Be sure to check out my new blog “The Second Coming of Christ” for an in depth look at prophecies related to the Second Coming and discussions about getting spiritually and physically prepared.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Faith Promoting Stories or Fact?

I have always enjoyed the vision of Wilford Woodruff where the signers of the Declaration of Independence, appear to him in the temple and request that there temple work be done. Part of this may be the fact that even though I reside in New Mexico part of me still considers St. George home. I even took out my own endowments in the St. George Temple.

However I recently read a small article that someone linked to on the Juvenile Instructor Blog. Brian Stuy's article in the Spring 2000 Journal of Mormon History “Wilford Woodruff's Vision of the signers of the Declaration of Independence" You can read the whole article here. Just look for the Wilford Woodruff vision in the column on the left hand side.

According to Stuy, Haden Wells Church and John Bernhisel had already preformed the baptismal ordinances for the people mentioned in Wilford Woodruffs vision, and the endowment was not yet available at this place. (ibid pg. 76) He goes on to assume evolution of Wilford Woodruffs night visions into visitations. I think we as Mormons often mistakenly assume that visions and visitations are one and the same. But that is another topic altogether.

I tend to agree with Stuys conclusion on this point. But the point I want to bring up is the concept of Faith promoting stories vs. Faith Promoting Fact. I can believe this story has inspired many a person to preform temple work for the dead. Which is great and wonderful. However many a person has left the church upon finding out that the great stories from Mormon History are not quite as they are retold in Sunday School. I have always believed that Mormon stories are like a fine wine and they get better with time.

My question is this, at what point does a little fabrication, cause more harm than good?

Second point I wish to make is to put a plug in for the New FamilySearch program. It is amazing how far the church has come with its Genealogy and temple tracking. With this interactive program we can make sure that temple work isn't repeated, like in the case of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

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