Your Friday Firestorm #27

I shortly after arose from my bed, and, as usual, went to the necessary labors of the day; but, in attempting to work as at other times, I found my strength so exhausted as to render me entirely unable. My father, who was laboring along with me, discovered something to be wrong with me, and told me to go home. I started with the intention of going to the house; but, in attempting to cross the fence out of the field where we were, my strength entirely failed me, and I fell helpless on the ground, and for a time was quite unconscious of anything.

(JS History v 48)



  1. Apparently, Joseph became somewhat used to the physical implications of his angelic experiences. Take for example Sidney Rigdon’s state after D&C 76 was revealed. Joseph is said to have explained “Sidney is not as used to it as I am.”

  2. It’s interesting how the Spirit hits people in varying ways. When I received my first witness it left me profoundly weepy.

  3. That pretty much describes motherhood with tiny kids- only no one tells me to go home, and when I fall asleep on the floor, I wake up with bananas and rice cereal in my ears.

    All joking aside, I tried to impress upon my Valiant 12’s on Sunday why people are always shown on their knees before angels.

  4. As a missionary I experienced this in a much minor way, usually after a lesson or discussion where the Spirit was particularly strong. We always felt wonderful afterward, but physically drained. I don’t know what it is about the Spirit that is so taxing on our mortal frames. We read about other experiences, like Moses falling on his back after his “big picture” vision, and others having to be transfigured, or changed, to endure God’s presence. BTW, where’s our troll buddy who always jumps in with the quotes about the prophets being flabbergasted to be in God’s presence now? He should be all over this one?

  5. Huh, post-revelatory hangover. I wonder if all mind-/consciousness-altering experiences produce similar after effects. Physiologically and psychologically acclimating to such experiences along with learning to self-induce them (as opposed to having them foisted unexpectedly upon him) without the use of physical implements (stones, spectacles, plates, hats, etc.) was an important part of Joseph’s development and maturation as a prophet and seer.

    Still, the post-visionary hangover seem to be a somewhat unique emphasis in Joseph’s revelations and writings (Lehi’s post-vision sunstroke, Moses’ “nothingness”, etc). What examples from outside of JS’s specific corpus of this phenomenon are there?

  6. MattG,
    Ha, my not-so-subtle question might as well have been directed at said troll.

    [desperately struggles to remove kung-fu-like grip of Steve Evans’ hands from throat]

  7. Was his fatigue due to his spiritual experiences… or his having been kept up all hours of the night by a naked angel wearing a robe?

    I dunno about all of you, but if some glowing guy kept waking me up to talk to me all night long, I wouldn’t be much for hard field labor the next day… whether it be an angel, a demon, an alien, or my roommates playing a mean prank on me.

  8. #1 beat me to it. This is also consistent with Moses first encounter with the divine, found in Moses 1 in the PofGP. I don’t know how you get used to it as JS said comparing himself to Rigdon.

    I’ve often found the comparisons with ancient mythology interesting that there once Zeus promised a mortal he loved/lusted deeply anything she asked for (an oath on the river Styx IIRC) and Hera put it into her heart to ask to see Zeus in all his glory. She was fried on the spot. Other scriptures say that if you behold all of God’s glory you can no longer remain in the flesh. This has often left me to wonder if there is a physical limit to what we can endure in a vision either in length or magnitude of glory.

    When Moroni did come to visit JS and quoted him scripture, do you think he gave chapter/verse or just laid it straight out? It would be interesting if he quoted the ch/v #s and they were off from what we have today (kind of like some of the JST entries)

    I think that the spirit is required to be an active participant in a vision of the almighty and that as you progress in spirituality and the gifts of the spirit that you can withstand more, if that’s the right turn of phrase…

  9. I don’t think that mere sleeplessness accounts for Joseph’s symptoms. He could not perform his work in the field and physically collapsed when crossing the fence. At his age (17) this should not have been the case. I think there is something physically draining about great spiritual experiences and it rings true to me that this would be the case with the events that Joseph describes.

    I hate to be the one to say it this time, but what exactly is the firestorm here?

  10. Maybe the firestorm consists in Steve’s courting of the above mentioned troll and cohorts.

  11. Eric Russell says:

    MCQ, I think this one has to do with gay marriage. Just wait.

  12. MCQ, I am glad that someone asked the question. With that, we can safely be assured that we will read 200+ comments.

  13. Gay marriage notwithstanding, I have always wondered about the fact that his father tells him to go home, he starts to cross the fence and collapses, awakes sometime later to an angelic visitor standing over him, and no one notices or bothers to ask him “why did you fall down, and who was that guy with the white hair and big voice?”

  14. In D&C 85, Joseph mentions almost as an aside that when he received revelations the “the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things…maketh my bones to quake while it maketh manifest.”

  15. Matt G (#4),

    Come to think of it, that’s true. On the days I teach a lesson or give a talk, my eyes are heavy by the time I go home and I have to nap. Usually only those times. And on the days I do both a talk AND a lesson, fuggetaboutit.

  16. Nephi also describes the spirit making him “quake”, or to have no strength. This, just before he tasers them.

  17. In # 16, “them” = his brothers.

  18. Yeah, Steve, just trying to do my part.

    Kevin, I always assumed that the vision Joseph had after he collapsed was visible only to him, but I don’t know any reason why that would necessarily be the case. Anyone have any other info on that?

  19. Ardis Parshall says:

    Since I don’t think Joseph had a private bedroom, meaning that there were brothers sleeping in the same room and perhaps in the same bed while Moroni was visiting all that preceding night, without apparently being aware of what Joseph was seeing and hearing, I think MCQ must be right.

  20. MCQ, I think the precedent was that Joseph certainly shared a room with his brothers, one of only three bedrooms in the cabin, so Alvin, Hyrum, Don Carlos, were probably all in the room as well when Moroni appeared in the night, yet they apparently also did not witness that either.

    And I really don’t know if it was a fence immediately adjacent to the field where he was working with his father, or some distance away. This was at a time, IIRC, that they could very well have been hired out to another farmer for day labor, and could have been some distance from home.

  21. Ardis, you beat me by three minutes! The cabin at that time had a main room on the first floor, and a separate small room for his parents, and then two upstairs rooms, one for the boys, and one for the girls. Probably only one bed in each room as well, or more likely, straw filled mattresses laid on the wood floor side by side. Angelic visitors, unlike snoring, apparently did little to disturb the sleep of the others.

  22. Altered states of consciousness by folk like us who go out of our way to avoid them? I could imagine a flame or two (if not a full blown firestorm) out of that.

  23. Then he looked right through me
    With somniferous almond eyes
    Don’t even know what that means
    Must remember to write it down
    This is so real
    Like the time Dave floated away
    See, my heart is pounding
    ‘Cause this … never happens to me

    I can’t breathe right now!

    #9 Joseph wasn’t just returning to a cubicle to work. He was a farmer, and doing perhaps some of the most exhausting of labors. Having gone a night without sleep, it is not unthinkable (rather quite the opposite) that after some strenuous labor, Joseph was strained to the point of passing out.

    While it might have been due to having a spiritual experience, I think that side-steps the most obvious reason. Furthermore, Joseph did not mention passing out while walking home from the First Vision – an experience that would seem to surpass Moroni’s visit on the spiritometer.

    Also, if we are to grant that it was the experience and not the lack of sleep that caused the passing out, can we simply claim that it was because of the spirituality of the experience? Could a demonic experience, an alien encounter, or a midnight visit from the US President cause enough emotional stress to cause a similar post-experiential disorder?

    Overwhelmed as one would be, placed in my position.
    Such a heavy burden now to be the One
    Born to bear and bring to all the details of our ending,
    To write it down for all the world to see.

    But I forgot my pen

  24. Narrator, “Angels in America”?

    Actually, spiritual experiences have done the following to me:

    1. Left me exhilarated and excited
    2. Rendered me mentally and physically tired
    3. Left me speechless
    4. Created an overwhelming sense of surprise

    Sometimes a mixture of the above.

    I think it depends on the circumstances, and that constant exposure could enable you to better handle the overload that sometimes seems to accompany spiritual experiences.

    I’ve often noted that the GA’s in conference seem less impacted by emotions when speaking than the average church member (including me), and I have chalked that up to the suspicion that they are more used to feeling those spiritual experiences. Pres. Eyring and Elder Scott seem to be exceptions.

  25. I am using this opportunity to announce my Friday, December 28 resolution to visit every blog on LDS blogs and LDS Select (I love them both), although I feel like crap and should be resting, doing the laundry, cooking dinner, and cleaning the basement. I miss the good old days when I visited each of you daily.

    I’m pretty sure if I talked to God face to face (well, I’m pretty sure we’d still be talking, because I have a lot to say to God), I’d be worn out.

    I mean, he didn’t just feel the spirit, hello. It’s sort of mind boggling to consider getting used to talking to God. As opposed to praying or yelling, as I do fairly frequently.

  26. No, the narrator is channeling the great Maynard. Rosetta Stoned might be Tool’s greatest track, a fascinating commentary on how a JS-esque revelatory/visionary experience would be dealt with today.

    Glad to know there are other geeky Tool fans in the ‘naccle, Tn.

  27. annegb,

    Elder Ballard would fully support you in your decision:

  28. I was channeling Maynard, but then found that fan-made video using Angels in America which perfectly tied together angels, late-night supernatural experiences, aliens, visions, and Mormonism.

  29. It so sucks being in my 50’s.

  30. It was so real
    Like I woke up in Wonderland
    All sort of terrifying
    I don’t want to be all alone
    When I tell this story
    And can anyone tell me why
    Y’all sound like Peanuts’ parents
    Will I ever be coming down?

    Outstanding stuff, tn. That video ties things together I’ve been mulling over ever since 10,000 Days first leaked.

    You believe me don’t you
    Please believe what I just said
    ‘Cause the Dead ain’t touring
    And this wasn’t all in my head

    Then they took me by the hand
    And invited me right in
    Then they showed me something
    I don’t even know where to begin…

  31. Suffice it to say that I understand this scripture, although to a much lesser degree and much less dramatically than Joseph. I also understand the diminishing impact over time and through repetition, as well as the greater impact when tired.

    The real firestorm to me is that created by those who can’t accept this type of experience as divinely inspired – as something more than a product of neurological and/or psychological reactions. .

  32. I didn’t know you were in your 50’s Kevin. I’m in my 50’s and I thought I was older than anyone except maybe Stephen on Ethesis. No, I think I’m older than he is.

  33. OK, since we are threadjacking to age, I simply want to thank Kevin and annegb for their contributions to bolstering the ranks of the old folks on this blog – and for making me feel young for once here.

  34. annegb,

    I can only imagine how much brighter the bloggernacle will shine with your visitations. I know they brighten MY day. =)

    On topic, I think this firestorm must have had a spiritual experience last night, because it has fallen helpless to the ground. But maybe this is just filler while so many people are out of town.

  35. #31

    The real firestorm to me is that created by those who can’t accept this type of experience as divinely inspired – as something more than a product of neurological and/or psychological reactions. .

    All Joseph says is that he woke up, started to work, wasn’t feeling well, his dad thought he look tired, he started home, he was climbing over a fence, he passed out, and the naked angel in a robe visited him again. I can accept that his fatigue was a result of an over-whelming spiritual experience. I think that’s plausible. However, from Joseph’s own story and from my own experiences (and probably the experience of many who attempt hard labor after receiving virtually no sleep), the most simple cause of his fatigue was his lack of sleep. Why do we feel a need to read anything more into it?

  36. I love Rosetta Stoned. It really is great to see Tool quoted so extensively in the bloggernacle. =)

    Lateralus to me is something straight out of Mormon theology.

    I embrace my
    desire to
    I embrace my
    desire to
    feel the rhythm, to
    feel connected,
    enough to step aside and
    weep like a widow, to
    feel inspired, to
    fathom the power, to
    witness the beauty, to
    bathe in the fountain, to
    swing on the spiral, to
    sail on the spiral, to
    swing on the spiral of
    our divinity and
    still be a human.

    It’s totally about breaking through to the next level. I think Maynard is a dry Mormon.

  37. Tatiana,
    Maynard would probably take umbrage at the suggestion that he’s any kind of Mormon. :)

    Still, his music is inspiring in a way that the Mormon part of me finds especially satisfying.

  38. MattG, Brad and cohorts are out trolling, I see.

  39. Other inspiring thoughts courtesy of MJK:

    Angels on the sideline,
    Puzzled and amused.
    Why did Father give these humans free will?
    Now they’re all confused.

    Don’t these talking monkeys know that
    Eden has enough to go around?
    Plenty in this holy garden, silly monkeys,
    where there’s one you’re bound to divide it

    Monkey killing monkey killing monkey
    Over pieces of the ground.
    Silly monkeys give them thumbs, they make a club
    And beat their brother down.

    How they survive so misguided is a mystery.
    Repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability
    to lift an eye to heaven conscious of his fleeting time here.

    Angels on the sideline again
    Benched along with patience and reason
    Angels on the sideline again
    Wondering when this tug of war will end

  40. Howard,

  41. In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
    Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
    Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
    In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

    Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
    Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
    In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
    The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

    Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
    Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
    Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
    The ox and ass and camel which adore.

    Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
    Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
    But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
    Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

    What can I give Him, poor as I am?
    If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
    If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
    Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

  42. Brad, 10,000 days is especially filled with these images. The change between Judith from APC and Wings for Marie on 10k days tells me he’s much more reconciled to his mother’s worldview now. There was a rumor last April 1 on the toolband site that Maynard had found Jesus (though it turned out to be a parody and an April Fool joke, yet the lyrics of 10k days seem to bear out that it’s something more.) I think there are a lot of signs that he’s breaking through. An artist is just one particularly type of prophet. Someone needs to send the missionaries around. I would not be the least surprised to hear of Maynard’s baptism.

  43. *particular (wishes, once again, for an edit function)

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