Sunday, December 08, 2013

The First Vision Series - The 1832 Account

I've copied below the text of the 1832 account in order to more easily reference it and apply highlights.

At about the age of twelve years my mind become seriously imprest with regard to the all importent concerns of for the well fare of my immortal Soul which led me to search ing 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) instead of adorning 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 divi[si]ons the wicke[d]ness and abominations and the darkness which pervaded the of the minds of mankind my mind become excedingly distressed for I become convicted of my sins and by searching the scriptures I found that mand (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 him (them) and when I considered upon these things my heart exclaimed well hath the wise man said the (it is a) fool (that) saith in his heart there is no God my heart exclaimed all all these bear testimony and bespeak an omnipotant 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 from all Eternity to Eternity and when (I) considered all these things and that (that) being seeketh such to worshep him as wors hip 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 to obtain mercy and the Lord heard my cry in the wilderne ss and while in (the) attitude of calling upon the Lord (in the 16th year of my age) a piller of fire light above the brightness of the sun at noon day come down from above and rested upon me and I was filled 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 and 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 thir ungodliness and to bring to pass that which (hath) been spoken by the mouth of the prophe ts and Ap[o]stles behold and lo I come quickly as it [is] wr itten 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 hevnly vision nevertheless I pondered these things in my heart.

This version has many similar points as the canonized version in the Pearl of Great Price:
- Joseph searched the scriptures
- He was convinced the religions of the day had apostatized from the church of the New Testament
- He went to someplace quiet to pray
- He was told none of the religions of the day keep the commandments
- No one believes him when he tells them of the vision

However, there are also a number of differences in this version:
- Joseph does not mention James 1:5
- No mention of an "enemy" seizing upon him
- There is no mention that God the Father was present; it seems to be only the Lord Jesus Christ that visits Joseph.
- No specific mention of persecution or prejudice for telling the vision
- The Lord speaks much more in this version than in the PoGP.
- It seems the primary reason Joseph seeks the Lord in prayer is to seek forgiveness
- The Lord forgives Joseph
- While Joseph wrote this account himself, Frederick G. Williams inserted "in the 16th year of my age".  So, according to Joseph/Frederick in this version, Joseph was slightly older than the PoGP version where he was fourteen.

To me, the two main points of this version of the vision are:
1) Joseph really desires forgiveness of his sins and subsequently receives that forgiveness
2) Joseph arrives at the conclusion that God is unchangeable and therefore people have fallen away from Him and not the other way around.

I remember Bushman indicating that other people in Joseph's day and even before him, experienced similar visions.  After reading of several of those visions received by other people, the 1832 version of Joseph's vision seems on par when compared to those other visions.

People want to see God and/or Jesus Christ.  People saw Christ before Joseph; Joseph saw Christ; people after Joseph saw Christ.  I was always impressed with the many Kekchi who would often tell us they saw Jesus in a dream.  I don't doubt people still see Him today.

Joseph's first account version seems to be similar to many of these other visions.