Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Joseph Smith's First Vision and His Conflicting Accounts


LDS owned Joseph Smith Papers

[A] 1832 - "The Lord" | ‘First Vision', from History, 1832, Joseph Smith Letterbook 1, pp.2,3
[B] 1835, Nov 9 - To Minister | Joseph Smith's Journal November 9-11, 1835
[C] 1835, Nov 14 - To Erastus Holmes | History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 312 | Also found in Joseph Smith Journal November 14th, 1835
[D] 1838 - Adopted as "Official" | Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith — History, 1:7-20
[E] All 10 Versions compiled @
[F] All Journal Entries @

See Also:

Watch the BYU-TV Documentary on the First Vision Accounts

  1. Part I
  2. Part II
  3. Part III
  4. Part IV
  5. Part V
Here is a formatted PDF doublesided ready to print.

Apologetic Response

Change Log

06/20/2012 Fixed an error in the 1835 Jewish Minister account.  Mistakenly had Joseph's age listed as 17 when it was actually 14.  I actually fixed this error about a month ago when I had hard copies made and t-shirts but I forgot to update the website here.  That was an oversight and I apologize.

A special thanks to the folks at FAIR for pointing this out.  I welcome any and all future input.


  1. I once asked a Mormon missionary how he can have a testimony in a man who can't even get his own testimony straight. He answered, "Good question."

  2. Hey Keith, R U Christian?
    If so how can you have a testimony of your faith when no events in Jesus life agree in Four Gospels?
    First, I suggest you study your own belief before worrying about Mormon faith.

    1. An interesting thought but have you considered that all 4 of the above events were told by the same person of his own experience (1st person)? The gospels by 4 different people about someone else (3rd person).

    2. You forgot to say , "in my opinion" ..." events in Jesus life...."

  3. Pick both the Jewish Minister and the 1838 official version and you'll have everything checked. Either way Joseph did have a vision that churches in his day and today have done away with.

    1. You got that entirely right, it is the "churches" that have done away with visions, not the unchangeable God. And what has happened to them--no revelation or visions from God--just what they wanted--and the same exact thing that the Jews wanted and have received before them. Neither group has received a vision or revelation and written them down in well over a millennium and nearly two.Can you think of a single time in the scriptures when God was working with His people when there were no prophets, visions or revelations or scripture writing? No? I have written and told the same story myself and each time it is a little different, sometimes depending on the audience and circumstances. It means nothing except to unbelievers and those who have done away with such things. I have read the apostle Paul writing about a particular topic but having it come out different each time he mentions it. So what? Does it mean he lied about any one of them? Even his vision of Christ on the road came out a little different each time. Does that mean he didn't have the vision or made up the various points of the experience as he went along? This really just appears to be a case of envy. You don't have prophets, visions or revelations from God and are jealous and fearful of those who do, and so you attack them just like the Jews did to the early Christians who had them. Unfortunately, hatred of the prophets and apostles and their visions and revelations, have at times, resulted in their murder--even as the Protestants did to the prophet Joseph.

    2. Nurse! I think one has escaped without his medication!

    3. Religion the accepted form of mental illness.


    Lectures on Faith

    Lecture Five 2. There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing, and supreme power over all things, by whom all things were created and made…. They are the Father and the Son: (the Father being a personage of spirit, glory, and power, possessing all perfection and fulness. The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, is a personage of tabernacle,) made or fashioned like unto man, being in the form and likeness of man, or rather man was formed after his likeness and in his image. He is also the express image and likeness of the personage of the Father, possessing all the fulness of the Father, or the same fulness with the Father; being begotten of him, and ordained from before the foundation of the world to be a propitiation for the sins of all those who should believe on his name. He is called the Son because of the flesh…possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit that bears record of the Father and the Son. These three are one; or, in other words, these three constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things. Q & A 15. Do the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit constitute the Godhead? They do.

    Joseph Fielding Smith admitted that Joseph Smith helped prepare these lectures: "Now the Prophet did know something about these Lectures on Faith, because he helped to prepare them, and he helped also to revise these lectures before they were published ..." (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, p. 195).

    These Lectures on Faith were printed in all of the early editions of the Doctrine and Covenants, but in 1921 they were completely removed and have not appeared in subsequent editions. John William Fitzgerald, who wrote his thesis at BYU, asked Joseph Fielding Smith why they were removed from the Doctrine and Covenants. One of the reasons given was that they were not complete as to their teachings regarding the Godhead. Actually, these lectures were considered complete with regard to their teachings concerning the Godhead at the time they were given. On page 58 of the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants the following question and answer appear: "Q. Does the foregoing account of the Godhead lay a sure foundation for the exercise of faith in him unto life and salvation? A. It does."

    Lectures of Faith prove 1st vision was concocted after 1835 since Joseph Smith Jr taught God the Father was personage of spirit, juxtopose, Jesus personage of tabernacle

    1. The Lectures on Faith were not received by way of revelation but simply compiled by a group of individuals for the instruction of the saints and so they were removed from the Doctrine and Covenants later on, which are revelations, and published on their own, even on the internet as you pointed out.
      On page 55 it reiterates that the Father "is a personage of glory and of power" and references your quote of 5:2 on page 52. The earlier instruction apparently is either an oversight or printing error because the two are not identical. Glory and power are described as "the character, perfections and attributes of God" in this context. The scriptural quotes used to demonstrate this principle do not mention spirit at all in the second explanation. Either way, someone wrote imperfectly about the Father in the first quote or else you simply misunderstand what was written. Joseph had seen the Father and the Son and knew very well that neither one was a spirit. Jesus is the example for us of an exalted being and he is clearly a resurrected being, not a spirit.
      It is rather silly to say that the First Vision was concocted after 1835 when there is an account on this web page written in 1832. However there is also another mistake there saying that Joseph was 15 in 1832, when he was actually 27. Joseph told many people throughout the 1820s about his vision and for some it was the cause for conversion, while for others it became the constant source of great persecution and hatred toward him, costing him his health and property on several occasions. Do you really think he would risk his life and his family's life and well-being over a questionable vision? He had nothing at all to gain by that and lost a great deal for the rest of his life until he was finally martyred by a mob. Joseph wrote it best: "Though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it."

  5. Fantastic job at summarizing a very important foundational element of the LDS church!

    1. Thank you, You guys at can use any of my panels if you like, just please courtesy link back here if you do.

  6. Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! Buy LinkedIn Accounts with over 500 Connections

  7. I admire what you have done here. I like the part where you say you are doing this to give back but I would assume by all the comments that this is working for you as well. Buy Bulk LinkedIn Accounts


Comments with pejorative terms, profanity, or name calling will be deleted.

Pin It