Art Credit: Anthony Sweat

Joseph Smith's First Vision | Episode 2

What's Unique About Joseph Smith's 1835 and 1838 Accounts of His First Vision?

62 min

In 1835 Joseph Smith briefly received into his Kirtland, Ohio home an eccentric visitor who claimed to be a Jewish minister named Joshua. According to Joseph’s journal, it was to this supposedly Jewish man that he recounted what we know as Joseph’s second recorded account of the First Vision. This episode explores how Joseph’s perception that he was speaking with a Jewish man influenced the details he chose to share and the language he used to tell about his experience.     

Also, three years later, in 1838, Joseph moved to Far West, Missouri after a season of severe persecution in Kirtland and the apostasy of several Church members there. It was while in Far West, with the help of several scribes, that Joseph began recording his official history, which begins with the account of his First Vision that became the official version canonized in Latter-day Saint scripture. We’ll explore the unique details of this account and why it makes sense as the “official” account of Joseph’s vision. And we explore in depth perhaps the most controversial line of this account where Jesus said of the Christian sects of the day that “they were all wrong” and “that all their creeds were an abomination” to him. What did this mean? And what did this NOT mean? 

Show Notes


  • The unique details in Joseph Smith’s 1835 account of his First Vision—and the language he used to tell this account—make the most sense in light of the fact that he was explaining his vision to a man he believed to be a Jewish minister. The minimizing of the Christian revivals, the wrestle with the powers of darkness, the pillar of fire, and the many angels he saw in the vision—all are details calibrated to be most meaningful to a Jew. 
  • The 1838 account of his First Vision was Joseph Smith’s formal attempt to set his own record straight in response to the persecution he had received from other Christians, seeking to show that, rather than coming from the occult, his vision grew out of the biblical world view. 


Show produced by Zander Sturgill and Scott Woodward, edited by Nick Galieti and Scott Woodward, with show notes by Gabe Davis. 

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