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Joseph Smith's First Vision/Accounts/1832/Says wicked will be destroyed but 1838 doesn't
Joseph Smith 1832 account says wicked will be destroyed, but 1838 doesn't
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...
—Joseph Smith's 1832 account of the First Vision
Question: Why does the 1832 account say that the wicked will be destroyed, but the 1838 account doesn't?
The Prophet's own statement about the omission of certain items can be legitimately utilized to account for several differences in the two documents
One discrepancy between the 1832 First Vision account and the official 1838 recital is that it portrays Jesus Christ as prophesying that He will return to earth quickly to destroy wicked mortals. The 1838 story makes no mention of the impending doom of this planet's depraved inhabitants.
The claim that there is a discrepancy between the 1832 and 1838 First Vision accounts on the point of the Second Coming and destruction of the wicked appears to be a desperate attempt at sowing discord. It is a charge without much substance. The Prophet's own statement about the omission of certain items can be legitimately utilized to account for several differences in the two documents.
This criticism loses its negative effect when it is weighed in the balance against the content of the relevant historical documents
This criticism loses its negative effect when it is weighed in the balance against the content of the relevant historical documents. In the 1832 account the Lord says:
mine anger is kindling against the inhabitants of the earth to visit them ac[c]ording to th[e]ir ungodliness and to bring to pass that which <hath> 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 <clothed> in the glory of my Father.
There is, indeed, no reference to this specific prophecy in the First Vision portion of the 1838 document. However, Joseph Smith clearly states in that very narrative that Jesus Christ told him "many other things" during the First Vision that he decided not to write down at that time! Thus, an argument from silence (on the part of the critics) is utterly unconvincing. A close look at the remainder of the 1838 historical text reveals that the angel Moroni did, in fact, speak to Joseph Smith about prophecies of the Savior's return and the destruction of the wicked. The Prophet reports:
[The angel] first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi and he quoted also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy though with a little variation from the way it reads in our Bibles. Instead of quoting the first verse as reads in our books he quoted it thus, 'For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud <yea> and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble, for <they> that cometh shall burn them saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.' And again he quoted the fifth verse thus, 'Behold I will reveal unto you the Priesthood by the hand of Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.' . . . . He also quoted the second chapter of Joel from the twenty eighth to the last verse. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled but was soon to be."
The 1832 and 1838 histories present the very same prophecy of the destruction of the wicked at the time of the Lord's Second Coming. The 1832 account portrays the Lord speaking it personally; the 1838 account portrays an angel relaying the words of the Lord as recorded in prophetic, biblical texts. Either way, the message is the same.
To see citations to the critical sources for these claims, click here