Two Suggestions

There are two suggestions I’d offer to you. First, when you read the scriptural accounts of answers to prayer, ask yourself if there is additional information given by God beyond the topic raised by the prayer or petition to God, in the answer received. The prayer or petition is what the prophet wanted to know. The answer, when it goes beyond that, is what God wanted to be known.

In the First Vision, Joseph wanted to know what church to join. He learned not to join any of them. But it was the rest of the information which was the Lord’s agenda, not Joseph’s.

When the Brother of Jared asked about lighting, that was his concern. The answer solved the problem, but went well beyond that. The answer included a revelation about the entire earth’s history and destiny.

Section 76 resulted from an inquiry about “heaven” but included a great deal more.

Section 107 satisfied the inquiry about how to organize the church, but it went well beyond that.

It is the additional information which tells you what the Lord wants us to know. Where He would like our attention directed. Follow that suggestion and you’ll find a great deal of what we often overlook.

Second, I’d suggest you read Passing the Heavenly Gift as a doctrinal exposition, rather than a history. The history can be disorienting and upsetting, even though it was intended for an audience which was already aware of issues and needed to be reoriented and comforted. If you are content with the traditional story, the book wasn’t written for you. But if you elect to read it anyway, then read it as an exposition of what the original doctrine was at the beginning with Joseph Smith.