The McElveen Delusion
A Robust Examination Of Some Of Floyd McElveen’s Highly Distorted Version Of Mormonism
By Ronnie Bray
“Is it fair, is it Christian to examine Floyd C McElveen and to question what he says about Mormonism?”
According To McElveen, it is, and so we will.
McElveen’s book, “The Mormon Illusion” – previously published under the title, “Will The Saints Go Marching In?” – is an unkind and pejorative work that makes statements about Mormonism, some of which are true, some of which are not, and some of which are deliberately slanted contrary to what they actually represent to make lies from truths. According to the Holy Bible that is directly condemned by Almighty God.
For example, McElveen in his ‘The Mormon Illusion’ ‘[hereafter, FM-TMI], states that Brigham Young ‘failed to mention the first vision.’
It is true that the thirty-three of Young’s sermons published in the Journals of Discourses do not broach the subject, but McElveen’s suggestion that Young did not know about the first vision and that he never, ever spoke of it is ludicrous, because information to the contrary is readily available, and was readily available in 1997, when TMI was first printed, and in 1998, when TMI was ‘revised,’ and 1980, when my personal copy of McElveen’s book was re-published.
From his cited sources it is evident that McElveen is simply too lazy in his research and is content to rest his own case against Mormons and Mormonism on the Tanner’s prevaricating case, from which he quotes freely.
McElveen ought to be aware that relying on professional Anti-Mormons, such as Jerald and Sandra Tanner, James Bjornstad, Dee Jay Nelson, Marvin W Cowan, Arthur Budvarson, Jerry Urban, Wesley P Walters, Elmar Anderson, and Wally Tope, etc., to all of which he tips his hat, means that his statements will only be reliable if those whose word he takes without questioning are is factual and reliable, and that when he unquestioningly accepts the word of anarchic researchers, however well his borrowings from these people fit his own propositions, he only follow his blind guides down into the murky depths of their and his mucky ditches.
When a reverend gentleman tell us that he will,
‘With God’s help, […] seek to take a fair and honest look at Joseph Smith, and a few of his teachings as Scripture and the love of Christ constrain us to do.
Then we are entitled to expect him to be as good as his word and not to rely on fallacies, lies, or non-researched material that he has not looked at fairly and honesty as he assures us he will.
This short article does not deal with the entire content of McElveen’s book, ‘The Mormon Illusion,’ because it would take too much time and occupy too much space. But the points that are taken up here, and subjected to fair and honest scrutiny, will show how far McElveen has managed to drag himself along in his love for Mormons, and in his striving to be an honest presenter of Mormonism and Mormons.
Whilst not wishing to present my conclusions before my survey of McElveen’s work, I will point out the McElveen does not shrink from setting out his conclusion on the first page, and then throwing everything into the pot that supports his conclusion, and omitting every iota of evidence that shows his conclusions to be the product of bias, perjury, and scholarly mendacity.
I wish I could say that McElveen has done a fair and honest job of describing Mormonism, as he promised to do. However, I am forced to conclude by the sheer weight of evidence that he has only managed to churn out one more shoddy Anti-Mormon book in the usual fashion of would-be professional Anti-Mormons, which is by copying what other professional Anti-Mormon writers have written, and passing their nonsense of as the truth, which it patently is not, as any fair and honest writer would have discovered for themselves.
History teaches us that fair and honest does not sell Anti-Mormon books. Therefore, Brother Mac writes a Mac-Book for his Mac-Version of Mac-Mormonism, and the losers are the Truth, and whoever dips into their pockets to purchase his Satanic Verses. You find me hard on him?
Oh, No, I am not hard on the poor man: merely robust!
How sad that McElveen’s promise to be fair and honest turns out to be biased and deceitful. But then, Mormons are used to being treated badly by hostile and abusive Anti-Mormon Mormon-lovers.
What Brigham Young Knew About the First Vision?
‘Fair and Honest’ McElveen insists:
"Brigham Young never once mentioned the First Vision of God the Father and his Son in his 30 years of preaching as President of the Church."
To which we are justified in asking him in the manner of Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera, “What never?" To which question the Captain of the Pinafore makes the reply, "No, never!” The sung ‘conversation’ continues: What never?” “Well – hardly ever!”
Such a bold statement as McElveen makes regarding Brother Young is easy to agree with if you don’t know any better, and just as easy to disagree with if you do know better.
Reverend McElveen rests his case on erroneous material he has found in other Anti-Mormon works and relies on the gullibility of his readers from whom he hides the true facts in the first place, and he then he keeps them in his Plutonic darkness, and prays to whomever it is he prays for support in his egregious error, that no one will make the truth about Brigham and the First Vision known to his cynically duped customers in the second place.
Sorry, Floyd. I have done that which you hoped no one would do and exposed your duplicity in this matter. Perhaps that is why you blush. Henceforth you should be known as Pink Floyd!
The relevant point is not that Mr McElveen says Brigham Young knew nothing about the First Vision, which he does say, but whether Brigham Young did know about the First Vision and whether he ever preached about it.
The evidence is big, bright, and bold that Brigham Young not only knew about the First Vision in which the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith, but that he often referred to it when it was part of the subject of one of his sermons.
First, to McElveen’s use of Tanner’s material. The red ellipses, thus, …, indicate where McElveen, following the Tanner’s sneering practice, leaves out essential words that, when put back into place, change the meaning entirely. For example, the Tanner’s said of Young’s statement:
“Mormon scholars have been unable to locate any sermon by Brigham Young in which he identifies the personages as God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. As we have shown before, in one sermon Brigham Young said that
“The Lord did not come [ … ] But he did send his angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith jun., …” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, p. 171)
Take note of the ellipses, indicated by [ ... ] because the three dots represent text that is omitted but whose inclusion is essential to make sense of what Brigham Young actually said.
After this disembowelled extract from Young, the Tanners continue:
“Here we have it from the lips of Brigham Young that “The Lord did not come,” to Joseph Smith. [ ... ] “But He did send His angel,” to Joseph Smith. Leading us to believe that Brigham thought that the angel “informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects.”
Reading this, I was reminded of the mischievous boy that glues together several pages of the parson’s Holy Bible. When the parson rose to sermonise he began reading from the sacred pages,
“And God made man in his own image, [here, he turned all the stuck-together pages and continued reading without pause], “and he was thirty cubits long, and tarred inside and out with pitch.”
Somewhat confused, he said, “Well, brothers and sisters, I have never seen that before, but since it is in the Bible it must be true, and it goes to show how wonderfully and marvellously made we are!”
With regard to their accuracy, the parson in the story and Parson McElveen are a pair of brothers. The difference is that the parson in the story is duped, wheras Parson McElveen is the DUPER!
McElveen slavishly follows the Terrible Tanners in their manufactured lie to prove that a cunning mind can make anything mean anything else if they have no regard for truth.
You only have to be devilishly cunning and know what to leave out by the introduction of Satan's tool, the elipse!
Now, we will look at the full quote from Brigham Young with the missing portions sliced out by the Tanners and McElveen's demonic lie-making editorialising scissors restored to the text. McElveen's Satanic mossions are shown in red:
“The Lord did not come with the armies of heaven, in power and great glory, nor send His messengers panoplied with aught else than the truth of heaven, to communicate to the meek the lowly, the youth of humble origin, the sincere enquirer after the knowledge of God. But He did send His angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith Jun., who afterwards became a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day, for they were all wrong; that they were following the precepts of men instead of the Lord Jesus; that He had a work for him to perform, inasmuch as he should prove faithful before Him.” (Journal of Discourses 2:170-171)
What a difference it makes when the whole of Young’s statement is provided. Brigham does not say that the Lord never came. He said that the Lord Jesus did not come with the “armies of heaven, in power and great glory.” In other words, He didn’t come with in a grand display of his kingship and power, but he did come to Joseph Smith. The circumstances of the coming of the father and the Son were witnessed only by their chosen vessel, in a sacred place, and out of the view of those for whom this First Vision was not intended to inform.
When we look closer at Brigham’s words, we find that he expressly says that the Lord did come. “The Lord … informed him” [it was not the angel that told Joseph, read the sentence], “But He [referring to the Lord] did [later] send His angel…AND [He, meaning the Lord] informed him [meaning Joseph Smith]…”
When read by someone with a reasonable education who is not trying to twist, distort, and wrest simple words ‘into a trap by fools,’ then Brigham’s words take on their intended meaning, and we are left wondering What kind of person mangles truth to make it make a lie so that he can make money from his trashy books, and what kind of person warms over and reproduces the first person’s lies in an equally evil way without taking the trouble to check it for themselves and not insult their readers by their deliberately manufactured falsehoods? Not a Christian, because McElveen tells us that “John 7:24 tells Christians to ‘judge righteous judgement,’ not according to appearance but according to the Word of God.”
Clearly, McElveen indulges in that which he says that he and the Word of God find sinful. Is that not the nature of hypocrisy?
McElveen apparently gets his authority to lie about Mormons and Mormonism from his belief that it is “tragic today that some of us Christians in the name of love have withheld the truth from those in error, lest we offend, or because we did not love enough.”
What, we are entitled to ask, is the notion that makes a person tell lies about those they profess to love? Since God is Love, and lying is not loving, then how do we not identify hatred as the prevailing and motivating emotion behind Rev. McElveen’s out-and-out lies about Mormonism and Mormons.
Unintended misunderstandings arise for a variety of reasons. However, when a critic tells us that he can look critically at the religion of another person only after he has ‘first looked very critically at his own religion,’ then we are right to conclude that McElveen didn’t look critically enough at his own, personal religious practices, nor did he find his spiitual exercises lacking when he believes the Holy Bible grants him permission to make up his own lies and re-publish the lies of others in pursuit of an enemy, especially whilst vaunting mawkish love for his prey as he continues the hunt.
Clearly, McElveen believes it is alright for him to Lie for Jesus!
In one of my favourite comic operas, Iolanthe, William Schwenke Gilbert, the lyricist, has a group of Lords misunderstand the words of Iolanthe, as she consoles her heartbroken son, Strephon, the shepherd lad cum færy:
“When tempests wreck thy bark,
And all is drear and dark,
If thou shouldst need an ark,
I'll give thee one!”
When Phyllis, Strephon’s intended bride, asks, “What was that?” Lord Tolloller, an elderly and frail Peer of the Realm, transmits Iolanthe’s words to as:
“I heard the minx remark,
she'd meet him after dark
inside St. James's Park
and give him one!”
While we understandably forgive the doddering peer for mishearing Iolanthe’s words to her son and then his repeating what he imagined he had heard to poor, heartbroken Phyllis as though they were what she had actually said.
However, we find ourselves with less understanding why the Tanners and their sycophantic cohort, Floyd McElveen, acting, we are assured, ‘with concern and candor,’ feel at liberty to imitate preposterous figures in a comic operetta and then expect us to take them seriously, and charge us good money for bad books and for making us into gullible fools!
But, how are we to take seriously a man whose website makes for him a claim that is impossible?
“Floyd C McElveen … has also authored well over 1 million books”
What? Did I read that right? Take another look:
Floyd C McElveen … has authored more than a million books!
Really? Has McElveen really authored more than a million books? A website supporting McElveen makes this amazing claim:
Floyd C. McElveen, better known as "Brother Mac," grew up in Mississippi religious but was lost. Graduating from Western Baptist Seminary in Portland, Oregon, he then moved to Alaska as a missionary for 14 years.
Brother Mac has started Churches in Alaska, Idaho and Washington and was a National Evangelist for the CBHMS.
He has also authored well over 1 million books in print and urgently seeks to get every Christian to be a soul-winner, "From henceforth thou shalt catch men." Though I am nothing, and can do nothing without Christ and I praise God for 1 Jn. 5:13!
Brother Mac has enjoyed 58 wonderful years of marriage and has 3 sons and 1 daughter.
A Little Arithmetic
Authoring more than a million books is a prodigious amount of writing. If Brother Mac were 100 years old, he would have to have written an average of ten thousand books in each of those hundred years, including those years before he learned to write or developed a vocabulary.
That works out to an average of more than twenty-seven books every day that he was alive at a rate of more than one an hour without taking time to eat, drink, sleep, or do anything else.
Truly, if this is actually so, and McElveen must believe it is, then we find him to be a miraculous man and one that has broken all known records for literary output.
Obviously, whatever is intended in this claim has not been well expressed, whatever it might be.
Even more surprising is the fact that ‘Brother Mac’ seems not to think it necessary to make any clarification, but is apparently pleased to allow us to believe he is a prodigious author!
Dare we suggest that he is more interested in the specks in the eyes of Mormons than he is in applying the beam-check to his own faults and failings? On to another egregious McElveen failing!
McElveen Rearranges the Date of the First Vision
Not content with rearranging by massive omission of critical text from statements made by Brigham Young, McElveen takes his creative cunning and applies it to other important material.
One more dip into McElveen’s magical mystery lucky dip leads us to discover that revisionist historian McElveen claims that Joseph Smith was seventeen years old when he was granted the miraculous epiphany called The First Vision. He says:
“Orville Spencer, a leading Mormon in the early church, wrote a letter from Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1842, stating, ‘Joseph Smith, when the great designs of heaven were first made known to him, was not far from the age of seventeen.’”
In the sentence prior to including to Spencer’s statement, McElveen lays out his stall so that we cannot misunderstand to which event he is referring.
“The vision we are discussing was plainly declared, by Joseph Smith himself and by other Mormon authorities, to be the First Vision. We must face reality, gently, but firmly.”
He the inserts Spencer’s statement as proof that Mormons believe that The First Vision took place when Joseph Smith was aged seventeen years.
The only difficulty reasonable people will have with McElveen’s juxtaposition of the one vision with the other vision so that he can rest on Spencer to support his flawed theory is that Spencer nowhere mentions the First Vision, nor does his text indicate that the First Vision is the event to which he refers. This is what Spencer wrote.
“Joseph Smith when the great designs of heaven were first made known to him was not far from the age of seventeen. From that time to this he has had much said about him both of a favourable and unfavourable nature I shall only speak of his character as I believe it to be from an intimate acquaintance of more than one year and from an intimate acquaintance with those who have been with him many years no man is more narrowly watched by friends and enemies than Joseph Smith.
Consequently, if he were as good a man as any prophet that has preceded him he would have as violent enemies as others have had
What could Spencer have had in mind when he wrote that? Did anything happen when Joseph was seventeen that would fit Spencer’s description of ‘the great designs of heaven [that] were first made known to him’?
“Joseph Smith when the great designs of heaven were first made known to him was not far from the age of seventeen.”
Let us recollect the salient features of Joseph’s First Vision. Joseph said:
“In accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.
“After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
“But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction--not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being--just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
“It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other--"This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"
“My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)--and which I should join.
“I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof."
“He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home.”
From Joseph’s account it is evident that Joseph was instructed to join no church, and the reason for this is given by Jesus; they were corrupt. By this, Joseph understood Jesus to mean that they did not have the pure, true doctrine that is found in the Church of Jesus Christ. Accordingly, Joseph did not join himself, nor did he seek to join himself, to any church.
It is apparent to honest readers that during The First Vision, ‘the great designs of heaven’ were not revealed to young Joseph Smith. That being so, when were the great designs of heaven revealed to him?
‘The Great Designs of Heaven’
In his History, Joseph Smith details certain other events in addition to the First Vision. The essentials in his account can properly be described as ‘the great designs of heaven.’ Then, unlike McElveen, we can do a little more simple arithmetic.
27 I continued to pursue my common vocations in life until the twenty-first of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-three, all the time suffering severe persecution at the hands of all classes of men, both religious and irreligious, because I continued to affirm that I had seen a vision.
28 During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year eighteen hundred and twenty-three—having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavoured in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me—I was left to all kinds of temptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature. But I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been. But this will not seem very strange to any one who recollects my youth, and is acquainted with my native cheery temperament.
29 In consequence of these things, I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections; when, on the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one.
30 While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor.
31 He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. His hands were naked, and his arms also, a little above the wrist; so, also, were his feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, as it was open, so that I could see into his bosom.
32 Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me.
33 He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.
34 He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;
35 Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.
36 After telling me these things, he commenced quoting the prophecies of the Old Testament. He first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi; and he quoted also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy, though with a little variation from the way it reads in our Bibles. Instead of quoting the first verse as it reads in our books, he quoted it thus:
37 For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
38 And again, he quoted the fifth verse thus: Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
39 He also quoted the next verse differently: And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
40 In addition to these, he quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled. He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty-third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament. He said that that prophet was Christ; but the day had not yet come when “they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,” but soon would come.
41 He also quoted the second chapter of Joel, from the twenty-eighth verse to the last. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be. And he further stated that the fulness of the Gentiles was soon to come in. He quoted many other passages of scripture, and offered many explanations which cannot be mentioned here.
42 Again, he told me, that when I got those plates of which he had spoken—for the time that they should be obtained was not yet fulfilled—I should not show them to any person; neither the breastplate with the Urim and Thummim; only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them; if I did I should be destroyed. While he was conversing with me about the plates, the vision was opened to my mind that I could see the place where the plates were deposited, and that so clearly and distinctly that I knew the place again when I visited it.
43 After this communication, I saw the light in the room begin to gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking to me, and it continued to do so until the room was again left dark, except just around him; when, instantly I saw, as it were, a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended till he entirely disappeared, and the room was left as it had been before this heavenly light had made its appearance.
44 I lay musing on the singularity of the scene, and marveling greatly at what had been told to me by this extraordinary messenger; when, in the midst of my meditation, I suddenly discovered that my room was again beginning to get lighted, and in an instant, as it were, the same heavenly messenger was again by my bedside.
45 He commenced, and again related the very same things which he had done at his first visit, without the least variation; which having done, he informed me of great judgments which were coming upon the earth, with great desolations by famine, sword, and pestilence; and that these grievous judgments would come on the earth in this generation. Having related these things, he again ascended as he had done before.
46 By this time, so deep were the impressions made on my mind, that sleep had fled from my eyes, and I lay overwhelmed in astonishment at what I had both seen and heard. But what was my surprise when again I beheld the same messenger at my bedside, and heard him rehearse or repeat over again to me the same things as before; and added a caution to me, telling me that Satan would try to tempt me (in consequence of the indigent circumstances of my father’s family), to get the plates for the purpose of getting rich. This he forbade me, saying that I must have no other object in view in getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced by any other motive than that of building his kingdom; otherwise I could not get them.
47 After this third visit, he again ascended into heaven as before, and I was again left to ponder on the strangeness of what I had just experienced; when almost immediately after the heavenly messenger had ascended from me for the third time, the cock crowed, and I found that day was approaching, so that our interviews must have occupied the whole of that night.
48 I shortly after arose from my bed, and, as usual, went to the necessary labors of the day; but, in attempting to work as at other times, I found my strength so exhausted as to render me entirely unable. My father, who was laboring along with me, discovered something to be wrong with me, and told me to go home. I started with the intention of going to the house; but, in attempting to cross the fence out of the field where we were, my strength entirely failed me, and I fell helpless on the ground, and for a time was quite unconscious of anything.
49 The first thing that I can recollect was a voice speaking unto me, calling me by name. I looked up, and beheld the same messenger standing over my head, surrounded by light as before. He then again related unto me all that he had related to me the previous night, and commanded me to go to my father and tell him of the vision and commandments which I had received.
50 I obeyed; I returned to my father in the field, and rehearsed the whole matter to him. He replied to me that it was of God, and told me to go and do as commanded by the messenger. I left the field, and went to the place where the messenger had told me the plates were deposited; and owing to the distinctness of the vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there.”
Objective, fair and honest readers will notice thatm this account of Joseph’s visits from the Angel Moroni is much different in persons and content from the visit of the Father and the Son, known as The First Vision. In this remarkable epiphany that struck down almost sixteen centuries of trinitarian dogma, Joseph had been told what he should NOT do – he must join none of the churches.
On the other hand, Moroni’s visits were formulaic and contained details or grand designs of what Joseph MUST do in the future. This, above all, was the beginning of a continuing series of revelations through which the grand designs of heaven were revealed to the Prophet. We can list them accordingly:
- God had a work for me to do.
- News of him would spread throughout the world.
- He was to find and translate a hidden book of scripture that would confirm that Jesus Christ was the Saviour.
- Moroni spoke of the restoration of God’s priesthood authority to earth.
- Moroni indicated that missionary work was to be done to spread the gospel of Christ throughout the world.
- He told Joseph that God would pour out his judgements with power upon the earth.
- Satan would tempt him to convert the golden plates into cash because of his family’s poverty.
The visitations of Moroni were sufficiently detailed to allow us to refer to their content as ‘the great designs of heaven,’ and these are doubtless ‘the great designs of heaven,’ to which Brother Spencer refers in his letter.
“Joseph Smith when the great designs of heaven were first made known to him was not far from the age of seventeen.”
A Little More Simple Arithmetic
Joseph Smith was born on 23rd December of 1805. Moroni’s visit took place on 21st September, 1823. Therefore, at the time when the great designs of heaven were first made known to him, Joseph was two months and two days short of being eighteen years of age, that is, he was seventeen.
Clearly, Spencer was not referring to the First Vision. Had he been so doing, he would have said so.
What do we know about Brother Orville Spencer that makes us consider him a man of intellect and integrity?
The Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, volume 4, that carries the letter from Spencer in which his statement about Joseph and ‘the great designs of Heaven’ appear, was ‘a graduate of Union College New York and [had] for many years respectable standing as a minister in the Baptist Church and [was] generally known in the New England states.’
Watch Out For Ellipses!
McElveen cites the Tanners who cite a report that appeared in ‘Messenger and Advocate volume 1, pp. 79-79, that ‘reports of a vision were given.’
Following this, McElveen offers a confused medley of what he alleges are contradictions. However, it is clear that when the historical procession of certain visions is known, this confusion disappears. Except to McElveen. No doubt he was too busy writing his 'one million authored books' to pay much attention to the lies he was busy telling in 'The Mormon Delusion.' Clearly, if anyone is deluded it is poor McElveen and those hanging on to his coat tails as he hangs on to the coat tails of the deliberately misleading Tanners.
Another McElveen Delusion
McElveen casts doubt on the revival having taken place when Joseph says it did.
“ … reports of a vision were given, as proven from the Messenger and Advocate, volume 1, pages 79, 79, referring to a revival that is supposed to have taken place in and around Palmyra, New York, at about the time of Joseph Smith’s vision. “While this excitement continued, he continued to call upon the Lord in secret for a full manifestation of divine approbation and for, to him, the all important information if a supreme being did exist, to have an assurance that he was accepted of Him. [Now follows one of McElveen’s famous ellipses!] … On the evening of the 21st of September 1823, previous to retiring to rest, our brother’s mind was unusually wrought upon the subject that had so long agitated his mind – his heart was drawn out in fervent prayer [ellipse warning!] … while continuing in prayer for a manifestation in some way that his sins were forgiven; endeavoring to exercise faith in the Scriptures, on a sudden a light like that of day, only of a purer and more glorious appearance and brightness, burst into the room [ellipse warning!] … and in a moment a personage stood before him [ellipse warning!] … he heard him declare himself to be a messenger sent by the commandment of the Lord, to deliver a special message, and to witness to him that his sins were forgiven.”
There are times when ellipses serve a useful purpose, such as the omission of textual material that does not refer to the focus of a particular point. But, when el;lipses are inserted to omit material whose inclusion is essential to provide a context for the text but also provides essential information wiothout which the text is distorted and made to appear it mean somehtin entirely different, then the elipser is a dishonest knave that is setting traps for fools. It is evident that because the truth will not serve McElveen's purpose, like the evil Procrustes, he maims and mangles the evidence to make it serve his dark and devilish purposes. No minister of Jesus Chruist will dio thaty, except he has abandoned jesus and his righteousness and has followed the Dark master that causes men to lie, cheat, steal, murder, and commit fornication and adultery, treating others as they treat the truth, and do so without shame as long as it brings thirty pieces of silver to their bulging purses. It is well said that no man can serve God and Money. McElveen has made money his God and turns against God to do it.
Floyd McElveen’s Cunning Regarding Two Discrete Visions
McElveen, in company with many others, confuses two separate visions, the First Vision and the Visit of the Angel Moroni, hence their confusion. Let us briefly examine the elements of two visions.
The First Vision:
- Joseph is aged 14
- He is in a grove of tree a short way from his home in Palmyra
- God the Father and Jesus Christ appear to him
- Jesus answers Joseph Smith's question about which church to join
- The year is 1820
The Visit of the Angel Moroni
- Joseph is 17
- He is in his bedroom in the Smith Home in Palmyra
- The Angel Moroni appears to him
- Moroni tells Joseph Smith about the grand designs of heaven and his part in revealing them
- The year is 1823
McElveen and other godless liars say The First Vision could not have taken place in 1820 because there was no revival in the area at that time. This is a lie. There were revivals during this year, and they are well documented.
"In religion, optimism took the form of belief in an early millennium. Just as the American political system would lead the to equality and justice, so would American revivals inaugurate the thousand years' reign of Christ on earth before the Second Coming and the end of the world"
Religious revivals swept through western New York in the early years of the nineteenth century. Joseph Smith was deeply influenced by these revivals.
“In the first half of the 19th century, America experienced a renewed interest in religion. Contemporaries noted that throughout the United States revivals of religion were regularly occurring. The signs of this phenomenon were increasing church memberships, missionary zeal at home and abroad, and the proliferation of religious meetings during the week. Frontier regions in particular were scenes of the most emotional revivals. Indeed, in Kentucky, the Rev. James McCready held the first camp meeting in July of 1800.i Perhaps the most intense and dramatic example of revivalism, and certainly the best known, occurred in upstate New York, in "the burnt-over district." However, like the rest of the nation, New England too witnessed its share of religious revivalism in its many forms.
Participants in revivals ascribed their occurrence and success to the workings of the Holy Spirit. Contemporary critics as well as modern historians have. advanced other explanations. The emotional need of people living under the rigors of factory life, or those of the frontier, in a society beginning to undergo profound changes, is a frequently used explanation for revivalism's popularity. Quite often an ambitious preacher would latch upon the sudden death of a child, the spontaneous conversion of some renowned local reprobate, or some other recent dramatic event to stir the fear and awe of a people deemed ripe for a revival.”
“The Second Great Awakening was a Protestant revival movement during the early 19th century in the United States. The movement began around 1790, gained momentum by 1800, and, after 1820 membership rose rapidly among Baptist and Methodist congregations, whose preachers led the movement.”
Whitney R Cross’ book was published in 1950, and McElveen’s was not published until 1975, it seems strange that a man that claims to have ‘looked critically’ at Mormonism failed to find the important historical contribution of Cross, and others, that refutes his own findings, although the information had been available for a quarter of a century. How strange that this did not find its way into McElveen’s book. We are well within our rights to question how hard he tried to find contrary information to that which he so readily accepted from Anti-Mormons apparently without feeling the need to examine his hearts and question his motives for these omissions.
Perhaps McElveen's 'critical look' was done with an eye to criticising Mormonism by fair means or foul. So far he has only resorted to foul means.
Joseph Smith tells his own story and prefaces the appearance of the Angel Moroni by writing:
29 “In consequence of these things, I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections; when, on the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one.”
Clearly, this was not the prelude to the First Vision, for he says he had previously had a divine manifestation. That manifestation took place in what is known as the Sacred Grove, in 1820, when Joseph was 14. Case closed!
McElveen’s final paragraph begins, “Real love cares enough to tell the truth.”
That being so, we are well within the function of ‘the authority of love,’ to take Reverend McElveen to task for his efforts to imitate earlier Anti-Mormons in a spirit that show no heart, no mercy, no goodness, no love, which are the fundamental essences of practical Christianity. As his schoolteachers must often have written on his report card, “Floyd must try harder! – 10% = F.”
Copyright © 2012 – 2013 – 2014 - Ronnie Bray MESA, Arizona, USA
Foot Notes: [numbers have not carried onto the web page - sorry!]
- “Is it fair, is it Christian to examine Joseph Smith and to question Mormonism?” FM-TMI, p. 5 He concludes that it is essential
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. – Exodus 20:16 [AV]
- FM-TMI p. 25
- Jerald & Sandra Tanner, Modern Microfilm Co., various publications.
- “ … they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” – Matthew 15:14; 23:16, 24
- FM-TMI, p. 8
- Op. Cit. p. 25
- Gilbert and Sullivan, ‘HMS Pinafore’
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-AcMXJUMwk Time 2:06 minutes [Worth Watching!]
- “ … if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” Matthew 15:14
- Cited in: http://www.fairlds.org/authors/misc/ask-the-apologist-did-early-lds-leaders-misunderstand-the-first-vision
- Rudyard Kipling’s poem, ‘IF’
- FM-TMI, p. 6
- Ibid. p. 6
- Ibid. p. 6
- FM-TMI, jacket blurb, Regal Books, CA
- Tubs filled with bran in which are hidden trinkets. A lucky dip.
- McElveen, Op. Cit. p. 26
- Ibid. p. 26 – prior paragraph.
- FM-TMI, p. 26, citing Messenger & Advocate, Vol 1, pp. 78-79
- Cross, Whitney R, ‘The Burned-over District: The Social and Intellectual History of Enthusiastic Religion in Western New York, 1800-1850,’ p. 79
- ‘Wanderer,’ Amazon reviewer of Cross’ The Burned Over District
- Nancy Cott, “Young Women in the Great Awakening in New England,” Feminist Studies 3, no. 1/2 (Autumn 1975): p. 15
- FM-TMI, p. 204
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