Burning Bosom

Theology, History, Culture, Politics & Life from a LDS (Mormon) Perspective

What Else Did God Say To Joseph?

Posted by Shawn L on February 16, 2008

jsmith2.jpg The topic of last Sunday’s Elders Quorum lesson was the First Vision. The teacher, who I like and who generally does a good job, was leading a paint-by-numbers sort of discussion (Q: “What do we learn from The First Vision”; A: “God has a body”). As usual for this topic, the lesson had its share of omissions (no mention of the other accounts) and historical missteps (“No one else in 1820 believed that God and Christ were separate beings”). All in all, it was a fairly typical meeting and, to be honest, I was zoning out.

But then, quite unexpectedly, the lesson took a decidedly more interesting turn. The instructor focused on one seemingly minor detail of Joseph’s account that, despite having read it dozens of times, came as a surprise to me: “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.” (JS-H 1:20) I had totally forgotten about Joseph’s private conversation with God. Of course, the notion of God forbidding his prophets from writing down something he has told or shown them is not new. But what makes this 15-word passage (which is not mentioned again in the History) particularly interesting is that Joseph never was shy about sharing what he felt had been revealed to him. Furthermore, as far as I know, he never revealed what “other things” God had told him during that experience.

The teacher then posed a question, which I now present for your consideration: what unwritten things do you think God said to Joseph at that moment?

Over the past few days, I have been giving quite a bit of thought to what God might have told the 14-year old Joseph. Here is the best I can do:

For us looking back, the purpose of the First Vision was the restoration of the Gospel — the re-opening of the heavens, the beginning of the last dispensation, the kingdom of God once again on the Earth, etc. But for Joseph, all of that was well in the future. For him, the experience was of a much more narrow and personal scope — God forgave his sins and answered his prayer. What was to come in subsequent years likely was far beyond even his wildest dreams at the time. God, on the other hand, knew what was in the cards for his chosen Prophet. With that in mind, I like to imagine that this “off-the-record” time was a moment when God stepped out of his role of “Restorer” and into his role as “Father.” I have three daughters and, many times, I can see danger ahead long before they do. Countless times I have pulled their bikes out of the path of approaching cars, yanked their hands out of doorjambs, and scooped them up before they left the sidewalk. I’m no superhero, that’s just part of the job of being a father. Perhaps in that moment, as Joseph stood on the precipice of a brand new life as God’s “chosen one” — a life filled with suffering, loss, and persecution culminating in his murder — God took a brief sidebar to warn his child of the dangers ahead, to express his appreciation for him, and to tell him, “I love you.” Speaking as a father, that makes a lot of sense to me. Speaking as a fellow child of God, that brings me peace.

Your speculation, of course, is as good as mine. What do you think?


6 Responses to “What Else Did God Say To Joseph?”

  1. Mike L. said

    I like your speculation. Since the question he was asking was personal in nature and he was in the midst of personal termoil, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jesus felt it necessary to console him on a personal level. But I’ll offer one more possibility:

    When he said “which I cannot write at this time,” did he really mean, “which I don’t recall?”

    I don’t think it’s impossible. If God appeared to me I think I would probably be so stunned that I might miss a lot if he went on for a while about things that I didn’t really understand. How many times have a sat through a GC talk that I liked and then an hour later (after listening to 5 other talks) could only really think of what the general topic was? Or, perhaps if I was recording the event several years later, I might have forgotten what exactly what revealed in that event and what was revealed later in subsequent visions.

    I’m sure that if it was the case that he just forgot, though, God would have revealed it again later. Heavenly Father seams to have little faith in Joseph’s memory as he at least in one other occasion felt it necessary to have the messenger repeat things over and over.

    I could be way off base here, but just a thought.

  2. ditchu said

    I disagree about the “I don’t recall it” Idea.
    I beleive that what Joseph Smith Jr. did not tell us is (at the moment) either between him and God -not intended for the public to know- or it may be something that God shares with his Chosen Prophets and again -not for the Public. What ever was showen or said to Joseph is at this time not for us to know. However if you feel compelled to follow this out and seek after the words Joseph did not tell us, then I suggest you follow Joseph’s example and “Ask of God…”

    If it is for you to know (I garentee)you will get your answer.
    “Seek and ye shall find.”

    I do beleive it was personal consel for Joseph so he did not loose heart and fall too far from the path he was to take. I testify to you that God has interviened in my life to lead me on the way I should go, there have been sacred events in my life that I do not share with others, it would not help thoes who would not understand the sacred nature of the events nor the events themself, Know that I am alive today because of these sacred events in my life.

    God-Speed you to your answer.

  3. ditchu said

    Another note about repeted messages.
    I strikes me as importance if a message is repeted. Kind of like saying “Hay are you lestning to this… You better lesten up… O.K. Here it is again…” so for all of you who experience visions or a visitation or even a message in church, Lesten up in case it’s repeted again!

  4. hawkgrrrl said

    I think he said “Watch out for that William McLellin guy.” Too bad he didn’t write it down!

  5. ditchu said

    I read something God said to Joseph in D&C 121. I thought it was intresting that the Profit would write down something that showed him as having human flaws. But I liked it. Joseph was in jail and pleaded for God to act… To basiclly smite his enimies, God replied with peace…
    God basically tells Joseph how it was and Joseph being humbled he listened. He also put it down in writing so we could learn from it. most people would obmit this. So as to appear more like a profit or leader, to appear more righteous. However a real Profit used his week moment (showing us he was human) to teach from his weekness. I think this shows us how he was truely righteous and not faining it.

  6. willf said

    This reminded me of another interesting example when Jesus told two blind men not to talk about being healed:

    Matthew 9:29-31:

    Matthew 9:29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
    30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.

    In their case however, they didn’t seem to obey his request:

    31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.

    So, to use some bad logic, maybe Jesus healed Joseph of something? 🙂

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