An Unexpected Revelation

In episode three of our Revelations in Context Series, host Nick Galieti of LDS Perspectives Podcast interviews Matthew McBride of the Church History Department about his essay entitled “The Vision.”

In 1832 Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon reported receiving a vision at the John Johnson home. Apparently while working on a revision of the New Testament, Joseph had just completed “translating” John 5:29 when the vision commenced.

The early nineteenth century culture was highly religious and most Christian sects believed that the Bible was all sufficient. For Joseph Smith to revise what was already considered to be complete was radical. What he and Sidney saw in vision was even more surprising.

The vision touched on matters dealing with one of the most contentious religious debates of the time: who is saved? Suprisingly, the revelation confirmed the least popular position.

Brigham Young, arguably one of Joseph’s most loyal supporters, struggled with this Universalist position for quite a time. Other members had difficulty accepting this paradigm shift as well.

Matthew McBride uses this historical backdrop to provide a powerful metaphor for modern-day members to use when dealing with doctrine that may be difficult to accept.

This is an episode you won’t want to miss.

4 thoughts on “An Unexpected Revelation

  1. I believe many have struggled with he universalist view through most of Church history. JFS and BRM pushed hard against it, suggesting the lower kingdoms were not as happy or wonderful as DC 76 states.

  2. I believe there is a lot more to be revealed. We are still thinking in terms of three physical dimensions and one dimension of time. I subscribe to the theory of there being more dimensions of space and time. Bruce Webster has a mind-expanding essay here:

    If cosmologists are correct in there being a “Big Crunch” (opposite of a Big Bang) on either a galactic or universe/Hubble-Space level, it gives additional meaning to “until the end of time”, “immortal” (as opposed to “eternal”), and “forever.”

  3. I looked up what B.H. Roberts in his book “The Truth, The Way, The Life” had to say about different dimensions and found that he was “locked” into 3D and couldn’t admit there might be more. I personally believe that there are more and we simply cannot understand the complexity of other dimensions. I have also believed that when we die, our spirits do not go anywhere except by slipping away to another dimension.

    After an accident and a severe head injury when I was a boy, I had an exactly identical dream for several nights afterward during which I flew into a dark hole which got much darker as I fell, ever more rapidly. Then I perceived a tiny light glowing in that total darkness. The light grew brighter and brighter and I felt great panic and woke up in a state of fear. It seemed to me that I was in another dimension in the dreams, but
    cannot understand how that could be.

  4. Very nice discussion of Doctrine and Covenants 76.

    I would’ve been interested to hear what the author of the essay felt about the direction Joseph was given to shift to the New Testament, direction he was given in Doctrine and Covenants 45.

    I liked the metaphor of mental furniture. I think that’s very useful in making more concrete the ways that we react to new information, particularly about our history.

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