(Continued from last week…)
Last week I shared many scriptural eyewitness accounts of those who had seen the Savior either before or after His earthly life in the meridian of time. I stated that there were certainly others both written and not written that had not been included in that list. In this week’s post, I will begin to share some of the many accounts from this current dispensation, starting with the Prophet Joseph Smith’s first vision. The enormity of these eyewitness accounts will of necessity span a few weeks of postings. This is all great proof to me that the Lord is still most willing to be seen and known, but always by those of His choosing.
“I retired to the woods….on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt…to pray vocally. After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God….[And while] exerting all my powers to call upon God…I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me….When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!…many…things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time” (Joseph Smith–History 1: 14-20).
“[After the vision] my soul was filled with love and for many days I [felt that] the Lord was with me” (The Papers of Joseph Smith, compiled and edited by Dean C. Jessee, Deseret Book Co.: Salt Lake City, Utah, 1989, p. 7).
“…on the 22nd day of [September, 1827,] I obtained the plates, and in December following we [Emma and I] moved to Susquehanna by the assistance of a man by the name of Martin Harris, who became convinced of the vision [of the angel Moroni to me], and gave me fifty dollars to bear my expenses; and because of his faith and this righteous deed, the Lord appeared unto him in a vision and showed unto him His marvelous work which He was about to do; and [Martin] immediately came to Susquehanna and said the Lord had shown unto him that he must go to New York City with some of the [ancient] characters, so we proceeded to copy some of them, and he took his journey” (Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, compiled and edited by Dean C. Jessee, Deseret Book Co.: Salt Lake City, Utah, 2002, p. 13, spelling and punctuation revised).
“On the ninth day of June, 1830, we held our first conference as an organized Church. Our numbers were about thirty, besides whom many assembled with us, who were either believers or anxious to learn. Having opened by singing and prayer, we partook together of the emblems of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We then proceeded to confirm several who had lately been baptized, after which we…ordained several to the various offices of the Priesthood. Much exhortation and instruction was given, and the Holy Ghost was poured out upon us in a miraculous manner—many of our number prophesied, whilst others had the heavens opened to their view, and were so overcome that we had to lay them on beds or other convenient places; among the rest was Brother Newel Knight….By his own account…he could not understand why we should lay him on the bed, as he felt no sense of weakness. He felt his heart filled with love, with glory, and pleasure unspeakable, and could discern all that was going on in the room; when all of a sudden a vision of the future burst upon him. He saw there represented the great work which through my instrumentality was yet to be accomplished. He saw heaven opened, and beheld the Lord Jesus Christ, seated at the right hand of the majesty on high, and had it made plain to his understanding that the time would come when he would be admitted into His presence to enjoy His society for ever and ever. When their bodily strength was restored to these brethren, they shouted hosannas to God and the Lamb, and rehearsed the glorious things which they had seen and felt, whilst they were yet in the spirit” (History of the Church, vol. 1, pp. 84-85).
“The fourth general conference of the Church convened in a schoolhouse just outside Kirtland [Ohio] on Friday, 3 June 1831….In Joseph Smith’s words, ‘The Lord displayed His power to the most perfect satisfaction of the Saints’….During the conference the Spirit was with the Prophet in an ‘unusual manner’….The spirit of prophecy also rested upon Lyman Wight….The Prophet Joseph, Harvey Whitlock, and Lyman Wight saw the heavens open and Jesus Christ sitting on the right hand of the Father. Lyman testified that he saw the Son of God making intercession for the Saints” (Church History in the Fulness of Times, 1989, p. 100).
(to be continued…)