Talk:First Vision

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Joseph Smith did not state there was a revival[edit]

Joseph Smith mentioned an "excitiment" on religion in the general country. He did not say revival in Palmyra. There is no reason to present attacks meant to discredit a claim he did not make. There are multiple, undisputed claims of large scale religious meetings in Palmyra within the time frame of a "process of time". Joseph Smith's own words say we should not be searching a major revival in 1820.John Pack Lambert (talk) 03:04, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

I don't see why this analysis justifies the deletion of the extensive paragraph that addressed the non-Mormon studies of this question. Just because you disagree with the premise of the research does not mean that the WP article should not refer to the research at all. Good Ol’factory (talk) 04:37, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
I did a huge amount of reading on this subject a year ago, and I mostly agree with the deletion. The deleted paragraph relies mostly on publications by the Reverend Wesley Walters that have had all kinds of holes poked in them. For anyone interested in the subject, I highly recommend reading this article by Michael Quinn. Basically he argues that both sides (Walters and polemics vs. Mormon apologists) have had "tunnel vision" in arguing the revival issue, and makes a very convincing case. Basically Quinn says that Smith's later accounts of the First Vision follow a very common tendency to conflate past events. In other words, when Smith was writing the story 20 years later, he referred to the 1816-17 revivals, the 1818 camp meeting, the 1820 Methodist revival/camp meeting, and the extensive revivals of 1824, as if they had been "one coherent event". Based on what I've read, I think the whole revival dispute is much ado about nothing; I see no reason to repeat Walters' incorrect statements (and faulty math) in the article. ~Adjwilley (talk) 17:46, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
That is a great article you have linked to—very informative! Good Ol’factory (talk) 23:19, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Teaching on the First Vision[edit]

I wonder if it really makes sense to have the Hugh Nibley quote. High Nibley does not say that Brigham Young never taught about the First Vision, only that Young did not use the First Vision as a hook for a study of the nature of God. I have added in clear references to the fact that Brigham Young did mention the first vision in his teaching. I however still wonder if this is too much tunnel vision. The nature of Mormonism is that teaching on subjects is broad, not limited to the discourses and writting of one man. For example "On 13 August 1857 Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Daniel H. Wells, John Taylor, Willard Richards, and Wilford Woodruff placed several publications in the southeast cornerstone of the Salt Lake Temple that contained First Vision accounts. They were: The Pearl of Great Price Lorenzo Snow, The Voice of Joseph Orson Pratt, (various tracts) Franklin D. Richards, Compendium John Jaques, Catechism for Children Millennial Star, vol. 14 supplement Millennial Star, vol. 3" per both Brigham Young's and Wilford Woodruff's journals. So there were lots of LDS publications that existed in the mid-19th-century that mentioned the First Vision. In some ways the mention of it in many mid-19th-century tracts seems to not coincide with some of the arguments put forth in the article.John Pack Lambert (talk) 20:35, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Skeptical criticism vs. apologetic response[edit]

I've been doing some thinking since looking at the skeptical criticism and apologetic response sections yesterday. I don't like the sections for a number of reasons, one of them being that I don't believe this method of pitting extreme opposing POVs against each other makes for good encyclopedia articles, even though it's a frequently used technique. The current structure leaves little room for middle ground. I've been wanting to add scholars like Quinn and Bushman to the article, but they are neither skeptical critics nor apologists... The table in the criticism section, though very interesting IMO, seems to be original synthesis, and is being used to support a point of view based on an arguably false premise (that if the story weren't fabricated there wouldn't be differences between retellings). Also, the people in the "apologist" section (LDS apostle, BYU professor of ancient scripture, and evangelical theologian) aren't really apologists.

Anyway, here's what I'd like to do to address these issues: I'd like to get rid of the current structure, moving the table to a new subsection with a title along the lines of "Differences between accounts" under the section "Recorded accounts of the vision" where I would move some of the material about people criticizing it for the differences, but also add new stuff (Bushman, Quinn). The rest of the stuff (people's views on it) would remain in the same place, but the section would be titled to something neutral that could accommodate critics, apologists, and most importantly those in between, possibly something along the lines of "scholarly views". This could contain the views that it was a fabrication, dream, self-deception, real occurrence, etc. Thoughts? ~Adjwilley (talk) 16:02, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Bushman, LDS Apostles, and BYU professors are not apologists? That's a gas. I think your definition of an apologist is a little off. The very nature of a controversial topic like the First Vision is going to lend itself to criticism, and apologetics. I don't know that you can get away from it unfortunately. There truly isn't a middle ground here IMHO. --Descartes1979 (talk) 04:01, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your input. You and I probably do have slightly different definitions of apologist...mine is someone who is very active in defending and/or justifying religion, which would include some BYU professors and apostles, but not by default. I do disagree about the middle ground. It is possible to write objectively about a controversial topic without being apologetic or polemic, and one can do this no matter their religious belief. Just look for the leading scholars who are well-respected and cited by everybody. Or look for the books that Mormons, non-Mormons, and ex-Mormons can all read and conclude, "that's fair". I believe these are the types of works we should be citing. ~Adjwilley (talk) 14:59, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
I think "apologist" is typically reserved for those who write with a specific intent of defending religious beliefs in the face of attacks or criticism. Some writings by BYU professors and apostles would meet this definition, but certainly not all. (I would not say that any of the works written by TS Monson, for instance, would qualify as "apologetics". It's more "inspirational", if anything.) The Bushman biography of Joseph Smith has not generally been described as apologist, I don't think, even though Bushman is a Mormon. Good Ol’factory (talk) 22:58, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
I guess I just disagree - perhaps I am just a tad cynical - but Bushman's book is so deliberately watered, and obviously written with an intent to cast Smith in a faithful light with all of the justifications and rationale around the uncomfortable truths. Is this not precisely what apologists do? As for professors and apostles - sure they are not "apologists" by trade, but when they engage in apologetics, they become so relevant to the topic do they not? If a professor at BYU spends his entire career not engaging in apologetics, and then writes a big treatment in the FARMS Review for example - then he is taking on the mantle of an apologist (to use a Mormon faithful term) But my original point is - in my experience on the WP with Mormon articles, the only way to get to a balanced treatment is to present both sides of the story - which is the essence of WP:NPOV. That means any relevant criticism AND apologetics should be mentioned to satisfy all stakeholders, and present the relevant information to the reader to make an informed decision for themselves. So all of that having been said, I am blathering a bit, and am being a bit of a gadfly, but I suspect we are all closer to agreement than we think.--Descartes1979 (talk) 04:30, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
I wasn't really saying what I think of Bushman's work—I was just saying how I believe reliable sources have treated it, in that I don't think sources describe it as an apologetic work or a work of a Mormon apologist. But I think you are right that this is a difficult line to draw, and ultimately, as far as the content of articles go, it's not really one that we need to try to draw. I also agree that in most cases, it's easiest simply to include both "sides", regardless of how one classifies the source. Otherwise all day is spent debating the characterization of the source without any real progress on article content. (I've seen that happen several times.) Good Ol’factory (talk) 05:24, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

Is the latest "citation needed" tag really needed?[edit]

I have to query this. Is the latest citation needed tag really needed in the following paragraph?: "According to the LDS Church, the vision teaches that God the Father and Jesus Christ are separate beings with glorified bodies of flesh and bone; that mankind was literally created in the image of God; that Satan is real but God infinitely greater; that God hears and answers prayer; that no other contemporary church had the fullness of Christ's gospel; and that revelation has not ceased.[citation needed]" If we say something like "according to the LDS Church" is the citation needed tag really necessary? If it is, these doctrines can be verified by LDS scripture. But first we need to determine if the tag is really necessary. Thoughts? --Jgstokes (talk) 02:54, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

  • Comment. I thought it was necessary (I was the user who added it) because the article is making a claim about how the LDS Church uses the First Vision to elaborate on or teach doctrinal issues. If we make such a claim, shouldn't we have a source or sources that at least demonstrate that that is indeed what the church does? I'm not saying that it should be demonstrated by scriptures or manuals of the LDS Church; ideally, it would be through secondary sources. Good Ol’factory (talk) 02:57, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Secondary sources? Well, let's see. A cursory search on for "The First Vision" yields the following results: Two general conference talks on the subject, one by James E. Faust, the other by Dieter F. Uchtdorf. Three articles about the First Vision from the Ensign. A cursory read of all these articles reveals what Latter-day Saints have learned or can and should learn from the First Vision. Since you were the one who put the "citation needed" tag in the article, I think it only fair that you should examine these secondary sources more carefully and determine which of these sources can be used for this article. Happy hunting! --Jgstokes (talk) 05:12, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

I also refer you to the relevant chapters on the First Vision in the books "Our Heritage" and "Church History in the Fulness of Times". Each of these could also be referenced as a secondary source. Again, happy hunting! --Jgstokes (talk) 05:16, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
I think any materials produced by the LDS Church would actually qualify as primary sources as to what the church teaches rather than secondary sources. A secondary source would be a source from outside the church reporting on what the church teaches in its scriptures, manuals, sermons, etc. In cases such as this, any source is probably better than none, so primary ones may have to be used. In any event, just because I added a "citation needed" tag does not necessarily mean that I immediately have to satisfy the need for a citation. (Sometimes these tags stay in place for years without any action!) All of us are volunteers and we each only have so much time in our days to edit WP, but we all do what we can. Good Ol’factory (talk) 09:15, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Connecting two separate ideas.[edit]

Good Olfacotry recently changed a long-standing word that was meant to connect two separate ideas in the paragraph about differing accounts of the vision. I suggested that the original wording was better and reverted the change, which was undone. So instead of turning it into an edit war, I decided on a compromise. Since the sentence in question linked two separate ideas, why not use the semicolon? It seemed to me that would be in the best interests of the sentence in question. There may be those who disagree with this change, which is why I am starting this topic. Would a semicolon be a fair compromise and in the best interests of the sentence in question? I have the greatest respect for Good Olfactory as an editor, and the last thing I want to do is start an edit war. So feedback would be helpful. Does anyone have an opinion on the matter? Thanks for helping me potentially prevent an edit war. --Jgstokes (talk) 02:41, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

The semicolon is fine with me. (Whether it uses a comma followed by "and" or a semicolon without the "and", the meaning is basically the same.) Good Ol’factory (talk) 04:05, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Sounds good. Thanks for the feedback. Unless anyone else wants to comment on this issue, I think this matter can be successfully closed. --Jgstokes (talk) 05:17, 23 May 2014 (UTC)