LDS: Anchor of Faith Should be Jesus, not Joseph

26 November

Jude 24-25 “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”

byu-campus-hawaiiOn November 15th LDS Church Historian, Richard Bushman, spoke at a devotional for the BYU–Hawaii campus. His topic was, “What can we learn from the First Vision?”. A few of his comments were worthy enough to grab our attention so we’re taking a look at a few of them here!

In his speech, Mr. Bushman stated that members need to anchor their testimonies on Jesus, not Joseph. This stunning comment comes five months after his presentation to a small group of Mormons stating, ‘the historical narrative the LDS Church has been teaching for decades is not true’. To read the BYU article in full see Make Christ—Not Joseph Smith—Anchor of Testimony, Historian Says.’

Let’s look at what he said –

“Those who lose faith in Christ because they have lost faith in Joseph Smith have things backward…

That’s easy for him to say!

The Church has always stated to have a true testimony, it must include a mandatory belief in Joseph Smith.

History of the Church 7:287; “Every spirit that confesses that Joseph Smith is a Prophet, that he lived and died a Prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true, is of God, and every spirit that does not is of anti-Christ.” – Brigham Young, October 6, 1844

Also see what the 6th prophet Joseph F. Smith had to say –

“I have always rejoiced in the assurances I have had, from my youth up, of the righteousness and purity of our cause, inspiring my soul with a fervent conviction of the verity and authenticity of the divine mission of our great Redeemer, the Son of God; and also that of His servant Joseph Smith. And I hold that to accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of the world I must necessarily accept Joseph Smith, as a divinely inspired servant and prophet of God. Their works tally exactly; the spirit pervading their mission upon earth is one and the same; the power by which they acted emanated from the same source; their precepts and teachings had the same end in view; and the power of their Priesthood, and the validity of their doctrine have the same force and effect. And for similar causes were they condemned unto death by wicked men.” Contributor, vol. 12, no. 9 (July, 1891): p. 352.

Keep in mind these are only two comments out of hundreds! He went on to say the following –

“Joseph’s mission was to increase faith in Christ, not in himself,” he said.

The LDS hymn ‘Praise to the Man’ suggests otherwise.

Speaking on the topic “What can we learn from the First Vision?” Brother Bushman shared important truths learned from multiple accounts of the First Vision.

“This may surprise some Church members,” he said of the multiple accounts. “Not everyone has been aware of the existence of these other records and may be startled to discover that other versions exist.”

Sadly, this is true. Many are indeed ‘startled’, albeit startled is a nice way of putting it.

“The discovery of nine versions of the First Vision is the result of work by historians. … The standard account found in Joseph Smith’s history of the Church is so rich and interesting that for many years we were content to rely on it alone,” he said.

If something is rich and interesting, how does it make it better by ‘leaving it alone’? There’s  not a biblical scholar on earth who’s ever done this with God’s word! If something is exciting and noteworthy, scholars, pastors, and layman alike, scramble over themselves to reveal the truth of God!

As critics of Joseph Smith asked why the event was not recorded earlier than 1838, Church historians began to look for more accounts and references in the archives.

Question: Why wasn’t this readily available for everyone throughout its history?

“And sure enough, one by one, other accounts began to turn up, one in 1835, another as early at 1832, and others scattered through his life …”

Retrofitting history isn’t exactly truthful Mr. Bushman.

‘Historians realized the discovery of multiple accounts added value.’

For whom? How does having different versions of the same story add value?

By Mr. Bushman’s own admission, the only people who got anything out of this were those who kept it quiet. Remember, everyone else was ‘startled’…

Pray for those who were in attendance at this devotional! Pray our dear Lord would open the eyes, and awaken the minds of those who sit entranced by the shiny messages of another lackluster teaching!

With Love in Christ;


1 Cor. 1:18

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