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Lesson taught by Rosemary Wixom
Second Lesson/The First Vision
Reading assignment–Joseph Smith History 1:1-26
“Our whole strength rests on the validity of that (First) vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud. If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens.”
“This glorious First Vision was the parting of the curtain to open this – the dispensation of the fullness of times. Nothing on which we base our doctrine – nothing we teach – nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God the Father and His beloved Son, than all else of which He spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life.” President Gordon B. Hinckley
Insight into the family life of Joseph:
“The evening after the visit to the hill, (the evening after Moroni’s first visit) Joseph told the rest of the family about the angel and the plates. William said they were “melted to tears, and believed all he said. He had made his first converts. Typically, Lucy understood the finding of the plates as a family event. She remembered them all seated in a circle, father, mother, sons and daughters” It struck her that her “family presented the most peculiar aspect of any family that ever lived upon the Earth,” all” giving the most profound attention to a boy, eighteen years of age: who had never read the Bible through in his life.” “The sweetest union and happiness pervaded our house, and tranquility reigned in our midst” Joseph Jr. warned of troubles ahead for the Smiths. He said, “The world was so wicked that when they came to a knowledge of these things they would try to take our lives.” For that reason they had to keep what he told them to themselves, but they still rejoiced to know that God was about to give them a more perfect knowledge of the plan of salvation and the redemption of the human family..” At last, as Lucy said, the Smiths had “something upon which we could stay our minds.” Richard L. Bushman – Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling: Page 45-46
After discussion the unique differences of the nine accounts of the First Vision:
“There is an alternative approach to the evidence. It is to be humble, seeking, and to become thoroughly informed. It involves not assuming that one already knows how Joseph would respond to and tell about a heavenly vision. Instead, it allows his accounts to shape that understanding” “Suspicion or Trust: Reading the Accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision”Steven C. Harper – Church Historian and an editor of The Joseph Smith Papers
“I am not worried that the Prophet Joseph Smith gave a number of versions of the First Vision anymore than I am worried that there are four different writers of the gospels in the New Testament, each with his own perceptions, each telling the events to meet his own purpose for writing at the time.” President Gordon B. Hinckley
In reference to some of the social issues we are dealing with today: The consensus is we sometimes we have a tendency to think things are “this way” OR “that way”…. We hesitate to consider “and” thinking. Could things be “this way” AND “that way”
“As a clinical psychologist, I can tell you that OR-thinking is easy, which is part of its appeal.
Meanwhile, integrative (AND-thinking) is hard, which is part of it’s challenge…. Skeptics, for instance will always doubt integrative (or “and”) thinking.
But skepticism isn’t necessarily unhealthy. Skepticism – by definition – requires us to listen outside the narrow constraints of our own preconceptions. (For example, consider the 9 accounts of the FV)
In contrast, cynicism is usually costly. Cynicism claims to be wise when it is actually narrow; it claims to be experienced when it is actually detached…..
Healthy skepticism, however, remains humble and open; options are opportunities……. Healthy skepticism requires mental flexibility; it doesn’t retreat into comfortable, yet tired, recesses of the mind where people double-down on what they already believe and neglect everything else.” “The Heavy Cost of Simplistic Thinking” – Bryan Bushman – Clinical Psychologist – “My View” Deseret News July 21, 2016
Each believer needs a spiritual confirmation of the divine mission and character of the Prophet Joseph Smith…… The negative commentary about the Prophet Joseph Smith will increase as we move toward the Second Coming of the Savior. “ Elder Neil L. Anderson
Joseph Smith History 1:25-26 (abbreviated) “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…. I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God…. For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it……. I have found the testimony of James to be true – that a many who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain and not be upbraided.”