Thought of the Day about Mormonism and Joseph Smith’s First Vision

Mormonism today is not what it was when Joseph Smith founded it. While the Church prides itself on receiving continuing revelation, there’s something to be said about being truthful in the process.

Several questions must arise in the minds of anyone with a vested interest of the Church and this goes for those contemplating the contradictory history of the Church to TBMs (True Blue Mormons).


In all the years I was LDS it never occurred to me that I should investigate the claims made by the leaders of that time and all the way back to Joseph Smith himself. Even a cursory glance will show major problems just in the first vision alone.

Some of the questions I have about Smith’s claims have to do with consistency and who/what he saw in 1820.

Why did Joseph Smith join the Methodist Church in 1828 after God supposedly told him not to join any church because no one was following him in 1820?

Joseph Smith’s History 1:19;

“I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong…”

I just want to know why. Why would he do that if he’d already been told not to join any church at all?

Could it be this vision that Smith claims he had didn’t happen? Could it be that Joseph lied about his vision, after all, there are nine versions of it?

Why didn’t Church members at the time know about this vision?

The first written directives for Church members are found in Book of Commandments, the predecessor to Doctrine and Covenants. Nowhere in these prophetic announcements do we find any mention of Smith’s first vision.

Why didn’t Joseph record his experience at the time it happened?

Why was Joseph’s written account of his experience not fully documented until after his death?

Why didn’t Joseph’s written account of his vision include the appearance of God and Jesus?

Comparing the writings of Joseph Smith to what LDS historians have reported and you’re going to see huge discrepancies of what really took place from the 1820’s to the time of Smith’s death.

You can see this today in how the Church continues to push the idyllic story of his vision with no mention of how things really happened.

Ironically, one of the Church’s strong suits in keeping meticulous records is what has brought the truth to light for many ex-Mormons.

The aftermath of Smith’s stories speaks for itself in the amount of people who’ve left Mormonism since its inception and also in number of times the Church has had to make excuses for major revisions in Mormon scripture.

A great article on this is in Dialogue and it’s a must read for those wanting to glean more insight about Joseph’s first vision.

(See Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 1, No 3, Autumn 1966, pgs 29-46, “The Significance of Joseph Smith’s ‘First Vision’ in Mormon Thought”, by Dr. James B. Allen)