Steven C. Harper. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 2012. Hardbound, 6.25×9.25″, 128 pages.
“I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it.”
From the moment Joseph Smith first spoke of it, many have considered, examined, and questioned his account of God and Christ appearing to him in a grove of trees in upstate New York. As the only tangible evidence of the miraculous event, Joseph’s recorded statements on the first vision are important today for both believers and critics: the truth of these records attests to Joseph’s prophetic calling, the reality of the Restoration, and the assurance that God continues to speak to us today.
In this volume, Church historian Steven C. Harper provides all known accounts of the first vision written during Joseph Smith’s lifetime and places them within the historical context of his family, community, and culture. Brother Harper includes practical explanations of the variations and nuances of each account as well as an analysis of three notable critiques of Joseph’s statements. Using historical and analytical methodology, Brother Harper helps us better understand what he declares may be the “best document theophany&mdashvision of God—in history.”
Joseph Smith’s First Vision: A Guide to the Historical Accounts is enhanced by images of accounts of the vision and of individuals and places associated with it. Most important, this faithful work offers a fresh look at important records with neither a doubting nor a defensive bias. It is a book that will inform, uplift, and inspire those who seek to know the truth.