- Accounts of the First Vision
Primary Accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision of Deity
Joseph Smith recorded the earliest written account of his first vision of deity in his circa summer 1832 history. Thereafter, several additional accounts of the event were written under Joseph Smith’s direction. Contemporaries who heard him speak about his first vision also wrote descriptions, some of which were published for wider distribution. The first published account was written by Orson Pratt and printed in 1840. The present document is designed to facilitate access both to the firsthand accounts of this experience and to the most significant accounts recorded by Joseph Smith’s contemporaries.
The firsthand accounts recorded by Joseph Smith or under his direction are:
1. JS History, ca. Summer 1832, pp. 1–3, in JSP, H1:12–13
2. JS, Journal, 9–11 Nov. 1835, pp. 23–24, in JSP, J1:87–88
3. JS History, 1834–1836, entry for 9 Nov. 1835, pp. 120–121, in JSP, H1:115–116 (a repurposing of the journal account)
4. JS History, 1838–1856, vol. A-1, pp. 2–3, in JSP, H1:208–214 (Draft 2)
5. JS History, 1838–ca. 1841, pp. 2–4, in JSP, H1:209–215 (Draft 3)
7. JS, “Church History,” Times and Seasons, 1 Mar. 1842, 3:706–707, in JSP, H1:492–494
The early accounts written by contemporaries who heard Joseph Smith speak about the vision include:
1. Orson Pratt, A[n] Interesting Account, pp. 3–5, in JSP, H1:522–523
3. Levi Richards, Journal, 11 June 1843, Church History Library
4. Interview, JS by David Nye White, Nauvoo, IL, 21 Aug. 1843; in David Nye White, “The Prairies, Joe Smith, the Temple, the Mormons, &c.,” Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, 15 Sept. 1843, , photocopy at Church History Library
5. Alexander Neibaur, Journal, 24 May 1844, Church History Library
For further discussion on the subject, see also the Historical Introduction to History, circa Summer 1832, in JSP, H1:6.