Conflicting Accounts of the "First Vision"

Although there are many similarities, and many of the recountings contain common themes, there are number discrepencies between the various accounts of the first vision. The year of the event, Smith's age, how many "personages" were present, are all matters for debate. In the earliest versions, there is no reference to God or Jesus, and the finding of the plates is unapologetically tied to Smith's "seer stone" which he used while hunting for buried treasure. Later accounts (while Smith is drawing new members from local churches) the story becomes immersed in Christian lingo, and is reborn as a tale of a spiritual seeker meeting God, rather than a treasure seeker coming upon a great find. Here are the accounts in parallel columns. (Eric W. Francke)

First Vision Account
related to Willard Chase (Related in 1827, from the 1833 Affadavit)
First Vision according to Martin Harris (Related in 1827 to John Clark, as in 1842 book "Gleanings By The Way") First Vision as JS shared with Peter Bauder ca. 1830

First Vision as written in JS' own handwriting (1832)

First Vision as related by Oliver Cowdery (1834) (Found in Messenger and Advocate) First Vision as told to Joshua the Jewish Minister (1835) First Vision as told to Erastus holmes (1835) First Vision according to "Pearl of Great Price" (1838)
      Smith starts studying the Bible at age 12, and comes to the conclusion that all churches are wrong.       (before he was 14) "never entered into my heart that all (churches) were wrong"
    JS is said by Bauder to have given "no Christian experience" in relation to the plates. At the age of 16, because of his intense spiritual hunger, Jesus apprears to him to tell him that all the churches are apostate, and that his sins are forgiven. While Smith is 17 (1823) there is a great revival in the area, which stirs JS. JS wrestles with issues on the existence of God, and the hyposcrisy of the local churches. Smith is 14 and struggling with subject of religon. In a grove, 2 divine "personages" visit him and tell him his sins are forgiven. At 14, JS has "visions of angels" At age 14, he goes out to a grove to pray, darkness (presumably an evil spirit) envelopes him, but he is delivered by the Father and the Son
A spirit appears to JS, who is 17 (1823 AD) and tells him of the plates. JS sees the plates and actually picks the "Golden Book" up. while either 18 or 19, an angel tells JS of the Plates. He must first marry and wait until his child is 2 yrs before he can even see them and begin the translation. An angel told him to dig up a the golden plates in Manchester, Ontario County, NY An Angel appears to him while he is 17 (1 year later) to tell him of the plates. An Angel appears in his bedroom who assures him that his sins are forgiven and tells him of the Golden Plates Smith says there were numerous other visions   "Three years later" (1823), the angel appears to tell him of the plates.
When JS attempts to retrieve the plates, the spirit transforms from a toad to a man and beats him. Smith attempts prematurely to get a glimpse of the plates with his father, but the chest miraculously goes deeper into the earth; the angel smites JS for his presumption JS visited the plates once a year for "3 or 4" years before retrieving them.   An angel visits JS and tells him about the plates.      
JS obtains the plates with the help of his magic seer stone which he previously had dug from WIllard Chases' well. (1827). The stone was used by JS to help him find buried treasure. JS deciphers the plates by using two stones which came with the plates as "spectacles" which give him the ability to translate.            
  JS even translates while the plates are locked in the chest, since the spectacles allow him to see through it.            

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