Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820-1844

by BYU Studies

Opening the heavens

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"Opening the Heavens allows readers to decide for themselves about certain key events of the Restoration ... All the crucial documents are laid open for inspection with enough commentary to put them in context. For serious students of Latter-day Saint history, nothing could be more helpful—and inspiring."
—Richard Lyman Bushman

"The categorizing of a large number of primary sources makes it easy to analyze the particular events that are so crucial to an informed study of Mormon origins...For those who seek inspiration and for the historian, it is a valuable resource."
—Daniel P. Dwyer, Journal of Mormon History

"Included are chapters on the first vision, the book of Mormon, the restoration of the priesthood, visionary experiences, the restoration of temple keys and powers, and succession in the presidency. These are not matters of minor historical detail; they go rather to the very heart of the truth claims made by the church and therefore to its reason for being...Everyone with an interest in the origins of Mormonism, whether as a matter of faith or simply as an academic interest, should read this book."
—Kevin L. Barney, FARMS Review

Think what New Testament scholars would give to have access to a single letter that Mary wrote about the raising of Lazarus. We have many such documents that relate to the Restoration of the gospel in our dispensation. Opening the Heavens records hundreds of accounts of divine manifestations relating to the Restoration—events that strengthen our faith and expand our knowledge of Church History. Did you know for instance, that there are ten recorded accounts of the first vision from the lifetime of Joseph Smith? That there are seventy-one documents that deal directly with priesthood restoration? This volumes brings together, for the first time, all of the known documents from Joseph Smith's lifetime relating directly to key events of the Restoration that were accompanied by divine manifestations. These first-hand accounts uniquely convey the spirit of these important occasions and provide precious details that help modern readers construct a vivid image of what transpired. Many new historical resources have become available since the first edition of Opening the Heavens. Newly discovered testimonies have been added to this second edition. Many hours have been spent in updating the footnotes, especially to the Joseph Smith Papers Project. This valuable collection offers remarkable access to the earliest historical sources. The ebook version of the second edition includes live links to online resources that contain images of original documents and information about their creation.


The First Vision
The Earliest Accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision
—Dean C. Jessee
Analysis of Joseph Smith's Accounts of His First Vision
—James B. Allen and John W. Welch
The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon
The Miraculous Timing of the Translation of the Book of Mormon
—John W. Welch
The Restoration of the Priesthood
The Earliest Accounts of the Restoration of the Priesthood
—Brian Q. Cannon and BYU Studies Staff
Visions upon Visions
Parting the Veil: Joseph Smith's Seventy-six Documented Visionary Experiences
—Alexander L. Baugh
The Restoration of Temple Keys and Powers
"A Pentecost and Endowment Indeed": Six Eyewitness Accounts of the Kirtland Temple Experience
—Steven C. Harper
The Succession in the Presidency
The Mantle of the Prophet Joseph Passes to Brother Brigham: One Hundred Twenty-nine Testimonies of a Collective Spiritual Witness
—Lynne Watkins Jorgensen

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Inspiring and uplifting
By , Submitted on 2017-11-14

This is not a casual read but an in-depth study of four major events in the restoration. My testimony was strengthened and my love for the prophet Joseph Smith increased with new insight and understanding. In addressing all the negative publicity about the prophet and the Book of Mormon, along with the positive made me realize how weak the adversary position. The last section on President Brigham Young solidified my testimony of the succession of prophets to our current beloved leader. I read every word, including multiple footnotes and plan to study this book again and again. It is very well worth the effort.

an impressive work
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

This is not a book you read--it's a book you study. I strongly suggest keeping 2 bookmarks-1 in the text, and 1 in the footnotes so that you can look them up as you read them. The footnotes alone are a treasure trove of information in addition to the text. , Each topic is addressed by first a prose-style study with references, then followed by the raw documents and their references. I thought this format was very effective. , The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon and the Kirtland Temple Experiences sections were very powerful. There were many details I had not heard anywhere else. The Brigham Young transfiguration accounts are truly impressive. , The only slight disappointment was the 'Joseph Smith Visions' section. Each experience was a short 1 or 2 sentence summary, and you have to go to other sources to get the full account. I suppose it would have added another 100 pages to the book, so I can understand that, but I was hoping for full text of some of the experiences instead of summaries. , Overall, I highly recommend this book. It is a treasure trove of information. A lot of work went into this volume. The raw evidence in support of all of the events of the Restoration is overwhelming, and difficult for the skeptic to explain if the raw documents are addressed directly. Of course, even Christ could not convince everyone, so there are some who would explain away even the most overwhelming raw evidence. It has always been so.

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