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Question: Was Orson Hyde unaware of the details of the Father and Son appearing to Joseph in the First Vision?
Question: In 1854, was Orson Hyde unaware of the details of the Father and Son appearing to Joseph in the First Vision?
Orson Hyde was quite familiar with the First Vision from previously published literature, and in this case he was not talking about that event
Orson Hyde said during a General Conference in 1854:"Some one may say, 'If this work of the last days be true, why did not the Saviour come himself to communicate this intelligence to the world?'" Was Orson Hyde unaware of the details of the Father and Son appearing to Joseph in the First Vision?
When Elder Orson Hyde was discoursing in General Conference on 6 April 1854 he was NOT speaking about the First Vision (a story he knew very well from previously published literature) - he was trying to teach the Latter-day Saints about "the grand harvest" which would take place during "the winding up scene" and the part that "angels" would have in it. The evidence suggests that Elder Hyde was utilizing section 110 of the Doctrine and Covenants as the basis for some of his remarks about angels, NOT about the events that took place within the Sacred Grove.
The proper context of Elder Hyde’s remarks can be determined simply by examining his opening statement. There he makes it clear that because it was currently the season for sowing crops he wanted to discourse on some parable imagery found in the 13th chapter of the New Testament book of Matthew (verses 1–9, 36–43).
Elder Hyde specifically mentioned that the "angels" were the agency through which "this reaping dispensation was committed to the children of men" and that these heavenly beings held "the keys of this dispensation." With these words he may well have been referring to the episode recorded in section 110 of the Doctrine and Covenants where angels tell Joseph Smith - "the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands" (v. 16). They also "committed the gospel of the dispensation of Abraham" to the Prophet (v. 12) and, furthermore, they "committed unto [him] the keys of the gathering" (v. 11) - [harvest imagery]. Elder Hyde said in his sermon that the angels brought the news that "the time of the end was drawing nigh" and, significantly, the last of the angels to appear in D&C 110 said, "the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors" (v. 16).
A summary of Elder Hyde’s comments shows that he did not intend to speak about the First Vision at all; he wanted to impress upon that Saints that the latter-day work of gathering (the figurative harvest imagery) was inaugurated by angels and they would also play a role in the figurative separation of the wheat and the tares.