QUOTE: “Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground.” -Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 188. [source]
QUOTE: “It is well-known that the truth or falsity of a story lies mainly in the details. There are some details connected with the vision given to Joseph Smith the Prophet that may appear to many as insignificant and by many members of the Church are overlooked, yet they are of vital and of overwhelming importance.” -Joseph Fielding Smith, Ensign, October 1987. [source]
QUOTE: “Devout Mormon scholars have made clear that they believe the differences between the three versions [Joseph recorded of the First Vision] are of no consequence. But to the non-devout, the differences are evidence of Joseph Smith’s exuberant talent of improvisation before a stimulating audience and of his lack of care about consistency of detail. They bear out my original speculation that the first vision, if not an invention, was an evolutionary fantasy beginning in a half-remembered dream stimulated by the early revival excitement and reinforced by the rich folklore of visions circulating in his neighborhood.” – Fawn Brode, No Man Knows My History, p. 409. [source]
COMMENTARY: When you look at the details of the first vision and the history of how that story evolved over the years, the only honest conclusion you can come to is that it didn’t happen. But what do I know? I’m just another apostate.