Question: Why did the Prophet construct the 1832 narrative in a manner such as to exclude explicit mention of the Father's appearance?

Table of Contents

Question: Why did the Prophet construct the 1832 narrative in a manner such as to exclude explicit mention of the Father's appearance?

Analysis of the 1832 First Vision text reveals that it was deliberately constructed on the framework of many scriptural citations

Since it can be concluded from the above documentary evidence that Joseph Smith did indeed make an oblique reference to the appearance of the Father in his 1832 history the question becomes—Why did the Prophet construct the 1832 narrative in the manner that he did (so as to exclude explicit mention of the Father's appearance)? A careful analysis of the 1832 First Vision text reveals that it was deliberately constructed on the framework of many scriptural citations. The apostle Stephen's view of both the Father and the Son is clearly utilized by the Prophet in one section of the 1832 text but, more importantly, Joseph Smith told the actual theophany portion of this narrative in language that very closely corresponds to the apostle Paul's vision of Jesus Christ (Acts 26:).[1] .

The apostle Paul did not report that he saw the Father alongside the Son

The Father is not explicitly mentioned as making an appearance in the theophany portion of the 1832 First Vision account because Joseph Smith patterned that part of his narrative after the vision of Jesus Christ experienced by the apostle Paul.

Paul did not report that he saw the Father alongside the Son, and so it is logical that this is the reason why Joseph Smith did not explicitly mention the Father's appearance in his text either. The Prophet's strong sense of connection with Paul's visionary experience is referred to by him right in his 1838 First Vision account. The context of this connection is the persecution experienced by both men for speaking publicly about a heavenly manifestation. Joseph Smith relates in his 1838 history that he was informed by a clergyman that his vision was "all of the devil." This piece of information may help to explain why the Prophet chose to couch his first known written account of his vision in heavy biblical language and imagery. He may have hoped that by doing this his story would have a better chance of being accepted amongst a populace that was steeped in biblical content.

Notes

  1. See the 2006 FAIR Conference address entitled "Revised or Unaltered? Joseph Smith's Foundational Stories" and its accompanying slides (see links below in the "Video" section).