Question: What did Orson Pratt state about Joseph Smith's First Vision?

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Question: What did Orson Pratt state about Joseph Smith's First Vision?

Orson Pratt was well aware of the details of the story of the First Vision

The details of his recitals did not vary and therefore show no signs of uncertainty.

15 October 1849

Orson Pratt quotes from the History of the Church First Vision account in part 2 of “Are the Father and the Son Two Distinct Persons?”[1]

15 December 1850

Publication - The First Vision material is a quotation of the "History of Joseph Smith" taken from the Millennial Star, vol. 3, no. 2, June 1842, 21, which in turn was copied from the 1842 Times and Seasons Church history.[2]


Publication - Early in the year Orson Pratt gathered together his pamphlets and issued them as a book.[3] Among this collection is “Remarkable Visions” and “Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon” #4. This combination is significant because the "Divine Authenticity" material clarifies who the two Personages are in the "Remarkable Visions" pamphlet.


Publication - Orson Pratt had the autobiography of Lucy Mack Smith (the Prophet's mother) published. The editors of this volume inserted the Times and Seasons First Vision account into it. This First Vision text identifies the Prophet's visitors as the Father and the Son.[4]

14 August 1859

Orson Pratt said that he had "often" heard Joseph Smith relate that in a "cloud of light he saw two glorious personages; and one, pointing to the other, said, 'Behold my beloved Son! hear ye Him.'"[5]

6 October 1868

Orson Pratt said, "The Lord revealed Himself to this youth [i.e., Joseph Smith] when he was between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and as soon as he related this vision, although at that young and tender age, the wrath and indignation of the people were stirred up against him."[6]

24 February 1869

Orson Pratt said that Joseph Smith "saw, in the midst of this glorious pillar of fire, two glorious personages, whose countenances shone with an exceeding great lustre. One of them spoke to him, saying, while pointing to the other, 'This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him.'"[7]

19 December 1869

Orson Pratt said that Joseph Smith saw "two glorious personages . . . he heard one of these personages say, pointing to the other, 'This is my beloved Son, hear ye Him.'"[8]

19 March 1871

Orson Pratt said that Joseph Smith "saw in this light two glorious personages, one of whom spoke to him, pointing to the other, saying, 'This is my beloved Son, hear ye Him.'"[9]

22 September 1872

Orson Pratt said that Joseph Smith "saw these two glorious personages, their countenances shining with exceeding great brilliancy. One of them, while pointing to the other, addressed him in this language, 'Behold my beloved son, hear ye Him.'"[10]

20 September 1874

Orson Pratt said that Joseph Smith "saw nothing excepting the light and two glorious personages standing before him in the midst of this light. One of these personages, pointing to the other, said - "Behold my beloved Son, hear ye Him.'"[11]

20 May 1877

Orson Pratt said that several years previous to 1823 Joseph Smith "received a heavenly vision . . . in which he had seen the face of God, the Father."[12]

19 September 1880

Orson Pratt said that "a wonderful revelation was given to[Joseph Smith], the first one he ever received. In a great and glorious open vision, in answer to his prayers, there was the manifestation of two of the great personages in the heavens — not angels, not messengers, but two persons that hold the keys of authority over all the creations of the universe. Who were they? God the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ."[13]

10 October 1880

[This was the day the Pearl of Great Price account of the First Vision was canonized] Orson Pratt said, "You find a little boy, Joseph Smith, calling upon the name of the Lord, in the spring of the year 1820 before he was not yet fifteen years of age; and the result of his calling upon the name of the Lord was that a pillar of fire appeared in the heavens above him, and it continued to descend and grow brighter and brighter, until it reached the top of the trees that were growing around about where he was praying; and so great was the glory of this light that this lad, this youth, this boy, seemed to feel almost fearful lest the trees themselves would be consumed by it. But it continued to descend until it rested upon this lad and immediately his mind was caught away from the surrounding objects, was swallowed up in a heavenly vision, in which he saw two glorious personages, one was the Father, the other was the Son."[14]


  1. Orson Pratt, "Are the Father and the Son Two Distinct Persons?," Millennial Star 11 no. 20 (15 October 1849), 310.
  2. Orson Pratt, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, No. 4: Evidences of the Book of Mormon and Bible Compared (Liverpool, England: R. James, 1850), points #10–11. This is a pamphlet (#4 out of 6) written on 15 December 1850.
  3. Orson Pratt, A Series of Pamphlets (Liverpool, England: R. James, 1851).
  4. Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations (Liverpool, S.W. Richards, 1853), chapter 17.
  5. Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses 7:221.
  6. JD 12:302. (6 October 1868). wiki
  7. Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses 12:354.
  8. Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses 13:66.
  9. Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses 14:140-142.
  10. Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses 15:182-183.
  11. Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses 17:279-280.
  12. Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses 19:16.
  13. Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses 21:310-311, (emphasis added).
  14. JD 22:29. (10 OCtober 1880). wiki