As most Mormons are just now beginning to learn, Joseph Smith left multiple and varied First Vision accounts that changed dramatically over time. Joseph Smith’s 1st handwritten First Vision account was produced in 1832, and was intentionally hidden from LDS Church members for over a century and a half – primarily because of the many problems it presented to orthodox belief. The “official” First Vision account that the LDS Church ended up adopting is the 1838 version, which varies in several significant ways from the previous versions – primarily reflecting Joseph Smith’s evolving theological beliefs.

Join us today as John Larsen analyzes Joseph Smith’s FIRST (1832) handwritten First Vision account, and explores the many difficulties this version presents to modern Mormon faith.

Show notes:


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  1. Steve in Millcreek August 27, 2021 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    J Dehlin, at video time 2:14:20, you tell of gay-married couples, locally-sanctioned and supported by their bishops, who are now being excommunicated under a newly-strict intolerance to their marriages from LDS headquarters. You spoke of your general knowledge of several couples in that situation; couples who tried (are trying) to walk the line of church activity. Please interview one or more on Mormon Stories, or if they wish not share directly, summarizes their stories through your voice.

  2. Ellery Curtis August 28, 2021 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    John mentioned I thought that garments are now optional? Is that true?! Maybe I heard wrong

    • JOHN LARSEN August 30, 2021 at 9:48 am - Reply

      Sorry about the language confusion. By optional I didn’t mean that wearing them universally was optional. They are still required. I meant that via Church statement and cultural practice changes members are choosing when to and where to put them on and it isn’t an expectation that the garment is worn all of the time.

      The 2019 Change in the Temple recommend questions is the base of this. Prior to the change the questions was “Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?” It was changed to : “Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple, including wearing the temple garment as instructed in the endowment?” The switch has been interpreted by some to mean that it is not necessary to wear them 100% of the time, but individuals had the option of choosing not to wear them sometimes…usually like at the gym. But individuals writing about this have suggested that younger adult later day saints are interpreting this more loosely and might not wear their garments, to say, go out dancing.

      • Jennie September 23, 2021 at 8:17 am - Reply

        Thank you for clearing that up! I thought you said that garments were optional in the past. Was there a time in the early church where garments were optional? Or maybe they were just worn in the temple as part of the ceremony? I thought I read soemthing like that a while ago, but can’t seem to remember exactly. Any thoughts on that? LOVED this podcast by the way! Great listen!! Thank you!

  3. Daniel Linke August 28, 2021 at 7:06 pm - Reply

    At about the 34 minute mark John Larsen states that garments are now optional. Is that correct and if so how the hell did I miss that announcement ? Any clarification would be appreciated, thanks.

  4. Dave Hill August 30, 2021 at 11:58 am - Reply

    I’ve noticed that John will refer to some believers as smart. I don’t understand how he can do that. A person needn’t be smart to figure out Mormonism is false, and believing in Mormonism is a stupid thing to do. I have no problem at all saying that every Mormon apologist I’ve met is just plain dumb.

    • King Moroni August 30, 2021 at 11:14 pm - Reply

      I think your dumb Dave

      • Grammar Police August 31, 2021 at 8:13 pm - Reply

        I believe correct grammar is “you’re” not “your”.

      • Jay Gunther September 9, 2021 at 12:31 pm - Reply

        You should not call someone dumb when you can’t even spell.

  5. The Late Tom Kimball August 30, 2021 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    When I was 18, Jesus and some other dude came out of my wall, in my room, when the light was on. I heard a “mmmmmm…” and looked over, and saw the head of Jesus, with the crown of thorns, slowly protruding 3-d from my wall. The head was porcelain white: hair, skin, thorns, blood. I saw a big drop of blood run from a thorn down the side of Jesus’ head. I looked over and saw a bald man, three or four feet to Jesus’ left, also beginning to protrude. I jumped up and ran to my door, and looked back at the wall. Jesus was now OUT until his waste. He had a fit swimmer’s body, and very thin waste. The dude was in shape. The bald guy was out head and shoulders only, and he had the expression like he was taking the dump of his life. I ran out the door and up to stairs, to my parents room. They were both asleep. I turned on their light, tried to wake them up. Neither would wake up. I shook them violently and yelled “GET UP! WAKE UP!” Neither awoke. I thought “They are dead!” but I checked closely, no, they were still breathing. We had no gas in the house. No burning coal. No gas. It was all electric. I shook and yelled again. Nothing. They were asleep. I went towards the kitchen to get a knife to protect myself from the two “beings” who were emerging from my wall. At that point, I looked at the wall in the living room, which was covered with cheap painted wood meant to replicate “wood grains”. The wood grains started to move and they all transformed into the face of Jesus, eyes closed, with a crown of thorns. Right in front of me. At that point, I feeling of pure peace and love and calmness came over me. I sat on the couch, looking at all the faces of Jesus on the wall (i.e. the wood grain transforming). After perhaps 20 minutes, I went back downstairs. My white wall was clear by then. Nobody around. I lay down, and went to sleep. No, not a dream. No drugs. No meds. No head injuries. No smoking anything. Yes, that is really what I saw that night. I have no idea why my parents would not wake up, other than that vision was for me, not for them.

    • Troy Strasters August 31, 2021 at 8:36 am - Reply

      Don’t do drugs, kids…

  6. Eric Redd August 30, 2021 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    John L. The F ing hypocrites you are referring to are the same people who had the courage to do what Holland called them out for. Clearly they are having an impact where they are. It is the churches move now. I appreciate you and the impact you have had on post Mormonism, but using the F Word emphatically doesn’t mean you are right. It only means you have a strong opinion.

    • John Larsen August 31, 2021 at 11:19 am - Reply

      In my defense, I suggested they will become hypocrites if: 1. They do not believe the position of the Church and they 2. stay teaching there. If they are ok with the Church position they are not hypocrites and there is no conflict.

  7. Lefthandloafer August 31, 2021 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    While I appreciate some of John Larsen’s observations – particularly in regards to Church History, Doctrine etc – in his emotional outbursts and rants on social issues, he’s sounding more and more angry…..and unhinged.

    • Kristy H August 31, 2021 at 8:14 pm - Reply

      The F bombs are distracting and hard to listen to. Remember your audience!

  8. Kristy Joy August 31, 2021 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    I agree. The F bombs are distracting and hard to listen to. Remember your audience!

  9. Rex September 1, 2021 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    Mentioning John Larsen’s past podcasts, I’m thrilled you’re making them available. Don’t forget, probably the best 20 minutes of post Mormon podcastdom, is the beginning of Larsen’s “Nauvoo Expositor” when Joseph’s timeline is presented. Good to see you around John. Continue repenting through more episodes. Yes, I’ll donate.

  10. Philip McLemore September 2, 2021 at 10:18 am - Reply

    I know a lot about the First Vision and this podcast was value added. Many important refections and great analysis. I almost did not get to it after the 20 minute Liberal BS rant. How you 2 Johns can be so smart about Mormonism and so dense on many aspects of politics is amazing to me. To summarize the firing of that Lehi teacher as a gay rights issue is completely nuts. You either did not listen to the audio/video, making uninformed assumptions, or your Liberal filter is so thick you can’t see clearly. It is completely inappropriate to use class time to promote one political party over another. It is outrageous for a teacher to tell students they are a lot smarter than their parents and don’t have to listen to them. It is outrageous to threaten students who “out her”. Insurrection!!? Are you guys not smarter than to lap up political spin?! A few conservative nuts protest in comparison to liberal groups destroying businesses, large portions of cities, literally murdering people, etc, etc. Who is hurt when these inner cities are destroyed–minorities. Something can only be an insurrection if there is some chance of actually overthrowing a government. There was no chance with that unarmed group with virtually no power whatsoever. The Liberal nuts, who are far more numerous than the conservative nuts, are now in charge of the government. You cannot have a country with borders, a common language and culture. All of this is being destroyed at present by them.

    • Clive Bixby September 7, 2021 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      Philip, I have read some of your writings and listened to your podcasts. Before now, I have been impressed by your story, your critical thinking, and your thoughtfulness. I am incredibly disappointed and frankly shocked at the obvious blind spots in your remarks. Please google “unarmed capitol riot”. This is simply not factual, which undermines your entire premise that the capitol riot could not be a insurrection. Any damage to property or injury to any person, should be concerning to us all, but to excuse the events of Jan 6th as “a few conservative nuts protest” is the very definition of gaslighting.
      Additionally, what is the push for a common language and culture? Surely you cannot believe that “good” can only come from a specific defined language or culture. Why would we want a country that doesn’t embrace those differences? Such an ethnocentric statement is appalling. It has nothing to do with politics but about becoming a better, more accepting, loving person. Obviously your spiritual transformation through meditation isn’t working for you.

    • Bliss Doubt September 17, 2021 at 11:05 am - Reply

      I agree the discussion of left/right democrat/republican is completely fettered in this country, basically by two false narratives we have to choose from. There have been dangerous white supremacist movements in this country for decades, and on the whole they tend to be on the political right wing, including some religions (…), but they do not represent the majority of political conservatives in this country. That doesn’t keep the mainstream media and the deep state left in this country from trying to impose that narrative that republicans all want to burn crosses and hang black people. It makes me sick that hundreds of political prisoners are being held in DC for entering the Capitol building after being waved in by security with “come on in and take pics”. I’ve seen video footage of them being waved in, and of them staying within the velvet ropes, taking selfies. I know there was the one nut who crapped on Pelosi’s desk, but I also know the only gunfire, the only death, was by capitol security firing on an unarmed young female veteran. We also know there were provocateurs trying to get people to act badly while Trump stood away from the Capitol telling the gathered “we will march peacefully”. It was about demanding investigation of election fraud, not about insurrection. And all these people are being held without charges, without trial dates, and the media says nothing about it except “omygawd the worst attack on our nation since Pearl Harbor”. Trump, who said “come to DC on January 6”, says nothing about these political detainees. There is no end in sight for them. It should make anyone sick, left or right, for people to be detained without charges, without trials, indefinitely, but we accepted new national security laws 20 years ago after 9-11-01.

      By the same token, the deep state left wing narrative does not represent the vast swath of political liberals in this country, who, like me, feel that government should serve us all, from the least fortunate to the most fortunate, that government should not rule as authoritarians, but should do our bidding, that we should be free to speak truth to power. It turns out that when people do speak truth to power, they are insurrectionists. Being a traditional liberal, this still offends me. There’s that old saying, “until they came for me”.

  11. Exupery September 4, 2021 at 10:02 am - Reply

    The magic of the Mormon Expressions podcast was the Round Table discussions, with a variety of viewpoints including TBM and progressive Mormons and those who are skeptical. Larsen made a great captain but without a crew, it will never be the same. Also there was bit of the “time and place” ingredient as well. The internet and do it yourself broadcasting (podcasts, YouTube, and more) was in a bit of a golden age before restrictions really had a chance to suppress the Wild West feel of it all. And for so many of us it felt like we were discovering the Mormon matrix and waking up to a new paradigm. Now the church and the members have somewhat adjusted for a lot of that , it’s no fun now that TBMs all think a stone in the hat is legit and they all know about 14 year spirit brides and modern prophets can contradict not just the previous prophet but even themselves … and they are okay with it! So it’s like trying to pin jello to the wall… there’s nothing solid ethically to get them to stick to anymore. So I don’t know, I feel like I’m listening to my uncle giving the same political rant at thanksgiving dinner over and over again, year after year. Maybe I just wish we could get Scoob and the gang back together again, that’s all.

  12. Stevej September 7, 2021 at 1:33 am - Reply

    I for one appreciate the language that JL uses. Sometimes harsh words are needed to get points and emotions across. These words exist in our language for a reason. And there is a reason why he is upset and angry. I don’t see how everyone is not upset and angry. The comments church leaders are making affect people’s lives, our children’s lives. People are dying! Saving lives is more important than people being offended by language.

    • Jennie September 23, 2021 at 8:31 am - Reply

      I appreciate the language as well! Thank you for this episode!

  13. TBoneH September 30, 2021 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    Can you three do one on the Kinderhook Plates? I feel like that is one that many Mormons don’t know about and is what caused me to research Church history. When you understand JSmith made up the whole story in his “translation” of the Kinderhook it makes it so much easier to understand he made up the Pearl of Great Price and BoM.

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