Big news in the world of Mormonism as Signature Books has released The William E. McLellin Papers 1854-1880). This major work contains a collection of writings once considered legendary. McLellin was an early convert to Mormonism who left when he saw the major changes in teaching and theology taking place in Joseph Smith. I have ordered the work, but one comment on the work found here caught my attention: “He writes of never hearing the story of Smith’s ‘first vision,’ the visit by God and Jesus Christ to a young, prayerful Smith in a grove of trees that led to the church’s founding in New York state.” I will wish to quote this in full once I receive the work, for this is very telling. I have maintained for years that the version of the First Vision found today is clearly the end result of a very easily challenged process of evolution, and that Joseph Smith was not going about telling the story in the early years of Mormonism. In fact, Smith was still a monotheist, if even a confused one, in those years, and the entire concept of a plurality of Gods did not develop until the mid 1830s, the very time when McLellin left. So I look forward to posting his actual comments on this, as it will just be further evidence that Joseph Smith saw no one in a grove of trees in the spring of 1820, and Smith was surely not a prophet of God.

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