“The First Vision and Me,” New Era, Jan. 2020, 20–21.
There are so many conflicting voices and opinions in the world today. Because of that, you might feel nervous that you’ll be mocked for sharing your beliefs, or sometimes you might not know what to believe at all. So when the voices around you become a “war of words and tumult of opinions,”1 who do you listen to?
In 1820 Joseph Smith had sincere questions about religion and his salvation. “What is to be done?” “Who of all these parties are right?” “Are they all wrong together?” “How shall I know?”2 He attended many different churches to try to answer his questions, but ultimately he chose to go to the source of all truth: God.
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph and told him that he shouldn’t join any of the churches. His family supported him, but when he shared this experience with other people he thought would support him, he was viciously attacked. He said he was “persecuted by those who ought to have been [his] friends and to have treated [him] kindly” and “hated” for sharing his vision.3
Two centuries after that vision, we still face some of the same trials Joseph did. Below, four youth share how Joseph’s example of seeking God’s voice and staying true to what he learned helps them with the challenges they face.
“Joseph Smith was about my age, and he was confused,” says TJ C., 15, from Washington, USA. “People were having these different opinions around him, like they are today. But he went to prayer instead of other people. Going to family members is good, but just that one-on-one connection with Heavenly Father is very important. And through that, he restored the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth, which was big for people all around the world. Probably nothing that big will happen to us, but just helping others and receiving revelation for ourselves in our lives is a good thing.”
It is the actions of your faith that will lead to answers and guidance. Luisa B., 15, from Brazil says, “Sometimes we worry about daily situations where we don’t know what to do or if our decisions will be successful. I try to be like Joseph Smith and turn to Heavenly Father so that I can feel the Spirit and it can show me what choices the Lord wants me to make. Joseph didn’t know what would happen or how his actions would benefit him, but he always spoke to the Lord with great faith, doing what He desired. God expects us to act in faith. That means that when we feel the promptings of the Spirit, we need to immediately act on those feelings that come to us through Him.”
Confiding in a Methodist preacher, Joseph shared his vision. To his surprise, the preacher didn’t seem to take him seriously and said “it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days.”4 “Even right after he got the First Vision, people didn’t believe him and they persecuted him,” says Rachel P., 17, from Canada. “Even though the hard stuff we go through today might not be getting tarred and feathered or anything like that, it’s still really hard to us. But he went through all that hard stuff and still stood strong with his testimony, and so can we.”
Do you ever feel mocked? Eliza H., 16, from Guatemala, relates to Joseph because she is the only member in her school. “It was him, he was being mocked, he was the only one who believed what he believed. Being in a school where only my family are members, it’s kind of relatable, because people will mock me, even just subtly. And I think if Joseph Smith was persecuted when he was young and even by some of his family members, then I can get through it, too.”