Sunday School lesson #3 -- The First Vision

LDS - EFY 2000 - Any Other Boy - Peter Breinholt - artist
Tomorrow's lesson coveres Joseph Smith History 1:1-26.

Usually when I read, I take notes of the things that stick out to me -- the things I want to write about.

But as I read Jospeh Smith's account of the First Vision, I couldn't stop. His words held my complete attention. It's such a straight forward account. I've heard it so often that I knew many of the verses by heart. It's such a compelling story, and practically impossible to NOT feel the Spirit as you read his words.

I am always struck by how young Joseph Smith was at the time of the First Vision. Fourteen is so young. Young to be on a serious spiritual quest for truth, and certainly young to see a vision of Christ and God the Father.

Speaking of which, isn't this the only time in recorded history that God Himself appeared to man, aside from Adam?

And speaking of Adam, there's a scripture mentioned in the study guide that I had a question about. D&C 128: 20 mentions the "voice of Michael on the banks of the Susquehanna, detecting the devil when he appeared as an angel of light." What is this experience? I can't recall ever learning of the devil (or one of his minnions) trying to appear to Joseph as an angel of light, and Michael detecting him. I can't even remember Michael appearing to Joseph, though this verse only says his "voice" detected the angel.

Do any of you know this story? I know that much of the restoration of the priesthood took place on the Susquehanna. Perhaps the devil tried to interfere? It's entirely possible that Joseph was commanded not to share the details of this story with the world, and therefore we don't know about it. Or maybe Joseph just didn't think it was worth recording. I just wondered if we had the account of this anywhere.

Back to the first vision -- I love the detail with which Joseph describes the power of the adversary. He couldn't speak. He felt doomed for destruction. It wasn't "an imaginary ruin, but the power of some actual being from the unseen world." The devil is real. He seeks our destruction just as he sought Joseph's, though not as actively.

And Satan didn't stop there. When Joseph shared his story with different preachers, they told him his vision was of the devil and that such visions didnt' happen anymore. I am SO glad they were wrong!!

The integrity of Joseph Smith really comes through at the end of these verses. He had in reality seen a vision. He knew it, and he knew that God knew it, and he couldn't deny it.

Neither can I.

p.s. Pam -- I didn't find Ahman as a topic in the BD. Weird.


Teresa said...

Hey, Wonder Woman! I was so glad to find your blog. I'm my ward's Sunday School teacher, too. I guess I should be blogging about my spiritual experiences but I have too much fun blogging about the OTHER things!

I, too, was struck by the integrity of a 14-year-old boy. His entire family believed him! So I was looking into the spiritual nature of his parents and was going to lead in to how God prepared Joseph. Not sure yet how I'm going to do the lesson but it's never in the most straightforward way!

Bless you!

McEwens said...

Elder Orson Pratt pointed out that "there is one revelation that this people are not generally acquainted with. I think it has never been published, but probably it will be in the Church History. It is given in questions and answers. The first question is, 'What is the name of God in the pure language?' The answer says, 'Ahman.' 'What is the name of the Son of God?' Answer, 'Son Ahman—the greatest of all the parts of God excepting Ahman.'" (In Journal of Discourses, 2:342.)