The First Vision

^Audio Recording^

How fast was the Apostasy taking place?

  • We didn’t just lose doctrine. The priesthood keys and revelation ceased.

Story of young man that was dating a Borne-again Christain

  • Apostasy took place around 100-150 A.D.
  • “So you’re telling me there was no gospel of Christ during the 17th century?”
    • No, not in its fullness
    • so no baptism
      • Are they damned?
        • NO!
  • The Lord didn’t just do nothing during that time
    • A nation needed to be prepared
    • Printing press needed to be created
      • Handwritten scriptures wouldn’t cut it
    • Tindel’s translation
    • The enlightenment
      • Freed up minds

President Hinkcley

“The marvelous foundation of our faith


President Boyd K Pakcer, Oct 2005 Conference Report

Work was done centuries ago to prepare for our day. Ninety percent of the King James Bible is as translated by William Tyndale and John Wycliffe. We owe much to those early translators, those martyrs.

William Tyndale said, “I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the Scripture than [the clergy].”2

Both Tyndale and Wycliffe were terribly persecuted. Tyndale suffered in a freezing prison in Brussels. His clothing was worn to rags, and he was terribly cold. He wrote to the bishops asking for his coat and cap. He begged for a candle, saying, “It is indeed wearisome sitting alone in the dark.”3 They were so enraged at this request that he was taken from prison and, before a large crowd, burned at the stake.

Wycliffe escaped death by burning, but the Council of Constance had his body exhumed, burned at the stake, and his ashes scattered.4

Joseph Smith was given a book called the Book of Martyrs, that talked about these men. Joseph received revelation that they will be saved and exalted.

The First Vision

Smith family owned 100 acres

Our entPresire case as members of the Churhc jesus Christ

Gordon B Hinkley, Oct 1998,

Joseph shared and documented the First Vision, as it came to be known, on multiple occasions; he wrote or assigned scribes to write four different accounts of the vision.

  1. 1832 (Written by Joseph and Scribe
  2. 1835 (told to Rober Mathias/Matthews Jewish Minister, recorded by Warren Parrish re-recorded by Warren A. Cowdery)
  3. 1838 (Pearl of Great Price)
  4. 1842 (Wentworth Letter)

Whereas the 1832 account emphasizes the more personal story of Joseph Smith as a young man seeking forgiveness, the 1838 account focuses on the vision as the beginning of the “rise and progress of the Church.” Like the 1835 account, the central question of the narrative is which church is right.

The various accounts of the First Vision tell a consistent story, though naturally they differ in emphasis and detail. Historians expect that when an individual retells an experience in multiple settings to different audiences over many years, each account will emphasize various aspects of the experience and contain unique details. Indeed, differences similar to those in the First Vision accounts exist in the multiple scriptural accounts of Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus and the Apostles’ experience on the Mount of Transfiguration.3 Yet despite the differences, a basic consistency remains across all the accounts of the First Vision. Some have mistakenly argued that any variation in the retelling of the story is evidence of fabrication. To the contrary, the rich historical record enables us to learn more about this remarkable event than we could if it were less well documented.

Other Versions used

  1. Orson Pratt 1840
  2. Orson Hyde 1842
  3. I. Daniel Rupp 1843
  4. Levi Richards 1843
  5. Davite White
  6. (one other that I didn’t get written down

The 1832 account talks of the desire for a remission of Joseph’s sins

Joseph went to the grove with at least 2 questions


JS- History 1:12

We believe in the Bible as far as  it is translated correctly

Another definition for translate is interpret.

…as far as the Bible is interpretted correctly.


Orson Hyde’s account gives us insite in the 1842 account

He clouded my mind with doubts, and brought to mind all sorts of improper images

1832 account) I cried unto the Lord for mercy for there was none

A few concepts were included in Joseph’s later recitals of the First Vision that were not mentioned in the 1832 autobiography. In all accounts (except the 1842 account) prepared by the Prophet after 1832, for example, Joseph discussed the powerful force of opposition which he encountered prior to his seeing the pillar of light. Moreover, in the other three histories, Joseph specifically referred to the appearance of two personages. This does not mean that in 1832 Joseph said that only one personage appeared or in any way disclaimed the appearance of two personages. In fact, Joseph Smith may have referred to the Father in his 1832 account when he declared that he “cried unto the Lord” and the “Lord opened the heavens,” even though Joseph was referring to the Son when he wrote that the Lord spoke to him. The Prophet (and other early General Authorities) used the word God, meaning the Father, and Lord interchangeably, such as in the prayer written in the Liberty Jail. (See D&C 121:1–4.) Nevertheless, in this initial effort to record the spiritual impact of the vision on him, Joseph focused on the message which the Savior unfolded to him. Even though the accounts emphasize different ideas and details, the various versions do not contradict each other regarding this important point.

Milton V. Backman, Jr., Joseph Smith’s First vision: 2nd ed. p.15

Section 20: The Constitution of the Church

It’s connection with Joseph’s forgiveness of his sins


Other insights

  • A personage appears in the midst of this pillar of flame  (1835
    • I kneeled again my mouth was opened and my toung liberated, and I called on the Lord in mighty prayer, a pillar of fire appeared above my head, it presently rested down upon me head, and filled me with Joy unspeakable, a personage appeard in the midst of this pillar of flame which was spread all around, and yet nothing consumed, another personage soon appeard like unto the first, he said unto me thy sins are forgiven thee, he testified unto me that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; and I saw many angels in this vision I was about 14 years old when I received this first communication; [1]


      • There were other angels there
  • “I was expressly commanded to go not after them (referring ot the churches) at the same time receiving a promise that he fullness of the gospel should at some future time be made known unto me” 1842 account
    • Joseph was told there would be a true church

JSH 1:19

  • all their creeds were an abomination in his sight
    • This divine declaration condemed the creeds, not the faithful seekers who believed them. – Elder Oaks, Ensign Jan 2011 Harvard Law School Addresst
  • ‘Those prefessors”= the people Joseph was dealing with, not ALL in the world


What else did Joseph learn?…