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Radio Free Mormon: 006: Hiding Church History


Today “Radio Free Mormon” continues its guest hosted series with its 3rd episode.  This 3rd Episode “Hiding Church History” goes into the evidence that the Church intentionally holds back parts of its narrative when sharing its story with its own members.  The focus in this episode is on the 1832 First Vision Account and it having been intentionally removed from Joseph Smith’s journal and stored away by Joseph Fielding Smith in an act that kept this account of discrepancies outside the public eye till critics find out its existence in 1964 and released by the Church History Department in the 1965.



Stan Larson’s retelling of this event

The actual 1832 account with obvious tape attaching it back to the journal



As with all guest hosts, this Episode does not necessarily reflect the views of Bill Reel or Mormon Discussion Podcast.


Like this episode and others we have had from guest hosts,  Such contributions are highly desired.  My mission with Mormon Discussion Podcast is to bring great perspectives of Mormon History & Culture that helps struggling Latter-day Saints reconcile difficulties while being encouraged to stay in the Church.  If you wish to contribute either a Blog Post or a Audio Podcast Episode please do and send to me at ReelMormon AT gmail DOT com for consideration.


7 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 006: Hiding Church History”

  1. As manager of a computer department, I am valued for my attention to detail. I commend your guest host, Radio Free Mormon, for the attention to detail; and informative service in revealing those pesky archival “boxes,” he gave us this week. He is spot-on, in determining our needs of what to produce in a fair, explanatory summary. This podcast was interesting to me for many personal reasons! Once he starts, I am hooked! He quickly introduces an intriguing topic, succinctly walks us through events in historical context, and stays on topic.
    Always a refreshing look at truthful and hidden church history. You can be certain, that I shall ask for him personally, to serve future needs, or to solve historical messes/dilemmas.
    Thank you for the guest host RFM. Much enjoyed and looked forward to.

  2. “Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its jagged edges.”
    ― Herman Melville, Billy Budd

    I appreciate the conclusion, that the church refuses to be honest with its members about the history it thinks it can hide. Specifically, the history of the cover-up of the 1832 first vision account.
    I like, and am excited by, this recasting of information, that has been said before, but RFM—–MAKES the POINT the church is STILL hiding its history!!

    “It is not down on any map; true places never are.”
    ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

  3. There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing, and supreme, power over all things, by whom all things were created and made, that are created and made, whether visible or invisible, whether in heaven, on earth, or in the earth, under the earth, or throughout the immensity of space. They are the Father and the Son—the Father being a personage of spirit, glory, and power, possessing all perfection and fullness, the Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made or fashioned like unto man, 1835. Lectures on faith. One of the reasons they dropped them out of the D&C. God the Father needed to have a body. So they could sell Polygamy.

  4. Goneski…. Write. Great angle. I never thought that was the impetus behind the need for the Father to be an exalted human with a body… To sell polygamy. It makes total sense.
    For all of the effort, the doctrinal changes, the risk of life and church and property, I’m so surprised that more people didn’t follow Occam’s razor…. Polygamy is not of God.. Look at the fruits. I guess Emma and JS III figured it out.

  5. I’m not sure if it was Bill Reel who offered the explanation that perhaps the 1832 account isn’t necessarily the first account, but rather the first written account that we have.

    Joseph is surrounded by Christian with Trinitarian perspective, and in order to transmit his views on to those who would be willing to accept them gave a personal account that would resonate more with his audience rather than giving the full account which he wanted to give but was afraid that it would do more harm than good. After all he was reprimanded for sharing his experience with a Minister earlier in his life.

    But as Joseph grew in to his calling and gain more confidence and the Church grew in strength and numbers, he was better equipped to share the actual experience as he intended it to be all along.

    To be kind to Joseph Fielding Smith, he was shell shocked from learning this account and thought it best to hide what would be the meaning, and in hindsight is difficult to explain at first.

    Now, the same claims can be made with regards to the Christology of Jesus, where his story seemed to have also grown over time. But I ask myself, what causes my heart to lead for joy, the fact the Jesus is Lord and the Joseph saw the Father & the Son, because the alternative is a more miserable reality.

    Perhaps a better life is experienced by being happy yet deluded, rather than being miserable but grounded in reality. Now if your delusion is causing you misery, well in the case ground yourself or do a reality check by all means.

    One fact remains, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints & the Book of Mormon is a hell of a story; and it’s a story worth retelling even if we have to straighten out some facts down the road.

    1. David,

      You need to look at your timeline a little closer. If this account was given in 1820 as a boy, sure I can see that.

      However, it was given in 1832. After the church had been established. After the Book of Mormon had been published. After the priesthood restored. And after the call to gather to Zion had been made.

      So to say that JS was timid about sharing important facts about his experience is just wrong and naive.

      In fact, it says the opposite. He had nothing to hide. So why cloak the fact that there were two beings? THIS is the damaging admission that JfS was trying to cover up. There was no reason for him NOT to tell the truth.

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