The Novel Mormon Doctrines of Ultimate Rewards and Punishments as First Revealed in The Vision : Some Observations on History, Sources, and Interpretation
Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought
The Vision is one of the most important revelations of the formative period of Mormon theological development, where novel and controversial doctrines of the afterlife first made their appearance. To date there has been little attention paid to a source-critical analysis of The Vision as scholars have been primarily interested in exploring the implications of the final canonical text. While such a "synchronic" analysis is undoubtedly of value, a "diachronic" approach aimed at dissecting composite revelations and uncovering the sources and their history can also lead to new insights. Here, Ford posits that The Vision was composed from two poems and five previously recorded visions that were received by Joseph Smith and his scribes while revising the New Testament in early 1832. He aims to isolate the literary fragments in The Vision, assign each to its most likely pre-existing source, show how the redactor of The Vision combined and modified the pre-existing sources to produce the final composition, and explore the possible original significance of the five visions.