If I was a young boy, and had went into the woods to pray to discover which church was true, and Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ came down out of a pillar of light and spoke with me, this would be an unforgettable experience.
There are many reports of Joseph Smith telling different versions of this first vision, but I would like to focus on Joseph’s 1832 account of the first vision. Why this version? Simply because it is the earliest known written account of his experience, but most importantly it was written by Joseph’s own hand.
Note there are many differences between the two accounts, but one critical issue is that Joseph Smith NEVER mentions being in the presence of the Father & Son, just the Lord.
- No – Two Personages
- No – This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
If you were writing the account of the first vision, would you have included the fact that you saw both God the Father and Jesus Christ?
Does the absence of the Father in the 1832 account matter to you?
Apparently it didn’t matter to Gordon B Hinckley – in 1993 he stated the following
I thank my Father in Heaven for the testimony I have of the reality of the First Vision. I have stood among the trees where Joseph knelt as a boy, and heard the whisperings of the Spirit that it happened as he said it happened. I have read the words of critics, who from 1820 until now have tried to destroy the validity of that account. They have made much of the fact that there were several versions and that the account as we now have it was not written until 1838. So what?
Yes, Hinckley actually said “So what?” http://www.lds.org/ensign/1993/11/my-testimony?lang=eng
So what? Well it matters to me…. The first vision is Joseph’s initial step to becoming a prophet of God. If it didn’t happen as Joseph described, He was not a prophet.
Well apparently Hickley does think there is some importance to the truthfulness of the first vision. In a missionary meeting on July 12, 1996 he said the following.
“That becomes the hinge pin on which this whole cause turns. If the First Vision was true, if it actually happened, then the Book of Mormon is true. Then we have the priesthood. Then we have the Church organization and all of the other keys and blessings of authority which we say we have. If the First Vision did not occur, then we are involved in a great sham. It is just that simple.” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 227)
This is just one of many things that lead me to question the validity of the church. It wasn’t a primary reason, in fact it is low on my list of reasons. However, this is one simple fact that just doesn’t make sense to me. The church may play it down & scholars try to explain it away, but Joseph didn’t include God the Father in his first draft of the First Vision.
We are all involved in a great sham. It is just that simple