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
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.