Changing Mormon Stories is going to be a special edition of this blog where I will explore a current Mormon teaching, scripture, belief, or story and compare it to the original teaching, scripture, belief, or story. This will be done to show how Mormon stories, scriptures, and doctrines have evolved over the years. According to the Mormon church, if doctrine changes, it is apostasy and is no longer the true church. Let's point the finger of blame right back at them...
For our first changing Mormon story, we need to refer to the current version of Joseph Smith's visitation with Moroni, where he was instructed as to the location of the buried golden plates. I quote from the Joseph Smith history found in the current version of the Pearl of Great Price:
"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.
...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."
The account goes on to say that this messenger, named Moroni, showed Joseph in a vision where the golden plates were buried. Ironically, Joseph just happened to live really close to this hill. What a coincidence, huh?
Why don't we go back and look at what the ORIGINAL Pearl of Great Price had to say about this. Please keep in mind that the first Pearl of Great Price was published in 1851, seven years after Joseph Smith died.
On page 41 of the original Pearl of Great Price, the following was said, beginning at the very top of the page:
"When I first looked upon him, I was afraid, but the fear soon left me. 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 Nephi. That God had a work for me to do..." (bold added for emphasis)
I bet you have never heard once in church, seminary, on your mission, or in any of your studies, that the original version of this account names the heavenly visitor as Nephi. That's a lie, you say. Anyone can type it up and put it in quotes and claim it came from the original scripture. Following is a scan of page 41 from an 1851 Pearl of Great Price. You will need to click the image to enlarge it and click the "back" button on your browser to return to this page.
There is the undisputable evidence that Mormon stories change. Joseph Smith died in 1844 and this account was first published in 1851. That means that Joseph went to his death claiming to have been visited by Nephi. He never once, ever, claimed to have been visited by Moroni. Any references to Nephi in any official Mormon stories and quotes have all been changed to read Moroni.
The gospel doesn't change? Mormon stories don't change? They sure do and there's lots more. If the story was 100% true, why would "the church" feel the need to change the name of the very important Nephi/Moroni who ushered in the vision that lead to the discovery of the "most correct book on earth"?
Who really visited Joseph Smith? Smith claimed it was Nephi and the church claims it was Moroni. Is the church saying that Joseph Smith didn't really know? Nephi and Moroni were very different characters in the Book of Mormon. Either Joseph Smith lied, or the church is lying, or both. Either way, someone is lying and that just makes the church look bad!
Doh! What an obvious fuckup! Whatever the reason for the change, it must have been important as it sure makes them look like jackasses! Then again, they know they can get away with it for the most part since most members don't have any access at all to an 1851 Pearl of Great Price.
Just another evil apostate...