Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
Dialogue Foundation, P.O. Box 2350, Stanford, California 94305
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England, Eugene ; Johnson, G. Wesley
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Dialogue: Vol 1 No 3
The Significance of Joseph Smith's "First Vision" in Mormon Thought
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JOSEPH SMITH'S "FIRST VISION" INMORMON THOUGHT by James B. Allen INCEPTION OF MORMONISM-JOSEPH SMITH'S FIRST VISION. In the year 1838 Joseph Smith began writing his formal History of the Church. The history commenced with the now famous ac- count of what has been termed the "first vision," in which he told of the appearance to him, in 1820, of two heavenly personages. The vision, according to the Mormon prophet, came as a result of his prayerful inquiry concerning which church to join, and in it he was forbidden to join any of them, for all were wrong. While not spe- cifically named in the story, the two personages have been identi- fied by Latter-day Saints as God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ; Joseph Smith indicated that the one said of the other, "This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!" This singular story has achieved a position of unique importance in the traditions and official doctrines of the Mormon Church. Belief in the vision is one of the fundamentals to which faithful members give assent. Its importance is second only to belief in the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth. The story is an essential part of the first lesson given by Mormon missionaries to prospective converts, and its acceptance is necessary before baptism. The nature and importance of the vision is the subject of frequent sermons by church members in all meetings and by General Authorities of the Church in semi- annual conferences. Not only is belief in the first vision of primary importance to Mormonism, but the story of the vision has what might be termed a number of secondary, although highly important, utilitarian func- tions. Joseph Smith's original purpose in writing the story was ap-