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1843 Account of the First Vision


1843 Interview. In the summer of 1843, David N. White of the Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette stopped at Nauvoo and visited the Prophet. The following excerpt is from White’s report of his interview with Joseph Smith on 29 August 1843, published in his newspaper on 15 September.

The Lord does reveal himself to me. I know it. He revealed himself first to me when I was about fourteen years old, a mere boy. I will tell you about it. There was a reformation among the different religious denominations in the neighborhood where I lived, and I became serious, and was desirous to know what Church to join. While thinking of this matter, I opened the Testament promiscuously on these words, in James, ‘Ask of the Lord who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.’ I just determined I’d ask him. I immediately went out in the woods where my father had a clearing, and went to the stump where I had stuck my axe when I had quit work, and I kneeled down, and prayed, saying, ‘O Lord, what church shall I join?’ Directly I saw a light, and then a glorious personage in the light, and then another personage, and the first personage said to the second, ‘Behold my Beloved Son, hear him.’ I then, addressed this second person, saying, ‘O Lord, what church shall I join.’ He replied, ‘don’t join any of them, they are all corrupt.’ The vision then vanished, and when I came to myself, I was sprawling on my back; and it was some time before my strength returned. When I went home and told the people that I had a revelation, and that all the churches were corrupt, they persecuted me, and they have persecuted me ever since.

Dean C. Jessee, ed., Papers of Joseph Smith, vol. 1:443-444