First Vision Accounts
This 1832 narrative contains the earliest known account of Joseph’s First Vision. It was partly written by him and partly dictated to his scribe, Frederick G. Williams.
See handwritten account at JosephSmithPapers.org
At about the age of twelve years my mind became seriously imprest with regard to the all importent concerns for the wellfare of my immortal Soul which led me to Searching the Scriptures believeing as I was taught, that they contained the word of God thus applying myself to them and my intimate acquaintance with those of differant denominations led me to marvel excedingly for I discovered that they did not adorn their profession by a holy walk and Godly conversation agreeable to what I found contained in that Sacred depository this was a grief to my Soul thus from the age of twelve years to fifteen I pondered many things in my heart concerning the sittuation of the world of mankind the contentions and divions the wickeness and abominations and the darkness which pervaded the minds of mankind my mind become excedingly distressed for I became convicted of my Sins and by Searching the Scriptures I found that mankind did not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatised from the true and liveing faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the new testament and I felt to mourn for my own Sins and for the Sins of the world for I learned in the Scriptures that God was the same yesterday to day and forever that he was no respecter to persons for he was God for I looked upon the sun the glorious luminary of the earth and also the moon rolling in their magesty through the heavens and also the Stars Shining in their courses and the earth also upon which I stood and the beast of the field and the fowls of heaven and the fish of the waters and also man walking forth upon the face of the earth in magesty and in the Strength of beauty whose power and intiligence in governing the things which are so exceding great and marvilous even in the likeness of him who created them and when I considered upon these things my heart exclaimed well hath the wise man Said it is a fool that Saith in his heart there is no God my heart exclained all all these bear testimony and bespeak an omnipotent and omnipreasant power a being who makith Laws and decreeeth and bindeth all things in their bounds who filleth Eternity who was and is and will be fron all Eternity to Eternity and when I considered all these things and that that being Seeketh such to worship 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 obtain mercy and the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness and while in thee attitude of calling upon the Lord in the 16th [or 15th]* 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 filld 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 crucifyed for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life behold the world lieth in sin at this time and none doeth good no not one they have turned asside 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 acording to this ungodliness and to bring to pass that which hath been spoken by the mouth of the prophets and Apostles behold and lo I come quickly as it written of me in the cloud clothed in the glory of my Father 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 hevenly vision nevertheless I pondered these things in my heart.
Nevertheless I fell into transgression and sinned in many things which brought wound upon my Soul and there were many things which transpired that cannot be writen and my Fathers family have suffered many persecutions and afflictions.
*Although the age recorded in the manuscript appears to be 16, the "6" was not clearly written in the document and may have been written as a "5".
(Milton V. Backman, Jr., Joseph Smith's First Vision: Confirming Evidences and Contemporary Accounts, 2d ed. rev., p.157)