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The Effects of the First Vision


   When I came to myself again I found myself lying on my back looking up into Heaven.<br>
   Some few days later after I had this vision I happened to be in company with one of the Methodist Preachers who was very active in the before mentioned religious excitement and conversing with him on the subject of religion I took occasion to give him an account of the vision which I had had.  I was greatly surprised at his behaviour, he treated my communication not only lightly but with great contempt, saying it was all of the Devil, that there was no such thing as visions or revelations in these days, that all such things had ceased with the apostles and that there never would be any more of them.<br>
   I soon found however that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion and was the cause of great persecution which continued to increase and though I was an obscure boy only between fourteen and fifteen years of age or thereabouts, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, Yet men of high standing  would take notice sufficiently to excite the public mind against me and create a hot persecution, and this was common among all the sects: all united to persecute me. It has often caused me serious reflection both then and since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy of a little over fourteen years of age and one too who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintainance by his daily labor should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day so as to create in them a spirit of the bitterest persecution and reviling.<br>
   But strange or not, so it was, and was often cause of great sorrow to myself. However it was  nevertheless a fact, that I had had a Vision. I have thought since that I felt much like as Paul did when he made his defence before King Aggrippa and related the account of the Vision he had when he saw a light and heard a voice, but still there were but few who beleived him, some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad, and he was ridiculed and reviled, But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision he knew he had, and all the persecution under Heaven could not make it otherwise, and though they should persecute him unto death Yet he knew and would know to his latest  breath that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise. So it was with me, I had actualy seen a light and in the midst of that light I saw two personages, and they did in reality speak unto me, or one of them did, And though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, Yet it was true and while they were persecuting me reviling me and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart, why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision, “and who am  I that I can withstand God” Or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen, for I had seen a vision, I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dare I do it, at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God and come under condemnation.<br>
   I had now got my mind satisfied so far as the sectarian world was concerned, that it was not my duty to join with any of them, but continue as I was untill further directed, for I had found the testimony of James to be true, that a man who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain and not be upbraided. I continued to pursue my common avocations in life untill the twenty first of September, One thousand Eight hundred and twenty three, all the time suffering severe persecution at the hand of all classes of men, both religious and irreligious because I continued to affirm that I had seen a Vision.<br>
   During the space of time which intervened  between the time I had the vision and the year Eighteen hundred and twenty three, (having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends, and to have treated me kindly and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavoured in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me)...
External Link
The Joseph Smith Papers, History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834], pgs 3-5
Joseph Smith canonized account
Joseph Smith Jr.
1838
   When I came to myself again I found myself lying on my back looking up into Heaven.
   Some few days later after I had this vision I happened to be in company with one of the Methodist Preachers who was very active in the before mentioned religious excitement and conversing with him on the subject of religion I took occasion to give him an account of the vision which I had had. I was greatly surprised at his behaviour, he treated my communication not only lightly but with great contempt, saying it was all of the Devil, that there was no such thing as visions or revelations in these days, that all such things had ceased with the apostles and that there never would be any more of them.
   I soon found however that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion and was the cause of great persecution which continued to increase and though I was an obscure boy only between fourteen and fifteen years of age or thereabouts, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, Yet men of high standing would take notice sufficiently to excite the public mind against me and create a hot persecution, and this was common among all the sects: all united to persecute me. It has often caused me serious reflection both then and since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy of a little over fourteen years of age and one too who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintainance by his daily labor should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day so as to create in them a spirit of the bitterest persecution and reviling.
   But strange or not, so it was, and was often cause of great sorrow to myself. However it was nevertheless a fact, that I had had a Vision. I have thought since that I felt much like as Paul did when he made his defence before King Aggrippa and related the account of the Vision he had when he saw a light and heard a voice, but still there were but few who beleived him, some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad, and he was ridiculed and reviled, But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision he knew he had, and all the persecution under Heaven could not make it otherwise, and though they should persecute him unto death Yet he knew and would know to his latest breath that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise. So it was with me, I had actualy seen a light and in the midst of that light I saw two personages, and they did in reality speak unto me, or one of them did, And though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, Yet it was true and while they were persecuting me reviling me and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart, why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision, “and who am I that I can withstand God” Or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen, for I had seen a vision, I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dare I do it, at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God and come under condemnation.
   I had now got my mind satisfied so far as the sectarian world was concerned, that it was not my duty to join with any of them, but continue as I was untill further directed, for I had found the testimony of James to be true, that a man who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain and not be upbraided. I continued to pursue my common avocations in life untill the twenty first of September, One thousand Eight hundred and twenty three, all the time suffering severe persecution at the hand of all classes of men, both religious and irreligious because I continued to affirm that I had seen a Vision.
   During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year Eighteen hundred and twenty three, (having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends, and to have treated me kindly and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavoured in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me)...

   When I went home and told the people that I had a revelation, and that all the churches were corrupt, they persecuted me, and they have persecuted me ever since. They thought to put me down, but they hav’nt succeeded, and they can’t do it…
External Link
The New York Spectator, September 23, 1843
Interview with David Nye White
David Nye White
Aug 29, 1843
   When I went home and told the people that I had a revelation, and that all the churches were corrupt, they persecuted me, and they have persecuted me ever since. They thought to put me down, but they hav’nt succeeded, and they can’t do it…

my soul was filled with love and for many days I could rejoice with great Joy and the Lord was with me but I could find none that would believe the hevnly vision
External Link
The Joseph Smith Papers, History, circa Summer 1832, pg 3
1832 Account
Joseph Smith Jr.
1832
"my soul was filled with love and for many days I could rejoice with great Joy and the Lord was with me but I could find none that would believe the hevnly vision"
(Note:  This document is in Joseph Smith's handwriting.)

   told the Methodist priest & said this was not a age for god to Reveal himself in Vision Revelation has ceased with the New Testament.
External Link
The Joseph Smith Papers, Alexander Neibaur, Journal, 24 May 1844, extract, pg 2
Alexander Neibaur Diary Entry
Alexander Neibaur
May 24, 1844
   "told the Methodist priest & said this was not a age for god to Reveal himself in Vision Revelation has ceased with the New Testament."

   He repeated what he had received, and Priests and people with few exceptions, said he was deluded, that there was no such thing. as the ministering of Angels in these days, and not to believe a word of it: But he was not to be overcome, he trusted in the promises of God
External Link
Autobiography and Journal of William I. Appleby, 1848, Church History Library, pg 31
William Appleby Recollection
William I. Appleby
1848
   He repeated what he had received, and Priests and people" with few exceptions, said he was deluded, that there was no such thing. as the ministering of Angels in these days, and not to believe a word of it: But he was not to be overcome, he trusted in the promises of God
(Note:  This quote comes from William Appleby's "Autobiography and Journal," in which he reminisced on hearing Orson Pratt speak about Joseph Smith in 1839, prior to Appleby being baptized in 1840.)

   We had always had a peculiar anxiety about this child for it seemed as though something was always occurring to place his life in jeopardy and if he was absent one ½ hour unexpectedly we were always apprehensive of some evil befalling him. one instance occurred when this child was 14 years old which alarmed us very much he was out at play one evening about twilight When he was returning through door yard a gun was fired across the pathway in which was walking with evident intention of hitting Joseph he sprang to door threw it open and fell upon the floor with fright we went in search of the person who fired the gun but found no trace of him untill the next morning when we tracked him from under a waggon where he lay when he fired the gun we never found the man out nor ever suspected the cause of the act but we found the balls that were discharged from his piece the next day in the head & neck of a cow that stood opposite the wagon in a dark corner This is but one of many instances which I have passed over in order to be brief in my recital
External Link
The Joseph Smith Papers, Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, pgs 58-59
Attempt on Joseph's Life
Lucy Mack Smith
1844-45
   We had always had a peculiar anxiety about this child for it seemed as though something was always occurring to place his life in jeopardy and if he was absent one ½ hour unexpectedly we were always apprehensive of some evil befalling him. one instance occurred when this child was 14 years old which alarmed us very much he was out at play one evening about twilight When he was returning through door yard a gun was fired across the pathway in which was walking with evident intention of hitting Joseph he sprang to door threw it open and fell upon the floor with fright we went in search of the person who fired the gun but found no trace of him untill the next morning when we tracked him from under a waggon where he lay when he fired the gun we never found the man out nor ever suspected the cause of the act but we found the balls that were discharged from his piece the next day in the head & neck of a cow that stood opposite the wagon in a dark corner This is but one of many instances which I have passed over in order to be brief in my recital
(Note:  This quote comes from Lucy's original manuscript transcribed in 1844-1845 by Martha Jane and Howard Coray. In 1845 the Corays produced an altered copy which can be read in full here. This altered manuscript was used in the 1853 publication by Orson Pratt in England under the title "Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and his Progenitors for many Generations" which can be read in full here.)

   The 3 harvest time had now arrived since we opened our new farm and all our sons were actively employed in assisting their Father to cut down the grain and storing it away in order, One evening we were sitting till quite late conversing upon the subject of the diversity of churches that had risen up in the world and the many thousand opinions in existence as to the truths contained in scripture. Joseph never said many words upon any subject but always seemed to reflect more deeply than common persons of his age upon everything of a religious nature.<br>
   After we ceased conversation he went to bed <and was pondering in his mind which of the churches were the true one> but he had not laid there long till <he saw> a bright <light> enter the room where he lay he looked up and saw an angel of the Lord <standing> by him The angel spoke I perceive that you are enquiring in your mind which is the true church there is not a true church on Earth No not one <and> has not been since Peter took the Keys <of the Melchesidec priesthood after the order of God> into the Kingdom of Heaven The churches that are now upon the Earth are all man made churches There is a record for you and Joseph but you cannot get it untill you learn to keep the commandments of God...
External Link
The Joseph Smith Papers, Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, pg. 40
Lucy recalls that Joseph did not speak much about religion before Moroni's visit
Lucy Mack Smith
1844-45
   The 3 harvest time had now arrived since we opened our new farm and all our sons were actively employed in assisting their Father to cut down the grain and storing it away in order, One evening we were sitting till quite late conversing upon the subject of the diversity of churches that had risen up in the world and the many thousand opinions in existence as to the truths contained in scripture. Joseph never said many words upon any subject but always seemed to reflect more deeply than common persons of his age upon everything of a religious nature.
   After we ceased conversation he went to bed but he had not laid there long till a bright enter the room where he lay he looked up and saw an angel of the Lord by him The angel spoke I perceive that you are enquiring in your mind which is the true church there is not a true church on Earth No not one has not been since Peter took the Keys into the Kingdom of Heaven The churches that are now upon the Earth are all man made churches There is a record for you and Joseph but you cannot get it untill you learn to keep the commandments of God..."
(Note:  This quote comes from Lucy's original manuscript transcribed in 1844-1845 by Martha Jane and Howard Coray. In 1845 the Corays produced an altered copy which can be read in full here. This altered manuscript was used in the 1853 publication by Orson Pratt in England under the title "Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and his Progenitors for many Generations" which can be read in full here.)

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