Between 1832 and 1844, Joseph Smith and some of his closest friends recorded at least nine accounts of Joseph’s first vision experience, given on different occasions to different audiences. The most detailed of these accounts, written in 1838, has been published in a volume of Scripture called the Pearl of Great Price. What you're about to see draws upon all of the written First Vision accounts to provide additional perspectives and insights into this remarkable event.

My name is Joseph Smith.

When I was young, there was in a place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. My mind became seriously impressed with regard to the welfare of my soul. I pondered many things in my heart. I felt to mourn for my own sins and the sins of the world. But upon inquiring about the plan of salvation, I found that there was a great clash in religious sentiment. This was grief to my soul. I knew not who was right or who was wrong, and I considered it of the first importance that i should be right in matters that involved eternal consequences. I wanted to get religion, too. I wanted to feel and shout like the rest. But could feel nothing. I was one day reading the Epistle of James… “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God… and it shall be given him.” It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart.

After I retired into 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. I cried unto the Lord for mercy for there was none else to whom I could go to obtain mercy.

It was the first time in my life that I had made the attempt to pray vocally.

Oh, God- Immediately, I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me and had such astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so I could not speak. My mind filled with doubts and all manner of inappropriate images. It seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction. But exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me Lord …my mouth was opened have mercy on me… and my tongue liberated. Forgive me.

Joseph, Joseph, this is my beloved Son. Hear him.

Joseph, thy sins are forgiven thee. 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.

The world lieth in sin… They have turned aside from the gospel and keep not my commandments. They draw near to me with their lips while 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.

Go not after them. Wait patiently. At a future time… the complete truth of the gospel will be revealed to you When the light had departed, I had no strength.

Peace and calm filled my mind.

My soul was filled with love.

For many days, I could rejoice with great joy, and the Lord was with me… I had received a promise that the fullness of the gospel should at some future time be made known unto me. And, I had actually seen a light and in the midst of that light I saw two personages, and they did in reality speak to me. I knew it, and I knew God knew it, and I could not deny it.

Ask of God: Joseph Smith's First Vision

Short film produced for the Church History Museum depicting Joseph Smith's First Vision, including details drawn from each of Joseph Smith's accounts.

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