One of the new entries in the Topics and Questions section of the Gospel Library is the entry Multiple Accounts of the First Vision.

In the spring of 1820, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith as he prayed in a grove of trees near his home in western New York. This event is known as the First Vision. Joseph and others recorded several accounts of the First Vision during the Prophet’s lifetime.

Joseph published two accounts of the First Vision. The most well-known was canonized and can be found in the Pearl of Great Price. Two unpublished accounts, recorded in Joseph Smith’s earliest autobiography and in his journal, were generally unknown until they were published by the Church in the 1960s.

The various accounts tell a consistent story, though naturally they differ in emphasis and detail. Learn about some of the differences in the accounts in the entry Multiple Accounts of the First Vision.

The section “Exploring Your Questions” answers the following questions:

  • Why are there differences between Joseph Smith’s First Vision accounts?
  • How many heavenly beings did Joseph Smith see in the First Vision?
  • Did Joseph Smith pray for forgiveness or to know which church to join?
  • Why do Joseph Smith’s First Vision accounts differ in how he described his age?
  • Is there historical evidence of religious excitement near Palmyra, New York, in 1820?
  • Why did Joseph wait so long to write an account of the First Vision?
  • Why did some early Church members not mention the First Vision in their accounts of the Restoration?
  • Are there similarities between Joseph Smith’s 1832 First Vision account and the conversion stories of other Christians in his day?


The Topics and Questions section of the Gospel Library has an alphabetical list of hundreds of topics of potential interest. It also has two helpful the sections: Seeking Answers to Questions and Helping Others With Questions.


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