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.