La Primera Visión de José Smith/Las críticas a la Primera Visión/La primera y la segunda visita de los ángeles

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La primera y la segunda visita de los ángeles a jose smith

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apareció un personaje en medio de esta columna de llamas que se extendió por todas partes, y sin embargo nada se consume, otro personaje pronto appeard semejante a la primera, él me dijo: tus pecados te son perdonados, testificó a mí que Jesucristo es el Hijo de Dios; y vi a muchos ángeles en esta visión yo tenía unos 14 años de edad, cuando recibí esta primera comunicación; Cuando tenía unos 17 años de edad que vi otra visión de los ángeles en la temporada de la noche después de que había ido a la cama...

El diario de Joseph Smith, 9 de Noviembre de 1835. La frase "y vi a muchos ángeles en esta visión", fue escrito en encima de la línea más tarde después de que se haya efectuado la inscripción inicial. off-site (Inglés)
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Pregunta: ¿Con qué nombre hizo José Smith se refiere a la Primera Visión?

Joseph se refirió a su teofanía 1820 como la "primera visita de los ángeles" o la "primera comunicación"

José Smith nunca se refirió en realidad a lo que hoy llamamos la "Primera Visión" por ese nombre. En su lugar, se refirió a ella como la "primera visita de los ángeles" o la "primera comunicación." Joseph también se refirió a la visita de Moroni como "otra visión de los ángeles."

  • Un crítico del mormonismo afirma que "¿Quién parece [José] - un espíritu, un ángel, dos ángeles, a Jesús, muchos ángeles, el Padre y el Hijo - son por todo el lugar."[1]
09 de noviembre 1835 entrada del diario de José Smith, que fue escrito por su escriba, describe una visita de dos personajes. El escriba y luego regresa y se inserta la frase "y vi a muchos ángeles en esta visión" entre las líneas. Image from "Journal, 1835–1836," Joseph Smith Papers off-site (Inglés)

La cuenta que José entró en su diario el 9 de noviembre 1835 era un relato detallado que describe claramente dos personajes, así como "muchos ángeles." La cuenta que José escribió sólo cinco días más tarde en su diario el 14 de noviembre 1835 era un resumen de una línea del evento, al que calificó como "la primera visita de los ángeles." Los críticos de la Iglesia parecen creer que José cambió por completo su historia de "dos personajes" para "Angels" en el transcurso de sólo cinco días. La verdad es que José se refirió a todos los personajes que aparecían a él como "ángeles".

Los términos "personajes" y "ángeles" eran intercambiables

Esta confusión con respecto a los "ángeles" frente a "personajes" se ilustra en una crítica "Mormoninfographic".[2] We have illustrated the error by comparing Joseph's journal entries on both days.


Pregunta: ¿Cuál es la diferencia entre la primera visión de José Smith y otras visiones de Dios informadas en ese momento?


The type of event that we now refer to as Joseph Smith's First Vision was not entirely uncommon at the time

There were at the time people who went to the wood to pray after reading the Bible, and as a result received visions and epiphanies. Visionaries are not that uncommon in environments where people are routinely open to the divine. Even the famous Charles Finney had one. Finney, after retiring to the woods to pray, described the experience:

Just at this moment I again thought I heard someone approach me, and I opened my eyes to see whether it were so. But right there the revelation of my pride of heart, as the great difficulty that stood in the way, was distinctly shown to me. An overwhelming sense of my wickedness in being ashamed to have a human being see me on my knees before God, took such powerful possession of me, that I cried at the top of my voice, and exclaimed that I would not leave that place if all the men on earth and all the devils in hell surrounded me. "What!" I said, "such a degraded sinner I am, on my knees confessing my sins to the great and holy God; and ashamed to have any human being, and a sinner like myself, find me on my knees endeavoring to make my peace with my offended God!" The sin appeared awful, infinite. It broke me down before the Lord.

Just at that point this passage of Scripture seemed to drop into my mind with a flood of light: "Then shall ye go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. Then shall ye seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." I instantly seized hold of this with my heart. I had intellectually believed the Bible before; but never had the truth been in my mind that faith was a voluntary trust instead of an intellectual state. I was as conscious as I was of my existence, of trusting at that moment in God's veracity. Somehow I knew that that was a passage of Scripture, though I do not think I had ever read it. I knew that it was God's word, and God's voice, as it were, that spoke to me. I cried to Him, "Lord, I take Thee at Thy word. Now Thou knowest that I do search for Thee with all my heart, and that I have come here to pray to Thee; and Thou hast promised to hear me."

That seemed to settle the question that I could then, that day, perform my vow. The Spirit seemed to lay stress upon that idea in the text, "When you search for me with all your heart." The question of when, that is of the present time, seemed to fall heavily into my heart. I told the Lord that I should take Him at his word; that He could not lie; and that therefore I was sure that He heard my prayer, and that He would be found of me.

He then gave my many other promises, both from the Old and the New Testament, especially some most precious promises respecting our Lord Jesus Christ. I never can, in words, make any human being understand how precious and true those promises appeared to me. I took them one after the other as infallible truth, the assertions of God who could not lie. They did not seem so much to fall into my intellect as into my heart, to be put within the grasp of the voluntary powers of my mind; and I seized hold of them, appropriated them, and fastened upon them with the grasp of a drowning man.

I continued thus to pray, and to receive and appropriate promises for a long time, I know not how long. I prayed till my mind became so full that, before I was aware of it, I was on my feet and tripping up the ascent toward the road. The question of my being converted, had not so much as arisen to my thought; but as I went up, brushing through the leaves and bushes, I recollect saying with emphasis, "If I am ever converted, I will preach the Gospel."[3]

Although Finney doesn't claim to have seen any personages, he does describe a communication with God. Joseph Smith describes his experiences in much the same way as others in his environment did.

Joining a church at that time required one to explain one's standing with God to a preacher

Keep in mind that Joseph prayed to find out if his sins had been forgiven. And he discovered that they had. This pleased him greatly. Why did he pray about this matter? The reason is that joining a church at that time often required that one explain one's standing with God to a preacher. We are dealing with Protestant sects. And conservative Protestants believe that one is saved (justified) at the moment one confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. So Joseph, as he faced the competing Protestant sects, was deeply concerned about his sins. One had to demonstrate to oneself and also convince a preacher that one had been saved--that is, justified. And there were, as you mention, many instances in which prayers were answered by visions in which the person learned that God had forgiven their sins.

One difference between Joseph's vision and others is that Joseph was told not to join any denomination

The difference between Joseph's experience and many other accounts by visionaries, is that, in addition to being told that his sins were in fact forgiven, he was also told not to join any denomination. When he told that part of his visionary experience, it got him into big trouble with preachers. It was not the vision that was a problem for preachers, but his reporting that he should not join some sect.

So the fact is, contrary to our current way of telling his story, the First Vision was not the beginning of Joseph's call as Seer, Prophet, Revelator and Translator. Although we now see that his vision signaled the beginning of the restoration, his vision did not begin the work of the restoration, but it steered him away from joining one of the competing denominations. It was Joseph's subsequent encounters with Moroni that made him a Seer, and eventually the founding Prophet of a fledgling Church, and not his initial vision, which was initially for him a private event about which he was reluctant to talk, though eventually he dictated some very sketchy accounts that were found and published during our lifetime. And Joseph told a few people about it, and word got around, which caused him much trouble with Protestant preachers.

Neither Joseph nor others at that time offered the First Vision as a reason to become Latter-day Saints

Joseph eventually wrote the account of that early vision late in his life because rumors about it had circulated and caused him difficulty. But neither Joseph nor any of the other early Saints offered that vision as a reason for others to become Latter-day Saints during his lifetime. It was only much later that what we now call the First Vision began to take on a special importance for the Saints. One reason is that Americans soon did not live in a visionary environment. The great Charles Dickens, writing in England, explained why. He called Joseph Smith vision an absurdity--"seeing visions in the age of railways."

Wilford Woodruff came into the Church of Jesus Christ because he had known earlier in his life someone he believed was a prophet who had alerted him to the soon to be restoration of primitive Christianity. This remarkable story, which was included in the lesson manual on President Woodruff, illustrates the visionary world in which Joseph was raised. Though there were a few--one or two--instances in which the visionary reported encounters with two heavenly messengers, it was most often God the Son who they reported appearing to them.

But there have been and still are peoples not impacted by post-enlightenment skepticism about divine things who are open to visions and other dramatic encounters with the divine, though they often do not speak in public about such things, since they tend to see them as strictly private blessings and not something about which one ought to be gossiping and boasting.

The establishment of the restored Church of Jesus Christ began with the Book of Mormon

The first missionaries in the Church used The Book of Mormon, not the First Vision, as a witness that the heavens were open, and that each individual, by applying the promise in Moroni 10:3-5, can receive a direct manifestation from Heavenly Father, through the Holy Ghost, that The Book of Mormon is true. After that testimony is gained, it follows that Joseph Smith is a true prophet, as he brought The Book of Mormon forth and restored the fullness of the Gospel under the direction of the Savior.

The fledgling Church of Christ began with the Book of Mormon, the witnesses to the plates, the restoration of priesthood keys, and not directly with what we call the First Vision, though that initial experience assisted in Joseph avoiding what could be perceived as damaging sectarian contamination. The historical record shows that Joseph never gave any attention to the creeds or arguments of quarreling preachers. This was the purpose served by the First Vision.

Juncker (1994): "Desconocido para muchos, los padres de la iglesia a menudo se refiere a Jesús como un ángel .... en la antigüedad la palabra "ángel" significaba 'mensajero'"

Günther Juncker (en el momento de escribir estas líneas), Maestría en Divinidad candidato en Trinity Evangelical Divinity School:

Desconocido para muchos, los padres de la iglesia a menudo se refiere a Jesús como un ángel. Y le dieron esta denominación mucho antes de los (presuntos) distorsiones de Constantino, las controversias, los Consejos y los Credos .... la palabra ángel tiene un derecho prima facie a ser una primitiva, si no un apostólica, título cristológico. Antes de pronunciar un juicio sobre los Padres, los hombres que a menudo estaban bastante cerca de apóstoles y testigos presenciales del primer siglo, podemos recordar que en la antigüedad la palabra "ángel" tenían un alcance semántico más amplio que el actual. Cuando pensamos en los ángeles, pensamos inmediatamente en espíritus incorpóreos sobrehumana,, todos los cuales fueron creados, y algunos de los cuales cayeron con Satanás en su rebelión. Pero en la antigüedad la palabra "ángel" significa "mensajero." Fue todo una funcional (a diferencia de una ontológica) descripción y, por lo tanto, podría referirse a mensajeros que eran humanos, angelical o divina (el más conocido de este último Hermes, "el dios mensajero"). Del mismo modo en la Escritura, tanto en el Antiguo Testamento y el Nuevo Testamento, el ángel se refiere a humanos, así como a los mensajeros angélicos.[4]

José Smith: "Jesucristo se hizo un espíritu ministrar (mientras su cuerpo yacía en el sepulcro) ... Después de Su resurrección Él apareció como un ángel a sus discípulos"

José Smith considera un personaje con un cuerpo resucitado de carne y hueso para ser un "ángel". Esto incluyó a Jesucristo:

Jesucristo se hizo un espíritu ministración (mientras su cuerpo yacía en el sepulcro) a los espíritus encarcelados, para cumplir con una parte importante de su misión, sin la cual no podría haber perfeccionado su pupilo, o entrado en su reposo. Después de su resurrección, apareció como un ángel a sus discípulos.[5]

José Smith (09 de noviembre 1835): "Vi muchos ángeles en esta visión ... yo tenía unos 14 años de edad, cuando recibí esta primera comunicación"

De José Smith diario (escribano Warren Parrish):

que testifyed a mí que Jesucristo es el hijo de Dios; <y vi a muchos ángeles en esta visión> yo tenía unos 14 años cuando recibí esta primera comunicación; Cuando tenía unos 17 años de edad vi otra visión de ángeles, en la temporada de la noche después de que había retirado a la cama[6]

José Smith (14 de noviembre 1835): "Recibí la primera visita de los ángeles, que fue cuando tenía unos catorce años"

De José Smith diario (escribano Warren Parrish):

hasta el momento en que recibí la primera visita de los Ángeles, que fue cuando yo tenía unos 14 años, y también el de las visitas que he recibido después, relativa al Libro de Mormón[7]


  1. Jeremy Runnells, "Letter to a CES Director" (2013)
  2. Image from "".
  3. Charles G. Finney, "Memoirs of Charles G. Finney," (1876) 16-18.
  4. Günther Juncker, “Christ As Angel: The Reclamation Of A Primitive Title,” Trinity Journal 15:2 (Fall 1994):221–250.
  5. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith 191. Ver también D&C 129.
  6. "Journal, 1835–1836," The Joseph Smith Papers.
  7. "Journal, 1835–1836," The Joseph Smith Papers.