Joseph Smith’s First Vision ushered in the restoration of the Gospel. It had Heavenly Father and His Son coming through the Heavens to visit the young boy in the spring of 1820. This vision leads to the founding of Mormonism. But what is not as well known is that in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, everyone and their brother was having visions and many of them appear to be very similar to Joseph Smith’s. So in this week’s episode Bill and RFM do a comparative analysis on those other Visions to see what can be gleaned and its no small thing what they find.
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We’re is study on Utah suicide rates being higher during general conference?
BTW, from a Richard Bushman Reddit AMA:
“At first, Joseph was reluctant to talk about his vision. Most early converts probably never heard about the 1820 vision.” (Rough Stone Rolling, pg 39) How can we reconcile this with the official narrative in Joseph Smith History, which mentions “great persecution,” “men of high standing [taking] notice” of Smith, and all sects “[uniting] to persecute [him].”
As I understand it, there is no surviving evidence at all that Smith told anyone about a “first vision” until the 1832 account. Nothing from his family, from church sources, from other historical sources, or even a mention in anti-Mormon sources criticizing his claim of seeing God. (Please, correct me if I’m wrong on this.)
It just seems to me that if events occurred as told in the official account, the level of extant evidence would be (far) greater than zero. Is it possible that Smith greatly exaggerated the claims of persecution when writing his 1838 version of the vision? To me, verses 22-25 of JSH just don’t jibe with the historical record, nor with your description thereof (as quoted at the start of this post).
Question: Is it possible that Smith greatly exaggerated the claims of persecution when writing his 1838 version of the vision? To me, verses 22-25 of JSH just don’t jibe with the historical record, nor with your description thereof (as quoted at the start of this post).
Answer: I think it is possible that Smith exaggerated the claims of his 1820 persecutions when he wrote in 1838. He had undergone a great deal of serious persecution just recently, and he may have seen his early troubles as the first stage. He may have been a little on the paranoid side too, exaggerating opposition when he encountered it. He certainly was sensitive to insults of any kind. I conjecture that after the First Vision he said nothing to his family but did confide in a minister. When his account was dismissed, he took it badly. After all he had come to open his heart and was rejected by a minister who probably was impatient with visionary claims. The experience made him all the more wary about telling anyone about his experiences. By his own account, he said nothing about Moroni to his family until admonished by the angel.