In this month’s First Presidency Message (February 2009), Dieter F. Uchtdorf wrote of how Joseph Smith’s First Vision blesses people’s lives. He wrote,
“Through his [Joseph Smith’s] work and sacrifice, I now have a true understanding of our Heavenly Father and His Son, our Redeemer and Savior, Jesus Christ, and I can feel the power of the Holy Ghost, and know of Heavenly Father’s plan for us, His children. For me, these are truly the fruits of the First Vision.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, First Presidency Message, Precious Fruits of the First Vision, Ensign, February 2009, page 8 )
Beginning with the First Vision, Joseph Smith’s work brought about the understanding within his community of believers (i.e., those who believe in him as a true prophet) that Heavenly Father is an exalted Man, a God who achieved Godhood “the same as all Gods [had] done before [Him].”
Joseph’s work brought about the Mormon understanding that Jesus Christ is the literal offspring of Heavenly Father and the “mother in heaven,” a Savior whose atonement paid for many–but was insufficient to pay for all–sins.
Joseph’s work brought about the LDS understanding that the Holy Ghost is a third god relative to this earth, a “spirit man” whose comforting presence within each Mormon believer flees at the first sign of trouble.
Joseph’s work brought about the Mormon understanding that God’s plan is for faithful and worthy Mormons to someday achieve Godhood, create their own worlds, and populate them.
Accompanying President Uchtdorf’s article in the Ensign were “Ideas for home teachers.” It was suggested, “Ask the family [you teach] what they feel are the fruits of the First Vision.” (Ensign, February 2009, page 8 )
For me there is one big, broad piece of fruit resulting from Joseph Smith’s First Vision story: Heresy.
For more information about the Father, Son, Holy Ghost and gospel plan of Mormonism:
Who is the One Mormons Call Elohim?
Who is the Living Christ of Mormonism?
Celestial Marriage & Eternal Exaltation
You are correct. The first generation believes, the second generation accepts, the third generation forgets.
and the fourth generation is in jail, or on welfare, waiting for great-grand-nana to come visit….with that neat picture bible…….
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my earlier post.
Perhaps I have misunderstood what Joseph meant by “professors.” I took it to mean those who profess a faith in Christianity’s historic statements of belief. You point out that it instead was in reference only to pastors. You may be right; I’m not an expert by any means on Joseph’s account. I may well have been mistaken. Thanks for the clarification.
As to your other thoughts, here are some of mine that might help explain what I meant better:
1. I believe that God is invisible.
2. I believe that Peter, John, others of the Twelve, and many others have seen God.
At first, those two statements would seem to be in conflict, would they not?
Here’s why I think they are in harmony: I believe Jesus is God become man, and that when one looks upon Jesus, one looks upon God. When one looks at Jesus, they are looking at the one who sent Jesus. Jesus said that anyone who sees him has seen the Father.
By the way, thanks for you participation in this forum, faithoffathers. I hope you feel welcome here.
I wrote earlier…
“You also quoted Martin Luther as saying “The Bible could use some improvement”.
Do you know if he was referring to his own translation of the Bible or to the source text?
…at the risk of “bumping” this up the list, but I’d really like an answer (from any contributor)
If I don’t, I’ afraid I’ll have to file the alledged quote in the black “file” under my desk, where I usually store spent banana skins, used staples and other propaganda.
A brief look at Luther and his “higher criticism” can be found in THE HISTORY OF THE REFORMATION by Philip Schaff Volume VII MODERN CHRISTIANITY THE GERMAN REFORMATION Section 9 The Reformation and Rationalism. This is available at ccel.
Sorry I have taken a while to answer your question but I am at a work conference and net access was down for a while.
If you go to the web page I originally refered to it has what Luther has said about the Bible. Basically he wants to throw out Jonah, Ester and the Gospel of John as he thinks they are nothing but junk. There are a few other scriptures he wanted to either change or remove but its all on that website.
Gotta go only have 5 minutes so others can have a turn.
I never said anything about people leaving the LDS church or not getting the ‘correct’ answer for the BoM when they pray and their spirituality. I said that I believe that the Holy Spirit has always been on this earth but the times when it appears to have been ‘missing in action’ it is the fault of the human, not the Holy Spirit. We have removed ourselves from the influence, He has not removed Himself from us. It is the same with God. This I believe fits in with most beliefs. Now if you wish to interpret what I said the way you have interpreted it, then that is your prerogative.
Thank you Sharon.
I like Rob Bowman’s presentation of the Trinity.
I like its simple, clean layout. The points are few and clear. The meat of the issue is behind the links to hundreds of scriptures that support it.
As a Mormon, I was always taught (and I myself taught to others) that the Trinity was almost a comical notion. For example, I am old enough to remember when the temple ceremony included a character (caricature, rather) of the traditional Christian preacher who espoused this pernicious doctrine. Jeffrey Holland said in a recent conference address, “that such a formulation for divinity is truly incomprehensible.”
I don’t why it is hard to comprehend, or at least acknowledge. The LDS seem to have no problem understanding eternity but I find that hard to get my mind around it.
Eternity is not just a really, really, really long time. It is timeless. It doesn’t start; it doesn’t end. Even LDS scriptures states “the Lord’s course is one eternal round” (D&C 3:2) I find that harder to fathom than the simple statements about the triune God. And, if honest, I don’t think most of us can.
I believe in eternity, but I can’t picture it. Why should the Trinity be different if the Word of God supports it?
Now, I realize there are some complex statements about and muddy attempts to define the Trinity (even among the creeds). But I think they make the same mistake as those who dismiss it.
This is the Trinity. Not complex. Not complicated. But “greater than anything we can comprehend.”
“As far as the Councils, yes they were set up to remove what was seen as heretical teachings – but in order to define what was heretical they had to come to an agreement as to what they wanted as standard teachings first. There were a few parties/theologies involved and the ones with greater support and louder voices won. After the creed was drawn up, anything else was then considered heretical. According to one webpage I have read there were at least 3 factions (deity theologies) represented – Arius was one. What would the Christian movement be like now if his party had the greater influence?”
As a gospel doctrine teacher for decades, I was adamant about allowing only the standard works and the conference addresses as lesson material in my classes. You will find, especially in blogs like this one, that LDS will rally around the canon as the only ground on which they want to engage. I don’t blame them. And I feel that there is enough “fertile ground” in the LDS canon in which to engage the spiritual battle, as it were.
So why are attempts by the traditional Christian church to define a canon, whether it be scripture or doctrine, unlike the LDS method? They are similar:
1 – The law of common consent. The LDS canon is the canon because members have accepted it and have bound themselves to it. The councils were meant to arrive to a similar agreement. R.C. Sproul points out that the Latin term recipemus (which means “we receive”) is a common thread. Doesn’t this sound like raising the right hand, figuratively speaking? “What the church said is that we receive these particular books as being canonical, as being apostolic in authority and origin, and therefore we submit to their authority.”
2 – Opposing views. My understanding as a member of the LDS church was that the vocal nature of the councils seemed to eliminate the divine. But, LDS history is not short of “louder voices” who won. But LDS would say that God’s hand was in those arguments. Louder won not because it was louder but because it was right? Why can we not say that the right won out in the councils?
Both LDS and traditional Christians claim divine intervention. Both groups had their detractors. For example, Emma Smith was one. “What would the [Mormon] movement be like now if [her non-polygamist] party had the greater influence?”
There is definately a lot in my post you overlooked and did not address. But thank you for examining what you did. Why take interest in an egyptian pyramid? Yes indeed. As I stated before there are a number of christians that are trying to identify the great pyramid as some thing inspired by Jehovah, mentioned in Isaiah 19:19. It sounds like the writers of the O.T. were trying to credit something to Jehovah which isn’t fitting. But I am serious, there are a number of webpages of christians who see that as ‘the bible in stone’. What I see is a masterwork of the gentiles.(pagans) You don’t approve of the Mormons, but it is a branch of christianity which has just tried a little harder to take credit for what a gentile nation has done.
On the road to Bethlehem with the Magi? These were astrologers, in singular form “mage” or magician. Some speculate that they were followers of Zoroaster. Some speculate that Christianity, Islam and the jewish faith all found their roots in Zoroastrianism. Somehow Ahura Mazda got left out of reference, there are probably other differences, otherwise there wouldn’t be other religions. I can only speculate as to why the magi are even mentioned in the N.T. Probably to gain the trust of people who believe in astrology.
I did not claim that you said anything about people leaving the Mormon Church or believing the BoM. You did say, “The apostles were killed and the truth lost by unscrupulous men who changed the doctrine to suit their ideas. They led the people astray, and although the Holy Spirit was available to them they lost the capacity to understand and recognise it.” Without going into the the fact that you cannot historically support this claim, I said that yours was a claim that is common to your Church, and that it presupposes a form of works righteousness requirement for a believer to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. I said that it takes a special kind of hubris to hold this view of the Holy Spirit and to connect it to the great apostasy when you look at the persecution that was conducted against the early Church and the reaction of early Christians to the persecution.
You do not seem to have a problem claiming, in the abstract, that people remove themselves from the Holy Spirit, because of unrighteousness. Following the logic of your theology, this means that Mormons have the Holy Spirit because they are righteous and non-Mormons don’t have the Holy Spirit because they are not righteous. You do not seem to have a problem boasting that the early Church fell into apostasy and lost the Holy Spirit. In fact you must make this claim. This is the Basis of the first vision. All the other Churches are wrong. Not mistaken on some doctrinal points or differing in worship practices, they are just wrong. Christian Churches do not need to adjust or reform their doctrine because it is all wrong, and thy are all sinful. Only Joseph Smith knows the truth, only he and his followers are righteous enough to have the Gift of the Holy Spirit.
I find this to be contrary to the testimony of Scripture, it is the Holy Spirit that energises the sons of disobedience, as Paul teaches in Ephesians 2:1-5.
Enki said ” I can only speculate as to why the magi are even mentioned in the N.T. Probably to gain the trust of people who believe in astrology.”
This is a topic that interests me, but its off-thread.
My take is that Matthew is shooting off a very barbed criticism of the Temple Mob in Jerusalem. The priests in Jerusalem knew the way, but didn’t go. The pagan Magi (I tend to think their identity has been “cleaned” up by more modern Christians) found the way by highly dubious means but went anyway.
Another angle is that Matthew presents us with Christ the Lord, who’s Lordship extends even over the realm of the occult, though the inhabitants of that realm would hardly be described as willing subjects.
The question Matthew draws us into (and I borrowed) is “what’s the destination?” Surely the ultimate purpose of religion is to bring us to the Christ, and our appropriate response when we find him is to worship him. My bewilderment at the occultish threads in Mormonism is that they do nothing to help us on that journey.
Ralph and Gundeck,
Just following up on Luther’s infamous quotes!
Had a brief look at the website http://www.jesus-is-savior.com, which features the quotes under “false religion”. I’ll admit that this brings a new dimension to my understanding of the controversies of the reformation. I recall that the Roman Church called Luther “vulgar”, and perhaps its objections were founded in the particulars of these quotes.
P.S. According to that website, I’m a “heretic” because I read translations other than the KJV and I don’t believe that the 9/11 attacks were a US government conspiracy. I also like single malt whiskey and dark chocolate, which probably marks me out as a son of satan (LOL). Makes me wonder how useful the term “heretic” is on a forum like this.
Just to make sure there is no confusion, here is the link to the Book I recommended, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/hcc7.ii.i.ix.html
In it the author discusses the questions of canon that faced the Churches of the Reformation. He call Luther, “bold pioneer of a higher criticism” and claims that he was, “subjective and arbitrary”. But he goes on to explain that for Luther judgements of canon were to be made regarding the Christocentric nature of the teachings of a book.
He says that Luther understood the, “subjective and conjectural character of [his] opinions, and had no intention of obtruding them on the church.” He removed his comments from his translation of the Bible and never removed any of the books of the Bible from the canon.
I am sure that you can understand the position that Luther and the Reformers found themselves in concerning the canon. The canon was only “officially” settled for the Roman Church in the 4th century and then only by regional councils not one of the ecumenical councils. It only makes sense that the Reformers would need to address what is canonical when you look at their view of “tradition”. I think that the fact that the canon of scripture was maintained by the Churches of the Reformation shows Gods providence at work, without the need for an extraordinary and dramatic Joseph Smith like vision in the woods.
I want to make clear that I do not support the conclusion that Ralph makes concerning Luther and the Scripture. I think he used a website of questionable value to support his arguments. I would ask Ralph if he wants me to use his choice of websites for my future research on Mormonism? The website he uses to support his claims about Luther has a lot to say about Joseph Smith.
Martin Luther made and wrote inflammatory comments and ones that many Christians would not and do not agree with. Although his life style that we have record of, and other writings of his do not seem to show his practising of these ideas. Now you asked if me using sites like that about Luther gives you an excuse to do similar to JS or BY – I will say many on here already do. For example the Adam-God debate. BY did write a FEW notes and gave a FEW discourses about this BUT he gave over 10 times more notes and discourses of Adam and Heavenly Father being two separate beings and he lived his life according to that teaching not the other one. But most here want to represent him as believing and pushing the Adam=God idea. I am just showing what Martin Luther has said, and there can be no doubt as to his meaning from the text given on that site. Anyone can interpret it as they wish. But he did condone not condemn polygamy and performed a polygamous marriage – and the fruits of this idea is seen in the early Protestant church where they allowed men to marry up to 10 wives. He did say that various books of the Bible should not be included in it. Now you said that he was looking at the Christocentric value of the books, but why did he want to remove the Gospel of John? Why remove Revelations when it talks about the second coming of Jesus Christ?
So you can do what you wish about JS and BY because you and others already do it. But if you do not subscribe to Martin Luther, why defend him? Just do what the others do and say – well that’s his opinion, I can and do believe differently but we both are still Christian.
As far as that website and JS – I know it does not support him either. But just like JS, has it really misquoted Martin Luther? Does it not give full and proper quotes from him and his work?
Another thing about Martin Luther is that he did not go against the RC church’s priesthood authority as far as I can tell. He wanted it (the RC church) to make changes that he thought it needed to to revert back to what the Bible taught. So he must have lived his life according to the RC rules to stay within its bounds just in case it picked its game up in the future. At least that’s how I understand what I have heard and read about him. Yes he was cast out of the RC church but he looked to its priesthood authority and wanted it to revert back to the Bible. He did not want to start a new church.
Ralph and Gundeck
I’d pretty much agree with Ralph’s concluding paragraph (“Another thing about Martin Luther is that he did not go against the RC church’s priesthood authority … He did not want to start a new church.”)
I will credit Luther with this; that he started out by trying to reform the existing church. Only when the differences became irreconcilable did the divorce become unavoidable. Luther even retained some of the Roman church’s doctrines and practices, much to the irritation of Zwingli, Calvin and later reformers. (I’ll avoid the obvious contrast with JS for now…).
As to questions of “priesthood”, much depends on what you think a priest should do. Personally, I don’t have much of a problem of a “priest” in the sense of an authority figure that people can go to for their pastoral needs. However, I’ll stick with the one and only true Great High Priest (Heb 4:14), who does the important job of reconciling us to God, and the vocational calling of God’s people (which includes the average Joe in the pew) to be a “holy nation and a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9), which is how I interpret the reformation slogan of the “priesthood of all believers”.
I find it also interesting that the Roman Catholic Church has also shifted its position since this “medieval affair”, which has prompted some protestants and catholics to ask if the reformation is actually over.
Ralph might be interested to know that Protestants have also questioned the efficacy of “sola scriptura”. What prompts this is the observation of the radiation of churches and doctrines from the reformation, all believing themselves to be true to the Bible. The theory is that this is what happens when you take Church tradition out of the equation. I think that there is some mileage in this, in the sense that we should think twice before coming up with an interpretation of scripture that is wildly different from what the Church has traditionally taught.
This does not help the LDS cause, however, because one of the central themes that both the RC and Protestant sides is looking to reinforce is the Trinity, as described in the creeds. If I read the situation correctly, then both the RC and Protestant sides are seeking to pull away from the extremities of the post-reformation “church” radiation, and the “do-it-yourself” approach to religion that the Americas has particularly championed. The extremity (of Kuyper belt proportions) is where they would probably place the current LDS movement, and I’d have to agree.
The website, “jesus is savior” just seems like a parody of the christian faith, but maybe some people really see things that way. The section on the devils music is pretty slanted, it doesn’t appear to examine much classical music which is likely to be satanically inspired.
Tartini had a dream where the devil was playing the violin at the foot of his bed. When he woke up he composed this Sonata which he said paled in comparision to what he heard. Earlier in history people considered the violin to be something like the electric guitar. Some people consider satan to be the master of the violin and the flute.
Carl Orff set to music a number of poems(Carmina Burana). The most famous is probably “O Fortuna”. To fortune or the roman goddess of Fortune. Some believe that it was satanically or demonically inspired, but I haven’t seen a complete conclusive proof of that yet.
There are some other works, like night on bald mountain was inspired by the witches sabat. Niccolo Paganini works were attacked as being inspired by satan because people believed that nobody could play or compose things like that on their own. Its a little off topic, but I thought I would share because that website just seems a bit over the top on fanatical.
You said, “I am just showing what Martin Luther has said, and there can be no doubt as to his meaning from the text given on that site. Anyone can interpret it as they wish.” My entire point is that nobody can interpret anything without the proper context of the statements and an understanding of where these statements are in the development of Luther’s thoughts. Did Martin Luther say inflammatory things? Yes and these are not even good examples of that. Not to give you more ammunition but you should look at “Table Talk” if you want to see inflammatory.
Did Luther perform polygamous marriages? Are you sure? And why are you inferring a connection between the radical Anabaptists and the Lutheran Church when there is none?
You ask why I defend Martin Luther. Simply because theology is a serious subject that does not lend itself to generalizations and sound bites. Some in your apologetic community have made it a practice of selectively quoting Christians, without regard to the intent of the writer, to support Mormon positions. You made 5 specific claims about Luthers theology; (1) Be A Sinner; (2) Doing Good Is More Dangerous Than Sinning, (3) There Is No Free Will, (4) Polygamy Is Permissible, (5) The Bible Could Use Some Improvement. Given the evidence you show all of these appear to be valid but given Luther’s corpus of theological writing (50 volumes) your proposals are gross mischaracterizations. If you honestly want to understand Luther I would recommend that you start with the Book of Concord to get an honest, but brief, view of his theology.
I agree that Luther did not set out to form a new Church. But among his many challenges to the Church was a belief and teaching on the Priesthood of all believers. This is a direct assault on the legitimacy and authority of the Roman Churches entire ecclesiastical system including the sacramental, confessional, and mediating role of the priest. I do not claim a complete knowledge of Mormon priesthood practices but, I am unable to see any theological connection with the role of the priest in the Roman Catholic Church.
I ask you to show me specifically where I have mischaracterized your Churches teachings or slandered your leaders. I am very careful about my comments on this and other sites. There are areas, especially in the history of your Church where I have opinions that I do not post simply because I have not done the research, from original sources, for myself to support any claim that I would make. I cannot control the comments of others, but I have set a standard for myself and if you can show my where I have failed to maintain that standard, I would be grateful. So while I thank you for the permission to do and say anything about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young that I want, the very reason that I feel compelled to defend Martin Luther will not allow me to stoop to the level that you propose.
I am not sure what the connection to Adam-God and Luther is but, I find Brigham Young’s teaching on Adam-God to be boring. I think if you look at past posts concerning this topic you will notice that I rarely have anything to say on the subject. I think that I understand the manifold implications of this teaching from your prophet, but it is so far from my own understanding and belief that I do not feel qualified to comment on it.
I do think that Adam-God is another fruit of the first vision; your Church has canonized and elevated the teachings of its prophets over and above the Scripture. A member of your Church has no option apart from accepting, as true, the teachings of all of your prophets. To challenge any of the instructions of your prophets, would in my view, undercut the entire prophetic system. Understanding the revelatory nature of a prophets pronouncements and their ability to claim that their words are from God, I am not quite sure how you and your fellow Mormons are able to rationalize conflicting ideas from your prophets.
As I understand it Brigham Young is considered by your Church to have been a prophet of God. I am not sure how the quantity of his teaching on any given subject makes it more or less canonical. A prophets’ teaching either has the authority of God or it doesn’t. Unlike the Protestant who can look at the development of a theologians thought, I do not see how a Mormon can logically do this. I say this because unlike the theologian, whose understanding of a doctrine may develop as he studies and is illuminated by the Holy Spirit, a prophet gains his insight directly from divine revelation. To allow for a fundamental change in the nature of a revelation concerning any doctrine, including Adam-God, would be to remove the objective nature of any of your prophets’ pronouncements. This is the fruit of the first vision; your prophets claim direct revelation from God, Joseph Smith described the objective nature of this revelation. Any conflict or repudiation of past revelation eliminates the objective nature of all prophetic revelation.
Gundeck: another great post and it has me hungry to know exactly how the Lutheran priests function. I was raised Roman Catholic, and my hunch is that the role of MEDIATOR is not there for the Lutherans, tho I don’t know that to be the case….for the RC’s , this is a big deal, so this is worth looking into.
RALPH: as to “there can be no doubt as to the meaning of the text….” if this does NOT take into account Martin’s larger body of work, and how the comments are used in context, then what they offer ( and YOU, since you cited them) is not information but DISINFORMATION….and you aren’t pushing us forward. I look forward, at some point, to read a really good biography of Martin Luther….I don’t have the time or the interest in websites that just grab a comment here and there to prooftext a pet argument….
Do YOU respect Richard Albanes treatment of the LDS faith, and the life of JS ????
I’m betting a case of Foster’s (bottles, not cans, please) that the answer is NO…..