I thought I might respond to this email, although it is old.  Having been
gone a lot lately (50 mile hike, work, etc.), I have just gotten to this
place in my email.

Joseph Smith's First Vision did happen.  It is a fact.  How do I know?  I
know from my own testimony.  I know from the hundreds of confirmations and
scores of miraculous events that have occurred in my life, starting with my
conversion from "the Bible is mythology" to "Joseph Smith was a prophet of
God" 10 years ago next month (when I was all by myself, and quite by
surprise - a very interesting conversion story for another time).

I know from the blessings I have given to others by virtue of the
Priesthood, that have and are coming true, that I could not have know or
predicted, and that ran counter to my intuition and intellect.

I know.  What should this mean to others?  That is up to them.  But I also
know that when I am with someone and I feel the presence of the Holy Ghost
strongly, and I tell them that they are feeling the HG at that moment, and
they are surprised that I know what they are feeling - in that case, my
testimony can mean a lot to them.

Things of the Spirit cannot be proven by intellectual means.  All of the
scientific confirmation of the Book of Mormon cannot give someone a
testimony - but it can start them on the search for spiritual proof.  People
do not trust a spiritual proof  because they don't trust themselves.  One of
the greatest gifts of the Spirit to me was the certainty that some things
are absolute, and that I can know that for a certainty.  The rest is up to
me (making sense of what to do with my life and how to make the most of it).

Jon

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John W. Redelfs" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 7:06 PM
Subject: [ZION] Fraud, A Similarity of Views


> Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It [The First
> Vision] either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work
> is a fraud. If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work
> under the heavens. --Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference October  2002.
>
> "Mormonism 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. If Joseph was a deceiver, who willfully attempted to mislead
> people, then he should be exposed, his claims should be refuted, and his
> doctrines shown to be false..." (Joseph Fielding Smith. DOCTRINES OF
> SALVATION, Vol 1, p. 188)
>
> I found these two quotes by different Presidents of the Church strikingly
> similar.  What do you think?
>
> John W. Redelfs                       [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> ===========================================
> "There is no place in this work for those who believe only
> in the gospel of doom and gloom.  The gospel is good
> news.  It is a message of triumph." --Gordon B. Hinckley
> ===========================================
> All my opinions are tentative pending further data. --JWR
>
>
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