A Young Folks' History of the Church
pray. No sooner had he begun than some awful power which he could not see took hold
of him and made it nearly impossible for him to speak. It soon became dark around the
boy, and Joseph thought the unseen power would kill him; but he struggled hard and tried
to pray to God for help.
Just at that moment Joseph saw a great light coming down from above, and then the evil
power left him. The light was brighter than the sun, and as it came down and touched the
tops of the trees, Joseph wondered why it did not burn them. Then it shone all around
him, and in the light, standing in the air above him, he saw two persons who looked like
men, only they were shining with a glory that can not be described. One of them, pointing
to the other, said to the boy:
"Joseph, this is my Beloved Son; hear him."
Joseph then asked which of all the religions was right, and great was his surprise when he
was told that none was right; that they all had gone astray from the truth; and that he must
join none of them. Joseph was told many other things, among which was that some day
the true gospel would be made known to him. Then they left him alone in the woods.
What a wonderful thing! God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ had actually come to
Joseph. He had seen them and they had spoken to him. That same Jesus of whom he had
read in his Bible had come from heaven and his Father had come with him to introduce
him to the boy praying in the woods!
This was the first vision and the beginning of the gospel in our day; and by thinking
carefully about this vision, we may see that it teaches us many things. First, that God has
a body like unto man's. Second, that the Father and the Son are two persons, not one, as
many in the world believe. Third, that the many religions which man has made are not
accepted by God. Fourth, that God has not ceased to give revelations to men on the earth.
Topics.—1. Joseph's Boyhood. 2. The Vision. 3. What may be learned from the vision.
Questions and Review.—1. When and where was Joseph Smith born? 2. To what places
did Joseph move? 3. What led Joseph to ask God for wisdom? 4. Repeat James I:5. 5.
Why can not all the sects in the world be right? 6. Did the Father and the Son come to
Joseph solely because of this prayer? [Note: Not.—If we say that the Father and the Son
came to Joseph because of his prayer, we might conclude that every boy who prayed
should receive such a visit. No; the time had come for the ushering in of a new
dispensation, etc. To bring out this thought is the idea of this question.] 7. Why did the
evil one try to destroy Joseph? 8. What may we learn from this vision?