Monday, April 20, 2020

Reading afresh vs. M2C

Prior to General Conference, President Nelson encouraged us to prepare by "reading afresh Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price...." 

One reason why M2C persists is that Church members trust the M2C intellectuals' interpretations and theories. The academic commentaries are replete with impressive rhetoric, interpretation, circular references, etc.

And that's perfectly fine. We can all believe whatever we want. I don't write these blogs for M2C proponents, who will never change their minds anyway. The psychology of bias confirmation is far too strong for that.

But many people want to make informed choices, and to be informed, we need to know what the original sources say.

Let's look at Moroni's visit as an example.

Joseph Smith provided four separate accounts of the First Vision, as discussed in the Gospel Topics Essay. Those accounts also include accounts of Moroni's visit.

1832 written history.

1835 journal entry.

1838 history (published in the Times and Seasons in 1842).

1842 Wentworth letter (published in the Times and Seasons in 1842).

He also provided a brief response to a question about Moroni's visit in the 1838 Elders' Journal.

In 1834-5, Joseph assisted Oliver Cowdery in writing the eight Church history essays that included details of Moroni's visit (but not the First Vision). During Joseph's lifetime, these essays provided the best-known account of Moroni's visit. They were published and republished in the Messenger and Advocate, the Millennial Star, the Gospel Reflector, the Times and Seasons, The Prophet, and the Improvement Era. They were also copied into Joseph's personal history as part of his life story.

Let's look at these accounts chronologically to see what Moroni said. After each excerpt I put a link to the Joseph Smith Papers so you can read it for yourself.

In another post we'll look at what these accounts relate regarding the Urim and Thummim and the translation.

Hint: you will see nothing in these original sources that states, implies, or even supports either M2C or SITH. Both of those theories come from other sources as amplified by our LDS M2C and SITH intellectuals today.

Instead, Moroni used the terms "this country," "this continent" and "America" to describe where the events of the Book of Mormon took place.

In the work of modern intellectuals, you will see instead the term "the Americas" which does not appear in any of the original sources. That's their spin to accommodate M2C.

You can see for yourself that Moroni told Joseph Smith the book was:

"a history of the aborigines of this country,"

"the Indians were literal descendants of Abraham,"

it was "an account of the former inhabitants of this continent," 

"concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country,"

"the ancient prophets that had existed on this continent,"

"the history of ancient America,"

"We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people," and

"the remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country."
_____

1832 written history.

an angel of the Lord came and stood before me and it was by night and he called me by name and he said the Lord had forgiven me my sins and he revealed unto me that in the Town of Manchester Ontario County N.Y. there was plates of gold upon which there was engravings which was engraven by Maroni & his fathers the servants of the living God in ancient days



1835 essays.

there seemed to be an additional glory surrounding or accompanying this personage, which shone with an increased degree of brilliancy, of which he was in the midst; and though his countenance was as lightning, yet it was of a pleasing, inocent and glorious appearance, so much so, that every fear was banished from the heart, and nothing but calmness pervaded the soul.

It is no easy task to describe the appearance of a messenger from the skies... The stature of this personage was a little above the common size of men in this age; his garment was perfectly white, and had the appearance of being without seam....

He then proceeded and gave a general account of the promises made to the fathers, and also gave a history of the aborigenes of this country, and said they were literal descendants of Abraham. He represented them as once being an enlightned and intelligent people, possessing a correct knowledge of the gospel, and the plan of restoration and redemption. He said this history was written and deposited not far from that place, and that it was our brother’s privilege, if obedient to the commandments of the Lord, to obtain and translate the same by the means of the Urim and Thummim, which were deposited for that purpose with the record.

https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1834-1836/67

1835 journal entry.

the room was iluminated above the brightness of the sun an angel appeared before me, his hands and feet were naked pure and white, and he stood between the floors of the room, clothed <​with​> in purity inexpressible, he said unto me I am a messenger sent from God, be faithful and keep his commandments in all things, he told me of a sacred record which was written on plates of gold, I saw in the vision the place where they were deposited, he said the indians, were the literal descendants of Abraham he explained many things of the prophesies to me


1838 Elders' Journal.

Question 4th. How, and where did you obtain the book of Mormon?

Answer. Moroni, the person who deposited the plates, from whence the book of Mormon was translated, in a hill in Manchester, Ontario County New York, being dead; and raised again therefrom, appeared unto me, and told me where they were; 

https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/elders-journal-july-1838/10

1838 history (published in the Times and Seasons in 1842, Joseph Smith--History).

He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Nephi; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.

He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;


1842 Wentworth letter (published in the Times and Seasons in 1842).

In a moment a personage stood before me, surrounded with a glory yet greater than that with which I was already surrounded. This messenger proclaimed himself to be an angel of God, sent to bring the joyful tidings that the covenant which God made with ancient Israel was at hand to be fulfilled; that the preparatory work for the second coming of the Messiah was speedily to commence; that the time was at hand for the gospel in all its fulness to be preached in power unto all nations, that a people might be prepared for the millennial reign. I was informed that I was chosen to be an instrument in the hands of God to bring about some of His purposes in this glorious dispensation.

I was also informed concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country and shown who they were, and from whence they came; a brief sketch of their origin, progress, civilization, laws, governments, of their righteousness and iniquity, and the blessings of God being finally withdrawn from them as a people, was [also] made known unto me; I was also told where were deposited some plates on which were engraven an abridgment of the records of the ancient prophets that had existed on this continent... 

In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel at the confusion of languages to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country. This book also tells us that our Savior made His appearance upon this continent after His Resurrection; that He planted the gospel here in all its fulness, and richness, and power, and blessing; that they had apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists—the same order, the same priesthood, the same ordinances, gifts, powers, and blessings, as were enjoyed on the eastern continent; that the people were cut off in consequence of their transgressions; that the last of their prophets who existed among them was commanded to write an abridgment of their prophecies, history, etc., and to hide it up in the earth; and that it should come forth and be united with the Bible for the accomplishment of the purposes of God in the last days.

https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/church-history-1-march-1842/2

The end

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