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First Vision Accounts
Parent page: First Vision
Milo Andrus (1833/1853): "I heard the testimony of that man, Joseph Smith, that [an] angel came"
Milo Andrus was nineteen years old in 1833 when Joseph Smith told him the story of his first vision. The story was recorded in 1853:
I was a boy, first nineteen years of age, when I heard the testimony of that man, Joseph Smith, that [an] angel came and that glory [shone] and [the] trees seemed to be consumed in [a] blaze and he was there entrusted with this information: that darkness covered the earth, that the great mass of [the] Christian world [was] universally wrong [and] their creeds [were] all upon [an] uncertain foundation. “Now as young as you are,” [he was told], “I call upon you from this obscurity: go forth and build up my kingdom on the earth.”
Charles Lowell Walker (1893): "As soon as the Lord had touched his eyes with his finger he immediately saw the Savior"
God touched his eyes with his finger and said “[Joseph] this is my beloved Son hear him.” As soon as the Lord had touched his eyes with his finger he immediately saw the Savior. After meeting, a few of us questioned him about the matter and he told us at the bottom of the meeting house steps that he was in the House of Father Smith in Kirtland when Joseph made this declaration, and that Joseph while speaking of it put his finger to his right eye, suiting the action with the words so as to illustrate and at the same time impress the [occurrence] on the minds of those unto whom He was speaking.
Joseph Smith (1832): "and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me"
Joseph Smith Letterbook 1, pp. 1-6. This electronic text was copied from Wikisource. The editor notes that insertions are indicated like and deletions are indicated like
this. Text in blue is in Smith's own handwriting, the remainder in the handwriting of Frederick G. Williams.
At about the age of twelve years my mind become seriously imprest with regard to the all importent concerns
offor the wellfare of my immortal Soul which led me to searching the scriptures believeing as I was taught, that they contained the word of God thus applying myself to them and my intimate acquaintance with those of different denominations led me to marvel excedingly for I discovered that insteadof adorn ingtheir profession by a holy walk and Godly conversation agreeable to what I found contained in that sacred depository this was a grief to my Soul thus from the age of twelve years to fifteen I pondered many things in my heart concerning the sittuation of the world of mankind the contentions and divi[si]ons the wicke[d]ness and abominations and the darkness which pervaded the of theminds of mankind my mind become excedingly distressed for I become convicted of my sins and by searching the scriptures I found that manddid not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatised from the true and liveing faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the new testament and I felt to mourn for my own sins and for the sins of the world for I learned in the scriptures that God was the same yesterday to day and forever that he was no respecter to persons for he was God for I looked upon the sun the glorious luminary of the earth and also the moon rolling in their magesty through the heavens and also the stars shining in their courses and the earth also upon which I stood and the beast of the field and the fowls of heaven and the fish of the waters and also man walking forth upon the face of the earth in magesty and in the strength of beauty whose power and intiligence in governing the things which are so exceding great and marvilous even in the likeness of him who created himand when I considered upon these things my heart exclaimed well hath the wise man said thefool saith in his heart there is no God my heart exclaimed all all these bear testimony and bespeak an omnipotant and omnipreasant power a being who makith Laws and decreeeth and bindeth all things in their bounds who filleth Eternity who was and is and will be from all Eternity to Eternity and when I, considered all these things and that being seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth therefore I cried unto the Lord for mercy for there was none else to whom I could go and to obtain mercy and the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness and while in attitude of calling upon the Lord </span> a piller of firelight above the brightness of the sun at noon day come down from above and rested upon me and I was filled with the spirit of god and the opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying Joseph thy sins are forgiven thee. go thy walk in my statutes and keep my commandments behold I am the Lord of glory I was crucifyed for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life the world lieth in Sin andat this time and none doeth good no not one they have turned asside from the gospel and keep not commandments they draw near to me with their lips while their hearts are far from me and mine anger is kindling against the inhabitants of the earth to visit them acording to th[e]ir ungodliness and to bring to pass that which been spoken by the mouth of the prophets and Ap[o]stles behold and lo I come quickly as it [is] written of me in the cloud in the glory of my Father and my soul was filled with love and for many days I could rejoice with great Joy and the Lord was with me but [I] could find none that would believe the hevnly vision nevertheless I pondered these things in my heart about that time my mother andbut after many days 
Joseph Smith (9 Nov. 1835): "And I saw many angels in this vision"
I commenced giving him a relation of the circumstances connected with the coming forth of the book of Mormon, as follows being wrought up in my mind, respecting the subject of religion and looking at the different systems taught the children of men, I knew not who was right or who was wrong and I considered it of the first importance that I should be right, in matters that involve eternal consequ[e]nces; being thus perplexed in mind I retired to the silent grove and bow[e]d down before the Lord, under a realising sense that he had said (if the bible be true) ask and you shall receive knock and it shall be opened seek and you shall find and again, if any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men libarally and upbradeth not; information was what I most desired at this time, and with a fixed determination to obtain it, I called upon the Lord for the first time, in the place above stated or in other words I made a fruitless attempt to p[r]ay, my toung seemed to be swolen in my mouth, so that I could not utter, I heard a noise behind me like some person walking towards me, I strove again to pray, but could not, the noise of walking seemed to draw nearer, I sprung up on my feet,
andand looked around, but saw no person or thing that was calculated to produce the noise of walking, I kneeled again my mouth was opened and my toung liberated, and I called on the Lord in mighty prayer, a pillar of fire appeared above my head, it presently rested down upon me head, and filled me with Joy unspeakable, a personage appeard in the midst of this pillar of flame which was spread all around, and yet nothing consumed, another personage soon appeard like unto the first, he said unto me thy sins are forgiven thee, he testified unto me that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; I was about 14 years old when I received this first communication; When I was about 17 years old I saw another vision of angels in the night season after I had retired to bed 
Joseph Smith (14 Nov. 1835): "I received the first visitation of Angels which was when I was about 14"
I commenced and gave him a brief relation of my experience while in my juvenile years, say from 6 years old up to the time I received the first visitation of Angels which was when I was about 14. years old and also the visitations that I received afterward, concerning the book of Mormon 
Gospel Topics: "The various accounts of the First Vision tell a consistent story, though naturally they differ in emphasis and detail"
Gospel Topics on LDS.org:
The various accounts of the First Vision tell a consistent story, though naturally they differ in emphasis and detail. Historians expect that when an individual retells an experience in multiple settings to different audiences over many years, each account will emphasize various aspects of the experience and contain unique details. Indeed, differences similar to those in the First Vision accounts exist in the multiple scriptural accounts of Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus and the Apostles’ experience on the Mount of Transfiguration.3 Yet despite the differences, a basic consistency remains across all the accounts of the First Vision. Some have mistakenly argued that any variation in the retelling of the story is evidence of fabrication. To the contrary, the rich historical record enables us to learn more about this remarkable event than we could if it were less well documented. 
Seminary Manual (2013): "Joseph Smith emphasized different aspects of his vision in his multiple accounts"
Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual (2013), LESSON 6: Joseph Smith—History 1:1–20:
Just as Joseph Smith emphasized different aspects of his vision in his multiple accounts, the Apostle Paul emphasized different aspects of his vision of the Savior to different audiences (see Acts 9:1–9; Acts 22:5–11; Acts 26:12–20). Why do you think Joseph Smith and Paul emphasized different things each time they related the accounts of their visions? 
Backman (1985): "On at least four different occasions, Joseph Smith either wrote or dictated to scribes accounts of his sacred experience of 1820"
Milton V. Backman, Ensign (January 1985):
On at least four different occasions, Joseph Smith either wrote or dictated to scribes accounts of his sacred experience of 1820. Possibly he penned or dictated other histories of the First Vision; if so, they have not been located. The four surviving recitals of this theophany were prepared or rendered through different scribes, at different times, from a different perspective, for different purposes and to different audiences.1 It is not surprising, therefore, that each of them emphasizes different aspects of his experience.
Allen (1970): "the Prophet described his experience to friends and acquaintances at least as early as 1831-32...he continued to do so in varying detail until the year of his death"
James B. Allen, Improvement Era (April 1970):
Nevertheless, it can now be demonstrated that the Prophet described his experience to friends and acquaintances at least as early as 1831-32, and that he continued to do so in varying detail until the year of his death, 1844. We presently know of at least eight contemporary documents that were written during his lifetime.
Neuenschwander (2009): "Joseph's vision was at first an intensely personal experience...it became the founding revelation of the Restoration"
Dennis B. Neuenschwander, Ensign (January 2009):
Joseph's vision was at first an intensely personal experience—an answer to a specific question. Over time, however, illuminated by additional experience and instruction, it became the founding revelation of the Restoration. 
Hinckley (1984): "I am not worried that the Prophet Joseph Smith gave a number of versions of the first vision"
Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign (October 1984):
I am not worried that the Prophet Joseph Smith gave a number of versions of the first vision anymore than I am worried that there are four different writers of the gospels in the New Testament, each with his own perceptions, each telling the events to meet his own purpose for writing at the time. I am more concerned with the fact that God has revealed in this dispensation a great and marvelous and beautiful plan that motivates men and women to love their Creator and their Redeemer, to appreciate and serve one another, to walk in faith on the road that leads to immortality and eternal life.
Prothero (2003): "in the 1832 version, Jesus appears to Smith alone, and does all the talking himself. Such complaints, however, are much ado about relatively nothing"
Stephen Prothero, American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon (2003):
Critics of Mormonism have delighted in the discrepancies between the canonical [1838 PGP] account and earlier renditions, especially one written in Smith's own hand in 1832. For example, in the 1832 version, Jesus appears to Smith alone, and does all the talking himself. Such complaints, however, are much ado about relatively nothing. Any good lawyer (or historian) would expect to find contradictions or competing narratives written down years apart and decades after the event. And despite the contradictions, key elements abide. In each case, Jesus appears to Smith in a vision. In each case, Smith is blessed with a revelation. In each case, God tells him to remain aloof from all Christian denominations, as something better is in store.
- "Milo Andrus, July 17, 1853: Including His Testimony of the First Vision," Transcribed by LaJean Purcell Carruth 14 October 2013. history.lds.org.
- Charles Lowell Walker, Diary of Charles Lowell Walker (Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 1980), 2:755–56 [recorded 2 February 1893]
- "History, circa Summer 1832," The Joseph Smith Papers.
- Joseph Smith's journal entry of 9 November 1835 (Monday)
- Joseph's journal entry of 14 November 1835 (Saturday)
- "First Vision Accounts," Gospel Topics on LDS.org
- "LESSON 6: Joseph Smith—History 1:1–20," Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual (2013) 20.
- Milton V. Backman, "Joseph Smith's Recitals of the First Vision," Ensign (January 1985).
- James B. Allen, "Eight Contemporary Accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision - What Do We Learn from Them?," Improvement Era (April 1970) 4-13.
- Dennis B. Neuenschwander, "Joseph Smith: An Apostle of Jesus Christ," Ensign (January 2009) 16-22.
- Gordon B. Hinckley, “God Hath Not Given Us the Spirit of Fear,” Ensign, Oct 1984, 2.
- Stephen Prothero, American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003), 171.
This category has the following 5 subcategories, out of 5 total.
Pages in category "First Vision/Accounts"
The following 32 pages are in this category, out of 32 total.
- Source:Charles Lowell Walker:Diary of Charles Lowell Walker:God touched his eyes with his finger
- Source:Gospel Topics:The various accounts of the First Vision tell a consistent story
- Source:Joseph Smith:1832 History:Age at time of First Vision
- Source:Joseph Smith:1832 History:First Vision
- Source:Joseph Smith:1832 History:Forgiveness of sins
- Source:Joseph Smith:1832 History:I fell into transgression and sinned in many things
- Source:Joseph Smith:1832 History:I saw the Lord
- Source:Joseph Smith:1832 History:Mankind had rejected the Lord
- Source:Joseph Smith:1832 History:No true church upon the earth
- Source:Joseph Smith:1832 History:Persecution after the First Vision
- Source:Joseph Smith:1832 History:the hevnly vision
- Source:Joseph Smith:1835 Journal:First communication
- Source:Joseph Smith:1835 Journal:Forgiveness of sins
- Source:Joseph Smith:1835 Journal:I repented hartily for all my sins and transgression
- Source:Joseph Smith:1835 Journal:The First Visitation of Angels
- Source:Joseph Smith:1838 History:I had seen a vision
- Source:Joseph Smith:1842 History:I was enwrapped in a heavenly vision
- Source:Joseph Smith:Interview, JS by David Nye White:1843:The vision then vanished
- Source:Joseph Smith:Joseph's journal entry of 14 November 1835:I received the first visitation of Angels which was when I was about 14
- Source:Joseph Smith:Joseph's journal entry of 9 November 1835:And I saw many angels in this vision
- Source:Milo Andrus:Milo Andrus, July 17, 1853:Including His Testimony of the First Vision
- Source:Orson Hyde:A Cry out of the Wilderness:Angel of the Lord
- Source:Orson Hyde:A Cry out of the Wilderness:Joseph lapsed into the errors and vanities of the world
- Source:Orson Hyde:A Cry out of the Wilderness:These heavenly revelations
- Source:Orson Pratt:A Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions:First Vision
- Source:Orson Pratt:A Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions:Forgiveness of sins