27 things in the Mormon Church’s new articles I never learned growing up

Over the past year or so, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been releasing articles on particular topics through their website.

I have personally found several of the articles encouraging because they cover things I never learned growing up: things I learned only as an adult and only through blogs, podcasts, and anti-Mormon websites.

I don’t know why I never learned these things. What I do know is that I never learned them in Primary, Sunday School, Aaronic Priesthood classes, Seminary, or Institute, or even on my mission. I never read them in a church magazine (although recently a handful of them have appeared in Ensign issues) or lesson manuals.

I present below several recent articles and direct quote from each showing facts and ideas I had to learn through non-official channels. Continue reading 27 things in the Mormon Church’s new articles I never learned growing up

First Vision: Different Accounts, Different Audiences

Anyone who has been around the Bloggernacle for a substantial amount of time is probably aware that there are multiple accounts of the First Vision. In these different accounts, there is often discrepancy between which personages Joseph Smith claimed to have visited him. For example, the 1831 account states that Jesus was the personage while the 1834 account states the personage was Moroni.

A common explanation for this difference in details is that Joseph smith was speaking to different audiences, so he needed to explain the story differently. While I have heard this explanation on several occasions, I have never thought about it much until now.

What purpose would be served by telling one person he saw Jesus, another he saw Moroni, and another he saw God and Jesus? In what ways would these three audiences be different enough to warrant these differences?