Either Joseph Smith saw the first vision or he didn’t. I don’t just say this but the Mormon church also. Everything they believe in lives or dies with this first vision. Either Joseph Smith was a true prophet or a fraud. If this vision is false, the LDS people, in general, have to reconsider what they believe in, while finding a different church to attend. The Book of Mormon and other books in their church would be false, minus the Bible. This is so important to think about, for people do not have to become an atheist just because they find out the first vision is false. Jesus still saves and they can find a real relationship with Him still. But what first vision should people trust as there are many variations of the same event. How about the one where he is 14 years old or 16 years old? Did he see just Jesus, angels and Jesus, or the Father and Jesus? Was he told his sins were forgiven, that his sins were forgiven and that churches were not obeying his commandments, or that all churches are corrupt? We will get into these accounts later. Amen.
Gordan Hinkley, a Prophet of the Mormon church said the following about the first vision:
“Our entire case as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the validity of this glorious First Vision. It was the parting of the curtain to open this, the dispensation of the fulness of times. Nothing on which we base our doctrine, nothing we teach, nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God the Father and His Beloved Son, then all else of which he spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “What are people asking about us?”)
“Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud. If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Marvelous Foundation of our Faith“)
So is the first vision the same as what people read on the official Mormon website? See for yourself below:
Note: Joseph Smith was 16 years old. He saw Jesus. Jesus told him that his sins were forgiven and more about people not keeping His commandments, and turning their hearts from the gospel.
“I considered all these things and that <that> being seeketh such to warship him as worship him in spirit and in truth therefore 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 year of my age> a pillar of fire light above the brightness of the sun at noon day come 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 crucified for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life <behold> the world lieth in sin and 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 according to their 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 Father18 and my soul was filled with love and for many days I could rejoice with great Joy and the Lord was with me but could find none that would believe the heavily vision nevertheless I pondered these things in my heart19 about that time my mother and20 but after many days.” (JS History, ca. Summer 1832, pp. 3)
Note: Joseph Smith was 14 years old. He two personages. One came first unto Joseph and later came Jesus, and many angels. Jesus told him that his sins were forgiven.
“I retired to the silent grove and bowed down before the Lord, under a realizing sense that he had said (if the bible be true) ask and you shall receive knock and it shall be opened seek and you shall find and again, if any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraided not; information was what I most desired at this time, and with a fixed determination I to obtain it, I called upon the Lord for the first time, in the place above stated or in other words I made a fruitless attempt to pray, my tongue seemed to be swollen in my mouth, so that I could not utter, I heard a noise behind me like some person walking towards me, <I> strove again to pray, but could not, the noise of walking seemed to draw nearer, I sprung up on my feet, and looked around, but saw no person or thing that was calculated to produce the noise of walking, I kneeled again my mouth was opened and my tongue liberated, and I called on the Lord in mighty prayer, a pillar of fire appeared above my head, it presently rested down upon my <me> head, and filled me with joy unspeakable, a personage appeared in the midst, of this pillar of flame which was spread all around, and yet nothing consumed, another personage soon appeared like unto the first, he said unto me thy sins are forgiven thee, he testified unto me that Jesus Christ is the son of God; <and I saw many angels in this vision> I was about 14. years old when I received this first communication.” (JS, Journal, 9–11 Nov. 1835, pp. 23–24)
Note: Joseph Smith’s age is unknown. He saw two personages at the same time, the Father and the Son, Jesus. He was told to not join any church for they were all wrong.
“After I had retired into the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God, I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was <seized> upon by some power which entirely overcame me and <had> such astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction. But exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction, not to an imaginary ruin but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world who had such a marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being. Just at this moment of great alarm I saw a pillar <of> light exactly over my head above the brightness of the sun, which descended gracefully gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages (whose brightness and glory defy all description) standing above me in the air. One of <them> spake unto me calling me by name and said (pointing to the other) “This is my beloved Son, Hear him.” My object in going to enquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner therefore did I get possession of myself so as to be able to speak, than I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right, (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong) and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the Personage who addressed me said that all their Creeds were an abomination in his sight, that those professors were all corrupt, that “they draw near to me to with their lips but their hearts are far from me, They teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of Godliness but they deny the power thereof.” He again forbade me to join with any of them and many other thing did he say unto me which I cannot write at this time.” (JS History, 1839-1841, vol. A-1, pp. 2–3)
Note: Joseph Smith’s age is unknown. He saw two personages at the same time, them being unknown. He was told to not join any church for they were all wrong.
“I went to one society they referred me to one plan, and another to another; each one pointing to his own particular creed as the summum bonum of perfection: considering that all could not be right, and that God could not be the author of so much confusion I determined to investigate the subject more fully, believing that if God had a church it would not be split up into factions, and that if he taught one society to worship one way, and administer in one set of ordinances, he would not teach another principles which were diametrically opposed. Believing the word of God I had confidence in the declaration of James; “If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him,” I retired to a secret place in a grove and began to call upon the Lord, while fervently engaged in supplication my mind was taken away from the objects with which I was surrounded, and I was enwrapped in a heavenly vision and saw two glorious personages who exactly resembled each other in features, and likeness, surrounded with a brilliant light which eclipsed the sun at noon-day. They told me that all religious denominations were believing in incorrect doctrines, and that none of them was acknowledged of God as his church and kingdom. And I was expressly commanded to “go not after them,”6 at the same time receiving a promise that the fulness of the gospel should at some future time be made known unto me.” (JS, “Church History,” Times and Seasons, 1 Mar. 1842, 3:706–707)
The truth is, we got four entirely different accounts of the first vision. In the 1832 Account, Joseph Smith was 16 years old. He saw Jesus. Jesus told him that his sins were forgiven and more about people not keeping His commandments, and turning their hearts from the gospel. In the 1835 Account, Joseph Smith was 14 years old. He saw two personages. One came first unto Joseph and later came Jesus, and many angels. Jesus told him that his sins were forgiven. In the 1839-1841 Account, Joseph Smith’s age is unknown. He saw two personages at the same time, the Father and the Son, Jesus. He was told to not join any church for they were all wrong. Lastly, with the 1842 Account, Joseph Smith’s age is unknown. He saw two personages at the same time, them being unknown. He was told to not join any church for they were all wrong. Therefore, a person has no basis to call the first vision as truth. A vision that is true would not change important aspects like the age it happened, who they saw, and what they said. All this is different depending upon the vision you read. The truth is, Joseph Smith either made up his first vision or saw an angel of light that appeared to be of God. The Lord’s church is still alive and active and he would never tell anyone not to join any church, only Satan would do this. Amen.
Paul is speaking about this type of vision that can be associated to angels of light from Satan below:
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9)
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