Episodes

Radio Free Mormon: 147: Hiding in Plain Sight

RFM dissects the first talk in the most recent General Conference given by Elder M. Russell Ballard on the First Vision.  Is Elder Ballard hiding things in plain sight?  You decide!

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3 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 147: Hiding in Plain Sight

  1. When I heard Elder Ballard talk during GC, I thought ok great, he is reading from the 1st Volume of Saints and the new history that the church is laying out.

    So Elder Ballard shouldn’t take so much credit for drafting the masterful mesh of the four accounts. The notion of hiding in plain sight is a valid perspective. I think the church is moving the narrative or adjusting to criticism, slowly, but surely.

    The first vision differences never shook my hardcore TBM testimony, neither the anachronistic appearances of things in the book of Mormon, nor the pearl of Great price “inspired” translation… it’s hard for me to determine where exactly it was that my testimony cracked to the point where I began to see things differently.

    I think something very upsetting for me is the Christology development found inside the bible from a chronologist perspective. How the theology of Christ grew over time as the books in the new testament began to appear. For me this was convincing evidence that Christ is just an overblown story that took a life of it’s own. That coupled with how Isaiah is written by several different authors… how Proto & Deutero Isaiah, and how the prohetic parts of Isaiah were transferred over into the book of Mormon when those part of the bible were written post-Babylon take over after 600 BC where the Bible accurately prophesies events that had already happened giving the impression that the Prophets were able to predict the future when they were only describing events that already happened (book of Mormon conveniently does the same). Also the “documentary hypothesis” that lays out how the Torah or Pentateuch was compiled and put together from a scholar perspective. All these statement strike at the biblical foundation of my testimony.

    I suppose that when I joined the church, I had biblical heritage… and I always had the slight suspicion that the book of Mormon was somehow concocted with the inspiration from God. However, the Bible was supposed to be above the same level of scrutiny that the Book of Mormon doesn’t pass. But when you have the bible fall short then suddenly the Book of Mormon is just as true as the bible.

    In any case the Tent of the Church seems to be filled at capacity and now begins to push out people that don’t fit in. My hope is that the church will be more expansive and expand it’s tent and create a more flexible theology. I want to assist in this process should the church welcome my perspectives and allows me to do so.

    • About Elder Ballard’s talk on the First Vision being a repeat of the Saints book, that thought had occurred to me, as well. So I went back and checked the second chapter of Volume 1 of Saints to compare.

      As it turns out, that is not what Elder Ballard was doing. It was the same idea, but a different format. He did not just read out of the Saints book. As I re-examined Saints more closely, it was apparent why he did not.

      Saints has a more sophisticated and complicated amalgamation of the First Vision accounts, and that is because they are drawing not only from the four primary accounts, but also from the various secondary accounts in writing that chapter.

      So what Elder Ballard did was a simplified version of what the Saints book did.

      I still have my doubts as to whether Elder Ballard actually wrote this himself. But maybe I am wrong.

      I am not sure, however, that it would be any better for Elder Ballard if he were the one who wrote it, because it would involve him more directly in the effort to “hide the ball.”

      • Ah perceptive… thanks for pointing me out.

        If Elder Ballard was anything like me TBM wise, I was never phased by the different versions of the first vision. Although it’s interesting that analyzing the differences in the Gospel shook my belief core much more than analyzing the first vision accounts. Thanks again!!

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