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How Joseph Smith Remembered His First Vision: A Theory Based On Accounts

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Cardel Theatre

180 Quarry Park Boulevard

Calgary, AB T2C 3G3

Canada

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Dr. Harper's talk will be the closest thing to looking in the pensieve at Joseph Smith’s memories of his first vision.

About this Event

2020 marks the anniversary of Joseph Smith's first vision. Calgary Mormon Symposia is pleased to welcome Dr. Steven Harper, the leading historian on the First Vision for our first symposium of the year.

The Topic:

The accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision have been controversial from the beginning. In the years immediately following his theophany, Joseph Smith told his story to multiple audiences on multiple occasions, and he published two accounts of the First Vision while he was still alive. Several other documents and first-hand descriptions related to the First Vision have also been published.

The many accounts of the First Vision have created fertile ground for historical investigation, especially by critics who have been unwilling to accept the faith claims inherent in the Prophet Joseph’s story. The criticisms have been so persistent that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided in 2013 to publish an essay explaining how variances among the accounts can be reconciled.

It has become common to account for variety in Joseph’s first vision accounts by saying he intended them for different audiences. However true that may be, it’s not the best explanation. Steve will provide a better one based on intimate knowledge of all the vision accounts in light of what we now know about the way memories form and get recalled.

THE SPEAKER:

Steven C. Harper is a professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University. In 2012 Steve was appointed as the managing historian and a general editor of Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days. He was named editor in chief of BYU Studies Quarterly in September 2018. He earned an MA in American history from Utah State University and a PhD in early American history from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He began teaching courses in religion and history at BYU Hawaii in 2000 and joined the Religious Education faculty at BYU in 2002. That year he also became a volume editor of The Joseph Smith Papers and the document editor for BYU Studies. He taught at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies in 2011–2012. His first book was Promised Land (Lehigh University Press, 2006), a study of Lenape or Delaware Indians’ responses to a fraudulent 1737 land deal in colonial Pennsylvania. He also authored Making Sense of the Doctrine and Covenants (Deseret Book, 2008), Joseph Smith’s First Vision (Deseret Book, 2012), and First Vision: Memory and Mormon Origins (Oxford University Press, 2019), along with dozens of articles

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Date and Time

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Cardel Theatre

180 Quarry Park Boulevard

Calgary, AB T2C 3G3

Canada

View Map

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Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

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