Would God inspire Joseph Smith to Tell His Story the Same Every Time? Not Likely.
Not likely. Even the Bible tells the Apostle Paul’s vision differently and even inconsistently.
(In one account, the people with Saul saw the light but did not hear the voice and in another account, these same people heard the voice but did not see the light.)
The Lord did not intervene to make sure Paul’s story was consistent. And yet people don’t question Paul’s spiritual credentials because he told the story differently. More fundamentally, Joseph Smith learned over and over that God wouldn’t take over and make sure everything came out exactly right. It is commonly understood amongst Latter-day Saints that God pours His spirit upon his prophets, but he does not usually dictate every word.ears
Even considering these realities, the basic facts of Joseph’s different accounts of this experience do not contradict each other. The most difficult hurdle for critics to jump is the fact that the critics contemporary with Joseph Smith never brought up this argument against him. If Joseph made this up as he went over the years, it would have been much more obvious then than now, yet no critic ever used this. Why?
If Joseph had told his story exactly the same way every time, that would actually be more suspicious than the way it happened. If Joseph’s story was a con, he would have taken more care to tell it the same way each time. When you think about it, God himself would not tell the same story the same way to every audience in every condition. Different situations demand different emphasis on different elements of any story and no need to include others.
For more information see: https://www.lds.org/topics/first-vision-accounts?lang=eng
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