Question: What evidence is there that Orson Hyde was familiar with the details of the First Vision at the time he made his statement about "angels"?

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Question: What evidence is there that Orson Hyde was familiar with the details of the First Vision at the time he made his statement about "angels"?

15 June 1841

Orson Hyde:

When Orson Hyde was in London, England on a mission he wrote to the Prophet Joseph Smith and informed him: “I have written a book to publish in the German language, setting forth our doctrine and principles in as clear and concise a manner as I possibly could. After giving the history of the rise of the Church, in something the manner that Br[other] O[rson] Pratt did, I have written a snug little article upon every point of doctrine believed by the Saints.”[1]

Elder Hyde is referring to Elder Pratt’s missionary tract - published in Scotland in 1840 - called An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions, which contained the first known published, full-length description of the First Vision event. Elder Hyde’s pamphlet contained a recounting of the First Vision that was very similar to the one found in Elder Pratt’s pamphlet.

1842

Elder Hyde’s pamphlet was published in Frankfurt, Germany sometime in the year 1842. It was called Eine Stimme aus dem Schoose der Erde (A Cry from the Wilderness, A Voice from the Depths of the Earth). This was the first known foreign-language rendition of the First Vision story.

6 February 1851

Elder Lorenzo Snow wrote a letter to Elder Orson Hyde on 6 February 1851 from Geneva, Switzerland and informed him that his own missionary tract called “The Voice of Joseph” (written between 23 July 1850 and 6 September 1850) was circulating in both Italy and Switzerland.[2]

From the above information it can be determined that before Orson Hyde made his 1854 remarks he was aware of at least three orthodox First Vision accounts produced by members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

  1. Orson Pratt’s missionary tract [published in 1840],
  2. his own missionary tract [written in 1841], and
  3. Lorenzo Snow’s missionary tract [written in 1850].

It is high unlikely that Elder Hyde did not possess an accurate understanding of the First Vision story before the year 1854.

Notes

  1. Orson Hyde, Times and Seasons 2 no. 23 (1 October 1841), 551. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
  2. Eliza R. Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1884), 176.