Audio for Prologue, “Introducing The First Vision”
Spencer: In 1820, a teenaged boy named Joseph Smith entered a grove of trees near his home in western New York and prayed. What happened next is well known to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. According to Smith’s accounts, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. It was a formative moment in Joseph Smith’s life and a pivotal event in the history of the church that Smith would found and lead.
Now, two hundred years later, this story is told around the world. Some have heard it hundreds—even thousands—of times.
But have you ever looked at the event through the eyes of historians? Now, I’m not talking about historical trivia consisting of a long list of dates or an assortment of “fun facts.” I’m talking about historians who have spent years immersed in Joseph Smith’s surviving documents—scholars, men and women who have walked the fields of history who can tell you what occurred thereon and why those events occurred the way that they did.
You see, something special happens when you view the First Vision through the eyes of historians. You find a story that is simultaneously familiar and new.
That is what we’re doing over the next six episodes.
This is The First Vision: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast, and I’m your host, Spencer McBride.