“Introduction,” The First Vision (2020)
“Introduction,” The First Vision
In the spring of 1820, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith as he prayed in a grove of trees near his home in western New York. This event is known as the First Vision.
Jesus Christ promised that He would restore His gospel to the earth. The First Vision began that Restoration. It is one of the best-documented appearances of God in history, and it is a pattern for how everyone can receive divine guidance in their own lives. The resources below will help you understand this important event and “immerse yourself in the glorious light of the Restoration” (Russell M. Nelson, “Closing Remarks,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2019, 122).
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. This short film draws upon all of the written First Vision accounts to provide additional perspectives and insights into this remarkable event.
Joseph shared and documented the First Vision on multiple occasions; he wrote or assigned scribes to write four different accounts of the vision. The section entitled “Joseph Smith’s Accounts of the First Vision” contains each of these four accounts.
These various accounts tell a consistent story, though naturally they differ in emphasis and detail. Yet despite the differences, a basic consistency remains across all the accounts of the First Vision. This rich historical record enables us to learn more about this remarkable event than we could if it were less well documented.
The First Vision: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast is a six-part miniseries from the Joseph Smith Papers Project that explores the history and legacy of Joseph Smith’s First Vision. Series host Spencer W. McBride interviews historians in a documentary-style podcast about this pivotal event in Latter-day Saint history.
Released in the bicentennial year of Joseph Smith’s vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ, the podcast recreates the world in which Joseph Smith was seeking answers to the pressing questions of his soul. Listeners will be invited to understand the First Vision from the perspective of historians.