Joseph Smith Jr.’s First Vision

The following is a unique synthesis of the First Vision, which includes elements of the historical accounts as well as the example set by the boy’s parents:


Near the age of twelve, Joseph Smith Jr. found himself yearning for an assurance of his eternal fate. As he approached the age of 15 this spiritual hunger grew more intense and weighed heavily upon his heart.


A. At this time there was a great spiritual revival swept through his community which altered the spiritual landscape.

B. Despite outward expressions of unity and harmony, a bitter malice and rivalry simmered amongst the clergy.

C. These spiritual leaders engaged in fierce debates, each striving to prove themselves right and all others wrong. Each claimed to be in possession of the truth, yet all were marred by contradictions, not just between denominations but within their own doctrines.

D. Such a landscape of doctrinal confusion and zealous proselytization led many souls, including members of Joseph’s family, to align with these diverse traditions.


A. Amidst this turmoil Joseph remained troubled.

B. He yearned to align with the church which embodied true doctrine, yet the labyrinth of creeds and dogmas left him unable to discern his path.

C. The notion of blindly adopting the convictions of others without a personal testament was inconceivable to him.

D. Thus, he sought enlightenment from the scriptures, trusting they would illuminate the path forward.


A. In his studies, Joseph stumbled upon a verse that struck him to his core. This passage emphasized direct communion with the Divine.

B. He ceaselessly pondered this counsel.

C. It echoed the spiritual journey of his father, who similarly sought Celestial guidance. His father had found his answers and the pure love of God after he partook of a mystic fruit which was found in excess at the base of a tree.

D. Motivated and inspired by this scripture and his father’s example, he resolved to personally seek Divine wisdom.


A. On a clear spring morning, filled with trepidation from the unfamiliarity of his undertaking, Joseph ventured into the woods in pursuit of Divine counsel.

B. There he found a tree, beneath which were fruits reminiscent of chestnut burrs, as described by his father. He consumed them by the double-fistfuls as his father instructed.

C. As he commenced his prayer, a daunting darkness overcame him, plunging him into doubt and rendering him speechless.

D. Despite this, Joseph persisted and continued to call upon God with intensified vigor.

E. Suddenly a light appeared to be descending from high above him. As this heavenly vision approached it increased in brightness and intensity, which dispelled the doubt and speechlessness with wonder and awe.

F. In this moment with the Divine, Joseph inquired which church would secure his eternal salvation.

G. The Divine response was unequivocal: he was to join none, for none possessed the fullness of truth and all were ensnared by their own imperfections and self-interests.

H. Joseph was assured of his righteous standing, and was promised that the wisdom he sought would one day be unveiled to him.

I. As the vision gradually faded, Joseph was left physically drained but spiritually invigorated, basking in an ineffable peace and joy.


A. He returned to his home, recounted his Divine encounter to his mother, and expressed his new-found resolve to remain unaffiliated from all churches.

B. When his revelation was shared within his community he was met with skepticism and derision. The clergy, who thrived on being seen as the mouthpieces of God, were particularly contemptuous of Joseph.