Question: Why didn't the newspapers in Palmyra take notice of Joseph Smith's First Vision?

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Question: Why didn't the newspapers in Palmyra take notice of Joseph Smith's First Vision?

Pearl of Great Price Central, Joseph Smith - History Insight #12: Why Was Joseph Smith Initially Reluctant to Tell Others About the First Vision?

Newspapers would not have considered a visionary claim from a 14-year-old boy to have been newsworthy

This claim by critics is indeed strange. We are apparently to believe that the newspapers of the area would consider a claim from a 14-year-old boy as newsworthy. We know that Joseph didn't even tell his family about the vision at the time that it occurred—when his mother asked him, all he said to her was that he had found that Presbyterianism was not true.

When Joseph told the story of his vision to a local minister, he was strongly refuted for doing so

Joseph did, however, make mention of his vision to a Methodist preacher. According to Richard Bushman, Joseph's perceived persecution for telling his story may not have actually been because it was a unique claim, but rather because it was a common one. According to Bushman,

The clergy of the mainline churches automatically suspected any visionary report, whatever its content...The only acceptable message from heaven was assurance of forgiveness and a promise of grace. Joseph's report of God's rejection of all creeds and churches would have sounded all too familiar to the Methodist evangelical, who repeated the conventional point that "all such things had ceased with the apostles and that there never would be any more of them."[1][2]

There is a lot more information on this question elsewhere on the wiki:


  1. Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Knopf, 2005), 41.
  2. For an in-depth discussion of how the preacher's rejection of Joseph caused him to not speak of the event for many years and the affects the rejection had on Joseph's memory (and which refutes this criticism), see Steven C. Harper, "First Vision: Memory and Mormon Origins" (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019) 9-12.