Vanderhoven: Talking about expectations...I wonder what Mormons say about previously held views.
What, like moon men?
Get real! It's never been a doctrine of the LDS faith. Many people thought in that day that the sun and moon were inhabited, but it takes more than the statement of one man to establish a doctrine given by revelation. It's a fact that all of our current teachings were taught by Joseph Smith in the presence of more than one person in more than one occasion. Elder Wilford Woodruff wrote volumes in his journal and is the early church's foremost authority of the beliefs and teachings of the early church. He NEVER ONCE mentioned moon men or inhabitants of the sun or moon. We also have verbatim revelations given to Smith and other prophets and they NEVER ONCE mention it, either. "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." Our doctrine is strictly limited to the Standard Works and officially revealed and certified revelation.
Did Joseph Smith believe in an inhabited moon? From the historical evidence now available the answer must be: Not proven. But, all things considered, the possibility, or probability, that he did cannot reasonably be denied. For all others of that era the question seems quite insignificant, especially given contemporary beliefs. But in the case of Joseph Smith, he claimed to be a prophet. Some extremists contend that his claim demands that his knowledge in every area be superior to that of others in his era. If he believed any false notion of his day, so these critics say, his credibility must be doubted. Others, not so demanding of infallible insight in a prophet, would be more comfortable with a description of God’s revelation which allowed for the human and the divine. ...
No original sources verifying this have been found of which I am aware. The book quotes from an 1881 journal entry, published in 1892 by Oliver B. Huntington, who claimed Joseph Smith said there were moonmen. Huntington would have been about eleven years of age at the time, if he heard this from Joseph Smith personally, or even if the idea came from someone else. In fact, indications are that he heard it secondhand at best.
Van Hale, "How Could a Prophet Believe in Moon Men?"
Though purified and ennobled by the influence of His Holy Spirit, these men each had his own peculiarities of manner and disposition—each with his own education or want of education—each with his own way of looking at things—each influenced differently from one another by the different experiences and disciplines of his life. Their inspiration did not involve a suspension of their natural faculties; it did not even make them free from earthly passion; it did not make them into machines—it left them men.
Therefore we find their knowledge sometimes no higher than that of their contemporaries....
(Rev. J. R. Dummelow, One Volume Bible Commentary, p. cxxxv).
Regarding the Book of Abraham, very few of our critics actually care what the Book of Abraham says. In fact, it's quite compatible with a number of Abrahamic apocrapha. If produced today, Joseph Smith would be accused of copying style and content from sources not discovered until many decades later. In 1830, he could not have copied them as they weren't yet available. I'm a huge believer in the Book of Abraham. I'm not terribly sure how Joseph did it, but I'm convinced it's of God.