The Prophet Joseph testified, “I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it” (JS—H 1:25). This is the best documented vision of God in the history of the world. Yet, because the details of the vision are spread over several different accounts, many people do not know all they could about this remarkable and world-changing experience. At the same time, many people today have questions, sometimes even doubts, about Joseph Smith’s First Vision, in part because the nine recorded accounts differ in emphasis and some details.
Kerry Muhlestein, BYU professor of ancient scripture, presents one compelling harmonized account to show how each of the various accounts might relate select aspects of the vision, yet all be consistent with the actual event experienced by Joseph Smith. As the Prophet recorded his remarkable vision in four firsthand accounts—either recorded by him or under his direction—he emphasized different details depending on the audience and circumstances in which the account was shared. The five secondhand accounts also have much to offer, although perhaps in varying degrees of reliability, all taken into account by Muhlestein in this relatable, harmonized retelling of Joseph Smith’s incomparable vision. Readers will come to understand the vision more fully through this combined account. This retelling of the vision is enhanced by the inclusion of the full, original text from all nine accounts, allowing readers to take in all the glorious and edifying details of the event.