Comparison of 9 First Vision Accounts

A comparison of nine different accounts of the First Vision


Birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
I was born in the town of Sharon in theof Vermont North America on the twenty third day of December AD 1805 of goodly Parents who spared no pains to instructing me in Christian religion I was born in the year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and five, on the twenty third day of December, in the town of Sharon, Windsor County, State of Vermont.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842-A Wentworth Letter 1842-B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
Mr. Joseph Smith, jun. who made the following important discovery, was born in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont, on the 23d December, A.D. 1805. I was born in the town of Sharon Windsor co., Vermont, on the 23d of December, A. D. 1805. Joseph Smith, Jr., to whom the angel of the Lord was sent first, was born in the town of Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, on the 23rd of December, 1805
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

His early move to Palmyra and Manchester

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
at the age of about ten years my Father Joseph Smith Seignior moved to Palmyra Ontario County in the State of New York. My father, Joseph Smith, Sen., left the State of Vermont, and moved to Palmyra, Ontario (now Wayne) county, in the State of New York, when I was in my tenth year, or thereabouts. In about four years after my father’s arrival in Palmyra, he moved with his family into Manchester in the same county of Ontario–
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
When ten years old, his parents, with their family, moved to Palmyra, New York; in the vicinity of which he resided for about eleven years, the latter part in the town of Manchester. When ten years old my parents removed to Palmyra New York, where we resided about four years, and from thence we removed to the town of Manchester. When ten years old, his parents with their family, moved to Palmyra, New York, in the vicinity of which heresided for about eleven years, the
latter part in the town of Manchester.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

They were poor, and had a large family

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
and being in indigent circumstances were obliged to labor hard for the Support of a large Family having nine children and as it required the exertions of all that were able to render any assistance for the Support of the Family. His family consisting of eleven souls, namely, my father, Joseph Smith; my mother, Lucy Smith (whose name, previous to her marriage, was Mack, daughter of Solomon Mack); my brothers, Alvin (who died November 19th, 1823, in the 26th year of his age), Hyrum, myself, Samuel Harrison, William, Don Carlos; and my sisters, Sophronia, Catherine, and Lucy
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
As his parents were poor and had to take care of a large family
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

He learned farming

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
Cultivating the earth for a livelihood was his occupation, in which he employed the most of his time. My father was a farmer and taught me the art of husbandry. His only activity was to plow and cultivate the field.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

His education was limited

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
therefore we were deprived of the benefit of an education Suffice it to Say I was merely instructed in reading {and} writing and the ground [rules] of Arithmetic which constituted my whole literary acquirements.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
His advantages for acquiring literary knowledge, were exceedingly small; hence, his education was limited to a slight acquaintance, with two or three of the common branches of learning. He could read without much difficulty, an write a very imperfect hand; and had a very limited understanding of the ground rules of arithmetic. These were his highest and only attainments; while the rest of those branches, so universally taught in the common schools, throughout the United States, were entirely unknown to him. his education was very limited. He could read without much difficulty, and write a very imperfect hand; and had a very limited understanding of the elementary rules of arithmetic. These were his highest and only attainments; while the rest of those branches, so universally taught in the common schools throughout the United States, were entirely unknown to him.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

Joseph became interested in spiritual things

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
At about the age of twelve years my mind became seriously imprest with regard to the all important concerns for the welfare of my immortal Soul…thus from the age of twelve years to fifteen I pondered many things in my heart concerning the situation of the world of mankind the contentions and divisions the wickedness and abominations and the darkness which pervaded the {of the} minds of mankind.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
When somewhere about fourteen or fifteen years old, he began seriously to reflect upon the necessity of being prepared for a future state of existence; but how, or in what way, to prepare himself, was a question, as yet, undetermined in his own mind. When about fourteen years of age I began to reflect upon the importance of being prepared for a future state, When some where about fourteen or fifteen years old, he began seriously to reflect upon the necessity of being prepared for a future state of existence; but how, or in what way to prepare himself, was a question, as yet, undetermined in his own mind;
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

There was a religious revival in his neighborhood

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
There was a reformation among the different religious denominations in the neighborhood where I lived, Br. Joseph told us the first call he had a Revival Meeting, He said that “in the neighborhood in which he resided there was a religious revival, (a thing very common in that country)

Many people were converted

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties,
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
that many professed to be converted; among the number, two or three of his father’s family.

The churches contended with each other for convert

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!” Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist,
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
If he went to the religious denominations to seek information, each one pointed to its particular tenets, saying–“This is the way, walk ye in it;” while, at the same time, the doctrines of each were in many respects, in direct opposition to one another. if I went to one society they referred me to one plan, and another to another; each one pointing to his own particular creed as the summum bonum of perfection:
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

They professed unity and harmony

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
For, notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
in which several different denominations were united;

Yet they practiced dissension

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
and my intimate acquaintance with those of different denominations led me to marvel exceedingly far I discovered that [they did not {adorn}] {instead} Of adorning their profession by a holy walk and Godly conversation agreeable to what I found contained in that Sacred depository this was a grief to my Soul yet when the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions….The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
and upon inquiring the plan of salvation I found that there was a great clash in religious sentiment; He discovered a religious world working under numerous errors, which through their contradicting nature and principles, gave cause to the organization of so many different sects and parties, and whose feelings against each other were poisoned through hate, envy, malice and rage.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
When the revival was over, there was a contention as to which of these various societies the person who was converted should belong.

Joseph’s mind was troubled

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
my mind become exceedingly distressed for I became convicted of my Sins Being wrought up in my mind respecting the subject of Religion, During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant,…My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
He saw, that if he understood not the way, it would be impossible to walk in it, except by chance; and the thought of resting his hopes of eternal life upon chance, or uncertainties, was more than he could endure. He saw, that if he understood not the way, it would be impossible to walk in it, except by chance; and the thought of resting his hopes of eternal life upon chance or uncertainties, was more than he could endure.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
His mind was troubled, he saw contention instead of peace, and division instead of union;

Several of his immediate family were converted

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
My father’s family was proselyted to the Presbyterian faith, and four of them joined that church, namely, my mother, Lucy; my brothers Hyrum and Samuel Harrison; and my sister Sophronia.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
his Mother, Br. and Sisters got Religion One of his father’s family joined one society, and another a different one

Joseph desired to join one of the churches

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
and I became serious, and was desirous to know what Church to join He wanted to get Religion too, wanted to feel and shout like the rest but could feel nothing,

But he could not tell which was right and which was wrong

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
and looking at the different systems taught the children of men, I knew not who was right or who was wrong. but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong…In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
He then reflected upon the immense number of doctrines, now in the world, which had given rise to many hundreds of different denominations. The great question to be decided in his mind, was–if any one of these denominations be the Church of Christ, which one is it? Until he could become satisfied in relations to this question, he could not rest contented. “o trust to the decisions of fallible man, and build his hopes upon the same, without any certainty, and knowledge of his own, would not satisfy the anxious desires that pervaded his breast. To decide, without any positive and definite evidence, on which he could rely, upon a subject involving the future welfare of his soul, was revolting to his feelings. Nature had gifted him with a strong, discerning mind and so he looked through the glass of soberness and good sense upon these religious systems which all were so different; but nevertheless all drawn from the scripture of truth. After he had sufficiently assured himself to his own satisfaction that darkness was covering the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, he gave up hope ever to find a sect or party that was in the possession of the pure and unadulterated truth.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

Consequently, he turned to the scriptures

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
which led me to Searching the Scriptures believing as I was taught, that they contained the word of God thus applying myself to them…and by Searching the Scriptures I found that {mand} [mankind] did not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatized from the true and living faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the new testament and I felt to mourn for my own Sins and for the Sins of the world
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
The only alternative, that seemed to be left him was to read the Scriptures, and endeavor to follow their directions. He, accordingly commenced perusing the sacred pages of the Bible, with sincerity, believing the things that he read. He accordingly commenced persuing the sacred pages of the Bible with sincerity, believing the things that he read.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

He received witness of God from the power and beauty of nature

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
for I looked upon the sun the glorious luminary of the earth and also the moon rolling in their Majesty through the heavens and also the Stars Shining in their courses and the earth also upon which I stood and the beast of the field and the fowls of heaven and the fish of the waters and also man walking forth upon the face of the earth in majesty and in the Strength of beauty whose power and intelligence in governing the things which are so exceeding great and marvelous even in the likeness of him who created {him} [them] and when I considered upon these things my heart exclaimed well hath the wise man Said {the} [it is a] fool [that] Saith in his heart there is no God my heart exclaimed all all these bear testimony and bespeak an omnipotent and omnipresent power a being who maketh Laws and decreeeth and bindeth all things in their bounds who filleth Eternity who was and is and will be from all Eternity to Eternity and when I considered all these things and that [that] being Seeketh such to worship him as in spirit and in truth
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

He felt that God was not the author of confusion

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
for I learned in the Scriptures that God was the same yesterday to day and forever that he was no respecter to persons for he was God
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
It also occurred to his mind that God was the author of but one doctrine, and therefore could acknowledge~ but one denomination as his church, and that such denomination must be a people who believe and teach that one doctrine, (whatever it may be,) and build upon the same. considering that all could not be right, and that God could not be the author of so much confusion I determined to investigate the subject more fully, believing that if God had a church it would not be split up into factions, and that if he taught one society to worship one way, and administer in one set of ordinances, he would not teach another principles which were diametrically opposed. He felt that there should be only one truth, and that those who would understand it correctly, would understand it in the same manner.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
and when he reflected upon the multifarious creeds and professions there were in existence, he thought it impossible for all to be right, and if God taught one, He did not teach the others, “for God is not the author of confusion.”

He knew that the question was one of great importance

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
but considered it of the first importance to me that I should be right, in matters of so much moment, matter involving eternal consequences.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
He perceived that it was a question of infinite importance, and that the salvation of his soul depended upon a correct understanding of the same. he perceived that it was a question of infinite importance.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

He discovered James, chapter one verse five

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
under a realizing sense (if the bible be true) ask and you shall receive, knock and it shall be opened, seek and you shall find, and again, if any man lack wisdom, let of God who giveth to all men liberally & upbraideth not. While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack Wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
His mind soon caught hold of the following passage:–“If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”-James 1:5. Believing the word of God I had confidence in the declaration of James; “If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him,” His mind soon caught hold of the following passage–“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
While thinking of this matter, I opened the Testament promiscuously on these words, in James, Ask of the Lord who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not. opened his Bible of the first Passage that struck him was if any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally & upbraideth not. In reading his bible, he was remarkably struck with the passage in James, 1st chapter, 5th verse. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of ‘God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.”

The passage had a strong impact on his mind

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
From this promise he learned, that it was the privilege of all men to ask God for wisdom, with the sure and certain expectation of receiving liberally; without being upbraided for so doing. This was cheering information to him; tidings that gave him great joy. It was like a light shinning forth in a dark place, to guide him to the path in which he should walk. From this promise he learned that it was the privilege of all men to ask God for wisdom, with the sure and certain expectation of receiving liberally, without being upbraided for so doing.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

Joseph decided to pray

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
therefore I cried unto the Lord for mercy forthere was none else to whom I could go and {to} obtain mercy At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture….So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God,
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
He now saw that if he inquired of God, there was not only a possibility, but a probability; yea, more, a certainty, that he should obtain a knowledge, which, of all the doctrines, was the doctrine of Christ; and, which of all the churches, was the church of Christ. And thus he started to send the burning desires of his soul with a faithful determination.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
I just determined I’d ask him.

He went into the woods to pray

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
Being thus perplexed in mind I retired to the silent grove and there bowed down before the Lord,…I called on the Lord for the first time in the place above stated, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally….After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
He therefore, retired to a secret place in a grove, but a short distance from his father’s house, and knelt down, and began to call upon the Lord. I retired to a secret place in a grove and began to call upon the Lord, He, therefore, retired to a secret place, in a grove, but a short distance from his father’s house, and knelt down and began to call upon the Lord.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
I immediately went out into the woods where my father had a clearing, and went to the stump where I had stuck my ax when I had quit work, and I kneeled down, and prayed, saying, O Lord, what Church shall I join? Went into the Wood to pray, kneels himself Down, Believing in the word of God, he retired into a grove, and called upon the Lord to give him wisdom in relation to this matter.

But the powers of darkness intervened

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
or in other words, I made a fruitless attempt to pray I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was siezed upon by some power which entirely overcame me…Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
At first, he was severely tempted by the powers of darkness, which endeavored to overcome him; At first, he was severely tempted by the powers of darkness, which endeavored to overcome him.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

His mind was benighted with doubts

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
The adversary benighted his mind with doubts, and brought to his soul all kinds of improper pictures and tried to hinder him in his efforts and the accomplishment of his goal.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

His tongue would not function

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
My tongue seemed to be swollen in my mouth, so that I could not utter, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
his tongue was closet cleaveh to his roof–could utter not a word,

He heard strange sounds

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
I heard a noise behind me like some one walking towards me. I strove again to pray, but could not; the noise of walking seemed to draw nearer, I sprang upon my feet and looked round, but saw no person or thing that was calculated to produce the noise of walking.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

He exerted new strength

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
I kneeled again, But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
but he continued to seek for deliverance, until darkness gave way from his mind, However, the overflowing mercy of God came to buoy him up, and gave new impulse and momentum to his dwindling strength. Soon the dark clouds disappeared, and light and peace filled his troubled heart.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

He was then able to resume prayer

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
and the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness and while in [the] attitude of calling upon the Lord my mouth was opened and my tongue loosed; I called on the Lord in mighty prayer.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
and he was enabled to pray in feverency of the spirit, and in faith. And while thus pouring out his soul, anxiously desiring an answer from God, And again he called upon the Lord with renewed faith and spiritual strength.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
felt easier after awhile–

Presently he saw a pillar of brilliant light

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
a pillar of {fire} light above the brightness of the Sun at noon day came down from above and rested upon me A pillar of fire appeared above my head; which presently rested down upon me, and filled me with un-speakable joy just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.v
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
he at length, saw a very bright and glorious light in the heavens above; which, at first, seemed to be a considerable distance. He continued praying, while the light appeared to be gradually descending towards him; and as it drew nearer, it increased in brightness and magnitude, so that, by the time that it reached the tops of the trees, the whole wilderness, for some distance around was illuminated in a most glorious and brilliant manner. He expected to have seen the leaves and boughs of the trees consumed,as soon as the light came in contact with them; but perceiving that it did not produce that effect, he was encouraged with the hope of being able to endure its presence. It continued descending slowly, until it rested upon the earth, and he was enveloped in the midst of it. surrounded with a brilliant light which eclipsed the sun at noon-day.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
Directly I saw a light, saw a fire toward heaven came near and nearer; While he was thus engaged, he was surrounded by a brilliant light.

And he was caught up in a heavenly vision

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
and I was filled with the Spirit of God and the [Lord] opened the heavens upon me It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
When it first came upon him, it produced a peculiar sensation throughout his whole system; and immediately, his mind was caught away, from the natural objects with which he was surrounded; and he was enwrapped in a heavenly vision, while fervently engaged in supplication my mind was taken away from the objects with which I was surrounded, and I was enwrapped in a heavenly vision At this sacred moment his mind was caught away from the natural objects with which he was surrounded, and he was enwrapped in a heavenly vision,
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

And saw two glorious personages

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
and I Saw the Lord A personage appeared in the midst of this pillar of flame, which was spread all around and yet nothing consumed. Another personage soon appeared like unto the first:..He testified also unto me that Jesus Christ is the son of God. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
and saw two glorious personages, who exactly resembled each other in their features or likeness. and saw two glorious personages who exactly resembled each other in features, and likeness, and saw two glorious personages, who exactly resembled each other in their features or likeness.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
and then a glorious personage in the light, and then another personage, and the first personage said to the second, Behold my beloved Son, hear him.– saw a personage in the fire, light complexion, blue eyes, a piece of white cloth Drawn over his shoulders his right arm bear after a while a other person came to the side of the first…but this is my Beloved Son harken ye him, and two glorious personages presented themselves before him, who exactly resembled each other in features,

Joseph was told that his sins were forgiven him

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
and he Spake unto me Saying Joseph [my son] thy Sins are forgiven thee. go thy [way] walk in my Statutes and keep my commandments behold I am the Lord of glory I was crucified for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life he said unto me thy sins are forgiven thee.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
He was informed that his sins were forgiven.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

 

And in answer to his question –

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
Information was what I most desired at this time, and with a fixed determination to obtain it, My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
I then addressed this second person, saying, O Lord, what Church shall I join? Mr. Smith then asked, must I join the Methodist Church.

He was given information on those things which had agitated his mind

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
He was also informed upon the subjects, which had for some time previously agitated his mind, They told him that his prayers had been answered, and that the Lord had decided to grant him a special blessing.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
comforted and who gave him information upon the subjects which had previously agitated his mind.

He was told to join none of the churches

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
[behold] the world lieth in sin {and} at this time and none doeth good no not one they have turned asside from the Gospel and keep not [my] commandments they draw near to me with their lips while their hearts are far from me and mine anger is kindling against the inhabitants of the earth to visit them according to this ungodliness and to bring to pass that which [hath] been spoken by the mouth of the prophets and Apostles behold and lo I come quickly as it written of me in the cloud [clothed] in the glory of my Father I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” He again forbade me to join with any of them;
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
viz.–that all the religious denominations were believing in incorrect doctrines; and consequently, that none of them was acknowledged of God, as his church and kingdom. And he was expressly commanded, to go not after them; They told me that all religious denominations were believing in incorrect doctrines, and that none of them was acknowledged of God as his church and kingdom. And I was expressly commanded to “go not after them,” He was told not to join any of the religious sects or any party, as they were all wrong in their doctrines and none of them was recognized by God as His Church and kingdom.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
He replied, “don’t join any of them, they are all corrupt.” No, they are not my People, have gone astray There is none that Doeth good, not one, He was given to understand that the churches were all of them in error in regard to many things; and he was commanded not to go after them;

And he was told that the truth would be made known to him

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
and he received a promise that the true doctrine–the fullness of the gospel, should, at some future time, be made known to him; at the same time receiving a promise that the fulness of the gospel should at some future time be made known unto me. He received a promise that the true doctrine–the fullness of the gospel–should, at some future time, be made known to him;
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
and he received a promise that the fullness of the gospel should at some future time be unfolded unto him;

Other things also occurred

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
and there were many things which transpired that cannot be written I saw many angels in this vision. and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star

Then the vision withdrew

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
after which, the vision withdrew, after which, the vision withdrew,
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
The vision then vanished, and when I came to myself, I was sprawling on my back after which the vision withdrew

Leaving him weak, but filled with great joy

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
and my Soul was filled with love and for many days I could rejoice with great joy and the Lord was with me When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree,
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
leaving his mind in a state of calmness and peace, indescribable. leaving his mind in a state of calmness and peace indescribable.
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
and it was sometime before my strength returned. I endeavored to arise but felt uncomen feeble leaving his mind in a state of calmness and peace.

He went home

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was. I replied, “Never mind, all is well—I am well enough off.” I then said to my mother, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.”
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
When I went home got into the house

When he told the story he was persecuted

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
but could find none that would believe the heavenly vision…Nevertheless I fell into transgression and sinned in many things which brought wound upon my Soul…and my Fathers family have suffered many persecutions and afflictions. It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
and told the people that I had a revelation, and that all the churches were corrupt, they persecuted me, and they have persecuted me ever since told the Methodist priest, said this was not a age for God to Reveal himself in Vision Revelation has ceased with the New Testament.

At the time of this vision he was 14 years old

1832 Fred. Williams, Joseph Smith 1835 Warren B. Cowdery 1839 Official, Pearl of Great Price
[in the 16th* year of my age] I was about 14 years old when I received this first communication I was at this time in my fifteenth year.
1840 Orson Pratt, Pamphlet 1842A Wentworth Letter 1842B Orson Hyde, Pamphlet
1843 New York Spectator 1844 Alexander Neibaur 1850 John Taylor, Millennial Star
He revealed himself first to me when I was about fourteen years old, a mere boy

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