Secondhand accounts of the First Vision

The early accounts written by contemporaries who heard Joseph Smith speak about the vision include the following:

1. Orson Pratt, A[n] Interesting Account, pp. 3–5. This is the earliest published account of Joseph Smith’s first vision of Deity. It was written by Orson Pratt of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and published as a pamphlet in Scotland in 1840.

2. Orson Hyde, Ein Ruf aus der Wüste [A cry out of the wilderness], pp. 14–16 (original German) (modern English translation). Another member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Orson Hyde, published this account of Joseph Smith’s earliest visions in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1842. He wrote the text in English, relying heavily on Pratt’s A[n] Interesting Account, and translated it into German for publication.

3. Levi Richards, Journal, 11 June 1843. Following an 11 June 1843 public church meeting at which Joseph Smith spoke of his earliest vision, Levi Richards included an account of it in his diary.

4. Interview, JS by David Nye White, Nauvoo, IL, 21 Aug. 1843; in David Nye White, “The Prairies, Joe Smith, the Temple, the Mormons, &c.,”Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, 15 Sept. 1843, [3]. In August 1843, David Nye White, editor of the Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, interviewed Joseph Smith in his home as part of a two-day stop in Nauvoo, Illinois. His news article included an account of Joseph Smith’s first vision.

5. Alexander Neibaur, Journal, 24 May 1844. On 24 May 1844, German immigrant and church member Alexander Neibaur visited Joseph Smith in his home and heard him relate the circumstances of his earliest visionary experience.


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