Posted by: mice152 | January 17, 2009

D&C Lesson #3: The First Vision

This week’s lesson is on the First Vision; something we’ve all heard about and discussed about a million times, literally.  It’s a huge part of the foundation of our Mormon faith; we believe, literally, that a 14-year-old boy, knelt in a grove of trees to ask God which church he should join.  We believe that God answered that prayer in a miraculous way, appearing to this boy in His flesh, not just God the Son, but also God the Father. It’s an amazing thing, really, and many of the world would scoff at such faith but this vision is a pivotal part of our beliefs.

I’ve been pondering over this assignment and found myself drawn again and again to one of the questions in the study guide: “What are some of the truths we can learn from the First Vision?”

Clearly, we learn about God and Jesus looking quite alike, having real, tangible bodies.  We learn that they answer prayers and we learn that the fullnes of the gospel needed to be restored.  But what else is there?

I think that as a group of people, called to be one, it is important that we have a united history.  The First Vision and the history of the early church provides us with a common background regardless of whether we are a new convert or can trace our history back to the Saints who lived in Kirtland and Nauvoo and crossed the plains.

Another important truth I take is that miracles, big, holy cow kind of miracles and smaller, quiet miracles, happen.  They happen frequently.  I think that we are just not aware of them as such things are sacred, but they do happen.  God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow; He proved it by showing Himself to Joseph and beginning the restoration.  He continues to do so by miracles in our lives.

I also think of the moments directly before the vision when Joseph was “seized upon by some power which entirely overcame [him], and had such an astonishing influence over [him] as to bind [his] tongue so that [he] could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around [him], and it seemed to [him] for a time as if [he] were doomed to sudden destruction.” (JS-H 1:15) We talk often of enduring to the end and what that means.  I think Joseph’s example of “exerting all [his] powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy,” is a good one.  He clung to his hope and faith in God (2 Ne 4:19), believing not only that he would receive an answer to prayer but that he would be delivered from this powerful enemy.  When did deliverance come?  “At the very moment when [he] was ready to sink into despair and abandon [him]self to destruction . . . just at this moment of great alarm, [he] saw a pillar of light exactly over [his] head.” (JS-H 1:16)  God delivers us in His timing and not ours.  Sometimes I find it happens early on, sometimes, like Joseph, it seems to happen at that last crucial second.  But God is continually mindful of us and our needs.

I think the First Vision teaches us a great deal not only about the corpality of God but of His nature and who He is that we should trust so deeply in Him; I also think it teaches us about who we are as mortals, our weaknesses, our strengths and our need for such a God.

What do you think?

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Responses

  1. I love your insights mice152! I took your challenge and have been thinking about the truths I’ve learned from the 1st Vision. A couple of things come to mind.

    Fisrt-what an incredible affirmation of love was shown by the Father and the Son on that day. Let me try to explain why I feel that. Before this world began, we all voted on the Plan of Salvation, knowing that in our mortal experience we would sin greater than our ability to atone. The Savior would step in and provide that atonement for us by sacrificing his own life. This would give us all the ability to be resurrected. But the plan was not only that we would be resurrected, but that a way would be provided for us to return to the presence of the Father-Celestial Kingdom-if we lived righteously. The only way to get to the Celestial Kingdom is by making and keeping priesthood covenants ie;baptism, confirmation and the gift of the Holy Ghost, priesthood ordination, endowment, and sealing. At the time of the vision, no one held the keys to authorize any of those ordinances. This, to me, is where the incredible show of love comes in. It was time to restore those keys to the earth, to alow us to become strengthened by making and keeping those ordinances. This would allow us to stand against the power of the adversay in the last days. The Savior was probably more than capable of doing that by himself. He had for ages spoken in behalf of the Father, revealing himself to some, speaking to others–they of course being of the same mind and purpose. However, this teaching was so incredibly important to the Father, that He, himself, chose to be there in person to support/magnify the message that the Savior had come to deliver. Heavenly Father knew the magnitude of this message, and how it would impact all of mankind, so He came in person-something He has not felt to do often-to begin the restoration of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The two of them stood together, in person, as One! He wants us back with him! He loves us beyond our wildest imaginations! He is there for us and He will see that we will be given all the tools necessary to accomplish our earthly mission.

    Second-the importance of standing up for what we know to be true and right. Whenever we are given our own personal revelations, it is important to be true to them. Not all revelation should be shared publically. Some are most personal and sacred and should be kept as such. But the one thing common to all revelation is the strengthening of our testimony. Though not a part of the vision, one of my favorite parts of the story is in verse 25: “…I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dard I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under comdemnation.” Sometimes offending man seems more important than offending God. How blessed we are when we are true to the God that directs us and answers our prayer no matter how big of small. What a blessing it is to share our testimony not only in word but also in deed. It is our right and our responsibilty to stand for truth and righteousness no matter the consequences.

  2. Excellent points. I have wondered again and again about the Father showing up in actual presence when, to the best of my knowledge, He’d never done that before; He was just the deep voice coming from Heaven. Perhaps this was in direct reaction to the prevailing Trinity theory?

    But I agree on the love point very strongly. It’s funny to me that the older I get, the more I study, the more God is just about love and all this other stuff is peripheral or things we do to ourselves.


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