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Not the First but the Second: Changing Latter-day Saint Emphases on Joseph Smith’s First Vision
|Title||Not the First but the Second: Changing Latter-day Saint Emphases on Joseph Smith’s First Vision|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2020|
|Authors||Bennett, Richard E.|
|Journal||BYU Studies Quarterly|
|Keywords||Angel Moroni; Dream; First Vision; Latter-day Saint History (1820-1846); Theophany; Vision|
Professor James B. Allen, distinguished scholar of Joseph Smith’s First Vision accounts, wrote the following in a 2012 article: “The writing of Mormon history has only begun. As in the case of other institutions and movements, there is still room in Mormonism for fresh historical scholarship. . . . What is needed, simply, is the sympathetic historian who can approach his tradition with scholarship as well as faith and who will make fresh appraisal of the development of the Mormon mind.” The purpose of this presentation is to provide such a “fresh appraisal” of Joseph Smith’s 1820 theophany, less perhaps in terms of the vision itself and more with what I am calling the “reclamation of revelation,” or the rediscovery of what it taught and why it became so meaningful to Latter-day Saints over time. I will also attempt to show that the First Vision was actually a part of a series of visions and that the vision of Moroni overshadowed it in importance for almost one hundred years.
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