Historical Issues for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In this section we take a closer look at many historical issues for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, looking at the official church narratives against what the historical documents, accounts, and scholarship tell us today.

First Vision:

In this section we want to give a wide-ranging discussion about Joseph Smith's first vision accounts and why the differences between them matter. There have been many recent writings about the differing accounts, and its role as the founding moment of the LDS church makes it very important to research deeper.

An Overview of the First Vision: Different Accounts and Apologetics: A comprehensive overview of the different First Vision accounts, looking at now just what the changes were but why the changes were made. In addition to just the First Vision, we detail where Joseph Smith made similar changes in his other works when he changed the First Vision as well.

Gospel Topics Essay on Joseph Smith's Multiple First Vision Accounts (Annotated): Our annotated version of the church's official Gospel Topics essay on the First Vision accounts, looking at the apologetic arguments against what the historical record and scholarship tells us about the event.

The Church's "Now You Know" Video on the First Vision - A look at the official "Now You Know" video on the First Vision, reviewing the church's official stance on the event in their YouTube video against the historical record and scholarship that we have detailed on this site.

Why are there multiple accounts of the First Vision and what can we learn from them? A closer look. (April 3, 2020) - We take a look at the new church article about the First Vision accounts, and take a closer look at the arguments made to dismiss scholarly criticism of Joseph Smith's change in seeing just one personage to both God and Jesus from 1832 to 1838.

Priesthood Restoration:

In this section we cover the restoration of the priesthood in the LDS church by looking at the church timeline vs what the historical timeline tells us. We also look at the evolution of the priesthood restoration narrative to try and understand why Joseph Smith changed the commandment to include John the Baptist, and why there were no mentions of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods until years after we are told they were restored.

Overview of Joseph Smith and the Priesthood Restoration: Our overviews continue with the priesthood restoration. We have a timeline detailing how the revelations in the D&C 13, 20, and 27 were altered and retrofitted to include John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John along with how both Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery used these changes to elevate their status with the church.

We highly encourage you to read through all sections as we discuss the following elements of the priesthood restoration:

          -Timeline: Priesthood Restoration (LDS vs Historical Versions)

          -Response to Apologetic Responses on Priesthood Restoration

Blacks and the Priesthood:

In this section we want to give a wide-ranging discussion about the LDS ban on black members receiving the priesthood and/or participating in temple ordinances. One common misconception is that this ban only impacted black males, but black females were also denied ordinances in the temple as well as (in the early days) the ordinances like healing the sick by the laying on of hands.

We highly encourage you to read through all sections as we discuss the following elements of the priesthood ban:

Historical Timeline of the Priesthood/Temple Ban on Blacks: A look at the timeline of the ban on blacks using the church's historical records, quotes from leaders, and the scriptures themselves.

Official LDS Essay "Race and the Priesthood" with Discussion Notes: We review the church's official Gospel Topics essay on race and the priesthood and annotate it with notes about the ban, why leaders taught it was doctrine from God, and why it ended.

What Do The Church's Scriptures Teach Us About Race Today? - We take a look at Russell Nelson's statement that "prejudice, hate and discrimination are learned," and compare that to past statements from prophets, seers, and revelators along with what the church's own scriptures teach about what caused people to have dark skin to this very day.

Quotes from Church Leaders about the Ban: We compiled a small selection of quotes from both church scriptures and leaders to illustrate what the ban on blacks was, how it was taught, and why it is still relevant today.

Come Follow Me: The Curse of Dark Skin -  A look at how the church changed their Come Follow Me manual after printing to avoid discussing the literal text in 2 Nephi that the Lamanites were cursed with a "skin of blackness" in order to "not be enticing" to the "white and delightsome" Nephites, and what church history and past prophets say about this very painful belief.

Come Follow Me: What if Skin Doesn't Mean Human Skin? - A response to the opinion piece in the Salt Lake Tribune about the dark skin controversy from 2 Nephi, and how the apologetic argument that the curse of dark skin actually meant clothing is an insult to our intelligence and has no basis in fact or common sense