Joseph Smith's First Vision/Seldom mentioned in LDS publications before 1877 (long)

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    Was the First Vision seldom mentioned in LDS publications before 1877? (long)

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Overview:


Leading up to the vision:


The vision:


After the vision:


Others' accounts:


Moroni's visit:


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Questions


Critics charge, “Before the death of Brigham Young in 1877 the first vision was seldom mentioned in Mormon publications.”

To see citations to the critical sources for these claims, click here

Answer


Latter-day Saints can rest assured that the First Vision story is not the end product of a lengthy sorting-out process or a tale that grew taller over time. It is the same story known by earlier generations of the faithful.

Detailed Analysis

This is the original-length article on
the claim that the First Vision
was seldom mentioned prior to 1877.
To read a shorter, summary version, click here.


The following timeline shows LDS publications that included the First Vision story over a 37 year period (1840-1877). This timeline demonstrates conclusively that Latter-day Saints were never left in the dark about the cause of the beginning of the dispensation of the fulness of times. They were well informed about it while the founding Prophet of the dispensation lived; they continued to be acquainted with it during the administration of his legitimate successor.

September 1840

Orson Pratt, An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions (Edinburgh, Scotland: Ballantyne and Hughes, 1840).
Edinburgh, Scotland.

1 / 15 December 1840

Slightly modified reprint of Oliver Cowdery’s incomplete rendition of the 1832 First Vision account and extra unwritten details (Times and Seasons, vol. 2, no. 3, 1 December 1840, 225–26; Times and Seasons, vol. 2, no. 4, 15 December 1840, 241).
Nauvoo, Illinois.

1841

First American edition of An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions (expanded to 36 pages) [New York: Joseph W. Harrison, 1841]
New York City, New York.

1841

Second American edition of An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions [New York: Joseph W. Harrison, 1841]
New York City, New York.

1 March 1842

The Wentworth Letter First Vision recital is published (Times and Seasons, vol. 3, no. 9, 1 March 1842, 706–707).
Nauvoo, Illinois.

1 April 1842

The official History of the Church recital: Part 1 (Times and Seasons, vol. 3, no. 11, 1 April 1842, 748–49).
Nauvoo, Illinois.

15 April 1842

The official History of the Church recital: Part 2 (Times and Seasons, vol. 3, no. 12, 15 April 1842, 753).
Nauvoo, Illinois.

June 1842

The official History of the Church recital is reprinted (Millennial Star, vol. 3, no. 2, June 1842, 22–23) [“From the ‘Times and Seasons’”]
England.

1842

Third American edition of An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions [New York: Joseph W. Harrison, 1842]
New York City, New York.

1842

Orson Hyde, A Cry in the Wilderness (Frankfurt, Germany: Orson Hyde, 1842).
Frankfurt, Germany.

February 1844

The Wentworth Letter account is reprinted (John E. Page and Lucien R. Foster publish a pamphlet entitled Correspondence Between Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and Col. John Wentworth, Editor of “The Chicago Democrat,” and Member of Congress from Illinois [New York City: Joseph W. Harrison, 1844], 3-6).
New York City, New York.

1 January 1845

Elder Parley P. Pratt issues a proclamation to the eastern states Saints: “The people did not choose that great modern apostle and prophet, Joseph Smith, but God chose him in the usual way that He has chosen others before him, viz., by open vision, and by His own voice from the heavens. He it was that called him” (Millennial Star, vol. 5, no. 10, March 1845, 150).
New York City, New York.
England.

July 1846

Dan Jones’ Welsh publication Prophet of the Jubilee reprints a modified version of the First Vision account found in Orson Pratt’s An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions. (Ronald D. Dennis, trans. and ed., Prophet of the Jubilee [Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1997], 17-19).
Wales.

December 1848

A truncated version of An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions (16 pages) is published.
Liverpool, England.

15 October 1849

Elder Orson Pratt quotes from the History of the Church First Vision account in part 2 of “Are the Father and the Son Two Distinct Persons?” (Millennial Star, vol. 11, no. 20, 15 October 1849, 310).
England.

1 August 1850

Elder John Taylor sends a First Vision account to a non-LDS journal and it is reprinted in an LDS newspaper (Millennial Star, vol. 12, no. 15, 1 August 1850, 235–37).
England.

6 September 1850

Elder Lorenzo Snow publishes a short account of the First Vision in a missionary tract called The Voice of Joseph.
LaTour, Italy.

October 1850

Elder John Taylor expands the letter he sent to the August 1850 Millennial Star and published it in pamphlet form in the French language. (Peter Crawley, Bibliography, 2:167).
France

4 November 1850

Elder Lorenzo Snow’s missionary tract called The Voice of Joseph is to be translated into French (Millennial Star, vol. 12, no. 24, 15 December 1850, 370).
France.

15 December 1850

Orson Pratt, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, No. 4: Evidences of the Book of Mormon and Bible Compared (Liverpool, England: R. James, 1850), points #10–11. Quotation of the official History of the Church First Vision account.
Liverpool, England.

Early 1851

Orson Pratt, A Series of Pamphlets (Liverpool, England: R. James, 1851). This collection includes "Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon #4" and "An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions".
Liverpool, England.

6 February 1851

Lorenzo Snow informs Orson Hyde in a letter that his missionary tract called The Voice of Joseph is circulating in Italy and Switzerland (Eliza R. Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1884], 176).
Geneva, Switzerland.
Italy.

15 July 1851

Elder Franklin D. Richards publishes the first edition of the Pearl of Great Price. It contains the official History of the Church First Vision account (Millennial Star, vol. 13, no. 14, 15 July 1851, 216-17).
Liverpool, England.

15 August 1851

Lorenzo Snow informs Franklin D. Richards that his missionary tract called The Voice of Joseph will be issued in a second edition (Millennial Star, vol. 13, no. 16, 15 August 1851, 252-53).

1851

Orson Pratt, An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions (Sydney, Australia: Albert Mason, 1851); first Australian edition (derived from the American 3rd edition).
Sydney, Australia.

1851

An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions is published in the Danish language (Andrew Jenson, “An Epitome of the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” in Worlds Fair Ecclesiastical History of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT: George Q. Cannon and Sons Co., 1893), 15; Andrew Jenson, History of the Scandinavian Mission [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1927], 30–31).
Denmark.

1851

Lorenzo Snow’s pamphlet called The Voice of Joseph is printed in the French language. (Lorenzo Snow, Le Voix de Joseph [Turin : Imprimerie Ferrero et Franco, 1851]).

1851

Orson Pratt’s Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon is reprinted.
Liverpool, England.

1851

Lorenzo Snow's pamphlet The Voice of Joseph is reprinted inside the book: Lorenzo Snow, The Italian Mission (London: W. Aubrey, 1851), 13-14.
London.

1 May 1852

Lorenzo Snow informs Samuel W. Richards in a letter from Malta that another edition of his missionary tract called The Voice of Joseph (revised from the Italian printing) has been published (Eliza R. Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1884], 215–16). [see Millennial Star, vol. 14, no. 15, 5 June 1852, 236]
Italy.

15 May 1852

The Prophet's 9 November 1835 recital of the First Vision is printed in a newspaper (Deseret News, 15 May 1852).
Salt Lake City, Utah.

15 May 1852

Notice is given that An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions will be published in India (Eliza R. Snow, Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1884], 220).
India.

July 1852

A second printing of An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions is released in Australia. (R. Lanier Britsch, Unto the Islands of the Sea: A History of the Latter-day Saints in the Pacific [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1986], 196–97, citing Andrew Jenson, Manuscript History of the Australian Mission, April 1855).
Sydney, Australia.

27 November 1852

A Welsh edition of the Pearl of Great Price is published by John Silvanus Davis (Millennial Star, vol. 14, no. 40, 27 November 1852, 634).
Wales.

27 November 1852

Another English printing of Lorenzo Snow’s missionary tract call The Voice of Joseph is issued (Millennial Star, vol. 14, no. 40, 27 November 1852, 635). [Liverpool, England: S. W. Richards, 1852]
Liverpool, England.

1852

Orson Pratt, A Series of Pamphlets (Liverpool, England: Franklin D. Richards, 1852); includes Remarkable Visions and Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon.
Liverpool, England.

1852

Elder Franklin D. Richards publishes an 88-page supplement to volume 14 of the Millennial Star which includes the official History of the Church First Vision account (See Howard C. Searle, “Authorship of the History of Joseph Smith: a Review Essay,” Brigham Young University Studies, vol. 21, no. 1, Winter 1981, 101-22).
Liverpool, England.

1852

John Taylor's French pamphlet with the First Vision account is reissued. (Chad Flake, Bibliography).
France.

13 April 1853

Orson Pratt’s Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, No. 4 is printed in the Scandinavian mission (Millennial Star, vol. 15, no. 20, 14 May 1853, 315).
Scandinavia.

19 November 1853

John Jaques publishes some First Vision information that will eventually become part of chapter 3 of his Catechism for Children. He also cites the official History of the Church account that was reprinted in the supplement to volume 14 of the Millennial Star. (Millennial Star, vol. 15, no. 47, 19 November 1853, 759).
Liverpool, England.

1853

Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and his Progenitors for Many Generations (Liverpool, England: Published for Orson Pratt by S. W. Richards 1853), 75. Quotation of the official History of the Church First Vision account. [Date of sale for this book can be found in Millennial Star, vol. 15, no. ---, 15 October 1853, 682]
Liverpool, England.

1853

Orson Pratt’s Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon is reprinted.
Liverpool, England.

1853

Elder Orson Pratt’s Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon is translated into the Danish language.

16 November 1854

Lucy Mack Smith’s autobiography is advertised for sale in Utah. It contains the official History of the Church First Vision account (Deseret News, 16 November 1864).
Salt Lake City, Utah.

1854

John Jaques, Catechism For Children: Exhibiting the Prominent Doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Liverpool, England: Franklin D. Richards, 1854), 12, 76–77.
Liverpool, England.

31 March 1855

Elder Franklin D. Richards is informed that The Voice of Joseph missionary tract has been issued in the Dutch language in South Africa (Millennial Star, vol. 17, no. 36, 8 September 1855, 572).
South Africa.

15 August 1855

The Wentworth Letter account of the First Vision is published in a Utah newspaper (Deseret News, vol. 5, no. 23, 15 August 1855, 1).
Salt Lake City, Utah.

5 September 1855

Elder George A. Smith publishes a short history of the Church that includes the First Vision story (Deseret News, vol. 5, no. 26, 5 September 1855, 2).
Salt Lake City, Utah.

1855

John Jaques’ Catechism for Children is reprinted in the English language.
Liverpool, England.

1856

An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions is published in the Swedish language (Andrew Jenson, “An Epitome of the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” in Worlds Fair Ecclesiastical History of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT: George Q. Cannon and Sons Co., 1893), 15; Andrew Jenson, History of the Scandinavian Mission [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1927, 30–31).
Sweden.

21 February 1857

The Wentworth Letter is published in an article entitled “Joseph Smith History” (Millennial Star, vol. 19, no. 8, 21 February 1857, 117).
England.

1857

Franklin D. Richards, A Compendium of the Faith and Doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Liverpool, England: Orson Pratt, 1857), 152, 221.
Liverpool, England.

1857

Orson Pratt’s Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon is reprinted in the English language.
Liverpool, England.

1857

Orson Pratt’s Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon is published in the Danish language.
Copenhagen, Denmark.

1860

Orson Pratt’s Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon is reprinted in English.
Liverpool, England.

1860

John Jaques’ Catechism for Children is printed in the Danish language.

6 August 1862

Elder George A. Smith’s short history of the Church is reprinted (Deseret News, vol. 12, no. 6, 6 August 1862, 2).
Salt Lake City, Utah.

1 / 15 January 1866

Elder George Q. Cannon provides the young people of the Church with a recital of the First Vision which draws information from the official History of the Church account, the Wentworth Letter, and An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions (see Juvenile Instructor, vol. 1, no. 1, 1 January 1866, 1; Juvenile Instructor, vol. 1, no. 2, 15 January 1866, 5).
Salt Lake City, Utah.

1 October 1866

George Q. Cannon posed two catechism questions for children regarding the First Vision (Juvenile Instructor, vol. 1, no. 19, 1 October 1866, 75).
Salt Lake City, Utah.

15 November 1866

George Q. Cannon published the two First Vision catechism questions along with their answers (Juvenile Instructor, vol. 1, no. 22, 15 November 1866, 87).
Salt Lake City, Utah.

1869

E. L. Sloan, comp., The Salt Lake City Directory and Business Guide for 1869 (Salt Lake City: E. L. Sloan, 1869), 56.

July 1869

George A. Smith cites the Wentworth Letter First Vision account (George A. Smith, The Rise, Progress and Travels of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [Salt Lake City; Deseret News Office, 1869], ---).
Salt Lake City, Utah.

October 1870

John Jaques’ Catechism for Children is republished in the English language.
Salt Lake City, Utah. [Announcement of impending sale given in the Deseret News Weekly, vol. 19, no. 36, 12 October 1870, 413]

1870

John Jaques’ Catechism for Children is republished in the English language.
Liverpool, England.

15 June 1871

Republication of Orson Pratt’s [Journal of Discourses, 14:140–42] First Vision discourse (Skandinaviens Stjerne, vol. 20, no. 18, 15 June 1871, 273–79, 282–83 / from the Deseret News).
Copenhagen, Denmark.

Fall 1871

Sybren Van Dyk (mission president) collaborated with Johannes H. Heman to translate John Jaques’ Catechism for Children and then published it in Holland (Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 4:358–59).
Holland.

1 February 1872

Republication of Orson Pratt’s [Journal of Discourses, 14:261-62] First Vision discourse (Skandinaviens Stjerne, vol. 21, no. 9, 1 February 1872, 129–36; 145–49 / from the Deseret News, vol. 20, no. 46, 20 December 1871, 537-38]
Copenhagen, Denmark.

1872

John Jaques’ Catechism for Children is republished in the English language.
Salt Lake City, Utah.

1872

George A. Smith cites the Wentworth Letter First Vision account (George A. Smith, The Rise, Progress and Travels of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, rev. ed. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Publishing, 1872], 37-38).
Salt Lake City: Utah.

1872

John Jaques’ Catechism for Children is published in the German language.
Bern.

1873

George A. Smith cites the Wentworth Letter First Vision account (George A. Smith, The Rise, Progress and Travels of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, rev. ed. [Liverpool, England: -----, 1873], 37).
Liverpool, England.

1873

John Jaques’ Catechism for Children is republished in the English language.
Liverpool, England.

1873

John Jaques’ Catechism for Children is published in the Swedish language.
Sweden.

4 October 1876

Orson Pratt “History and Doctrines of the Latter-day Saints” (article written for the Universal Cylopedia in December 1874). Printed in the Deseret News, vol. 25, no. 36, 4 October 1876, 562; Millennial Star, vol. 38, no. 43, 23 October 1876, 673–77.
Salt Lake City, Utah.

11 October 1876

Publication of Orson Pratt’s 8 October 1876 [Journal of Discourses, ---] First Vision remarks (Deseret News, vol. 25, no. ---, 11 October 1876, 585; Millennial Star, vol. 38, no. 46, 13 November 1876, 721).
Salt Lake City, Utah.
England.

4 July 1877

Andrew Jenson publishes the First Vision story in the Danish-Norwegian language (Andrew Jenson, Autobiography of Andrew Jenson [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1938], 102–103).
Salt Lake City, Utah.

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