The First Vision


11While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack bwisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
 12Never did any passage of ascripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed bwisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects cunderstood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.
 13At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in adarkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would bgive liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.
 14So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the awoods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a bbeautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to cpray dvocally.
 15After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was aseized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick bdarkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
 16But, exerting all my powers to acall upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into bdespair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of clight exactly over my head, above the brightness of the dsun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
 17It no sooner appeared than I found myself adelivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I bsaw two cPersonages, whose brightness and dglory defy all description, estanding above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My fBeloved gSon. Hear Him!
 18My object in going to ainquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
 19I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all awrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those bprofessorswere all ccorrupt; that: “they ddraw near to me with their lips, but their ehearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the fcommandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the gpower thereof.”
 20He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself alying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, bmother inquired what the matter was. I replied, “Never mind, all is well—I am well enough off.” I then said to my mother, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.” It seems as though the cadversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the doppositionand persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?
Joseph Smith History 1:11-20

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