Question: Was the ''History of the Church'' falsified when "first visitation of Angels" was changed to "my first vision"?

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Question: Was the History of the Church falsified when "first visitation of Angels" was changed to "my first vision"?

Joseph's 14 November 1835 diary entry morphs as it is copied into subsequent records

The 14 November 1835 First Vision diary reference is connected with an interview that the Prophet conducted with an investigator named Erastus Holmes. Notice that the diary entry morphs as it is copied into subsequent records.

  • "I commenced and gave him a brief relation of my experience while in my juvenile years, say from 6 years old up to the time I received the first visitation of Angels which was when I was about 14. years old and also the the visitations that I received afterward, concerning the book of Mormon, and a short account of the rise and progress of the church, up to this, date" (Joseph Smith diary, 14 November 1835, pp. 36-37).
  • "He (Smith) commenced and gave him a brief relation of his experience while in his youthful days, say from the age of six years up to the time he received the first visitation of Angels which was when he was about 14 years old. He also gave him an account of the revelations he had afterward received concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and a succinct account of the rise and progress of the church up to this date" (“History, 1834–1836,” Book A-1, p. 129).
  • "I gave him a brief relation of my experience while in my juvenile years, say from six years old up to the time I received the first visitation of angels, which was when I was about fourteen years old; also the revelations that I received afterwards concerning the Book of Mormon, and a short account of the rise and progress of the church up to this date" (Deseret News, vol. 2, no. 15, 29 May 1852).
  • "I gave him a brief relation of my experience while in my juvenile years, say from six years old up to the time I received the first visitation of angels, which was when I was about fourteen years old; also the revelations that I received afterwards concerning the Book of Mormon, and a short account of the rise and progress of the church up to this date" (Millennial Star, vol. 15, no. 27, 2 July 1853, 424 - from the Deseret News).
  • "I gave him a brief relation of my experience while in my juvenile years, say from six years old up to the time I received my first vision, which was when I was about fourteen years old; also the revelations that I received afterwards concerning the Book of Mormon, and a short account of the rise and progress of the Church up to this date" (History of the Church, 2:312; written between 1902-1912).

It was B.H. Roberts that modified the diary entry in History of the Church

If the editor of the seven History of the Church volumes (Brigham H. Roberts) was not drawing information directly from the original Joseph Smith diary then he may have felt that a previous editor had made an error in description - and took it upon himself to correct it. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word falsify as "to make false by mutilation or addition." Since the Prophet's 14 November 1835 diary entry does indeed refer to his "first visitation of Angels" (which took place during the First Vision) the anti-Mormon characterization cannot be applied to Elder Roberts' editorial clarification in any legitimate sense.

Notes