Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Use of sources/"This is My Beloved Son"

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"This is My Beloved Son": Did Mormons not preach Joseph's First Vision until the 1870s?

A FAIR Analysis of: One Nation Under Gods, a work by author: Richard Abanes

Author's Claims

One Nation under Gods, page 16 (hardback and paperback)

The book claims that LDS leaders didn't begin to "consistently preach" that Joseph Smith had seen a vision of Jesus Christ and God the Father until the 1870s through 1880s, well after his death.

Author's Sources


Question: Did any publications prior to 1870 mention the phrase "This is My Beloved Son" in connection with the First Vision?

Dozens of accounts were printed in LDS and non-LDS sources prior to 1870

The claim that no publications mentioned the phrase "This is My Beloved Son" prior to 1870 is false. The following publications mention the First Vision and contain the phrase "This is My Beloved Son." Many were published prior to 1870, contrary to critics' assertion that this was not widely known.

  • 1843: New York Spectator, September 23, 1843: [reprint of the Pittsburgh interview of Joseph Smith]
  • 1849 Orson Pratt, “Are the Father and the Son Two Distinct Persons”, Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star 11 (October 1849): 281-84, 309-12, at page 310
  • 1850 Orson Pratt Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, No. 4 Evidences of the Book of Mormon and Bible Compared: 52-53: (1850), p.53 [cf. A Series of Pamphlets on the Doctrines of the Gospel by the Late Elder Orson Pratt, Salt Lake City, George Q. Cannon and Sons Company, 1881]
  • 1851: Joseph Smith History part of PGP published by Franklin D. Richards, The PEARL OF GREAT PRICE Being a CHOICE SELECTION from the REVELATIONS, TRANSLATIONS, AND NARRATIONS of JOSEPH SMITH First Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Liverpool: Published by F. D. Richards, 15, Wilton Street 1851);
  • 1852 William Willis, Calcutta, “The Prophet, Joseph Smith”, Millennial Star 14.19 (July 3, 1852): 303-4
  • 1852 The Danish translation of the “History of Joseph Smith” was published in the Danish periodical ‘Scandinavian Star’, beginning August 1852, with the Father introducing the Son, Skandinaviens Stjerne 1.11 (August 1852): 161-164, head note indicates it was taken from Times and Seasons 3. 726ff. “Denne min elftelige Son, hor ham”, 163a
  • 1853 Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and his Progenitors for Many Generations By Lucy Smith, Mother of the Prophet (Liverpool: Published for Orson Pratt by S. W. Richards 1853): 75:
  • 1853 John Jaques “Salvation. A second Dialogue between Elder Brownson and Mr. Whitby,” Millennial Star 15. 40 (October 1, 1853): 649-653; 657-661. Also released as a pamphlet.
  • 1853 John Jaques. “Catechism for Children”, Millennial Star 15. 47 (November 19, 1853): 755 ff. [multi issue; later republished as pamphlet,
  • 1853 Elder Thomas B.H. Stenhouse began editing the French monthly, The Reflector. The first volume contained “extracts de l’Histoire de Joseph Smith.” [Times and Seasons 3. 726 ff.]: “Je vis deux personnages … L’un d’eux me parla, m’appelant, par mon nom, et me dit (en montrant l’autre): C’est ici mon fils bien aime, ecoute-le.” Le Reflecteur, organe de l’Eglise de Jesus Christ des Saints-des-Derniers jours (Lausanne, Switzerland) 1.1 (January 1853): 7-10..
  • 1854: John Jaques, Catechism for Children Exhibiting the Prominent Doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (London: F.. D. Richards, 1854)
  • 1857: Franklin D. Richards, A compendium of the faith and doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: compiled from the Bible; and also from the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and other publications of the church; with an appendix. (Liverpool: Orson Pratt, 1857): 152:
  • 1859: Orson Pratt, August 14th, 1859, in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Deseret News 9. 25 (August 24, 1859): 193-5; Journal of Discourses, 7:220-221.
  • 1859 William Jefferies, “Deceivers and Deceived”, Millennial Star 21. 45 (November 5, 1859): 709-710.
  • 1860 “History of Joseph Smith,” Millennial Star 22. 7 (February 18, 1860): 102-3. Includes letter to Harrisburg of September 7, 1843 which recounts the First Vision, and Moroni’s visit. This is the Rupp account:
  • 1862 L. A. Bertrand, Memoires d’un Mormon (Paris 1862): 19
  • 1864: George A. Smith, November 15, 1864 “Historical Discourse”, in the Tabernacle, Ogden City. Journal of Discourses 11:1-2:
  • 1867 Elias Morris, “Living Apostles and Prophets, Millennial Star 29. 28 (July 13, 1867): 441-3
  • 1867 Charles W. Penrose [London Conference President], “Man’s Communion with His Maker”, Millennial Star 29. 31 (August 3, 1867): 481-4. [response to article in Dublin University Magazine, on “A New View of Miracles”].
  • 1867 Charles W. Penrose, “Jesus Christ,” Millennial Star 29. 35 (August 31, 1867): 545-548.
  • 1869: Orson Pratt in the Tabernacle, February 24th, 1869 (Journal of Discourses, 12:353-354):
  • 1869: Orson Pratt, “Revelations and Manifestations of God and of Wicked Spirits,” Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, December 19, 1869. Journal of Discourses 13:65-6;
  • 1871: Orson Pratt in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, March 19th, 1871 from Deseret News 20. 12 (April 26, 1871): 137-8; JD 14. 140, 141, 142 (1872); [reprinted in Skandinaviens Stjerne 20. 18 (June 15, 1871): 273-9; 282-3]:
  • 1872: Orson Pratt, New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, September 22nd, 1872: Journal of Discourses, 15:182-183.
  • 1873 T. B. H. Stenhouse, The Rocky Mountain Saints: A Full and Complete History of the Mormons (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1872, 1873;
  • 1873 Editorial: Whom we Worship. Millennial Star 35. 47 (November 25, 1873): 744-6:
  • 1874 Orson Pratt, September 20, 1874 Tabernacle, SLC, Journal of Discourses 17:279-280 (Reported by David W. Evans.) JOSEPH SMITH'S FIRST VISIONS--.
  • 1876 John Taylor December 31, 1876 Journal of Discourses 18:325-6, 329, 330;
  • 1877 John Taylor November 14, 1877, Journal of Discourses 19:151-2;
  • 1878: George Manwaring, “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer,” Juvenile Instructor 1878; Millennial Star 43 (September 19, 1881): 608. As a hymn it first appeared in Deseret Sunday School Union Music Book in 1884; and appears as hymn 26 in current hymnal. A String of Pearls, Second Book of the Faith-Promoting Series. Designed for the Instruction and Encouragement of Young Latter-day Saints. SECOND EDITION (1882; 1st 1880): 96
  • 1878 Edward W. Tullidge, Life of Joseph The Prophet (New York: Tullidge & Crandall, 1878;
  • 1879 John Taylor, November 28, 1879, Journal of Discourses 21:116-7.

The phrase also appeared in some non-LDS accounts

  • 1843 “The Prairies, Nauvoo, Joe Smith, the Temple, the Mormons, etc.,” editor, David Nye White, The Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette 58 (September 15, 1843): 3
  • 1843: New York Spectator, September 23, 1843 [reprinted from Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette above]
  • 1854 Review Article, “Mormonism and the Mormons”, London Quarterly Review 2 (March 1854): 95-127.
  • 1854 The Californian Crusoe; or, The Last Treasure Found. A Tale of Mormonism (London: John Henry Parker 1854; New York: Stanford and Swords). [claims to have heard Joseph speak in Nauvoo].
  • 1855 T.W.P. Taylder, The Mormon’s Own Book; or, Mormonism tried by its own standards—reason and scripture, with an account of its present condition. Also a Life of Joseph Smith. New Edition (London: Partridge and Co., 1857; 1st published 1855): xxiii-xxv
  • 1856 Jules Remy and Julius Brenchley, A Journey to Great Salt Lake City, with a sketch of the History, Religion, and Customs of the Mormons, and an Introduction on the Religious Movement in the United States, in two volumes (London: W. Jeffs 1856): 235.
  • 1863 Le Prophete du XIX Siecle ou vie des Saints des Derniers Jours (Mormons), Hortense G. Du Fay (Paris: Dentu 1863): 39-40