Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Joseph Smith

This is one post in an A-Z series of 26 where I am writing about living as a Mormon in the wilderness of Kuantan




Joseph Smith. 

A name both loved and hated by many the world over. 

Perhaps the greatest person to promote religious liberty in the United States and one who has contributed the most to Christian theology in the Western world.

As a 14-year-old teenager, he showed remarkable maturity in earnestly seeking for a church to attend and which represented his ideals gained from carefully studying the Holy Bible. He attended various church meetings and studied passages of scripture both individually and with his family. He had no formal education that is virtually guaranteed as a norm for a lot of us today.

Following a passage of scripture in James 1:5 which urges us to pray for answers to our questions, Joseph Smith did just that and took his query regarding a church to join, to God in prayer.

As a result of considering other viewpoints, studying the word of God in the Holy Bible, and making a petition to Deity in prayer, he claimed to have been visited by three beings - Satan who tried to prevent him from praying, followed by God and Jesus Christ.

Mormons typically refer to this visitation as "The First Vision."

An artistic depiction of The First Vision experienced by Joseph Smith


Either Joseph Smith was lying about it all and is an imposter, in which case, the Mormon church has no foundation, is built on a false premise, and I have been wasting away my life in a lie; or it is true, God and Christ visited Joseph Smith on earth in 1820, and They began the process of restoring the New Testament church which Jesus arranged in his lifetime.

I certainly don't feel that my life has been wasted in this cause. I have learned more about Deity through the life, experience, and revelations given through Joseph Smith. I belong to the church that he formed under the direction of the resurrected Jesus Christ. The doctrine fosters hope, peace, love, knowledge, spirituality and personal responsibility. We try to emulate the supreme example of Jesus Christ.

As a young missionary I personally experienced the hatred towards this man when I was confronted by an Australian in Kuala Lumpur who proceeded to rant and rave with spittle reaching my face, in opposition to Joseph Smith. I waited patiently, a little afraid but decidedly certain, until he had finished before replying that I believed Joseph Smith genuinely saw what he said he saw. I have never understood the anger towards Joseph Smith, who at least, has contributed significant amounts of information concerning God, Christ and the doctrines of Christianity.

After all is said and done, I have no reason to doubt the simple testimony Joseph Smith died for at the tender age of 38, which he stated thus:

"I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation."

(Joseph Smith - History 1:25)


9 comments:

  1. Thank you for visiting my blog. I found your posts on your perspectives of Mormonism very interesting.

    regards
    Anne
    http://ayfamilyhistory.blogspot.com.au

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anne. It would be nice if I could at least replace a lot of the cynicism through which Mormons are viewed, with some genuine interest.

      Delete
  2. Even if Joseph lied, your faith isn't based on a lie. Faith goes much deeper than history and the stories we're told. It's personal...it's something you feel. And it gives your life meaning and happiness. Those are all things that happen regardless of what we believe in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Stephanie, they are very comforting words and I believe em to be true.

      Delete
  3. The prime reason Mormons are viewed negatively, at least in the United States, is because of the history of polygamy. Other Christian faiths in the United States don't practice it, so they don't understand it.

    That said, I was surprised to see a Mormon at my romance blog. You ARE open minded. LOL!

    Piper Presley
    Journal Writing: Blogging From A to Z Challenge

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Piper, that is right.

      I was just following the links on the list and yours was next!

      Delete
  4. "The First Vision" is misleading as a name for this whatever it was phenomenon, since this version quoted from the history of the church is actually the 4th of 9 versions of the account, all of which differ wildly from each other as to who Joseph saw, what they said and who was with them.
    The chronology runs thus
    1827 — Account of Joseph Smith, Sr., and Joseph Smith, Jr., given to Willard Chase, as related in his 1833 affidavit.

    1827 — Account by Martin Harris given to Rev. John Clark, as published in his book Gleanings by the Way, printed in 1842, pp. 222-229.

    1830 — Interview of Joseph Smith by Peter Bauder, recounted by Bauder in his book The Kingdom and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, printed in 1834, pp. 36-38.

    1832 — Earliest known attempt at an ‘official’ recounting of the ‘First Vision, from History, 1832, Joseph Smith Letterbook 1, pp.2,3, in the handwriting of Joseph Smith.

    1834-35 — Oliver Cowdery, with Joseph Smith’s help, published the first history of Mormonism in the LDS periodical Messenger and Advocate, Kirtland, Ohio, Dec. 1834, vol.1, no.3

    1835 — Account given by Joseph Smith to Joshua the Jewish minister, Joseph Smith Diary, Nov. 9, 1835.

    1835 — Account given by Joseph Smith to Erastus Holmes on November 14, 1835, originally published in the Deseret News of Saturday May 29, 1852.

    1838 — This account became the official version, now part of Mormon Scripture in the Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith — History, 1:7-20. Though written in 1838, it was not published until 1842 in Times and Season, March 15, 1842, vol. 3, no. 10, pp. 727-728, 748-749, 753.

    1844 — Account in An Original History of the Religious Denominations at Present Existing in the United States, edited by Daniel Rupp. Joseph Smith wrote the chapter on Mormonism.

    1859 — Interview with Martin Harris, Tiffany’s Monthly, 1859, New York: Published by Joel Tiffany, vol. v.—12, pp. 163-170.


    Details of each version can be found here http://mit.irr.org/joseph-smiths-changing-first-vision-accounts

    Some with God, some with angels, some with Jesus and some without

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Henry. I am well aware of the numerous recollections of this marvellous moment. I would point out that though they may differ when told at different times to different people, the contrasts don't mean that it didn't happen at all.

      Delete
    2. Perhaps so Duncan, but if you had seen God and Jesus in the flesh, would you wait 7 years to tell anyone about it and then at other times forget who it was you had been talking to and then claim they were not there at all but that you only saw an angel, or angels?

      It is like the similar incident when Joseph claimed that the angel Nephi visited him in his and his brothers room, but then, after he was dead, seems to have changed his mind and some how communicated posthumously to his followers that it was not Nephi after all but the Angel Moroni.

      In consistencies like this are why people go apostate, if you can't trust the prophet's memory how do trust his "translations"?

      Delete

I welcome comments and discussion on all perspectives relating to Mormonism and Christianity and the personal quest for acquiring truth and developing a relationship with Deity.

Go ahead!