The story was accepted as scripture by the Mormons in 1880. . Its importance is second only to belief in the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth. [16]. When the light appeared, the force of darkness left. [10] If Cheesman’s discovery is authentic, Brodie’s argument will have to be revised. By the time of his death, 14 years later, he had attracted tens of thousands of followers and founded a religion that continues to the present with millions of global adherents. The fact that Jesus lived was only supposed to be the case because eighteen hundred years before men had seen him. A religion, newly established by Joseph Smith, who claimed to have had a revelation from angel. I kneeled again, my mouth was opened and my tongue loosed; I called on the Lord in mighty prayer. Alexander Campbell, who had some reason to be especially bitter against the Mormons because of the conversion of Sidney Rigdon in 1830, published one of the first scathing denunciations of Joseph Smith in 1832. As far as Mormon literature is concerned, there was apparently no reference to Joseph Smith’s First Vision in any published material in the 1830s. . In this story, only one personage was mentioned, and this was obviously the Son, for he spoke of having been crucified. He was told not to join any of the churches. Joseph himself wrote at least two different accounts for publication. During the thirty-nine years of his life, Joseph established thriving cities in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois; produced volumes of scripture; sent missionaries throughout the world; orchestrated the building of temples; served as mayor of Nauvoo, one of the largest cities in Illinois, and as general of its militia, the Nauvoo Legion; and was a candidate for the presidency of the United States. This also contained an elaborate account of the vision. In about 1833, however, Joseph Smith apparently made a preliminary attempt to write the story, but this account was never published. This discovery is a handwritten manuscript apparently composed about 1833 and either written or dictated by Joseph Smith. The First Vision, according to the Mormon prophet, came as a result of his prayerful inquiry concerning which church to join. It seems evident that, at least in the 1830s, it was not considered necessary for prospective converts to Mormonism to know the story. In 1833 the Church published the Book of Commandments¸ forerunner to the present Doctrine and Covenants, and again no reference was made to Joseph’s First Vision, although several references were made to the Book of Mormon and the circumstances of its origin. It is apparent, furthermore, that belief in the vision was not essential for conversion to the Church, for there is no evidence that the story was told to prospective converts of the early 1830s. As recalled and recorded by the scribe, the Mormon leader’s words were “nearly as follows”: Being wrought up in my mind respecting the subject of Religion, and looking at the different systems taught the children of men, I knew not who was right or who was wrong but considered it of the first importance to me that I should be right in matters of so much moment, matter involving eternal consequences. James E. Talmage, for example, in his Articles of Faith, used the story to illustrate the Godhead doctrine, and Joseph Fielding Smith, in his Essentials in Church History, makes a major point of this doctrinal contribution. [6] The first important missionary pamphlet of the Church was the Voice of Warning, published in 1837 by Parley P. Pratt. Therefore, he declared, I cried unto the Lord for mercy for there was none else to whom I could go and to obtain mercy and the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness and while in the attitude of calling upon the Lord in the 16th [see footnote] year of my age a piller of light above the brightness of the sun at noon day came down from above and rested upon me and I was filled with the Spirit of God and the Lord opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying Joseph my son Thy Sins are forgiven thee, go thy way walk in my Statutes and keep my commandments behold I am the Lord of glory I was crucifyed for the world. See William Smith, William Smith on Mormonism (Lamoni, IA: Herald Steam Book, 1883). Joseph Smith’s First Vision Invite the young women to silently read and ponder Joseph Smith’s First Vision and his testimony in Joseph Smith—History 1:11–19, 24–25 Pin It Ages had passed and no one had beheld Him. He first saw Joseph Smith in 1834, and, according to Stevenson. Can we fully understand our heritage without understanding the gradual development of ideas, and the use of those ideas, in our history? The most unusual statement, however, is Joseph’s declaration that he saw many angels in this vision. There is little, if any, evidence, however, that by the early 1830s Joseph Smith was telling the story in public. . In this account, Joseph emphasized the difficulty he had in uttering his first prayer, and the “noise of walking” seems to suggest the evil opposition which became an essential element in the official version of the story. In short, it is almost certain that the document in the back of the book comprises the original notes from which the “Manuscript History” was later compiled and that it is actually a daily account of Joseph Smith’s activities in 1835, as recorded by a scribe. (Salt Lake City) After the difficult journey they greatly improved their land through wise forms of irrigation. When Joseph Smith finally wrote, or dictated, the “Manuscript History” in 1838, he told of his great uneasiness in the midst of the religious confusion of 1820 and his quest to determine which of the churches was right. It seems apparent that if Joseph Smith told the story to friends and neighbors in 1820, he stopped telling it widely by 1830. This, of course, is to be expected, for the same thing happens in the retelling of any story. The importance of the manuscript here lies in the fact that the scribe wrote down what Joseph Smith said to his visitor, and he began not by telling the story of the discovery of the Book of Mormon but with an account of the First Vision. [5] When Parley P. Pratt converted John Taylor in 1836, the story he told him was of the angelic visitations connected with the Book of Mormon, of the priesthood restoration, and of the organization of the Church. The best missionary tool in that day was apparently the Book of Mormon, and most early converts came into the Church as a result either of reading the book or of hearing the “testimony” of others who declared their personal knowledge of its authenticity. The account written about 1833 told of his youthful anxiety over the “welfare of my immortal soul” and over his sins as well as the sins of the world. The manuscript has apparently lain in the LDS Church Historian’s Office for many years, yet few, if any, who saw it realized its profound historical significance. Another personage soon appeared like unto the first: he said unto me thy sins are forgiven thee. In spite of the foregoing discussion, there is some interesting evidence to suggest the possibility that the story of Joseph Smith’s First Vision was known, probably on a limited basis, during the formative decade of Church history. These were the famous missionaries to the “Lamanites” of 1830. In connection with the story of the vision, then, it is important to ask certain questions: When was it first told? In 1843 Joseph Smith told the story to a non-Mormon editor, who later quoted him in an article in the New York Spectator. To summarize what has been said so far, it is apparent that the story of Joseph Smith’s First Vision was not given general circulation in the 1830s. [2] Apparently not until 1843, when the New York Spectator printed a reporter’s account of an interview with Joseph Smith, did a non-Mormon source publish any reference to the story of the First Vision. It is noted by some that in 1838 he declared that his basic reason for telling it even then, eighteen years after it happened, was in response to “reports which have been put in circulation by evil-disposed and designing persons” who had distorted the facts. In what other respects has the Mormon mind been modified since the 1830s? The conversation naturally turned to religion, and it is recorded that the Mormon prophet told his guest “the circumstances connected with the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, as recorded in the former part of this history.” [12] From reading the “Manuscript History,” therefore, as well as the printed History of the Church, one would get the impression that at this time Joseph Smith related only the Book of Mormon story. What forces and events have led Church leaders to place special emphasis on special ideas in given periods of time? Joseph Smith was the founder of mormanism. [20] For a copy of the Pratt story, see Cheesman, “An Analysis of the Accounts,” appendix C. [21] Orson Pratt, An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions, and of the Late Discovery of Ancient American Records (Edinburgh: Ballantyne and Hughes, 1840), 5. It was published first in 1840 by Orson Pratt as a missionary tool, and two of Joseph Smith’s own versions were published in 1842. Joseph Smith Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement. Was such a variety of opinion respecting the character of Joseph, the of. Era, February 1937, 83 Journal that very day of darkness, the force of opposition was not in! In reply he was told some remarkable things, which he made, and he willing. As was manifested on these occasions the other has the Mormon prophet and includes the story was joseph smith significance in. 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