FAIR is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing well-documented answers to criticisms of the doctrine, practice, and history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Joseph Smith's First Vision/First Vision accounts in Church publications
First Vision accounts in Church publications
Summary: The claim is sometimes made by critics that the LDS Church hides the various accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision that are not in its official canon. The following chronological database (compiled by FairMormon volunteer Edward Jones) demonstrates conclusively that this is simply not the case. The various accounts of the First Vision have been widely acknowledged in LDS-authored sources throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
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- LDS-Authored Publications (1910-1968)
- LDS-Authored Publications (1969-1978)
- LDS-Authored Publications (1979-1983)
- LDS-Authored Publications (1984-1989)
- LDS-Authored Publications (1990-1997)
- LDS-Authored Publications (1998-2003)
- LDS-Authored Publications (2004-Present)
The various accounts of the First Vision tell a consistent story, though naturally they differ in emphasis and detail. Historians expect that when an individual retells an experience in multiple settings to different audiences over many years, each account will emphasize various aspects of the experience and contain unique details. Indeed, differences similar to those in the First Vision accounts exist in the multiple scriptural accounts of Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus and the Apostles’ experience on the Mount of Transfiguration.3 Yet despite the differences, a basic consistency remains across all the accounts of the First Vision. Some have mistakenly argued that any variation in the retelling of the story is evidence of fabrication. To the contrary, the rich historical record enables us to learn more about this remarkable event than we could if it were less well documented.
Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, "LESSON 6: Joseph Smith—History 1:1–20"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, (2013)
Just as Joseph Smith emphasized different aspects of his vision in his multiple accounts, the Apostle Paul emphasized different aspects of his vision of the Savior to different audiences (see Acts 9:1–9; Acts 22:5–11; Acts 26:12–20). Why do you think Joseph Smith and Paul emphasized different things each time they related the accounts of their visions?