Mormonism and Wikipedia/First Vision/Story of the vision

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    An analysis of the Wikipedia article "First Vision"

A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia: Mormonism and Wikipedia/First Vision
A work by a collaboration of authors (Link to Wikipedia article here)
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Story of the vision  Updated 9/17/2011

From the Wikipedia article:
Joseph Smith wrote or dictated several versions of his vision story, and told the story to others who later published what they remember hearing. Taken together, these accounts set forth the following details: Smith said that when he was about twelve (c. 1817-18), he became interested in religion and distressed about his sins.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1832) , pp. 1–2.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
He studied the Bible and attended church, but the accounts differ as to whether he determined on his own that there was no existing religion built upon the true teachings of Jesus

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1832) , p. 2.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
or whether the idea that all churches were false had not "entered his heart" until he experienced the vision.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1838) , p. 3.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
During this period of religious concern, he determined to turn to God in prayer. An early account says the purpose of this prayer was to ask God for mercy for his sins

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1832) , p. 2.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
while later accounts emphasize his desire to know which church he should join.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1838) , p. 3; Waite (1843) ; Neibaur (1844) .

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Therefore, as his mother had done years before when concerned about an important religious question,

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1853) , p. 54; Bushman (2005) , p. 26.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Smith said he went one spring morning to a secluded grove near his home to pray.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1842b) , p. 728.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
He said he went to a stump in a clearing where he had left his axe the day before

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Waite (1843) .

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
and began to offer his first audible prayer.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1842b) , p. 727.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
He said his prayer was interrupted by a "being from the unseen world" more powerful than any he had previously encountered.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1842c) , p. 748; Pratt (1840) , p. 5.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Smith said the spirit caused his tongue to swell in his mouth so that he could not speak,

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1835) , p. 23. Smith (1842c) , p. 748.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
One account said he heard a noise behind him like someone walking towards him

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1835) , p. 23.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
and then, when he tried to pray again, the noise grew louder, causing him to spring to his feet and look around, but he saw no one.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1835) , p. 23.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
In some of the accounts, he described being covered with a thick darkness and thinking that he would be destroyed.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1842c) , p. 748.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
At his darkest moment, he knelt a third time to pray

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1835) , p. 23.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
and, as he summoned all his power to pray, he felt ready to sink into oblivion.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1842c) , p. 748

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
At that moment, he said his tongue was loosed and he saw a vision.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1835) , p. 23; Smith (1842c) , p. 748

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Smith said he saw a pillar of light brighter than the noonday sun that slowly descended on him,

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1832) , p. 3;Smith (1842c) , p. 748.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
growing in brightness as it descended and lighting the entire area for some distance.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Pratt (1840) , p. 5.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
As the light reached the tree tops, Smith feared the trees might catch fire.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Pratt (1840) , p. 5; 1835 , p. 24.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
But when it reached the ground and enveloped him, it produced a "peculiar sensation."

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Pratt (1840) , p. 5

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
"[H]is mind was caught away from the natural objects with which he was surrounded; and he was enwrapped in a heavenly vision."

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Pratt (1840) , p. 5; Smith (1842a) , p. 706.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
While experiencing the vision, he said he saw one or more "personages," described differently in Smith's accounts. In one, Smith said he "saw the Lord."

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1832) , p. 3.

FAIR's analysis:


{{WikipediaPassage |claim= In diary entries, he said he saw a "visitation of Angels" |authorsources=

  • Smith (1835) , p. 37.

|response=

  • {{WikipediaCorrect)
  • Joseph's 9 November 1835 diary entry states,

a pillar of fire appeared above my head, it presently rested down upon me head, and filled me with Joy unspeakable, a personage appeard in the midst of this pillar of flame which was spread all around, and yet nothing consumed, another personage soon appeard like unto the first, he said unto me thy sins are forgiven thee, he testified unto me that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; and I saw many angels in this vision... (emphasis added)

  • The second entry, recorded only five days later on 14 November 1835, mentions "angels,"

I received the first visitation of Angels which was when I was about 14. years old...

}}

From the Wikipedia article:
or a "vision of angels" that included "a personage," and then "another personage" who testified that "Jesus Christ is the Son of God," as well as "many angels".

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1835) , p. 24.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
In later accounts, Smith consistently said that he had seen two personages who appeared one after the other.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Neibaur (1844) ; Waite (1843) .

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
These personages "exactly resembled each other in their features or likeness."

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Pratt (1840) , p. 5; Smith (1842a) , p. 707.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
The first personage had "light complexion, blue eyes, a piece of white cloth drawn over his shoulders, his right arm bare."

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Neibaur (1844)

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
In later accounts, one of the personages called Smith by name "and said, (pointing to the other), 'This is my beloved Son, hear him.'"

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1842c) , p. 748.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Although Smith left their identity unexplicit, most Latter Day Saints infer that these personages were God the Father and Jesus.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Taylor (1879) , p. 161. Taylor, who stated he had heard the story from Smith himself, said the personages were "the Lord" and "his Son Jesus."

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
In two accounts, Smith said that the Lord told him his sins were forgiven, that he should obey the commandments, that the world was corrupt, and that the Second Coming was approaching.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • 1832 , p. 3.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Later accounts say that when the personages appeared, Smith asked them "O Lord, what church shall I join?"

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Waite 1843

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
or "Must I join the Methodist Church?"

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Neibaur 1844

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
In answer, he was told that "all religious denominations were believing in incorrect doctrines, and that none of them was acknowledged of God as his church and kingdom."

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1842a) , p. 707; Pratt (1840) , p. 5.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
All churches and their professors were "corrupt",

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Waite (1843) Smith (1842c) , p. 748.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
and "all their creeds were an abomination in his sight."

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1842c) , p. 748

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
Smith was told not to join any of the churches, but that the "fulness of the gospel" would be known to him at a later time.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Smith (1842a) , p. 707; Pratt (1840) , p. 5. One account also said that "many other things did [the personage] say unto me which I cannot write at this time." Smith (1842c) , p. 748.

FAIR's analysis:


From the Wikipedia article:
After the vision withdrew, Smith said he "came to myself" and found himself sprawled on his back.

Wikipedia footnotes:

  • Waite (1843) ; Smith (1842c) , p. 748.

FAIR's analysis:


References

Wikipedia references for "First Vision"
  • Abanes, Richard, (2002), One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church , New York: Four Walls Eight Windows .
  • Allen, James B., (1980), Emergence of a Fundamental: The Expanding Role of Joseph Smith's First Vision in Mormon Religious Thought off-site .
  • Allen, James B., (1966), The Significance of Joseph Smith's First Vision in Mormon Thought off-site .
  • Anderson, Richard Lloyd, Joseph Smith’s Testimony of the First Vision off-site .
  • Anderson, Richard Lloyd, (1969), Circumstantial Confirmation Of the first Vision Through Reminiscences off-site .
  • Backman, Milton V., Jr., (1969), Awakenings in the Burned-over District: New Light on the Historical Setting of the first Vision off-site .
  • Berge, Dale L., Archaeological Work at the Smith Log House off-site .
  • Bauder, Peter, Vogel, Dan (editor) (1834), Early Mormon Documents , Salt Lake City: Signature Books .
  • Bitton, Davis, (1994), Historical Dictionary of Mormonism , Metuchen, New Jersey: Scarecrow Press .
  • Brown, Matthew B., Historical or Hysterical— Anti-Mormons and Documentary Sources Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research off-site .
  • Bushman, Richard Lyman, (2005), Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling , New York: Knopf .
  • Cowdery, Oliver, Far West Record: Minutes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1844 , Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company .
  • Cowdery, Oliver, (1834), Letter III off-site .
  • Cowdery, Oliver, (1835), Letter IV off-site .
  • Flake, Kathleen, (2004), The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle University of North Carolina Press .
  • Hill, Marvin S., (1980), The First Vision Controversy: A Critique and Reconciliation .
  • Howard, Richard P., (1980), Joseph Smith's First Vision: The RLDS Tradition off-site .
  • Howe, Eber Dudley, ed., The Mormon Creed off-site .
  • Jessee, Dean (1989), The Papers of Joseph Smith: Autobiographical and Historical Writings {{{pages}}}
  • Jessee, Dean C., (Spring, 1971), How Lovely was the Morning off-site .
  • Jessee, Dean C., (1969), Early Accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision .
  • Mormon History off-site .
  • Mack, Solomon, (1811), A Narraitve [sic] of the Life of Solomon Mack Windsor: Solomon Mack off-site .
  • Matzko, John A., (2007), The Encounter of the Young Joseph Smith with Presbyterianism .
  • McKune, Joshua, Review of Mormonism: Rejoiner to Elder Cadwell off-site .
  • Neibaur, Alexander, (1841–48), Journal of Alexander Neibaur off-site .
  • Palmer, Grant H., (2002), An Insider's View of Mormon Origins Signature Books .
  • Phelps, W.W., ed., (1833), A Book of Commandments, for the Government of the Church of Christ , Zion: William Wines Phelps & Co. off-site .
  • Porter, Larry C., (1969), Reverend George Lane—Good "Gifts", Much "Grace", and Marked "Usefulness" off-site .
  • Pratt, Orson, (1840), A Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions, and of the Late Discovery of Ancient American Records , Edinburgh: Ballantyne and Hughes off-site .
  • Quinn, D. Michael, (1998), Early Mormonism and the Magic World View Signature Books .
  • Ray, Craig N., (2002), Joseph Smith's History Confirmed Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research off-site .
  • Riley, I. Woodbridge, (1903), The Founder of Mormonism: A Psychological Study of Joseph Smith, Jr. , New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. off-site
  • Roberts, B. H. (editor) (1902), History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints LDS Church off-site .
  • Smith, Joseph, Jr., Jessee, Dean C (editor) (1832), Personal Writings of Joseph Smith , Salt Lake City: Deseret Book off-site .
  • Smith, Joseph, Jr., Jessee, Dean C (editor) (1835), Personal Writings of Joseph Smith , Salt Lake City: Deseret Book off-site .
  • Smith, Joseph, Jr., (1838), History of the Church , copied to Jessee, Dean C (editor) (1839–1843), Personal Writings of Joseph Smith Deseret Book .
  • Smith, Joseph, Jr., (1842a), Church History [Wentworth Letter] off-site .
  • Smith, Joseph, Jr., (1842b), History of Joseph Smith off-site .
  • Smith, Joseph, Jr., (1842c), History of Joseph Smith off-site .
  • Smith, Lucy Mack, (1853), Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations , Liverpool: S.W. Richards off-site .
  • Smith, William, (1883), William Smith on Mormonism: A True Account of the Origin of the Book of Mormon , Lamoni, Iowa: RLDS Church off-site .
  • Smith, William, (1884), The Old Soldier's Testimony off-site .
  • Tanner, Jerald and Sandra (1987 (5th ed)), Mormonism: Shadow or Reality? {{{pages}}}
  • Taylor, John, How a Knowledge of God is Obtained—The Gospel to the Dead—Various Dispensations of the Most High to Mankind—Power of the Priesthood—Restoration of the Gospel Through Joseph Smith—Failings of the Saints—Corruptions of the Wicked off-site .
  • Tucker, Pomeroy, (1867), Origin, Rise and Progress of Mormonism , New York: D. Appleton off-site .
  • Turner, Orasmus, (1851), History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham's Purchase, and Morris' Reserve , Rochester, New York: William Alling off-site .
  • Vogel, Dan (editor) (1996), Early Mormon Documents , Salt Lake City: Signature Books .
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  • Vogel, Dan, (2004), Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet , Salt Lake City: Signature Books .
  • Waite, David Nye, Sr., The Prairies, Nauvoo, Joseph Smith, the Temple, the Mormons &c off-site .

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