Joseph Smith's First Vision/Accounts/1832/Doesn't forbid joining a church

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Overview:


Leading up to the vision:


The vision:


After the vision:


Others' accounts:


Moroni's visit:


Other criticisms:

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Media.icon.tiny.1.png    MEDIA
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QUESTIONS

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The 1832 First Vision account does not portray the Lord giving Joseph Smith an injunction against joining any church; it does not portray the Lord as announcing that all the churches were corrupt. These details do not show up until the 1838 account. Critics use this as evidence that the Prophet's story evolved over time.


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

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CONCLUSION

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The claim that Joseph Smith's 1832 First Vision story does not contain a divine injunction against joining any churches does not take evidence within the document itself into proper consideration. The information is implicit instead of explicit, but it is there nevertheless. This point cannot be legitimately used as evidence of an evolving storyline.

DETAILED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

A quick look at the 1832 First Vision text reveals how untenable this claim is. Joseph Smith states that before he went into the woods to pray he had concluded in his own mind that "those of different denominations [which he was personally acquainted with]. . . did not adorn their profession by a holy walk and godly conversation agreeable to what [he] found contained in [the Bible] . . . . [There were] contentions and divisions [among them] . . . . [T]hey had apostatised from the true and living faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament.”

Then, when Jesus Christ Himself made a personal appearance to Joseph in the grove, He informed the young boy that -

“the world lieth in sin at this time and none doeth good no not one they have turned aside from the gospel and keep not <my> 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 <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”

To summarize:

  • Joseph Smith could not find a church that he thought was adhering to biblical teachings.
  • Jesus Christ confirmed Joseph Smith's observation by saying that the entire world was in a sinful, ungodly condition; they did not keep divine commandments; they had turned aside from the gospel—“not one” person was doing good in His estimation.
  • Jesus Christ said that those who professed Christianity were in a state of hypocrisy.
  • Jesus Christ said that He was angry with the inhabitants of the earth and was contemplating their punishment.

How can critics possibly see this as anything other than a forceful and unambiguous indication on the Lord's part that joining any of the Christian denominations would be an unacceptable path for Joseph to take? Notice in the remainder of the 1832 text that Joseph says he felt great joy and love because of his experience and pondered the things which he had seen and heard during the vision . . . but during an interval of several years he did NOT join any church. Why?

As the 1832 text so plainly says—Joseph Smith believed that Christians had turned aside from the gospel; Jesus Christ confirmed that Christians had turned aside from the gospel; Joseph was therefore provided with a set of golden plates that contained writings which were "engrave[d] by . . . the servants of the living God." The 1832 account speaks three times of the "work" that God wanted Joseph Smith to do, while the 1838 account explicitly connects this "work" with the bringing forth of "the everlasting gospel." The 1842 First Vision account ties all of these themes together. There the Prophet relates: "I was expressly commanded to 'go not after them,' at the same time receiving a promise that the fulness of the gospel should at some future time be made known unto me."

Another indication from the 1832 document that Joseph Smith knew from the First Vision event that he should not join any of the churches can be found in something the Savior said to him. Jesus Christ explained that He was going to take action against the situation the world was currently in by “bring[ing] to pass that which hath been spoken by the mouth of the prophets and Ap[o]stles." What did this statement mean? In a canonized text written at approximately the same time as the 1832 First Vision account (September 1832) the following phraseology is found:

  1. A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high.
  2. Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints . . . . (DC 84:1-2).

In other words, the Lord was telling Joseph Smith during the First Vision about the coming Restoration and so there would not be any need for him to join an existing church. This viewpoint is bolstered by several instances where the Prophet utilized the same phraseology used by the Lord during the First Vision to speak about the Restoration.

  • “The work of the Lord in these last days, is one of vast magnitude and almost “beyond the comprehension of mortals. Its glories are past description, and its grandeur unsurpassable. It is the theme which has animated the bosom of prophets and righteous men from the creation of the world down through every succeeding generation to the present time; and it is truly the dispensation of the fullness of times, when all things which are in Christ Jesus, whether in heaven or on the earth, shall be gathered together in Him, and when all things shall be restored, as spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world began”.[1]
  • “I . . . hold the keys of the last kingdom, in which is the dispensation of the fullness of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy Prophets since the world began”.[2]
  • “in the last days, . . . that which shall precede the coming of the Son of Man, and the restitution of all things spoken of by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began”.[3]
  • “the great purposes of God are hastening to their accomplishment and the things spoken of in the prophets are fulfilling, as the kingdom of God is established on the earth, and the ancient order of things restored[4]
  • “when the purposes of God shall be accomplished: when ‘the Lord shall be King over the whole earth,’ and ‘Jerusalem His throne.’ ‘The law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.’ This is the only thing that can bring about the ‘restitution of all things spoken of by all the holy Prophets since the world was’—‘the dispensation of the fullness of times, when God shall gather together all things in one’”.[5]
  • the last dispensation, . . . bringing to pass the restoration spoken of by the mouth of all the Holy Prophets . . . . the restitution of all things spoken of by the holy Prophets be brought to pass”.[6]

Endnotes

  1. [note]  Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 4:185. BYU Studies link
  2. [note]  Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:77–78. BYU Studies link
  3. [note]  Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 2:271. BYU Studies link
  4. [note]  Times and Seasons 3, 761. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
  5. [note]  Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 5:64. BYU Studies link
  6. [note]  Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 4:210–212. BYU Studies link

Further reading

FairMormon Answers articles


Original text of Joseph's accounts of the First Vision (Click here for full article)



The claim is sometimes made by critics that the LDS Church hides the various accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision that are not in its official canon. The following chronological database (compiled by FAIR volunteer Edward Jones) demonstrates conclusively that this is simply not the case. The various accounts of the First Vision have been widely acknowledged in LDS-authored sources throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. (Click here for full article)







  • Discrepancies in Paul's account of his vision
    Brief Summary: Paul the apostle gave more than one account of his vision of the resurrected Lord while on the road to Damascus. Like Joseph Smith's account of the First Vision, Paul's accounts differ in some details but agree in the overall message. (Click here for full article)
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  • Do Greek scholars solve the discrepancies in Paul's vision accounts?
    Brief Summary: The Church's sectarian critics accept Paul's account as true despite the Bible containing apparently frank contradictions in its accounts, while refusing to give Joseph Smith the same latitude. Members of the Church have long pointed out that this is a clear double standard, designed to bias the audience against Joseph from the beginning. Perhaps because of the force of this argument, some critics have begun to argue that no contradiction exists between the versions of Paul's vision. (Click here for full article)
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  • D&C:84 says God cannot be seen without priesthood
    Brief Summary: Critics argue that Joseph Smith claimed that he saw God in 1820 and also claimed that he received the priesthood in 1829. But in a text which he produced in 1832 (DC 84:21-22) it is said that a person cannot see God without holding the priesthood. Therefore, it is claimed that Joseph Smith contradicted himself and this counts as evidence against his calling as an authentic prophet of God. (Click here for full article)
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  • Was Joseph Smith told that "all the churches of the day were an abomination?"
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith stated that during the First Vision that he was told that "all the churches of the day were an abomination." (Click here for full article)
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  • D&C 121:28 contradicts vision?
    Brief Summary: In 1839 Joseph Smith received a revelation from God in which it was stated that the time would come "in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods they shall be manifest" (D&C 121:28). This was an "unnecessary revelation," since according to the official LDS Church First Vision account Joseph Smith supposedly knew that there was more than one God since 1820. This information counts as evidence that the Prophet's story was fraudulent. (Click here for full article)
    ∗       ∗       ∗
  • Father: Spirit vs. Embodied
    Brief Summary: When the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants was published in 1835 it portrayed God the Father as a personage of spirit whereas Jesus Christ was portrayed as a personage of tabernacle, or one having a physical body. Yet the official LDS First Vision story portrays the Father as a physical Being. (Click here for full article)
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  • Personages seen by Joseph
    Brief Summary: A list of known personages who appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith or who were seen by him in vision. (Click here for full article)
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  • Brigham Young and the First Vision
    Brief Summary: It is claimed either that Brigham never taught about the First Vision, or that he taught that the Lord did not appear to Joseph. Both claims are false. (Click here for full article)
    ∗       ∗       ∗


Joseph Smith: Other visionary experiences

Topics





  • Unchanging
    Brief Summary: Does the Book of Mormon refute Joseph Smith on the nature of God? Critics point out that the Book of Mormon never says God was once a mortal. In fact, it teaches that God was always God. Take for instance Moroni 8:18. It says God is "unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity." Joseph Smith, however, taught, "We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity, I will refute that idea, and take away the veil so that you may see." (Click here for full article)
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  • Is the doctrine that God the Father and Jesus Christ have physical bodies not Biblical?
    Brief Summary: Some Christians attack the LDS doctrine of God the Father and Jesus Christ being corporeal beings—i.e., having physical bodies. They claim that this doctrine is not Biblical. (Click here for full article)
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  • Elohim and Jehovah
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Elohim, Jehovah, Adonai and other similar Old Testament Hebrew names for deity are simply different titles which emphasize different attributes of the "one true God." In support of this criticism, they cite Old Testament scriptures that speak of "the LORD [Jehovah] thy God [Elohim]" (e.g., Deuteronomy 4:2; 4:35; 6:4) as proof that these are different titles for the same God. (Click here for full article)
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  • Foreknowledge
    Brief Summary: Most Latter-day Saints hold to unlimited foreknowledge. This has been the traditional view of most Christians since the post-New Testament period, and it is one doctrine that Joseph Smith didn't seem to question, as there are no revelations that address it. Indeed, it appears that most LDS leaders and scholars simply haven't questioned its veracity. (Click here for full article)
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  • "God is a man"
    Brief Summary: Some Christians object to the Mormon belief that God has a physical body and human form by quoting scripture which says that "God is not a man" (e.g. Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Hosea 11:9). (Click here for full article)
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  • God is a Spirit?
    Brief Summary: Some Christians object to the LDS position that God has a physical body by quoting John 4:24: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (Click here for full article)
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    • Lecture of Faith 5 teaches the Father is "a personage of spirit"
      Brief Summary: Lectures on Faith, which used to be part of the Doctrine and Covenants, teach that God is a spirit. Joseph Smith's later teachings contradict this. More generally, critics argue that Joseph Smith taught an essentially "trinitarian" view of the Godhead until the mid 1830s, thus proving the Joseph was "making it up" as he went along. (Click here for full article)
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  • Hinckley downplaying the King Follett Discourse
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that, in an effort to appear more "mainline" Christian, the Church is downplaying the importance of some doctrines taught late in Joseph Smith's lifetime. Prominent among these is the doctrine of human deification. To bolster their argument, critics usually quote from a 1997 Time magazine interview with President Gordon B. Hinckley: "I don't know that we teach it. I don't know that we emphasize it ... I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don't know a lot about it, and I don't think others know a lot about it." Critics have claimed that this means that President Hinckley has admitted to altering LDS doctrine, or discarding a teaching from the past. (Click here for full article)
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  • "Celestial sex"
    Brief Summary: Some evangelical Christians claim that Latter-day Saints believe in a practice called "Celestial sex," and that this is the manner in which "spirit children" are formed. (Click here for full article)
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  • Joseph Smith's early conception of God
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith initially taught standard Nicene trinitarianism. The early documents tell a different story, however. (Click here for full article)
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  • Modalism in the Book of Mormon?
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that the Book of Mormon teaches the trinitarian heresy of modalism or Sabellianism. This reading misinterprets some Book of Mormon verses, and ignores Book of Mormon texts which clearly contradict this reading. (Click here for full article)
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  • Lecture on Faith 5 and the nature of God the Father
    Brief Summary: Lectures on Faith, which used to be part of the Doctrine and Covenants, teach that God is a spirit. Joseph Smith's later teachings contradict this. More generally, critics argue that Joseph Smith taught an essentially "trinitarian" view of the Godhead until the mid 1830s, thus proving the Joseph was "making it up" as he went along. (Click here for full article)
    ∗       ∗       ∗
  • Early LDS beliefs about God
    Brief Summary: Some evangelical Christians attempt to show that the LDS idea of deification is unbiblical, unchristian and untrue. They seem to think that this doctrine is the main reason why the LDS reject the Psychological Trinity. (Click here for full article)
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It is claimed that the doctrine of human deification is unbiblical, false, and arrogant. Related claims include: 1) Mormons believe they will 'supplant God', 2) Belief in theosis, or human deification, implies more than one "god," which means Mormons are "polytheists," 3) The Mormon concept of "human deification" is a pagan belief derived from Greek philosophy. (Click here for full article)

  • Gods of their own planets
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Mormons believe that they can push themselves higher in a type of 'celestial pecking order.' This is often expressed by the claim that Latter-day Saint men wish to become "gods of their own planets." (Click here for full article)
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  • Was God once a sinner?
    Brief Summary: If God was once like us, do Mormons believe that God was once a sinner? (Click here for full article)
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A collection of articles that address the Latter-day Saint view of the concept of the Trinity. (Click here for full article)

  • Early beliefs
    Brief Summary: Critics attempt to show that the LDS idea of deification is unbiblical, unchristian and untrue. They seem to think that this doctrine is the main reason why the LDS reject the Psychological Trinity, however, "the historic church's concept of the Trinity" does not exist. (Click here for full article)
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  • Nicene creed
    Brief Summary: It is claimed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not Christian because they do not accept the Nicene Creed's statement about the Trinity. Since the Nicene Creed was first adopted in A.D. 325, it seems clear that there were many Christians in the first centuries following the resurrection of Christ who did not use it. Those who oppose calling the Latter-day Saints "Christians" need to explain whether Peter and Paul are "Christians," since they lived and practiced Christianity at a time when there was no Nicene Creed, and no Trinitarianism in the current sense. (Click here for full article)
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  • Anachronistic Holy Ghost in Book of Mormon?
    Brief Summary: Why is the Holy Ghost mentioned so many times in the Book of Mormon prior to the time of Christ (e.g., 1 Nephi 10:17) and yet in the Old Testament there is hardly any mention of the Holy Ghost, especially with regard to his mission of bearing witness of the truth? (Click here for full article)
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  • Burning in the bosom
    Brief Summary: Critics complain that the LDS appeal to "revelation" or a "burning in the bosom" is subjective, emotion-based, and thus unreliable and susceptible to self-deception. Sectarian critics also belittle appeals to spiritual experiences, comparing them to "warm fuzzies," or merely something "felt by simply watching a Hollywood movie." (Click here for full article)
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  • Some claim that praying to God in order to know the truth is not reliable
    Brief Summary: A variety of attacks have been made on Moroni's promise (Moroni 10:3–5): It is claimed that praying about the Book of Mormon is not an objective standard for determining if the book is true or not, and should therefore not be trusted. It is also claimed that many people have read and prayed about the Book of Mormon and have either received no answer, or an answer from God that it is false. (Click here for full article)
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  • Divinity without a body?
    Brief Summary: Critics charge that since LDS doctrine teaches that a body is required for exaltation, the Holy Ghost cannot be fully God, because he does not have a physical body. (Click here for full article)
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  • Identity
    Brief Summary: Who is the Holy Ghost? Has he or will he receive a physical body? (Click here for full article)
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  • Joseph Smith is the Holy Ghost?
    Brief Summary: I have heard a few claims about certain Church leaders saying that Joseph Smith is the Holy Ghost (or "held the office of Holy Ghost"). Are there quotes or citations supporting or alluding to this somewhere? (Click here for full article)
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  • Moroni's promise
    Brief Summary: Critics have made a variety of attacks Moroni's promise (Moroni 10:3–5): They claim that praying about the Book of Mormon is not an objective standard for determining if the book is true or not, and should therefore not be trusted. They claim that many people have read and prayed about the Book of Mormon and have either received no answer, or an answer from God that it is false. (Click here for full article)
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  • Similar experiences
    Brief Summary: Some claim that when religious experiences of people of other faiths sound similar, it calls into question LDS spiritual experiences. (Click here for full article)
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  • Testimony and doubt reconciliation
    Brief Summary: How can a person reaffirm their testimony when they learn disconcerting facts that may bring their testimony into doubt? (Click here for full article)
    ∗       ∗       ∗
  • Will the Holy Ghost receive a body?
    Brief Summary: Who is the Holy Ghost? Has he or will he receive a physical body? (Click here for full article)
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  • Spectacular Witness (Click here for full article)
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  • Revelation from God or the devil
    Brief Summary: How do we know when a revelation comes from God, or from the devil? (Click here for full article)
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This page discusses the problem of evil—can one believe in a good, just, loving God when one considers all the suffering and evil in the world? (Click here for full article)




  • Graven images
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that the Church violates the Biblical command against "graven images" because it displays sculptures of Christ, statues of the angel Moroni on the spires of our temples, or paintings showing scriptural scenes, within temples, chapels, visitors' centers, and publications. (See Exodus 20:3-4.) (Click here for full article)
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  • Heavenly Mother
    Brief Summary: Do Latter-day Saints believe in a female divine person, a "Heavenly Mother" as counterpart to God, the Heavenly Father? Are we allowed to pray to our "Heavenly Mother?" It is claimed that LDS belief in a "queen of heaven" is a pagan belief, and that the concept of a "Heavenly Mother" has no support in LDS scripture. (Click here for full article)
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  • Infinite regress of Gods
    Brief Summary: Is it true that LDS doctrine teaches a "genealogy of gods," in which God the Father had/has a God, and this God had a God, and so forth? If so, how does LDS doctrine deal with the problem of an "infinite regress" of "great-great-grandfather Gods"? (Click here for full article)
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  • Polytheism
    Brief Summary: Some non-LDS Christian claim that Latter-day Saints are polytheists because we don't believe the Nicene Creed. Others say Mormons are polytheists because they believe humans can become gods. Is this an accurate characterization of LDS belief? (Click here for full article)
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  • "No God beside me"
    Brief Summary: Some Christians claim that the Mormon doctrine of the Godhead and belief in theosis are not compatible with multiple statements in Isaiah that "beside [the Lord] there is no God." These passages include Isaiah 43:10-11; Isaiah 44:6,8; Isaiah 45:5-6; Isaiah 45:21-22; and Isaiah 46:9-10. (Click here for full article)
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  • No man has seen God
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that the Bible teaches that God cannot be seen by mortals, and so claims by Joseph Smith and others to have seen God the Father or Jesus Christ must be false. The most commonly used Biblical citation invoked by the critics is probably John 1:18, which reads “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (Click here for full article)
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Brigham Young taught that Adam, the first man, was God the Father. Since this teaching runs counter to the story told in Genesis and commonly accepted by Christians, critics accuse Brigham of being a false prophet. Also, because modern Latter-day Saints do not believe Brigham's "Adam-God" teachings, critics accuse Mormons of either changing their teachings or rejecting teachings of prophets they find uncomfortable or unsupportable. (Click here for full article)

  • Ancient of Days
    Brief Summary: If the Adam-God doctrine isn't true, how come DC 27:11 calls Adam the Ancient of Days which is clearly a title for God in Dan. 7: (Click here for full article)
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FairMormon web site

First Vision FairMormon articles on-line
  • Craig Ray, "Joseph Smith's History Confirmed," (Mesa, Arizona: FAIR, August 2002) FairMormon link (Key source)


External links

First Vision on-line articles

Primary sources

On-line articles about the First Vision

  • James B. Allen, "The Significance of Joseph Smith’s ‘First Vision’ in Mormon Thought," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 1 no. 3 (Fall 1966), 29–45. off-site
  • James B. Allen and Leonard J. Arrington, "Mormon Origins in New York: An Introductory Analysis," Brigham Young University Studies 9 no. 3 (Spring 1969), 241–74. off-site
  • Richard L. Anderson, "The Reliability of the Early History of Lucy and Joseph Smith," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 4 no. 2 (Summer 1969), 13–28. off-site
  • Richard L. Anderson, "Circumstantial Confirmation of the First Vision through Reminiscences," Brigham Young University Studies 9 no. 3 (1969), 1–27. PDF link
  • Richard L. Anderson, "Joseph Smith’s Home Environment," Ensign (July 1971), 57–59. off-site
  • Richard L. Anderson, "‘Of Goodly Parents’," New Era (December 1973), 34–39. off-site
  • Richard L. Anderson, "Joseph Smith’s Testimony of the First Vision," Ensign (April 1996), 10–21. off-site
  • Carlos E. Asay, "‘Oh, How Lovely Was the Morning!’: Joseph Smith’s First Prayer and the First Vision," Ensign (April 1995), 44–49. off-site
  • Milton V. Backman Jr., "Awakenings in the Burned-over District: New Light on the Historical Setting of the First Vision," Brigham Young University Studies 9 no. 3 (1969), 301. PDF link
  • Milton V. Backman Jr. and James B. Allen, "Membership of Certain of Joseph Smith’s Family in the Western Presbyterian Church of Palmyra," Brigham Young University Studies 10 no. 4 (Summer 1970), 482–84. off-site
  • Milton V. Backman, Jr., "Joseph Smith's Recitals of the First Vision," Ensign (January 1985), 8. off-site
  • Milton V. Backman, Jr., "Confirming Witnesses of the First Vision," Ensign (January 1986), 32. off-site
  • Milton V. Backman Jr., "I Have A Question: Did Brigham Young Confirm or Expound on Joseph Smith’s First Vision?," Ensign (April 1992), 59–60. off-site
  • Milton V. Backman, "First Vision," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, (New York, Macmillan Publishing, 1992), 2:515–516. off-site off-site off-site
  • Ronald O. Barney, "The First Vision: Searching for the Truth," Ensign (January 2005), 14–19. off-site
  • Dale L. Berge, "Archeological Work at the Smith Log House," Ensign (August 1985), 24–26. off-site
  • Davis Bitton, "[review of Richard P. Howard, The Church through the Years, vol. 1,]," Brigham Young University Studies 33 no. 3 (Summer 1993), 607–608. off-site
  • Hoyt W. Brewster Jr., "I Have A Question: What Was There in the Creeds of Men that the Lord Found Abominable, as He Stated in the First Vision?”," Ensign (July 1987), 65–67. off-site
  • Richard L. Bushman, "The First Vision Story Revived," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 4 no. 1 (Spring 1969), 82–93. off-site
  • Richard L. Bushman, "Just the Facts Please (Review of Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record by H. Michael Marquardt and Wesley P. Walters)," FARMS Review of Books 6/2 (1994): 122–133. off-site
  • Richard L. Bushman, "The Visionary World of Joseph Smith," Brigham Young University Studies 37 no. 1 (1997–98), 183–204. off-site
  • Church Educational System, “Additional Details from Joseph Smith’s 1832 Account of the First Vision,” in Presidents of the Church: Student Manual (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2003), 5–6.
  • Church Educational System, “The First Vision,” in Church History in the Fullness of Times: Student Manual (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2003), 29–36. off-site
  • Richard H. Cracroft, "Rendering the Ineffable Effable: Treating Joseph Smith’s First Vision in Imaginative Literature," Brigham Young University Studies 36 no. 2 (1996–97), 93–116. off-site
  • Peter Crawley, “A Comment on Joseph Smith’s Account of His First Vision and the 1820 Revival,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol. 6, no. 1 (Spring 1971), 106–107.
  • Donald L. Enders, "A Snug Log House," Ensign (August 1985), 14–23. off-site
  • Donald L. Enders, "The Sacred Grove," Ensign (April 1990), 14–17. off-site
  • James E. Faust, "The Magnificent Vision Near Palmyra," Ensign (May 1984), 67–69. off-site
  • Marvin S. Hill, "A Note on Joseph Smith’s First Vision and Its Import in the Shaping of Early Mormonism," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 12 no. 1 (Spring 1979), 90–99. off-site
  • Marvin S. Hill, "The First Vision Controversy: A Critique and Reconciliation," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 15 no. 2 (Summer 1982), 31–46. off-site
  • Dean C. Jessee, "The Early Accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision," Brigham Young University Studies 9 no. 3 (Spring 1969), 279–80.
  • Dean C. Jessee, "The Early Accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision (1831–1839)," Brigham Young University Studies 9 no. 3 (Spring 1969), 275–296.
  • Dean C. Jessee, "The Earliest Documented Accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision," in Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations 1820–1844 (Documents in Latter-day Saint History), edited by John W. Welch with Erick B. Carlson, (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press / Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 2005), 1–33. ISBN 0842526072. This book has recently been reprinted, in paperback. BYU Studies and Deseret Book (July 13, 2011)
  • Melvin J. Peterson, "“I Have A Question: Does D&C 84:19–22 Indicate that a Person Has to Have the Melchizedek Priesthood in Order to See God? Joseph Smith Didn’t Have the Priesthood at the Time of the First Vision," Ensign (December 1985), 60–61. off-site
  • Paul H. Peterson, "[review of Marquardt and Walters, Inventing Mormonism,]," Brigham Young University Studies 35 no. 4 (1995–96), 209–15. off-site
  • Larry C. Porter, "Reverend George Lane—Good ‘Gifts,’ Much ‘Grace,’ and Marked ‘Usefulness,’," Brigham Young University Studies 9 no. 3 (Spring 1969), 321–40. off-site
  • Larry C. Porter, "Reinventing Mormonism: To Remake or Redo (Review of Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record by H. Michael Marquardt and Wesley P. Walters)," FARMS Review of Books 7/2 (1995): 123–143. off-site
  • Larry C. Porter, "Solomon Chamberlain’s Missing Pamphlet: Dreams, Visions, and Angelic Ministrants," Brigham Young University Studies 37 no. 2 (1997–98), 113–29. off-site
  • D. Michael Quinn, "Joseph Smith's Experience of a Methodist 'Camp-Meeting'," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought - Dialogue Paperless: E-Paper #3 (12 July 2006), PDF link
  • Joseph Fielding Smith, "I Have A Question: What evidences do we have to substantiate the First Vision of Joseph Smith?," Ensign (October 1987), 58–59. off-site See also original version in Joseph Fielding Smith, Improvement Era (February 1960), 80–81.
  • Our Heritage: A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1996), 1–4. LDS link
  • Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Fruits of the First Vision," Ensign (May 2005), 36–38. off-site
  • Elden Watson, "Joseph Smith's First Vision—A Harmony";—complete text of all Joseph Smith's accounts on-line off-site  (Key source)
  • Elden Watson, "Joseph Smith's First Vision (introduction)" off-site
Joseph Smith other visionary issues on-line links
  • Dean C. Jessee, "Early Accounts of Joseph Smith (1831–1839)," Brigham Young University Studies 9 no. 3 (1969), 275–294. PDF link
  • David L. Paulsen, "The Doctrine of Divine Embodiment: Restoration, Judeo-Christian, and Philosophical Perspectives," Brigham Young University Studies 35 no. 4 (1995–96), 6–94. PDF link (Key source)

Printed material

First Vision printed materials
  • James B. Allen, "The Emergence of a Fundamental: The Expanding Role of Joseph Smith’s First Vision in Mormon Thought," Journal of Mormon History 7 (1980): 437–461.
  • James B. Allen, "Eight Contemporary Accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision–What Do We Learn From Them?," Improvement Era (April 1970), 4–13.
  • Richard L. Anderson, “Alvin Smith,” in Kyle R. Walker, ed., United By Faith: The Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith Family (American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2005), 83–121.
  • Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism (Urbana and Chicago, Illinois: University of Illinois Press; Reprint edition, 1987), 56. ISBN 0252060121.
  • Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Knopf, 2005), 30–56.
  • James B. Allen and John W. Welch, "The Appearance of the Father and the Son to Joseph Smith in 1820," in Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations 1820–1844 (Documents in Latter-day Saint History), edited by John W. Welch with Erick B. Carlson, (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press / Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 2005), 35–75. ISBN 0842526072. This book has recently been reprinted, in paperback. BYU Studies and Deseret Book (July 13, 2011) See also BYU Studies version: PDF link
  • Milton V. Backman, Joseph Smith’s First Vision: The first vision in its historical context (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1971).
  • Milton V. Backman Jr., Joseph Smith’s First Vision: Confirming Evidences and Contemporary Accounts, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980).
  • Milton V. Backman Jr., Joseph Smith’s First Vision: Cornerstone of a Latter-day Faith,” in Robert L. Millet, ed., To Be Learned Is Good, If... (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1987), 21–41.
  • Milton V. Backman Jr., “Lo, Here! Lo, There! Early in the Spring of 1820,” in Larry C. Porter and Susan Easton Black, eds., The Prophet Joseph: Essays on the Life and Mission of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988), 19–35.
  • Milton V. Backman Jr., “Verification of the 1838 Account of the First Vision,” in H. Donl Peterson and Charles D. Tate Jr., eds., The Pearl of Great Price: Revelations from God (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1989), 237–48.
  • Milton V. Backman Jr., "Defender of the First Vision [Elder Orson Pratt]," in Larry C. Porter, Milton V. Backman, Jr., and Susan Easton Black, eds., Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint History: New York and Pennsylvania (Provo: BYU Department of Church History and Doctrine, 1992), 33–48.
  • Donald Q. Cannon, "Palmyra, New York: 1820–1830," in Larry C. Porter, Milton V. Backman, Jr., and Susan Easton Black, eds., Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint History: New York and Pennsylvania (Provo: BYU Department of Church History and Doctrine, 1992), 1–13.
  • Larry E. Dahl, “The Theological Significance of the First Vision,” in Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson, eds., Studies in Scripture, Volume 2: The Pearl of Great Price (Salt Lake City: Randall Book, 1985), 315–37.
  • Donald L. Enders, “The Joseph Smith Sr., Family: Farmers of the Genesee,” in Susan Easton Black and Charles D. Tate Jr., eds., Joseph Smith: The Prophet, The Man (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1993), 213–25.
  • Kent P. Jackson, “The First Vision,” in Kent P. Jackson, From Apostasy to Restoration (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996), 66–79.
  • Kent P. Jackson, “Lessons from the Sacred Grove,” in Kent P. Jackson, From Apostasy to Restoration (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996), 80–89.
  • Dean C. Jessee, "The Earliest Documented Accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision," in Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations 1820–1844 (Documents in Latter-day Saint History), edited by John W. Welch with Erick B. Carlson, (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press / Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 2005), 1–33. ISBN 0842526072. This book has recently been reprinted, in paperback. BYU Studies and Deseret Book (July 13, 2011) (Key source) See also BYU Studies version: PDF link
  • Dean C. Jessee, The Early Accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision (Mormon Miscellaneous reprint series) (Mormon Miscellaneous, 1984).
  • Dean C. Jessee (editor), The Papers of Joseph Smith: Autobiographical and Historical Writings (Vol. 1 of 2) (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1989), 6–7, 127, 272–73, 429–30, 444, and 448–49.. ISBN 0875791999
  • Dean C. Jessee, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, [original edition] (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1984), 5–6, 75–76, 199–200, 213. ISBN 0877479747. GL direct link
  • Dean C. Jessee, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, revised edition, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2002), 9–20. ISBN 1573457876. off-site  (Key source)
  • Dean C. Jessee, “The Early Accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision,” in Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson, eds., Studies in Scripture, Volume 2: The Pearl of Great Price (Salt Lake City: Randall Book, 1985), 303–314.
  • Neal E. Lambert and Richard H. Cracroft, “Literary Form and Historical Understanding: Joseph Smith’s First Vision,” Journal of Mormon History, vol. 7 (1980), 31–42.
  • Truman G. Madsen, “The First Vision and Its Aftermath,” in Truman G. Madsen, Joseph Smith the Prophet (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1989), 7–18.
  • Adele Brannon McCollum, “The First Vision: Re-Visioning Historical Experience,” in Neal E. Lambert, ed., Literature of Belief: Sacred Scripture and Religious Experience (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1981), 177–96.
  • Hugh W. Nibley, Tinkling Cymbals and Sounding Brass: The Art of Telling Tales About Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (Vol. 11 of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by David J. Whittaker, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Company ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1991),55–101. ISBN 0875795161. GL direct link
  • Larry C. Porter, “The Youth of the Grove and the Prophet of the Restoration,” in Susan Easton Black and Andrew C. Skinner, eds., Joseph: Exploring the Life and Ministry of the Prophet (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005), 36–46.
  • John W. Welch, “‘All Their Creeds Were an Abomination’: A Brief Look at Creeds as Part of the Apostasy,” in Fred E. Woods, et al., eds., Prelude to the Restoration: From Apostasy to the Restored Church (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and BYU Religious Studies Center, 2004), 228–49.
Joseph Smith other visionary issues printed works
  • Hugh W. Nibley, Tinkling Cymbals and Sounding Brass: The Art of Telling Tales About Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (Vol. 11 of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by David J. Whittaker, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Company ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1991), 1. ISBN 0875795161. GL direct link

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