a con man. Yet, his behavior does not match the typical behavior of those consciously deceiving others for gain. Some of this claim relies on a misrepresentation of a 1826 court hearing. (Click here for full article)
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  • The Hurlbut affidavits
    Brief Summary: Many critics cite a collection of affidavits from Joseph Smith’s neighbors which claim that the Smith family possessed a number of character flaws. Many of Joseph Smith’s friends and neighbors signed affidavits that accused him and his family of being lazy, indolent, undependable treasure-seekers. (Click here for full article)
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  • "Amusing recitals" and "Tall Tales?"
    Brief Summary: Joseph Smith's mother reported that he told "amusing recitals" about the ancient inhabitants of the American continent well before he translated the Book of Mormon. Does this indicate that Joseph was simply a teller of "tall tales?" (Click here for full article)
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  • Land speculation in Nauvoo
    Brief Summary: Did Joseph Smith engage in "land speculation" in Nauvoo? (Click here for full article)
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  • Personality and temperament
    Brief Summary: Critics point to what they perceive as personal failings of Joseph Smith, such as his allegedly short temper, as evidence that he was not a true prophet of God. (Click here for full article)
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  • Boastful about the Church?
    Brief Summary: Why did Joseph Smith say that he had "more to boast of than ever any man had" and that he was the only man who had been "able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam?" (Click here for full article)
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  • Joseph taught Porter Rockwell 'it was right to steal'?
    Brief Summary: Did Joseph really teach Orrin Porter Rockwell that "it was right to steal?" (Click here for full article)
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  • Psychobiographical analysis
    Brief Summary: Is it possible to deduce Joseph Smith's thoughts and dreams years after his death? Some critics think so. (Click here for full article)
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  • Joseph Smith's alleged narcissism
    Brief Summary: Critics quote Joseph Smith as saying such things as: "I am learned, and know more than all the world put together," "I combat the errors of ages; I meet the violence of mobs; I cope with illegal proceedings from executive authority; I cut the Gordian knot of powers, and I solve mathematical problems of universities, with truth . . . diamond truth; and God is my ‘right hand man.’” They use these quotes to portray Joseph as egomaniacal, proud, and narcissistic. (Click here for full article)
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Was Joseph Smith's engagement in "money digging" or looking for buried treasure a blot on his character? (Click here for full article)

  • Practitioner of occultism and magic?
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith's spiritual experiences began as products of "magic," the "occult," or "treasure seeking," and that only later did Joseph describe his experiences in Christian, religious terms: speaking of God, angels, and prophethood. (Click here for full article)
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  • Joseph's early work as a farmhand
    Brief Summary: Critics wish to prioritize the role that treasure-seeking played in Joseph's like by claiming that it took precedence over any other work that he may have done, such as working as a hired farmhand. (Click here for full article)
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  • "Treasure hunting" trip to Salem
    Brief Summary: Was Joseph Smith commanded by the Lord to go to Salem, Massachusetts to hunt for treasure in the cellar of a house? Upon arriving there, the treasure was nowhere to be found. (Click here for full article)
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Joseph Smith's First Vision

  • Joseph Smith's First Vision
    Brief Summary: Joseph Smith's claim that he saw the Father and the Son in 1820 has produced a wide variety of criticism. This set of articles addresses the various critical claims related to the First Vision. The linked articles below are designed to help readers to see some of the weaknesses that are found in arguments that are made against Joseph Smith's First Vision accounts. Some of these arguments are currently being advocated in anti-Mormon literature that is handed out near the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York. (Click here for full article)
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Joseph Smith, occultism and magic



It is claimed that Joseph Smith claimed to translate other texts or items, which can be checked against modern academic translations. They claim that this "cross-checking" proves that Joseph could not have translated the Book of Mormon or other ancient texts. (Click here for full article)

  • Book of Abraham (Click here for full article)
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  • Joseph Smith and the Greek psalter
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that an ancient text of Greek psalms (a "psalter") was misidentified by Joseph Smith as a containing "reformed Egyptian" hieroglyphics. (Click here for full article)
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  • Kinderhook Plates
    Brief Summary: Given the evidence that the Kinderhook plates were fraudulent, how can one explain the following things: Why did William Clayton claim that Joseph Smith had translated a portion of the plates? Where did the translation described by Clayton come from if the plates were actually fake? By what means did Joseph attempt to translate the plates? (Click here for full article)
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  • The Joseph Smith "translation" of the Bible and its relationship to the Book of Mormon
    Brief Summary: Some passages from the Bible (parts of Isaiah, for example) were included in the Book of Mormon text. However, the same passages were later revised for the Joseph Smith Translation of the Holy Bible. In some cases these passages are not rendered identically. It is claimed that if the JST was an accurate translation, it would match the supposedly more 'pure' Isaiah text possessed by the Nephites. (Click here for full article)
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Joseph Smith and miracles

Joseph Smith as a priesthood holder




  • No more prophets after Christ?
    Brief Summary: Most of Christianity today claim that there are not supposed to be any more prophets after Christ's day. (Click here for full article)
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  • Alleged false prophecies
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith was not a true prophet, and that he made "false prophecies." (Click here for full article)
    ∗       ∗       ∗
  • Personages who appeared to Joseph Smith
    Brief Summary: A list of known personages who appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith or who were seen by him in vision. The list does not include instances where he only heard supernatural voices. (Click here for full article)
    ∗       ∗       ∗
  • Joseph Smith: Status in LDS belief
    Brief Summary: Do members worship Joseph Smith or treat him as more than a man? Critics charge that since Joseph claimed (or it was claimed in his behalf) the right to "approve whether or not someone gets into heaven," this arrogates to a mortal a right properly reserved for God and Jesus Christ. Some critics have even charged that "Mormons worship Joseph Smith." (Click here for full article)
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Joseph Smith and legal issues

Joseph Smith and finance

  • Kirtland Safety Society
    Brief Summary: Joseph established the Kirtland Safety Society, which later failed. Many left the Church because they thought that Joseph's involvement and his calling as a prophet would guarantee its success. When the bank failed, many thought that Joseph was a fallen prophet. (Click here for full article)
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Joseph Smith, politics and government

  • Politics
    Brief Summary: Critics charge that Joseph Smith's decision to run for President of the United States in 1844 shows him to be either a megalomaniac bent on amassing ever more power, or a fanatic with delusions of grandeur. (Click here for full article)
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  • City charter
    Brief Summary: What was unique about the city of Nauvoo's charter? Why did it anger some non-Mormons? (Click here for full article)
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    • habeas corpus
      Brief Summary: What is a writ of Habeas corpus? (Click here for full article)
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    • Usurpation of power
      Brief Summary: Critics charge that the Mormon's use of the Nauvoo city charter to invalidate writs from other jurisdictions was improper. Carlin, the governor of Illinois at the time, characterized it as an "extraordinary assumption of power….most absurd and ridiculous…[a] gross usurpation of power that cannot be tolerated." (Click here for full article)
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  • Nauvoo Expositor
    Brief Summary: What can you tell me about the Nauvoo Expositor? Did Joseph violate the law by ordering it destroyed? It is claimed that Joseph "could not allow the Expositor to publish the secret international negotiations masterminded by Mormonism’s earthly king." (Click here for full article)
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  • Nauvoo Expositor Full Text
    Brief Summary: The Nauvoo Expositor had a single issue published. The events surrounding its publication lead to the martyrdom. The full text is provided for study. (Click here for full article)
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Joseph Smith and polygamy





Other critical claims related to Joseph Smith


  • D&C 98 teaches Saints to disobey secular law?
    Brief Summary: According to historian D. Michael Quinn, Joseph received a revelation which "established the primacy of religious law over secular law...and not only authorized but commanded Mormons to disobey secular law and civil leaders not conforming to the commandments of God." This interpretation, however, is Quinn's own. The revelation is not telling the Saints to "disobey secular law and civil leaders"—it is telling them to "befriend" the law of the land, and seek to support "honest men and wise men" as leaders. (Click here for full article)
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  • Kirtland Safety Society
    Brief Summary: Critics attack Joseph Smith over the Kirtland Safety Society (KSS) on multiple grounds: 1) they claim the KSS was a "wildcat bank," 2) they claim that the bank was illegal, and that the Church broke the law by founding it, 3) they claim it was a money-making scheme for Joseph, and 4) they claim its failure proves Joseph was not a prophet (Click here for full article)
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  • Nauvoo city charter (Click here for full article)
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    • habeas corpus
      Brief Summary: What is a writ of Habeas corpus? How was it used in Nauvoo? (Click here for full article)
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    • Usurpation of power
      Brief Summary: Critics charge that the Mormon's use of the Nauvoo city charter to invalidate writs from other jurisdictions was improper. Carlin, the governor of Illinois at the time, characterized it as an "extraordinary assumption of power….most absurd and ridiculous…[a] gross usurpation of power that cannot be tolerated." (Click here for full article)
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Accusations of false prophecy

Specific accusations of Joseph Smith having uttered "false prophecy" are treated in the following wiki articles:

Fulfilled prophecies

Miscellaneous


General




  • No more prophets after Christ?
    Brief Summary: Most of Christianity today claim that there are not supposed to be any more prophets after Christ's day. (Click here for full article)
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  • Alleged false prophecies
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith was not a true prophet, and that he made "false prophecies." (Click here for full article)
    ∗       ∗       ∗
  • Personages who appeared to Joseph Smith
    Brief Summary: A list of known personages who appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith or who were seen by him in vision. The list does not include instances where he only heard supernatural voices. (Click here for full article)
    ∗       ∗       ∗
  • Joseph Smith: Status in LDS belief
    Brief Summary: Do members worship Joseph Smith or treat him as more than a man? Critics charge that since Joseph claimed (or it was claimed in his behalf) the right to "approve whether or not someone gets into heaven," this arrogates to a mortal a right properly reserved for God and Jesus Christ. Some critics have even charged that "Mormons worship Joseph Smith." (Click here for full article)
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If every President of the Church is a prophet, seer, and revelator, why have so few revelations after Joseph Smith been added to the Doctrine and Covenants? Revelations used to be printed in Church periodicals such as the Times and Seasons and the Evening and Morning Star. Why are revelations no longer published on an ongoing basis? (Click here for full article)

Joseph Fielding Smith


Others

Other related issues and claims

  • LDS prophets don't prophesy?
    Brief Summary: Some critics say that Latter-day Saint prophets aren't really "prophets" because they don't prophesy by foretelling unknown events. They commonly issue challenges such as, "If Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet, tell me one event that he's prophesied." Do LDS prophets "prophesy"? (Click here for full article)
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  • Prophetic inerrancy?
    Brief Summary: Critics sometimes impose absolutist assumptions on the Church by holding inerrantist beliefs about scriptures or prophets, and assuming that the LDS have similar views. Critics therefore insist, based upon these assumptions, that any statement by any LDS Church leader represents LDS doctrine and is thus something that is secretly believed, or that should be believed, by Latter-day Saints. (Click here for full article)
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  • Mormonism and prophets
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that General Authorities are very silent about some issues, and that the Maxwell Institute takes their place (Click here for full article)
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  • False revelation or private matters
    Brief Summary: Statements by leaders of the Church on the propriety of Church members teaching new doctrines, or publicizing personal revelations, dreams, visions, etc. (Click here for full article)
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What constitutes official or "core" doctrine of the Church? Joseph Smith defined our fundamental core doctrine: "The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121.) (Click here for full article)



How is new doctrine established in the Church? (Click here for full article)

  • Changing doctrine
    Brief Summary: Is LDS doctrine constantly changing? It is claimed that Mormon doctrine is very elusive - very little is claimed to be official, which makes it easy to repudiate certain doctrines when they become unpleasant or unfashionable. (Click here for full article)
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  • Church publications as doctrine
    Brief Summary: Are Church publications considered doctrine? It is claimed that anything that is, or ever was, officially published by the Church at any time ought to represent doctrine, thus define what Latter-day Saints really believe. However, just as Brigham Young taught principles that applied to the 19th-century saints, modern prophets teach us what we need for our particular time. (Click here for full article)
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  • Official Church publications
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that some publications are official Church publications when in reality they are not. Conversely, some claim that some publications are not official Church publications when in reality they are. (Click here for full article)
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  • Statements by past prophets
    Brief Summary: Are statements of past prophets considered doctrine? It is claimed that anything that is, or ever was, officially published by the Church ought to represent doctrine. (Click here for full article)
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  • Prophets are not infallible
    Brief Summary: Are prophets considered infallible? Critics sometimes impose absolutist assumptions on the Church and hold inerrantist beliefs about scriptures or prophets. Critics therefore insist that any statement by any LDS Church leader represents LDS doctrine and is thus something that is secretly believed, or that should be believed, by Latter-day Saints. (Click here for full article)
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Some teachings previously considered doctrinal have since been repudiated by the Church. (Click here for full article)

  • Repudiated concepts: Blood atonement
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that during the administration of Brigham Young apostates were secretly put to death. They claim this is in line with the teachings of LDS leaders at the time that apostasy was the unforgivable sin, and that the only thing an apostate could do to redeem himself was to give his own life, willingly or unwillingly. (Click here for full article)
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  • Repudiated concepts: Priesthood ban on people of African descent
    Brief Summary: There exist previously taught ideas which have been repudiated by Church leaders since the ban. Among these are the notion that Blacks were somehow not as "valiant" in the pre-existence, and that interracial marriage is forbidden. (Click here for full article)
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  • Repudiated concepts: Adam-God theory
    Brief Summary: Brigham Young taught that Adam, the first man, was God the Father. Since this teaching runs counter to the story told in Genesis and commonly accepted by Christians, critics accuse Brigham of being a false prophet. Also, because modern Latter-day Saints do not believe Brigham's "Adam-God" teachings, critics accuse Mormons of either changing their teachings or rejecting teachings of prophets they find uncomfortable or unsupportable. (Click here for full article)
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Original text of Joseph's accounts of the First Vision (Click here for full article)



The claim is sometimes made by critics that the LDS Church hides the various accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision that are not in its official canon. The following chronological database (compiled by FAIR volunteer Edward Jones) demonstrates conclusively that this is simply not the case. The various accounts of the First Vision have been widely acknowledged in LDS-authored sources throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. (Click here for full article)







  • Discrepancies in Paul's account of his vision
    Brief Summary: Paul the apostle gave more than one account of his vision of the resurrected Lord while on the road to Damascus. Like Joseph Smith's account of the First Vision, Paul's accounts differ in some details but agree in the overall message. (Click here for full article)
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  • Do Greek scholars solve the discrepancies in Paul's vision accounts?
    Brief Summary: The Church's sectarian critics accept Paul's account as true despite the Bible containing apparently frank contradictions in its accounts, while refusing to give Joseph Smith the same latitude. Members of the Church have long pointed out that this is a clear double standard, designed to bias the audience against Joseph from the beginning. Perhaps because of the force of this argument, some critics have begun to argue that no contradiction exists between the versions of Paul's vision. (Click here for full article)
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  • D&C:84 says God cannot be seen without priesthood
    Brief Summary: Critics argue that Joseph Smith claimed that he saw God in 1820 and also claimed that he received the priesthood in 1829. But in a text which he produced in 1832 (DC 84:21-22) it is said that a person cannot see God without holding the priesthood. Therefore, it is claimed that Joseph Smith contradicted himself and this counts as evidence against his calling as an authentic prophet of God. (Click here for full article)
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  • Was Joseph Smith told that "all the churches of the day were an abomination?"
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith stated that during the First Vision that he was told that "all the churches of the day were an abomination." (Click here for full article)
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  • D&C 121:28 contradicts vision?
    Brief Summary: In 1839 Joseph Smith received a revelation from God in which it was stated that the time would come "in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods they shall be manifest" (D&C 121:28). This was an "unnecessary revelation," since according to the official LDS Church First Vision account Joseph Smith supposedly knew that there was more than one God since 1820. This information counts as evidence that the Prophet's story was fraudulent. (Click here for full article)
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  • Father: Spirit vs. Embodied
    Brief Summary: When the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants was published in 1835 it portrayed God the Father as a personage of spirit whereas Jesus Christ was portrayed as a personage of tabernacle, or one having a physical body. Yet the official LDS First Vision story portrays the Father as a physical Being. (Click here for full article)
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  • Personages seen by Joseph
    Brief Summary: A list of known personages who appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith or who were seen by him in vision. (Click here for full article)
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  • Brigham Young and the First Vision
    Brief Summary: It is claimed either that Brigham never taught about the First Vision, or that he taught that the Lord did not appear to Joseph. Both claims are false. (Click here for full article)
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FairMormon web site

Joseph Smith FairMormon articles on-line
  • Ron Barney, "Joseph Smith’s Visions: His Style and his Record" FairMormon link
Joseph Smith other visionary issues FairMormon links
  • Craig Ray, "Joseph Smith's History Confirmed," (Mesa, Arizona: FAIR, August 2002) FairMormon link

External links

  • Stephen R. Gibson, "Can People Go To Heaven Without Joseph Smith's Consent?," in One-Minute Answers to Anti-Mormon Questions (Bountiful, Utah: Horizon Publishers, 2005) ISBN 0882907840. off-site

Printed material

Joseph Smith, Jr. printed materials
  • Richard L. Bushman, "Joseph Smith's Family Background," in The Prophet Joseph: Essays on the Life and Mission of Joseph Smith, ed. Larry C. Porter and Susan Easton Black (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988), 1–18. ISBN 0875791778. GL direct link
  • Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Knopf, 2005), 1.
  • Mark L. McConkie, Remembering Joseph: Personal Recollections of Those Who Knew the Prophet Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Company, 2003).(print version) ISBN 978-1570089633 GL direct link (Key source)

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